Saturday, March 01, 2008


Brothers in arms: a patrol consisting of a Dutch Fennek light armoured recce vehicle followed by an unrecognizable US troop carrier. The Fennek's size belies its weight, 10.4 tonnes combat-ready.

It is true that the brunt of the fighting in Afghanistan is borne by the US Army. It is true that most NATO members have issued lots of caveats with regards to the deployment of their troops. It is true that some of those members who do fight - Canada, The Netherlands - face increasing pressure from leftist defeatists at home to end the deployment altogether. It is true that the Taleban are not defeated yet and that the end is not in sight yet. But...

But on the other hand, is there, after all, really reason to despair? Should not cautious optimism be the norm instead of anxious fretting? While the lackluster support among most NATO allies for Operation Enduring Freedom and the NATO/ISAF mission is worrisome, should one not be also elated that, after all, ALL NATO countries are present and contributing, be it to varying degrees? I live in a continent where right after the Wall came down, the leftist bozos who all the time had been part of the problem rather than of the solution started asking whether an organization like NATO was really necessary in the post communist era. Doubts about NATO's purpose in a time when a world-acclaimed author concluded that history had come to an end, afflicted even those sympathetic to an organization which had seen the light when Truman was president.

And yet here we are, eighteen long years later, and even though there is some coughing and hiccups and the occasional spasms, to state that NATO is dead couldn't be farther from the truth. ALL 26 NATO members have troops in AF. True, it's always the same who do the fighting: the US of course, Canada, the UK, The Netherlands, the Danes and Estonians. But service in the relatively quiet north and west isn't always a piece of cake either. Germany e.g., which its 3,210 troops responsible for Regional Command North and the third largest contributor, has had 29 fatalities thus far. While not comparable to the losses the US has suffered, not exactly a Club Med resort assignment either. The French, with their 1,515 personnel mainly around Kabul (currently under Opération Pamir XVII), are indeed highly constrained by caveats - but they do a prodigious job of demining dangerous areas. Less glorious perhaps, but just as necessary. They also do extensive patrols and there have been skirmishes with Taliban, check out this video. Then there is the fact that ISAF, as the very acronym implies - International Security and Assistance Force - is essentially not a fighting operation. It is an operation meant to help the democratically elected Afghan government establish its hold over the country, and support it wherever necessary with reconstruction. Combat brigades were never intended to be ISAF's spearheads - its PRT's (Provincial Reconstruction Teams, there are currently 25 of them) were. Norway's 495 troops are mainly deployed in the Meymaneh PRT in Faryab province, part of Spain's 740 personnel lead the Qala-i-Naw PRT in Badghis province. Hungary's 230 troops are responsible for the Pul-e Khumri PRT in Baghlan province. Slovenia's 70 troops of the 2nd motorised company, 20th motorised battalion (Celje) soldier on in Herat. And the Slovenian government donated 10,000 AK 47 automatic rifles to the ANA, the Afghan National Army. While all these operations miss the drama of the fierce combat in the south, they just as much contribute to the success of Enduring Freedom, America's mission in Afghanistan. So far, despite the setbacks and the caveats, it is not exaggerated to state that the US's NATO allies conducted an operation Enduring Support. At the recent Munich Conference, TIME's Michael Elliott had a conversation with retired US Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a novelist and essayist. The following is an exerpt from Elliott's article, A Call to Arms, in the February 25, TIME Europe issue:

... That is to say, there are, today, German troops in Afghanistan - 3,500 of them. They may not be in the most dangerous parts of the country or hunting down well-armed bands of Taliban guerrillas, but they are there. That, when you think about it, is astonishing. American author and columnist Ralph Peters (who is nobody's idea of a softie on defense matters) was at the Munich conference, and put things in perspective for me. When he was serving in the U.S. Army intelligence in Germany, Peters said, "We couldn't get the Germans to move 8km. Now we've got them moving 8,000 miles."

But honest is honest, some are doing more than their share. Canada has had 78 fatalities so far. The Netherlands, which is actually punching above its weight, 14 or so. The following video contains some footage of Dutch Commandos in Uruzgan province:

The shortage felt on the ground is such that this spring, an additional 3,200 US Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the 7th Marine Regiment will be dispatched to southern Afghanistan. This shouldn't have to be necessary. Are there any signs that the burden will be carried more evenly in the near future? Luckily, there are. The French will send hundreds of fresh troops to eastern Afghanistan (check out this clip of French Chasseurs Alpins in the hills around Kabul). Under the staunch leadership of its PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark stays committed. And look out for Spain, which will have parliamentary elections come 9 March. With clear signs that the Spanish economy is tilting towards a recession - Zapatero's main concerns were rather legalizing gay marriage and gay adoption, talking with ETA terrorists and a red carpet treatment for 4 million illegal immigrants - the Spanish conservatives stand a good chance to win. This may then imply a bigger Spanish commitment. And as we have seen, even my country will send some additional troops plus four fighter bombers - finally with a mandate to bomb and strafe Taliban strongholds.

NATO may become a sextagenarian in a little over a year, but this old warhorse has by no means lost its teeth - quite the contrary.

Dutch F-16 taking off from Kandahar Airfield, on its way to kick some Taliban ass.


