The New York Post reported earlier this week: Gas Prices Spike 15 Cents.
Gasoline prices recorded their biggest two-week jump in 50 years as the nation's epic blackout shut down some refineries and a broken pipeline caused shortages in Arizona.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech. A New York Times article about this past weekend's celebration of the historic March on Washington, at which King gave his speech, noted that...
... the lengthy list of speakers this weekend reflected the diversity of causes ushered in over the last 40 years because of the legal and [sic] victories won in the 1960's. Leaders of groups representing gays and Arab-Americans were prominent on the program today.
Thomas Sowell had more to say about the speakers: Old rhetoric in new times.
There is nothing new about organizations and movements beginning with idealism and ending up as cynical rackets. Nevertheless, it was painful to listen to speakers who addressed a scattering of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.
Both the speakers and the small numbers of people gathered to hear them were a sharp contrast with the multitudes who covered the whole area around the Lincoln Memorial 40 years ago, when Dr. King spoke the immortal words that he dreamed of a time when people would no longer be judged by "the color of their skin" but by "the content of their character."
Yet the speakers on the 40th anniversary of that occasion clearly rejected the idea of a color-blind society. These were no longer demands for equal treatment but for special benefits, based on the color of their skin. Speakers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson certainly can't afford to be judged by the content of their character.
This year has been hijacked by the Nation of Islam and other radical Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups. I just watched James Zogby [president of the Arab American Institute] tell one outrageous lie after another, followed by Muslim American Society head Mahdi Bray, who called President Bush "the little Pharaoh."
Martin Luther King was very pro-Israel, and in my opinion his memory is being dishonored by this display of pro-terrorist groups and terror apologists. He wouldn't have wanted to be associated with this. It's sad.
FoxNews reports: Moore Remains Defiant, Supporters Sue to Keep Ten Commandments.
Espousing his reverence of God above "earthly authorities," Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore said removing the Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building is just plain wrong. [...]
Moore installed the monument in the building's rotunda two years ago, and was suspended by a state judicial ethics panel last week for disobeying a federal court order to remove the 5,300-pound granite marker.
Last week, Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit had good entry about the ruling to remove the monument: Another Victory for Anti-idiotarianism. InstaPundit reader Bill Reece commented on the man at the center of the controversy:
Justice Moore has managed to join a long line of elected officials who have publicly humiliated my home state of Alabama by populist political pandering. Moore could care less about the Ten Commandments. He was considered to be, at best, an obscure and second rate trial judge until he first used the Ten Commandments in his courtroom to gain notoriety for himself. After pursuing the exact same "crusade" he has just completed, he leveraged the publicity he had received into support from the religious right in Alabama, allowing him to get elected Chief Justice over a far more qualified candidate who is presently a member of the Ala. Supreme Court. Anyone familiar with the law on this issue, regardless of whether they agree with it, knows that this was a losing proposition. Moore knew it, but his crusade was "cheap" for him because the taxpayers of this impoverished State would bear the costs while he reaped the public notoriety. It was all about furthering his political ambitions.
Reece also said that Justice Moore went behind the backs of his fellow Supreme Court justices and erected the monument in the middle of the night without prior notice or consent.
Another InstaPundit reader, Peter Ingemi, added:
In these post 9/11 days we have much to fear from groups of Americans willing to violate the law and court orders on the grounds that "God wants us to do it," and I suspect that the next group that does this will have a response much less peaceful.
[C]ontrary to what Mr. Moore claims, no one is preventing him from worshipping or acknowledging his version of God. He simply can't do it in his capacity as a representative of the government. He can stand on street corners and preach to his heart's content. He just can't use the government imprimatur to push his personal religious agenda.
UPDATE: FoxNews reports: Movers Haul Ten Commandments Away.
An irate protester repeatedly screamed "Put it back!" as a Ten Commandments monument was wheeled away Wednesday from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.
Another man tried to calm the protester, who was angrily shouting "God haters" at the people who wanted the controversial monument removed.
"Get your hands off our God, God haters!" the red-faced man yelled.
The 5,280-pound granite marker was hauled on a dolly by a Georgia moving company from the public view area to another, undisclosed place in the courthouse complex.
In response to this weekend's eco-terrorist vandalism and arson, FoxNews reports that: SUV Fans Rally at Torched L.A.-Area Car Dealership.
