It's getting closer. The best argument I've heard is that we'll move on the new moon after sundown, March 2, if not sooner. I hope sooner. I pray that we've convinced enough of Iraq's officers not to use WMDs. While I'm at it, I hope that Saddam gets the Ceausescu treatment.
Strutting and fretting in an insane world.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
A story from rural Utah. Everyone laughed when I banned the U.N. from my town. Yes, it was silly, but not because the U.N. deserves any respect.
This guy is a fool. Anybody who's not afraid of Saddam Hussein is either an idiot or dishonest. If he had really looked at Saddam's history, which is readily available, he'd know enough to be afraid for our troops, and if he had any common sense, he'd realize that to give him more time to pursue nuclear weapons is even scarier.
As for North Korea, it is surrounded by countries who have a greater stake in solving this crisis than we do. Iraq is not.
Another nice piece from Steven Den Beste. I think a corollary to this would be something like, when you lance a boil, make sure you get all the infection out. World history since WWII seems to show that when we go to war, it should always be our goal to rid the world of bad regimes. I can understand Truman's reluctance to take on Red China, and possibly the USSR, in the Korean War, but I can't say that it has really made the world much safer or served the Korean people very well. There is usually an individual or small group of butchers at the heart of dangerous regimes. They should be the main target. Trying to conduct limited war is just another word for defeat. In short, we should be very careful and thoughtful before engaging in war but very resolute and thorough in completing it.
Update: Considering what we know about Saddam, I'm for giving the military all the time it needs to get ready. I keep seeing lefties arguing that we can always blow him off the face of the earth if he uses WMDs, which is disingenuous at best, and criminally dishonest at worst. Remember, these people are all in favor of unilateral disarmament, so could we really expect them to support nuking Iraq if Saddam proves as crazy as they don't want to believe he is.
Here's a prayer to be used before logging onto the Internet. Not being Catholic, I don't believe that invoking the name of Saint Isidore will cut any ice, but "lead us not into temptation" is always a good thought when going online.
J. Bottum critiques the "poets" who rebuffed the First Lady. This reminds me of Jacques Barzun's point in The Culture We Deserve that artists have always been considered workmen rather than great intellects or leaders until relatively recently. It appears now that anybody with an English degree can call himself a poet and become an instant pundit (apologies to Glenn Reynolds). Poesy is especially convenient because it doesn't have to pass muster as being logical or historical or even consistent. Thus we get the argument that standing against warmongers makes us the real warmongers, that liberating oppressed peoples makes us imperialists, or that all true wisdom comes from France.
What the art of poetry has to do with clear thinking is unclear. I always thought that poetry required a long time to be recognized, as it is seen to speak truth to greater numbers of people. But today one can publish on the internet and claim authority as a poet, thus debasing the whole currency of poetry.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
Here's a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune trying to shame supporters of war on Iraq.
I suppose he'd feel better about it if our troops were certain to be gassed, just so it would be more fair. Or wait until Saddam gets nukes and uses one. Funny how these people count the dead in war. It's the Viet Nam body count in reverse. The fact that we don't target civilians, while Saddam uses them as human shields cuts no ice. All these deaths, and those caused by U. S. weapons are the only ones that count. As if we can escape blame for all the evil in the world by refusing to do anything about it when it's within our power to do so.
When the U.N.'s peacekeepers blundered around in Bosnia while the Serbs were doing their "ethnic cleansing," we didn't have to squirm as we realized what they were allowing? When the Tutsi's and the Hutus were hacking each other to pieces, it was all right, because the U.N. was in charge? Personally, I feel better that NATO got involved in the Balkans in time to prevent more deaths, even though we did bomb the Chinese embassy in Belgrad by mistake. I just wish we wouldn't have to watch the killing for months upon months before we put a stop to it. We're about 20 years too late in Iraq, but we'll still save a lot of innocent people, just as we did in Afghanistan.
