Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 30, 2004
The Pentagon plans to retire one of the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers, buy fewer amphibious landing ships for the Marine Corps and delay the development of a costly Army combat system of high-technology arms as part of $60 billion in proposed cuts over the next six years, Congressional and military officials said Wednesday. [...] The proposed Pentagon cuts, which include sharply reducing the program for the Air Force's F/A-22 fighter and delaying the purchase of a new Navy destroyer, would for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks slow the growth in Pentagon spending, which has risen 41 percent in that period, to about $420 billion this year. Military and Congressional officials said the Pentagon was looking to trim up to $10 billion in the 2006 budget alone. [...] When Donald H. Rumsfeld became defense secretary in 2001, he took aim at costly weapons systems that he and his top aides said were relics of the cold war. Since then, the Army has canceled the $11 billion Crusader artillery system and the $38 billion Comanche reconnaissance helicopter program.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
"We have accelerated disposing of bodies to minimize the risk of an epidemic. Also, we have started spraying bleaching powder on the beaches from where the bodies have been recovered," said Veera Shanmuga Moni, a top administrator of Tamil Nadu's Nagappattinam district.
WHO WARNS AGAINST HEALTH MISCONCEPTIONS IN THE WAKE OF TURKISH EARTHQUAKE
Numerous "myths" are repeatedly broadcast when a natural disaster occurs: the supposed occurrence of epidemics after disasters, the relationship between dead bodies and epidemics, the need for foreign medical assistance, the need for large quantities of medical supplies and camp hospitals, the need to resettle the population in camps, the need for food aid, a return to normality after a few weeks.
The reality is by far different, Dr Michel Thieren, Medical Officer in WHO's Department of Emergency and Humanitarian Action, warned today. "The demand for health services occurs within the first 24 hours of a sudden event. Most injured people may appear at medical facilities during the first three to five days, after which admitting patterns return almost to normal. Patients may appear in two waves, the first (the great majority) consisting of casualties from the immediate area around the medical facility and the second of referral cases as humanitarian operations in more distant areas become organized. Victims of secondary disasters (post-earthquake aftershocks and fires) may arrive at a later stage."
... natural disaster tend to generate false information and principle which lays on no scientific ground. This is particularly the case for the health sector, and relief organization have to battle hard to establish the evidence in relation with the real medical needs, and with the absence of correlation between hurricane and epidemics or between cadavers and large scale epidemics.
The most persistent myth that dead bodies pose a major risk for disease, as reiterated in all large natural disasters - especially earthquakes and cyclones - is just that: a myth. The bodies of victims from earthquakes or other natural disasters do not present a public health risk for cholera, typhoid fever or other plagues mentioned by misinformed medical doctors. In fact, the few occasional carriers of those communicable diseases who were unfortunate victims of the disaster are far less of a threat to the public than when they were alive.
Often overlooked is the unintended social consequence of the precipitous and unceremonious disposal of corpses. It is just one more severe blow to the affected population, depriving them of their human right to honor the dead through proper identification and burial.
The legal and financial consequences from the lack of a death certificate will add to the suffering of survivors for years to come.
Our experience in the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake showed that health authorities and the media can work together to inform the public and make the identification of the deceased and the return of bodies to their families possible in a climate free from unfounded fears of epidemics.
Moreover, focusing on ineffective and medically unnecessary measures such as the superficial 'disinfecting’ of cadavers with lime, mass burial, or cremation require important human and material resources that should instead be allocated to those who survived and remain in critical condition.
Finally, these measures provide the population with a false sense of security.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones/hurricanes do not result in diseases that are not already present in the affected area, nor do they provoke secondary disasters through outbreaks of communicable diseases. Proper resumption of public health services, such as immunization and sanitation measures, control and disposal of waste, and special attention to water quality and food safety, will ensure the safety of the population and relief workers from those diseases which were endemic to the area prior to the disaster.
