daily archive: 07/27/2005
The Bare Branches of China
The one-child policy combined with the practice of sex selection in favour of boys, has left China with a serious gender imbalance.
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Flying With Children
Dedicated to the little brat who kicked the back of my seat from Salonica to Amsterdam, the baby who screamed in my ear from Frankfurt to Athens, the little girl who puked on my sleeve between Vienna and New York and the 5-year-old twins who shared their bubblegum with me on our way to San Francisco: Pain, Agony, Despair
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The Way to Iraq
In case you want to join the jihad but don't know how, there's now a travel guide with directions on how to get to Iraq so you can blow yourself up. Hint: enter from Syria, go in groups, wear jeans and carry a walkman.
At this point, experts and analysts have little reason to dispute its authenticity, especially since it confirms many of the assumptions about how foreign terrorists sneak into Iraq. In other words, it is another piece in the puzzle of the strategy followed by terrorists in their mission to turn the country into a living hell for the United States military, its allies and, above all, for Iraqi civilians. Indeed, dozens of the suicide bombers have been identified as having come from foreign countries -- most of them from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria -- and the number of foreign fighters in Iraq may number in the thousands. How they got there, despite all the attempts to prevent their entry, is at least partially explained by the new "travel guide."Jihad Travel Guide: Let's Go Terror
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America fails a Chinese test
As Christopher Holton points out, our weak response to China's menacing signals makes it more likely we'll get nuked. We were being probed for weakness, and we showed a soft belly. I've been waiting for a strong response from the Bush administration. I've seen nothing but simpering. That, combined with Australia's pathetic treatment of a Chinese intelligence officer who is trying to defect, gives me pause. No Slip Of The Tongue:
Partially buried in the news dominated by terrorist bombings and the Valerie Plame blamegame on July 15, was an overt threat against the United States delivered by a general in Red China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
General Zhu Chengu, the dean of Red China’s National Defense University, said that if the United States interfered with any Chinese attempt to use force against Taiwan, China would attack America with nuclear weapons. Here were his exact words:
“I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons. Of course, the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese."
America’s response to this threat has been curiously weak. America chose its weakest department of government with which to respond: State.
The State Department’s spokesman called the remarks “unfortunate," “disturbing" and “irresponsible." The response made it seem as if the State Department believed that the remarks were either made mistakenly or did not represent the views of Red China’s leaders.
This was playing right into China’s hands. They proclaimed that the general’s remarks were his own personal viewpoint and not official Chinese policy. But, most importantly, the Chinese did not retract the general’s statement, nor did they disavow the remarks or apologize.
One wonders what the outcry would be from both sides if a U.S. Army general had uttered such a comment directed at China. I frankly believe that our own State Department’s response would have been much stronger and more critical had a U.S. officer made such a statement and there is no doubt in my mind that we would have disowned the remark. Meanwhile, our general’s career would be over for all practical purposes.
Some might say that perhaps the Chinese general’s career will suffer as a result of his remarks. I doubt it. Not if history is any guide.
You see, this is the second time in the past decade that a high ranking Chinese general has threatened the U.S. with nuclear weapons in the past decade. Back in 1996, speaking about the same question of Taiwan, General Xiong Guangkai inferred in a thinly veiled threat that the U.S. would not come to Taiwan’s aid because America cared more about Los Angeles than Taipei. He made this statement directly to U.S. diplomat Charles Freeman.
No apology was ever issued for those remarks in 1996. General Xiong was not reprimanded, in fact, he was promoted and became chief of military intelligence, close to the top of the PLA hierarchy.
What is shocking and frustrating is that anyone in the United States could even believe that a PLA general could ever just express his own views in the first place. U.S. officers are highly restricted from expressing their opinions on such matters. In China’s centralized, communist society, there is no such thing as freedom of expression. Do you think for a minute that this same general could have said that Taiwan had a right to sovereignty and survived intact? Of course not. General Zhu’s remarks were not inadvertent and they certainly did not reflect his own personal views. We can be sure that his remarks were calculated and designed to both issue a warning to the U.S. and then solicit a response that could be carefully analyzed and measured.
So far, we have failed this analysis. Instead of wondering aloud whether these remarks represented official Chinese policy, we should have declared that the remarks put the U.S.-China relationship in a whole new light then summoned our ambassador for consultations. We should have demanded a retraction and apology. We should also have convened a meeting of leaders from Japan, Australia and others in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss China’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons. And we should have inferred that another option would be for the U.S. to fully arm Taiwan with sophisticated weaponry so as to make U.S. action unnecessary.
