Friday, March 14, 2003

Speaking of Reagan, guess what my results on the Quizilla Political Stereotypes test were. Like Bush, they called him a dumb cowboy. But he won the Cold War.

Another swing of the pendulum on the environment. Reagan was right.

Evergreen trees contribute to smog. I'm not sure I buy this, but it goes to show what I've been saying all along, we really don't understand the environment well enough to be betting our economy, or the world's, on computer models. It's trans-science, Jake.

Of course, environmentalists and technocrats can twist even their lack of knowledge into the precautionary principle: we don't know enough to make regulations, so we need to roll back the industrial revolution out of caution. You'll never win with these people, especially if you take their advice. The one thing that experience has shown over and over to work better than central planning, the free market principle, is never an option for them.

The Dixie Chicks get french fried.

Maybe we should tell them Saddam's real name is Earl (as in their song, "Goodbye Earl," about an abusive husband/boyfriend who gets what he deserves), they didn't seem too queasy about killing a cruel bastard in that song.

The following is on their website:
"We've been overseas for several weeks and have been reading and following the news accounts of our governments' position. The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."

Maines further stated, "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."

I kind of liked what I've seen of them, and was planning to pick up one of their CDs. They have given new support to the stereotype of the dumb blond.

Ladies, I'll type this slowly: The right to free speech does NOT mean that anybody has to listen, especially when you don't have any more intelligence in your remarks than this, and ESPECIALLY WHEN 70% OF AMERICANS SUPPORT THIS WAR!.

Ladies, STAY IN ENGLAND. You shall henceforth be referred to here as The Hollywood Hicks.

Update: One of Hugh Hewitt's listeners says they should be called "The Blixie Chicks". I like it better.

Update: Natalie Maines has apologized, but only for showing disrespect for the President's office. It's apparent that she was pandering to the Europeans with her original statement. But it seems that she, like a lot of other people who rake in money touting their American roots, has forgotten what got us here. It wasn't by backing down from a fight or bowing to creeps like Chirac and Schroeder who have courted and sold dangerous technology to Saddam, and are willing to ignore his slaughter of Iraqis and his theft of the nation's resources, so long as they can profit from cheap oil.

For all their blather about freedom, these people sure don't exhibit any independent thought. They recite stupid slogans like No Blood for Oil, and Give Peace a Chance, without considering whether they make any real sense. If Ms. Maines is ashamed of the president, she should know and feel that a lot of the people who made her rich are feeling ashamed of her and ever having bought her music.

Filibuster: [From Spanish filibustero, freebooter, from French flibustier, from Dutch vrijbuiter, pirate. See freebooter.] Freebooter: A person who pillages and plunders, especially a pirate, or highjacker.

Memo to Senate Democrats: read the dictionary.

It is interesting to watch the French, the U.N. and the Democratic Party topple like dominoes into irrelevance. These matters are spun by the media as setbacks for the Bush administration, but I think that they will end up undoing all three.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Marc Ginsberg lays out a damning case for Brit Hume of the real reasons for France's recalcitrance in going forward with regime change in Iraq. He says that the reason Chirac agreed to 1441 was that his regime tought that it only meant that Saddam had to disarm. The moment that the U.S. declared its intent to remove Saddam under that resolution, he says, the French attitude turned to obstruction. Twenty per cent of the population of France is Arab, and while the original French population is not replacing itself, the Arabs birthrate is much higher. And the share of the French economy tied to Saddam is breathtaking.

French policy is not anti-war. It's pro-Saddam and his money and oil. It's time for the U.S. and the world media to quit apologizing for this fight and start asking why these countries that are trading with Iraq should be allowed to stymie the U.N. in doing what it was created for, standing up to people like Saddam and Hitler. Since its members seem more interested in keeping it impotent, we should quit wasting time and do what we're going to do without more delay.

In the meantime, why isn't the International Tribunal investigating the German, Russian and French dealings that have helped Saddam get to this point?

