Friday, February 04, 2005

Peace Kills

Via Best of the Web, this story illustrates the stupidity to which our institutions of "higher learning" have sunk. Augsburg College in Minneapolis is holding a Nobel Peace Prize Forum supposedly aimed at peace through understanding:
Discussion points would include counterterrorism methods, the possibility of peace, empathy etc. The aim of this seminar would be to help understand the position of Osama Bin Laden as presented in the video and explore in what ways the origins of terrorism are to be found, not in some foreign citizen, but in the actions we take out of fear, hate and retribution.
Honestly, I think if these people were attacked by a rabid dog, they'd order krullers and coffee and try to talk to it in order to understand the roots of its hostility.

There's an episode of Red Dwarf called "Polymorph" in which they encounter an alien monster that sucks out emotions and feeds on them. Lister's fear, Kryten's guilt, Cat's vanity are sucked out. Then Rimmer's anger follows. Then there's this scene as they discuss how to confront the creature (italics added):
[Rimmer is wearing a T-shirt which reads, "GIVE QUICHE A CHANCE." He also wears shorts and a wristwatch, and is smoking a pipe. His face sports a goatee and black spectacles. He speaks with a lot of hand movements, fingers together, outstretched.]

Rimmer: Look, just because it's an armour-plated alien killing machine that salivates unspeakable slobber doesn't mean it's a bad person. What we've got to do is get it round a table, and put together a solution package -- perhaps over tea and biscuits.

Kryten: (in Lister's bunk) Look at him! You can't trust his opinion -- he's got no anger. He's a total dork!

Rimmer: Good point, Kryten. Let's take that on board, shall we? Erm, David?
David, do you have anything you want to bring to this forum?

Lister: (carrying a bazookoid on his shoulder and holding the baseball bat)
Well, yes, I have, actually, Arnold. Why don't we go down to the ammunition stores, get the nuclear warheads and then strap one to my head? I'll nuke the smegger to oblivion! (butts his head)

Rimmer: Right, well, that's very nice, David. Let's put that on the back burner, shall we? Erm, Cat, let's have your contribution ... come on.

Cat: Hey, don't ask me my opinion -- I'm nobody. Just pretend I'm not here.

Rimmer: That's lovely. Thank you very much. Erm, moving on a step -- and I hope no-one thinks that I'm setting myself up as a self-elected chairperson ... just see me as a facilitator -- erm, Kryten, what's your view? Don't be shy.

Kryten: Well, I think we should send Lister in as a decoy, and, while it's busy eating him alive, we could creep up on it unawares and blast it into the stratosphere.

Lister: Good plan! That's the best plan yet! Let it get knackered eating me to death, then you guys could just, like, catch it unawares!

Rimmer: Well, that's certainly an option, David, yes. Erm, but here's my proposal: Let's get tough. The time for talking is over. Call it extreme if you like, but I propose we hit it hard and hit it fast with a major -- and I mean major -- leaflet campaign and while it's reeling from that, we'd follow up with a [whist?] drive, a car boot sale, some street theatre and possibly even some benefit concerts. OK?

Now, if that's not enough, I'm sorry, it's time for the T-shirts: "Mutants Out" ... "Chameleonic Life Forms, No Thanks" ... and if that's not enough, well, I don't know what will be.
Rimmer had his anger removed by the monster. What is these people's excuse?

I don't care about Ward Churchill

I'd fire him, not on the grounds of his weird opinions (It's not like he was teaching creationism or something serious!), but for being an embarrassment to an institution of higher learning. If your college is stuck in the 1960s why should anybody send their kid there?

Everybody has the right to free speech, but that doesn't mean you have a right to a job which gives you a platform for it. I'm sick of this argument that every nutjob uses to justify idiotic ranting. This isn't just unpopular opinion; it's hackneyed, unimaginative and we've all heard it all ad nauseum. The worst thing about political correctness is that it forces everybody to be subjected to a lot of drivel, pornography and hate in the name of free speech. The rule shouldn't be just "publish or perish" it should also be have something interesting to say. That's the difference between Ulysses and the natterings of intellectual suicide bombers like Ward Churchill. He has the right to speak his noxious opinions, but he doesn't have the right to have the people of Colorado or anyone else provide him a position from which to disseminate them. I also think that no institution should be required to allow its employees to damage its funding source in the name of academic freedom.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Anybody who reads this blog, all three of you, knows that I support President Bush. I think his speech tonight was powerful in its cogency and courage. Whether he wins on Social Security or not, he deserves credit for telling us the truth about it. It's an unsustainable system, and Paul Krugman's assurance that even after the trust fund is gone, Social Security revenues will cover 81 percent of the promised benefits is hardly reassuring. This program generates strong feelings and they won't be any kinder if we wait until the shortage in upon us.