I've been watching the story of D-Day on the History Channel. Good timing, considering the antics of the French and Germans in recent weeks. A Brit soldier near the end talks about the horror of war, and what a waste it is. He's right, which is all the more reason why the men who are really causing this war, including businessmen who sold chemicals and reactors to Saddam, should be hammered decisively and quickly. We should make war unthinkable for all Arabs from here on out. The only thing worse than war is failure to do strike down such regimes while they are weak. Bush 41 will ever be remembered as the one who failed to do so. And Bill Clinton will be the one who allowed Usama bin Laden to believe he could really attack America with impunity.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Michael Barone's emails are better than most columns. He writes to Glenn Reynolds about the way FDR galvanized the nation with a call to "absolute victory." Of course, he could get away with that. He was a Democrat. If it had been Hoover, we'd still be arguing about whether he'd made the case.
They've been coasting on FDR's memory and the myth of the Republican fat cat billionaire far too long. It's time that Americans grew up and started being truly independent, instead of expecting cradle-to-grave welfare and no intrusion on our freedom to do whatever the hell we please and no watching us while you protect us from the terrorists.
Forget the link between Saddam and al Qaeda. What we really should be concerned about is the Saddam/Chirac/Schroeder connection.
I read Stephen Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers a few years ago. I remember vividly the descriptions of trenchfoot and how the soldier dug foxholes by firing into the frozen ground to soften it up enough to get a stick of dynamite into it. I think that every Frenchman be forced to watch Saving Private Ryan until they get it. I'm so sick of being told that we have to understand how they think. I think that they need to learn how we think. They've only had 200 years!
And, while we're at it, let's make sure that none of the American Surrender Monkeys, formerly known as Democrats, never get close to controlling the Congress or White House while this generation lives.
I read the Newsweek article from a few weeks back about affirmative action. It had a sidebar by the president of the University of Michigan claiming that diversity is the holy grail of education. I got the feeling that the real reason for lowering standards for certain racial groups is that one needs to go to school with "minorities" because that's part of a liberal education. So the black students are there for the white children of alumni to go to school with? How is that different from having lawn jockeys?
I'm all in favor of outreach to talent from unprivileged backgrounds, but the way this is framed makes me feel like the people who want it don't really care about black or hispanic students themselves, only in having them at their schools for the sake of "diversity." I guess they don't want their preppies to freak out the first time they meet a person with brown skin.
Clay Evans compares Bush to Hitler (although he claims that he doesn't) and says we shouldn't support our troops. He suggests that the U.S. today is like Germany just prior to its invasion of Poland. This is a new low in anti-war distortion. The basis of this kind of idiocy is 1. that Bush wasn't elected and is, in effect, a dictator; 2. that the U.S. is bent of creating an overseas empire; and 3. that all we want is Iraq's oil. All three are too stupid to dignify with an answer. They are the equivalent to covering one's ears and yelling while throwing a tantrum. Nobody's going to reason with me.
A lot of these people used to say that Bill Clinton was our president and we owed respect to his office. Where'd that go? I've always thought that the anti-war position didn't add up, because it suggests that the way to avoid war is by becoming sheep and appeasers. But the vehemence and hatred in the arguments being made today go beyond anything I can remember since the 1960s. I don't think this is finding any resonance with modern young people, and that presages the decline of the left for at least another generation. If conservatives said anything like this about Tom Daschle or any other liberal, the left would go nuts accusing McCarthyism and censorship.
At last, someone has found a way to make poetry pay.
Susan Lee says libertarians just wanna have fuh-un, and Instapundit agrees. But I have to ask if that's really the point. Sex, drugs and Rock n Roll has a nice "in your face" feel of youthful exuberance, but just look at what they did for Ozzie Osborne. Libertarianism is such a simple answer, but it denies us the power to decide what kind of a society we will live in. It says that since we don't all agree on morality, we should default to letting anything go. I don't think that is what the founding fathers had in mind and it's not the kind of place I want to live in, either. I recognize that I can't impose my values on everyone else, but does that mean that all those who disagree with my views should win on every issue? No prayer in schools makes atheism the state religion. Libertarianism reduces everything to the lowest common denominator. I don't think that things are that simple.
