Thomas the Wraith
"For the intellectual, the New Faith is a candle that he circles like a moth. In the end, he throws himself into the flame for the glory of mankind." - Czeslaw Milsoz
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
Footprint Muhammad and the Toeprint Caliphs
Conceptually this is my favorite. Muhammad (Mohammed) is the big toe. The others are the first 4 caliphs, the Rashidun or the so-called "rightly guilded" caliphs. The footprint itself is green which is supposed to be the color is Islam.
Blue is Abu Bakr, father of Muhammad's wife A'ishah. He ruled as caliph for two years.
Orange is Umar. He was assassinated by a Persian slave in 644.
Purple is Uthman. He married 2 of Muhammad's daughters. He was also murdered in office.
Red is Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin. He too was assassinated.
I Am Muhammad. Cartoons Are Cool.
Screw the apology from Jyllands-Posten. I'm not apologizing.
This picture of Mohammed pretty much says it all. I view this as the slogan of the Muhammad cartoon movement. If fanatics consider this blasphemous then there is just no hope for them in the modern world. Crawl back in your 13th century holes.
Remember, if you do consider this to be blasphemy then first, you're an idiot and a dick. Second, don't blow up anything. If you can write, just send your threats to thomasthewraith-at-gmail.com. If you can't write, well then you have bigger problems than cartoons.
Petition Against Free Speech but for Irony
A commenter left the link to this petition: "Defend Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) Against the Danish News Agency Jyllands-Posten's Heinous Aggression." I signed it with comments indicating that I supported the right of the cartoonists and the newspaper and thought the petition itself was nonsense.
Then I got an email confirming my signature. That email contained the name and email address of the tool who created the petition. It is one A Kutbi. You can reach this individual at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do with that information what you will.
The ironies abound. This was at the bottom of my confirmation email. "Please contribute $1.00 or more and help maintain PetitionOnline.com asa premiere free speech forum." Get it? A free speech forum with a petition against free speech. This is what we have come to.
I wonder if A Kutbi will appreciate the irony.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Mahmoud al-Zahar, International Man of Paranoid Idiocy
I actually saw this exchange on CNN this morning. If you can find footage of in on the internet it's worth watching more than once. Wolf Blitzer was interviewing Mamoud al-Zahar, co-founder of Hamas and world-class paranoid nutjob. Blitzer kept asking him if he would ever accepts Israel. In the process of dodging the question Zahar left reality and entered the Land of Insane Islamic Paranoia.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said from Gaza that Israel must change its flag. "Israel must remove the two blue stripes from its national flag", said Zahar. “The stripes on the flag are symbols of occupation. They signify Israel's borders stretching from the River Euphrates to the River Nile."
Did you get that? The two blue stripes on the Israeli flag are secret code that the crack team of Hamas cryptographers have decoded. It reveals Israel intention to expand from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq. Blitzer asked him to clarify and Zahar repeated his wild claim as if it was accepted fact. Then he embarked on a rant about a symbol on the back of an Israeli coin that reveals a similar plot to expand from Egypt to Iraq. And this guy is the leader. Imagine what the extremists think.
I love this guy. He should be on TV every week. Hell he should get his own show. The more he talks the worse Hamas looks (you didn't think that was possible did you?). Blitzer shouldn't even ask questions. He should just toss out a topic and watch this mental patient ramble his way through a tour of the Muslim subconscious.
Meet Skull-hammad, the third in my series of Muhammad cartoons. I dedicate this one to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference which is seeking a UN resolution "banning attacks on religious beliefs."
Let's get one thing very clear guys. Even if the UN passes your pitiful resolution, it won't mean dick to millions of bloggers all around the world. In fact, the day such a resolution passes will become an annual Free Speech Day when millions of people will go out of their way to be as offensive as possible.
The Danish cartoons of Muhammad and my silly pictures are nothing compared to what you would see. We aren't even trying to be offensive yet.
This is my second cartoon effort in support of the Danish cartoonists. I call this one Hellfire Muhammad. Again, it's all pencils and ink. Do with it what you will.
Same deal for the lunatic fringe out there. Leave insults and/or death threats in the comments or email them to thomasthewraith-at-gmail.com. Any interesting threats will be published. Knock yourselves out.