The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Their goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather it is a subhuman world where "nature" is worshiped like the totem of some primitive religion.
Last week FoxNews reported: Green Party Happy to 'Spoil' Democratic Presidential Run in 2004.
Some members of the Green Party are reserving much of their anger for Democrats these days, and say they don’t care if another third-party run by Ralph Nader wrecks the Democrats' opportunity to replace President Bush in 2004. [...]
In the razor-thin election of 2000, Nader received 2.7 percent of the vote, compared to 48.4 percent for Al Gore, and 47.8 percent for George W. Bush, who won the electoral vote and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling deciding his victory. Democrats savaged Nader publicly, blaming him for "stealing" votes away from Gore.
This cartoon is posted with apologies to Benjamin Franklin, who is considered the creator of America's first political cartoon: "Unite or Die". The link depicts a later version of the cartoon, which originally appeared in 1754. According to the book, Drawn & Quartered:
The cartoon is based on a popular superstition that a snake that had been severed would come back to life if the pieces were put together before sunset.
I'm pretty sure this doesn't work with donkeys.
This cartoon is from April 2002. At the time President Bush had painted himself into a corner. The Bush Doctrine had made it clear that the U.S. would consider any regime that harbored or sponsored terrorists to be hostile. But Bush also backed the creation of a state for Palestinian Arabs, who are led by the godfather of terrorism, Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority (aka, Palestinian Liberation Organization).
Bush's first solution was Clintonian: He refused to label Arafat a terrorist (because Arafat was involved in the "peace process"). Later Bush backtracked and proclaimed, in a profound understatement, that Arafat was "tainted by terrorism," which lead to the farce of negotiating with an Arafat puppet, Mahmoud Abbas.
So what does the Bush Administration really think of terrorist Arafat and the PLO? Last week there was this news: Bush Waives Sanction on PLO Office in U.S.
President Bush on Thursday allowed the Palestinian Authority to maintain an office in Washington by waiving for another six months a law that would require it to be closed.
The law, which mandates the "downgrade in status of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) office in the United States," has been waived every six months since its passage. "I hereby determine that it is in the national security interest of the United States to waive that sanction," Bush said in a written memorandum released in Crawford, Texas where he is spending a month-long working vacation.
This week, there were two horrible terrorists attacks, one in Baghdad, one in Jerusalem. Bush gave a speech condemning the Baghdad bombing but has said nothing comparable (that I can find) about the Jerusalem bombing, which claimed the lives of five Americans.
(Via Little Green Footballs)
Yesterday the situation reached a new low when Secretary of State Powell requested help from none other than "tainted by terrorism" Yasser Arafat: Powell Warns of Mideast Cliff, Seeks Arafat Help.
Powell's appeal to Arafat, whom Washington has tried for months to marginalize, was an implicit acknowledgment that he retains influence and that Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas may not have the muscle to stop attacks on Israel.
"I call on Chairman Arafat to work with Prime Minister Abbas and to make available to Prime Minister Abbas those security elements that are under his control so that they can allow progress to be made on the road map -- end terror, end this violence that just results in the further repetition of the cycle that we've seen so often," Powell said.
Worse still, Powell went on to equate those who are against a Palestinian state with the terrorists:
"The alternative is what? Just more death and destruction, let the terrorists win, let those who have no interest in a Palestinian state win, let those who have no interest but killing innocent people win? No. That is not an acceptable outcome," he said.
Bush announced the backing of a Palestinian state less than a month after the 9/11 attacks. It was the death knell for the Bush Doctrine and we're seeing the consequences today. It it will also be the death knell for Israel if Israel doesn't stop listening to what America preaches and start practicing what America practices, as Israel did yesterday: killing terrorists.
Larry Benson of the Ayn Rand Institute put it this way:
Tuesday's mass murders in Israel and Iraq prove for the thousandth time that words are useless against bloodthirsty killers. The United States must end all support for a Palestinian state, cease-fires and peace agreements, and instead encourage Israel to destroy all Palestinian terrorists. We are not attempting to negotiate peace with the terrorists in Iraq and should not insist that Israel continue to negotiate peace with the terrorists in Palestine. If we want to prevent the next September 11, we must send a new message to the Arafats, bin Ladens and Husseins of the world -- by showing explicit, uncompromising moral support for Israel's right to eliminate all Palestinian terrorists from existence.