(Dr. C. de Ville de Goyet - Chief, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Coordination Program - PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization)
"Even as local health officials out in the field were racing to create mass graves or pyres to deal with the rising tide of bodies, saying the bodies posed immediate health risks, officials of the World Health Organization emphasized that the biggest risk of an outbreak was posed by survivors. The agency's officials said Tuesday that because there was little danger of epidemics from unburied bodies, immediate mass burials and cremations were not necessary. Instead, they said, family members and friends should be given time, where possible, to identify the bodies first. "
Monday, December 27, 2004
"McGOVERNITIS" - an infectious inflammation originating in the vestigial Left-wing of the body politic
By David Horowitz
December 27, 2004
On Christmas Day, former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern wrote a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times (and probably many other papers) calling for an American surrender in Iraq. George McGovern has not been in the headlines for three decades, and his name consequently may be unfamiliar to many. But no one has had a greater or more baleful impact on the Democratic Party and its electoral fortunes than this progressive product of the South Dakota plains.
The leftward slide of the Democratic Party, which has made it an uncertain trumpet in matters of war and peace, may be said to have begun with the McGovern presidential campaign of 1972, whose slogan was “American come home” – as though America was the problem and not the aggression of the Communist bloc.
ABBAS: AN AMORAL PRAGMATIST WHO'S ONLY EMBRACING NON-VIOLENCE AND NEGOTIATION BECAUSE GENOCIDAL TERROR HAS FAILED
So... it seems to me he is winking at the terrorists, saying in effect: "terror would be fine if it worked." This may make Abbas a realist and a pragmatist - but not man of peace. He seems, in a way, to be saying that they should use non-violent means to destroy Israel.
I have taken a clear stand toward the continuation of the intifadah .. as it shouldn't have continued following the rebellion in Al-Aqsa that was for the defense of our scared shrines," he said, alluding to the September, 2000, park of the uprising, when unarmed Palestinians engaged in bloody clashes with heavily-armed Israeli troops after Ariel Sharon, before he was named prime minister, paid a provocative visit to the mosque. Abbas affirmed his abidance by the "political settlement and the option of peace," adding, "I say it clearly that believe that the military solution is not possible." He also said that using arms during the uprising against the occupation has actually harmed the cause of the Palestinian people. "The militarization of the intifadah and the usage of arms for liberation is not possible because the balance of powers is not in our favor," said the grey-haired veteran politician.
ON ANOTHER LEVEL: This proves - once again - that the only way to end terror is to defeat it, appeasing it only encourages it; the Israelis defeated the Second Intifada and have driven FATAH to the negotiating tables and to the voting booths. Now Abbas is at best sincerely trying to TALK the Jihadoterrorists into accepting the military defeat and into making the best deal they can at the negotiating table.
If and when the Palestinian Arabs get autonomy again (and then perhaps a state), I think the Jihadists will merely use it as a base for terror - much like the Taliban used Afghanistan and Zarqawi the Sunni Triangle - UNLESS the PA makes as determined a fight against them as the Iraqis are making right now.
That's what makes me a pessimist: It's just that Abbas doesn't strike me as man with 1/10th the courage of Allawi. And I think it will take more than TALK to get HAMAS and Hizb'allah to lay down their arms. And since I think it's unlikely that Abbas will really crackdown on the Jihadoterrorists - the first condition for any deal - I think unilateral separation is still the most likely outcome. But we shall see. I pray Abbas proves me wrong.
MORE HERE (from the IHT). Their title: "Path is peace, but goal is the same, Abbas says" By Steven Erlanger The New York Times. [I guess what I'm saying is that it seems to me that what Abbas is REALLY saying is: "Goal is destruction of Israel, but path is non-violent - for now."]
Sunday, December 26, 2004
More than any other two national security advisors, Zbig and Brent are responsible for the mess we're in today.
Only Clinton's 8 years of repeated failures in the face of Jihadoterror (Khobar, the 1993 WTC bombing, the African embassy bombings, Somalia, the Sudan, and the USS Cole) are worse.
We should no more take foreign policy advice from Zbig or Brent than we should take a lesson in military honor & loyalty from Kerry.
ADDENDUM: Scowcroft has charged "Ariel Sharon has Bush wrapped around his little finger" and I witnessed Brzezinski concur joyfully in a joint appearance they made on TV. IMHO, this is as serious and realistic a critcism of Bush as the one we hear from the Moore-types: that "Bush is a tool of the House of Saud." These mutually exclusive charges are nothing more than LUDICROUS "tin-foil hat" ravings, and they say more about those who utter them than they do about Bush. It's just further proof that Scowcroft and Brzezinski - and Michael Moore - are inane as-h-les who have descended into irrelevance via "B.D.S." THEY SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.