It may not be the equivalent of the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979-81 or the subsequent seizures of American citizens in Lebanon, but the Obama administration has a hostage crisis of sorts on its hands, and how it handles it will be of considerable importance not only to the president's standing but the country's.
Some of the biggest winds in the world blow through the stormy South Atlantic, but none stormier than the political hyperbole that's sweeping through the region lately. It's just 30 years since the Falkland Islands war that took 900 young lives and saved the government of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher while bringing down one of South America's foulest military dictatorships. All this for possession of some 770 chilly islands totaling about half the area of Los Angeles County and with about the same year-round population (3,200) as Santa Catalina Island. Not counting seals, albatrosses, penguins and about 500,000 sheep.
The UK has owned it longer than living memory. How long must one possess a piece of land before we start to laugh off other claims? Every chunk of land goes back to someone. We are a migrating conquering species.
The entire AngloSphere should shut down our embassies in Argentina until they end this idiocy. If it all happened on one day, or a cascading effect of a few a day for a week it would send a powerful message.
Barack Obama's health-care reform of 2010 had many virtues, especially its attempt to make health insurance universal. But it does little to reduce the system's staggering and increasing complexity. Every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour. Next year the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots, and three relating to burns from flaming water-skis.
The Obama administration has been much more aggressive than its predecessors in pursuing and punishing leakers. The latest case, the arrest last month of John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. terrorist-hunter accused of telling journalists the names of colleagues who participated in the waterboarding of Qaeda suspects, is symptomatic of the crackdown. It is this administration's sixth criminal case against an official for confiding to the media, more than all previous presidents combined.
The latest case, the arrest last month of John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. terrorist-hunter accused of telling journalists the names of colleagues who participated in the waterboarding of Qaeda suspects, is symptomatic of the crackdown.
This Kerry aide gave out the real name of the guy who waterboarded Abu Zubaydah in Thailand. It should be interesting to see whether this vainglorious tool gets a less severe sentence than Scooter Libby.
Yesterday, the New York Times devoted considerable space to the story of one Islam Dar Ayyoub, a 15-year-old Palestinian from a village near Ramallah. According to the story, Ayyoub's childhood was stolen from him when he was thrust into Israel's military court system a year ago. Ayyoub is the Times' candidate for the position of poster child for what it calls Israel's "harsh, unforgiving methods" in dealing with Palestinian violence. But though the purpose of the story was to indict Israel, anyone reading between the lines of Ayyoub's sob story could see the real villain of this tale is not Israel's military but the Palestinian "activists" who have exploited their children. They are recruited into gangs explicitly tasked with starting violent confrontations with Israelis by the throwing of stones and other lethal weapons, hoping the soldiers will defend themselves and kill one of the kids.
Ayyoub is depicted as a victim because he gave up his confederates to the Israelis and in particular a local Palestinian adult named Bassem Tamim, who was the overseer of what in any other context would be called a violent youth gang. "Human rights" activists think the prosecution of this person should be scrapped because the kid who dropped the dime on him didn't have a lawyer or his parents present when he talked. That might be what would happen on an episode of "Law and Order," but the realities of the Middle East conflict are such that Israel's tactics are justified.