I call this one Soft Muhammad. I don't think this is blasphemous or insulting and I don't particularly care if others think it is. This is the mildest possible cartoon I can draw on this subject.
Note to angry fanatics: please leave insults and/or death threats in the comments or email them to thomasthewraith-at-gmail.com. Any interesting threats will be published. For each good threat I receive I will make a donation to either a charity supporting the US troops in Iraq or the IDF troops. Oh what a dilemma!
Note to other bloggers out there: this is all number 2 pencil, ink pen and a few old colored pencils I found in the back of my desk drawer. No Photoshop or computer tricks. Just like the Danish cartoonists.
Update: there are now two other cartoons: Hellfire Muhammad and Skull-hammad. Ahh, the pleasures of infidel free speech.
Cartoons of Muhammad
Earlier today in a post at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance I suggested that bloggers show their support for the Danish cartoonists by creating their own Muhammad cartoons. I finished mine which I will post immediately after this. If you aren't caught up on this long-developing international scandal probably the best place to start is this excellent link-rich round-up from Watch.WindsofChange.
Friday, January 27, 2006
This is not going to be a link-rich post. No attempts at irony or cleverness. Things are bad. Very bad. Hamas. Iran. Suicide threats against Denmark. Riots and assaults in Australia. The inevitability of an attack in Italy. A Syrian puppet of a near-nuclear Persia. And Europe ... poor sad Europe. If America is the progeny of European culture, then we have reached a point where Europe is our invalid grandparent, bedridden and incapacitated.
I don't know any more than you do. This is a purely emotional post, not based on evidence or logic or anything tangible I can point to or use as a basis for an argument. But I feel that we are due for bad things. We here in the US have had four and a half years without a domestic attack. I'm sure that some of that is due to our security services but let's be honest, we've gotten lucky. The Enemy is patient and thorough. They are working, planning, preparing. We are overdue and unready.
But it isn't the domestic threat that disturbs me. I'm not worried by the situation here or there or in any one particular place. What haunts me is the big picture; the global impression that the Enemy is on the move while we stick our fingers in our ears and lie to ourselves that islam means peace and that it's been hijacked by an extremist fringe; the general sense that Western civilization is brittle; that we will earn our redemption only through unimagined suffering; that we will defeat the Enemy only by losing a part of what we cherish.
Blood, sweat and tears. And, yes, still more blood.
Hamas vs Fatah: Gunfire in Gaza
Yesterday it was stone throwing in Ramallah. Today it's gunfire in Gaza.
Hamas and Fatah gunmen exchanged fire on Friday in political turmoil as the long-dominant Palestinian faction was threatened with a violent backlash to itsClearly these people need more EU financial aid. How else will they afford ammunition?
crushing election defeat by the Islamic militant group. ...
In the first armed clash between Hamas and Fatah militants since Wednesday's vote, three people were wounded in a gun battle near the southern city of Khan Younis, witnesses said.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Hamas vs Fatah: the Pre-Fight Warm-Up
This is just the preview of what's to come. Fatah died with Arafat but like a creature in a zombie flick it just refuses to fall down.
Hamas supporters raised their flag over the Palestinian parliament Thursday and rushed into the building amid clashes with Fatah loyalists a day after winning parliamentary elections.After some stone throwing and window smashing, Fatah failed to remove the Hamas flag.
The crowd of about 3,000 Hamas backers cheered and whistled as activists on the roof of the parliament raised the Hamas banner again.Soon enough Hamas will dismember the Fatah corpse and get on with its war against Israel.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Fareed Zarkaria Reads the Wraith!
Newsweek columnist Fareed Zarkaria is stealing my stuff. Hey, Fareed, how about a hat tip, a footnote, a little something for the effort? Here's how his latest column, Time to Face Reality on Iran, begins.
Dude, I've been saying this for weeks. (For example, see The Day After We Bomb Iran and New Age.)
At best, a military strike would set back Iran's program a few years, inflame public opinion there and unify the nation in its bid to go nuclear.
