Archive for the ‘Vision for Victory’ Category

Words Fail

Friday, November 16th, 2007

H/T: Gerard.

This Is Good XLIV

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Good satire is hard to find, being such a careful balance between things that are actually happening, and the absurd. If, by it’s very existence, it cannot whip the canvas off a “Big Reveal” that something is becoming silly, that ought not be, then the satire runs the risk of becoming silly itself. It is a demanding work of art, the soufflé of political humor.

This is what I call good satire.

Rush McFatso Limbaugh, for those of you who haven’t already been told what to think of him, is a right-wing, hate-mongering hater who uses The People’s Airwaves to spew his vile hate-speech into the primitive, insect brains of the dittohead masses. Anyone who listens to his hateful tirades risks becoming one of his mindless neo-con herd. Thank Goddess we have Democrat leaders like Harry Reid to listen to Limbaugh’s show for us and whittle his entire 3-hour program down to two words.
…it’s especially infuriating that Limbaugh should attack soldiers who openly criticize Bush’s illegal and immoral war, as those are the only kinds of troops who deserve and have the respect of progressives everywhere. So much so that we won’t humiliate them by checking their credentials before we wheel them out to denounce the U.S.’s imperialist acts of aggression.

I do not have what it takes to write satire; I’m more inclined toward the monotonous, bloated, puffy essay. But one of the points upon which this piece relies, is an arcane, abstract matter that’s been bugging me like a pebble in my shoe for a long time now, that I haven’t seen pointed out by anyone, anywhere. Maybe I spilled a few words about it in the recent past, and can’t find my own ramblings. It’s possible. Let me expound.

It has to do with this thing about “those are the only kinds of troops who deserve and have the respect of progressives everywhere.” This is where the piece is nudged away from the plane of reality, since a progressive is not supposed to be heard qualifying classes of people who receive the respect or alms or comfort or assistance of other progressives…as much as they’d like to, and as accurately as this would reflect their actions and true intent. No, you won’t hear the liberal donks say such a thing, because in the domain of gutteral sounds the correct word is “all.” All, and things related to all. Everybody. Everyone, universal, every.

Of course, I’m not speaking of respect for our troops…not just that. “We support higher educational opportunities for all.” “Everybody deserves a living wage.”

What makes me queasy, is these face-to-face debates I’ve had over the last handful of years, here & there. And the “respect for troops” thing is just the most unsettling example of a phenomenon that transcends many different issues. It takes a certain level of diplomatic skill to keep these conversations light, because our donks have apprently been given instructions that they should look for opportunities to accuse the opposition of questioning their patriotism, and having detecting such an opportunity, should lash out with as much childish emotion as can be managed. You see them doing this in those letters to the editor they’ve been instructed to write, and in their left-wing blogs that exist pretty much for the purpose of repetitively recycling instructions on what is to be adored and what is to be deplored. Questioning My Patriotism! Grrrr!

And always, in the Iraq situation, one which both sides acknowledge is generally sucky, and on which both sides acknowledge a solution is elusive, and which just about everyone acknowledges to be complicated…the subject is directed, without me or anyone else bringing it up, to how the liberal feels about the troops. I’ve come to see it as a “Doth Protest Too Much” kind of a thing. And like any other issue, the word “all” is stuck in there. The donk supports the troops. All the troops.

I ask…what about the troops who want to listen to Rush Limbaugh?

What about the troops who not only support other troops like you do, but the mission as well, as you don’t?

What about the troops who re-up when they don’t have to?

What about the troops who voted for George W. Bush? Twice?

Those — too? That “all”?

I never get back the emphatic “Yes!” that you might expect. Maybe if I participated in such exchanges more often, I’d have seen it by now, but I’m a little timid. If I’m to come to blows with someone and start losing some friends, I’d much rather the issue be something genuine and real. To become a pariah because I’ve fallen into the role of “bad guy” in some script that has been circulated by Dr. Howard Dean, a charming and intelligent charlatan I’ve never personally met, just isn’t my cuppa.

But by far the most typical reaction is a “homina homina” thing followed by a hasty change in subject. That freaks me out, a little.

And as I pointed out above, it has ramifications with many other issues. “Everybody deserves a living wage” has been exposed, many times, as a crock. Liberal donks don’t believe this, even if they say they do. What if, for example, an evil, crooked CEO of the Ken Lay variety lost all his income and assets, and couldn’t get a job that paid a living wage. Forced to sell pencils in the street, like it’s 1929 all over again. Would that represent a sub-standard situation which decent people would feel some moral compulsion to jump into & fix? Because, of course, however you define a “living wage” this guy probably wouldn’t be cranking it out.

No. Of course not. It’s silly to think so even for a second. Well then…what about a CEO who wasn’t as wicked as Ken Lay? What if the same thing happened to an only-halfway crooked CEO. Or a CEO who wasn’t crooked at all? What if it was just some guy who had it good for awhile, and now, was taken down a few pegs to the point where he couldn’t even earn that “living wage”?

This is exactly the kind of dream our donks have before they get that twisted grin on their silly donk faces and that sick twinkle in their donkey eyeballs. I believe they call it “finding out what it’s like.” Is it an ethically compromised situation in which they feel compelled to run interference…get that guy the “living wage” he “deserves,” just as “everyone” does?

Again — anybody who’s been paying attention, understands that is just ridiculous. In short, they don’t mean “all.”

I’ve come to learn, slowly, that donks never seem to mean “all.” It’s the one word they can be counted-upon to start throwing around, when what they really mean is the exact opposite. There is always a filtering process in place when they use the word “all.”

Free speech is another great example. It’s pretty easy to produce or happen-upon a donk who claims it to be breathtakingly important, that “all viewpoints be heard” and that “freedom of speech” should be a right “enjoyed by all.” If they meant that for real, they would make a priority out of seeing to it the neo-Nazi skinheads could reach as big an audience as could be managed, so we could hear all about the “n-word” people don’t know their place, and the Jews made up the story about the holocaust right before they took over all the businesses. So I’m a little relieved that the donks don’t mean what they say. But if you took their words at face value, you’d have to infer this is exactly what they mean.

The donk has freedom of speech…the donk’s enjoyment of freedom of speech, is measured in his ability to reach an audience, voluntary if possible; captive, just as good. We “all” have a “right” to “freedom of speech”; therefore, the Nazi skinhead deserves a captive audience too. That would be robust, durable, simple logic. What spoils it is not that the brakes are slammed on before the Nazi is given a podium and a bullhorn, but it’s intrinsic insincerity. “All” doesn’t mean “all”; it never does.

It’s the solidarity. The living-in-tribes. The “my team is right about everything, the other team is never right about anything” stuff. It keeps getting in the way. In the last few years, I’ve developed this confusion about whether to laugh or cry when I come across this: The donks have this unwritten code, this “gang” doctrine. They are very much like sports fans who support a team, don’t know why they support the team, and adore each other all the more because nobody can offer a reason why the team should be supported. This puts them on a higher plane with each other. I guess if a well-justified reason for this team-adoration would or could be produced, this would introduce the possibility that perhaps the love is conditional.

And so no reason is produced. I don’t understand if this is a necessary ingredient to their group identity, but it certainly enhances the experience. I expect this lack-of-justification must be some kind of dessert to the feast. Or at least a garnish. The little boy who loses the ball game, by receiving the same ice cream sundae awarded to the other little boy who won it, at least knows that his Mom will always love him no matter what.

But Job Number One is the solidarity. Love the tribe with or without conditions, above all other things you must love it. Thou shalt not be caught saying or doing anything that might hurt the tribe. Nor shalt thou be caught saying or doing anything that might help the other one.

And this is why, I’m gathering, “all” never means “all” — as often as the gutteral sounds are trotted out and run through the lazy disconnected voice box. Every, everyone, each of us, all.

Hey, politics is inextricably intertwined with insincerity. But I would hope when a political ideology forms the habit of using a phrase, month in month out, year in and year out…and it can be counted on each time to indicate something logically opposite from what it’s supposed to mean…the rest of us would apply some pressure toward that phrase’s retirement. Otherwise, we’re all just chumps. It’s like a philanderer’s wife being told he’ll be home in time for dinner, and continuing to have that yummy pot roast and mashed potatoes ready at 5:30, fresh out of the oven, each and every single night even though it’s always wasted. There comes a point, to be frank about it, where the poor miserable woman ceases to be victimized and starts to be just plain stupid.

A Quiet Triumph May Be Brewing

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

And now for something completely different: Reasonable opinions about the War on Terror, based on concretely established and objectively evaluated fact.

At this point, can you handle it?

You may remember a couple of months ago a report that al Qaeda and its’ affiliates had abandoned their training camps in Pakistan along the Afghan border. The initial report caused quite a blog storm but soon the mystery was forgotten. According to AI [Internet Anthropologist], which links to references for all of this, the US got fed up with not being able to reach al Qaeda inside Pakistan. Then a few months back the US government told the Pakistani government that we had the coordinates for twenty-nine terror training bases and in a week we will be destroying them (perhaps on Cheney’s visit this summer). The intent was to drive the terrorists from those camps so we could get to them.

It worked. That’s why those camps emptied out.

So the US left the terrorists an escape route into Tora Bora. Once they had detected a large group of al Qaeda at the fortress and the likelihood of High Value Targets as determined by large scale security detachments, the US dropped the curtain on the escape routes back into Pakistan. We have been pounding the hell out of them for weeks in near complete secrecy.

None of this is proof, but it’s worth watching, and certainly a lot more informative than talking points from Wolf Blitzer. Or John Stewart, of the White House press corps, or a bunch of phony forged papers from Dan-o.

So You Build Keyboards, Do You

Friday, September 21st, 2007

I’ve been lurking in some of the fool-threads, watching fools from both sides go at it. And it has lately become clear to me that, contrary to my expectations, here in late 2007 the wildly unrealistic and irresponsible “Why Aren’t You There?” argument is still among us.

Back when I provided an answer to it, I had already started to see this repudiated by my most hardcore left-wing friends and I thought it was on the DailyKOS trash heap, or headed there. To the credit of The Left, that is what they do with some of their silliest arguments. They’re like…candy wrappers. Or condoms. Useful for a designated time, for a designated purpose, and once that purpose is fulfilled all you want to do is get rid of it.

Well if the “Why Aren’t You There?” argument is a candy wrapper, it has yet to be crumpled up; the yummy residue of what was inside has yet to be completely dumped out. Bad on them, because this shows the silliest arguments can be imbued with Yoda-like life-expectancies within the otherworldly, surreal existence of The Left. Or, at least, can be. That’s a shame. If the elections next year are about anything, they’re about whether the line tethering The Left to what’s reasonable and real has been badly frayed, or severed altogether.

