August 31, 2004

"The other thing is simple, too: take risks"

RedState has a nice interview with Bobby Jindal. He's a very impressive guy, currently running for congress.

...The other thing is simple, too: take risks, no matter if you may fail. A lot of people thought that I was nuts to run for Governor at age 31, or to take over the Louisiana health department when I was 24. I wasn’t successful in my first campaign. But we forget that our leaders are not always successful the first time around. I got a nice handwritten note from the President after my loss, and he reminded me that he lost his first race. And as a matter of fact, so did Kerry – both candidates of the major parties lost their first races for elected office. Reagan lost multiple times before he won the presidency. And part of politics is taking risks, going into the field with uncertain outcomes...
(thanks to Pejman)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 PM

Happy now, you fascist?

This scene in a bookstore is funny, and oh so true...

ME: I'm looking for Michael Moore Is a Stupid White Man.

C: (still smiling) You mean Stupid White Men by Michael Moore . . .

M: No. Michael Moore Is a Stupid White Man. It's a new release.

C: We don't have it.

M: Are you sure? It's very popular.

C: (taciturn) Never heard of it. (Looks past me) Can I help the next person, please?

M: Excuse me, but can you check on your computer?

C: (very annoyed) Fine. (Bangs away at the keyboard. Scrolls down the screen at warp speed) No. Doesn't exist.

M: Wait — there it is.

C: (extremely annoyed) Oh . . . um . . . Yesss. We only received one copy. It's in the back.

M: Where in the back?

C: (loudly) In the political science section!

M: Thanks!

I checked out the section. The book was nowhere to be found. I walk back to the desk.

M: Pardon me, but I couldn't find it.

C: (Curses under her breath and slams her pen on the counter. Slams swinging door. Marches to the back of the store)

I could not believe what she did next. She grabs a step ladder and climbs up. The book was lying flat on the top row of books — with the spine toward the back so you couldn't see the title. She grabs the book, climbs down, slams it into my chest. Her face is beet red and she screams: "HERE!!! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, YOU FRIGGIN' FASCIST!??!"

I was shocked, Mr. Nordlinger. This wasn't a mom-'n'-pop outfit. It's one of the largest booksellers in the Northeast that aren't Barnes & Noble.

So I figured, Okay, time for some Brooklyn diplomacy. I walked up to the counter again.

ME: Excuse me: Do you have Treason by Ann Coulter? In the bestseller section? I couldn't find it . . .

Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 AM

Oooooh, did Allawi sting them, or what!

...Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's declaration, which came after the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq and accused France's position towards terrorism, was "unacceptable," the French Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    "This declaration seems in fact to have cast doubt on France's determination in the fight against terrorism ... France is leading untiringly a resolute action against this scourge and it is always bringing its support and contribution to all the initiatives of the international community in this field," said Cecile Pozzo di Borgo, spokeswoman of the French Foreign Ministry....

...France has opposed the US-led Iraq war and has no troops in Iraq.

    Allawi declared earlier Monday that the kidnapping of two French journalists showed that there was "no possible neutrality" in Iraq and that those who do not fight at the government level can not escape terrorism. "None of the civilized countries can escape," he said, noting "there is no possible neutrality, as shows the kidnapping of the French journalists." "The French deluded themselves if they would hope to stay outside," he added. [link]

Can't you just picture Chirac? "Ett eeze unacceptable for zeeze lessair nations to critique La Belle France!" Well Jack, your leverage here is about zero. You wouldn't help the Little Red Hen, so you get nothing to eat...

(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

August 29, 2004

"What they have to lose they lost to him long ago.."

Commenter Lastango writes, at Bill Quick's blog:

...Perhaps even more important, the Swift veterans lack the GOP's internal divisions, timidity, beltway collegialism and concern over their own political futures. No potshots or sparring here. Kerry is facing a bayonet assault. They are inside his perimeter, working him foxhole to foxhole and room to room.

Once, Kerry smashed up and then stole their honor. What they have to lose they lost to him long ago. A discredited Kerry would mean Kerry's war crimes accusations would be discredited, too, if the public were to accept that the source of the accusations was self-serving and untrustworthiness. That is the veterans’ prize. That, and the honor of defending the nation from peril one more time. They will not quit.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:49 PM

"only to use them like rented mules"

Orrin Judd, once again...he just puts this so well...

...One of the things that Democrats and pundits--with the exception of a few wise souls like Mr. Steyn--just don't seem to get is that the President enjoys raising the stakes at exactly those moments when they think they've caught him bluffing. And when they accept he tends to crush them. After the stolen election he was supposed to mark time untril Al Gore could be awarded his rightful crown, but instead he rammed through his tax cuts. After Jim Jeffords jumped the President was supposed to be permanently, but he just went ahead and passed NCLB and Fast Track Trade Authority and the like anyway.

After 9-11 he was supposed to not do anything partisan lest it change the color of the global mood ring, but he went to war in Iraq anyway. Presidents are supposed to lose seats in the congressional midterm but the President staked his reputation on them and won seats. Economy doing badly? He'd have to repeal tax cuts, right? Wrong, he went for more and got them. Iraq going unsmoothly, better apologize to the U.N. and hide behind it, right? Wrong, he invited them in only to use them like rented mules. Senator Kerry served in Vietnam while the President was "only" in the Guard--better avoid that issue right? And so on, and so forth, seemingly ad infinitum.

It's always around July and August that the smart-alecks decide that Bush is holding an empty hand. Every year, the same darn thing! I used to get worried, but not no more, not this year. Now I'm biting my tongue to try to keep from laughing out loud.

And they've been told...remember what Andy Card said a couple of years ago? "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Oh how the stuffed-shirts howled over that one! Ha ha. But they didn't learn the lesson, though Bush beat them with it like a two by four in September. Remember, all summer long: "We need to have a national debate over Iraq!" And didn't they just choke on it in September, the phonies. And Homeland Security, too.

and here's something I blogged in September 2003.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 PM

making sex simply too boring...

Andrea writes about a suggestion by Planned Parenthood that the Harry Potter books should be written so as to teach children about sex:

...What can I say to this except:


Sometimes I wonder if PP isn’t in fact trying to breed a new generation of celibates by making sex simply too boring. After all, who wants to do something that people write such creepy sentimental twaddle about?

The idea that sex can ever be a wholesome and rational activity (sort of like a nice healthy game of tennis) is lunacy. The whole business immediately becomes not only boring, but tacky. And what do people do in that situation? They immediately go looking for sex that's somehow strange, or dangerous, or forbidden.

Whereupon the sort of liberal blockheads who would join PP in the first place, will instantly start "teaching our children" that strange and dangerous sex such as [fill in the blank] is really wholesome and normal!

(And the PP types will also insist that anyone who suggests otherwise is a right-wing religious nut trying to bring theocracy upon us. If a Democrat were in the White House, I bet those Planned Parenthood dolts would be telling us that the porn-soaked dimwits who harassed prisoners at Abu Ghraib were "exploring other dimensions of human sexuality"—explorations which can be "positive, wholesome and loving," but only if they are not distorted by the Victorian prudery of the "Christian Taliban.")

I think this is similar to the sort of hopeless arms-race that "artists" are in. The poor bohemians are forced to do ever-weirder things to shock the bourgeoisie, who keep accepting whatever they do! Nightmare. The poor lads are now reduced to dunking crosses and flags in urine and calling it "art." Or dropping piles of sticks on the floor in an art museum (as I saw recently). And only a few stick-in-the-muds protest! How frustrating! Pretty soon urine containers with [chose from the list] sacred objects will be seen in the lobbies of the classier hotels and law firms.

You just can't win in the art game. soon "artists" will probably start sacrificing babies by the light of the full moon, just to get a rise out of people...As for the sexual "arms-race," you might recall this, a suggestion in Sweden that pornography should be shown on TV, to encourage sex and procreation. (Which would have, of course, exactly the opposite effect.)

I feel lucky to have grown up in an era when sex and nudity were things most people were still fairly inhibited about. And I suspect the Victorians were even luckier, and found sex much more thrilling than we do now.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:35 AM

August 28, 2004

"the most important revolution was ethical and moral..."

Seen at Chicago Boyz

Quote of the Day
"The Left's description of the War in Vietnam is like a watching a Kung Fu movie where the bad guys have all been digitally edited out. The hero thrashes about punching air, breaking things and hurling through walls for no apparent reason."
--Shannon Love
Unfortunately, the left's version has become the official version, taught to us by schools, Hollywood and the press. Fighting the lies of those Wormtongues will be a long slow war of attrition...

As a contrast, I recommend this post by Donald Sensing, about the reforms that changed the US Army's officer corps after the Vietnam War.

...This post is long enough, so I won't detail all those reforms, but I emphasize that as important as technology, reworking the Army's schools, funding and advanced training have been to making the Army the pre-eminent force in the world (see here), the most important revolution was ethical and moral. Duty honor, country really did return to the fore as the guidon of the officer corps. For a few years of my service in the '80s, there was a lot of discussion about drawing up a formal code of conduct for the officer corps. Fortunately, after fairly service-wide debate and a number of draft codes floated here and there, this idea was abandoned and we stuck with the ancient code of the US Military Academy: And officer does not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.
It's interesting to contrast that with the anti-war Left, which is determined to re-think nothing, and to re-live the glory days of 30 years ago.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:21 AM

August 27, 2004

My daughter told me this joke...

A Frenchman, an Englishman, and a New Yorker are captured by cannibals. The chief cannibal comes to them and says, "The bad news is that now that we've caught you, we're going to kill you, put you in a pot, cook you, eat you, and then use your skins to build a canoe. The good news is that you get to choose how you die."

The Frenchman says, "I take zee sword." The chief gives him a sword, he says, "Vive la France!" and runs himself through.

The Englishman says, "Right--a pistol for me, please." The chief gives him a pistol, he points it at his head, says, "God save the Queen!" and blows his brains out.

The New Yorker says, "Gimme a fork." The chief is puzzled, but he shrugs and gives him a fork. The New Yorker takes the fork and starts jabbing himself all over the stomach, the sides, the chest, everywhere. There's blood gushing out all over, it's horrible! The chief is appalled, and asks, "What in the world are you doing?" The New Yorker says, "So much for your stupid canoe!"

Posted by John Weidner at 5:09 PM

"Many who denounced the book clearly had not bothered to read it..."

Great article by publisher Adam Bellow, My Escape From The Zabar's Left, How a pedigreed upper west side liberal came out as a conservative warrior.

...Although I had grown up in the liberal counterculture, I was increasingly uncomfortable with the way that it was hardening into a rigid and intolerant orthodoxy. I resented the fact that there were ideas you couldn’t discuss and opinions that were considered immoral. Nor did I share the existential panic of most liberals over the emergence of conservative Christians as a political force.

Finally, in 1987, Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom was a friend of my father’s, and I had spent the previous year at the University of Chicago taking courses with him on Plato, Machiavelli, and Rousseau. Bloom’s attack on relativism and multiculturalism and his defense of the Great Books were bitterly condemned as racist, sexist, Eurocentric, and elitist. Many who denounced the book clearly had not bothered to read it, relying instead on hostile reviews that distorted it beyond recognition. This was a fatal blow to my esteem for the Zabar’s Left. For an earlier generation, it was the excesses of the antiwar and Free Speech movements that had pushed them into the conservative camp. For me, it was the intellectual dishonesty of the debate about Bloom’s book....