Hey, Newsweek, I'll crank out a column a week for a fraction of what you're throwing at Zakaria. Seriously, have your girl call my girl. We'll talk.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Regime change in Iran? Sorry guys but I don’t see this happening. America has shot its wad on regime change. We’re done. It has proved too expensive in every sense of the word for a solid majority of Americans. Even if the Europeans and the UN partner with us, we all know that their help is largely symbolic. Even if we do a better job than in Iraq, do it cheaper with fewer casualties, given Iran’s size and population we are talking about 5000 – 10,000 fatalities with tens of thousands wounded and a cost way up in the hundreds of billions. Run that scenario by your friends and neighbors and watch their reactions.
No president will go on TV and tell Americans that we are going to invade Iran, overthrow its government, and rebuild it as a participatory democracy. No president will tell the American people that we are going to invade Iran because they are about to build a nuclear weapon. If things had turned out differently in Iraq perhaps, but as it is, I am afraid that is politically impossible. We are not going to draft a million young Americans and send them to Iran. Anyone who thinks we are should seek medical attention.
Likewise with Israel. The Israelis may bomb Iran (I doubt it but they may) but they do not have the capacity for regime change. They know this. The best they can hope for is to strike the Natanz enrichment plant and delay the inevitable.
What about the countries after Iran? Venezuela? Malaysia? Sudan? Do we plan to invade each and every undemocratic country that can enrich uranium? Will Americans spend trillions of dollars and draft millions of people over the next generation just to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons? I don’t know where you guys live or who your neighbors and coworkers are but in my city and among my neighbors and coworkers this is simply unthinkable. That my neighbor’s 10 year-old son would be drafted in 2014 and sent to war to stop Bangladesh from building the Bomb would be considered plain crazy-talk.
Americans are not strategic thinkers. They will fight to defend their country but not to preserve an international security framework of non-proliferation. That's just too abstract an argument to motivate most people. If Iran attacks us the vast majority of Americans will do whatever they can to defeat the attackers. But to attack a country of 70 million ten thousand miles away to prevent them from acquiring weapons that they might use to attack us years from now is asking too much of most people.
One day, maybe next summer or in two years, you will wake up on a normal Tuesday morning. You’ll take a hot shower and dress for work. You’ll let the dog out. You’ll make a nice cup of coffee; maybe have a cup of yogurt or a banana. You’ll turn on the TV to check the weather and traffic and the headline will slap you. You may have expected it in the back of your mind but, like the UK tube bombings, the details and timing will surprise you. “Iran Tests Nuclear Device.” Cut to the grainy video: somewhere out in the Persian wasteland, a still image of a brown landscape. And then, whumpf! Static cracks across the screen. The landscape rises, swelling from some sinister internal pressure, before settling back onto itself. All is quiet and still, as if nothing had happened.
Surprisingly the world will not have changed. You will still let the dog in, kiss your spouse and drive to work. A few people will be talking about it. But most will only be dimly aware of what happened and happily ignorant of what it means. They will be more interested in the latest sports scores or rumors of the Brad Pitt – Angelina Jolie breakup.
And the new age, which began tentatively in 1998, will be fully upon us: the Age of Proliferation.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Deadline for Iran: March 6
It looks like Iran has a deadline to meet.
If Iran did not comply by March 6, Mr El Baradei said he would formally declare that his investigation had reached a dead end.
"Diplomacy has to be backed by pressure and, in extreme cases, by force," he said. "We have rules. We have to do everything possible to uphold the rules through conviction. If not, then you impose them. Of course, this has to be the last resort, but sometimes you have to do it."
Who's taking my bet that Iran talks their way out of this? They'll submit some documents and issue a report and defuse the IAEA threats. Am I being to cynical?
IAEA officials later claimed that Mr El Baradei's comments about backing up
diplomacy with force did not refer specifically to Iran.
See you March 6.
The Day After We Bomb Iran
I’m no expert on nuclear weapons but it seems to me that there are three high-level requirements for any nation or organization to develop nukes:
- The will or motivation to build it
- The technical knowledge and skills to design it
- The hardware, equipment and tools to construct it
(Many nations have the knowledge and the tools but lack the motivation. Japan springs to mind. Clearly, as a nation, Japan has the technical knowledge and the necessary equipment and tools. But why? To what purpose? Germany, Australia, Sweden, Canada are all in a similar situation. They could build the Bomb but for a variety of reasons they don’t want to.)