Thursday, February 28, 2008


Zwolle, The Netherlands. February 26, 2008. 11.59 am. Public swimming pool "Hanzebad". Director Hans Meijer confirms that the burqini remains barred from his facilities. One week before, a Dutch muslim convert, Yvonne Buitelaar, had appeared in "Hanzebad" clad in a burqini, shocking those present. In a letter addressed to Mr. Meijer, the City Council of Zwolle protested the latter's decision to ban the all-covering bathing suit, arguing that "The argument that other visitors may experience the burqini as insulting is no objective criterion." (By contrast, the argument that muslims may experience a 10 minute YouTube movie as insulting does seem to be an objective criterion.)

Zwolle, The Netherlands. February 26, 2008. 16.29 am. Public swimming pool "Hanzebad". Director Hans Meijer confirms that the burqini is allowed in his facilities. Four hours and thirty minutes before, Director Meijer had received a letter from Zwolle's City Council to reconsider his opposition to the all-covering bathing suit, offering several sound reasons to do so, and apparently Mr. Meijer thought they cut wood. One of the arguments for lifting the ban is that in their eternal wisdom, the City Councillors think that wearing the burqini will promote integration. As for now, the whole matter is an academic issue since a.) most burqinis are worn by converts, of which there are - until now - relatively few, and b.) muslim women of non-Dutch extraction are not allowed in public swimming pools anyway, burqini or not.

That leaves us poor infidel kufars with the burning question....


Or Bikini?

Needless to say, Outlaw Mike endorses the latter as the Preferred Swimming Attire for the Modern, Confident, Conservative-Libertarian, Hayek-reading, Reagan-worshipping, Devoutly Christian 21st Century Woman. Yeeee-haw!!!

And Director Hans Meijer should change the name of his swimming pool from Hanzebad to Islamabad.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A Giant of the Right has passed away. William Frank Buckley, author, TV personality and conservative commentator, was found dead at his desk - as befits him - in the study of his Stamford, Connecticut home this very Wednesday, February 27. William F. Buckley's signal achievement in life was the foundation of the renowned political rightwing magazine National Review in 1955 in New York, from which he retired as an active editor only 35 years later, in 1990. Under his guidance, National Review formulated the ideological basis for modern conservatism, which is essentially a marriage between traditional conservatism and libertarianism. The role of Buckley in paving the way for the "Reagan Revolution" can therefore not be underestimated.

Buckley's yeoman's work at NR and his countless columns as a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist did not prevent his versatile personality of manifesting itself in other arenas. He was a staunch defender of Joseph McCarthy and in 1964 strongly supported the presidential candidacy of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. In 1965 he ran for mayor of New York City (and lost to democrat John Lindsay), and from 1966 to 1999, he hosted the television show Firing Line . As a novelist he wrote a series of novels around the character of CIA agent Blackford Oakes, a reminder of his brief stint as an undercover CIA agent in Mexico City in the early fifties. Apart from this series, he wrote together a stunning number of books on writing, speaking, history, politics, and sailing. To complete the image of a pure western conservative, he was a practicing Christian who often attended Latin Mass in Connecticut. In 1991, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. William F. Buckley was married to Canadian-born Patricia Alden Taylor, who gave him a son, Christopher Buckley, and who died last year after a long period of illness.

I have been looking for some quotes that might best typify this apparently Great American Personality of the Right. As a European, I must confess I am not all that well acquainted with WFB's work, but then I had the misfortune of growing up in a poisonous socialist environment, where anything that reeked of another opinion than the Dogmas of the Leftist Church was either downright rejected, and as such I was first tempted to choose this quote:

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

... or, if it is not simply rejected, it is invariably labeled Nazism, whereby our moral betters time and again forget that it's actually them who are the ideological confrères of that repulsive brand of leftism. I was reminded of that when I came across the famous exclamation Buckley made in a heated encounter with leftozoid douchebag Gore (what's in a name) Vidal, who called him "a proto- or crypto-Nazi":

“Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I will sock you in your goddamn face, and you will stay plastered.”

Honestly, I don't mean to offend gay people. I'm just quoting the man who may (probably) or may not have harbored less nice feelings about you. Anyway, when I pondered my fate as a small business owner working his ass off for the benefit of the common good and the monthly check of the imam next door, I decided I'd post this money quote:

“Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich.”

In the end however, recognizing at last a Fellow Christian (who, I am convinced, was convinced, as I am convinced, that we christians can never be really good christians), I was won over for this humble jewel:

“You cultivate the essential virtues: high purpose, intelligence, decency, humility, fear of the Lord, and the passion for freedom.”

Rest in Peace Mr. Buckley. I will pray for you.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Economic Facts and Fallacies

Peter Robinson of National Review has been interviewing Thomas Sowell regarding his new Book, Economic Facts and Fallacies.  I'm currently reading this book and as is always the case with Sowell, he presents an impeccably researched and clearly articulated dismantling of many of the left's core beliefs.  It's simply stunning how many things that we've all been told our whole lives regarding economic issues are based on faulty logic, misinterpretation of data, or outright lies.
Watch the interviews (Robinson usually splits these into 5 parts) but more importantly, buy the book.  

Peter Robinson's Interview with Thomas Sowell