It’s still too bloody hot, but there will be no whining allowed. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have it much hotter, and there is much they have to deal with, and to defeat. Guerrilla-style attacks on the oil pipeline running to Turkey and a water treatment plant are evidence of growing strength among those fighting to thwart the evolution of a stable Iraqi government.
Funding for the Sunni and Shia imams who preach hatred of the Coalition is mounting, and coordinated from somewhere. One of the most dangerous elements — led by a young Shia imam named Moqtada Sadr — is reportedly being funded by Sunni money. The cooperation between these normally feuding factions is more than disturbing. It is evidence of a kind of cooperation rarely seen in the Arab world, and left undisturbed could become a larger problem for all moderate Muslims, which means for us as well.
The money funding unrest in Iraq is coming from more than once source. Iran is certainly involved. It has allies and agents among the clerics and many in the Shia community. But their actions are just as certainly being coordinated with Syrian and Jordanian efforts to prevent democracy from taking hold. The cooperation and coordination among Shia and Sunni should be a surprise to absolutely no one. But it will be so shocking to many in the West, especially in Europe, that they will deny it is even happening. But it is.
Those of us who have repeatedly discounted the supposed enmity among those radicals — as a barrier to cooperation in attacking Western interests — are being proved right at this very moment in Iraq. The amounts of money finding its way to Sadr and his ilk will be shown to have originated in the accounts of radical Sunni. And the largest and most wealthy of the radical Sunni live just where? Take Dennis Miller’s hint about a nation that’s a veritable Mecca for the lovers of terror.
Why Liberia Doesn’t Matter and Idi Amin Did
While the Mecca for terrorism thrives, we are sticking our noses into a mess that doesn’t implicate American interests. Liberia — the west African nation founded by repatriated former slaves — is in shambles. Charles Taylor, the most recent thug to occupy the president’s chair, was finally forced out when Dubya said he had to go. But now a bunch of Marines are on the ground to do Heaven knows what.
The only argument supporting this deployment is that Liberia provides some beachhead in Africa for us to use against the serious and ever-growing strength of Islamist terror groups there. If that is what we intend, that is what we should say. Mr. Bush risks much — principally being talked into the ever-growing and expanding type of mission Lil’ Billy got into in Somalia. So far, he has not explained why American interests are so much at stake in Liberia that the loss of one soldier is worth the possible gain. He owes that to the troops, even more so than to us. It seems very hard to believe that Liberia can be a base for any significant effort against terror in Africa. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it.
The demise of former murderous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is exciting some smug and caustic commentary. The fact is that for every Idi Amin that dies, there seem to be two that take his place. But Amin had a considerable value to the free world. Not as the bad example he was, but as to how such must be dealt with.
In late June 1976, Palestinian hijackers took Air France flight 139 to Uganda’s Entebbe Airport with hundreds of passengers, including about 77 Israelis, aboard. There was much knuckle-rubbing at the U.N. and in Washington. Amin’s troops — under his personal supervision — moved the hostages to an airport terminal building while the hijackers threatened to execute the hostages. On the Fourth of July an Israeli special operations force landed at Entebbe, freeing all but two of the hostages, and shooting any Ugandans and Palestinians who stood in their way. The lessons of the Entebbe raid are that terrorists find allies in many unlikely places, and that their allies must be dealt with in the same manner as we deal with them, with decisiveness, force, and finality. If we can learn from Idi Amin, we can learn from almost anything. Maybe even a blackout.
A Real Wake-Up Call
People dealt with the widespread blackout in Ohio, New York, Detroit and parts of Canada with the kind of weary, “what else can go wrong?” reaction summer brings. The calm, good-natured response of most people is a testament to the adjustments we have all made since 9-11. There is a faint glimmer in the air of the common bond Americans shared before the Vietnam era. Maybe the Gipper was premature. Now it really is morning in America. In the blackout, people helped each other, and instead of hanging Michael Bloomberg in effigy (which must be left to New York cigar smokers, now in hiding) everyone seemed so grateful that terrorists weren’t responsible. But for tall the good cheer, this blackout proved a major vulnerability we have to end.
As usual, Mr. Bush got it right by calling the blackout a “wake-up call.” But it’s more than that. One of the biggest reasons that old Gray-out Davis made such a hash of the California budget was his decision to buy at short-term rates some very expensive electricity from other states. California — itself the height of enviro-whacko irresponsibility — hasn’t built a power plant in over a decade. Forget nukes. The Marin County Mafia and the Hollywoodenheads have conspired to prevent the construction of any power plants at all.
The blackout was so widespread because the power grid is dependent on so few sources of electricity. The grid is nothing more than a network for distributing power. It creates none. Worrying about the power grid is diverting attention from the basic problem. Even with the best power grid, you are only moving someone else’s electrons around. Generating more electricity is the only real answer.
As usual, the Dems and the bureaucrats — in this case, the jerks from FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — want to impose a grid system like the one that cascaded to blackouts last week on regions of the country where power is cheap and pretty reliable, like the South. What they would do is force low-cost suppliers to make up for the lack of generation of power in places where it is high-cost, like the Northeast. Better to scrap FERC, and give the states real incentives to build the power plants they desperately need, both nuke and non-nuke.
There are too many directions in which that thought must be pursued. We cannot fail to provide adequate and reliable power, for our national security — both physical and economic — depend on it. The enviro-whackos who prevent power plants from being built, and who have essentially banned nuclear power from any growth in America, will have to be outvoted and outfought in Congress and the states. Even then, building power plants will cost enormous amounts of money, which will bankrupt state and federal budgets unless corresponding spending reductions are made in other programs. The choice is between cutting the nanny government down to size, or seeing the most urgent priorities fall prey to the political whims of the Libs. Ain’t it always?
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That’s right, the Grinch (Joe Biden) is coming for your pocketbooks this Christmas season with record inflation. Just to recap, here is a list of items that have gone up during his reign.
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