Spam of the Day: "GET LUCKY AND REFINANCE NOW!" I've heard of banks offering premiums, but this is ridiculous.

Walter Russell Mead destroys another of the anti-war sophistries, that we should 'contain' Saddam. The same people who make this argument also blame the U.S. for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq through U.N. sanctions:
In this case, containment is not an alternative to war. Containment is war: a slow, grinding war in which the only certainty is that hundreds of thousands of civilians will die.

The Gulf War killed somewhere between 21,000 and 35,000 Iraqis, of whom between 1,000 and 5,000 were civilians.

Based on Iraqi government figures, UNICEF estimates that containment kills roughly 5,000 Iraqi babies (children under 5 years of age) every month, or 60,000 per year. Other estimates are lower, but by any reasonable estimate containment kills about as many people every year as the Gulf War -- and almost all the victims of containment are civilian, and two-thirds are children under 5. (emphasis added)

I don't know how true these figures are. We've allowed oil sales to pay for humanitarian efforts, but it's doubtful that they have been applied effectively. Saddam has an interest in keeping the death toll high so that he can use it as a propaganda tool. The U.N. bureaucrats who control the sales of oil and distribute the money, have an interest in keeping this approach going, as well. One thing is certain, if we continue sanctions or launch Shock and Awe, or the Terrible Swift Sword, as I like to call it, the blame for the deaths and suffering will still be at the feet of Saddam and his cronies.

Another blog on the suspense of waiting for this war to start. I posted the following (substantially) in the comments area:
There's a lot of this going around. Watching the U.N. is maddening. The only excuse is that it provides a possible distraction for Saddam. I don't know anybody who thought that the U.N. would do anything more about Iraq than it did to stop genocide in Cambodia or Rwanda.

Read the latest column by Hugh Hewitt on the Weekly Standard site. It recalls the speech made 25 years ago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsen at Harvard. There are two prophetic points that apply to our current situation.

I also reread a talk given by Gordon B. Hinckley in October 2001. He's the president of the LDS church, a prophet, and a very wise man.

This is a time to think about resolve and courage.

The Europeans seem to think like peasants. They see war as a matter for the elites with no benefit for the ordinary folk. The People of the U.S. have never seen themselves as peasants. It seems to be the elites who fear this war, probably because they have drunk too deeply from the fount of European post-modernism

The alleged kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart was brought to her home by a mother trying to be charitable to a homeless person by giving him work. I can't criticize her, but it reminds me of Christ's advice to his disciples that they should be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We all have an internal sensor that goes off when we we're in danger or something isn't right. Too often we disregard such signals out of a misplaced desire to be kind and unbiassed. Sometimes those warnings should heeded.

Lois Smart brought at least two low-lifes into her home to do odd jobs. Richard Ricci was a suspect for a time, but there was no proof. Ricci was arrested anyway on outstanding warrants, then had a brain hemorrhage and died in jail. Obviously Mrs. Smart was trying to help the less fortunate, but one of them had a screw loose and returned to harm her family.

We live at a time and in a nation where people can be homeless without really having to. Some are mentally ill. Some just have minimal requirements and simple tastes. Some are also predators.

We can weep for Elizabeth Smart, but she had a guardian angel. Samantha Runnion and Danielle van Dam weren't so lucky, if you can call the last nine months lucky.

We have been intimidated by the likes of the ACLU and the liberal guilt of the media, and made to think that good people would reach out to street people to lift them up. Maybe it's time to relearn suspicion, and to help the poor through donations to the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries rather than trusting them before we know them. In consequence of the evil that exists in the hearts of conspiring men . . .

This is worth putting in a great quotes file:

Tony Blair on the U.N. route: "President Chirac said on Monday: 'No matter what the circumstances, we will vote No.' Those were not the words of someone who wants to make the international system work."