Every week rumors fly around the blogosphere that the US and/or Israel is preparing to bomb Iran in order to stop their nuclear weapons program. Given the three requirements above, let’s assume this is true and play a game I call Best Case Scenario.
Under the Best Case Scenario the US bombs all 300 or so sites involved in the program. Let’s go so far as to say that there are no civilian casualties, that the Iranians can’t display a bunch of dead women and children for the international media. Let’s forget about the world-wide outrage at the US bombing (which is tantamount to a declaration of war). Let’s assume no planes are shot down and no US pilots are captured. Let’s even forget about any possible Iranian terrorism to exact revenge. In the Best Case Scenario we flawlessly eliminate all the physical facilities we think are part of the program and fly home safely. Victory is ours! Or is it?
What exactly would we have accomplished? The Iranians will have lost the hardware, equipment and tools needed to construct the Bomb. However, unless we also kill all the scientists and technicians and destroy all their documentation the Iranians will still have the knowledge and skills needed to design the Bomb. The Iranian regime will still have the motivation. Indeed they will in all likelihood be even more motivated to build nukes to prevent future attacks. Without removing the mullahs or fundamentally altering the nature of their regime, we will not change their desire for the Bomb.
Does anyone think that Iran, flush with petrodollars, run by mystics obsessed with the apocalyptic return of the Mahdi, and motivated by a political religion of suffering and martyrdom, will not make every effort to re-equip their scientists with the tools and hardware they need? Iranian scientists have years of experience working with centrifuges, cascades and the various components of advanced nuclear weapons development. How long will the world be able to keep Iran from buying what it needs? How long will it take the regime to re-assemble the program?
Granted, destroying Iran’s facilities buys us time, but time for what? For domestic regime change? For a popular revolution that installs a government less aggressive and less hostile to the West? That’s a nice hope but hope is not a strategy.
Striking Iran cannot be a one-off event. After crippling their nuclear program we will have to work to prevent them from rebuilding it.
I thought we learned in the 1990s that we cannot keep a rouge state forever in a “box.” I thought we learned from dealing with Hussein for years that sanctions decay over time, that petrodollars corrupt corporations, governments and organizations around the world toward assisting evil forces building dangerous weapons. I thought we learned that an indefinite, open-ended commitment to stop a rogue state from arming itself is very costly, politically and militarily. And that was Iraq, a country of 25 million that we had defeated in war. This is Iran, a much large country with three times the population that we have not as yet defeated in anything.
After we bomb the Iranian facilities we will have to impose some sort of sanctions to prevent them from reconstituting their nuclear program. How long do you expect those sanctions will last? Will we restrict Iranian oil sales? Even if we can manage a political miracle and keep every other country in line and on board with sanctions, how long will Americans support keeping Iranian oil off the market when gas is $4 a gallon? $7? Are we going to monitor every piece of equipment Iran imports? Why not, it worked so well with Iraq …
Bombing Iran can defer the problem and delay their program but we cannot stop the Bomb as long as Iran is motivated, technically capable and wealthy enough to acquire what they need. Destroying the enrichment plant and other infrastructure is necessary but not sufficient. To actually stop the Iranian Bomb we must also either destroy their political will to build it or their technical expertise to design and construct it. But how? Will killing Ahmadinejad, Khomeini and the Council of Guardians extinguish the regime’s desire for a nuke? Or will this play directly into the Shi’ite mythological dynamic of martyrdom and oppression and make them ever more desperate for it? (Will Ahmadinejad and Khomeini, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, become more powerful in death?) Even if this would politically de-motivate the theocracy, how do we do it? Regime Decapitation is a risky, unproven theory. Or alternately, how do we eliminate their scientific and technical knowledge? Can we even kill most of the lead scientists involved in the program? Can we knock off the top few layers of expertise and leadership? How? Do we even know who these people are? Where they live? What they look like?
And my infidel friends, this is the Best Case Scenario. It’s all downhill from here.
But hey, I’m no military expert. I wouldn’t know an enrichment plant or a P2 centrifuge if I saw one. I could be wrong about everything (it wouldn't be the first time; or the last). I invite those who disagree to tell me how we stop, not delay or defer, but stop Iran from building the Bomb. I agree that bombing the plant at Natanz would feel good but without a plan for the aftermath it will be an emotional, not a strategic, action.
