Wednesday, August 16, 2006

K-K-K-Katya - Katyusha Math

1. Katyusha Math

So let's do some math. The Hezbollah savages fired 4000 katyushas and
other rockets into Israel. These killed 41 civilians. 18 of those were
Arabs, people the Hezbollah obviously was not trying to hit. That leaves
23 Jews. That is a kill ratio of about one Jew murdered per 200 rockets.

The katyusha had been the most effective weapon of the Red Army in World
War II and it would not be much of an exaggeration to say that it was what
defeated the Wehrmacht. In Israel, it mainly created emotional stress and
high blood pressure.

That was the weapon that Ehud Barak and his parody of Dunkirk had rained
down upon Israel. Loaded up with ball bearings to create maximum civilian

But in the end, the super-weapon of terror killed un a month fewer people
than a normal month's worth of highway accidents in Israel. An
occupational hazard of economists is a knowledge of statistics. Those who
asked me how I got through the katyushas now know the secret .
statistically speaking, there was no more reason to fear them than fearing
a ride on the highway in Israel. One does not live one's life in
perpetual fear of other drivers, so why get stressed out by katyushas?

Nevertheless, I believe a collective "Birkat Hagomel" (blessing for being
saved from danger) is in order.

The katyusha today is effective mainly in terrorizing children and old
people. And in shutting down civilian activity (and damaging the
economy). My guess is that the Iranian missiles are even less of a
serious weapon (unless loaded with nukes).

[Remember that old song K-K-K-Katie from the 20s? You more creative types
are invited to do an update, called K-K-K-Katya (Katyusha)]

2. The Israeli media is quickly reverting to leftist defeatism.

Here is Amira Hass in Haaretz:
"On the one hand, the Israeli who "doesn't intend" cuts himself off from
the Israeli occupation and colonialism machine, and exempts himself from
the responsibility for the intention to harm Palestinian civilians, an
intention that is inherent in the very existence of an occupation
machinery. And on the other hand, he cuts the Palestinian response off
from the existence of the occupation machine: After all, they as
individuals and as a collective "intended to harm civilians," and this
because of their eternal essence as Muslims, as Arabs - which is
independent of us."

3. But one of the silliest fetishes of the media this week is the
matter of General Dan Halutz's stock holdings.

Let me explain. It seems that just before the war, Halutz, the Commander
in Chief of the Army, sold some stock shares, and when the war started the
stock market at first dropped 8% although quickly rebounded. The media
has made this a banner scandal. Israel's version of Enron?


Let me emphasize that I do not like Halutz and think he mucked up the
entire war and should be forced to resign due to Israel's failure in the

Let me also say that I disagree with the chattering media moral posturers
and am not convinced there is any substance to the stock sell-off story at

First, Halutz's entire stock portfolio was about $25,000. To think that
he sold it off in order to capitalize on insider information about the war
is far-fetched. It would have saved him from maybe a $2000 capital loss,
which he would have made up the following week when the stock exchange
rebounded. If he had done short sales for a million dollars, or even if
he would have sold the portfolio and then repurchased it within the week,
it would be more suspicious.

Second, the accusation that he utilized insider information to make a
pathetic two grand is to attribute to him economic savvy and shrewdness
that I really doubt he has.

Third, the balance he had was so small that selling it off could explained
by a mere desire to buy a used car for a kid.

True, like Caesar's wife, generals should avoid even the appearance of
impropriety. And true, Halutz should resign for OTHER reasons, namely
displaying incompetence as a general.

But get a grip!

4. The New Anti-Semitism
by Jonathan Rosenblum
August 16, 2006

Israel.s wars tend to bring anti-Semites out into the open, and the
current one is no exception. What is interesting, however, is the degree
to which anti-Semitism has migrated from its traditional haunts on the
Right to the Left.

Sure one still finds traces the older Jew-hatred among Catholic
traditionalists like actor Mel Gibson and pundit Pat Buchanan. But more
fascinating is the social acceptability of anti-Semitic talk on the Left.

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, cites in
the Wall Street Journal, an unappetizing sampler of comments posted on the
websites supporting Ned Lamont over Senator Joseph Lieberman in last
week.s Democratic primary in Connecticut. One blogger calls for Lamont to
"define what it means to be an American who is NOT beholden to the Israeli
Lobby." Another adds, "As everybody knows, Jews care ONLY about other
Jews," and urges readers to ignore "Jewish propaganda about participating
in the civil rights movement of the .60s."

Still another made fun of Lieberman for not shaving during the Three
Weeks, and suggested he dye his beard "blood red." "Lieberman is a . . .
religious bigot," opined another Daily Kos reader; "Lieberman cannot
escape the religious bond he represents. . . . [H]is wife.s name is
Haggadah . . . or Diaspora or something you eat at Passover," reads one
post at Huffington Post. .