Thus, the shoe is placed on the correct foot. The burden of proof has never been on the U.S. and the U.K. The evidence of Saddam's monstrosity is too plain to be denied. Only the cynical and amoral, like the international press and the Old Europeans, would get that reversed. Blair's answer was Churchillian.

This is worth putting in a great quotes file:

Tony Blair on the U.N. route: "President Chirac said on Monday: 'No matter what the circumstances, we will vote No.' Those were not the words of someone who wants to make the international system work."

Thus, the shoe is placed on the correct foot. The burden of proof has never been on the U.S. and the U.K. The evidence of Saddam's monstrosity is too plain to be denied. Only the cynical and amoral, like the international press and the Old Europeans, would get that reversed. Blair's answer was Churchillian.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Hugh Hewitt revisits the speech given by Alexander Solzhenitsyn at Harvard 25 years ago. I remember at the time, Solzhenitsyn sounded like a prophet, and the liberal elite treated him like one, short of stoning him. All the admiration for his writing and his Nobel Prize evaporated when he challenged them to show courage. It wasn't post-modern enough. He spoke of truth, As Hewitt notes, this speech is very pertinent today, as prophets' words usually turn out to be:
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline of courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.

Political and intellectual functionaries exhibit this depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and their statements, and even more so in their self-serving rationales as to how realistic, reasonable, and intellectually and even morally justified it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice.
You may remember the man who was president when this speech was given in 1978. He's been giving us his own tepid and limp wisdom lately. He won a Nobel Prize of his own and is much beloved by the anti-war left today, despite the fact that he's a "born again" Christian, generally anathema to the left, and was a feckless president. His successor had the courage and faith that Solzhenitsen called for, and he won the Cold War.
And the decline in courage, at times attaining what could be termed a lack of manhood, is ironically emphasized by occasional outbursts and inflexibility on the part of those same functionaries when dealing with weak governments and with countries that lack support, or doomed currents which clearly cannot offer resistance.

A lack of manhood Gee, that sounds a lot like the next Democrat president we had, our first black feminist president, and a lot of current wafflers running for president from that party now.
Must one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end?

One reason I said Solzhenitsyn sounded like a prophet was that he reminded me of this one attributed to Joseph Smith, Jr., the First Prophet of the Restoration, on 19 July 1840, "Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground; and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean; and they shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction." The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially here in the Mountain West, know that prophecy. I've often wondered if it lay behind the decision to found a law school at BYU in 1976, from which I received my J.D. degree.

Solzhenitsyn, however, was probably a little too gloomy in saying:
Today's Western society has revealed the inequality between the freedom for good deeds and the freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; thousands of hasty (and irresponsible) critics cling to him at all times; he is constantly rebuffed by parliament and the press. He has to prove his every step is well founded and absolutely flawless. Indeed, an outstanding, truly great person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind does not get any chance to assert himself; dozens of traps will be set for him from the beginning. Thus mediocrity triumphs under the guise of democratic restraints."

Neither Reagan nor George W. Bush have fallen into those traps. Neither has Tony Blair and the other members of the Coalition of the Willing. Generations yet unborn will rise up and call them blessed.

The biggest group of these "hasty (and irresponsible) critics" are in control of the mainstream media throughout the world. They are attacking our leaders in every way possible. I am convinced that a majority of the U.S. still is true to its founding principles, but the longer this goes on, the weaker their resolve becomes. George H. W. Bush fell from 90% approval to losing to Bill Clinton. That should be a warning for our time. Solzhenitsyn was right about what is needed, but having seen America mostly from its coasts, he misjudged the depth of heart and courage of that big area in the middle that voted for Bush.

Lastly, and most importantly, here is a link to the advice of a modern, living prophet, the man who holds the keys to God's kingdom on the earth at this time:
Now, brothers and sisters, we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.

Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).

Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.

Elizabeth Smart has been found alive, less than 20 miles from her home. I can't get to any news sites, probably because I'm on the Utah State wide area network. This is an official miracle for most of us here.

