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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches]
01 — Intro. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Radio Derb on the air here, and this is your confrontationally genial host John Derbyshire, fresh and invigorated from a brisk walk on the beach this afternoon. So … with apples in my cheeks and a song in my heart, here, if you can bear to hear it, is the week's news.
02 — Pakistan. If you're the kind of person who lies awake at night worrying about what's happening in foreign countries, you probably think about Pakistan a lot. For myself, I confess I'm the kind of person who wishes the rest of the world would go boil its collective head; but I do understand that this may be a somewhat short-sighted outlook, so I'm going to do my best in this segment to see things from your point of view.
Let us then consider Pakistan. Whadda we got? 170 million people in a Texas-sized area; that gives pop. density 560 per square mile, 58th in the world, between Germany and Italy. Total fertility rate 3.5, 52nd in the world, between Haiti and Bolivia. OK, crowded and fecund.
GDP per capita $2,600, ranked 139th in the world, between Uzbekistan and the Solomon Islands. Ouch. Median age 21 years, ranked 168th in world, oldest to youngest. Fourteen percent unemployment, and Transparency International ranks Pakistan 139 out of 180 on its corruption index, least to most. Hm — crowded, fecund, young, idle, seriously poor, and corrupt as they come. Oh, what's this? 95 percent Muslim, 70 to 90 nuclear weapons in the arsenal. Uh-oh.
Now look: you don't necessarily get a true picture of a place from reading through statistics. I dare say Pakistan is in nothing like such dire straits as, say, Somalia, or Burma, or Zimbabwe, or even the worst bits of Europe like Kosovo. There's a comfortable middle class in the cities, and I'm sure they have air conditioning, hot and cold running water, reality TV, and all the other appurtenances of modern civilized life.
Pakistan's a big place with a lot of people, though, and very Muslim, and has all those nukes, and a political history of chronic instability. Definitely a place to worry about.
Down in that neck of the woods you have Iran, which is Islamic-fundamentalist but not yet nuclear, and Pakistan, which is nuclear but not yet Islamic-fundamentalist. Oh, and then you have Afghanistan, where we're fighting that vitally important war about … well, I forget what it's about, but it's real important, or else we wouldn't be there, would we?
Now if you'll consult your atlas, you'll see that Afghanistan is totally land-locked — nearly 300 miles from the sea at the nearest point. So how can we get stuff in there to supply our troops? There's Pakistan and Iran to the south, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, a wee sliver of China to the east, and India, which is Pakistan's sworn enemy, to the south and west. Forget about India, forget Iran and China. I'm sure our pal Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov up there in Turkmenistan would be glad to help, but he's even further from the sea than Afghanistan itself, and the other stans are further yet.
So if we want to bring bulk goods in, especially fuel, it's Pakistan or nothing much as a transit area. And from Pakistan into Afghanistan there are only two roads that can take big truck convoys.
Doesn't that raise security issues for these convoys? You bet it does. Even in normal times, the supply trucks come under attack from guerillas up there in the Af-Pak badlands. When Pakistan's annoyed with us, as they have recently been over the accidental killing of some border guards, they shut the passes. Then those big convoys of fuel trucks are left waiting by the roadside.
They don't have to wait long: 127 fuel trucks have been blown up just in one week recently. It's not just guerillas coming down from the hills to attack, either. NATO contracts out the trucking to local Pakistani firms. Some of those firms sell off most of the fuel, then torch the rest in the truck to cover the crime. See, it's not as easy as you might think to distinguish between a fireball caused by eight thousand gallons of fuel going up, and a fireball caused by eight hundred gallons. Especially if you don't happen to be in the Khyber pass when it happens.
Terrorists, crooks, crazy jihadis, chronic political instability, and nuclear weapons. Crowded, fecund, young, idle, poor, and corrupt. Yep, I think even I could start worrying about Pakistan.
Any conclusions here, Derb? Only this familiar and oft-repeated one: That I was right first time when I wrote, on 9/11, that, quote: "This will not be a matter of great troop movements, of trenches and fleets and squadrons and massed charges. This will be small teams of inconceivably brave men and women, working in strange places, unknown and unacknowledged." End quote.