(Via Capitalism Magazine)
At a Hamas funeral/demostration yesterday involving tens of thousand of Palestinians, they made their purpose clear:
"We love martyrdom and we seek martyrdom," [Hamas leader] Rantissi said. "Our leaders and followers will continue to fight until we achieve martyrdom."
This cartoon is in our book, Black & White World.
UPDATE: Later on the day of this post, President Bush finally spoke about the bus bombing and acted by freezing the assets of six Hamas leaders. This is good news, but we have to ask: What took so long? This would be a nice start to a new, aggressive strategy against Palestinian terrorists, but judging by past Administration behavior, we doubt it will be.
Hamas later responded by calling Bush 'Islam's biggest enemy'. Though not true, that's a compliment coming from a Muslim group that targets and slaughters Jewish babies.
CNN reports: Israel shocked at child toll of Jerusalem bus bombing.
Strollers were scattered near the stricken bus, medics carried away children with blood-smeared faces and a baby girl died in a hospital before doctors could find her parents.
At least five children were among the 18 dead in Tuesday's suicide bombing by a Palestinian militant who blew himself up on a Jerusalem bus. Forty children were among more than 100 people injured. [...]
"You have to remember the target of the attack, a moving bus bringing families who had been praying at the Western Wall," said Dore Gold, a spokesman for the Israeli government. "It is important for people to understand that the children who died and were injured were specifically targeted by the suicide bomber who saw them," Gold said.
The Islamic militant group Hamas identified the attacker as a 29-year-old mosque preacher and father of two young children, ages two and three, from the West Bank city of Hebron.
FoxNews reports: Five Americans Among Dead in Bus Blast.
The American victims of Tuesday's blast included Mordechai Reinitz, 47, and his son, Yitzhak, 18. They were residents of the Israeli coastal town of Netanya and had dual Israeli-American citizenship, said the embassy spokesman, Paul Patin. [...]
Two other American victims were Goldie Taubenfeld, 43, and her 5-month-old son, Shmuel, who were visiting from New Square, N.Y., Patin said. [...]
The fifth victim was identified as Tihilla Nathanson, 3, from Monsey, N.Y.
Yesterday a Palestinian suicide bomber targeted a bus "packed with ultra-Orthodox Jewish families returning from the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine." The attacker, an Islamic cleric, succeded in murdering 20 Jewish civilians including as many as six children. About 40 of more than 100 wounded were children.
In an Israeli prison, Palestinian security prisoners applauded joyously and passed out candy when they learned of the bombing, the Israel Prisons Authority said.
This cartoon is from April 2002 and is in our book, Black & White World.
The Washington Post recently ran an article by Ceci Connolly (Public Policy Targeting Obesity) about the effort to politicize obesity.
[I]n New York state, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D) has proposed six anti-obesity bills, including one that would tax not only fatty foods, but also modern icons of sedentary living -- movie tickets, video games and DVD rentals -- and use the resulting $50 million for nutrition and exercise programs.
Next thing you know they'll be wanting to tax naps. There was at least one sensible voice:
"It's something of a free-for-all," said Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, an advocacy group underwritten largely by foodmakers. To counter the trend, conservative leaders and the food industry have developed bills that would insulate restaurants from lawsuits that attempt to hold food purveyors responsible for the negative health effects of obesity.
"It's an individual responsibility issue," Berman said. "If I'm going to shorten my own life by eating too much or being too sedentary, that may not be much different than shortening my life by riding a motorcycle without a helmet on."
The Onion saw this coming in August 2000: Hershey's Ordered Pay Obese Americans $135 Billion.
"This is a vindication for myself and all chocolate victims," said Beaumont, TX, resident Earl Hoffler, holding a picture of his wife Emily, who in 1998 succumbed to obesity after nearly 40 years of chocoholism.
This cartoon was originally created back before the D.C.-area snipers were caught. Unfortunately, it appears another sniper is preying on innocents in West Virginia.
UPDATE: Who is to blame? Alan Caruba has an idea in: Californication and the East Coast Blackout.
There's a reason why California doesn't have enough power plants, nor any other State in this great republic of ours. It's called environmentalism.
(Via Capitalism Magazine)
Gerard Van der Leun had a similar suspicion: Self-Inflicted Terrorism Evident in Blackout
What we have here is, absent terrorism, is a case of slow and "self-inflicted terrorism." It is what is bound to happen, on any summer day, when you run a power grid that has been strangled for years by the awful NO-MEN of our society.
