01 Jan 2009

Gaza Offensive Doing Its Job: Raising Livni’s Election Chances

This is all the Gaza offensive was intended or expected to accomplish anyway:

For the moment, however, the offensive in Gaza is proving popular with Israelis, and Livni and Barak are reaping the benefits. Recent polls show them closing the gap with Likud party leader Netanyahu, who had opened up a wide lead based on his promise to take a hard line against Israel’s main adversaries — Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

31 Dec 2008

Madoff’s Crookedness Was a Feature, Not a Bug

Okay, let’s point out the obvious: the fact that Bernie Madoff was a crook was known to every competent financial professional. If they didn’t know that, it was because they weren’t competent or they didn’t want to know and if they didn’t want to know, they weren’t competent. It is impossible to make 1% a month, every month.

30 Dec 2008

Why Are Palestinians Expected to Do What Americans Would Never Do?

There is a pragmatic argument for trying non-violence in Palestine (I’m not convinced it would work, because Israel hasn’t shown a lot of capacity for shame) but the moral argument, unless you are someone who believes that war and violence are never justified under any circumstances, is extraordinarily weak. Americans and other outside commenters want Palestinians to act in ways that their own governments would never act in comparable circumstances.

28 Dec 2008

Terrorism Works: Pakistan Edition

As Stirling pointed out earlier today, Terrorism works. The Mumbai attacks, targeted deliberately at both foreigners, and more importantly, India’s own elites, led to an entirely predictable response: India started seriously threatening Pakistan and demanding Pakistani leaders do things (like turn over Pakistanis to the Indian legal system) which no Pakistani politician could do and stay in power. Indeed, it’s unlikely they could do such a thing and stay alive.

28 Dec 2008

The Effects of an Israeli Ground Incursion Into Gaza

It’s looking like Israel is intending to invade Gaza. This is a necessary escalation at this point. Negotiations having failed, violence must be tried. Either it will work to allow Israel to impose the peace it wants, or it won’t. I’m going to bet, heavily, that it won’t.

27 Dec 2008

Orwell In Israel

I can imagine no scenario under which bombing Hamas will decrease rocket attacks. In particular, these attacks were aimed at the security forces, killing the police chief and the security chief and 140 Hamas Security forces.

27 Dec 2008

Israeli Bombs Kill At Least 155 in Gaza

Well, so much for peace. Looks like the deliveries yesterday were just a pathetic public relations ploy. Israel managed to assassinate the police chief, governor and security chief. A first strike bombing like this can do a fair bit of damage, as it did, but Hamas will now disperse its people and assets and future bombings will be less effective.

26 Dec 2008

Israel: Giving Peace a Chance?

Praise where praise is due, Israel has finally allowed humanitarian supplies including food and oil through to Gaza. That hasn’t stopped the attacks immediately, but it makes it possible for Hamas to back down, which they simply could not do as long as the blockade continued. Of course, just going back to “we can get in barely enough food and fuel to survive” isn’t exactly great.

25 Dec 2008

Olmert Asks His Victims to Stop Attacking Israel

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up:

Olmert, speaking directly to Gaza residents during an interview Thursday on the Arab satellite station al-Arabiya, told viewers, “I say to you in a last minute call, stop it,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

“Stop it, you the citizens of Gaza, you can stop it,” Olmert said.

24 Dec 2008

Aerial Footage of the Retaining Wall Failure

Something to see, direct from the Tennessee Valley Authority