Strutting and fretting in an insane world.
Friday, October 31, 2003
This story from the WaPo, via Instapundit, seems like a bright light in the effort to build trust between the Iraqi people and the occupying forces. So naturally the program it describes has been cancelled. Could it be that the fuss over making the rebuilding Iraq a loan rather than paying it ourselves brought this about? If so, the cancellation is idiocy. The assets of the Ba'athist regime should be returned to the Iraqi people from whom they were stolen, and I can't think of a better idea than using them to rebuild the country and create jobs for Iraqis.
Maybe somebody thinks that the program violates the contracts with U. S. companies, but if it does, the contracts need to be rewritten. One of the hardest things we have to do is prove to the ordinary Iraqis that we're not there to take the place of Saddam, but to help them. CERP is a powerful way to convey that message.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Think about this:
THE STUDY of more than 70 U.S. companies and individual contractors turned up more than $500,000 in donations to the president�s 2000 campaign, more than they gave collectively to any other politician over the past dozen years.The "study" was released by the Center for Public Integrity, a muckraking think tank with a distinctly leftist air to its website.
Did they donate to Bush because they knew the Iraq war would come up and that they would get this plum contracts in exchange for their half million? Or is Bush just grateful?
I have to wonder how many companies could even bid on this kind of job? I'm sure that Clinton could have found a Chinese or Indonesian firm to do the job, but that would have had its own downside.
Update: Instapundit links to comments by Daniel Drezner and Steven Antler pointing out some disconnects between the headlined conclusions of the study and the actual findings. Doesn't misstating the evidence constitute a lack of integrity?
I'm sure there are rightwing groups with misleading names, but there seem to be a lot more high profile lefty ones that reek of hypocrisy: MoveOn.org, People for the American Way, Center for Public Integrity, for starters.
Hugh Hewitt reports on the Democrats dropping opposition to the Healthy Forests Initiative. They may be thinking of Gray Davis' fate as massive wildfires destroy homes and lives, and probably an awful lot of animals on the endangered species list.
In this piece in the Weekly Standard he lambastes the idiotic land management practices implemented by federal agencies and mandated by the Endangered Species Act. Maybe it will take a huge disaster like this to make Congress realize how damaging the environmentalist agenda has been for this country. But, considering how much dough the greens donate to Democrats, I don't expect the window to be open for long.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
An interesting interview on the Broadcasting & Cable site with Roger Ailes. The interviewer seems to be nervous as a cat about the fact that Fox News Channel still displays an American flag on the screen. The answers and the repeated questions are priceless:
The American flag is still onscreen. That a permanent fixture on your air now? Does the flag really have a place on a news network?But do you think the public understands the difference between patriotism and citizenship?!!! Where did that come from? What does it mean? I guess I don't understand the difference the questioner had in mind, because I can't see what is bothering him/her about a waving flag. Does he/she really think that citizenship and patriotic are mutually exclusive?
I was at an event at the Museum of Television and Radio, and I was the only journalist in the room who happened to have an American-flag pin on. A bunch of other guys started kidding me and said, "Oh, he's from Fox; he makes everybody wear the flag." I said, "No, I'm just not like ABC; I don't insist they not wear it. You all disagree with my wearing it, and nobody here is defending my right to wear it." Morley Safer said, "Anybody who wears it on the air is pandering to the audience. Would you let a guy wear a peace symbol?" I said, "Yeah, it's not my business."
There are things I'm a little iffy on: taking babies' lives. But I'm really pro-choice on flag pins. I'm pro-choice on Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I'm pro-choice on steaks. I said, "I'm pro-choice on a lot of stuff." I said, "I thought maybe you guys could understand this better if I just gave it to you as pro-choice. I want to wear a damn flag pin, here or on the air, tough luck. And if you don't, it's none of my business." It got real quiet after that.
But the flag graphic is there all the time. Viewers don't get a choice on that.
They've got a choice. They've got a hundred channels to watch. It's a big choice. If it offends you, turn it off. I'm offended by people picking up dead rats. You know what I do? I turn it off.
So why is The New York Times an advocacy organization and Fox News' literal flag-waving is not?
