Saturday, October 16, 2004

Wars are won by fighting

I just caught a moment of Noam Chomsky on BookTV (C-Span2) claiming with satisfaction that the war in Iraq was the first war in which massive protests took place against the war before it began. Then I found this piece via Instapundit. The title of this post is quoted, I believe, from George Orwell. Chomsky, like Kerry and too many intellectuals out of their areas of expertise, sees this war as a repeat of the last one. They think that the lesson of Vietnam was that protests can set foreign policy. It was not. Rather it was exactly what Orwell said: wars are won by fighting. War, as Sherman pointed out, is intrinsically violent and fraught with death and suffering. Sherman went on to reason that if we truly hate war, we should fight it without attempting to soften it in order to bring home to those who resort to it, that it will only lead them to disaster.

In the present case, there is an added concern. Those who offer themselves as "martyrs" do so because they see nothing in mortality to give them hope. Islamist terrorism doesn't seek power so much as the end of western civilization. Kerry has never figured that out. He pays lip service to hunting down the terrorists and destroying them, but he says it perfunctorily, like a part of a litany, en route to his real goal, more diplomacy. In spite of ever increasing evidence, he still clings naively to the post-war faith in the "community of nations." That community, if it ever really existed, is now about as unified as Kerry's Beacon Hill Mansion is with the South Bronx. Freedom has been a huge economic success, but the socialists and central planners at the heart of the European Union resent this, rather than accept it. They hate the U.S. because it has prospered as their economies have lagged, and because the main wish of people everywhere is still to come to America.

France has never really rid itself of its aristocracy, only established a new underclass composed of Muslim immigrants from Algeria and the other former colonies in the Arab world and Africa. The same class of technocrats and politicians continues to govern, and they fear and hate the idea that such people might be given real power. They would rather have madmen like Saddam running nations with resources they need because it makes it easier to defy competition from countries like the U.S., Japan and Korea. The proof has been staring us in the face for at least a decade, but no one, least of all our State Department, academia and media elite, wanted to admit it. They cling to the UN as if it were the last life preserver from the Titanic.

That's also why they hate George W. Bush. He took power after a decade of escalating terrorist attacks, and instead of the prior policy of handwringing and waiting for the U.N. to do something, when we were attacked again, he broke the glass and started to fight the fire. The left wants to put the hoses and extinguishers back, replace the glass and continue the fire drill.

There is a series of public service ads running now where a group of people see a problem, like a piece of litter or a running faucet, yet refuse to do anything but talk about it, until someone else walks by and picks up the litter or turns off the faucet. Bush has done something that is obvious, but it's too simple and direct for the nuanced crowd. They have to make it complex and subtle. That's what they know how to do: discuss, deconstruct, debate options, draft opinions, but never act.

Bush first took power from them and, by his action where they did nothing, he has made them ashamed, and therefore they hate him. That's why their arguments can't be trusted, and that's the best reason I can think of to re-elect him. We are reliving the 1930s, but those who should understand history the most are marching like zombies toward repeating the follies of Neville Chamberlain. We have men like Winston Churchill. Now we need more men like George Orwell.

Glenn Reynolds, standup


Guardian or Mole?

A writer with an Arabic-sounding name has been trying to do for American politics what Al Qaeda did for Spain's. Before this year, I'd have said that Americans aren't likely to take this kind of meddling kindly, but now that one of our parties has EUnionizaion as a main plank of its campaign platform and hasn't been bitchslapped for it by the polls, I'm not so sure.

I didn't used to hate Democrats.

I guess, I still don't, because I know some Dems I respect, but people like Kerry and those who perpetuate this hate-Bush rhetoric are really getting to me. Their sneering nastiness toward the President and their pretension of superior intellect to everyone who supports him is getting pretty disgusting. Kerry is an oxymoron, a snooty blue-blood demagogue, but as Ted Kennedy's protege, that shouldn't be surprising. I don't know how this can ever heal. If Bush wins it can only make the left "moore" angry and insulting. If Kerry wins, the triumphalism will be intolerable. At that point, a lot more people will give up on civility, politics and even democracy, and it can only go downhill from there.

Update: My point is supported by Kerry's remark about Cheney's gay daughter. Then Edwards' wife made the snippy little comment that Lynne Cheney's anger was probably because she was ashamed. This is the mirror image of the Church Lady.