(Thanks to Roger Simon. For the meaning of "Zabar's," see here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:36 PM

#165: Have another donut?

P. Krugman

We are always surprised when Paul Krugman writes a column that is thoughtful and free of partisan cheap shots. In America's Failing Health (08/27/04) he comes pretty close and for the second time in recent memory, the topic of his thoughtfulness is health care. Health vs. Wealth (07/09/04) was the other one (see Squad Report #161). Here is the core of today's column:

"Clearly, health care reform is an urgent social and economic issue. But who has the right answer?
The 2004 Economic Report of the President told us what George Bush's economists think, though we're unlikely to hear anything as blunt at next week's convention. According to the report, health costs are too high because people have too much insurance and purchase too much medical care. What we need, then, are policies, like tax-advantaged health savings accounts tied to plans with high deductibles, that induce people to pay more of their medical expenses out of pocket. (Cynics would say that this is just a rationale for yet another tax shelter for the wealthy, but the economists who wrote the report are probably sincere.)
John Kerry's economic advisers have a very different analysis: they believe that health costs are too high because private insurance companies have excessive overhead, mainly because they are trying to avoid covering high-risk patients. What we need, according to this view, is for the government to assume more of the risk, for example by picking up catastrophic health costs, thereby reducing the incentive for socially wasteful spending, and making employment-based insurance easier to get.
A smart economist can come up with theoretical justifications for either argument. The evidence suggests, however, that the Kerry position is much closer to the truth."
We disagree, of course, for all the reasons stated in SR #161 but this time Krugman goes a little farther and cites some data suggesting that Americans pay more and get less benefit (based on longevity and infant mortality) than countries with a single-payer health care system, e.g., Canada and France. We checked the longevity data and life expectancy is very close in all advanced countries. So he doesn't have a very strong point here.

However, if we can get on our own soapbox for a moment, the reasons for "America's Failing Health" become pretty obvious if you just look around any convenience store. The amount of space devoted to junk food (cookies, crackers, candy, soda, ice cream and pastry) is appalling. We have some very fat people in this country. Life insurers routinely charge higher premiums to the obese. But in health care insurance the healthy it seems subsidize the obese through pooling. Then, as Krugman laments, since insurers cannot charge the obese a premium that reflects their health status, they find clever ways to exclude high-risk customers altogether.

Higher premiums to the obese might send them a price signal to lose some weight. Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction. There is a move afoot to make obesity itself a disease, rather than a contributor to other diseases, and therefore directly eligible for reimbursement for medical treatment. What a terrible idea. Instead of a price signal, this move would absolve the obese of all responsibility. They are simply sick.

Have another donut? Don't mind if I do

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 12:58 PM

listed again...

This is a re-posting in one spot of some of my reasons to attack Iraq, so I can point it out to someone who says, "One thing that's especially unsettling to me is how few people who supported the war in Iraq have been able to give me solid reasons as to why it made sense" [comment, here] (Of course Warbloggers have been explaining exactly that for several years now. But there's always somebody who doesn't get the memo. Also, the redoutable Dean Esmay long ago posted Seven Reasons, which formed the origins of this list. And Wretchard blogged reason #1.)

Some of the items on my list of reasons for the Iraq Campaign , as part of our War on Terror:

1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy groups is that they can destroy our resolve to fight by pretending to negotiate or change their ways. By attacking the very heartland of the Arab world, we avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, they can't just lie low for a few years and then strike again. The stakes are now too high.

2. We couldn't make progress in changing the ways of the terror-supporting nations, until we took out ONE of them. Iraq was a good choice because we already had a good legal case, with both binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam was the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall would have the biggest effect on the others.

3. Until the culture of despotism and backwardness of the Arab world is changed, new terrorist groups will continue to arise. Iraq is the best choice for starting the process of change, with a well-educated population that has suffered terribly from tyranny. Already what's happening in Iraq is changing the dialog in the region.

4. The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have already moved to Iraq looking for jobs or business opportunities. Iraq may look horrible to the NYT, but to Iranians it is already a little paradise of freedom. And the Mullahs can't close off that border--all their Holy Cities are in Iraq.

5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people were being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. The UN sanctions regime left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam built palaces and funded terror groups and corrupted Western governments with kickbacks. And we were INVOLVED in that sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it.

6. Similarly, we bear responsibility for encouraging the Shi'ite revolt against Saddam after the Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered because of our moves. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.

7. This is a WAR! WMD's: While it's true we haven't found stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles, which Saddam clearly wanted and had before. And more importantly, this is a war. Not a case at law. The mere appearance of plans to attack us or our allies is justification for an attack. In a war, it is our responsibility to attack any enemy nation if feasable. It is those who oppose war-like attacks during war time who bear the responsibility of providing reasons why we should not.

7. This is a WAR! pt II. We have partly created the terrorists, by consistent weakness and vacillation over several decades. We have taught the terrorists to attack us! Withdrawing from Lebanon taught Hezbollah that suicide bombs work. Failure to respond in the Iran hostage crises taught a generation of terrorists that we are weak and vulnerable. Withdrawal from Somalia taught them the tactics now used in Iraq. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson.

Iraq was the correct move because it is a bloody quagmire (though I don't think that term is really correct.) It is only by being resolute in the face of casualties and setbacks that we can overcome the education we have given terrorists by our past weakness. Failure to do so now will mean a much bigger butcher's-bill will be presented sometime in the future.

8. Diplomacy. Obviously it is best to solve problems peacefully by diplomacy and negotiations. But our diplomacy has been crippled by lack of a credible threat of violence as an alternative. This dates from our catastrophic withdrawal from Vietnam, and is exacerbated by the decline of most other Western powers into military impotence. Diplomacy works as the "good cop" alternative to a military "bad cop." Our failure in this has been so great that it could only be redeemed by some seriously crazy violence. Iraq--perfect! Now Colin Powell's "good cop" is contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs...With Libya as a starter.

9. Successes. Proof's in the pudding. If Iraq was a bad move, we could expect it to turn out badly. That's exactly the picture the Old Media is trying to paint, by reporting only bad news. But nowadays we also have the New Media, to counteract those America-hating liars. Including bloggers, who pass along news of our successes like samizdata in the old Soviet Union. Especially, Chrenkoff has done splendid work in a long series of posts collecting good news from Iraq. (Look on his right sidebar under "The Best of Chrenkoff.)

10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush requested approval for the invasion of Iraq from Congress. The Senate debated the question and voted overwhelmingly in favor. Our nation made this decision. We made the decision. That's a powerful reason in favor. For various people (including some of the Senators who voted yes) to now sit on the sidelines and whine, "I don't know anything about this and nobody told me anything and it has nothing to do with me" is despicable.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

August 26, 2004

a quiet little study...

From USAToday:

The jobs numbers that you're not hearing about By Timothy Kane and Andrew Grossman

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently snuck out a telling confession beneath everyone's radar: Its flagship payroll survey is likely undercounting hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Most economic observers were too busy fretting over the lackluster gain of 32,000 payroll jobs in July to take notice of the other positive indicators, let alone the quiet little study that acknowledges payrolls have a problem.

The study describes how job-changing can inflate the payroll survey's numbers artificially. When worker turnover is brisk, as in the late 1990s, millions of workers are counted twice when they switch jobs. About 3.9 million people changed employers during a typical month during the 1990s, but only 3.1 million do so now....

The BLS has that other survey, of households. That one says there are "2 million more working Americans under President Bush than ever before.."

(Thanks to Pejman)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:24 PM

Under the Iron Heel...

Good point

One of the more obvious instances of media bias we've seen in recent years was the way the United States Congress suddenly became the Republican Congress in 1994. You can't change the media though, so you just grin and bear it. But there was just a clip from a ad on MSNBC in which they referred not to the government of the United States but to the "Bush government." Do we even need to say these folks are anti-American when they apparently don't recognize the American government if they aren't running it?
--Orrin Judd

Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 AM

August 25, 2004

Same playbook...

Dean writes, in a great post:

...Rarely, so rarely, do you see anyone in the mainstream media simply be fair to the other side of the Vietnam question: that it was a war we entered into because mass-murdering, oppressive totalitarian communist forces, backed by the Soviets and the Chinese, were threatening a helpless people. Rarely do you see it acknowledged that the U.S. won every single battle it fought in Vietnam. Rarely do you see it acknowledged that the overwhelming majority of men who fought in that conflict fought honorably, with decency and humanity, and genuinely cared about and wanted to help the people of Vietnam.

Those who did act with decency and humanity and noble aims were the norm, not the exception. War crimes (which occur in every war) were the exception, not the rule.

Vietnam veterans have endured over 30 years of feeling their character has been besmirched by their culture...

Another thing that never gets mentioned, when Hollywood or the news media (or Democrat candidates) mention Vietnam, is that the communists were trying to provoke atrocities. They were hiding among civilians, attacking from among civilians, using children to carry explosives among us. They wanted us to gun down villagers. And the leftists of the world, and the news media were all in tacit alliance with the communists--if Americans could be provoked into war crimes, they and the communists both win. (And of course we never give a shred of credit or thanks to all the thousands of Americans who weren't like Lt Calley, and didn't commit crimes despite great provocation.)

AND IT'S JUST THE SAME NOW! The terrorists and Ba'athists and the Taliban and Al Sadr are using exactly the same playbook as the North Vietnamese. And News media pundits and Hollywood lefties and Democrat politicians all know their parts perfectly.

If the terrorists can provoke our soldiers into blowing the roof off the Imam Ali Mosque, its a win for John Kerry! And it's a win for Al Sadr. And the New York Times wins, and the people in the newsroom will pat themselves on the back because their America-hating Vietnam-era worldview has been saved once again, and they don't need to re-think.

And most infuriating of all, the lefty-bloggers will ooze pleasure and self-satisfaction like butter out of every pore until they glow like little polished gold buddhas. And we'll have, like Abu Ghraib, the same crocodile tears, and the same totally fake claims that they are shocked and ashamed of America's evilness... And of course they will emphasize that the only way to bring about reform is to give this maximum publicity for the longest time possible, and to immediately have investigations of Republicans, who everybody knows are really fascist war-criminals anyway.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:48 PM

August 24, 2004

"Strange is the seaman's heart"


The unfathomable sea, and time, and tears,
The deeds of heroes and the crimes of kings
Dispart us; and the river of events
Has, for an age of years, to east and west
More widely borne our cradles. Thou to me
Art foreign, as when seamen at the dawn
Descry a land far off and know not which.
So I approach uncertain; so I cruise
Round thy mysterious islet, and behold
Surf and great mountains and loud river-bars,
And from the shore hear inland voices call.
Strange is the seaman's heart; he hopes, he fears;
Drawn closer and sweeps wider from that coast;
Last, his rent sail refits, and to the deep
His shattered prow uncomforted puts back.
Yet as he goes he ponders at the helm
Of that bright island; where he feared to touch,
His spirit re-adventures; and for years,
Where by his wife he slumbers safe at home,
Thoughts of that land revisit him; he sees
The eternal mountains beckon, and awakes
Yearning for that far home that might have been.


