September 3, 2006

That “Grim Milestone” Horse-Manure Mantra Is Being Revved Up Again

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 11:40 pm

Here we go again — it’s “grim milestone” time at CNN, as total US soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan now exceed the number of people killed in the September 11 attacks.

Jim Wooten at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution anticipated this a couple of days ago, and wrote:

A “grim milestone,” it’s called. And it is. American military losses in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon surpass the death toll in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, and next month combat operations in Iraq will pass the length of time U.S. forces fought in Europe in World War II. The temptation is to ask: And this proves what? World War II veterans of the 4th Marine Division gathered here last weekend. One of their battles was Iwo Jima. Some perspective: 2,972 died on Sept. 11. In Iraq and Afghanistan, 2,941. In less than a month on Iwo Jima, 6,891.

Every soldier’s death in an honorable cause is an awful thing, but an honorable thing. Just this weekend we have received a reminder of how honorable the cause is by being told yet again what the alternative is — “convert or die“; “convert or die.”

So if there is going to be a “grim milestone,” the benchmark should at least be the number of people killed by terrorists since the September 11, 2001 attacks — 6,560 per the detail that follows (see Updates for more info on larger numbers, and even larger numbers of INCIDENTS). It would also be valid to include the deaths in attacks leading up the September 11 (e.g., the USS Cole, Khobar Towers, etc.), and of course against the likely deaths Saddam Hussein would have inflicted upon his people if he had stayed in power (before he was toppled, it was at least several hundred a week), sticking only to terror deaths since 9/11 shows that we’re a long way from anyone’s twisted dream of a comparable “grim milestone”:

(Excuse the hasty posting; the numbers that appear after each date represent the number of deaths, which are repeatd at the left; info is via e-mailer Larwyn with the Jacksonian at Dumb Looks Still Free as the original compiler, but apparently not yet a poster [SEPT 4. UPDATE -- Here is his post, which went up on Sept. 4]. I did cross-check some of the information against a related Wiki entry.)

TerrorDeaths1

TerrorDeaths2

TerrorDeaths1

UPDATE, Sept. 4: Comments around the blogosphere coming from Gateway Pundit (pointing out that it took 5 years to equal the number of lives taken in probably less than an hour on Sept. 11); My Pet Jawa (appropriately widening the scope to include innocent Muslims killed by terrorists, which would make the number go into the tens of thousands); and an MPJ commenter (who said that it was well over 20,000 six months ago).

UPDATE, Sept. 9: A subscription only pre-9/11 piece in The Wall Street Journal says that there have been MORE INCIDENTS of terror that American soldiers killed:

To the surprise of many analysts, there hasn’t been another major terror incident in the U.S. since 9/11. Still, global terrorism is on the rise. In 2005 there were 4,960 terrorist incidents, up from 1,150 in 2000, according to the Terrorism Knowledge Base.

Steyn Exposes More Middle East Fauxtography; Plus, Is the BBC Further Slanting non-English News?

UPDATED BELOW for the actual pic Steyn referred to in writing his column (HT to Steyn’s office for their quick response).

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In yet another “keeper” column, Mark Steyn mentions something I haven’t seen elsewhere, despite great coverage by Allah at Hot Air, My Pet Jawa, LGF (here and here), and several others:

Did you see that video of the two Fox journalists announcing they’d converted to Islam? The larger problem, it seems to me, is that much of the rest of the Western media have also converted to Islam, and there seems to be no way to get them to convert back to journalism.

Consider, for example, the bizarre behavior of Reuters, the once globally respected news agency now reduced to putting out laughably inept terrorist propaganda. A few days ago, it made a big hoo-ha about the Israelis intentionally firing a missile at its press vehicle and wounding its cameraman Fadel Shana. Shana was posed in an artful sprawl in a blood-spattered shirt. But it had ridden up and underneath his undershirt was spotlessly white, like a summer-stock Julius Caesar revealing the boxers under his toga. What’s stunning is not that almost all Western media organizations reporting from the Middle East are reliant on local staff overwhelmingly sympathetic to one side in the conflict — that’s been known for some time — but the amateurish level of fakery that head office is willing to go along with.

I believe this is the picture the Steyn-man is referring to (original BBC story here).