And since the country needs to have that answered, we should inspect exactly what would be needed for “Why Aren’t You There?” argument to make some sense. Let’s start with the punchline itself, and what’s implied by it. You’re an anti-war lefty; you encounter, stateside, someone who thinks we should be fighting the war when you don’t think we should be. At this point, that could mean a lot of things. Many among us think it was a mistake to go into Iraq, but now that we’re there we shouldn’t leave yet. A dwindling minority of grown-ups among us resemble me, recognizing that our decision was to go in or not go in…and for a number of good reasons, not-going-in was just plain unacceptable. We say this was the right decision — the most ardent supporters, myself included, insist it was overdue — doing it over, we’d do things the same way.

Still others think we should leave Iraq, but it’s appropriate to leave the decision about when, up to the President and to Congress. That isn’t pro-war, but it’s not consistent with the “all anarchy, all the time” passion of the DailyKOS crowd. And so, of course, it goes without saying that the KOS kids hate it.

So the KOSsacks “win” the argument, in their own eyes at least, with four words: Why aren’t you there? Oh my, check my chest cavity, a pound of flesh is missing. For it has now been revealed: I don’t support the troops after all. Why, if I were, I’d be there.

Obviously, this is supposed to impress somebody — somebody who isn’t me. It doesn’t mesh with logic and common sense; not very well, and not at all. If I’m to be smeared as someone who only pretends to support the troops, but doesn’t really, it’s a bit like a wrestling match with the proverbial pig isn’t it? It’s a tad difficult to assert someone supports the troops when he’s running around stateside, grouchily making his peevish rhetorical inquiries into why so-and-so isn’t there, arguing that since so-and-so isn’t there nobody else should be. So I’ve always looked at people who say “why aren’t you there” as saying “I don’t support them, or what they’re doing, and neither should you.” I don’t see how that could mean anything else.

They tell me this is an insinuation I shouldn’t dare make. Well, okay…if I can’t say it out loud, I’ll just have to think it in silence, for I can think nothing else. It just doesn’t seem like a very supportive question to be asking, to me.

But let’s inspect the logic that goes into this. You ask “Why Aren’t You There?” and in response, I go homina-homina-homina…the conclusion to be drawn, is that I’m only pretending there’s a good reason for anybody to be there, by deep down I know there isn’t one because if there was, I’d be there myself.

Okay. So…when people recognize there’s even so much as a peripheral reason for something to be done, they do it themselves.

No exceptions. None.

This is incredible. Consider the ramifications. How many things are there that people do, that I personally don’t do and have not done. I’m not a schoolteacher, I’m not a fireman, I’m not a construction worker. I don’t pick coffee beans or roast them or package them or transport them or sell them; so I can’t drink coffee. Logically, my butt need not fit into the chair in which I’m sitting as I type this, since I don’t build chairs — and I shouldn’t have need to type this, since I don’t build keyboards.

A great rejoinder to this would be “Are you a gynecologist or a cop?” Very few would be able to answer to one of those; by their logic, if they’re gynecologists, we must not need the police, and if they’re police, we must not need gynecologists.

It’s been presumed by some that the typical KOSKid lives in his parents’ basement and doesn’t do anything. I’ve found the crudest and simplest stereotypes are the ones that are lacking in merit, and have settled into a habit of dismissing this one. But the “Why Aren’t You There?” argument tempts me to reconsider it. It seems to me to be an argument acceptable to someone who doesn’t do anything and hasn’t done anything. I’ve met, personally, some folks who have managed to channel vast amounts of energy into coming up with reasons not to do things, enough to convince me this is a modern epidemic — this might be the cause, or perhaps, the ultimate effect.

Maybe the plague of the twenty-first century is not cancer, or AIDs, but sloth. A conviction that, if it is to be admitted that anything is important or worthwhile or beneficial to anyone, some boogeyman might come along and invite the person so admitting, to climb aboard and contribute in some way. I’m gathering that some folks find this horrifying, for the simple reason that a meaningful contribution would be antithetical to the way they’ve lived their lives up until now. It would be an unwelcome paradigm shift.

This is something I already know to be true, about some people. Thing I Know #92. Useful people have a fear of becoming useless that is exceeded in intensity only by the fear useless people have of someday being useful.

So I presume when people say “Why Aren’t You There?,” what they’re saying is they’ve managed to live out their lives without contributing anything whatsoever to anyone whatsoever, and don’t want to change.

That is their right. But it impresses me a lot — and by that, I mean down to the marrow of my bones. We have people serving in Iraq, losing parts of their bodies…coming back stateside, getting patched up, learning how to use their prosthetics, and then asking to go back there again. And then we have other people who have made a sort of religion out of not doing anything that might be helpful to someone, and calling into question whether anyone else should help someone, or even say kind things about those who do.

To put it more elegantly, some among us have a phobia about giving away some of their sweat, while others have no compunctions whatsoever about giving away their blood.

And the bulk of both groups reside in the same narrow age bracket. A five-year window somewhere around the half the age I am now.

I see times of deep, irreconcilable conflict in the years ahead. Something like what we’ve already had for the last forty years or so. But much, much deeper and darker.

As for my answer, it remains unchanged. To oppose YOU. Anyone who asks “Why Aren’t You There?” is, all the bullshit peeled aside, a nihilist. Nihilists are having a fairly good time of it right now; they’re injecting a nihilist marinade into everything we do in public policy lately; and, by nature, don’t support the troops or much of anything else. Someone with principle and brains has to be stateside, to make sure they are opposed.

They are trying to make a lot of decisions for everybody else, after all. Those decisions are not wise. They are not harmless.

They have to be opposed.

Coy Mistress

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

If I were tasked to make a time capsule the size of an Altoids breath strips tin, with only one tiny hunk of paper sealed inside that is to capture the spirit of 2007 for the benefit of those unsealing it in 50 or 100 years, I think this piece is a great candidate. It is as unremarkable as it is representative. Captures everything we’ve heard since the day after Saddam Hussein was captured.

I THOUGHT of Andrew Marvell and his four-century-old verse when I read that General David Petraeus had said: “I can think of few commanders in history who wouldn’t have wanted more troops, more time, or more unity among their partners. However, if I could only have one, at this point in Iraq it would be more time.”

But Petraeus’s “coy mistress,” the broken Iraqi state, is not about to give in. The stated goal of the Bush administration’s escalation of the Iraq war is to buy time so that the warring and hostile factions in Iraq can work out acceptable compromises and power sharing. But the Iraqi factions don’t want acceptable compromises and power sharing. They want power for themselves.
Yes, it might be possible to pacify Iraq with a million-man American army of occupation over a period of 10 to 20 years. But not even that is a given. The military reality, as Colin Powell warned, is that the United States doesn’t have a big enough Army to pacify even the city of Baghdad. One neighborhood can be brought to heel for a while, but as soon as the American troops move on security, falls to pieces again.

The political reality is that Americans are fed up with George W. Bush’s bold attempt to reorder the Middle East and impose democracy by military force. What has now been so thoroughly revealed as a recklessness born of ignorance and a stubborn unwillingness to know has brought only disaster that cannot be repaired by a few more months or years of undermanned surges.

The entire article reads like this. Winning a war is one thing, but we don’t “have a big enough Army to pacify even the city of Baghdad.” And “reality is that Americans are fed up with George W. Bush’s bold attempt to…impose democracy by military force.”

Toss in a quote from a seventeenth-century poet, and the concoction is ready. Yet another intellectual titan is waggling his finger at that swaggering southern simpleton George W. Bush…I guess for starting “his” war. But there’s plenty more concoction where that came from, so fire up the conveyor belt. This is just one ingot, representative of tons of hot melted liquid anger. And contemptuousness.

But he’s right, isn’t he? Isn’t he just, oh, so incredibly right?

Well he’s certainly given that impression. That is how he earns his paycheck…by “looking” right. And contemptuous people do that naturally, since the surest path to contempt is a sincere belief that you’ve thought things out and someone else hasn’t. But it’s widely understood this is a complex affair, and it’s a small component to a War on Terror that is an even more complex affair. So it seems wise to take a couple steps back and see how this “rightness” works on the broader equation.

Nutcases from the middle east are trying to kill us. What do we DO? Act…or not? And I have to ask this because if we’re to smack our foreheads and glean any cherished bits of wisdom from this holy epiphany from the Boston Globe and apply them to the situation at hand, why, every lesson I can think of falls into the “Not Act” column.

And this is the item our editorialist seems to have missed. If the issue is that “Americans are fed up,” well, I think it can reasonably be stated that Americans are fed up with doing nothing while nutcases from the middle east try to kill us. If someone wants to challenge that, fine, maybe we should go ahead and duke it out. We got an election coming up. If populism is to decide national security issues, maybe the election should be about that: Are we just tin cans, beer bottles and metal ducks? Or are we a thinking people who engage the enemy when there is one?

As popular and plentiful as this kind of editorial tone is at the moment, I expect it will come as quite a shock to people living in 2107. It will have been a fact recorded by history that President Clinton signed an act of Congress, incorporating regime change in Iraq into U.S. policy. And, it will have been a fact that President Bush acted on this, and assembled a coalition to enforce previous resolutions by the United Nations. Clinton and the U.N. said; Bush did. We can conveniently ignore half that sequence because it’s politically popular with the print media to make this look like “Bush’s war,” but future generations will have to explore the legal framework of what happened here just to begin inspecting the times in which we live. And by then, all who stand to benefit from the misrepresentation that George Bush just woke up one morning and decided to ravage and rape Baghdad, a Xanadu-like utopia in which birds sang and children flew kites yadda yadda yadda…will be dead. Or frozen. Such deceiptful opportunists will, by then, much more closely resemble the “coy mistress” in her ultimate fate: Her lifeless body crumbling away in a tomb somewhere, worms deflowering her of the very virginity she coyly shielded from her erudite suitor.

Meanwhile, scholars and schoolkids studying the invasion of Iraq, will study not just that, but what came before. Would that we were diligent enough to do the same in our own time — but we are blinded by the bright lights of political exigencies.

What do we DO? What is our DECISION? Not just with the current situation in Baghdad, but with the overall issue of global terrorism? Such petulant inquiries simply summarize the thinking state of a mature and responsible adult; with apologies to Donald Rumsfeld, we make our decisions with the situations we have. To simply ask the questions, all but silences impertinent editorial pieces just like this one, which by now surely number in the tens of thousands. And it also reminds us that this, after all, is not George Bush’s war. It belongs to all of us, and we are on defense not on offense.

If we can be made to forget that for fifteen more months, we’ll see a Democrat in the White House. If not, then we won’t.

Jefferson Quotes on the Executive Branch

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Earlier, I had made a passing reference to this gaffe of Senator Clinton’s, in which she as much as promised everybody around the world that the United States would be pulling out of Iraq someday soon. Against reason and common sense, we are now being instructed to believe there is nothing wrong with what Sen. Clinton said, and there is everything wrong with anyone who might have the temerity to point out possible negative consequences to her remarks.