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'Religion is all for Allah'
Al-Zarqawi is expanding into the movie business with the release of a professionally made video
that highlights Al-Qaeda's activities over the last few years.
The mujahadeen have turned Iraq into an inferno, the narrator informs, with a series of attacks, including "the destruction of the UN headquarters which protected Jews and that of the Red Cross".
The video-history of al-Zarqawi's group continues with quotations from a Human Rights Watch report on Iraq and on torture in Iraqi jails. It shows the interrogation of an Iraqi policeman and it attacks the Iraqi Al-Iraqiya television channel which it says is "funded by the United States and by Jews to transmit false videos of Mujahadeen turncoats".
The final part of the video shows videos shot by the insurgents themselves during various attacks. One shows US soldiers in combat and the images shown suggest that whoever recorded the footage was remarkably close to the troops.
A group of 20 young suicide bombers, the testimony of a Falluja woman who claims she was beaten by the police and the video-will of a Saudi suicide bomber conclude the video document.
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Some gave all, but all didn't give some
has been talking about this
. She got her brother
to pipe in as well. Are Americans really doing enough at home to win the war on terror, or are we just carrying on blithely without a care in this world? Sadly, we're mostly completely ambivalent about doing our part, and our leaders aren't helping by asking absolutely nothing of us.
This NYT article
shows that the disquiet among our military families doesn't stop at the brat household-it's widespread. Something is wrong here.
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Life Imprisonment For Muhammed B.
The court in Amsterdam confirmed the requirement of the public prosecutors and sent the murderer of Theo van Gogh to a lifelong prison sentence.
According to the judges, Muhammed B. threatened a number of parliament members, collected weapons and munitions with an eye towards a terrorist attack and then killed filmmaker Theo van Gogh in cold blood and in religious conviction. He also tried to kill a number of police officers and innocent bystanders, hoping to get killed and go to paradise but finally he was shot in the foot by an officer and overtaken by the others.
"He is a murderer with a belief conviction" said one of the judges today, "... who bears a radical interpretation of islam. Theo van Gogh was in his eyes a so called 'enemy of Islam', someone who has to die."
A famous medical center for prisoners with psychological problems dismissed any chance that Muhammed B. cannot be held accountable for his crimes because of his possible psychological problems. B. has repeatedly said in the court that he was aware of what he was doing and he was out to kill in the name of Islam. He also said that he would do the same if he ever gets out of jail again, leaving generally mild Dutch courts with no option other than sentencing him to life imprisonment.
His civil rights are intact, he is still a full Dutch-Moroccan citizen and has the right to vote, although according to the court, looking at the fact that he has to spend the rest of his life with his 'ideology' in jail, it's not realistic to think that he will ever use his voting rights.
He is also sentenced to pay for the damages he brought to Theo van Gogh's publisher and the police officers who were shot while he was arrested. The Dutch government will pay the damages, Muhammed B. spends the rest of his life in one of the World's 5-stars detention facilities with one-persoon rooms, TV, telephone, daily newspapers, internet cafe and swimming pool, waiting for going to paradise when the right time comes back again.
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Polly Doesn't Want A F#$%ing Cracker
Finally, a Barney I can respect!
LONDON (AFP) - A foul-mouthed parrot previously owned by a lorry driver has been banished from public areas in a British animal sanctuary after repeatedly embarrassing his keepers, they said.Foul-mouthed British parrot banished by embarrassed keepers - Yahoo! News
Barney, a five-year-old Macaw, is now kept indoors at Warwickshire Animal Sanctuary in Nuneaton, central England, when outsiders visit after abusing dignitaries with swearword-littered insults.
"He's told a lady mayoress to f..(expletive) off and he told a lady vicar: 'And you can f... off as well'," sanctuary worker Stacey Clark said.
Nor did the forces of law and order escape, she added.
"Two policemen came to have a look at the centre. He told them: 'And you can f... off you two wankers'."
Clark said sanctuary workers believed Barney either picked up the phrases from television or was taught them by his previous owner, a lorry driver who emigrated to Spain.
"He does say 'Hello, big boy' and 'Thank you' when you give him a biscuit," she added.
"But it's mainly naughty words and always to the wrong people. We're trying to teach him not to swear. Macaws are very intelligent birds."
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