Posted by John Weidner at 9:17 PM


Wretchard puts his finger on a big part of what is so maddening about Kerry:

John Kerry's troubles have largely been forced on him by the Democratic Party platform. He has been given the unenviable task of presenting it as the War Party when in fact it is not, nor does it want to be. The Democrats could have chosen to become a real anti-war party, in which case it would have nominated Howard Dean or it could have elected to become a genuine war party and chosen Joseph Lieberman. Instead it chose to become the worst of all combinations, an anti-war party masquerading as the war party.

To carry out this program, it required a Janus-like figure and found it in Senator Kerry; the only man of sufficient stature who could look two ways at once. It would have been a desirable trait, as Christopher Hitchens pointed out, in a peacetime President...

Kerry is emblematic of the infuriating slipperiness of the Democrats. It's impossible to debate with them because they won't honestly avow their positions.

It's clear that many of them still hold the American troops are war criminals position that Kerry pushed in the 70's. You have only to remember the rapture with which they greeted Abu Ghraib, and instantly assumed that prisoner abuse was widespread. (See here for good evidence that it is not.) But they could never be pinned down on this, so the debate was always on false terms.

Kerry has never repudiated the charges of war crimes that he made in the 70's (the most he will say is that his language "was too harsh"). But neither does he defend them!

And the mainstream media have no desire to open the question, and they treat as right-wing cranks anyone who tries to. Which has left Vietnam Vets growling into their beers for thirty years. Until now. Until the rise of the New Media. Until Kerry ran for President.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:34 AM

August 23, 2004

Timeline of missteps...

Glenn Reynolds linked to this timeline of missteps by the Kerry campaign. It's pretty damning. American campaigns are a sort of rough and ready trial-by-fire for candidates. That's obviously not the most fair way to judge a candidate, but still, someone who can juggle the complex political/administrative/leadership duties of a president or governor should be able to put together a fairly competent campaign.

Challenge: Can anyone point to anything the Kerry campaign has done with surprising adroitness? (Coordinating with their 527's doesn't count. They've taken to that like fish to water, but it is, in fact, illegal.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

August 22, 2004

Sighted sign, snapped same, San Fran....

Sign: Unfit for Command in short supply

Borders Bookstore, Stonestown Mall, San Francisco CA.
Hmmm. Looks like this kerfluffle
won't be resolved too quickly...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:32 PM

like the mad death-wish of a guilty conscience...

I strongly recommend this piece by Varifrank, The Grand Unified Theory Of Vietnam.

It asks the question: Why is the press, which has never liked John Kerry in the past, now going to lunatic lengths to defend him?

...After looking around on the web, I came across a set of pictures of John Kerry at the 1970 "Valley Forge" rally, known as "Winter Soldier", where Kerry made some pretty rough statements about the soldiers and sailors he has just finished serving with. Behind him in the picture was the usual suspects, but then I began to pick out a series of celebrities, who at that time were just new and up and coming in their careers. While I was doing this, I had a documentary on the TV :" A Decade Under The Influence". This is the story of the rise of the new breed in Hollywood after the studio system ended. Many of the people in the background of the pictures with Kerry were dead center in this documentary. I was doing digital convergence and I didn't even know it...
His answer is that 9/11, and President Bush's strong and patriotic leadership afterwards, begs a huge question: whether the lefty protesters of the 60's and 70's, who are now the leaders in the press and Democrat Party, were wrong! Utterly wrong! Betrayers of their country, their military, their fellow citizens, and free people everywhere.

They can't face that question.

...So, why is the press unhinged and supporting John F. Kerry like crazed moonies?

It's for the redemption from their sins and the return of a moral order that they can understand, more importantly a moral order in which they sit at the top.

By working to elect John Kerry, they can return to the world where Vietnam was wrong, but they can now say that defense of America is right. By working to elect John Kerry, they do not have to confront their bigotry against their very own country and its countrymen...
... More simply put, by electing John Kerry it lets a generation off the hook for its malfeasance in the defense of liberty...

"it lets a generation off the hook." Well, they aren't going to be able to get off the hook. They are guilty as hell, guilty of choosing communism over American freedom, and helping the communists to murder millions or send them to concentration camps, or fleeing in leaky boats as refugees. And leaving those who survived, in Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia, to survive in backwardness and poverty and brutal oppression.

And now, with something like the mad death-wish of a guilty conscience, the same betrayers have nominated for President the man who, more than probably any other politician, symbolizes and embodies that betrayal. (And whose blank Senate record symbolizes all-too-well their complete moral and intellectual vacuity)

John Kerry has been put in the dock, but it's the press and the lefty-establishment it's a part of that's now on trial.

* Update: It occurs to me, there was an earlier generation of left-leaners who sided with some earlier mass-murdering communist regimes. But they didn't get off the hook! They were hounded and vilified in the 1950's, by the movement we label McCarthyism.

They quite naturally felt aggrieved, but in some ways they were lucky. They paid for their sins, (either symbolically or actually) and most were able to go beyond them, with many becoming staunch defenders of freedom against communist aggression.

* Also, the press is particularly in the hot seat here, because it is they who have suppressed this debate in the past. O'Neill debated these issues with Kerry back in the 1970's! Vietnam vets have been grumbling all along, but it is only now in the age of talk-radio, the Internet, and FoxNews that they have a chance to really get some traction. They are like a pressure-cooker that's been building up steam for a long time! Look for these questions to not go away!

Posted by John Weidner at 10:35 AM


I kinda like how Katie puts this...

...but good grief, this election cycle is strange. Two things seem to be happening simultaneously here:

1) The "They Say You Are and Thus Shall I Be" Thing
It works like this:
  • Bush is not foo, where foo is a variable representing anything from 'a liar' to 'a book-buring censor'.
  • The left calls Bush foo.
  • Kerry promptly does something that demonstrates that he is foo.
  • The left brushes it off, because Bush is more foo.
  • The right screams at their computers until there are little flecks of spittle all over the keyboard.
  • The media stands with the cheese.

    2) The "Mr. Rove's Kerry-Flip-Flop-O-Matic" Thing
    This one may even be more fun. Here's how it goes:
  • Bush has a good idea baz, where baz is a variable representing anything from 'reduce troop deployments in Germany and Japan' to 'not raising taxes' to 'liberating Iraq'
  • Kerry proposes or endorses baz.
  • Bush does baz.
  • Kerry angrily denounces baz as something that will destroy our way of life as we know it, and probably also hurt the whales.
  • The Bush campaign mercilessly mocks Kerry for his flip-flop, even to the extent of including it in this, which is Not Very Nice, but funny and also illustrates its point well.
  • The left calls Bush foo.

  • Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

    August 21, 2004

    The lying filth are doing what I predicted...

    I told you this lie was coming!

    "The Republicans chose to hold their convention here, I think most of us believe, to continue the political exploitation of 9/11, which this administration started almost immediately after 9/11," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose congressional district in Manhattan includes the site where the World Trade Center once stood.

    "They want to wrap themselves in 9/11 and wrap themselves in the flag. But the fact of the matter is they don't have the right to do that."

    On February 21 I wrote
    Be prepared. Keep this up your sleeve to answer the LIE that our Democrat pals are going to be spreading...In fact already are spreading: That the GOP Convention in New York was scheduled to take cynical political advantage of 9/11.
    Go to that post to get the truth.

    Or, the short version: Mayor Bloomberg asked BOTH parties to hold their conventions in NY, to help its economy and show support.

    Republicans said sure, we'll help out, and dropped the convention plans they had already made.

    Democrats said: Republicans got cooties, we're going to Boston...

    Thanks to Katie, a New Yorker, who writes:

    ..So basically, the Dems said, "We want to be the only ones to exploit 9/11 and if we can't, we'll go to Boston and exploit a misbegotton conflict that ended roughly 30 years ago." This does not strike me as the fault of the GOP.

    Posted by John Weidner at 10:04 PM

    They will have to be'll never happen....

    Donald Sensing has issued a challenge! Explain why you are FOR Kerry.....without having your argument slip-slide into "why I am against Bush."

    Hence my challenge: If you support Kerry for president, I invite you to write a guest post for this blog explaining why. Here's why it's a challenge:

  • To be published, you must explain why Kerry is to be preferred in terms that do not simply say he's not Bush. This is not an invitation to rage about Bush; it is an invitation to be positive about Kerry.

  • It will be insufficient merely to declare that Bush is wrong on Iraq, taxes, education, etc. You must explain why and how Kerry is right.

  • You must cite and provide links to Kerry's speeches or campaign releases to back up your claims. These cites can reach all the way back to when Kerry declared his candidacy for the 2004 race.

  • Citing the Dermocratic platform will be unpersuasive, since neither party pays a lot of attention to its own platform once the election is over, even if they win.

  • Length limit is 1,500 words. That's a long post, by the way.
  • ABSOLUTE DEADLINE is Saturday, Aug. 28 at 7 a.m. CDT.

  • My guess is that his challenge will not be met in any persuasive way. But we shall see.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 PM

    Will wondas never cease?

    Amazing! Another Iraqi soccer win! Over a small country called Australia. Too totally cool!

    ...The fact that Iraq even qualified for the Athens Games was a remarkable achievement. They clinched a berth in May, just three months after the country was reinstated by the International Olympic Committee following a nine-month absence. The national Olympic committee was previously run by Saddam Hussein's son, Odai, who tortured players when they fell out of favor.

    Two months after qualifying, the team's German coach, Bernd Stange, resigned because of safety reasons and was replaced by his assistant and former Iraqi player, Adnan Hamad. The team could not play any home games because of the war and had virtually no funding...

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 PM

    Don't read blogs...

    I'm sure you've seen this sentence from the NYT, it's getting quoted a lot...

    ...In fairness to Mr. Kerry, his aides were faced with a strategic dilemma that has become distressingly familiar to campaigns in this era when so much unsubstantiated or even false information can reach the public through so many different forums, be it blogs or talk-show radio...
    But it reminded me, that yesterday a Republican woman who was visiting Charlene at her office asked, What are Blogs?

    Charlene, of course, had no difficulty answering that question. But I bet it's one that's getting asked a lot these days. The New York Times and the mainstream media can't ignore us any more, so they are saying, "Don't read blogs, they are full of unsubstantiated or even false information..." Ha ha. I love it! Ten thousand more people scratch their heads and think, "What the heck is a blog?"

    Posted by John Weidner at 2:19 PM

    I remember clothes lines...

    Walter Cronkite, 1993?Walter Cronkite, probably in 1993
    Frank Martin writes:
    ...It is incredible to me that we are talking about the Vietnam war today, a full 6 wars ago. Vietnam was
    A war fought when Color Television was still a novelty.

    When aircraft crossing the Pacific did not have wide range navigation aids and still relied on sextants.

    When the words "via satellite" appeared at the bottom of your TV screen, you said "wow".

    When TV news was restricted to 30 minutes per day, and presented as simply being read by the likes of Douglas Edwards or Walter Cronkite with just a simple picture displayed behind them.