Someone who’s been drinking way too much of the Kool-Aid made the comment that when Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman criticized her in writing for her remarks, it was the latest example of the administration behaving in a way that was “not very Jeffersonian.” I questioned what Thomas Jefferson would have had to say about it, and got back the usual nonsense: I was a dimwit for thinking Jefferson would have said anything besides what I was told he would have said, and furthermore, I was a dimwit for thinking “Jeffersonian” has something to do with what Jefferson would have said.

I guess, all-around, it’s something of a sin to do any thinking for yourself. You’re just supposed to do as you’re told and think what you’re told to think — unless you hate George W. Bush, then you can go ahead and tell others what they’re supposed to be thinking.

Well…maybe I really am just a big dummy when all’s said and done. I just can’t get it through my thick skull that members of Congress should be allowed to say whatever they want, and it’s all good. This is a bit much for me to grasp. And you know what keeps getting in my way? Ironically it’s that rhetoric that’s been flowing non-stop from the Bush-haters themselves; you know, all that “America is despised around the world” stuff. It usually takes on a flavor of: We’re oafish, unaware of people in other countries and the effect our ill-considered actions has on their situations. I mean, if that’s all true there must be some consequences to our duly-elected lawmakers saying some things. Right? These are the people who decide what America is going to be doing next.

So if there’s suspicion about my country around the world, and the suspicion exists for the reasons I’ve been told…there’s gotta be some limit to what our lawmakers say before their mutterings have a deleterious effect on international relations.

You can’t have it both ways.

But what would Thomas Jefferson have said about the Clinton/Edelman flap? I had my doubts that he would side with Sen. Clinton, since doing so would involve a notion that congressmen can say whatever they want about the executive, but the executive and his subordinates can’t say butkus about congressmen. After finding a page of Jefferson quotes about the executive branch, I have even more doubts. There’s a recurring theme of concern over the executive’s ability to operate freely, to marshal a sense of judgment that only an individual can. To make decisions outside of committee.

Of course, it should be pointed out that Jefferson functioned as an executive for eight years. As far as I know, service in the Continental Congress, aside, his resume is a little skimpy in taking on the burdens of, and enjoying the authority of, a congressman. That is, discounting his role as President of the Senate in John Adams’ administration. None of that compares to the tempestuous power struggles that occurred between his administration and the other two branches of government.

But the point stands. Bush haters, in Congress and elsewhere, want the President to be gelded. Many among them have been aroused to this desire by a sense that the Florida election of 2000 was way too close. Jefferson fretted mightily about the executive being gelded. And he was in no position whatsoever, to endorse the idea that the President’s authority should be compromised just because his election fell short of a landslide.

Best Sentence XIV

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Tony Blankley, who used to serve as press secretary to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, delivers a huge payoff after a paragraph of teasing. It’s priceless. And his message is one for our times, and couldn’t possibly be more important.

The Senate is emitting an embarrassing level of emotional policy twitching on the topic of Iraq. Sen. Harry Reid can’t take the war anymore. He “knows” it is lost. Sen. Olympia Snowe has just about had it with the Iraqi government. If they don’t meet her benchmarks — that’s it. Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks “that the handwriting is on the wall that we are going in a different direction in the fall, and I expect the president to lead it.” Who authored that wall graffiti, he doesn’t say. After talking with grieving family members of one of our fallen warriors, Sen. Pete Domenici “wants a new strategy for Iraq.”

I haven’t seen such uncritical thinking since I hid under my bedsheets to get away from the monsters back when I was 3 years old. [emphasis mine]

Nailed it shut, Mr. Blankley. If I traveled back in time to the era of World War II, I’m really not sure how I would explain this. I think emotionally the families who lost good men, would be able to understand it just fine: Coffins came home, and now people want to end the war. They’d understand the wanting just great. The thinking, the values, the noodling-it-out…they wouldn’t be able to get it, I don’t think. They’d be horrified.

I’d have to explain it this way: “In 2007, people don’t think the military exists to defend the nation. They think it’s there to provide free educational benefits. Coffins coming home…far fewer than you people have seen in your time…represent an unmistakable sign that the military has been misused.”

Oh and I’d have to throw in this gem too: Any adult males like me, who haven’t served, but nevertheless want to express our respect toward those who have and those who do…are called “chickenhawks.” All we have to do to earn this, is note that someone else has done something more important than the things we’ve done. That’s all. It’s a derogatory term designed to get us to shut up, while people who hold nothing but contempt for the armed forces are able to express themselves freely.

This would knock them flat, I’m pretty sure.

But would I be summarizing the situation unfairly?

Crisis in Omaha

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Via fellow Webloggin member Bookworm, via Community of Blogging Excellence Webloggin, we find out about this very well-put-together clip about how D-Day would have been reported today.

Love the flags. With one little “swish” the point is made: Things that are obligatory in news reporting in 2007, would have gotten you shot in 1944 and rightly so.

On the same subject, into the “Required Reading” file goes Victor Davis Hanson’s article about Lessons from D-Day. The lessons as I see them: There’s nothing admirable about getting discouraged and giving up. And a well-organized political campaign, designed to coerce others to get discouraged and give up, is no less deplorable.

If it’s worth doing something, it’s worth beginning with the end in mind. I really do wish our left-wingers showed one-twentieth as much courage and conviction and vision for victory fighting crazy Islamic psychopaths, as they show when fighting Republicans. Both “wars” have to do with public relations. How about directing that energy a little more evenly?

A Not-Illegal Bad Guy

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

KhadrRest well, America. The judicial oversight is on the job, to stop jurisdictional abuses in their tracks.

The Bush administration’s plans to bring detainees at Guantánamo Bay to trial were thrown into chaos yesterday when military judges threw out all charges against a detainee held there since he was 15 and dismissed charges against another detainee who chauffeured Osama bin Laden.
In back-to-back arraignments for the Canadian Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national, the US military’s cases against the alleged al-Qaida figures were dismissed because, the judges said, the government had failed to establish jurisdiction.

That’s right, the government didn’t establish jurisdiction. It’s like my liberals keep telling me…the Constitution is stronger, for the benefit of us all, when it is used to safeguard the rights of the least among us.

I guess.

So who is this guy anyway?

Khadr’s father moved his family to Afghanistan, where they lived in Osama bin Laden’s compound, and played with bin Laden’s children. Khadr’s father has been described as one of bin Laden’s senior lieutenants.

Omar’s older brother Abdurahman Khadr described being sent to military training camps shortly after his arrival, when he was just eleven years old. All of the Khadr boys are believed to have military training while they were children.
On July 27, 2002, 15-year-old Khadr was in a compound near Khost that was surrounded by US special forces.
Most press accounts of the skirmish say that Khadr killed a “medic”, implying that he had attacked a noncombatant after giving his surrender, but although Sgt. Christopher Speer had been trained as a medic, he was actually leading the squad combing the compound after they believed all occupants had been killed.

Khadr leapt from hiding and threw a grenade, which injured Sgt. Speer and led to his death, and injured three other members of the squad. Omar was shot three times, and left nearly blind in one eye. He was subsequently treated and his life was saved by U.S. medics.

Oh…kay…so why are we throwing the case out again?

At issue, according to [Judge Peter] Brownback, was a 2004 finding by a so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunal that declared Khadr an “enemy combatant.”

The process was designed by the Pentagon to substitute a military review panel for civilian courts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rasul vs. Bush in 2004 that Guantánamo detainees have the right to contest their detention.

Congress then stepped in to create the 2006 Military Commissions Act after a U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled an early military commissions format unconstitutional.

But the so-called MCA, signed into law by President Bush, said only ”unlawful enemy combatants” could be brought before the special war court.

The distinction and technical language has evolved across the five years the United States has been detaining and classifying war-on-terror captives — and shuttling them here via an 8,000-mile air bridge from Afghanistan.

In short, an ”unlawful enemy combatant” has no right to be on the battlefield while a ”lawful enemy combatant” may have the power to engage in warfare.

All right, I think I’m seeing the picture. Let’s narrate it in the most cool-headed, centrist, objective way we can.

We got here, in the parlance of old, a “bad guy.” Remember those, right? A guy the good guys are fighting. No argument there…he’s playing with bin Laden’s kids, getting military training with al Qaeda, throwing grenades at our guys and killing ’em dead. So he’s this bad guy. He mortally wounds Sgt. Christopher Speer, and Speer’s comrades shoot him up, then treat him for his wounds. He’d a-killed them…but once they had him in custody, they treated his wounds. Seems pretty clear who’s wearing the white hat and who’s wearing the black hat here. So with apologies to Sen. Kerry and all my “nuanced” liberal friends…we got good guys here, and we got bad guys here. Or one bad guy.

Bad guy gets captured.

Lawyers say…hey. Bad guys in Guantanamo can contest their detention. Bush administration says, fair enough. We’ll go by the precedent that was created by President Roosevelt during WWII. Enemy combatants. Legalistic term for bad guy. He fits, right? He killed one of ours. He’s a combatant…he’s an enemy. We’ll try the bad guy in a military tribunal.

Supreme Court declares the early military commissions unconstitutional, and so in response Congress passes the Military Commissions Act. This addresses the earlier unconstitutionalities, somehow, using the term unlawful enemy combatant. So I guess, not only is he a bad guy but he’s an illegal bad guy.

Yeah. Not only is he killing our good guys, but he’s breaking the law doing it.

Except — he was never classified that way. So the court, here, is saying the MCA doesn’t apply to him, because he’s an enemy combatant — not an unlawful enemy combatant.

Court’s not saying he’s lawful, mind you. It’s a procedural issue. A clerical boo-boo. The peg was put in a square hole instead of a round one, so we have to throw everything out and start again.

See what’s happening here?

Let’s put it all in historical context. Look up Marbury vs. Madison, and read top to bottom. Everyone who follows stuff dealing with the word “unconstitutional,” should do exactly that.

This is the decision in which the Supreme Court invested itself with the authority to declare things unconstitutional. Except — it didn’t do that. Read the decision. Up until six-tenths of the way through, the decision argues forcefully that the plaintiff is owed a remedy. Only after that point, are the constitutional implications considered. And in considering those, Chief Justice John Marshall finds his Court to have derived such authority for remedy, from a law that is utterly, irreconcilably incompatible with the Constitution.

And interestingly, he doesn’t cite anything in the Constitution that says “you can’t do this”; he simply cites an absence of any constitutional passage that says you can. But that’s an argument for another day.

Now fast forward to June of 2007. This is different from what was done in 1803.

This is “Gotcha!” jurisprudence. It is a practice of scanning the case, top to bottom, and looking for an excuse to fold. Finding some flimsy justification somewhere for yelling “Yabba dabba doo!” and packing it in and going home. Rationalizing. With precedent, or without it…find a reason why we must stop, turn ’round and go back. Invent new rules, if that’s what it takes.