UPDATE, 4:30 PM — The photo below, which is from the AP’s Hatem Moussa, replaces the one from the BBC I had been using as my guess on what Steyn saw (same person, but a much better angle). It was e-mailed to me by Victoria at SteynOnline (intense thanks for the quick response to my inquiry!). She indicates that the photo can be found at this SnappedShot link (about 1/3 of the way down the page) as well as other places:

Oh yeah, that’s one clean, bright, white undershirt. “Amazing” how it has no blood.

In looking for the picture, I stumbled onto what I believe is a significant difference in tone between the English and Spanish coverage of this story by the BBC. Here are the headlines, subheadlines, and first few paras of text in English and translated Spanish. The translation was primarily done at freetranslation.com, but was also reviewed by me for obvious errors and clumsiness (I learned the equivalent of about 4 years of high school Spanish about seven ago). The Spanish report is time-stamped 3-1/2 hours after the English report.

ENGLISH

Israeli rocket hits Reuters car

An Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City during a security operation has injured a Reuters news agency cameraman and a local journalist.

At least one rocket hit the car as the cameraman was filming, knocking him unconscious, while the second man received serious leg wounds.

The Reuters car was clearly marked all over as a media vehicle.

The Israeli army said the car had not been identified as press and expressed regret that journalists had been hurt.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF SPANISH REPORT

Israeli missile wounds journalists

Israeli airplanes launched an attack against a car property of the agency of news Reuters in the Gaza Strip.

Two cameramen got injured, one of them seriously.

The incident occurred in the neighborhood of Shajaiyeh of Gaza, where the journalists filmed an Israeli air raid on adjoining areas.

Al except But a rocket reached the vehicle while the cameramen filmed the action. One of them it remained unconscious while the second received severe injuries in one of the legs.

The Israeli army said that the vehicle was attacked because (it) acted in a suspicious way. Then (it) excused itself for the incident.

I double-checked the last sentence, as it is very troubling:

  • The “Se Excuso´” used to describe Israel’s reaction means “excused itself,” which has nowhere near the same impact as “expressed regret,” which was used in the English article.
  • “Israel expressed regret over the incident” would have been written as “Israel expresó pena sobre el incidente.”
  • “Israel apologized for the incident” would have been written as “Israel se disculpó para el incidente.”

Someone with more expertise in the nuances of Spanish would have to confirm this, but I believe the last sentence is written to inform Spanish readers that Israel reacted inappropriately, or at least wasn’t very sorry.

If I’m correct, perhaps an army of Juans and Juanitas (plus others for other languages) is required to monitor reporting out of the Middle East.

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UPDATE: Dinocrat addresses the big picture of Steyn’s column.

UPDATE 2: Dan Riehl isn’t so sure on the photo. I’ll add this context, which I did not do yesterday in the interest of space.

Part of the reason I didn’t mention for my belief in the staging. earlier this week LGF noted that the Injured Reuters Associate Worked for Iran. His info comes from a JPost piece by Caroline Glick:

Conveniently, the same day the PA released the men who its own forces had kidnapped, Reuters reported that the IDF had shot a missile at its press vehicle and wounded two cameramen – one from Reuters and one from Iranian World TV network – while they were en route to a battle taking place between IDF forces and Palestinian terrorists. Reuters, which is demanding an independent investigation into the attack, is portraying its cameraman Fadel Shada as an embattled hero who would do anything to bring the truth to the world.

Yet it is unclear why anyone should believe either Shana or Reuters. Shana told Reuters that as he was driving to the battle scene, “I suddenly saw fire and the doors of the jeep flew open.” He claims to have been wounded by shrapnel in his hand and leg. These are minor injuries for someone whose vehicle was just hit by a missile.

But then, the photographs taken of his vehicle after the purported missile attack give no indication that the car was hit by anything. There is a gash on the roof. The hood is bent out of shape. But nothing seems to have been burned. Cars hit by missiles do not look like they have just been in a nasty accident. Cars hit by missiles are destroyed.

Yet the glass on the windshield and the windows of Shana’s vehicle isn’t even shattered. In the photographs taken of Shana on the way to the hospital in Gaza, he lies on a stretcher, eyes closed, arm extended in full pieta mode. He is not visibly bleeding although there are some blood stains on his shirt, but then his undershirt is completely white.

UPDATE 3: My Pet Jawa is on it.