    When most cities had at least two newspapers, each of a different political stripe, delivered in the morning and afternoon allowing the average citizen to get a wide variety of opinion on the news.

    Computers filled entire buildings, and "terminals" were teletype devices with rolls of paper for displays.

    40% of Americans didn't even own a clothes dryer, but used "clothes lines" instead....

    (Thanks to Stephen Green)

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:02 AM

    Lily pad bases

    THE RUMSFELD REVOLUTION PROCEEDS: New US strategy: 'lily pad' bases: US forces are moving overseas forces to smaller, transitory bases in places like Kyrgyzstan. (Ann Scott Tyson, 8/10/04, CS Monitor)

    ....A stone's throw from the airport, the US Air Force is busy replacing the bare "tent city" it built here in late 2001 with hard-walled structures made out of metal shipping containers - a sign the US military is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

    "It looks permanent, but it could be unbolted and unwelded if we felt like it," says Col. Mike Sumida, vice commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing here, underscoring the military's new expeditionary mentality...

    ...Indeed, in many ways, the US air base here models the future posture of the 1.4-million-strong American active-duty forces as they prepare to undertake their biggest global repositioning since the Korean War.

    Under dramatic changes envisioned by the Pentagon, tens of thousands of US troops will leave sprawling, citylike cold-war bases in Germany and Korea to return home in coming years. Meanwhile, smaller numbers will shift to austere yet strategically located new bases such as Manas, expanding the military's reach into world trouble spots...

    This is good news. Slowly our military, prodded by Donald Rumsfeld and other reformers, moves towards being more flexible and fast-moving. Democrats are against this, of course, partly because Republicans are in charge, but also because they desperately want to pretend that it's still September 10, 2001. And pretend that the ponderous and outdated stuff America is discarding does not include them.

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 AM

    "The rich" are paying more now...

    Just in case you were actually tempted to believe the Demagogues when they wail about Bush's "tax cuts for the rich," read this piece by Stephen Moore in NRO:

    ...The Treasury data confirm that the real impact of the tax cuts on the rich has been precisely the opposite of what the CBO study suggests. By resuscitating the economy and spurring a turnaround in income growth, the tax cuts have increased the share paid by the rich. Real income growth has increased significantly since the 2003 tax cuts were passed, increasing at faster than a 6 percent rate in the first two quarters of 2004. With the economy now growing more quickly, we can expect the tax shares paid by high-income groups to increase.

    There is another reason to suspect that as the Bush tax cuts continue to kick in, they will increase tax payments by the wealthy. People are much more likely to work harder, engage in entrepreneurial activity, and make investments when the government is confiscating less of the monetary rewards for these activities. When you tax something, you get less of it...

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:12 AM

    Un huh...

    Here's an MSNBC article on whether the Bush campaign is illegally coordinating with the Swift Boat Vets, a 527 organization.

    But what's this we find in the middle of the article?

    ...Kerry aides said they will maintain the offensive through surrogates, if not Kerry himself. Democrats welcomed the response.

    “Out of desperation, the Bush campaign has picked the wrong fight with the wrong veteran,” said Jim Jordan, former Kerry campaign manager who now runs an outside group airing ads against Bush. “Today’s the start of the mother of all backlashes.”...

    (My emphasis) thanks to PowerLine, where a reader pointed this out.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:32 AM

    August 20, 2004

    oxygen thieves

    Raging Dave puts this well:

    ...The quote [by Lillian Hellman], by the way is "There are those people who eat the world. And then there are others who just stand around and watch them eat it."

    I think that's the perfect analogy for today's modern liberals. They wail and gnash their teeth at the thought of genocide in Sudan, but should Bush send in the 101st Airborn Division to stop it, you can bet your bottom dollar there would be protests held nationwide. They do nothing but complain, but when someone else actually steps up and DOES something about, they screech and cry foul. They talk about women's rights, but when Bush removed the Taliban and their oppressive regime, which regularly enslaved women, killed them for appearing in public without a male family member, and prevented them from working or going to school, Michael Moore was out there denouncing Bush with his chins all a-quiver. They talk about world peace, but when Bush removed the dictator responsible for over ONE MILLION DEAD ARABS, he's called Hitler.

    Liberals don't want to actually DO anything, they just want to whine and snivel about it. They want to preen in their own supposed superiority, but when they're shown to be the cowardly, spineless oxygen thieves that they are, they scream and protest and break things. They'll demand action in grand terms, but when someone ACTS they throw a temper tantrum.

    They'll watch others eat the world, and do nothing to stop it...

    I wish this weren't so true as it is. We see this stuff every day. I remember someone writing last year about going to the MLA Convention, and mentioning that he often used to hear denunciations of the Taliban....but those stopped the instant the US started actually doing something about the problem.

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:00 PM

    "But here's the bigger story:"

    Dean writes:

    ...In the meantime, the Swift Vets have strongly answered the more recent press assaults on them, as well as other charges against them.

    You can smell the fear in the Kerry camp: a huge collection of John Kerry's band of brothers hates his guts, including men who served on his Swift Boat, the commanders of the boats that served alongside his, several people who were in combat with him, and every single officer in his chain of command during Vietnam. More and more people are learning of this, and the best Kerry can do is ask Bush to make them shut up!

    Meanwhile, the Swifties are showing up on more and more television and radio shows. Furthermore, as Instapundit notes, it appears that a growing number of very well-known reporters are meeting with the Swifties behind the scenes and finding them far more credible than they expected.

    But here's the bigger story: The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe are no longer the arbiters of what's important and what's not, of whose criticisms of our politicians will be heard and whose will be ignored.

    The Internet has detected the mainstream media as a form of censorship and simply routed around them.

    You probably noted that last line when it was mentioned by Glenn Reynolds. I think it's destined to be a classic, quoted again and again. It's the mainstream media that's that story here. Politicians crash n' burn all the time, and things go on much the same. But the breaking of the power of a few big outlets to shape public debate...that's a huge change.

    And the change started before the rise of the Internet. It started with Rush Limbaugh, back in the 80's. I've got a book on his beginnings, and I've read various articles, and of course talked to people. And the one thing you heard over and over about Rush was, "Thank God there's somebody who expresses what I feel!" Naturally you hear it less now, because now there are lots of voices expressing publicly the outlook of ordinary Americans. But ten years ago? It was very different.

    Posted by John Weidner at 5:54 PM


    Michelle Malkin (see previous post) will be on Rush Limbaugh in a few minutes. I'll report if I hear anything interesting...

    Malkin is going to Berkeley next to talk about her book! Amazing.

    Apparently Matthews was badgering Malkin to tell her age--what a chauvinist...Saying "Are you old enough to be on this program?"

    She was scheduled for the second segment of the show, and then that was cancelled after the 1st segment. Rush asked how they did that. (I was wondering the same thing.) Michelle: 'He just said "you're off!"'

    Rush was amazed that the network didn't have a copy of the book. He said, "so they don't have their own copy?" Apparently they snatched up Malkin's copy and leafed through it after the segment!

    Rush played a clip, with Matthews twisting "self inflicted wound" (which can be a variety of things) into "Are you saying he shot himself in the leg?" He kept repeating the "shot himself" line, though that wasn't what was said at all. But Malkin wasn't allowed to explain.

    Good last comments by Rush: "You showed yourself to be above that fray." (Yes. I was amazed, listening to the clips, how calm she stayed.) And: "15 years ago there would have been nowhere you could go to get the truth out about what happened, and to shine a light on these people..." That's sure the truth.

    Posted by John Weidner at 10:04 AM

    "in full desperation mode..."

    Michelle Malkin on her appearance on Crossfire:

    ...As the show broke for commercials, Matthews scrambled for his producers to see if what he said was true. And I'm irresponsible? One staffer ran to the office where I had left my copy of the book, and handed it to Matthews, who--for the first time, apparently--started flipping through it. I asked for my book back and politely said thank you. After I left, he trashed me again on the air and his scurrilous charges were repeated by his MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann, who called me an "idiot."

    I am used to playing hardball. I expect it. I am used to ad hominem attacks. I get more in a day than most of these wussies have received in their lifetimes. But what happened last night was pure slimeball and the unfair, unbalanced, and unhinged purveyors of journalism, or whatever it is they call what they do at MSNBC, should be ashamed.

    What I take away from all this is that the Democrat Party waterboys in the media are in full desperation mode. I have now witnessed firsthand and up close (Matthews' spittle nearly hit me in the face) how the pressure from alternative media sources--the blogosphere, conservative Internet forums, talk radio, Regnery Publishing, FOX News, etc. --is driving these people absolutely batty.

    Keep bringing it on.

    If it were only Kerry unraveling, I would just feel sorry for the guy, and turn away in embarrassment. But Kerry is really the embodiment in human form of the lies of the Democrat "activist base." They wave the flag at election time, and pretend to be Americans, while they despise everything American, and dream of Euro-style rule-by-elites, and hope for the smothering of all our exuberant freedom under government regulation.

    There couldn't be a more perfect example of "living a lie," than for those same lefty screwballs who protested the Vietnam war, and managed to get millions murdered or imprisoned by their communist friends, to now nominate a candidate to run as a "hero of the Vietnam War." Or for those same flakes to piously say the Pledge of Allegiance, and talk about "Old Glory," at the Convention. I know those people, we live in the midst of them. We were the only house on our block to fly the flag on the 4th of July. I know damn well what they are really thinking while they say the Pledge. When they pretend to be patriotic, they are living a lie.

    And now, like one of those horror stories where someone imagines a monster, and the creature comes alive! the utter hypocrisy of the Dems has now taken human shape, and is haunting the landscape. Kerry is the Democrat Golem! Keep bringing it on, you clowns. The mallets and wooden stakes are ready...

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:31 AM

    August 19, 2004

    Never again....

    One of the ugliest, nastiest bits of our recent political history was the attacks on the ballots of our overseas military personnel during the 2000 election.

    By the time the Herron memo made headlines, the Dems were challenging more than 1,500 absentee ballots (which grew to more than 2,400) mostly from soldiers overseas. This was almost three times the number of votes — 537 — that proved to be Bush's margin of victory. Had the Herron scam succeeded, and protests against those votes been sustained, Al Gore would be in the White House today.

    This problem is not unique to Florida, and it didn't just happen in 2000. According to the results of a survey by the Reserve Officers' Association, ROA estimates that the disenfranchisement rate among military personnel who try to vote in Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina is 40-45 percent.

    This is from a fine piece by Jeff Babbin... and a very pleasing one, because we learn that our Secretary of Defense is not going to let it happen again.
    ...For once, at the insistence of Don Rumsfeld, the folks in Fort Fumble are acting, not reacting, to solve this problem before it repeats itself.

    On March 17, Rumsfeld sent a memo to the Joint Chiefs and Combatant Commanders telling them how the services will make sure all military members — and their family members — who are overseas, or stationed here but are away from home, get the chance to vote, and vote so that no Mark Herrons can disenfranchise them.

    At the heart of Rumsfeld's plan is putting some teeth into the old Voting Assistance Officer idea. On top of it is a strategy — now underway — to use both the internet and the Postal Service effectively to help servicemen and their families request absentee ballots and get them returned in time to be counted...

    How I admire that guy.

    Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 PM

    "Clamorous ovation for Team USA"

    John Ellis, on those TV folks we all love so much:

    NBC Olympics anchors Katie Couric and Bob Costas seemed fairly certain that the US team would not be well received by the huge crowd at last night's Opening Ceremonies in Athens. When Team USA was, in fact, greeted with a sustained and clamorous ovation, Mr. Costas sought to explain.

    The Greeks, you see, can separate their love for the American people from the policies of the United States government. The warm reception they gave to Team USA should not in any way be construed as an endorsement of those policies.

    Well thanks, Bob, for clearing that up. God forbid anyone might support the policies of the US government as it wages a global war against Islamic fascism. Mr. Costas's ability to read the minds of 75,000 people he's never met is remarkable. He has a big future as a political pundit.

    Costas may be right, but there is another possibility. European countries don't actually have much of what we think of as democracy. Any candidates you might want to vote for are all members of the same elite group, and they expect to run things pretty much as they please without input from the riffraff.. No Reagans or Bushs ever rise up out of the "red states" and overthrow the entrenched leadership and scoff at the media elites. No Rush Limbaugh ever gives voice to what ordinary people feel.

    As an example, I understand that in many European countries the majority supports the death penalty. Doesn't make a shred of difference, their wishes will never have any effect. So it's perfectly possible that ordinary Greeks support the GWOT, and were applauding for that reason. You won't hear much about it.

    We used to have something like a Euro-style leadership here; it was called "Eastern Establishment Liberalism." It's now but a shadow of it's old vasty self, as witness the ludicrous and ineffectual John Kerry, the floundering of the Democrats and the NYT, and their attachment to the increasingly-marginalized "Old Europe." With any luck the next election will put them out of their misery.

    Posted by John Weidner at 10:44 AM

    August 18, 2004

    Mythmaking in Texas...

    Along the Brazos, they have their heads screwed on the right way...

    ...- George Bush was a failed oilman. As in, tried to build a business, and it failed, tried again, didn't go so well, either. John Kerry? I think he was a Politician.

    - George Bush owned a baseball team, the Texas Rangers. They sucked for a million years, then he bought 'em up, and they won three AL West pennants. No Steinbrenner, certainly, but it meant a lot to us here in backasswards Texas. Then he sold it for $40 bajillion to Tom Hicks, and we haven't sniffed a pennant race until this year. John Kerry? Again...Politician.

    - George Bush wrested control of the famously Democrat Texas state government from that other drunkard Texas politician, Ann Richards, the Queen of One-Liners (& One-Termers). Here, John Kerry matches up -- he's a Politician.

    - George Bush has had one wife, an ex-librarian, whom he loved enough to give up the demon rum, something I have never been tempted to do, being the selfish bastard that I am. John Kerry? Well...let's just say that in a perfect world, my many wives would have been half as rich. I would have wasted their vast sums of money trying to build a business that would employ others and provide something of value to people and maybe generate some returns for stakeholders...instead of continuing to be a Politician, hogging it up at the public trough and spending everybody else's money....

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:39 PM

    Object lesson

    Washington Post, Aug. 4 -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that efforts to assemble an international peacekeeping force to protect a future U.N. mission in Iraq have stalled, requiring U.S.-led forces to provide security for the foreseeable future.

    Please please to protecting us, oh good good unilateralist cowboys...
    The Bush administration has promoted the idea of a U.N. protection force as a way of broadening international support for the struggling Iraqi political transition, particularly among countries that are reluctant to serve alongside American troops in Iraq. But senior U.N. officials say the initiative is on the verge of collapse as Iraqi insurgents and militants have stepped up attacks against citizens from countries considering participation, according to senior U.N. officials.
    Actually Bush promoted the idea as an object lesson in what a useless rotting beach-carcass the UN is.
    Annan said months of negotiations with more than a half-dozen potential contributors to the U.N. force -- which would be distinct from the U.S.-led multinational army but serve under the overall command of a U.S. general -- have not produced any "firm offers." Pakistan, Ukraine, Nepal, Georgia and other countries that were asked to commit more than 3,000 troops needed to protect the United Nations have engaged Annan in protracted, inconclusive discussions, officials said.
    This is called "diplomacy," Mr Kofi. It's purpose is to prevent action, especially if it might help the US. They learned it from you, and now they use it on you. Hey, why not ask the French?
    Pakistani officials maintain that although they have not rejected Annan's request for troops, they have no immediate plans to go to Iraq. "Other countries are withdrawing troops so how can we send them?" Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani spokesman, said to reporters in Lahore on Tuesday...
    How indeed? Can't go against the crowd.
    Murari Raj Sharma, Nepal's ambassador to the United Nations, said: "Our citizens in Iraq would be potential targets for abductions or hostage-taking. That is one of the considerations."
    Raj, pal, I think the "citizens" requested are of the type called "soldiers." We have soldiers too. They don't get abducted because they carry things called "guns," and use them to kill anybody who looks at them cross-eyed. You might consider trying that out.
    The setback for the United Nations comes as a Saudi Arabian proposal to send a separate Islamic peacekeeping force to Iraq received a cool response from Muslim governments that were approached to participate in it. The Saudis envision the deployment of thousands of Islamic troops, serving under a U.N. mandate, to help stabilize Iraq and potentially replace the U.S.-led force there. Annan said today that the initiative also calls for providing security for U.N. personnel.
    Poor Kofi..."Islamic armies" They would have been just the ticket. Why, everyone respects their fighting skills and dependability. What a cruel disappointment!
    But several countries that have been asked to serve in the force -- including Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia -- said this week it is too dangerous to send troops. "It is better for us to wait for a while and to see how the situation is," Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
    Don't call us Abdullah, We'll call you.
    ...Despite his concerns over security, Annan assured the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, and Britain's U.N. envoy, Emyr Jones Parry, in a closed-door meeting that he would send his special envoy, Asharf Qazi of Pakistan, and a small team to Baghdad before Iraq convenes a national conference Aug. 15 to decide on its political future. But he said he would have to "monitor" the security situation before deciding "whether we send in large numbers of staff or not."
    "Monitor." That's a good word. Better than skulk, lurk, hang-back, shrink, evade, scamper...or that classic: "take French leave"

    You know, either us or them is suffering from some sort of bizarre disconnect from reality. We're talking about soldiers here, guys who risk their lives, fight battles...even wars, to protect civilians and civilization. Soldiers, right? Killers. Maybe the definition's changed. .

    (Thanks to Greyhawk)

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:06 PM


    Day is done, gone the sun
    From the hills, from the lake,
    From the skies.
    All is well, safely rest,
    God is nigh.

    Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
    May the soldier or sailor,
    God keep.
    On the land or the deep,
    Safe in sleep.

    Love, good night, Must thou go,
    When the day, And the night
    Need thee so?
    All is well. Speedeth all
    To their rest.

    Fades the light; And afar
    Goeth day, And the stars
    Shineth bright,
    Fare thee well; Day has gone,
    Night is on.

    Thanks and praise, For our days,
    'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
    'Neath the sky,
    As we go, This we know,
    God is nigh.

    For the story of "Taps," go here. Thanks to Orrin Judd.

    Posted by John Weidner at 6:34 PM

    August 17, 2004

    Magical Me...

    Katie writes

    It just occurred to me exactly which fictional character John Kerry reminds me of. He's Gilderoy Lockhart, to a tee.

    For those of you who aren't die-hard Harry Potterites, let me explain. Gilderoy Lockhart is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry during Harry Potter's second year, as found in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and portrayed by Kenneth Branaugh in the movie. Gilderoy is extremely attractive (5 time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile award) and a best-selling author. He has scores of books out, all detailing his heroic achievements against the forces of evil -- Gadding with Ghouls, Break with a Banshee, Holidays with Hags, Travels with Trolls, Voyages with Vampires, Wanderings with Werewolves, Year with the Yeti, etc., not to mention his autobiography, Magical Me. He tends not to be around when scary things actually happen, and then he makes sure everyone knows that "It's a pity I wasn't there -- I know exactly the counter-curse that could have spared her," or similar things....

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 PM

    A student of these issues...

    Don't miss Ronald Kressler's piece on Bush and education:

    ...Barnett "Sandy" Kress, a lawyer and former Democratic member of the Dallas school board, told me how, when he was only thinking about running for governor, Bush became interested in why so many kids couldn't read and what could be done about it. Bush asked Kress dozens of questions: What are the best ways to teach reading? What are other states doing? Taking notes on a legal pad, Bush wanted to know who had studied the issue. Kress mentioned six experts in the field.

    "People think he shoots from the hip or that he's not smart," Kress said. "It baffles me.... He was an incredible student of these issues. He had a voracious appetite for information. He looked into the problem and researched it.... I gave him six names. He called them all. They were as stunned as I was."...

    When Bush ran for Governor of Texas he promised to focus on a few issues. He did. Education was one of them. He pushed that relentlessly, and got real results....
    ...Based on Lyons's advice, Bush developed a way to restore phonics to reading instruction in Texas. The results were dramatic. In 1995, 23 percent of third graders could not read. By 2003, that figure had improved to ten percent, according to state testing figures compiled by Kress, who became Bush's unpaid education adviser. After additional help for kids who failed, only two percent could not read. The greatest beneficiaries of restoring phonics to reading instruction — which includes work on comprehension, spelling, and actual reading — were minorities...
    When Bush ran for president he promised to focus on a few issues. He did. Education was one of them. (Here's more)

    You people who say "The Bush Administration lies all the time, etc etc," are fools. LIARS! We've never had a President so straightforward. All the "Bush lied" stuff is just an excuse to avoid thinking and changing during a time of change. You don't want to think about how Democrat polices are destroying the lives of poor and minority children by the millions. You are like the Russians and Germans who didn't want to know about concentration camps...

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

    August 16, 2004


    David Warren writes about his disgust that we are not crushing opponents like Al Sadr.'

    ...The news out of Najaf, and Kut, is murky, but it appears that, for at least the sixth time since last autumn, a powerful and successful U.S. Marine attack on some of Iraq's more notorious embedded "bad guys" is being halted before completion. It is the same story after each round: the Marines have the enemy on the ropes, and then a ceasefire is agreed. The enemy is given a few weeks to regroup, and then the battle resumes with fresh ambushes costing unnecessary U.S. casualties...

    ...The American military is superb, but the political will to use it decisively is not there. For again, it is Clintonesque to use an army to strike public relations poses. Armies are designed for destroying things. Either there is a war to finish, or they should return to barracks, Stateside... (Thanks to Alan)

    Warren's a smart guy who I respect, but this time I think he's just way off base. He writes as if 4th Generation Warfare is not a concept he's heard of. Nowadays the news media is one of the battlefields. And public relations is a weapon of war. Which is why, in a recent battle in Najaf, our soldiers fought six hours for possession of one worthless damaged Humvee, just so the world's TV news stations would not have the pleasure of showing it in the possession of Al Sadr's militia. And Al Sadr's louts fought to get it for just that very reason. (And that's why those frauds the Democrats did nothing about Abu Ghraib though they knew about it for months—until they got their hands on some inflammatory pictures. Those pix were weapons in the war, and the Dems used them in tacit alliance with the terrorists against George Bush.)