So it should have been. Instead we have a vast military and bureaucratic operation needing constant resupply from great convoys of trucks. Going through Pakistan. If you lie down with dogs, says the old Irish proverb, you get up with fleas. We're in bed with a lot of dogs up there, and it wasn't necessary. We could have kept them at arm's length, and we should have.
03 — Times Square bomber gets life. Here's one of the fleas, from, yes, Pakistan. Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber got a life sentence from a federal court here in New York Tuesday. Shahzad's Dad was a big player in Pakistan, a two-star Air Force general. We're always being told that poverty and desperation drive young Muslims to terrorism, but every time one comes into focus, like Shahzad and Osama bin Laden, it turns out to be a rich kid. Well, Shahzad studied in the U.S.A., late 1990s and early 2000s, married a U.S. citizen of Pakistani parentage, and got citizenship through his wife. Then he got religion and tried to blow up Times Square. Now he's gone down for life, whatever that means this week, at age 31.
The pompous ass of a judge told Shahzad that, quote, "You are a young man, and you will have a lot of time to reflect on what you have done." Where do we get these idiot judges? Shahzad's going to be fine. He'll get three hots and a cot, use of a nice library and weight room and cable TV, a prayer mat and prayer wheel and beads and whatever else it takes to get Allah's attention, and an endless supply of gullible dimwitted ghetto psychotics to indoctrinate with the Holy Word, eagerly assisted by prison chaplains who are all double-dipping — one hand in the American taxpayer's pocket, the other reaching out for the brown envelope being passed by the guy from the Saudi embassy. Then after ten years or so the rat will get out on some technicality and open a falafel stand in Times Square.
Incredibly, Shahzad was allowed to make a nutty little speech before being sentenced. Instead of clubbing him to the ground and putting duct tape over his mouth, the court officers allowed the thing to go on for ten minutes. Shahzad told us how much he hates freedom and democracy. He told us we should all convert to Islam so we can sit around goat-dung fires picking lice out of our beards. Then he said, quote, "I'm happy with the deal that God has given me." Hey pal, you wouldn't be so happy if you hadn't had the forethought to take out U.S. citizenship. They don't have cable TV in Pakistani jails.
I've never understood the case against capital punishment, and I understand it less after reading about the Shahzad trial than I did before. Why not char-broil this vermin, if he's so anxious to meet his maker? Instead, he's being sent to a place right here on earth where he'll be honored as a hero and martyr: to be precise, the federal prison in Florence, Colorado, home of his co-religionists Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi Yousef, and shoe bomber Richard Reid. What fun they'll have! They've got a four for bridge right there.
To soothe our nerves after all this insanity, listeners, let's all recite together the list of benefits our country has received from permitting large-scale immigration of Muslims. Ready? All together now: [Crickets chirping]
04 — Obama betrays his base. As skeptical as I am of huge military operations in sinkhole countries, at least I think they're just bad policy. To people on the political left, American military operations anywhere, for any reason — except, perhaps, enforcement of "diversity" on recalcitrant ethnocentrists like the Serbs — is a moral evil.
Fighting terrorism? I want the thing done, but I want it done with imagination, guile, secrecy, and ruthlessness, and on the cheap. The Bush people wanted it done in a missionary spirit, great scads of money committed for decades to transforming the sinkholes into gardens of plenty filled with gratitude to us, hearts beating at one with ours. The lefties just don't want it done at all.
Imagine their chagrin, therefore, when Obama keeps on doing it. Instead of leaving Afghanistan with cringing apologies, he actually increased troop levels there. Furthermore, we're still in Iraq, and the Guantánamo facility's still in business.
This is wormwood and gall to the lefties, and a big factor in the coming midterm elections. The polls are showing much greater eagerness to vote among Republicans than among Democrats, in part because liberal Democrats are so bitterly disillusioned about the administration's foreign policy.
But why has Obama ticked off his base like this? Why didn't he start pulling the armies out within weeks of taking office? Supporters of the big counter-insurgency operations we're running argue that these are the only possible policies — there is no alternative. I don't buy that. We could fight mean, low-level operations against the jihadis without having to yoke ourselves to scum like Karzai and the Iranian stooges we put in place in Iraq. I don't buy it, and the left of course doesn't buy it. So why has Obama bought it?
