Saturday, September 21, 2002

The Norwegian Blogger posts a lecture to Americans about the real world. It's interesting, but he makes a point I don't agree with:
The reason America was not feared is that you wanted to be loved, America may claim to not care about how other nations feel about them, and in many if not most cases that is true, BUT when the occasion comes that opinion matters Americans tend to try to be loved rather than to be feared. Someone once said that America could have won in Vietnam, but the price would have been the nations soul, that's not so far fetched as it seems.

It may be true that the State Department wants America to be loved, but I don't think the rest of us care about it. Mostly we just don't think about what other nationalities think of us, and if we did, we'd probably assume that they admired and envied us.

The problem in Vietnam wasn't that we wanted to be loved, it was that our leaders thought we could fight a limited war, i.e. one that has no goal other than restoring the status quo ante. It was as if we had declared war on Hitler, but only to make him withdraw his forces from France and the other nations he had conquered. This represents a Democrat illusion that war is too hard for us to really win. After all, look at Korea. Didn't we succeed there?
Well, no. Not really. We forced the commies to stop trying to conquer the South militarily, but that left half the country living under a regime that from time to time reduces its subjects to eating grass and tree bark to stave off starvation.
Most Americans supported the Vietnam war until they found out that we weren't fighting to win and that the president and the Army had lied to them about how it was going.
Think about the speech at the beginning of the movie Patton. "Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.. . . Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American." Patton was somewhat mistaken about America never losing a war, but he was right about the American character. We don't like losing. And the Gulf War appeared to most of us as quitting before the fight was over. It is my opinion that Clinton never would have been president if Bush41 hadn't called off the fight in Iraq.

What is the reason for Bush43's popularity? He has conducted the war in Afghanistan like a winner. No wimping out. If he fails to depose Saddam Hussein and put an end to Iraq's development of WMDs, his poll numbers will drop like a rock. I know I will have lost all respect for him. In America, a guy who talks big, but won't fight, is a coward and a blowhard. We've had too many of those running our country for the last 25 years.
All the intellects in the media, the State Department and Academia are flooding the air with excuses and arguments for more tepid timidity, but most of America understands that you can't deal with someone like Saddam by hoping that he won't continue to act like he has in the past.

There are lots of imponderables involved in the present situation. We don't know whether Saddam will try to use his biological and chemical weapons against our troops or against Israel. We don't know what will happen after he has been dealt with. But waiting around and hoping we won't have to do anything about him is too much like cowardice for real Americans, and they would rather be winners than be loved.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Click here to find out your "pirate name." Via NPR.

Charles Krauthammer's latest makes the excellent point that liberals care more about the U.N. than their own country and then destroys their position logically.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

I loved this comment on

Daschle (v. intrans) To avoid doing something you really ought to do.

Bedaschle (v. trans) To try to fool someone by misdirection and sleight of hand.

Daschlehund (n.) A dog that won't hunt.
Posted by: Patrick Brown on September 17, 2002 07:20 PM

Tom Friedman's column today claims that Americans don't support a war against Iraq, as though the people who call into radio programs where he is a guest are a respresentative sample of all Americans. He writes:
The most oft-asked question I heard was some variation of: "How come all of a sudden we have to launch a war against Saddam? I realize that he's thumbed his nose at the U.N., and he has dangerous weapons, but he's never threatened us, and, if he does, couldn't we just vaporize him? What worries me are Osama and the terrorists still out there."

What worries me is that phrase, "if he does, couldn't we just vaporize him?" It seems to say, "Let's see how many of us he kills first before we do anything about it." With responsible nations, that point makes sense, but Saddam is crazy. He might be deterrable, but I don't think we should bet New York or Washington, D. C., or even Tel Aviv, on it.

Secondly, wouldn't the same people who wring their hangs over attacking Iraq now also oppose "vaporizing" it? We've heard so much about millions of Iraqis being killed by the oil embargo. How does this square with killing many more with nuclear weapons? I think an attack now, to make sure that his weapons are destroyed and that he never gets nukes is far more humane that letting him go on.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Bernard Lewis had it right

This from Best of the Web:

In the Jerusalem Post, Iranian writer Amir Taheri explains the Arab change of heart:

Over the past few weeks, Arab opposition to military action against Saddam Hussein has crumbled. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the Arabs have now concluded that Washington is no longer bluffing and that President George W Bush is determined to topple Saddam Hussein.

Arab leaders who have read the Siasatnameh, the "Book of Politics" by the 10th century scholar and statesman Nizam al-Mulk, remember his celebrated dictum: "A man who sides with a loser is not fit for political office."

Bernard Lewis pointed this out a few days after 9/11/01, maintaining that Bush was putting too much emphasis on coalition building. He said that Arabs respect resolve and that rather than asking, we should just tell the Saudis what we were going to do and what we expected from them. This has been confirmed by the results of our attack on the Taliban, and is now being verified once again.

The Three Monkeys Gambit

I don't read Maureen Dowd much anymore because I got tired of her smug sarcasm and her negativity about nearly everyone and everything. Today's column is a good example. She complains that Bush's speech to the U.N. didn't give "compelling new evidence" against Saddam Hussein. One senses that no matter what evidence he had produced she would have said the same thing. After all, "compelling" depends on one's own standards of proof, and if one doesn't want to be convinced, no amount of proof is compelling. Since the demand for more proof has been adopted as this week's talking points by the Democrats in Congress and the liberals in the media, what else could we expect.

As I read her supercilious screed, I was reminded that all the existing evidence against Saddam as being without restraint in his evil is more than sufficient. Gassing his own people should be enough. Setting fire to the Kuwaiti oil fields should be enough, since it shows that he has no limits to his will to harm others. He will certainly use nuclear weapons if he ever gets control of one. For him, nihilism is a logical imperative, since his power has always been built on fear, not just the "Sopranos" type of fear, but the fear of the totally irrational, the berzerk. Dowd and the rest don't really need any more compelling new evidence. They just need to pull their heads out.

I've been rereading the Lord of the Rings, by listening to the unabridged recorded reading by Rob Inglis. Hearing it read aloud reminds me of what I imagine listening to the old Sagas must have been like. I'm more aware of the linquistic roots of Tolkien's names and geography. It gives the whole story a new perspective, an ancientness that was there in the text but is now felt in one's bones. The baritone English accents Inglis adds to the dialogs brings the characters alive. The film was impressive, and I love it, but it can't compete with the text itself.

I notice a spiritual swelling as I hear the brave words and deeds of Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn and the rest. Why? I suppose that it's a response to what I was taught is truth, the truth that evil triumphs when good men do nothing, the truth that it is better to die in a noble cause than to live in shame, the truth that courage sometimes creates miracles, the truth that by small and weak things great things can be brought to pass, and the truth that some of the most noble acts are simple.

I find myself loving Gandalf for his wisdom and decisiveness, Aragorn for his nobility, and Frodo and Sam for their simple goodness and willingness to sacrifice themselves, walking into the mouth of hell for the sake of defeating evil and saving others.