I tried to find a site where I could email Tony Blair to express my appreciation for his stand. The nearest I could come is this one.

Also via Jeff Jarvis, this story showing that things are getting tense in Iraq. Five bearded Islamic men were shot dead by guards at a checkpoint watching for members of the Islamist group Ansar al Islam scouting out American locations. These weren't Ansar, but they looked like them, apparently.
They were five men with the wrong length of beards driving the wrong car at the wrong place at the wrong time. Their quick, violent deaths amid the ongoing dirty war between Kurdish Islamists and secularists illustrate the tricky ground-level political minefield the United States will enter if it decides to use northern Iraq as a staging point for a northern front against Saddam Hussein's Baghdad regime.

Since its establishment following the 1991 Gulf War, the northern Kurdish-run section of Iraq has become a relatively prosperous enclave where people enjoy many of the civil liberties denied those living in other Middle East countries. But that freedom also has produced an often-confusing mix of political parties, armed militias and ethnic groups.
This waiting makes everybody jumpy. Let's roll.

From Jeff Jarvis:
Elie Wiesel writes in the L.A. Times in favor of war against Iraq: "What it comes down to is this: We have a moral obligation to intervene where evil is in control. Today, that place is Iraq."

Yup. It's really that simple. I hope they don't try to revoke his Nobel Peace Prize.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Freedom of speech often turns out to be the liberal term for "hate speech." Understanding politics is often a matter of vocabulary.

You see this in Venezuela in the way the democratically elected dictator president deals with dissent.

Jacques Chirac:
Our position is no matter what the circumstances, France will vote 'no,'

Why are we even bothering to talk to this guy? Let's vote on the 18th resolution, make him veto it and forget the U.N. It has no more credibility than the International Criminal Court. It's fine to play with other nations, but when they want to assume power over us, we should take our ball and find new friends.

Via Best of the Web:
Antiwar protesters burned and ripped up flags, flowers and patriotic signs at a Sept. 11 memorial that residents erected on a fence along Whittier Boulevard days after the terrorist attacks in 2001 and have maintained ever since.
What part of the First Amendment protects this? This is why I think that absolute devotion to rights, may be shortsighted. We rely on debate to show the falsity of detestable ideas, but if we tolerate them too much, and they take hold, their proponents won't be so open minded when they have power. Venezuela is the latest example, and our universities are proving the point every day. It's fine to print criticism and answers in Best of the Web, but action to defend the rights of the Pro-Americans is also required at times. Maybe that's why so many of these people hate seeing the cops around--they might decide to protect someone else's rights to free speech.

Steven Den Beste has posted a serious and sober commentary that echoes the somber mood of Bush's press conference. This is proper. Anybody who thinks war is fun and games either is a sado-masochist or an idiot. I think that the participants of the U.S. Civil War knew that. The Brits learned it from WWI. We may have forgotten with our view of WWII promoted by propagandistic films at the time and afterwards, but we should know better after Vietnam, Blackhawk Down and Saving Private Ryan. This ain't beanbag.

We have a town called Moab in Southeastern Utah. They aren't too happy about this.

The only thing that justifies weapons like this is that they may save lives by shocking the enemy into dropping operations. It may also be a way to deal with biochemical weapons if it can be brought to bear in a site where they have been used, by sucking up surrounding air and incinerating it. I've heard or read that the daisycutters dropped in 1991 were a strong incentive to surrender for the Iraqi troops.

If you still don't get how sober this occasion is, go read some poems, Dulce et decorum est, The Man He Killed; or The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner. These guys aren't driving Lincoln Navigators over there. The weapons designers put all the money into performance. They're at the bleeding edge of technology and they sometimes fail and kill their operators. But we use them to deliver maximum hellfire to the enemy.

It must needs be that these offenses come, but woe to them (Saddam, bin Laden, Arafat and the rest) by whom they come. We all want peace, but not at the cost of cowering and fretting from those skulking hyenas who attack our civilians and their own.