Weekend Question 2: Why Do I Hope Rober Rector Is Wrong?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:10 am

Note: This will be today’s last post. This was going to be today’s last post, until I read Steyn today. Go here.

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Answer: Because the Welfare Reform of 10 years ago was so right.

Rector points to the lack of political will to do anything beyond what was done 10 years ago, despite its success (quote is at end of link):

We still have 70 means-tested aid programs costing $587 billion a year. Welfare reform only changed one of those programs,” he told the Cato audience. “Every Congress since the one that passed welfare reform has inched to the left so rather than be emboldened by its success we have stood still.” Since it’s highly likely the Congress elected this fall will be even less willing to tackle the difficult subjects raised by Messrs. Murray and Rector, the signal success of welfare reform is likely to remain an example that Washington celebrates rather than emulates.

Considering the results, more emulation is what is needed.

Labor Day Weekend Positivity Post: Excerpts from Rerum Novarum

Filed under: Environment,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:01 am

Pope Leo XIII’s remarkably prescient and groundbreaking 1891 encyclical correctly anticipated the end results of socialism by several decades, and laid out a framework for morally responsible capitalism and employer-worker relations that succeeding pontiffs and others have built on.

Although its horrors have been visited upon far too many, and still exist in far too many places in the world today, who knows how many other nations may have headed down socialism’s self-destructive path without what I believe was Rerum Novarum’s divinely inspired guidance?

Thus it seems appropriate on the Sunday before a holiday dedicated to American workers in the factories, farms, offices, and moreso these days in homes, to highlight some of its more important passages (though there’s no substitute for reading the whole thing):

4. To remedy these wrongs (the excesses of unbridled capitalism — Ed.) the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.

5. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man’s little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.

6. What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice. For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own. …..

7. This becomes still more clearly evident if man’s nature be considered a little more deeply. For man, fathoming by his faculty of reason matters without number, linking the future with the present, and being master of his own acts, guides his ways under the eternal law and the power of God, whose providence governs all things. Wherefore, it is in his power to exercise his choice not only as to matters that regard his present welfare, but also about those which he deems may be for his advantage in time yet to come. Hence, man not only should possess the fruits of the earth, but also the very soil, inasmuch as from the produce of the earth he has to lay by provision for the future. Man’s needs do not die out, but forever recur; although satisfied today, they demand fresh supplies for tomorrow. Nature accordingly must have given to man a source that is stable and remaining always with him, from which he might look to draw continual supplies. And this stable condition of things he finds solely in the earth and its fruits. There is no need to bring in the State. Man precedes the State, and possesses, prior to the formation of any State, the right of providing for the substance of his body.

8. The fact that God has given the earth for the use and enjoyment of the whole human race can in no way be a bar to the owning of private property. For God has granted the earth to mankind in general, not in the sense that all without distinction can deal with it as they like, but rather that no part of it was assigned to any one in particular, and that the limits of private possession have been left to be fixed by man’s own industry, and by the laws of individual races. …..

10. So strong and convincing are these arguments that it seems amazing that some should now be setting up anew certain obsolete opinions in opposition to what is here laid down. They assert that it is right for private persons to have the use of the soil and its various fruits, but that it is unjust for any one to possess outright either the land on which he has built or the estate which he has brought under cultivation. But those who deny these rights do not perceive that they are defrauding man of what his own labor has produced. For the soil which is tilled and cultivated with toil and skill utterly changes its condition; it was wild before, now it is fruitful; was barren, but now brings forth in abundance. That which has thus altered and improved the land becomes so truly part of itself as to be in great measure indistinguishable and inseparable from it. Is it just that the fruit of a man’s own sweat and labor should be possessed and enjoyed by any one else? As effects follow their cause, so is it just and right that the results of labor should belong to those who have bestowed their labor.

11. With reason, then, the common opinion of mankind, little affected by the few dissentients who have contended for the opposite view, has found in the careful study of nature, and in the laws of nature, the foundations of the division of property, and the practice of all ages has consecrated the principle of private ownership, as being pre-eminently in conformity with human nature, and as conducing in the most unmistakable manner to the peace and tranquillity of human existence. …..

17. It must be first of all recognized that the condition of things inherent in human affairs must be borne with, for it is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain. There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such unequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity for business and the playing of many parts; and each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits his own peculiar domestic condition.