My guess is, Obama was just intimidated by the grown-ups he found himself among after his election. They all seemed so grave and sober and knowledgeable, especially the military men. All that gravity, all that knowledge, all that military braid, pierced the armor of Obama's self-regard and left him susceptible to their arguments — which were, that we should go on doing what we'd been doing.
Presidents come in all varieties. Dwight Eisenhower was a career military man who'd commanded entire armies. He wasn't impressed by all that braid around the table at meetings of the Joint Chiefs, and he didn't take any nonsense from his military people.
Obama's the anti-Eisenhower. A pampered middle-class kid, a college lefty wafted up effortlessly in his career by gusts of hot air from the race-guilt establishment. His main achievement in his chosen career was getting asbestos ceiling tiles replaced in some Chicago housing project — worthy enough in its own way, no doubt, but not exactly D-Day. He got to the White House knowing next to nothing about the real world, and has been adrift ever since, agreeing with the last grown-up who spoke to him.
As our own Mike Potemra said on The Corner Friday, Obama's a dud, a clueless bungler. Further quote from Mike, quote: "Like the dog who chased the car and has — for once, per impossibile — caught it, he is flummoxed, completely overpowered by the situation in which he finds himself. His policies don't work, and he has no others." End quote. Exactly. You can measure Obama's quality from the fact that he's making Joe Biden look good.
So on we go, stumbling forward in perilous times under irresolute, incompetent leadership. The Republic has survived worse; but my guess is that after another two years of this, we shall not be in a happy place.
05 — Ghailani trial. Ah yes, Guantánamo. What are we going to do with our captives there? At least our president sorta kinda made up his mind about that, or allowed some grownup to make it up for him. We'll give them proper trials, just like we learned about in law school! We've all been to law school, haven't we? Of course we have. What kind of American doesn't go to law school?
So here came Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, fresh from Guantánamo to stand trial in federal court in Manhattan. I note with interest from his bio that one of his aliases was "Foopie." That's caught my fancy, and I find these Muslim names just as tiresome as I imagine they'd find mine, so for the rest of this segment I'll refer to Mr. Ghailani as "Foopie."
Forty-year-old Foopie is a national of Tanzania, in East Africa. He was a principal in the East African embassy bombings of twelve years ago that killed over 200 people, including twelve Americans. We know he was, because he confessed it to the FBI in non-coercive interrogation back in 2007.
So Foopie has been brought to trial in New York before a judge and a jury. This will show the world that our criminal-justice system is just the ticket for dealing with captured foreign terrorists.
Alas, things aren't going well. Foopie had been in CIA custody for two years before being shipped to Guantánamo in '06. So as well as the non-coerced testimony of 2007, there's the, ah, less-non-coerced testimony of 2004-2006. That earlier testimony fingered a witness the government would like to use. They've promised not to use the testimony itself, but the witness is tainted by association with the testimony, and the judge won't allow him. Other witnesses have died or vanished in the six years since Foopie's original arrest. We're looking at a witness shortage here.
There's still the confession Foopie made to the FBI, but the earlier interrogations may have tainted that too. The trial's been postponed, and the original scheme of putting these guys before military tribunals is looking better by the day. My own suggestion that the Guantánamo inmates be taken out to the yard and shot in batches looks even better, but the government seems not to be thinking along those lines.
06 — Texas jet skier murder. We've been getting further evidence this past few days that Mexico is an unfriendly country our relations with which should be reduced to the bare minimum: one ambassador and a secretary, and entry rights from Mexico limited to Nobel Prize winners in difficult subjects involving lots of math, maximum one per annum.
The evidence here emerged from an incident on Falcon Lake last Thursday, September 30. Falcon Lake is an artificial lake caused by a dam on the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande, as everyone knows, forms part of the border between Texas and Mexico. Thus when you dam the river and make a lake, the border goes down the middle of the lake. On the other side of that border is of course Mexico, which is to say basically Pakistan with a liquor license.
You would, therefore, need to be stupid at a pretty heroic level to go out pleasure boating on Falcon Lake. An essential component of your stupidity would be a happy confidence that should anything untoward befall you out there, our federal government would come down like a ton of bricks on the government of Mexico. [Laughter]
Well, that's how stupid David and Tiffany Hartley were last week. The Hartleys, who are from Colorado, jet-skied across the lake to take photographs of a historic Mexican church on the other side. The Mexican gangsters who own that side of the lake, and for that matter the rest of Mexico too, spotted them and gave chase. David Hartley was shot to death and disappeared in the water. His wife made it back OK.