Of course, highly observant legal minds could point out the same was true of the Marbury decision. It was a political maneuver, after all. Some might even say a cynical ploy in the feuding between Marshall’s Federalists and President Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans. And this would be a good point. But the decisions are still substantially different.

Marshall had to spend a few paragraphs showing why it was that awarding the Writ of Mandamus was absolutely, intolerably, incompatible with the Constitution. How, even under the best of circumstances, awarding the remedy he had determined to be proper, would violate even the most forgiving interpretation of the charter he had sworn to uphold. In fact, if you read the text, he shows himself to be beholden to two laws that directly contradict each other — placing himself in the position of being forced to break one or the other. He then illustrates the absurdity of violating the greater law, for the purpose of observing his fidelity to the lesser one.

In other words…it’s plain, old-fashioned logic.

That isn’t what’s happening now. This latest decision is an exercise of looking for excuses. What logic is involved? Bad guy…legal bad guy…illegal bad guy. The commission only has authority to try bad guys, who don’t have the right to be bad guys, and this guy does have the right to be a bad guy, so we bring everything to a stop?

I’m glad Luke Skywalker didn’t have to worry about this legal jockeying when he was blowing up the Death Star. In fact, I would have to say with this decision, the whole notion of law and order has been completely demolished. Imagine. Someone’s a bad guy…but before we can do anything we have to cogitate on whether he has the right to be a bad guy, or not. We got processes for dealing with legal bad guys, and other processes for dealing with illegal bad guys. Don’t go getting in the wrong line, now.

The issue is consequences. We have a system of justice, because we’re worried about consequences — if you can do bad things and get away with it, you’ll probably keep doing the bad things and others will learn from your example. With our system of justice in place, we have oversight because we’re worried about more consequences. You arrest people without cause, hold them without a trial, refuse to recognize their constitutional protections, what’s to stop you from doing the same to everybody else?

Consequences. Our entire legal system is based on worries about consequences. The enforcement, the legislation, the judicial oversight. It’s all about the consequences.

What are the consequences of dealing with people who want to kill us, as if each of them represented some strange, pain-in-the-ass red-tape exercise at the DMV? Take a number, and…well, no two of our bureaucrat desk clerks can agree on what line you’re supposed to get in. Maybe you have to renew this registration by mail. We’re not sure. Did you know you can make an appointment online? But how to get this thing done-done…well, nobody’s sure. We all just work here. Take a number. Have a seat.

What’re the consequences of THAT?

I think everyone would agree, our country has “enemies” in the sense that there are people we’re trying to neutralize, before they neutralize us. I think everyone would have to agree with that — and if not, then some pictures from 9/11/01 should help them see the error of their ways. Well, I don’t think those other guys are confused about what line to put us in.

And here we are obsessed with legal bad guys versus illegal bad guys.

Our system understands procedures; it’s a little foggy on the concept of threats. Time for an overhaul.

A Hero Sleeps II

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Millions upon millions upon millions of my fellow citizens want this war to be over. Like…yesterday.

Could it be they just don’t like the body bags pouring in? They have so much respect for human life they want it to stop, whatever the price may be?

Or…do they not like to be reminded of the distance between the true potential of human courage, and what they themselves show on a daily basis?

I leave it to the reader to decide.

Rest easy and God Bless, noble warrior. This is your world, the rest of us just live in it.


Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Well done, Michelle. The raw cheerleading talent…well, it could use some work. But you’ve captured what’s going on. Precisely.

Just take three steps back and look at the BIG picture. Socialism and eugenics…our liberals are in favor of taking control of matters that deal with those two. Nothing else. That is what stays consistent across issue after issue. Take charge of what the little people are allowed to make, take charge of what the little people are allowed to be. That’s it.

On all other issues the name of the left-wing game is to be passive. Passive, passive, passive…and there’s no limit to how evil you are if you want someone to take control of something. Someone breaks into your house. Someone steals your car. Someone runs around killing little kids. Radical Islamic whacko people want to kill us. Just toss around bromides and platitudes, sit back and let things happen.

Neutralizing bad guys? FUHGEDDABOWDIT. Whether it’s a terrorist blowing up a plane or a compulsive child-murderer who belongs on death row, there’s something about putting a bad guy down that makes liberals cringe. Nothing’s worth defending; nothing is worth it. The consistency is just amazing.

And they say the Republicans have absolutely nothing going for them in ’08. If that’s true under present circumstances, some Republican campaign advisors need to find another line of work. Defeat the left wing? Just force it to admit what it is. It’s the “Nothing Worth Defending” wing.

Credit TheSaloon.Net for the picture.

Update: It’s necessary to save this link from Monday and you’ll see why when you peek. To bottom-line it, Harry Reid does have a defense for his comment about the war being lost. He says his statement is fair because…hope you’re sitting down…he’s “stick[ing] with General Petreaus.” The war “cannot be won militarily,” Reid knows this because Petreaus said it. Yeah. Gen. Petreaus and Harry Reid are on one side of this thing, and President Bush is on the other side…all alone, I guess.

Just goes to show. When a donk tells you someone said something, the last thing the donk wants you to do is check things out. I notice that’s been pretty consistent, too.

Funny that Reid would call Bush a liar, when Reid himself is mischaracterizing Gen. Petraeus’ comments about military victory in Iraq so egregiously that it rises to the level of a despicable lie. Here’s a statement from General Petraeus that more accurately characterizes his position on Iraq (given during a US Armed Services Committee hearing on 1/23/2007):

It is, however, exceedingly difficult for the Iraqi government to come to grips with the toughest issues it must resolve while survival is the primary concern of so many in Iraq’s capital. For this reason, military action to improve security, while not wholly sufficient to solve Iraq’s problems, is certainly necessary. And that is why additional U.S. and Iraqi forces are moving to Baghdad.

And then there’s this exchange between Gen. Petraeus and Senator McCain during the same hearing:

SEN. MCCAIN: “Suppose we send you over to your new job, General, only we tell you that you can’t have any additional troops. Can you get your job done?”

GEN. PETRAEUS: “No, sir.”

Lying, in the same breath as calling others liars. Characterizing a war as having been lost when it has been anything but. Caught red-handed.

Just disgusting.

Best Sentence XI

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

…and to think the best sentence I’ve heard lately, comes from the guy known far-and-wide, here too, for thoroughly botching up mediocre sentences. Nevermind getting out any good ones.

“When Americans went to the polls last November, they did not vote for politicians to substitute their judgment for the judgment of our commanders on the ground,” [U.S. President George] Bush said. “And they certainly did not vote to make peanut storage projects part of the funding for our troops.” [emphasis mine]

Harry ReidThe occasion was the admission — right out in plain sight, in broad daylight, not in the smoke-filled cloakrooms — by senior democrat legislators that they have no principles, none whatsoever. Or if any of them do, they don’t use them.

Democrats know they might lose this month’s showdown with President Bush on legislation to pull troops out of Iraq. But with 2008 elections in mind, majority Democrats says it is only a matter of time before they will get their way. Senior Democrats are calculating that if they keep the pressure on, eventually more Republicans will jump ship and challenge the president – or lose their seats to Democratic contenders.

“It’s at least my belief that they are going to have to break because they’re going to look extinction, some of them, in the eye,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of his Republican colleagues.

Added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: “We’re going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war.” [emphasis mine]

Good one, huh? It’s almost a contender for the House of Eratosthenes Best Sentence award in-and-of itself. Or…most telling sentence. Most revealing.

Can anyone with an I.Q. higher than their age, suppose even for a moment that the Majority Leader refers to the prospect that our troops are going to start kicking ass? That they’ve lost their last man between this moment and the day we enjoy complete uncompromised victory, our 21st-century V.E. day, and we’ll all sit back and realize that our military victory comes as a direct result of our new glorious democrat leadership?

You think that might be what he means? Yeah. Right.

But Don’t Question Their PatriotismTM.

Question It Again

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Someone was holding up this “Talking Points Memo” as an example of Bill O’Reilly “questioning the patriotism of anyone who would disagree with Bush’s policies” or some words to that effect. I remember thinking I must be the slope-foreheaded bushbot they say I am, because I scanned it from top to bottom two or three times and couldn’t find where O’Reilly was doing this.

Now patriotic Americans, those who put the good of their country above partisan politics, can disagree all day long about the Iraq conflict. There’s no question the war has not gone well. And those of us who thought the Iraqi people en mass would help America and Britain were wrong.

As “Talking Points” has stated, many Iraqis are far more interested in killing their rivals than they are in having a peaceful Democratic nation, but there’s much on the line in Iraq, including blunting an increasingly belligerent Iran, which seeks to control the oil flow from the Gulf.

So if there is a possibility of stabilizing things in Iraq, and there is, my stated opinion is to support one last attempt to do that.

Therefore, Harry Reid is wrong to force a timetable and try to cut funding at this moment. He and Speaker Pelosi are putting American troops in a very bad position. The soldiers and marines fighting in Iraq know what’s going on in Washington and it affects them.

This is an issue that’s been visited and revisited. But the whole Iraq thing seems to be rounding some sort of corner, so maybe it’s good to examine this one more time.

In all seriousness, I’m alarmed at the explosive expansion of this bulls-eye that is the “questioning of patriotism.” For a number of reasons. First of all, let’s skirt past the issue of whether O’Reilly did the questioning or not — and ponder what great offense has been committed, assuming he did. I must say I’m a little lost on the usefulness involved in pointing it out. It must be some sort of taboo, as in, everybody has agreed it’s something you’re not supposed to be doing.

When did that vote go down?

If it’s wrong to question patriotism, it seems to me it must be wrong because we live in a country where arguments are considered purely on their merits and people shouldn’t be ostracized just for holding unpopular views. Wouldn’t such a rule, ironically, make it quite okay to question patriotism wherever we as thinking individuals find it to be questionable? So this irascible protest has never made much sense to me. In fact, when a little more oomph is positioned behind it, with the optional “How DARE you!” undertone riveted on at the factory like an extra cupholder or moon-roof, it’s always taken on a none-too-subtle “doth protest too much” flavor in my eyes. As in, what’s wrong with questioning your patriotism, Sparky? You might not like the answer that emerges if we ask the question too much?

I just can’t stop myself from thinking that. How am I supposed to, when there’s anger injected in and the “how-dare-you” guy seems to be the one injecting it?

Well if we’re living in the twilight of the era where I’m able to question patriotism, there are a number of places where I’d like to direct that question. So much patriotism to be questioned, so little time to do it — I’d better get started.