Think Palestinian terrorists are using the "ceasefire" to search for a peaceful solution to the conflict? Think again: Militants re-arm under cover of Israel truce.
The head of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza strip has admitted the militant group is using an ongoing truce with the Israeli military to re-arm, heightening fears of an explosion of bloodshed when the ceasefire comes to an end next month.
In an exclusive interview with Scotland on Sunday, Mohammed al-Hindi warned that militant Palestinian groups are preparing for confrontations in the wake of Israeli military operations that could even lead to the collapse of the fragile truce ahead of next month’s deadline.
Al-Hindi said: "It is natural that we strengthen ourselves during hudna [the three-month ceasefire declared by Palestinian groups in June]."
The Islamic Jihad leader was responding to Israeli accusations that his group, which has carried out numerous suicide bombings and other attacks, is using the lull in hostilities to gather weapons and re-build its armed wing.
And he said that other groups, including Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction and Hamas, should follow Islamic Jihad’s example.
"It is natural that the Palestinians, Fatah, the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, be ready to defend their people in the coming stages," he added.
(Via Little Green Footballs)
The change in tactics mentioned at the end of this article is not encouraging:
The top commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said last Thursday that U.S. troops would start to change their ground tactics in order to avoid alienating the local population.
The new strategy would rely mainly on better intelligence and the theory of "cordon and knock" -- when troops seal off a building, knock on a door and ask permission to be let in, rather than just charging in.
Sanchez and his senior officers have cautioned the "cordon and knock" technique would be used only when appropriate, stressing the rules of engagement for opening fire have not changed.
The U.S. military "received a stern warning" from Iraq's new Governing Council about recent raids and civilian casualties. The council's first president, Ibrahim Jafari, a member of the Shiite Muslim fundamentalist Dawa party, said, "The blood of our compatriots has huge value in our eyes, especially when soldiers kill innocent people."
This article mentions the change in tactics in the context of a "culture clash".
To quell the insurgency, American troops raid homes in broad sweeps, arresting anyone caught in their net.
The detained Iraqis -- mostly bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time -- complain U.S. troops are heavy-handed, apparently unaware they are sowing deep seeds of resentment by humiliating proud tribesmen.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez [...] said last week he ordered a change of tactics, directing commanders to go after specific targets rather than staging wide sweeps.
But Iraqis say what is most distressing is their physical treatment during and after arrest.
U.S. troops put their boots on the back of men's heads as they lay face down, forcing their foreheads to the ground. There is no greater humiliation, they say, because Islam forbids putting the forehead on the ground except in prayer.
Notice the absurd double standard. The soldiers are expected to be sensitive to Islamic religious concerns, but Muslims are not expected to be sensitive to soldiers' concerns about being killed.
While there's no indication we've changed our arrest procedure, it does appear that we are willing to increase the risk to our troops to avoid offending Iraqis. But if "wide sweeps" and "charging in" tactics are safer for our troops and more effective at finding insurgents, then that is what should be done. Hopefully the first priority is to protect Americans.
Meanwhile, FoxNews reports on how some Muslims are treating Americans in Iraq:
Members of three Islamic groups stepped forward on Saturday to claim responsibility for a number of recent guerrilla attacks that have left several U.S. soldiers dead and scores of others injured in Baghdad.
UPDATE August 15: FoxNews reports: Shiites Give GIs 24 Hours to Leave Baghdad Neighborhood.
A Shiite Muslim group demanded [August 14] that U.S. troops withdraw from a Baghdad neighborhood within 24 hours, a day after American forces fired on thousands of protesters in the Shiite enclave and killed at least one person.
A statement distributed in Sadr City said American forces "deeply regret" what happened and described it as a mistake. Later, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said troops try to keep Iraqi culture in mind but must remain aggressive.
Apparently an Islamic banner was blown down from a communications tower by an American helicopter, triggering the Muslim protests.
Sanchez [...] insisted the rotor wash blew down the banner, and said coalition troops try to keep Iraqis' "culture and sensitivities" in mind.
"Our intent is not to alienate the Shiite people," he told reporters.
Think the Shiites are worried about alienating American GIs?
This Aug. 8 USA Today article by Anita Manning reports that West Nile virus cases triple in one week.