    But there's a more important thing. Defeating Al Sadr is not our goal in Iraq!

    Our goal, or rather one of our goals, is to get the Iraqis to grow up and join the adults. And as part of that we want the Iraqis to destroy Al Sadr. Or at least to make the uncomfortable decision to do so, and then ask for our help. Sort of like when your child asks for help with the homework. You don't solve the problem for them, you encourage them to work it out themselves. Or if they aren't ready for that, you sit down and say "let's work on it together." And that kind of teaching is an art, not a science; there's no "right" way to do it, other than by feel. So it looks messy and slow to an outsider.

    How do I know that's the goal? Because we in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy made it perfectly clear to Dick Cheney what the policy was to be! Just kidding, actually I don't know for sure, but that's what I think is going on. And the little Neocon inside me resonates to these things. We are not in Iraq to make the Iraqis happy, or to bring stability. (Though I very much hope things work out for them.) We are in Iraq to drive a huge wedge into the despotic and backwards Arab Middle East. Right smack dab in the middle of the Arab world, we are nurturing a whole nation with many of the values of the West. And the entire realm of Islamist craziness is now reacting to this. They are reacting to what we do, we are not reacting to them. And I think they will be forced to continue to react as Iraq makes progress. This will be brutal for the people of Iraq, but if they make it they will value their freedom in a way smug westerners have forgotten.

    And if I were running things in Iraq, these days I'd be dragging my heels on the project of defeating Al Sadr, or the Ba'athists in Falluja. In hopes that the Iraqis get fed up and start doing more of the job themselves. That would be a cold-blooded thing to do, no doubt about it. It would lead to many casualties, both Iraqi and American, in the short run. But that's what war is--sacrificing lives in the short run to save them in the long run.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

    "It's hot, it's sexy and it's out of print..."

    The Fruitloops like to say that President Bush is just a puppet manipulated by Dick Cheney. Yeah, sure, that's right. But what they don't know is the the Vice President is himself a puppet, with strings pulled by the redoubtable Lynne Cheney! Just kidding, but she's quite a woman, as everyone on the Rive Droit knows. This bit is from a town hall meeting where she and her husband are answering questions.

    ...MRS. CHENEY: No, I think your analysis is exactly right. The argument I would pose to those people, though, who are threatened by the idea of change -- the question I would pose is, should any child be forced to stay in a failing school? And the answer is no. No child should have to stay in a failing school.
    [you have to read on to get to the sexy part]

    And one of the things that No Child Left Behind does is if a school doesn't improve, the school can't improve, then kids have an opportunity -- parents have an opportunity to send their children to a higher achieving public school.

    Dick and I supported private choice for a long time. Because we haven't been able to make public policy out of it, a number of people support programs that do provide kids who don't have a lot of resources the opportunity to attend a private school. I also -- just one other idea, the people you talk to who are opposing the idea of choice, I would suggest this scenario, really, that it doesn't threaten the public schools when a child leaves to go to another school, it provides that school an impetus to improve, a reason to improve. What we know about life is that businesses get better when there's competition. We know about life that all sorts of projects get better if there's some competition -- and that when there's only the status quo, there's not that little engine of improvement. So I would argue that choice really gives our public schools the kind of motive to improve that's really valuable. So it's a terrific idea. The President has gone some way forward in No Child Left Behind by making public school choice possible...

    that little engine of improvement. Good line. And I was just Googling a bit, and found out that Lynne Cheney wrote a hot and feminist novel published in 1981:
    But then there's another book, written by another well-known political figure, and it's a doozy. Throughout its pages are fornication (the heroine with her late sister's husband), incest (half-brother knocks up half-sister), adultery (the heroine, with her first husband's friend), contraception (by the wed and the unwed) and lesbian couplings (the heroine's sister and an older woman). And incidentally, lynchings, dogicide, cattle theft and robber-baronism.

    The book was published 23 years ago, before the author's husband became one of the nation's most influential politicians, and before the author became a Valkyrie in the culture wars. And the author is ... aha, you thought I was going to say Hillary Clinton, didn't you?

    It's Lynne Cheney, wife of the Republican vice president. The book is a frontier novel of the 19th century called "Sisters." It's hot, it's sexy and it's out of print.

    I could find only 11 copies in all of the nation's public libraries, mostly in red states: four in Wyoming, Cheney's home state, and one each in North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and Kern County, Calif.

    On the Internet, the original 1981 $2.50 Signet paperback has an asking price of $2,999.95 to $25,000, the latter more than the cost of a first edition of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."...[link]

    The writer I'm quoting thinks it's a big laugh that a Republican woman should have written such a book--a skeleton in her closet he seems to think it. Actually it's the lefty clichés that are a joke; feminism was originally about women being strong independent achievers, which is Lynne (and her daughters) then and now. The embarrassment is how leftists have changed the meaning of the word to mean "stuffed-shirt women's auxiliary of the Democrat Party."

    Actually, far from being considered an embarrassment, Cheney's novel has a page at I wonder if they are hoping the Dems will attack her for it? That would be funny. Apparently one side-effect of the despicable and dishonest attacks on President Bush's Air Guard service is that a lot of people found out that he had been a fighter pilot, and liked him all the better...
    * Update: I GOOFED! Arkadiy Belousov notes in a comment that is a parody site. Stupid of me, is the White House site. Thanks for the tip, Akadiy.

    Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 AM

    August 15, 2004

    X is for "Zeno"

    If you've ever wondered how those Roman names worked, Dr Weevil has a post on the subject.

    ...Nomenclatural ambiguity affects Roman authors in a different way. Most Romans had three names, which should have reduced the possibilities for confusion. The first (praenomen) was the personal name, like a modern first name, the second (nomen) the family or clan name, and the third (cognomen) was used to distinguish branches of the same family. Thus Marcus Tullius Cicero and Quintus Tullius Cicero were brothers, members of the Cicero branch of the Tullius family, while Titus Livius (the historian Livy) only had two names, since he came from a small town where there were only a few other Livii...

    ...This brings us back to the famous names. Scholars refer to eminent Romans by nomen or cognomen, whichever is more distinctive. Some have two uncommon names, so Publius Vergilius Maro could be either Vergil or Maro, Publius Ovidius Naso either Ovid or Naso, and Marcus Tullius Cicero either Tully or Cicero. For the last few centuries, they have been Vergil (or Virgil), Ovid, and Cicero, respectively, but older books often called them by the other names, especially Tully...

    I had always assumed that using "Tully" was some sort of scholarly whimsy or affectation, a kind of inside joke, but not so...

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 PM

    "scrambling in the muck"

    By the way, Andrea Harris is trying to come up with the cash to get into a better apartment; one that's minutes rather than hours away from where she works. So if you ever had the vague and wistful idea that perhaps you might someday hit a blogger's tip-jar, this is a good time. (I may do it myself if certain overdue checks ever show up.)

    Andrea is the real item. If I could write like her I'd call myself a blogger. The kind of writer who can make one pause in the rush and hurry of life and really see the daffodils tossing in the breeze. Here's an example I tucked away:

    I'd like to know what kind of bell jar they grow these hothouse flowers in. I'll bet she's the sort of person who would blame her daughter for getting raped. She obviously thinks that only Westerners are capable of self-control; obviously one must speak softly around brown foreigners lest they go haywire. The patronizing little bint. God forbid we ever suggest that people everywhere should learn self-control -- ooh, that's imperialistic. I recognize her sort as the hypocritical type of woman who swans about boasting of how "nonconfrontational" she is until her privileges are threatened -- and then out come the knives and the insults. After civilization falls she'll be scrambling for bones in the muck with the other mutants. Me, I'd rather be dead than live on an earth ruled by the likes of her. And we will end up being ruled by the likes of her as long as we keep allowing people like her positions of privilege.

    Posted by John Weidner at 5:07 PM

    Update on

    I see that Unfit for Command is now on the Amazon bestseller list.

    In the previous post, Andrew Cory, who's a bookseller himself, commented that the official release date is today, the 15th. So possibly it wasn't on the list before because of that, and now it is. Maybe no conspiracy, no hackers breaking into Amazon, no scandal. No excitement, go back to sleep...

    Posted by John Weidner at 12:18 PM

    August 14, 2004

    #1, but not on the best-seller list...

    Katie notes:

    Well this is interesting. I just, on a whim, went over to to see what how Unfit for Command was doing on the charts. So, from the main page, I clicked on " Top Sellers" assuming that that would lead me to, you know, the books that were selling best. On the main page of that, the book highlighted was "A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush", which is, to be fair, a Bush-friendly book. But I still hadn't found "Unfit for Command." So I clicked on the non-fiction list. Not there. I'll list the top 20 books that were there at the bottom. So I went to New/Future releases. Not there either, only 15 on that page though. Huh. So I went to the search box.

    If you search for the words "unfit for command" you get three "Most Popular Results," none of which are the book in question. Then, finally at the top the 20052 other books with those words, is the Swiftvets' book. You'd think it wasn't selling well. Unless you went to the actual product page, here and you'd see that the sales rank is, well, 1.

    Interestin' times we live in....

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 PM

    like a sunrise...

    There's a new Bush ad, Victory. Do take a look. The words:

    "In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the world. Today: 120. Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics? There will be two more free nations (Afghanistan and Iraq) and two fewer terrorist regimes. With strength, resolve, and courage, democracy will triumph over terror, and hope will defeat hatred." (thanks to Dean)
    Jeez, how negative can those nasty Republicans get?

    But really, think about those numbers. The world has changed. Anyone who predicted those numbers when I was young would have been considered crazy. Democracy is now normal for countries over a certain per-capita income, maybe around $3—4,000. Countries in that area will be pulled towards democracy, pulled by the powerful examples of success among free nations that are now seen all around the world. And pulled also towards free enterprise and capitalism, likewise because of success stories seen all around us.

    One thing this means is that if you want to say that country X can't possibly become free and prosperous, the burden of proof is on you! In particular, the "progressives" who sneer that projects like Iraq or Afghanistan are hopeless, who flippantly dismiss them with a wave of the hand, are not being intellectually honest. That is not a defensible position, unless you provide evidence and logical reasons.

    Actually, in one sense it IS a negative ad. It shines a pitiless light on Kerry and his reactionary party. They won't admit it publicly, but their reaction to this is going to be a sneer.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 PM

    tight as the scales on a serpent's flank...

    I do not normally recommend historical fiction, because most historical fiction is, by my standards, garbage. The past was different. If you delve beneath the surface levels of history, you will find yourself frequently perplexed...because people in other times thought and acted differently than we do.

    So the very first test a historical novel must meet is to transport us into a world that seems weirdly different than ours. If a historical novel has characters that act or talk or think like you or I, it's the bunk. They are most of them equivalent to those fantasies, where we re-live our childhood and avoid all of our embarrassing mistakes. Historical novelists get to go to Elizabethan England and know, unlike everyone who actually lived then, that Shakespeare is the guy to watch. Idiocy.

    I do recommend Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield, which centers on the military culture of ancient Sparta (which was also called Lacedaemon), and climaxes at the Battle of Thermopylae. (Warning, lots of blood and guts.) Here Xeo, the narrator, the squire of a Spartan Peer, describes the Spartan phalanx deploying for combat against a minor foe...