First of all, there is the question of what object of affection has aroused the “patriotism” of the so-called patriots who have this unquestionable patriotism. America is, after all, a country built on stolen land. We got a lot of people walking around with all kinds of respect for the land, and with none at all for the country that was built upon it. Some of them say we should get out of Iraq now, come what may, and I’m not allowed to question their patriotism because of course they have all this love for the country. What country is that, anyway? Am I not allowed to ask? If you think all the acreage between Maine and Big Sur is oh so lovable but everything that happened since 1492 is just an enormous mistake, isn’t that something I should know about before I consider your ideas about leaving Iraq?

There are others who aren’t quite so keen on the past, but are endlessly fascinated with the future. Mostly secular humanists, these folks have watched way too many episodes of Star Trek and think of capitalism and religion as ugly things to be destroyed. They are peaceful because they’re convinced time is on their side. We’ll all stop believing in God, and then we’ll achieve a one-world government. We’ll all labor endlessly for the benefit of one another, even though rankings, offices, and economic classes will have been systematically eliminated. These folks think we should leave Iraq. But this is in service of a vision for humanity that has never before been attained, and is logically quite impossible. Isn’t it fair to take that into account?

There are folks who don’t like what we’re doing in Iraq right now simply because it takes attention away from other things. Our Democrats like to run for re-election every two years by promising to “shore up” Social Security. Every election season they promise to fix it, and hope people forget that they promised exactly the same thing twenty-four months previous. And bring down premiums, make sure everybody has health insurance and free college, et cetera et cetera…let’s face it. It’s a little tough to get excited about it when good young people are fighting and dying in a foreign land. It’s understandable they want the fighting to stop, so they can go back to selling us their crap. But they have other things in mind besides the welfare of the troops that are getting hurt and killed. If the fighting stops and their agenda for giving more money to people who already have generous retirement funds, suddenly takes on an air of “gotta get ‘er done” just because we’re no longer thinking about terrorists that want to kill us — is that a renewal of perspective, or a loss of it? The terrorists are still out there; they still want to kill us; thinking about a new triple-retirement plan for geezers who already have huge motorhomes, isn’t going to make the terrorists go away. Can’t I question the patriotism, just enough to consider this as a cynical political ploy? Just to consider it?

And then there are people who genuinely don’t like fighting. They honestly believe this is “George Bush’s war for oil,” and if we stop rattling sabers everybody else will stop too. I’m thinking this is the loudest of the bunch. To them, peace is something that seldom comes with strings, nevermind what history has to say about it. Peace, to them, is something for which you place a wish…just like shooting off an order through cyberspace to Amazon. Allow a few days for shipping and it’ll be here. Some of them are young and male and desperately afraid they’ll be drafted. Or not so desperately…they like to read about the hippies back in the 1960’s, and want to protest in similar fashion. A lot of them fancy themselves as oppressed, and spend vast reserves of energy finding a way to make it happen. They’re isolationists in the purest form. They refuse to support the authority our government may have to enforce resolutions against hostile nations, because in so doing they may bolster the authority our government would have to do other things. Like take away their weed someday. This doesn’t exactly impress me as “patriotism.” Again — I can ask the question, can’t I? Just ask it?

We’re not done yet, because there is the matter of our “allies.” Former presidential contender John Kerry seems to have been on a mission to make sure I never stop hearing that word; and, to make sure he’s never called-upon to list who these allies are. Fun fact: He mentioned this word not less than seven times in the first presidential debate in ’04. Seven times. If you were making his arguments, and not hiding something, wouldn’t you list who these allies are? And more importantly, what exactly it is they want? He asked “What message does [the war] send to our allies?” He said we need “a president who can bring allies to our side.” The prudent voter would have to wonder if there’s a price involved in that; Senator Kerry never said anything to the contrary. And the unpleasant fact of the matter is, when you talk about the intrests of other countries you’re sometimes talking about something against ours. There’s the matter of currency exchange, if nothing else. A year goes by, the dollar sinks by eight to ten cents maybe. That’s a relative thing, you know. The dollar slides against the Yen…or the Euro…or the Pound. This makes our exports cheaper to other countries. Good for them, bad for us. And the things we do politically, have an effect on this. I can’t begrudge other countries for wanting us to do things that will enable them to buy more of our stuff for less money. It’s in their interest. But it goes to show that “bring[ing] allies to our side” is not always a worthy and cost-effective venture. Not unqualifiably so; not axiomatically so. It bears inspection. Can I not inspect it by inspecting the motives of those who want us to do certain things?

Let us not forget the hostility to Israel both at home and abroad. The movement to destroy Israel is as old as that nation itself. The United States gives a lot of aid to Israel and some folks think that’s a bad idea. Some folks are trying to follow George Washington’s caution against foreign entanglements, or think that’s what they’re doing; others are blatant neo-Nazis, or are in bed with the neo-Nazi movement. They don’t want us in Iraq because they want Israel surrounded by enemies. Maybe they think they’ve got a compelling argument to make about this. Maybe some of them are eloquent enough to make it sound like “patriotism.” I just think they should go ahead and make the argument, rather than avoid it by sniping and snarking at anyone who questions their patriotism. Antisemite jackasses should be loud and proud.

Those are six noisy, angry factions of people — each one millions and millions of American citizens strong — who have their reasons for supporting the “Out Of Iraq Now” movement. I could think of more if I tried, and they’re all working hard to recruit. Each of them take the position that they’re “patriots,” and can actually defend that to a certain extent. Well, I disagree with all six of them; I think a lot of other folks disagree with all six of them too. And personally, I don’t think they’re patriotic at all. Not in the way I define it.

I just think a discussion is in order. I think it’s compulsory.

That isn’t to say there are no good reasons for wanting us out of Iraq. But in my book, anyone signing up for the mass exodus because he’s been bullied and coerced from “questioning” somebody’s “patriotism” — or simply wants to go-along to get-along — is a fool. A complete asinine fool. With whom are you sharing that bed? And aren’t you worse than any of the six, if you don’t know who’s on-board with you, and don’t care to find out?

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XVII

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

From time to time, the odious burden of measuring lunacy falls to the pages of this blog. Measurement can be an epic ambition where mere illustration is, for a number of reasons, inadequate. When lunacy runs deep, illustration is a pointless exercise. And so we use measurement. Of course X is silly, but how silly is it?

And so we’ve been deploying the hypothetical of the dispassionate but reasonable space alien, which in turn is something we rather shamelessly purloined from such fine shows as My Favorite Martian, Mork and Mindy, and a bunch of other stuff that came between those two. Assume a stranger, well-versed in reason and logic but wholly unacquainted with our customs. The visitor has missed out on newsworthy events both recent and distant…he can consume our talking points only by viewing recordings of them, and considering them on their merits.

What would he say? When he asks questions, can you predict what they would be? And how, oh Lordy how, would you go about answering them?

We did it here, and we did it again here. And a few other places too.

I don’t know if Charles Krauthammer reads my blog. I would expect hardly anybody does. But how then do you explain this gem which was brought to my attention while perusing the page of blogger friend Buck out in Portales, NM.

Thought experiment: Bring in a completely neutral observer — a Martian — and point out to him that the United States is involved in two hot wars against radical Islamic insurgents. One is in Afghanistan, a geographically marginal backwater with no resources and no industrial or technological infrastructure. The other is in Iraq, one of the three principal Arab states, with untold oil wealth, an educated population, an advanced military and technological infrastructure that, though suffering decay in the later years of Saddam Hussein’s rule, could easily be revived if it falls into the right (i.e., wrong) hands. Add to that the fact that its strategic location would give its rulers inordinate influence over the entire Persian Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. Then ask your Martian: Which is the more important battle? He would not even understand why you are asking the question.

I’ve been robbed, but I’m not calling the police. I’m quite flattered.

As far as the point Krauthammer is making: I’m afraid he’s put the hypothetical space alien to better use than I ever did. Some of the talking points coming from our donkey friends have been emboldened by a few too many move-on-dot-org rallies, it seems, and have now become so dizzy and disoriented that they make sense only to earthlings. Coming out of a genie’s lamp after a couple thousand years, trying to make sense of it all using reason and common sense — you’d achieve confusion and very little else. The oil and other resources in Iraq make it materially valuable to the United States…and to nobody else? How do you figure such assets can be used only to slime the current administration, and do nothing to advance the strategic value of the theater? How can the “real war” be fought somewhere else, after this patch of ground has been surrendered?


Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Dean has a post up which, this time ’round, makes a lot of sense.

It’s very hard for me to look at American Muslims, or Muslims in general, or anyone who considers themselves “liberal” or “progressive” or “humanist,” who claim to stand for freedom and human rights and then attack everything America has done and tried to do in Iraq over the last four years.

The fact is that the naysayers claimed we weren’t really striving for liberation. We were. They claimed we’d install a new puppet dictator. We did not. They claimed that we wouldn’t really try to set up a democracy. We did. They claimed there would be no legitimate elections. The Iraqis had three national elections in a row, all certified as legitimate by international observers, not even counting the local elections that were held before that.

They claimed we’d do everything possible to get out of the country “before the next elections”–they claimed that before the 2004 elections and again before the 2006 elections. It didn’t happen. Now these same people in many cases are cheering for a Congress that’s trying to force us out of Iraq even though the war supporters consistently say “no, that would be morally and strategically wrong.”

Time after time the naysayers have proven themselves both morally and intellectually incoherent, and yet they never have the introspection to acknowledge this.

It should be pointed out that the anti-war movement has an answer ready for all this. It has something to do with being a Real PatriotTM…or Don’t You Dare Call Me UnpatrioticTM…or I Love My Country But Fear My GovernmentTM…or I Love What My Country Should Be But Hate What She’s BecomeTM. The gyst of it is, whether or not they’re in favor of America has become a confused and muddled question, an unfair question to ask — and it isn’t their fault, it’s that the country has changed for the worse while being run by you-know-who.

The defense would be a lot more convincing to people like me if the anti-war folks who “Love America” would simply acknowledge, and deal with, the presence of their anti-war kinfolk who do NOT. Just a simple “I recognize we anti-war folks are now in bed with some unsavory characters, but it doesn’t matter because our principles are still true.” And tack on to the end whatever you want…Saddam had no WMDs, international consensus, blah blah blah.

Some of the more articulate and intellectually sincere anti-war types, I’ve noticed, are ready and willing and able to recognize splits in the anti-war contingent so long as the splits are kept trivial. A familiar refrain has been “I recognize that removing Saddam was a good thing but it should have been done according to an international consensus.” It should be obvious to everyone, by now, that a lot of folks are anti-war because Saddam should have been left exactly where he was. In a sane world, this is a deep and meaningful disagreement. We haven’t too long to wait before the international community must deal with the next Saddam Hussein. What are we to do when that moment comes — what precedent has emerged from the events over the last four years? Our anti-war folks seek to keep their own agenda strong by trivializing this disagreement.

And, for reasons that entirely escape me, we let them.