I tried to listen to it as if I were uninformed and undecided, and I found his appeals to courage, sacrifice and idealism attractive. His approach to dealing with terrorism is carefully reasoned and strategically visionary. Like the containment policy that eventually won the Cold War, it will need to be followed up over generations, but unlike it, pursuing democracy as a cure for dangerous states is not as obvious as arming ourselves for deterrence. I hope the American people understand it and are smart enough to remember Bush's inaugural speech. It is not obvious that the only assurance of continued freedom is to pursue it everywhere.

As for the Democrats' response, Reid's recounting his roots in Searchlight, Nevada was embarrassingly hokey and egocentric, and his appeal to balancing the budget strikes me as hypocritical. Nancy Pelosi came across as a person with nothing positive to say. In short, they were naysayers, not leaders. They want to play it safe and rely on the old formula of government programs to garner support, which has turned us into a nation of dependents, no matter how we like to see ourselves. This is a dead end, and that's why they are losing elections. Bush threw down a gauntlet on every major issue, and they just let it lie there.

The Iraqi experiment in Democracy has made me think about what it takes for a people to adopt freedom. They have to accept responsibility and they have to have the courage to stand up for their rights. I wasn't sure the Iraqis understood that. I am now convinced that most of them do. I only hope their courage and determination will not fail them in days to come.

This war has restored my faith in our military and admiration for the men and women who serve. Soldiers aren't cannon fodder as most anti-war types see them. They think in terms of the draft, failing to realize that the old model in which each side threw more men at the other and the one that ran out first was the loser. The volunteer military is fundamentally different. It is composed of warriors, not conscripts. It fights with intelligence, training and the best equipment, not body counts. I never felt that I had the physical prowess to be a soldier, but I love and honor those who do; who risk their lives for priniciples like freedom, democracy and patriotism.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'm just glad he's not president

I can't get too worked up about John Kerry's latest rewriting of history. I can't figure out why Meet the Press booked him. Maybe all the relevant people were busy.

And kudos to Barney Frank for challenging Eason Jordan' scandalous accusation that American troops target journalists. That Jordan still has a job is amazing to me, since he admitted to practically being an accomplice of the Saddam regime. Even if it were true, I'm not sure I'd blame the troops, given the distortions of their work by the MSM. "Journalist" is rapidly becoming a synonym for "reflexive anti-American."

Fortunately, I think our forces are better trained and disciplined than most reporters.

Update: According to the WSJ, when Franks called him on the charge, Jordan's response was "There are people who believe there are people in the military who have it out for journalists." How's that for sourcing? I keep wondering how a man as irresponsible as this keeps such a high profile job. It sure can't be the quality of his judgment.

You know, for all the talk about bloggers, it is really the arrogance and ham-handedness of the press that has brought it to this pass. You can't just dismiss people who see stupidity right out there in plain sight and write about it by saying that they can't be trusted because they have no editors. Where was Jordan's editor? The media have editors and has it made them more trustworthy? Only when the editors aren't as partisan and biased as the reporters. Unfortunately, they are often more so. Anybody who would give Howell Raines, Dan Rather or Eason Jordan control of a news operation is throwing away its credibility.

Blogs are, unlike the press, heterogeneous. They don't pretend to be evenhanded. Anybody who surrenders his judgment on current events to anybody, CBS or Instapundit, is not worthy to be a citizen in a democracy.

First Rathergate, Now This!

The American soldier hostage reported earlier is now looking like a really badly done hoax. I didn't see the photo (shown here) posted by the "terrorists" until later. It looks like both the soldier and the gun pointed at him are toys, GI Joe to be exact. It took in the AP though.

Why does anybody pay for this kind of "news"?

Who are the real pacifists?

A good argument can be made that the Bush Administration has a better approach to establishing world peace than the left. And Dr. Jack Wheeler makes it pretty well.

The piece goes on to recount how the CIA helped the Orange Revolution with gifts of vodka. Maybe it was called Operation Screwdriver.

He also has a cogent point about radical Islam:
"Quite frankly," he said, "there are a lot of extinct religions in the history pages, and Islam is going to become extinct unless it's reformed.

