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Friday, 30 July 2010

The latest on the planned Iranian border penetration

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This is all from The Debka Review:
debkafile's military sources report: The Israeli Air Force had been drilling high-risk attacks on precipitous cliff caves similar to the mountain tunnels in which Iran has hidden nuclear facilities. The crash occurred in the last stage of a joint Israeli-US-Romanian exercise for simulating an attack on Iran. Aboard the helicopter were six Israeli airmen and a Romanian flight captain.
Thwarted by Moscow's refusal to sell them S-300 interceptor missiles, Iran has given up on adequate air and missile defense shields for its nuclear sites and in the last couple of years has been blasting deep tunnels beneath mountain peaks more than 2,000 meters high for housing nuclear facilities. There, they were thought by Tehran to be safe from air or missile attack.
The American and Israeli air forces have since been developing tactics for evading Iranian radar and flying at extremely low-altitudes through narrow mountain passes so as to reach the tunnel entrances for attacks on the nuclear equipment undetected. The drill in Romania took place at roughly the same altitude and in similar terrain that a US or Israeli air attack would expect to encounter in Iran.
and:
Talking to CNN's State of the Union, Gen. Hayden predicted Iran would build its program to the point where it's just below having an actual weapon. In his view, "That would be as destabilizing to the region as the real thing."
debkafile's sources take this as affirmation that neither Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states nor Israel will be willing to live on constant edge with an Iran which can build nuclear bombs or warheads whenever it likes. They note that Hayden has added his voice to a growing number of leading American figures and publications which have indicated in the past fortnight that the military option against Iran has climbed the top of President Barack Obama's list of priorities.
According to our Washington sources, the US president switched course after hearing Saudi King Abdullah assert explicitly: "We cannot live with a nuclear Iran."
Abdullah added he no longer believes diplomacy or sanctions will have any effect and made it clear that if the Americans continued to back away from direct action to terminate Iran's advance on a nuclear bomb, the Saudi and its allies would go their own way on the nuclear issue.
Today, therefore, the White House is no longer willing to countenance Iran's nuclear development advancing up to the threshold of a weapons capacity and stopping there. And since Tehran will never cede its prerogative to determine every stage of its nuclear program without outside interference, the only option remaining to the United States is military.
finally,
debkafile's Iranian sources quote President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying: "We have precise information that the Americans have devised a plot, according to which they seek to launch a psychological war on Iran. They plan to attack at least two countries in the region within the next three months," he said, without specifying which countries were the subjects of the alleged conspiracy, only hinting that America's senior military ally in the region, Israel, was directly involved.
Things are heating up, folks.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Today's English Lesson

Today's sample of incorrect and misleading English comes from Avi Issacharoff:
The Palestinian Authority, as well as the leaders of the Palestinian popular protests in villages such as Bil'in, Na'alim, Umm Salmuna, have been trying to keep the following story away from both public knowledge and the media's eye: One of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists – a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.

Omar Aladdin, who had been arrested three months ago over suspicions he had attempted to rape the U.S. citizen, was subsequently released after agreeing to apologize to the young woman. However, Haaretz had learned that representatives of both the popular protest movement and the PA have since applied pressure on the American peace activist as to prevent her from making the story public.

The incident allegedly took place last April, as Aladdin, who had served a term in the Israeli jail in the past, arrived one evening at the guest house in which many of the foreign peace activists were staying. The European and American female activists reportedly agreed to let Aladdin stay with them after he had told them he feared the Israel Defense Forces were on his tail, adding that he had been severely beaten at an IDF checkpoint only a week before.

During his stay Aladdin allegedly attempted to rape a Muslim-American woman, nicknamed "Fegin" by fellow activists. The woman escaped, later accusing the popular protest man of the attempt. One villager who had encountered the American following the incident said she had been in a state of shock.