The CDC officially confirms 164 illnesses, including four deaths, in 16 states, compared with 112 illnesses in four states at this time last year. Some states say they have more West Nile cases than have been recorded by the CDC. Not reflected in the official case count are three more deaths in Colorado, a second death in Alabama and Georgia's first human case, which would raise the CDC state total to 17.
There's a simple, inexpensive, effective answer to the threat of West Nile virus: DDT.
This The New York Times op-ed by Henry I. Miller, Is There A Place for DDT?, explains why.
Given the long-term ineffectiveness of other pesticides, DDT remains the best alternative to fighting mosquitoes and the West Nile virus. It's worth recalling that DDT worked before, eradicating malaria from the United States. It's worth recalling, too, that since DDT was widely banned, insect-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever have been on the rise worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that malaria kills about one million people annually, and that there are 300 million to 500 million new cases each year.
All those millions of deaths can be laid at the feet of enviornmentalists, who have actively and successfully lobbied against the use of DDT since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962.
This FrontPageMagazine.com article by Lisa Makson, Rachel Carson's Ecological Genocide, provides a good historical overview of the bad science and politics behind the DDT ban.
[Carson's] coterie of admirers at the U.N. and environmental groups such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund have managed to bring malaria and typhus back to sub-Saharan Africa with a vengeance.
"This is like loading up seven Boeing 747 airliners each day, then deliberately crashing them into Mt. Kilimanjaro," said Dr. Wenceslaus Kilama, Malaria Foundation International Chairman.[...]
"The scientific literature does not contain even one peer-reviewed, independently replicated study linking DDT exposures to any adverse health outcome [in humans]," said Dr. Amir Attaran, who is with Harvard University's Center for International Development and is a former WHO expert on malaria who used to support the environmentalists' call for using alternatives to DDT.
In the face of the obvious anti-man actions of the environmentalists, it’s time the veneer that they are concerned about the health and welfare of human beings be removed once and for all. If the benefit to human beings is the standard by which we judge the value of a technology, there should be no law against the use of DDT and we should be left free to use our technology to better our lives. But before epidemics such as West Nile virus and malaria are eradicated, the epidemic of environmentalism must be eradicated first.This cartoon is from our book, Black & White World.
Charles Krauthammer on Israel's West Bank security fence: The State Department and the fence.
The State Department is proposing that the United States play hardball with Israel -- reducing badly needed loan guarantees -- if it proceeds with the barrier it is erecting between Israeli and Palestinian populations. With this, the State Department joins the latest Palestinian propaganda ploy -- inverting cause and effect, and making the fence the issue, rather than the terrorism that made the fence necessary. [...]
"The fence would not even be a factor if it were not for the violence in the last few years," writes former chief U.S. Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross. "Truth be told, those responsible for the fence are Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades." [...]
What is scandalous about the State Department joining this Palestinian propaganda campaign is that State has for months been campaigning to implement its "road map" for peace, published on April 30. It has three phases. We are now in Phase I. In which phase is Israel supposed to stop work on the fence? In none. There is nothing in the road map about the fence.
(Via Little Green Footballs)
From Associated Press: Lieberman: Dean Pulling Dems Too Far Left.
"[Howard Dean] seems to be pulling some of the other candidates back to the old Democratic ways that did not work -- high taxes, big spending, weaknesses on security," [presidential candidate Joe] Lieberman said. "I feel a real responsibility to speak out for the best traditions of the Democratic Party." [...]
Dean has dismissed Lieberman's criticism, saying, "I am in the center."
And this New York Post op-ed by Deborah Orin notes shades of Clinton in Dean: Is Dean being honest? Well, define 'honest'.
The U.S. military recently released altered photos of Saddam's possible disguises. We decided to take a shot at it, too.
This cartoon is from January 2002 and is in our book, Black & White World. At the time, Mr. Powell was publicly questioning the Bush Administration's detainment policy toward enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan. It was just another example of how his appeasing approach toward our enemies has constantly threatened to undermine the War on Terrorism, which has been and still is being pursued too haltingly. (The only major exception in Powell's behavior was his final, full backing of the Iraq war, for which he gets some credit.)
The bad Powell news this week is that he's criticizing Israel for its security fence, as if a fence is the real problem there and not murderous Palestinian terrorists.
The good Powell news this week is that he may not serve a second term as Secretary of State. We say good riddance.