"When you start blowing yourself up, when you get that kind of insane desperation, you're history," he said. "This is a religion without a future unless it reforms."
Wheeler sounds like the perfect name for this guy. I wish I could afford the $9/month subscription to his site.

The laws of war

The authors of the memo on the rights of captured terrorists set the record straight on the application of the Geneva Convention to illegal combatants. The press has largely parroted the mischaracterizations and alarmism of the Democrats on this issue.

They make the point powerfully that dealing with international terrorists is not a part of the Geneva Convention, which deals with wars between nations:

The Geneva Convention provisions make sense when war involves nation-states � if, say, hostilities broke out between India and Pakistan, or China and Taiwan. But to pretend that the Geneva Convention applies to Al Qaeda, a non-state actor that targets civilians and disregards other laws of war, denies the reality of dramatic changes in the international system.
The incoherence of the left since 9/11 is nowhere as striking as it is on the issue of treatment of captured terrorists.

The left is not evil; it's just worthless

That's the case Dennis Prager makes about those who refuse to acknowledge evil:
But the non-Muslims who fail to acknowledge and confront the evil of Muslim terror and the evil of those monsters who cut innocent people's throats and murder those trying to make a democracy -- these people are truly worth nothing. Unlike the Muslims raised in a religious totalitarian society, they have no excuse. And in my lifetime, these people have overwhelmingly congregated on the political Left.

David Brooks makes a similar point, quoting Whitaker Chambers:
"I sometimes feel, that it takes a tainted mind to understand - to really understand - the threat of Communism. To really understand Communism is to have touched pitch: one's view of man is forever defiled. To understand Communism means to understand the terrible capacity of man for violence and treachery, an apprehension of which leaves one forever tainted."
Most Americans have never seen that kind of evil up close. They've heard of people like Jeffry Dahmer, of course, but they've never really imagined living under a government run by Jeffry Dahmers. The Iraqis have done it.

Brooks continues:
. . .[B]eneath the joy and exhilaration that came with voting last Sunday, Iraqis showed something grimmer: a stern determination to not let evil triumph.

These Iraqis are people who, like Chambers, have spent their lives in hell and cannot have been unaffected by it. They have touched pitch and witnessed or participated in man's capacity for violence and treachery. They must be both damaged and toughened.
I hope Brooks is right. These people are going to need a lot of toughness for the times ahead.


Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post on blogs and branding.

Mitt Romney

Hillary! isn't the only one acting like a 2008 candidate. Mitt Romney's PAC has been spreading cash around. I'm down with that.

Get ready for more talk about political dynasties. Romney's father, George, was governor of Michigan and made a run at the presidency.

Also, get ready for a lot of Mormon-bashing.

The Time Loop

The Guardian of England is stuck in the Vietnam time warp. The Iraqi elections were a success, and it just galls the left. Not to worry, though. History is leaving them behind.

Actually, comparing this situation to Vietnam should serve as a lesson on the inhumanity of leaving Iraq until it has the means to defend itself. We left Vietnam and when the North Vietnamese violated the ceasefire; Congress declined to allow us to return; and South Vietnam ceased to exist as a democratic state. For all of the carping by the left about corruption, South Vietnamese were better off with freedom than they were under Communism. We turned our backs on the murders of hundreds of thousands of those who trusted us. Vietnam was a quagmire, not because it couldn't be won, but because of the way the Johnson administrative conducted it. We allowed the enemy sanctuaries across all borders, and we failed to take the war to their homes.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Who's the real martyr/hero here?

The suicide bomber or the Iraqi police officer whom he killed? I'd say it was the one whose example encouraged others to come and vote in defiance of the terrorists.

And the new Mayor of Baghdad deserves credit for his courage in directing Iraqis' thanks for their freedom where it should go.

I hope she wasn't eating pretzels!

Hillary! passes out. Where's all the jeering we've been led to expect?

I guess you have to be a journalist

"But Rather�s reputation as a Bush hater, true or not, has allowed journalists to wonder whether Rather helped rush the story on the air partly for political reasons."

Is there still any reasonable doubt that the story was politically motivated? This might help explain why journalists are looking more and more behind the curve these days.

How dare you challenge my patriotism?

A sourpuss on the Democratic Underground bulletinboard:
I had to turn off CNN because they kept focusing on the so-called "voters" and barely mentioned the resistance movements at all. Where are the freedom fighters today? Are their voices silenced because some American puppets cast a few ballots?
The obvious answer is that there just aren't really that many insurgents as we've been led to believe. This guy refuses to accept the fact that Iraqis really voted freely. Is there any question left as to why Democrats are losing elections here?