Aladdin then refused to apologize for the incident, when news of it reached the village's popular committee, the popular protests' governing body, allegedly saying that the incident had been marginal and normal. The American activist then asked the committee to notify authorities of the attempted rape, a request which resulted in the man being arrested by security forces in Bethlehem. After agreeing to apologize for the incident, Aladdin was released from custody by the PA police.

The U.S. citizen was then convinced to retract her complaint, as to avoid tainting the image of the popular protest, which had attracted praise from around the world in recent months.
The pertinent portion of this story is the following imbedded sentence:
One of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists – a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.
Let's break it down.
Subject: one
Predicate: is suspected
Appositive Subject: village
Appositive Predicate: entrenched
Indirect Object: rape

Now, let's switch the appositive with the subject and see what we get:
A village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence - one of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.
Now, obviously a village is not suspected of attempted rape. This is how the sentence should have been framed:
One of the more prominent activists in Umm Salmuna – a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.
See how easy that was, Avi? Breaking it down again:

Subject: one
Predicate: is suspected
Subordinate Clause Subject: village
Subordinate Clause Predicate: entrenched
Indirect Object: rape

Friday, 23 July 2010

Today's English Lesson

do not click this linkCounteres sei denn, Sie k├Ânnen lesen Deutsch

Our sample of Incorrect English comes today from a news article by Philip Elliot, who writes:
The endorsement comes as Rubio, a surprise candidate who forced Gov. Charlie Crist to abandon his campaign for the Republican Party's nomination in the race and is instead running as an independent, reported some $4.4 million in campaign cash.
I'm sure that Philip intended us to understand that Charlie Crist is running for the Senate as an independent, but that's not what he wrote. Let me break the sentence down a bit to explain:

Main clause subject: endorsement
Main clause predicate: comes
Subordinate clause subject: Rubio
Subordinate clause predicate: reported
Subordinate clause object: $
Appositive clause subject: candidate
Appositive clause predicates: forced, running
Appositive clause object: Charlie Crist

Since the Appositive clause takes the same subject as the Subordinate clause, we can switch them around and should get the same result:
A surprise candidate who forced Gov. Charlie Crist to abandon his campaign for the Republican Party's nomination in the race, Rubio is instead running as an independent.
Ah, but it is Crist, not Rubio, who is running as an independent. The original sentence should have read:
The endorsement comes as Rubio, a surprise candidate who forced Gov. Charlie Crist to abandon his campaign for the Republican Party's nomination in the race and run instead as an independent, reported some $4.4 million in campaign cash.
Now let's analyze the corrected sentence.

Main clause subject: endorsement
Main clause predicate: comes
Subordinate clause subject: Rubio
Subordinate clause predicate: reported
Subordinate clause object: $
Appositive clause subject: candidate
Appositive clause predicate: forced
Appositive clause object: Charlie Crist
Infinitive clause predicates: abandon, run
Infinitive clause object: campaign

Friday, 9 July 2010

The impending Persio-American War

In hindsight, we note that one of the immediate causes of America being drawn into World War Two was a decision by Dean Acheson to cut off Japan's supply of oil to feed its war machine. This followed unilateral moves by President Roosevelt and the US Congress first to place a steel embargo on Japan, effectively shutting down their war production, and finally to freeze all Japanese assets. These harsh measures backed the Japanese government into a corner they thought they could get out of only by attacking the nation that had put them in it: The United States. The rest is history.

Events of the last week have effectively backed the government of Iran into a nearly identical corner. Again acting unilaterally, President Obama and the US Congress have clamped down on Iranian banks and airlines, severely reducing their ability to do business outside the country. Already, gasoline usage even within Iran is being cut to cope with the new reality.