    ...To the beat the Spartans and their allies advanced, eight-footers [spears] at the upright, their honed and polished spearpoints flashing in the sun. Now the foe broke into an all-out charge. Leonidas, displaying neither haste nor urgency, fell into step in his place in the front rank, as it advanced to envelope him, with the Knights flowing impeccably into position on his left and right.

    Now from the Lakedaemonian rank rose the paean, the hymn to Castor arising from four thousand throats. On the climactic beat of the second stanza,

    Heaven-shining brother,
    Skyborne hero
    the spears of the first three ranks snapped from the vertical into the attack.

    Words cannot convey the impact of awe and terror produced upon the foe, any foe, by this seemingly uncomplex maneuver, called in Lakedaemon "spiking it" or "palming the pine," so simple to perform on the parade ground and so formidable under conditions of life or death. To behold it executed with such precision and fearlessness, no man surging forward out of control, none edging right into the shadow of his rankmate's shield, but all holding solid and unbreakable, tight as the scales on a serpent's flank, the heart stopped in awe, the hair stood straight up upon the neck and shivers coursed powerfully the length of the spine.

    As when some colossal beast, brought to bay by the hounds, wheels in his fury, bristling with rage and baring his fangs, and plants himself in the power and fearlessness of his strength, so did the bronze and crimson phalanx of the Lakedaemonians now snap as one into its mode of murder.

    PS: My thanks to George Turner, blogger and weapons nut, who clarified for me how it might be possible to snap those spears from upright to horizontal (which in a Greek phalanx would, I believe, be overhand, stabbing over the shield) in one move. E-mail me if you are interested.

    Posted by John Weidner at 1:30 PM

    another small step...

    Lance Jonn Romanov writes

    Japan Deploys Solar Sail Film in Space

    ISAS succeeded in deploying a big thin film for solar sail in space for the first time in the world.

    ISAS launched a small rocket S-310-34 from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan, at 15:15, August 9, 2004 (Japan Standard Time). The launch was the culmination of a historic new technology, the world-first successful full-fledged deployment of big films for solar sail.

    A solar sail is a spacecraft without a rocket engine. It is pushed along directly by light particles from the Sun, reflecting off its giant sails. Because it carries no fuel and keeps accelerating over almost unlimited distances, it is the only technology now in existence that can one day take us to the stars...

    It was just a brief experiment, but very pleasing to contemplate...

    Posted by John Weidner at 12:48 PM

    Not surprised...

    In a recent post I wrote: But imagine for a moment that you have to risk your money in a business deal that will be sealed with just a handshake. And your choice of partners is either a sociology professor or an oil wildcatter? Who you gonna pick?

    Michael Gersh adds this in a comment, supporting my darkest suspicions:

    To examine the ethics of professors, a little story here in Seattle regards a new loophole in Washington law, restricting pension contributions to the first thirty years of employment. So, the professors with 30 years in, with the complicity of the human resources department of U. W., all quit, got their pensions, and were rehired, in the same jobs at the same pay and tenure, the same day! They each got over a seventy five grand raise that day! And when the story broke, they even faced the cameras and could not see that they had done anything wrong! Some were proud that they had found this lucrative loophole.

    I'll take a wildcatter's handshake any day.

    Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

    Just happiness...

    Iraqi Olympic soccer team Washington Times. Iraq''s Sadir Salih, left, celebrates with his teammates Abbas Bassim, center, and Haidar Abdul Razzaq, after scoring during a men''s Group D preliminaries soccer match at the Pampeloponnisiako stadium during the 2004 Olympic Games in Patras, Greece.
    I just had to post this because these guys look so happy.

    But to save you Democrats from tedious comment-posting, behold, I will concede all your points!

    Of course they were better off under Saddam.

    And of course the whole Iraqi project is hopeless,

    And of course they hate us for our cowboy blundering,

    And of course backwards brown-skinned people can't succeed at democracy (just look at Latin America--dictators everywhere.)

    And of course the money would have been better spent here at home,

    And of course trying to change the world is "hubris," and we will be punished for it...

    There. Happy now?

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:09 AM

    August 13, 2004

    "A whole book's worth of ugly lies"

    Charlene tore a column out of the SF Examiner and brought it home for me to enjoy: Backlash of Kerry Claims, by Kathleen Antrim.

    Now granted the Examiner's no longer a terribly important paper, and Antrim's no fan of Senator Kerry, but still, it's a pleasure to read something like this in liberal San Francisco. I enjoy it not so much because of Kerry (he's toast, he's a pre-breakfast snack for Karl Rove, and the campaign's become a bore) but because it opens one more fissure into the news blackout that the major media are trying to do on this little hot-potato. That's what annoys me, after they savaged the President about his military service. (Blogged here, here, und here)

    John F. Kerry's campaign for president is imploding. And he knows it.

    The anti-war candidate went public as a pro-war candidate this week, and the members of his beloved "Band of Brothers" are exposing a whole book's worth of ugly lies. And they've got details, evidence, footnotes, signed affidavits and witnesses who back up their claims.

    Kerry himself bestowed immense credibility on his "Band of Brothers" when he used a picture of some of them in his campaign ad titled "Lifetime."

    Essentially, Kerry made Vietnam, and these men, the centerpiece of his campaign. Of course, that was when he thought they'd support his candidacy. No matter that he'd never bothered to ask their permission to use them to promote his political career.

    Now, however, the Kerry campaign is on a search-and-destroy mission to attack the credibility of these same men -- calling them liars, all 60 of them, and saying they didn't serve in the military with him. Really? Then why'd Kerry use their pictures in his ad campaign?

    These are the same men who Kerry hailed as his "Band of Brothers," who he implied knew him well and could vouch for him as a wonderful soldier and man.

    These men, who Kerry inferred that we, the American people, could trust to tell us that he would make a great president, are suddenly liars. And why? Because they aren't saying what Kerry wants them to say....

    Posted by John Weidner at 3:59 PM

    News and rebuttal all in one sentence...

    From those wonderful folks at the AP, whose philosophy is, "We have to report this icky Republican news to maintain the pretense that we are journalists, but at least we can also tell you what to think about it..."

    WASHINGTON - President Bush vows in his latest campaign ad to "bring an enemy to justice before they hurt us again" although Osama bin Laden remains at large and only one U.S. defendant, Zacarias Moussaoui, has been charged with crimes related to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
    Possibly they haven't heard yet about the terrorists held at Git'mo, and various prisons around the world. Plus hey, didn't I hear something about some terrorists somewhere being....dead? Sounds like justice to me.

    Thanks to PowerLine.

    Posted by John Weidner at 1:13 PM

    As sobering as can be...

    Radio host (and blogger) Hugh Hewitt has an interview with Vice President Cheney. It's worth reading. I also liked the points Hugh hits in this summing up:

    The Vice President is blunt, and some of the answers, especially as to the possibility of al Qaeda having access to nukes, are as sobering as can be.  Note that he doesn't hesitate to call a shrine sensitive, but also mocks the idea that a war can be. This strikes me as exactly the right answer: tactics can be measured --the withdrawal from Fallujah in the spring, the care with which the Imam Ali Shrine is handled-- but the overall war cannot be made smooth. It is a terrible thing, and takes a terrible toll.  There's no getting around it in the world in which most of us live, though Kerry seems to dream of a far off place where the UN, led by the French and the Germans, can help us conduct a war without any hard spots or terrible losses.  Kerry's many ambiguities and his promises of greater sensitivity work well on The West Wing, perhaps, but not in a real war with real terrorists looking for real nukes and other deadly WMD.

    The Veep was easy on the Christmas-in-Cambodia back-flip, as I expected he would be.  But not on the central issue of the campaign: fitness to be the commander-in-chief in a war. And I especially liked his assessment of the spread of Moore's Disease throughout the Democratic Party: It reflects a fundamental weakness of the leadership there that Moore cannot be quarantined and denounced as a marginal nutcase. 

    John Edwards must be preparing to shine in his big debate date with the VP as we speak.  Edwards will certainly be better spoken --note all the "wells" throughout the transcript, and I left out many "ahs" here and there for transcribing ease-- and thus Edwards is a prohibitive favorite to "win" the debate, if Americans are looking for smooth-talk.  If they are looking for leaders to wage and win war, well then, it might turn out differently.

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:11 AM

    #164: Poster boy for the redistributionist Democrats...

    P. Krugman

    In April of this year John Kerry declared famously that he was "not a redistribution Democrat." "Fear not," he went on, "I am not somebody who wants to go back and make the mistakes of the Democratic Party of 20, 25 years ago. Nor am I somebody who believes that Washington has all the answers."

    Well, apparently Paul Krugman did not get that memo. In Bush's Own Goal (08/13/04) he launches a broadside against President Bush's "ownership society" campaign theme largely on grounds that it would conflict with measures to promote more equality. So if you want a poster boy for the "mistaken" redistributionist Democrats of 25 years ago, look no further.

    But let's back up. First of all, the ownership society has been around and growing for many years and is likely to continue to progress regardless. That's the way capitalist societies evolve. Bush may be a little ahead of the curve in pressing ownership as a campaign theme, but there is little doubt that in another 10 years or so neither party can win without the "investor vote."
    Second, with regard to taxes, most economists would prefer taxes on consumption only. Or, put another way, they would ask, why on earth would one want to tax capital income? Investments in innovative capital goods are the growth engines of a free economy. Taxing capital is the modern day equivalent of eating the golden goose and reducing or elimination such taxes is a key element of Bush's ownership initiative. (By the way, a consumption tax does not have to be a sales tax. It can as well be an income tax that exempts capital income from taxation. It can even be progressive).

    Krugman, of course, is having none of this. A redistributionist to the end, he's a divider, not a creator. He would rather split the pie more evenly than have it grow more rapidly. In addition, like most lefties, the thought of people owning and controlling more of their wherewithal and being less dependent on government for retirement, health care, education, etc., is like a shot to the solar plexus. It really hits them where they live. Here's how Krugman whistles past this particular graveyard:

    "Conservatives like to point out that a majority of American families now own stock, but that's a misleading statistic because most of those "investors" have only a small stake in the market." "If the "ownership society" means anything, it means spreading investment income more widely - a laudable goal, if achievable."
    Open your eyes, PK, it's happening! Right under your nose.

    [The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 AM

    August 12, 2004

    A civilian like me can't ask this question...

    But BLACKFIVE can:

    So I just have one question for you Active Duty Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen: Would you ever leave your men in a combat zone because you earned the right to go home early, even though you were physically able to continue leading them?

    Would the rest of you? That's what I thought.

    How many Soldiers and Marines have been wounded but have stayed with their units when physically able? Hundreds, I'll bet. I just read a report that one Marine battalion had 50 wounded return to duty recently.

    I cannot feel anything but utter contempt for Kerry when I think about men like Sergeant Kenneth Conde and others that chose to stay with their troops rather than take an early trip home...

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 PM

    Four questions...

    Mr Candidate Kerry recently posed four questions for the President:

    "Now, there are some questions that a commander-in-chief needs to answer with a clear yes or no," Bush said. "My opponent hasn't answered the question of whether knowing what we know now, he would have supported going into Iraq."

