Commenting on the Israel-Hezbollah cease fire, Stratfor head-honcho George Friedman says that things may be permanently altered in the Middle East: "An extraordinary thing happened in the Middle East this month. An Israeli army faced an Arab army and did not defeat it -- did not render it incapable of continued resistance. That was the outcome in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982. But it did not happen in 2006. Should this outcome stand, it will represent a geopolitical earthquake in the region -- one that fundamentally shifts expectations and behaviors on all sides."
It looks like children bore the brunt of the Lebanon-Israeli war.
Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker writes that the air attacks over Lebanon were a dry run for future bombings in Iran:
The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.
An oldie but goodie fromTheodore Dalrymple on tattoos: "What is striking about these 'tattoo narratives' (as the author calls them) is their vacuous egoism. The interlocutors speak, and appear to think, in pure psychobabble, that debased and vague confessional language that allows people to imagine they are baring their souls when in fact they are exposing their shallowness. This is something the author does not notice because she herself belongs to the psychobabble culture. One cannot but feel sorrow for people who think that by permanently disfiguring themselves they are somehow declaring their independence or expressing their individuality. The tattoo has a profound meaning: the superficiality of modern man’s existence."
Thanks to Elmo, "We are breeding a nation of Anna Nicole Smiths" where "bland neediness gets you stuff much more easily than character." Joel Stein seems to miss the old Sesame Street. But I'm with Neil Postman, Sesame Street never really taught kids to enjoy learning, it merely taught them to love television.
Don't miss the latest installment from William Lind: "According to the Associated Press, as of this writing Lebanese dead total at least 642, of whom 558 are civilians, 29 Lebanese soldiers (who, at least officially, are not in the fight) and only 55 Hezbollah fighters. So Israel, with its American-style hi-tech 'precision weaponry,' has killed ten times as many innocents as enemies. In contrast, of 97 Israeli dead, 61 are soldiers and only 36 civilians, despite the fact that Hezbollah's rockets are anything but precise (think Congreves). Israel can hit anything it can target, but against a Fourth Generation enemy, it can target very little. The result not only points to a battlefield change of some significance, it also raises the question of who is the real "terrorist." Terror bombing by aircraft is still terror."
Libertarian writer Brad Edmunds says three cheers for the conformity of modern suburban life. "So don’t bemoan the homogeneous American urban and suburban landscapes – celebrate them. They are what they are because they are what we want, and what works for us." In fact the dominance of automobiles, highways, and suburbs is largely a creation of massive federal intrusion in American life going back to WWI. The national system of highways, FHA lending practices, state-sponsored urban renewal--these are just a few examples of statist intervention that has leveled American life. You would think libertarians might have something to say about such things. You would be wrong.
The president is ticked that the Iraqis won't get to the back of the bus: "I sensed a frustration with the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally — that we continue to lose a lot of lives, it continues to sap our budget. The president wants the people in Iraq to get more on board to bring success."
Army recruiters are resorting to strong-arm tactics and illegalities to meet recruiting goals.
An interesting take on Gary North and conspircacy theories. Here is my take on "The Man." Here is a long essay by Murray Rothbard on "Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy." Check out Samuel Francis writing about "The Ruling Class."
I always enjoy reading Stephen Baskerville. If you're unfamiliar, visit this archive. Here Baskerville is writing about no-fault divorce: "In the vast majority of cases, only one of the parents imposes divorce on the children and the other parent. Astoundingly, the parent who inflicts the divorce on the children is also the one most likely to retain custody of them. In such cases, divorce isn't remotely; it amounts to a public seizure of the innocent spouse's children and invasion of his or her parental rights, perpetrated by our governments and using our tax dollars."