What do we do the Day After We Bomb Iran?
Ahmadinejad to West: You Need Us, Punks
Iranian ecomony minister Davoud Danesh-Jafari threatened to "raise oil prices beyond levels the west expects" if the UN applies sanctions against Iran. How long does anyone think sanctions will last in a political environment where gas costs $4 a gallon?
U.K.: No "Rush" to Sanction Iran
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (was there ever a more aptly named diplomat?) said
You have to appreciate the levels of irony here. Straw-man tells a conference on terrorism that the Security Council, one of the slowest, most consensus-focused organizations in the world, should not rush to sanction the foremost state-supporter of terrorism for violating a prominent, long-standing treaty and building an atomic bomb. It's not as if time was of the essense or anything.
"there should be no "rush" to international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
"Addressing a conference on international terrorism at the Royal United Services Institute, Straw emphasized that a referral to the Security Council did not necessarily mean economic sanctions."
And people still think we'll actually stop the Shi'ites from getting their precious nukes? I admire the optimism.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
No Pun Intended
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Britain, France, and Germany would inform the IAEA Board "that our talks with Iran have reached a dead end."
Mixed Emotions, Buddy
"Mixed emotions, buddy. Like Saeb Erekat going off a cliff in my new Maserati." From Israeli Insider:
Saeb Erekat's re-election to parliament may not be a sure thing, even though his challenger is a political rookie.That's the upside. This douche is a professional liar, a capital T Tool and a creature of Arafatism. He leaves a slimey trail where ever he goes. (But not without a sense of irony: he has a PhD in Peace Studies.) Erekat is a toady, a cretin, the Palestinian version of the equally loathsome Adel Al-Jubeir, that Saudi sock puppet who is constantly lying to us about our "good friends," the Saudis.
Here the downside.
Erekat's opponent, 36-year-old Khaled Rai, is backed by Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group poised to make a strong showing against Erekat's Fatah Party in Jan. 25 elections. ...Erekat's Jericho seat in the "Palestinian Parliament/Politburo" had been considered safe for Fatah. No any more. Saeb, bald, beardless, and soft as a warm turd in his fitted grey suit is facing a more sincere and serious man. His Hamas opponent, Rai,
Across Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Hamas is closing the gap. A survey published Wednesday indicated 31 percent voter support for Hamas, compared to 35 percent for Fatah. It's a 10-point gain for Hamas from a month ago.
lost the three middle fingers of his right hand while handling explosives in 1990, during the first Palestinian uprising. He has since served time in Israeli and Palestinian prisons for militant activity, and spent a year in Lebanon after being exiled by Israel.Erekat has less than two weeks to weasel his way out of this. He'll probably pull it off but Fatah as a whole is in deeper trouble.
According to the Bir Zeit poll, Hamas would win an overwhelming majority in the three largest districts, Gaza City, Hebron and Nablus, where 23 of the 132 parliament seats are up for grabs.If Erekat and Fatah lose to Hamas, look for Saeb along with his wife and children to go into exile in a nice Western country. You can bet he doesn't want to get any shrapnel on his suits. But regardless of this election, it's over for Fatah. They're yesterday's news, a relic from the '60s kept on life support by the "international community". They're fading from the scene, not to be missed or mourned.
Iran "fearful of Attack," Improves Air Defenses
Jerusalem Post: "According to intelligence, Iran has beefed up its air defenses around various nuclear sites as a precaution against a possible pre-emptive strike by US or Israeli forces. The source described the present Iranian air defenses as 'good.' It is known that Iran has deployed Soviet-origin anti-aircraft systems around the 1000-megawatt Bushehr nuclear reactor.
Iran's air defense contains Russian SA-2, SA-5, SA-6 as well as shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles, according to The Military Balance published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. They also have aged US-made Hawk missiles and have been seeking to purchase the sophisticated S-300P from Russia. "
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
A Remake of the 2003 Hit
A Middle East dictatorship with a detailed history of anti-American behavior and rhetoric violates long-standing agreements with the 'international community' and is brought before the UN Security Council. Sanctions are possible. The military option is not off the table. If this sounds familiar it's because it happened almost exactly 3 years ago.