Another thing that entirely escapes me, is why isn’t there a blistering epidemic of United-nations-aphobia. By four years ago, the U.N. had thoroughly bolluxed this thing. Out of all the opportunities that have come and gone, nobody’s presented a cohesive argument to the contrary. And yet, that organization remains in charge of the same stuff they were in charge of last time. In fact, I daresay, the next U.S. President put in the same position that confronted George Bush in the spring of ’03, will face considerably more pressure against “defying the U.N.” than he did. Considerably more.

In short, the U.N. pissed in their boot. Real good. And got more power out of it.

With apologies to Bob Dole — where’s the phobia?

What Hillary Left Out

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Cannot findPriceless.

Sen. Hillary Clinton presumed the other day to give a think-tank audience a history lesson. But it turns out that the would-be president is herself in need of some tutoring.

Appearing before the Center for American Progress, Clinton quoted extensively from President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech to the nation two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“We are now in this war. We are all in it, all the way. Every man, woman and child is a partner in the most tremendous undertaking of our American history,” FDR told an anxious nation that had just entered World War II.

Added Clinton: “That was presidential leadership that understood that when American soldiers are in harm’s way, we are all at war.”

Of course, there was something else Roosevelt understood about war and presidential leadership – as does the current commander-in-chief, George W. Bush: When you find yourself in a war, you fight to win.

As FDR put it in that same speech: “The United States can accept no result save victory, final and complete . . . The sources of international brutality, wherever they exist, must be absolutely and finally broken . . . We’re going to fight it with everything we got.”

Hillary conveniently chose not to quote from that part of the speech.

Then When Did This Begin?

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

“If nothing is worth dying for, then when did this begin?”

How would you word that to address, as directly as possible, the threats we face today. You wouldn’t have to change it very much. At all.

“If our best response to evil is ignorance and apathy, then when did this begin?”

Imus Puts Liberals In Their Place

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I feel sorry for our liberals, really I do. They’ve achieved a sense of cohesion across the American landscape, about something they oppose…but all they can do with that cohesion is barely touch it, they can never quite grasp it. They certainly can’t translate it into something they support.

In fact, how many words can they get out about this thing they oppose, and why they oppose it, and how they oppose it, before the cohesion slips away from them like a slippery fish? About…four or five, tops.

Don Imus nails them to the wall about it.

In the final analysis, they’ve managed to champion this American ideal, and none other: Being at war sucks, and we don’t like it. That’s it. That’s all.

The minute they embark on anything else, like “…and we wouldn’t be in this one if George W. Bush didn’t lie to us,” they’ve lost whatever audience they’ve had.

Speaking For Everyone

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Another good link from blogger friend Rick: Do the donks speak for America?

By a 53 percent – 46 percent margin, respondents surveyed said that Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw troops from Iraq.
Also, by a 56 percent – 43 percent margin, voters agreed that even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.
By a wide 74 percent – 25 percent margin, voters disagree with the notion that “I don’t really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home.”

Democrats to shout in unison “It doesn’t matter because it’s from Drudge” and “You are mischaracterizing our position and questioning our patriotism” in 5…4…3…

Poignantly True

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Via Midnight Blue, via Flopping Aces, via Brutally Honest.

Ignoring Them Is The Answer

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

When the Angry Left directs us to worry about global warming instead of terrorism, it’s an implication to me that they know what to do about terrorism. And yet they don’t act like it. I’m not sure at all what they think we should do about it. Show tolerance? I heard Michael Moore himself say one time “there is no terrorist threat” or words to that effect…so do they mean to challenge the idea that there are terrorists? Does the Angry Left have some fastening to the “9/11 was an inside job” crowd?

Or do they think it really happened, but want us to do something else about it…without telling us what that something-else is. They seem to show a lot of unity when they discuss what we should not be doing. When it comes to alternatives, the unity suddenly vanishes.

Well, the time has come again to gather yet another tantalizing, but by no means sustaining, morsel as we try to noodle this out.

Glenn Beck’s simplistic view of the war on terror and radical islam reared its ugly head once again tonight.

MANJI (voice-over): Ahmed has a son, Habib.

(on camera) Would you be proud to have Habib become a martyr?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It would be my wish for him to die as a martyr, because if I don`t fall as a martyr then he will be able to intercede for his family with God.


BECK: Back with Irshad Manji. That kind of stuff I don`t understand. America doesn`t understand, how do you defeat that without killing them?

First off, the man in the video (at least to the viewers at home) wasnt identified as a “terrorist” or anything of the sort. All we know is that he is a muslim and said what he said. Glenn Beck, who may have seen the documentary and knows that the man is an actual terrorist, jumped to the conclusion that he was one.

In Glenn Beck’s world, the only way to defeat terrorists is to kill them. How many “terrorists” is he willing to kill? A thousand? A million? 50 million?

And someone please tell Glenn Beck that killing terrorists is not the answer. For every “terrorist” you kill, you probably create 10 more.


You see what I mean. Don’t kill the terrorists…and oh by the way, you are wrong to call them terrorists.

I read the transcript. I missed the part where Beck specifically called this fellow a terrorist. But why should I have any objections if he did? The intent is certainly there.

That's a paddlinBut I wish to inspect something else for a spell. I wish to inspect this thing about killing one terrorist and creating ten more.

Not that I have doubts that this happens; I’m sure it happens. Heck, I’ve seen it happen in comic books an awful lot. I have no doubt the effects are there. But is this 10:1 statistic to be read literally, or in the figurative sense? Ten-to-one is a whole lot. That would make it an utterly hopeless scenario. And I guess that’s the point — to illustrate the killing of terrorists as a hopeless scenario.

I can see why that’s necessary. Anyone who pays even a passing glance to the situation-at-hand can see leaving the terrorists alive is quite hopeless. It’s obvious. When you leave them alive, they kill people.

So if you want to disuade people from supporting that, I guess you have to illustrate the killing of terrorists as equally hopeless. Whether the facts support that, or not.

Now what exactly do the facts support? Could it be this has some merit to it, but is an exaggeration? Or could it be an understatement? We kill one terrorist…and twenty new ones pop up? Maybe a hundred?

Uh…do we even care?

I find this argument to be breathtaking in its disingenuousness. It isn’t something that applies to a situation in which the observer genuinely cares about the outcome. Think about a terrorist putting a plan into motion that will kill…YOU. Or your parents, your kids, your wife, your dog. The authorities ponder the prospect of neutralizing the terrorist before he destroys you and all you hold dear…and then the authorities say…well, shit, we kill this guy we’ll make ten more.

Does that make sense to you?

Sure, only if you don’t have a stake in the outcome. If you think for just a moment that the terrorists are laboring toward the destruction of something important, the answer is obvious. Kill the one, wait for the ten to pop up, then kill them. If you get a hundred after that, then kill them too.

We play whack-a-mole…so we don’t play sitting-duck. I do like whack-a-mole a whole lot better. As to the perennial M*A*S*H question, lordy lordy, where does it ever STOP? Hell, I dunno. Go ask the terrorists that.

It’s not a “neocon” talking point, and it’s not bloodlust, and it’s not empty-headed machismo. It’s common sense. It’s a sensible response to a demonstrated threat. If we want to live to see tomorrow, the force-of-evil is put in the position of wondering when things stop. The unstoppable, unthinking, force-of-nature that dishes out a predictable response to a stimulus that was contemplated by someone else — that’s left to us. Do X to our people, and Y will happen. A cost-benefit analysis will reveal X to fall short of justifying Y…and that is when it stops.

“Chris” says that’s not the answer. He fails to say what is. Hope he’s got something better in mind than just “ignore them they’ll go away”…

I hope that.

But I doubt it.

Now, That’s What I Call Focused

Friday, January 19th, 2007

A little bit too focused.

I would call the situation somewhat grim. President Bush says we need to deploy more troops to Iraq, and that the success of the mission depends on it. A lot of people are saying this isn’t going to do the trick. There is some powerful evidence that both are correct, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if both are correct, something bad is about to happen.

Too focusedAnd via Boortz, we learn that Miss Perky Perky had some comments about her press gathering. It makes me wonder how many people completely depend on her to find out what’s going on in the world, whether they realize it or not; and among those who do, what all they’re missing.

Last Wednesday, President Bush gave his address to the country about “the new way forward” for Iraq, and lots of journalists—including me, of course—were in Washington to cover it. But before the Big Speech, there was the little-known Big Meeting.
As I was looking at my colleagues around the room—Charlie Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Wolf Blitzer, and Brit Hume—I couldn’t help but notice, despite how far we’ve come, that I was still the only woman there. Well, there was some female support staff near the door. But of the people at the table, the “principals” in the meeting, I was the only one wearing a skirt. Everyone was gracious, though the jocular atmosphere was palpable.

The feminist movement that began in the 1970’s helped women make tremendous strides—but there still haven’t been enough great leaps for womankind. Fifty-one percent of America is female, but women make up only about sixteen percent of Congress—which, as the Washington Monthly recently pointed out, is better than it’s ever been…but still not as good as parliaments in Rwanda (forty-nine percent women) or Sweden (forty-seven percent women). Only nine Fortune 500 companies have women as CEO’s.

That meeting was a reality check for me—and not just about Iraq. It was a reminder that all of us still have an obligation to ask: Don’t more women deserve a place at the table too? [emphasis mine]

Okay, one…at…a…time:
All of us have an obligation to ask — all of whom, exactly? People who vote for the President? Or people who hire and promote news executives? It would seem the second of those is more germane to the complaint, but it’s the first one that is more compatible with a sweeping pronouncement of “all of us.” Does Ms. Couric really mean to imply that by voting in a guy she doesn’t like, we “all” gave some kind of license for the gals to be crowded out away from “the table”?

Obligation? To who? What is the worst that happens if we don’t ask this? The Perkolator will frown upon us disapprovingly, with her lower lip stuck out? What’s the best that happens if we do ask? As Katie points out, we already started asking this 40 years ago. We don’t see starship captains on TV anymore whacking a “Yeoman” on her miniskirted ass when she brings him 23rd-century coffee. And if you’re in a position to hire or promote one candidate over another, and you exclude someone just because she doesn’t have a penis, all it takes is for someone to prove it and your career is at an end.

From that position, where exactly are we supposed to go?

Sixteen out of a hundred senators, and Katie’s unhappy. It’s clear we can only make her happy by means of a seventeenth senator…and some more and some more. I’m going to go way out on a limb here: If I get to pick how these new lady senators do their voting, and it seems I should be able to do this because Couric doesn’t even begin to address the issue — I will be much, much happier with the 35 new female senators than Couric herself. So her statement of what, exactly, has cheesed her off here, is a bit imprecise.

We’ve all done imprecise jobs of articulating what’s causing us distress. What’s remarkable is that just speaking for myself, if I’m noticing something’s still broken after forty years of fixing stuff, I’m going to put lots, and lots, and lots of effort into noticing just where we might have gone wrong. I might not succeed. But I’ll put in the effort. If we go forty-five or fifty years without fixing it, I’ll put in even more effort next time.