I wrote the following to Instapundit regarding his and Kerry's condescending attitude toward people who have traditional values:
Kerry's remark was not just a bad idea. It revealed the arrogance and mean spirit of the left, not a love of peace or compassion, but a condemnatory attitude that the media attributes only to the religious. Was it Tom Maquire who asked how it would have been received if Bush had offered counsel to Kerry's children on dealing with their parents divorce?

I am as offended by the phony compassion of people like Pat Robertson as anybody else, but Kerry's implication that you can't really be compassionate unless you abandon your moral values about matters like homosexuality is really dangerous, both to society and homosexuals themselves. I don't believe that we really know enough about the origins of abnormal sexual attraction and fantasies, and we never will as long as anybody who suggests research into treatment is treated like a leper in academia. I suspect that there's a lot more pain and confusion among gays than they are allowed to acknowledge by their own "advocates." The decision to "help" by telling them what they want to hear is not the basis of a sound society. It's like trying to treat depression by telling the sufferer that he's normal, or that his pain is just a different orientation. The very term gay is a wink and a nudge.

My one of my sister's sons just died from a lymphoma. He had been alienated from his family by his own concluson that he was gay, when all he really was, was unsure of himself. I don't know whether he had AIDS or not, but I do know that his belief that, to quote Steely Dan, "any world that I'm welcome to is better than the one I come from" caused him and his family far more pain that was necessary. In the end, he failed to tell his family about the physical pain he was in until it was too late to get treatment. His mother had reached out to him, but he knew what her values were. You can blame her for being homophobic, but you can also blame him and his gay subculture for rejecting her love and nurture. Call it an alternative orientation.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Crushing dissent is bad enough.

Ratcheting it in a rightward direction makes it much worse.

Last word on Kerry's medals

This post by Tom Maquire reminded me. Last week after a family funeral we were looking at a book of photos and clippings my mother had. There was a newspaper article about her older brother who was a captain in the Army (at the time of the article he was a major), taken captive at Corregidor and survived four years at Cabanatuan. When he got home he received a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.

I don't expect everybody who serves to be a hero, but putting Kerry's exploits up against against this standard, I would have thought he'd be embarrassed to bring them up at all. And it isn't an answer to talk about Bush "avoiding service"--Bush never claimed to be a war hero.

Note: My uncle was Warren Starr, presumably the same one mentioned in this history.

Monday, October 11, 2004


John Kerry:
"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," Kerry said. "As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."
There's been lots of comment on this in the past couple of days, but when I think about it, it helps explain why Kerry believes that deposing Saddam was the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place. After all, what happens to a bunch of Iraqis isn't our business. It's a nuisance.

A lot of things like that are nuisances for policy wonks like Clinton and Kerry. They get on the news with pictures of little black kids with swollen bellies and not enough energy to brush the flies off their faces, or even worse, stories about caucasian Muslims being raped and murdered in Bosnian camps by Christians. Anything that makes us send in troops is a nuisance, because it takes us away from the preferred task of advancing socialism here at home and drains of money that could be used for vote-buying entitlement programs.

Kerry admires the Europeans with their planned economies and national health, and he wants us to be like them. And side tracks like deposing Middle Eastern dictators, even fighting terrorists, are just nuisances. Why can't we get back to good old Democrat politics?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Yet another misapplication of the Bill of Rights

Every time someone suggests that reporters are not above the law, the press responds with a self-righteous invocation of the First Amendment full of J-school nonsense like this:
The press simply cannot perform its intended role if its sources of information - particularly information about the government - are cut off.
Kindly point me to the section of the Constitution which created "the press" and stated its intended role? With all due respect to Justice Stewart, he's shouldn't confuse the writings of Thomas Jefferson with the Constitution. This bilge that the press is something more than any other business enterprise has been propagandized for too long, largely because the press and academia promote it and there hasn't been anyone able to talk back. Stewart's dictum is misguided. The reason the First Amendment grants freedom of the press is the same as the reason it grants freedom of speech and religion--not to establish the press as some hyper-citizen watchdog on the government, but to protect the right of people to criticize the government. When did you ever hear of some private individual allowed to claim a legal privilege against revealing his sources for a statement? Me neither.