Like the one 70 years ago, this is a no-win situation. Japan had to face the choice between dismantling its military, or sending it into battle while it still had the tools with which to fight. As the former was unthinkable, the latter became inevitable. Iran is in the same position, but with one crucial difference: unlike Japan, it is on the brink of nuclear capability. The main thing holding off the inception of hostilities is the hope--a hope first held by Hitler's Germany--that they will soon have the Secret Weapon that will guarantee their success in the war that will inevitably come. And the fact that he didn't quite yet have the A-bomb didn't keep Hitler from starting a war he was convinced he could win conventionally. It was only later, as time was running out on that hope, that he pinned all his hopes on a nuclear capability.

Time, however, is already running out for Iran. The possibility that they may have an A-bomb within a year or two is balanced by the increasing constriction of their ability to field the rest of their armed forces. Now that their long-range radar commandeers the highest mountain in Lebanon, allowing them to monitor any eastbound sorties from Israel, they are more secure of being able to continue their nuclear program unimpeded, come peace or war.

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu recently downplayed the possibility of war with Iran. In view of what has just happened, that can only mean that he is going ahead with plans for the exact opposite. And he's probably looking into the possibility of a flyover of Saudi Arabia as part of a surprise attack on Iran. The three US carriers presently in the Gulf would probably be needed to provide cover. The scenario I envision is one in which US fighters would fly westward across Saudia Arabia, exchanging radar identities over the desert with a sortie of painted-over Israeli jets that flew in under the radar. These would then continue toward the Gulf, refueling in the air under their new identities, cross into Iraq, and wreak their havoc. Like the pilots in Doolittle's Daring Raid, these may have no reasonable expectation of being able to fly their planes back home after completing their mission.

Knowing President Obama's timidity, he's much more likely to let them take out Iran's nuclear capability than try it himself. But will he fall for such a scheme? Of course not, unless the US and Iran are already at war. Unless, or until. Perhaps such a surprise attack would be the opening salvo in that war. Remember Pearl Harbor!

At the rate things are escalating, I expect the opening salvos in that war to occur before the end of September, at the latest. And remember, Ramadan begins in only a month.

ETA on July 30: While I'm in a predictive frame of mind, I expect that Kurdish separatists will play some role in the war. On which side, I can't say.

Friday, 2 July 2010

The problem with a Health Care System--or any Care System

Recently I heard a complaint about the poor Health Care System in America. It got me wondering why no one complains about the poor Lawn Care System in America. You see, the White Man's lawn mower is on the blink, resulting in a very substandard level of care for his lawn.

Why don't people complain about the American Lawn Care System? Well, simply because Americans generally accept the responsibility for the care of their own lawns. Whether they do it themselves or hire it out, it never dawns on them that this is a burden best left to the Government to bear.

But why shouldn't the Government take the responsibility for maintaining lawns in this country? Why not have a Department of Lawns, or a Lawn Czar answerable only to the President? Wouldn't this be the best way to assure green, healthy lawns for every American? Wouldn't this be the best way to reduce waste, inefficiency, and corruption in the American Lawn Care System?

In a word, NO. The present system, wherein those who want green, healthy lawns are free to pay anyone else to do what they are unwilling or unable to do themselves, works as well at eliminating waste, inefficiency, and corruption as any system could. Yes, it is ridiculous how much money is spent on gasoline, riding lawn mowers, and fertilizer every year--money that could go toward feeding the hungry; ridiculous that lawn grass is the Number One Crop on American soil, yet all of it is thrown away unused, when it could have at least served as pasture; ridiculous that so many innocent children die every year in senseless Lawn Mower Accidents, when they could have been out speeding around in sports cars instead. But would any of this be improved if the Government stepped in and took over the Lawn Care Industry? Not likely.

If my neighbours don't like how my lawn looks, they presently have two options: they can band together, form a city government, and pass a law making it illegal to let my lawn grass grow this high, then send the Department of Public Works in to enforce the ordinance at my landlord's expense. Or, they can pitch in and help me get it mowed. I'm thankful that there are still neighbours around of the latter sort, and that I'm allowed to count myself as one of them. Sooner or later, my lawn is going to get mowed, and as things now stand, I don't expect the Government to have any part in it.