Here is a link to a description of the kind of men we should have to lead us in times like this. And here's another about how such men deal with men like Sadam, the Zerahemnah of our time.

Behold, we will end the conflict.

Update: I didn't read the whole of Den Beste's piece. When he speculates that they might join the war on Saddam's side and use nukes, I think that is going beyond the the evidence. Moussaoui is a French citizen, and, given a chance, I imagine he'd go for nuking us, but France is playing with a weak hand. I doubt that even Chirac would be so stupid. A lot of Americans would like to see it try.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Brit hume has a fascinating interview with Michael Cromartie, Vice-president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, on the theological doctrine of Just War in light of the recent comments from the Pope and his emissary.

I find this interesting, but in light of the separation of church and state, I wonder if has any relevance any more secept to theologian. It also says something about how many modern Christians have abandoned reason for herd pacificism. Funny how many anti-war types are always quoting Matthew 5:38-39 (about turning the other cheek.) But Jesus, in the same sermon, said that whoever is angry with his brother or calls him a fool is in the wrong as well. How many of these people feel bound by that? It's my impression that Bush has been amazingly in control of his temper throughout all of this, much more so than most of his critics, who call him names ("fool" is the mildest) and demonize him in every way, particularly on the grounds of his Christian faith. But he knows what I and many others know, that Jesus also said Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. He just didn't make it clear that sometimes those doing the reviling would claim also to be Christians.

Liberal/libertarian Angst:
I know the feeling. I had that whenever I thought that Al Gore might become president.

New chip will enable cars to detect size of passengers and prevent airbag injuries:
Technology that began with a music project and evolved into a magic trick is now poised to change automobile safety.

It might also make household appliances easier to use and power tools safer.

An integrated circuit chip launched by Motorola Corp. in January that uses weak electric fields to create three-dimensional images dramatically illustrates how scientists at play can come up with serious results.

Hmmm. I think I read a book about how this happens, a while back. Oh, yeah, here it is!

This letter to the Salt Lake Tribune is in the vein of a call I just heard to Michael Medved. He sounded so much like a stoner, I thought it could have been Otto the Bus Driver. His whole argument was "how do you know" that Saddam is dangerous, "have you been over there?" I wish I had a clip. It was hilarious. Medved carefully explained that these things have been reported in all the news media, at which the caller seemed nonplussed, as though it had never occurred to him.

God bless America for for this:
"It's scary," said Haw Abass Aden, a peasant farmer still trembling as she stepped off her first flight through the clouds. She clung tightly to a kerosene lamp with one hand and her little girl with the other. But she regained her composure as she considered her future.

"We are coming here to be resettled in the United States," said Ms. Aden, 20, speaking through a translator. "There, we will find peace and freedom."

May it ever be so.

I exchanged views with Josh Chavetz over his protest that Andrew Sullivan's accusing the NYTimes of being anti-American was going to far. I agree with Sullivan.

I said that when our troops are in harm's way, it is unamerican for people at home to be trying to undercut their mission. He said we aren't at war yet. I think we are, and so does Bill Safire. Our Special Forces are in Iraq, risking their lives and we have a lot of men over there poised to attack. Just being there is a huge sacrifice. Practicing with live fire is fraught with danger. The decisions have been made, the anti-war arguments have been made and found wanting. All true Americans should drop the public criticism and and support our troops.

Whether the policy is right or wrong, it is NOT evil. Bush is not a terrorist, a Nazi, or worse than Saddam. Supporting this kind of nonsense is both dangerous and harmful to our democratic traditions. The opposition to the Vietnam War degenerated into hatred that damaged our returning veterans as much as what they had been through. That is anti-American. One can be anti-war without being anti-American.

It's the right of all of us to say what we want to, but not to be free of criticism. Maureen Dowd penned a column about our "Xanax President" seconding Tom Shales' stupid assertion that Bush looked like he was on drugs at his new conference on Thursday. These people are trolls, taking delight in angering people and turning a clever phrase for each other. If its fair for them to write such drivel, it's fair for us who are offended by it to call them anti-Americans.