It would be nice if I could tell you at this point, that the Mexican authorities, terrified that the U.S.A. might regard this as an insult to our citizens and our sovereignty, rushed resources to the area and undertook a massive manhunt for the perps. I can't tell you that. Nobody is scared of Obama's America, certainly not Mexico, which regards our nation as just a convenient dumping ground for its high school dropouts and awkward racial minorities. So the Mexicans did nothing. In fact they did less than nothing: They warned the U.S. government that if we tried to do anything, they would be very angry and would call us racists.
Under a threat like that of course our government cringed and retreated … if you can retreat without ever having advanced. I'd like to be able to tell you that our federal authorities, outraged by the wanton murder of one of our citizens, however dumb, mobilized the Marines, sent the Mexican ambassador packing, and commenced carpet-bombing the Mexican shore of Falcon Lake. What I in fact have to tell you is that the Obama administration will do nothing that might anger La Raza or jeopardize the Hispanic vote in November, that they regard the concept of American citizenship as little more than a veiled form of discrimination, and that the Marines are building soccer fields in Waziristan. So nothing happened.
The consensus of opinion now, a week or so later, is that the drug and people traffickers who run Mexico have long since fished Mr. Hartley's corpse out of the lake and reduced it to puppy chow in that colorful way Mexicans have. Mrs. Hartley is left folornly grieving for her husband, and the Justice Department is busy on the phone to half a dozen Latin American nations encouraging them to file friend-of-the-court briefs in its lawsuit against Arizona.
Oh, I'm sorry — did I give the impression there that nobody in authority in the U.S.A. has taken any action in this case? I'm sorry: I wouldn't want to leave you thinking our elected and appointed authorities are totally ineffectual, that we are ruled by spineless, whimpering cowards and paid shills for America's enemies. Heaven forbid! No, let me correct the record here. There has been action, I see. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued a warning to boaters to stay on the U.S. side of Falcon Lake and not to venture into Mexican waters. That'll put an end to these outrages!
07 — Geert Wilders trial. Geert Wilders, leader of the third-biggest party in the Dutch parliament, is living a curious double life. He's been in court this week on charges of inciting hatred against Muslims. That's been one side of his life. The other side has been political horse-trading with other parties to try to form a coalition government. Then, after his busy day is over, Mr. Wilders is whisked away by his police bodyguard to a secret destination where he can spend the night without being assassinated by adherents of the religion of peace.
The second part of that life at least has been going well. It looks as though the Netherlands will at last have a functioning government, four months after an indecisive election. Two other parties have joined with Wilders to form a coalition that can command a majority in parliament. Wilders demanded some conditions, and his coalition partners have agreed. Wearing of the burqa will be banned and immigration sharply curtailed. Those issues aside, it's a center-right government, promising to cut public spending and hire more police. The nation's Queen — go to the back of the class if you didn't know the Netherlands is a monarchy — has blessed the government in the constitutional-monarchy style.
The first part of Wilders' life, the court trial, has meanwhile been grinding on. It's not really so much a judicial procedure as a full-court press on Wilders by the Dutch establishment, who are determined to crush him like a bug, but with a façade of due process. Wilders is being tried in front of three judges. The lead judge, Jan Moors, is openly hostile to Wilders. On Monday, the trial's first day, he made a sneering comment that caused the trial to be suspended while an inquiry was held into his impartiality. Surprise, surprise, Judge Moors was found to be spotlessly impartial, and the trial continued.
On Wednesday the court viewed Wilders' short film Fitna, which stitches together verses from the Koran with film clips of terrorist atrocities. One of the Muslim plaintiffs said she couldn't bear to watch it, and the spotlessly impartial Judge Moors commiserated with her. It's all beginning to look like that scene in One-Eyed Jacks where Marlon Barndo asks for a fair trial and she sheriff says: "Sure, we'll give y'a fair trial. Then we'll hang ya."