Couric doesn’t even try. Skirts are missing at the table. No fair. Whine whine whine.

And then. What are we to do about this, exactly? Why the silence on this aspect of it…when it ought to be the whole point, if the whining is worth doing in the first place? I see one of the commentors, “joycewest,” took the time and energy to research Rwanda’s situation in Parliament. One third of it must be female by law. Huh. The Perkolator went out of her way to cite Rwanda; I wonder how many other countries with legislative chambers she passed over to get to that one. Does she want a similar quota here? She says we have “an obligation to ask” something and she must realize, simply asking it is obviously not going to solve anything, especially since we have already been asking it.

Speaking of the “obligation”…what about choice? Aren’t we suffering a little bit of scope creep here, if the feminist movement was supposed to be about womens’ choice? Maybe, just maybe, Katie’s the only lady in the room because she’s one out of just a few who would make the decision to be there in the first place. Doesn’t she approve of the choices other women might have made, not to be there?

Let’s face it, it’s at least possible some women would make decisions different from the decisions Katie would make if she were they. It is possible…not only that, but among all the artificial means of keeping “skirts” away from the table, that’s the only one that can take place in this country that is legal.

Finally, I see this is an exercise in CALWWNTY. Does Katie Couric really intend to sound the call for yet-another march in the womens’ movement, now entering the fifth decade of progressive feminism? Is this really something she herself would find inspiring, if someone else was blowing the bugle and bellowing those magic, insulting words…Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet?


As Tom Cruise might say…Katie, Katie, Katie, you’re glib. We’ve opened up choices for career-minded women. We’ve outlawed discrimination against them, and we’ve even rearranged our cultural norms and taboos. Most remarkable of all, our society has made the new choice for women about whether to work a career, or stay home, into a real choice. And from the ladies who’ve made decisions differently than the one you made for yourself — you have profited handsomely. Come to think of it, among the folks who define some level of personal income as “obscene,” I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t qualify you yourself for that; provided, of course, they were only told what you make, and not who you are.

Well hey, some of us understand that when you send a woman into an important meeting like that, there are women who will pick up on the big stuff. There are these Islamomaniacs, you see? They’d just as soon stone you to death for letting an inch or two of tantalizing knee show above those fashionable tall boots of yours during the morning news show — and by the way, they want to kill Americans. They will go out of their way to do it. Will die to do it. As many Americans as possible. Some of us understand there are women who will keep track of the big picture. Some of us realize there are women who will maintain this sense of perspective, at least as well as any man.

But if you want to remind us that there are exceptions, well go ahead. Twist my arm. But I fail to see how that advances the womens’ movement any further.


Friday, January 19th, 2007

Alternative StrategyI’m really glad they got their plan for victory in Iraq defined to everybody’s understanding, eliminating any & all uncertainty and ambiguity…before moving on to this. Hey, well done folks.

Hat tip to Texas Scrbbler for the image, credit to Cox and Forkum.

I continue to be amazed and befuddled that we tolerate this. We’re split about whether the New Way Forward is a groovy idea or not…okay, I can certainly understand that. Here’s the thing: I don’t see anyone saying we can withdraw, and expect everything to work out in our favor over there. I don’t see a single soul stepping up to the plate and saying that. I see left-wing lunatics and Move-On-Dot-Org people and Hollywood halfwits as far as the eye can see…people who would like me to support Democrats, want me to do it so bad, they’d piss rusty nails to make it happen. But nobody’s willing to form the syllables necessary to say the words, “we can pull out and bring everybody home, and it’ll ALL WORK OUT.” Not a peep about that.

So they want us to change the subject. And, on the whole, we let them decide that for us.

Eh…I’m not getting it. If you have an I.Q. equal to or greater than what’s possessed by that tub of cottage cheese you forgot in the fridge last month, you should be able to see — this is something that requires a real decision. Do, or do not…but do what you think will lead to a good outcome. Or a non-bad outcome. A second-grader should be able to grasp this.

So Republicans point out that Democrats haven’t come up with a plan…and this is excused, ipso facto, as a right-wing talking point. Eh, it’s not a talking point. There’s real things at stake here, and that’s not gonna change even if we pull every single soldier home. It’s inexcusable to let a bunch of politicians build up momentum for their own team, and start enacting agendas to — let’s cut the bullshit, okay? — CHANGE THE SUBJECT. And never once put any leverage behind their own idea for solving the problem.

It’s not their fault, folks. It’s ours.

Stuff That’s Tough

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

What's the Chinese symbol for I was doing that thing that our leftists say people like me never ever do, which is listen to others. The subject is Sen. Barbara Boxer, my junior delegate to the Senate. Once again, for reasons unknown to me and never ever explained to me, a sitting Senator was allowed to pretend she was making an inquiry to our Secretary of State…and drone on at length into the microphone as if she was some freakin’ valedictorian or guest-speaker at a graduation ceremony or something. She’d end a sentence with a question-mark, which on the planet from which I come, means it’s obligatory for the other party to start talking in an effort to supply the information that was requested. And then…just…keep…prattling…on.

“Who pays the price?” Boxer asked Rice, who is unmarried and doesn’t have children. “I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family.

“So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

Democrat senators, Republican senators. I don’t care. I have never understood why we tolerate this in our Congress. Questions are questions. Answers are answers. Speeches are speeches. Different things.

But I suppose I should get to the content of Sen. Boxer’s whatever-ya-wanna-call-it…since that has been shown to be much more offensive to many more people.

Well now. If she has any point to make here at all, it’s that there is a first-tier and a second-tier of people who may have opinions about the war. Perhaps people in the second tier should have some influence over things, although decidedly subordinate levels of that influence. Or perhaps none at all. One thing is for sure: If she thinks all opinions should be considered on their merits, regardless of the sources of same, or the personal stories behind those sources…her comments are confusing and useless. So the source is meaningful. The terrace-landscaping must hold. Some classes of people have “better” opinions than other classes of people, and this classification has to do with having draft-age children. It seems only through blatant backpedaling, could Boxer herself assert anything different about what she meant to say.

Disclaimer: I have one (1) nine-year-old son. We don’t know how long the war will last, so it’s a matter of opinion whether this places me on Boxer’s first tier or on her second tier.

Ask me if I give a rat’s ass.

I am so utterly sick and tired of this drawing-of-lines about which class or classes of people among us, are allowed to execute policy or form opinions about the war, and which class or classes of people are not. For one thing: It is SO fucking phony. If Dr. Rice was a Clinton cabinet official doing her level-best to get the “Bush lied people died” canard out there, and the “redeploy now” and the “Saddam Hussein was no threat” and the “it’s all for oil” and all the rest of that stupid left-wing Ted Kennedy claptrap…Boxer wouldn’t give two shits if Condoleeza had kids or not. Do I really need to prove that? I shouldn’t have to.

That’s Thing One.

Thing Two:

According to Sen. Boxer’s words, the issue is with “who pays the price.” Well, now. If having a child killed in a war involves paying a price, and I believe it does — how about being that child? How about being the guy in the wrong place at the wrong time — nineteen forever? Can it possibly get more personal than that?

Excuse me Sen. Boxer. This country has a history of drafting MEN. But not women. So going by your logic…why don’t you get your ass in the kitchen and bake me some pie, while us men smoke cigars and figure this whole thing out. No, don’t blame me, that’s your logic. Personal price, remember? In fact, you identified yourself as not exactly being in the thick of this whole thing…defending it later as “how [you] felt.”

See, now we’re muzzling a different demographic. No longer is it Bush administration officials…it’s the gals. The logic hasn’t changed. But I’ll bet — and I’m talking my bottom dollar here — we’ve got a whole different sub-selection out of those among us, who are offended. I’ll bet my rent money on that. Hey gals, it’s the Boxer rule. Personal price. What the hell were we thinking when we let you vote, anyway?

Can we just shitcan this whole you-can-have-an-opinion-but-you-cannot thing. Puh-leeze.

It’s so phony. You have to have military cred to have an opinion…until you’re a military vet who supports President Bush, and then the rules have to change. Everybody knows it works that way — seldom is it mentioned, but everyone understand this. It’s not about the creds. It’s not about military service or “have you ever traveled outside of the U.S.” and it’s not about being eligible for the draft and it’s not about having kids of military-service age. It never was about any of those things. It’s about grasping for straws, and finding another phony-baloney reason to protest the war, and finding ways to muzzle those who might support the war.

Anyway. Back to the subject at hand, I was reading through the letters and I came across this, apparently from someone who’s not too sold on the war in the first place.

It’s easy to point a finger and accuse others.

What has Boxer done to stop or prevent a war? If this is what the Democrats are becoming. I doubt that I will ever vote Democratic again.

Now, this raises an interesting question. What has Boxer done…what have any of the Democrats done…to actually prevent this war. Or, I would add, to win it. Or to do anything…something that involves “paying a price,” personal or political. Just name the agenda. Pro-war, anti-war, forcing rotten public school districts on kids who’d be able to have a better choice if only a voucher system were in place, leaving millions of barrels of crude untapped in Alaska while maniacs in the Middle East use our oil money to fund terrorism, killing babies, getting white guys fired so lesser-qualified women and minorities can be hired instead. Just go through the list.

When has a left-winger…I mean a policitally influential one, an elected one….sacrificed anything? Even done something so trivial as, subordinating one agenda in favor of a different, more important one, where the two agendas conflict? As opposed to simply declaring to everyone within earshot what they ought to be thinking and then changing the subject?

You know, we could start here. Respect for the right of women to live their private lives as they choose — the stated goal of feminism — versus, Barbara Boxer’s brand-spankin’-new reason she cooked up to bash the Bush administration. Bush-bashing-item #23,576 if I’m counting right. How about setting an example for paying this extraordinarily meaningless price — Boxer, or those who are considering whether to repudiate her asinine comments from within, could say: “We have other ways to bash George Bush and his minions. Sen. Boxer is extremely proud of using her creative energies to find yet another, but we’ll let it go in the interest of preserving this higher ideal.”

They seem to have a rule against that. There is no verticality to the things they want to get done; nothing outranks anything else. If two positions are found to be in conflict, the sheeple are told what to think, maybe a sarcastic barb is tossed out Daily-Show style to draw a titter or guffaw or two, and the subject is promptly changed.

One of many reasons I don’t think they’re going to be holding on to this gig for two long. Real life simply doesn’t work that way. In real life, conflict forces a choice, and said choice involves…well, exactly what the dingbat senator was discussing. Tough stuff. Paying a price. Big one, little one. But something. Getting rid of something you’d just as soon keep.

And real life says, when such a choice is not made, this is a lack of leadership and it summons all the plagues that any crisis of leadership will bring. I guess our liberals are dedicated to “bringing it on,” as they say. In all matters. At all times.

Swell. Get ready for a fun ride.