I wish I were this eloquent.

I've heard this before, but it's nice to see it in the NYTimes. Not that anybody on the left will believe it. The world's total fertility rate is now assumed to be below replacement level. I don't know enough to list all the implications this has.

Don't count on the fact that Blix may have hidden the 'smoking gun' to change much in the UN Security Council. These people have ignored tons and tons of biochemical weapons. What makes anybody think that they can't explain away an undisclosed aircraft, even if it had Chirac's handwritten admission of having helped build it?

This whole charade has shown more and more clearly that the opponents of doing something serious to stop Saddam don't base their opposition on facts. They aren't honest with themselves, let alone the rest of us. They will put out their own eyes rather than see the truth that is obvious from the past 25 years of Iraqi history. They don't care about the suffering of the Iraqi people or any other people of the Middle East. If they did, they'd have supported taking out Saddam in 1991.

The latest couple of Weekly Standards have been chock full of rich insights and education precipitated by the thick pretensions of the Security Council and the Democrats as they try to wriggle out of admitting what is staring them in the face. First, there is Stephen Hayes' piece, The Horrors of Peace, in which he visits the Dearborn, Michigan Iraqi-American community and learned how badly we let down Iraqis who tried to take up the first Bush's charge to overthrown Saddam. What Wolfiwit

Sunday, March 09, 2003

I've been reading about the outrageousness of today's editorials the NYTimes. So I went to see the elephant. It's worse than I thought. Even Tom Friedman is hung up on having the U.N.'s approval before we can deal with Saddam. It would be funny if so many people didn't rely on the Times to do their thinking for them.

What do any of these people know about what it takes to mount a real response to 9/11? Or whether the president has sufficient evidence?

I first became aware of Friedman when he was a guest on the Charlie Rose program shortly after that date, along with Bernard Lewis. By comparison, Friedman's knowledge and understanding of the Middle East is shallow, and he can't seem to ever really get below the surface.

I then read this letter regarding an earlier report about Jane Fonda's having "deeply offended even those who opposed the war [in Vietnam]."

The writer comments:
Actually, many of us in the 1970's were fortified by her outspokenness against the war in Vietnam.

I never doubted her sincerity in bringing the truth to the American people.

Among today's actors, Martin Sheen has protested United States aggression for years, standing strong with peace activists around the country.

Funny, all I remember today is what the POW's thought of her.

Pat Sajak is a great talk show host. And Fox News has got him. Bad move to put him on opposite The Simpsons, but maybe that's just Mountain Time. Meanwhile CBS has just hired Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, and MSNBC is bringing Jesse Ventura. And where is the liberal Rush Limbaugh?

News Analysis from the New York Times, or, as Best of the Web would put it, "You don't say!"

Jimmy Carter should be deported to Sweden, where they seem to think his blatherings mean anything. For him to give Bush lectures on "just war" is like the Pope giving dating tips. Fox had a nice quote from Alexander Hamilton about how retired presidents should leave the country.

I'm rethinking my previous opinions of the U.N. I started a longish post about its potential for good. Then I though, couldn't all that be done better by spending the money we pump throug the U.N. into direct U.S. aid or donations to some efficient charity? So having rethought it, my position is the same as Geroge Will's, Andrew Sullivan's and, especially, David Gelernter's:
America's problem is not with the idea of a world organization; its problem is with the U.N. The U.N. is no good. Too often it can't do the right thing, and so it does the wrong thing in order to do something. This pattern doesn't always hold (the U.N. does good occasionally), but it is more than sufficient to damn the institution as a failure, because it is woven in, not printed on.
There's also this excellent post from Bitter Sanity, pointing out that the Declaration of Independence (there's my favorite word again) states the principle underlying our right to leave the U.N. behind.