One happy side effect of the Wilders prosecution is that he is now a hero to patriots throughout Europe. He gave a widely-reported speech in Berlin last weekend. On September 11th he was over here to give a speech at Ground Zero to opponents of the triumphal mosque. For icing on the cake, Wilders has just been denounced by The Economist, house magazine of the multi-culti globalist elites. Quote: "To attack Islam and the Koran is dangerous stupidity that weakens the civilisation Mr. Wilders claims to defend," end quote. Why does The Economist think Wilders' rhetoric is "dangerous"? Because it might incite Muslims to acts of murder, presumably. But that just gets us back to the very question Wilders raises: Do we really want to share our countries with people who think murder is a proper response to rude remarks about their religion? I don't mind giving my answer right here on Radio Derb: No.
08 — Miscellany. And now, for your final delectation, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Item: Bedbugs! Bedbugs in the Waldorf-Astoria! A Florida woman staying in a $330-a-night room at the premier Manhattan hotel was so badly bitten the Waldorf gave her a free upgrade to a $700 suite. Now, it's not the case that all our ills arise from mass Third World immigration, but this one does. At least, the New York Times thinks so, quote from the November 27, 2005 issue of that august organ, quote: "In the bedbug resurgence, entomologists and exterminators blame increased immigration from the developing world, the advent of cheap international travel and the recent banning of powerful pesticides." End quote. So next time "comprehensive immigration reform" comes up in Congress, let's sneak into the visitor's gallery and let loose some of these immigrants on the congresscrooks.
Item: You know, even patriotism can be taken too far. Consider for example this news item from the Philippines. Quote from the BBC: "The Philippine House of Representatives has approved a bill criminalising the improper singing of the country's national anthem … Offenders could face up to two years in jail," end quote. How insecure does a nation have to be to pass a law like that? I hadn't been in the U.S.A. a month before I heard the ancient joke about "José can you see?" And when we were little kids in England we used to sing: "God save our gracious Queen / Douse her with paraffin, / Set her alight!" I think you Pilipinos need to lighten up a bit.
Item: That was a sad story about the Rutgers student who committed suicide. Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and the roommate's girlfriend secretly filmed him in sexual congress with another guy. Predictably enough, the homosexualist lobbies are all over the case, demanding that politicians do something. Do what? Stop people killing themselves? Stop people playing practical jokes on their roommates? The accurséd politicians of course are only too glad to oblige. The moronic, drooling, 120-year-old Senator Frank Lautenberg dragged his withered carcass to a microphone to announce that he will introduce legislation to oblige colleges to prohibit harassment and bullying. When you've snoozed away 27 years in the Senate, as Lautenberg has, there is no ill or misfortune known to man that a spot of legislation won't fix. Yo Senator, while you're putting the world to rights down there in Halitosis Hall, how about a bill to cure the common cold?
Item: Forbes magazine has published its list of the world's most powerful women. Guess who's top of the list? Yes, it's our cheery, inspirational First Lady, Michelle Obama. Quote from Forbes: "This year's list is based less on traditional titles and rôles and more on creative influence and entrepreneurship." End quote. Entrepreneurship? What, has Michelle started a business? But wait a minute: wasn't she the one who was telling college students a couple of years ago that they should shun the coarse, grubby money-making of the corporate world and Get a Government Job? She was right, of course, but I don't see how that qualifies her for praise from Forbes, which is a business magazine. Perhaps she got in on the "creative influence" clause — you know, on account of the novels and poetry she's written, the paintings and sculptures she's produced, the symphonies and concertos she's been turning out. That must be it. Top of the list at Forbes, eh, Michelle? It's not as grand as your husband's Nobel Peace Prize, but it's just as well deserved.
Item: Finally, Radio Derb notes with deep sadness the passing of Charlie the smoking chimp at his pen in the zoo at Bloemfontein, South Africa. Charlie was 52 years old, which is a tremendous age for a chimp. Charlie was famous for the pleasure he took in smoking cigarettes. Of course he had to step out of his pen and smoke on the pathway outside …
09 — Signoff. That's all I have for you, listeners. [Bimbo: "I guess it's time to go …"] Yes, Candy, I guess it is. [Party noises] I can hear the Friday afternoon party starting up in Jonah's suite, so I'm sure the wine is already flowing, the band warming up, and this week's discussion of key political science topics getting under way in the grotto. Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you goodnight; and for those of you staying at the Waldorf-Astoria, don't let the bedbugs bite!
[Music clip: Lili Marleen]