Saddam Hussein’s Last Negotiation

Monday, January 8th, 2007

On Saturday I was citing a Gallup poll that says — essentially — none of us trust the media reports from Iraq. I would argue this is about the only correct decision people are making on a large ocean-to-ocean scale nowadays. We’ve come to realize the reports from Iraq are saturated with unsubstantiated, personal opinion from those who bring them; more often than not, the bias is apparently injected without the conscious knowledge of those who are the source of it. It seems Iraq would be a big mystery-land, a “Dark Continent” of sorts, save for one thing and one thing only. It has to do with everyone having an opinion about what to do about it. None of our politicians seem sufficiently talented to shape these opinions into a course of action that will appeal to a critical mass among us — it looks like a chore not unlike building a castle out of dry sand. And, among the individuals, what to do about Iraq is a matter of principle. And so, with the vortex that appears between those three forces, we have a situation where we “know” what to do about it, without achieving a good understanding of what’s happening there.

Some of us believe in making any conflict go away by simply ignoring it, and thus setting an example for those engaged in the conflict. Others of us believe this is foolish. We believe in Churchill’s definition of “appeasement”: “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

And that brings me to Deb Saunders’ latest. She’s noticed, about Saddam Hussein’s execution, exactly what I’ve been noticing. We have all been instructed to believe it was “botched.” By contrast with an American execution, Saddam’s last public performance had some chaotic elements to it that could inspire a reasonable observer to think it was botched, but it’s oversimplistic to simply ponder whether the adjective applies. It’s disingenuous. Saddam’s execution was pre-botched. Those who tell us it was botched, were ready to tell us this, breathlessly, probably since Saddam was wrestled out of his spider-hole.

These days, the first rule of war coverage is that nothing — not even military victory — will improve Iraq’s prospects.

The second rule is that everything is botched. So Hussein’s trial was not fair, the appeals process was too swift and the execution was insufficiently solemn.

In the 24-hour news cycle, you can kill your own citizens with impunity, subject them to starvation and lead them into an avoidable war. But, if later you are brought to justice, coverage of your trial will be not so much about the carnage as about the “deeply-flawed” trial.
Indeed, critics are so busy trying to transform Iraqi prosecutions into an O.J. Simpson trial that they fail to notice that the families of Kurds and Shiites who were tortured and murdered for rebelling against Hussein now know that the Butcher of Baghdad can no longer hurt them. That’s why there was dancing in Dearborn, Mich., home to a large community of Iraqi Americans who fled their homeland while under Hussein’s rule. Hussein cannot come back, as he did in 1963 after he fled to Syria and Egypt. He will never terrorize his countrymen again. He will hold no more power on this earth. Somehow, that’s no biggie.

Don’t ask me to explain it. I do think we have something broken in our system of reporting anything. The problem goes beyond Iraq. Those of us who are not in journalism, get to read things online and watch television and buy newspapers, and learn what’s going on from people who are in journalism — as they see it.

And they don’t see things the way “real” people do. It’s like the old joke where God decides to end the world, and they see women-and-minorities as hardest hit. Superman himself could be swooping around Iraq fishing kittens out of trees, and they’d say that was botched too.

War of Endurance

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson on where things go from here.

Creating new political systems on the ground is far more difficult than simply blasting away terrorist concentrations. Such engagement demands that American soldiers leave the relative safety of ships, tanks and planes to fight subsequent messy battles in streets and neighborhoods. Once that happens, the United States loses its intrinsic military advantages.

First, the Islamists have just enough Western arms – automatic small weapons and explosive devices – to achieve parity with individual Americans on the ground. Our billions spent on aircraft carriers, drones and stealthy jets were not intended to fight hundreds of terrorists hiding in houses.

Second, when losses mount, they are viewed differently by the two sides. Violent death and endemic poverty are commonplace in the Middle East, but not so in the West. We aim to avoid casualties in our war making; the Islamists want only to inflict them, whatever the cost to themselves.
Imagine this war as a sort of grotesque race. The jihadists and sectarians win if they can kill enough Americans to demoralize us enough that we flee before Iraqis and Afghans stabilize their newfound freedom. They lose if they can’t. Prosperity, security and liberty are the death knell to radical Islam. It’s that elemental.

Lots of good analysis in there, which we’ve come to expect from Hanson articles. It all goes to support the old “Wasps’ Nest” paradigm: You’re never stand a greater chance of getting stung, than when you knock the nest down. But only the brain-damaged would cite this as a reason to leave it up. What it’s a reason to do, is to hold the nest-knockers in very high regard and esteem, celebrate their return home and mourn the loss of those who won’t be coming home.

I would add to that, explore better, safer and more effective ways of knocking down more nests.

It Didn’t Start Five Years Ago

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

This one goes into the “required viewing” file. Just click and watch. Make sure the sound is turned on or your headphones are plugged in.

And there’s some quality video-blogging going on below. I can’t endorse every single word because it’s a critique of a movie I’ve not seen, but I like Jimmy’s use of rhetorical questions and skeptical thinking.

Healthy cynicism, folks. It’s not just something to throw in Halliburton’s direction. Save some for the Hollywood “Peace Love Rock-n-Roll” types.

The Last Milestone?

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Okay, so here is where we note that the death toll of U.S. servicemen in Iraq has just passed blah blah blah blah blah…

…those of you reviewing this much later on, the yardstick today is, the official Associated Press death toll of the September 11 attacks. Wowee, this is a really important occasion. Well you know, for those who personally knew the recently deceased, I’m sure it is. But not as far as U.S. policy. In fact I couldn’t help noticing the following…

The deaths — announced Tuesday — raised the number of troops killed to 2,974 since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. The figure includes at least seven military civilians. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

“The joint patrol was conducting security operations in order to stop terrorists from placing roadside bombs in the area,” the military said in a statement on the latest deaths. “As they conducted their mission, a roadside bomb exploded near one of their vehicles.” [emphasis mine]

Yeah, a roadside bomb that was set by someone. Now, what did they want, I wonder? Could it be…propaganda? Because, yeah, I’m sure to a left-wing war protester it’s going to come as a huge shock that terrorists fight propaganda wars. But they do. And the fact is, that bomb had a purpose. It’s been settled for a long time now, that when the American media knows about something, the terrorists that our guys are fighting in Iraq, know about it too. And the media has been salivating over this “greater than the 9/11 death toll” thing since last week.

And so now that we’ve passed 2,973, news outlet after news outlet after news outlet plays it up. And let me guess…oh this is so hard to predict…if I dare to say this might have a positive effect on the endeavors of our enemies I’m going to be hit with a tidal wave of sarcasm, and I will become the latest evidence of the chilling effect, that those who dare to dissent are called unpatriotic. Right?

So thanks to sarcasm and paranoia, we aren’t allowed to think such a thing. Hey, there’s a chilling effect all by itself. But meanwhile, we know the terrorists want our anti-war protesters to win more arguments. We know this. It’s an established fact. And we know the roadside bombs are just a way to make this happen. That’s an established fact, too.

Well, I’d just like those who assign some special significance to this event, to highlight for the rest of us what it actually means. I’ll bet they can’t. What, Iraq is a failure in some “official” way now? If it is now, and it wasn’t before, then there must be some rule that the military death toll in a given engagement is not supposed to exceed whatever enemy attack somehow inspired that engagement. And yet we have no such rule, so that’s bullshit. What else? Anybody? Buuuueeeelller?

On the whole, the citizens of FARK have recognized this to be a bullshit milestone that means nothing. Let me repeat that…the denizens and derelicts that hang around FARK. FARK, where most of the account holders have never come up against something bad that wasn’t George Bush’s fault. Where people who haven’t been sober after 10 a.m., since they first started going to college nine years ago, spout off about George and Don and Condi plotting the September 11 attacks with the terrorists. Where the “thermite theory” of the collapsing towers, lives on indefinitely. Where Ralph Nader is the man best qualified for the White House, unless Rosie O’Donnell can somehow be pursuaded to run. On FARK…they see through this bullshit milestone.

Well, if they see through it, anyone can.

And yet, all the disgusting morning coffee-table “news” shows, are covering it wall-to-wall. The most common-sense insight you can use, is going to tell you the terrorists have been working their skinny asses of for this milestone for weeks, months maybe. Always working for the next propaganda push. And now that they’ve gotten it, the media is happy to oblige, and make sure the win is as big as it can possibly be. Only too happy. And none of this is going to stop at the water’s edge. Whatever renewed calls for “immediate redeployment” are issued as a direct or indirect result of this meaningless milestone — they will become public knowledge, all the world over. And, as always, the terrorists will watch what we do, refine their tactics, and re-engage, as they’ve been doing since Day One.

Just disgusting.

Yeah, we’re supposed to leave this whole process undisturbed because of the First Amendment. And yet…you wouldn’t be able to have this kind of “news” in World War II. And nobody seems to be able to explain to me how a constitutional passage ratified in the late eighteenth-century, mandates us to a slow, passive suicide today, when in 1943 it did no such thing.

Anybody? Buuuuuuueeeeeeelller?

Letter From a Constituent

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

When you’re represented in Congress by someone, and they’re supposed to be doing what you say, it just makes sense to sit down and jot down a couple paragraphs to make sure the message is crystal clear. Sometimes you just have to grab your senator or congressman by the lapels and remind him that he works for you. That’s just part of your civic duty. And it becomes all the more important, if you went out of your way to get the guy elected in the first place.

[al Qaeda No. 2 man Ayman al] Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats. “The first is that you aren’t the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen — the Muslim Ummah’s vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq — are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost…And if you don’t refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate,” he said.

Await the same fate? So he means the Libertarians are gonna take over Congress?

Seriously…this is just further evidence that there’s a message we need to be delivering to these people, that isn’t being delivered. Is American belligerence fomenting more terrorism around the world? The hype says yes…the evidence says no, American pacifism is doing that very thing.

In my lifetime, maybe politics will stop at the water’s edge again. How many more times do we need to be reminded of the wisdom of that axiom…how many more terrorists do we have to see cheering for Democrats…before we get it through our thick heads. Our sworn enemies have figured out they’d rather have one of our parties in charge, than the other. They want something, and with the more “peaceful” folks running our show, they think they’ve got a better chance of getting it. They’re right.

Another One Bites the Dust

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Hooray, it’s another dead terrorist. Mount his turbaned head on a wall somewhere.

Christmas came early for NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan. The U.S. military announced Saturday that it has killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Osmani, the most senior Taliban leader to be eliminated since American troops invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

A U.S. military spokesman said a targeted air strike hit Osmani as he traveled in a vehicle near the Pakistan border in southern Helmand province. Killed with him were two associates also in the vehicle.

In 2008, I’m going to want to know what the next President will do to keep the dead-terrorist-carcasses rollin’ in. If nobody else has a good answer, I’m all for repealing term limits.