We are watching the previews to Security Council 2: Iranian Boogaloo, a remake of the 2003 hit we all remember so well. Like all remakes this one has a bigger cast, a bigger budget, and bigger special effects than the original. Unfortunately it's a legal drama, not an action-adventure.
Although the plot details are closely guarded, I bet it ends with a bang.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Pat Robertson: Putrid Sack of Pus
I swear I've scraped things off the bottom of my shoes that had more moral fortitude than Pat Robertson. I've coughed up stuff with more integrity. I once had an absess that was at least as smart.
"The Reverend Pat Robertson says Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke could be God's punishment for giving up Israeli territory."
What a piece of excrement! Please, I'm begging someone, for the love of all that's holy, punch this sphincter in the face. Hard. Keep your arm straight. The power comes from your hips.
I'm going to use my Wraith powers to write a headline from the future.
"Pat Robertson Suffers Aneurism as God's Punishment for Being an Insufferable Dick."
Iranians Ditch IAEA Meeting
Sounds like the Persian equivalent of giving the finger.
"An Iranian delegation expected in Vienna to explain to the International Atomic Energy Agency Iran's decision to resume nuclear fuel research did not show up for a meeting on Thursday, the IAEA said.
The meeting was called off after the delegation did not appear, said IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. The IAEA does not know why the Iranian delegation missed the appointment, and no new meeting has been scheduled, she said."
Who can blame them for stifting the IAEA? After all, what is there to talk about? Iran is building the bomb and there's not jack squat that the IAEA can do about it.
"Sharon is Brain Dead"
From Israeli Insider:
"Reliable sources indicate to Israel Insider that PM Ariel Sharon died at 11 am. Israeli media channels still report his condition is "very grave." Director of Hadassah Hospital Shlomo Mor-Yosef officially denies "rumors" of death and says Sharon's condition is "serious but stable."
"Channel 10 reports those closest to Sharon as saying he has suffered "brain damage." A likely explanation to reconcile the two reports is that Sharon has suffered brain death -- the lack of cerebral activity -- but that his heart continues beating, while he remains anesthetized and respirated. "
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
"The Sharon Era is Over"
From YNet News:
Even if Sharon is able to function, national responsibility will require
him to retire from political life and withdraw his candidacy for the post of prime minister.
A sad ending to an important political and military career. He still may recover and spend his twilight years on his beloved farm. Here's hoping.
Sharon is Incapacitated, in a Medically Induced Coma
Ariel Sharon is on an operating table, fighting for his life. From YNet News:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is suffering from a massive brain hemorrhage and is undergoing major surgery, Hadassah Ein Kerem Deputy Director Shmuel Shapira announced Wednesday night.A massive brain hemorrhage in a 77 year old, overweight widower looks bad indeed. It's sad to think about but he may not make it. Please keep Ariel Sharon in your thoughts and prayers.
Senior health officials said Sharon's condition was life-threatening.
Senior officials at the Prime Minister's Office said "the situation is
difficult. We are praying the internal bleeding Sharon is suffering can be stopped. We're trying to maintain out optimism but the situation is not looking good."
One of the prime minister's aides told Ynet: "The situation is not good. We're tense. It isn't easy facing this situation. We're concerned."
If, God forbid, Sharon passes on watch for footage of Palestinian celebrations. Massive, joyous, Mardi Gras-style spontaneous celebrations. Then watch the official PA reaction of forced restraint and sobriety. Then, right behind that footage, watch the Palestinian apologists crawl out of the woodwork to say how the average Palestinian is not really happy that their partner in the Peace Process has died, that it is un-Islamic to celebrate a death with sweets and shouting and firing automatic weapons into the air. It's all as inevitable as it is pathetic.
Hapless in Gaza
"As the first year devoid of an Israeli presence since 1967 dawns in the Gaza Strip, armed militias roam the streets freely, foreigners are kidnapped with regularity, and the measure of a man in this coastal territory is not his political title, or even the size of his house, but the number of AK-47-wielding bodyguards he employs. ...
"All throughout the days here gun shots ring out. From time to time, explosions from homemade bombs, rockets, and the countering Israeli artillery fire echo through the graffiti-ridden streets."
Charming. Martin Peretz has more on the Palestinian meltdown: Mayhem in Gaza