And there's something wrong with flag waving? What is it? Is it immoral? Is it wrong? It's a graphic. It happened to be a graphic that most people love and are not offended by. You would feel that it was perfectly fine if somebody would wear a T-shirt with a flag on it to a rock concert, wouldn't you? It would just be the flag. It would be on a shirt. I'm not offended by a flag any time. The government is not the flag.
But do you think the public understands the difference between patriotism and citizenship?
The American people are very, very smart. The journalists are narrow-minded, think they're avant-garde, think they're on some holy quest that they're not. The American people know that. If they're offended by the flag, they're watching somebody else. It's okay. We're not going around to homes, putting guns on people, making them watch Fox News. That's where CNN will end up, if they don't start getting better ratings.
Astounding! But then I guess it just underlines what Ailes was saying about journalists.
Bill Gates is ready to build a lot of blogging functionality into the next upgrade of Windows. My next PC will be an Apple.
Bernard Lewis and James Woolsey point out that Iraq already has a constitution, which was adopted in 1925 and acknowledges
. . . that the nation's sovereignty "resides in the people"--provides for an elected lower house of parliament, which has a major role in approving constitutional amendments. It also contains a section on "The Rights of the People" that declares Islam as the official religion, but also provides for freedom of worship for all Islamic sects and indeed for all religions and for "complete freedom of conscience." It further guarantees "freedom of expression of opinion, liberty of publication, of meeting together, and of forming and joining associations." In different words, the essence of much of our own Bill of Rights is reflected therein.This constitution establishes a constitutional monarchy under a Hashemite dynasty, but the article states some reasons why this system could ease the path to restoring a government.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
If anyone can explain the point of this piece from Georgie Anne Geyer, I'd be grateful. She seems to be criticizing the U. S. for not repeating the mistake in 1983 of not adequately protecting our Marines who were stationed as "peacekeepers" in Lebanon, since today our troops in Iraq are better protected. But, Geyer moans, our troops today are just as "isolated from the people" as those Marines twenty years ago.
I would have thought that the key fact was that we had learned a lesson from the years of watching U. N. peacekeepers being totally impotent and decided that the best way to keep the peace is to shoot the people who are causing the problem, and don't let suicide bombers get close to you. But she seems to be saying that we should be out there bonding like social workers with the locals. I suppose we would be better off if all our troops spoke Arabic, but I don't think that's her point, either.
I watched a program this morning about how Stalin decimated his own armed forces prior to WWII with repeated purges which deprived them of most of their officers and the engineers who were building weapons and airplanes. I kept wondering why the military didn't fight back and hang him. I guess that's just the way people are. If they have never been free; they don't know how to be self-reliant; and if the government gives them all that they have, they tend to complain about the government rather than throw it off and take responsibility for themselves.
I've just read Joseph Ellis' book, American Sphinx, about Thomas Jefferson. He was eloquent about freedom, but he wasn't very good at it in his own life. He gave all Americans their ideas about freedom and independence, but he seemed to think that all we had to do is eliminate government and the self-reliant American yeoman farmers would take care of themselves from there on out. Experience hasn't born out his ideas, but we can't shake them, because they are such attractive myths. Basically, we all overemphasize our personal rights and minimize the expectations of others. That's where libertarianism comes from, but it's not really workable, as Jefferson's life shows. Maybe Ellis didn't cover it, but I didn't read anything in the book about the duties of citizenship. I've always thought that a republic depends on people making it work properly by keeping an eye on their representatives, but Jefferson didn't seem to be as hortatory about that as he was about throwing off the yoke of tyranny. What we have to think about, is that when we throw off the yoke, the load doesn't get pulled until someone puts it back on. The real point which Washington and Adams seemed to understand was that what we fought for in the Revolutionary War was not for no more yokes, but for the right to bear the yokes we choose, even without the lash and reins being held by someone else, and for the right to claim more of the rewards for pulling.
I love this quote:
"Of course we don't understand why somebody would attack the Red Cross," ICRC spokeswoman Nada Doumani tells the AP. "The Red Cross has operated in this country since 1980, and we have not been involved in politics."Yeah, it's not like all those plane passengers and occupants of the World Trade Center who were, uh, . . . what was it again that they were doing to harm Islam? For that matter, what is it that made the bombers want to kill so many of their fellow Iraqis, Miss Doumani?
The L. A. Times clarifies it for us. It was a publicity stunt, "designed to grab attention by flaunting their ability to inflict casualties." Oh, well then, never mind.