This cartoon appears in the July edition of The Intellectual Activist. We created the cartoon on May 30 after news of mass graves, but on July 17 yet another mass grave was unearthed, this one containing all women and children with bullet holes through the skull.
Residents estimate that between 200 and 400 people could be buried there, the [U.S. military] statement said [...] More graves are still being found as Iraqis feel free to recount tales of arrests, torture and killings once too risky to tell. The human rights group Amnesty International says it has information about 17,000 disappearances in Iraq over the past 20 years but that the actual figure may be much higher.
This The New York Times article has a telling headline: Centrist Democrats Warn Party Not to Present Itself as 'Far Left'. Notice it says "not to present itself as" instead of "not to be". Excerpts:
Al From, the founder of the [Democratic Leadership Council] organization and an ally of Mr. Clinton, invoked the sweeping defeats of George McGovern in 1972 and Walter F. Mondale in 1984 as he cautioned against a return to policies including less emphasis on foreign policy and an inclination toward expanding the size of government that he said were a recipe for another electoral disaster.
The article talks mostly about leftist pressure coming from presidential candidate Howard Dean but doesn't even mention the ultimate Democratic election crasher, Ralph Nader. Even Dean isn't immune to him. In the video of Dean announcing his candidacy, a Green Party supporter's sign bobs in the background until being blocked by Dean supporters.
This AP article gives some background on what Liberian militants having been doing to each other in a near perpetual 14 years of conflict. Excerpts:
Each side is accustomed to executing captured enemies. [Liberian President Charles] Taylor's side, in particular, is accused of often torturing them first. Routinely, combatants in Liberia hack off slain rivals' body parts as magic totems or simply to terrify. [...] Both sides use child fighters. Taylor pioneered the formal recruitment of Small Boys Units during the 1989-1996 civil war.
The Liberian-on-Liberian violence is not limited to militants. Fighting since June has killed more than 1,000 civilians, who are also being raped and looted. A Fox News story today indicates nine more civilians have been killed by shelling, including four children.
In much of the media coverage of Liberia (which is extensive), there is an underlying implication that America is morally obligated to intervene in this situation, not for America's interest, but for "humanitarian" reasons. This AP photo shows a mural of a Liberian shaking hands with Uncle Sam and saying, "We've come a long way, Big Brother. It's still rough! We are suffering." The caption indicates the consequence of America not immediately acting on this expected brotherly responsibility: "Many Liberians are becoming increasingly angry with the delay in sending peacekeepers to their war-torn West-African nation[...]."
But are we morally obligated? Should the lives of our troops be risked for such a mission? By what standard should troops be deployed?
Those who claim that the United States has a moral obligation to send troops on a "humanitarian" mission to Liberia have it exactly backward: our government has a moral obligation not to send its forces into areas that pose no threats to America's well-being. It is America's self-interest that should be the standard for all foreign-policy decisions -- and not just because such a standard is practical, but because it is moral. [...]
We desperately need some courageous official who is willing to state categorically that a moral foreign policy must uphold America's self-interest -- and that by shipping troops to Liberia, we are sacrificing our interests. We are telling our soldiers to risk their lives in a senseless attempt to prevent, temporarily, rival warlords from butchering one another.
Contrary to the assertions of all who have suddenly become eager for a new American military presence abroad, offering ourselves as sacrificial fodder on "humanitarian" missions is not a virtue, but a moral crime.
There is no doubt that the situation in Liberia is horrible. But America's limited military capabilities should stay focused on preventing the horror of another 9/11.
UPDATE Aug. 3: My local paper, The Tennessean, ran an article (headlined "Liberians look to their kindred Uncle Sam for aid") that emphasizes the family analogy and makes explicit the alleged moral obligation of America (here is an online version). Excerpts:
"America? I call it home. It's my sister home," said the silver-haired Porte, who left the United States [for Liberia] with her father when she was a year old.
Her sense of kinship, widespread in Liberia, helps explain Liberians' craving for American peacekeepers. Some Liberians go further, saying the United States has a moral obligation to restore order to their war-torn nation.
"They set up their own little America here," said Sister Barbara Brilliant, an American nun from Maine who's lived in Liberia for 26 years. "Liberia is waiting for its parent to come and say, 'I'll take care of you.'"[...]
"I think the Americans oughta help us," Porte said, "'cause we are all family."