This "intended role" is about as well-established as the right to pollute the environment. It's a good example of the Big Lie. There is nothing sacrosanct about someone's choice of reporting as a vocation. Legally, there is nothing to distinguish bloggers from reporters like Dan Rather, and I can't imagine any court telling a blogger he didn't have to reveal his sources because it would prevent him from fulfilling his intended role in society.

"Forced democracy"?

That's the phrase used by NYTimes reporter Matt Bai to describe Bush's policy in Iraq. It's in a piece called Kerry's Undeclared War. The Big Trunk has a critique of the article, but the characterization of liberating Iraq as "forced democracy" really strikes me as unamerican. This is the kind of thing people say and then get angry because those who react to it as I do are "questioning their patriotism." I guess I am doubting their patriotism or at least their commitment to the principles of our republic. If you think of democracy as just another form of imperialism, what kind of political system do you view as legitimate? Maybe Marxism?

This really bespeaks a contempt for the rest of the human race, as well as a refusal to learn the lessons of history, particularly the failure of socialism. Kerry's focus of French-style diplomacy as the panacea to terrorism makes me wonder whether he really understood what happened during the 1990s which culminated in 9/11/01. The continuous citing of mythical Bush venality by the left really concerns me, and it should all Americans. The mere fact that a large minority of this country is unable to see through the goofy claims that Bush lied in order to lead us into war suggests that we are losing the capacity for critical reasoning, largely due to years of ad-think and the political bias being peddled as news reporting in this country. We are becoming victims of propaganda from people who no longer believe that government by the people is a good thing. They have convinced themselves of lies, which is what makes it all so pathetic when those lies are regularly made the basis of news analysis.

For similar concerns, read this by Hugh Hewitt.

Miracle medicine?

I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease. For the past several years my doc has tried to get me to start getting Remicade infusions, which I declined to do because, at $2500 every 6 weeks, they were just too expensive.

Last week I was at a funeral for my nephew who died from a lymphoma that was not diagnosed in time to treat, although the odds of success with radiation and chemotherapy were not that good if it had been.

I wondered about the fact that my mother also had been diagnosed with two lymphomas just before her death. I mentioned it to my doctor, and he said that there was a link between RA and lymphoma. For one thing lymphomas cause high levels of rh factor which is also a measure of RA activity. In RA the linings of the joints becomes misidentified as abnormal tissue by the immune system and causes the joints to become inflamed and swell in the same way lymph nodes do when one has an infection, such as mumps. The joints react by adding more cartilage and bone, with the result that one's knuckles and toe joints become enlarged and the phalanges begin to point in the wrong directions.

Today I happened on this report that Remicade has been linked to higher levels of lymphoma. I had a cousin my age who died of Chrohn's disease back in the 80s. I'm glad that I held off on trying Remicade, but I wish I understood how my genes might be related to these diseases. I've been taking methylprednisolone for over 20 years and have suffered from a lot of secondary problems from that, but without it, I'm sure I would have been crippled long ago. Vioxx and Celebrex use may result in heart disease, but when they're the only thing that helps pain, the chance of heart problems may seem worth taking. I'm not sure that we should be measuring our medical prowess just in terms of longer life expectancies. Quality of life matters more and more to me these days. The problem with RA, is that it doesn't kill you, it just makes living really painful.

Why is Bill Gates getting away with this?

Check this quote from an article about new systems for detecting virus outbreaks and preventing them from spreading:
Security experts warn that an unprotected computer straight out of the box and connected to the Internet will catch multiple virus infections in its first 20 minutes online.
Isn't that wonderful? Why are we paying billions for software and hardware that make this possible? Microsoft's management tools are inscrutable to someone like me who doesn't know the guts of the OS, but why should it be so difficult to, say, list what messages your computer is sending out, so that you can spot unusual activity that you didn't authorize? Even the best tools around are like reading Greek when they pop up and ask you if xyz.exe should be allowed to access the internet. How do you know unless you know what that process is and why it needs to connect to the web? Then there are all those little components of Windows that are usually legitimate but might be used by some virus, trojan horse, etc. Why is it so difficult to tell whether your computer has become a zombie participating in a DOS attack?

Software companies have a hugely condescending attitude toward their customers and insist on giving everything cryptic names and providing murky error messages that only a tiny number of people can understand, along with help that explains nothing. I'm sure the network administrators in the world really love all those "contact your administrator" messages users get.