I think that the real problem is the myth of the victimless crime. Today, more than ever, our whole society is interdependent. The costs of everybody's health problems are passed on to all of us. So risky sexual behavior is no longer a matter between two consenting adults, because AIDS is an expensive disease to treat. I think that citizens in a free democracy have duties, not just privileges, and I don't see libertarians acknowledging that. Everything is reduced to a free market analysis.
This is a right wing version of Marxist thought. Religion is the opiate of the people and therefore has no right to provide guidance. But in libertarian thought acts have no consequences, or if they do, well, tough. Once you accept that argument, there is no line you can't cross, provided the "market" approves. This is how homosexuality and abortion became accepted norms, when once they were both viewed with disgust and horror. So, if you do a good enough p.r. job, everything can gain market share and be respectable.
The only way this argument can really be solved is from experience. I just don't think we should have to live through the same decline and fall that has destroyed other great societies before us in order to learn the same lessons. Remember the fable of the ant and the grasshopper?
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
The Captain takes a long time saying that what we have here, between the U.S. and the Old Europe, is a failure to communicate. Maybe so, but even if we grant that point, this Jacksonian would say, "These morons have had a long time to learn how Americans think, and right now, we don't have time for their games of 'Non, Non!' while their eyes say 'Oui!' " We have made the considered judgment that Saddam Hussein right now is the biggest thing between us and UBL, and we're not interested in the courtly protocols that pass for honor in Paris.
My mother used to tell me gravely how her older brother, Warren Starr, had been part of the Bataan Death March and had spent time in a Japanese prison camp. It wasn't until years later that I learned what that meant, not that I can really understand it, even now. I had another uncle who was said to have been in the Battle of the Bulge. Neither one of them said much about the War, but to me, that made those memories sacred. The French don't think Americans have much of a sense of history, but we have 50 years worth, and we don't take kindly to being lectured on pacifism by people who don't have the grace to stand by us, even if they think we're wrong. Friends are people who stand by you in a fight, not jerks who join the wrong side until they can see who's winning. Either you believe in freedom and democracy or you don't. That's why America doesn't have colonies, and why it has rebuilt its defeated enemies, and even France. The problem with the French is that they don't understand how little time Americans spend worrying about their opinions. Now they want to make us aware of how indispensible they are. If they're lucky they won't have to find out.
Mirabile dictu! Instapundit links to Rush Limbaugh! And he's right. The left is shrinking into its own navel.
InstaPundit.Com also covers a growing boycott of French goods. I don't think it's a real boycott, in the sense of being organized, but there are an awful lot of us who just don't want to do business with France. Since I don't drink wine, I guess I'll just have to give up French cheeses, as if I could get any real French imports here in Emery County, Utah. I don't really wish harm to French people, but as David Letterman says, "The last time the French wanted more evidence, it rolled right through Paris with a German flag." (Long, loud applause)
I've been ill with cellulitis so I haven't been able to blog much. I'm a slow reader and a slower typist under the best of conditions, so I'll leave it to Mr. Den Beste to be the voice of reason, which Glenn Reynolds is only part of the time.
Suffice it to say that Germany and France have sold their birthrights for a mess of pottage. War is frightening, but it won't go away if we stick our heads in the sand. My parents' generation ought to have learned that. I did too, but then I wasn't educated in the Ivy League or Berkeley or Stanford. I'm not sophisticated enough to see how it can be that if we don't stand up to aggressors, they'll go away. The people attacking Bush today are the same ones who told us that Reagan was going to get us into WWIII, but from where I sit, Bill Clinton caused 9/11, and I am not going to trust his ilk anymore.