When it comes to vitriolic hatred of Jews and Israel, however, the
American Left cannot compare to the European. Few European newspapers will
ever again make the mistake of publishing a cartoon noting the fatal
attraction of followers of Mohammed for suicide bombs. But cartoons
equating Israelis to Nazis are commonplace.

Jostein Gaarder, one of Europe.s best-selling novelists, employed all the
classical anti-Semitic tropes in a recent diatribe against Israel in the
Norwegian daily Aftenposten. "To act as G-d.s Chosen People is not only
stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity," he writes. "We do not
believe in divine promises as a justification for occupation and
apartheid. We have left the Middle Ages behind. . . . We laugh at those
who still believe that G-d has selected one people in particular as His
favorite and given it silly, stone tablets, burning bushes, and a license
to kill."

If Gaarder is like most of his countrymen, he probably has not seen the
inside of a church in decades, but that does not prevent him from singing
the praises of Christianity over the beliefs of the Jews, with their taste
for the "blood vengeance that comes with an .eye for an eye and a tooth
for a tooth.." "Two thousand years have passed since [Yoska] humanized the
old rhetoric of war. . . . For two thousand years, we have rehearsed the
syllabus of humanism, but Israel doesn.t listen."

The state of Israel no longer exists, Gaarden proclaims triumphantly. It
is now without defense. In his Christian magnanimity, he calls for mercy
on Israeli civilians as they prepare to enter yet another Diaspora.

Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, resorts to same slur about
primitive Jewish bloodlust, by portraying Israeli bombing in Lebanon as
motivated by nothing other than a desire for revenge, and not as part of
an effort to protect Israeli civilians who have spent more than a month in
bunkers under missile fire. "An eye for an eye . or more accurately in
this case twenty eyes for an eye . may have been the morality of some more
primitive moment," Roth writes in condemnation of Israel.

Of course, anti-Semitism on the Left is not exactly a new phenomenon. Karl
Marx himself was a master of anti-Semitic vitriol. And his follower Stalin
was planning a major bloodletting of Jews at the time of his death. Yet
there is something new in the hatred of Israel and Jews that needs

those who have vowed to wipe it off the map, prevent Western intellectuals
from engaging in their favorite fantasy: the belief in a completely
rational world, in which men of good will can iron out their differences
over the conference table without resort to violence. It is a worldview
that denies the existence of irreconcilable goals, and sees all conflict
in terms of interests that can be compromised.

There is no place in this worldview for Islamic jihad bent on subjugation
of the entire world under Islamic law. So the world denies the threat,
just as it once denied the threat of Hitler. Europeans prefer to believe
that the jihadists are motivated by grievances that can be assuaged, just
as they once imagined that Hitler would be satisfied if German
"grievances" were answered and the Sudetenland returned.

It is terrifying to contemplate a nuclear Iran following the impeccable
religious logic of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in Iranian
textbooks: "[I]f the [infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion,
we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the
annihilation of all of them. Either we will all become free or we will go
to the greater freedom, which is martyrdom." Doesn.t leave much room for
deterrence through Mutual Assured Destruction does it?

And it is frightening to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism is not
generated by any grievances, but because terrorizing the world gives
Moslems power that they feel in no other sphere.

So the world prefers to ignore the source and nature of the threat. After
Canadian police uncovered a plot to blow up Parliament and behead the
Prime Minister, they reassuringly announced that the plotters were drawn
from a broad cross-section of society . except, of course, for the fact
that they were all named Mohammed or Ahmad. And similarly, Scotland Yard,
after foiling a well-advanced plan to blow up ten planes over the Atlantic
last week, described the plotters only as of southeastern Asian ancestry
and English-born, while omitting their jihadi motivation.

It is far more comforting to imagine that Islamic anger is fueled solely
by the Israeli "occupation" than to confront the worldwide scope of the
jihadists. ambitions and the non-negotiability of their demands. If only
the historical mistake of creating Israel in the first place, and the
"anachronism" of a state based on religious identity . or at least one
based on Jewish identity . removed, then the rest of the world could
simply sit down and discuss things rationally.

Israel.s crime is that it will not go along with the plan as peacefully as
Czechoslovakia did.

5. Israel's Hubris regarding Arms:

6. Prager on the Barbarians:

7. Al-Qaeda has been reading Tikkun?

8. As you know, I am a native Philadelphian. I am very saddened by this

9. Great quotes:

10. As you know, in Israel "insulting a public official" is against the
Well, now we know where Israel got the law from:

11. Strange Logic in Lebanon War:

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