Kerry touts his defeat

Talk about turning a lemon into lemonade! John Kerry:
We did some unbelievable things. We raised more money than any Democratic campaign in history. We involved more volunteers than any campaign in history. I won more votes than any candidate on the Democratic side has ever won in history. I lost, Tim, to an incumbent president by a closer margin than an incumbent president has ever won re-election before in the history of the country, and if you add up the popular vote in the battleground states, I won the popular vote in the battleground states by two percentage points.. . .

I think it's remarkable we came as close as we did as a campaign.. . .

I am proud of the campaign, Tim. And I think if you look at what we did in states, I mean, millions of new voters came into this process. I won the youth vote. I won the independent vote. I won the moderate vote.
Gee, you'd almost think that that he won the election.

"We have freedom now,. . ."

80-year-old Iraqi Rashid Majid is quoted in the NYTimes:
We have freedom now, we have human rights, we have democracy. We will invite the insurgents to take part in our system. If they do, we will welcome them. If they don't, we will kill them.
Oh, I hope so.

I've thought many times that the essence of freedom is being willing to fight for your rights. If you're lucky, that means only showing up as the Ukrainians did. If not, you might get killed by those opposing your rights. Either way, I wondered if the Iraqi people would get it. I think that most of them did. There are some real patriots there, willing to give Zarqawi the purple finger.

I think that our media have made it appear that Iraq is one vast battleground, when the truth is that these terrorist strikes are really isolated events which most Iraqis see as something like California earthquakes are seen by the rest of the United States. We hear about them, but they don't make us feel threatened. Most Iraqis used to feel threatened by Saddam's regime, but haven't since America overthrew him. We need to understand how we have transformed their lives, and support the policy of continuing to train and equip indigenous security forces for as long as it takes. We must not leave Iraq the way we left South Vietnam, knowing that the enemy would be back and that Americans didn't have the will to honor our treaty commitments.

We have no treaty commitments with Iraq, but we have invested 1500 lives and more injured men and women. That, by itself, requires that we complete the mission and not break faith with these heroes.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Political Star is Born

Barbara Boxer, apparently confusing her portrayal in an SNL sketch with flattery, will continue to oppose every nominee sent by Bush to the Senate in an effort to gain greater name recognition among the American People.

"There's no such thing as bad publicity!" said the California solon of her strategy to be the lone voice in opposing the first Hispanic Attorney General nominee as well as the first African-American female Secretary of State. "I want to be the new Happy Warrior," comparing herself to the late Hubert Humphrey who led his party to defeat against Richard Nixon in 1968.

That's a weak attempt at parody, but here's what the article really says:
She's being touted on liberal blogs as the Democrats' best hope for president in 2008. Conservatives are excoriating her as � in House Minority Leader Tom DeLay's phrase � the leader of the "'X-Files' wing" of the Democratic Party.

Boxer says she is just standing up for what she believes.

"I've always been this way," she says, "and I'm trying to figure out exactly why people suddenly find this to be interesting, you know. Somehow I have touched something inside people, and I have not ever had this happen before. The only thing I can think, after reading what people said, is a feeling that I'm asking the kind of questions and saying the kind of things that they are feeling."

Maybe she's becoming a spokeswoman, or even a symbol, for voters who oppose the Iraq war or feel shut out by the Bush administration. Maybe, with the Democratic Party at sea after November's election losses, some people sense a leadership void and are looking to her to fill it.
You tell me which sounds more bizarre.

Reminds me of a line from Lou Grant on the old Mary Tyler Moore show: "You have spunk, don't you? I hate spunk."

The Orange and the Purple Revolutions

This has been a good year for democracy. First the Orange Revolution and today it's the purple fingers. Teddy Kennedy must be furious. His view that Iraq is part of the timewarp he lives in, where every foreign policy issue resembles Vietnam, is getting shaky. His whining about exit strategy merely shows how far in denial he and those like him are.

Scrappleface sums up the result for the mainstream media.

You'd think Democrats would be cheering, but these days "Democrat" is to democrat like war is to peace. It's newspeak. They should be named according to the people they are most closely aligned with, the anti-Americans in Europe and ANSWER. In their anger and hatred of all things Bush, there is no point talking sense to them. Instapundit keeps posting about efforts to reform the Democrat Party, but it's putting new wine into old bottles. The New Deal is now old. Roosevelt wouldn't recognize his old party, as it has become the party of isolation, like the Republicans who opposed fighting Hitler until we were ourselves attacked.