    "I have given my answer," Bush said. "We did the right thing, and the world is better off for it."

    Kerry challenged Bush to answer some questions of his own -- why he rushed to war without a plan for the peace, why he used faulty intelligence, why he misled Americans about how he would go to war and why he had not brought other countries to the table.

    I noticed John Hawkins answered them decisively here. But maybe I'll just try myself...

    1. Rush to war? What rush? A whole year we talked about it. My favorite memory is of those Democrat congressmen who kept pompously saying "we need to have a national debate!" I wanted to scream, "Well, so start a debate, if you want one. It's easy to do, you just state your position, and your evidence and facts, and challenge the other side to answer them!" Of course they didn't really want a debate. (Much like the leftybloggers.) And President Tar Baby, he jes say nothin'. And then, in Sept '02, he stuck it to them, and put the question to Congress. Debate time! And boy, didn't they just choke on it!

    As for the plan, we had one. And it was to do pretty much what we have done. And it's gone more slowly than we hoped, because Iraq was in much worse shape than we guessed, and because those who hate the possibility of freedom and capitalism in Iraq (Terrorists, Ba'athists and Democrats) have fought more fiercely than we expected. So what. Life's like that. The plan is working, though you have to read blogs to find out the good news.

    2. Why he used faulty intelligence? For the same reason the UN, France, Germany, and Kerry and Clinton and Edwards and Gore and the Democrats used faulty intelligence....

    3. Why he misled Americans about how he would go to war? I'm not sure what this question means. The attack went much as I had hoped and expected, though I was surprised by how bold and successful it was. I'm trying to imagine how a Democrat thinks (it's hard, logic ain't in it)...perhaps Kerry means it was unfair of us to win so easily. There's a lot of odd rubbish floating on the surface of the Democrat mind. I remember somebody pushing the idea that it violated the "laws of war" for us to use machine guns on enemies armed only with rifles.

    4. Why he had not brought other countries to the table? Because the other nations don't want to DO anything. That's the dirty secret of our times. Only Red State or conservative Americans, Tony Blair, and a few pockets of the Anglosphere are still willing to actually tackle difficult tasks to try to make the world a better place. The rest blink grumpily and say, "Why did you wake me up? I was having such a lovely nap."

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

    No story here...

    The Washington Post has an editorial, waving away the charges of the Swift boat veterans, because they received money from a big Republican donor. SO, no investigation needed. No "reporting" needed. No story.

    But remember when a chorus of Dems charged that President Bush was "AWOL" on his Air National Guard service, that was NEWS! They even went so far as to interview a dentist to see if his signature on a dental exam might be forged!

    And when the charges against the President were found to be baseless, that was NOT news. (My debunking here and here.)

    And if, by some stupefyingly unlikely chance, the 250 Swift Boat vets turn out to be well-organized conspiracy of liars, and their stories collapse, THAT WILL BE NEWS!

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:04 AM

    August 11, 2004

    " turned over the entire gross domestic product every three days..."

    Jonathan Rauch has a great piece on the DTCC, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, and its preparations for disaster.

    ...In the 1970s, the financial sector set out to centralize and automate settlement. Today, a single private clearinghouse settles U.S. securities trades, with as many as 4.5 _billion_ shares changing hands on a peak day. That clearinghouse is DTCC.

    Centralization is efficient but carries risks of its own. ....Something to think about: DTCC settled $923 trillion in securities transactions last year. In other words, it turned over the entire gross domestic product every three days...

    The DTCC managed to keep going on 9/1, but there was luck involved. And the only backup was also in Manhattan. If DTCC were knocked out, our economy might just be toast. Since 9/11 it has radically decentralized itself.
    ..."Before 9/11," says Paretti, "this room was full, because we had all the bodies here." Where are they now? He points to a large-screen TV. It shows video feeds from three command centers. One is where we're standing. The others are -- well, somewhere. DTCC now runs several remote command centers, all of them in secret locations, some more than 1,000 miles away, and each fully staffed and capable of running the whole settlement system. Any center can independently take control if others cease to respond...

    ... "It's been an entire culture change," Considine says. Throughout the company, systems that for decades relied on central control are being reorganized for independent movement and judgment. Hubs are giving way to networks. It is not just terrorists who are adopting cell structures... (Thanks to Jay Manifold)

    One of the interesting things about 9/11 is that, due to the Y2K worries, most of the financial institutions that were affected had pretty good back-up systems, and could switch operations to branch offices. And I'm sure they have all improved on them since.

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 PM

    Opportunity going begging...

    I caught a couple of minutes of Rush today, and he made a good point. Think of all those European nations and leaders who prefess to loath America's cowboy ineptitude, and our heavy-handed way of imposing our values and democracy on the world and just making things worse?

    Right now they have a perfect opportunity to show how they would handle things better. Sudan is a genuine humanitarian crisis, just begging for a nuanced mix of force, diplomacy and aid work.

    SO, Jaques, Gerhard,'s your chance. Grab it. Show us how the experts do it...

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:31 AM

    "those who have never worked the stuff close at hand..."

    DJ Drummond writes about the death of Red Adair:

    This past weekend, America lost a hero. A real one, the kind that are always hard to find, yet somehow when you most need them, they somehow always show up. That would suggest a benevolent deity to me, but I will leave that for another time.

    Paul N. “Red” Adair was born June 18, 1915 in Houston, Texas. He died at his Houston home Saturday, August 7, 2004. In between, he and his company put out over 2,000 oil well fires, often after other teams had given up hope. After the first Gulf War, Red and his men put out fires in 117 wells in Kuwait. Red’s proudest accomplishment was that he never lost a man to a fire. Not once.

    These days, anyone involved in oil is presumed to be greedy, self-centered, and reckless. Red was none of these, and frankly, very few men who worked the rigs, who built and maintained refineries, who knew oil from real work in the field, ever fit that description. I know; my father was a Petro-Chemical engineer, and Red Adair was typical of the character of those men, although Red excelled in his accomplishments. The shrill cry against oil men always comes from those who have never worked the stuff close at hand, or who have any idea what it takes to find it, drill it, get it refined and delivered for your use and convenience.

    The presumed evil of anyone in the oil industry is one of the more egregious current examples of substituting clichés for thinking or evidence.

    But imagine for a moment that you have to risk your money in a business deal that will be sealed with just a handshake. And your choice of partners is either a sociology professor or an oil wildcatter? Who you gonna pick?

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:22 AM

    August 10, 2004

    Expanded authority, plus expanded responsibility...

    Here's some info on the CompStat system I discussed in the previous post:

    ...Precinct commanders are in a far better position than Headquarters executives to appreciate and meet the particular needs of their communities and to direct the efforts of the 200 to 400 officers they manage. They are also in a better position than beat officers to understand and harmonize the agency's policies with the social dynamics operating within their geographic compass. To operationalize this, the NYPD's policies were revised to empower precinct commanders. Significantly expanded was their authority, responsibility and discretion as well as the degree of control they exercise over personnel and other resources. Conversely, the natural corollary of that expanded authority, responsibility and discretion is increased accountability.

    This Department began conducting weekly Crime Control Strategy Meetings as a means to increase the flow of information between the agency's executives and the commanders of operational units, with particular emphasis on the flow of crime and quality of life enforcement information. In the Department vernacular, these briefings are referred to as COMPSTAT (Computerized Statistics) meetings....

    Or in other words, central planning didn't work, so they created something like market forces.

    Posted by John Weidner at 5:44 PM

    "He wanted the owner's full attention"

    This is the strangest thing. I'm aware that crime is down, including in New York City. But apparently, crime is really down in NYC! Way way down! To the point where the cops are getting bored. Read this story, it will knock you out. (Or maybe everybody already knows this stuff except me.) Much of the credit apparently goes a computerized anti-crime system called Compstat, that forces police to take personal responsibility for crimes in their precinct, and do something about them:

    ...Sometimes, he [Capt. William Matusiak, commander of the Fifth Precinct, which includes Chinatown and Little Italy.] has to put a man somewhere, like one night in April, when he sent Nicky Lau to the Café Habana on Prince Street. The bartender handed a Corona to Mr. Lau, who set it on the bar without taking a sip and stepped outside. Mr. Lau, a police cadet in a precinct in Queens, is 18.

    An unmarked sedan pulled up, and Lieutenant Fanale called the bartender outside to issue a summons.

    Under-age-drinking operations are not unusual in a precinct stacked with bars, nightclubs and dives. But in this instance, Captain Matusiak was not particularly worried about teenagers drinking at Habana. He wanted the owner's full attention.

    Here is the problem: The cafe gets crowded. Women hang purses on the backs of their chairs. In the cramped space, the purses are stolen. The women file police reports. The thefts are automatic grand larcenies whenever credit cards are taken. The grand larcenies are recorded in the week's Compstat tally, and if that list is too long, the precinct commander is called to 1 Police Plaza for a grilling and a scolding. Too many scoldings, and a precinct commander finds himself assigned someplace else.

    A few days after Mr. Lau ordered his beer, the cafe's owner showed up at the station house and sat across the desk from Captain Matusiak. The owner was worried; the captain consoled him.

    "Last night was, I'm sure, a one-shot deal," Captain Matusiak said before getting to the point: "You've got to help us out with the unattended property. We're getting killed at your place."

    There has not been a purse reported stolen since...

    Thanks to Gary Farber

    * Update: Take a look at Lyle's comment: I have lived in NYC for thirty years. Everything you read is true. Before Giuliani, New Yorkers lived defensively. We took for granted a persistent undertone of menace...
    ... It still surprises me to see families and young women on trains late at night. My first thought is, "Don't they know..?" But of course they don't. That was another time and a different place...

    Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 PM

    #163: A "spin" against "spinning"

    P. Krugman

    Paul Krugman surprised us a little bit today in Spin the Payrolls (08/10/04). We thought the Bush administration had done such a lousy job of promoting the positive economic outlook that Krugman might just leave them to flounder. But no! Never one to pass up a column on the cheap, he did a cut and paste job from his previous columns on the jobs picture and wrote a "spin" against "spinning."

    The result is heavy handed and a good column to skip. But anyone who wants a balanced, informative view of the complexities of the job market should read this article by Floyd Norris, Krugman's colleague at the Times and chief financial correspondent. As Norris points out there is probably no single best way to look at any economic data. Hence, there is no substitute for a comprehensive examination of a subject. In that spirit he offers this graph showing the growing and remarkable discrepancy between the household and business establishment surveys of job creation.

    Norri, employment chart

    No one really understands what is causing this discrepancy – it's probably more than just job definitional differences – but Krugman has no trouble finding that the payroll survey that makes the Bush administration look worse. Is there any doubt that if a Democrat were in the White House he would be touting the household survey instead?

    Oh well. At least he's "the devil we know!"

    [The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:17 AM

    August 9, 2004

    Heroes of the war...

    Chuck Simmons is blogging American heroes of the War on Terror, and then adding them to a list. It looks like it will become a valuable resource, especially since our contemptible news media won't give them the headlines they deserve. (Thanks to Sensing)

    Things used to be SO DIFFERENT. I remember talking to a woman we know, and she mentioned that the SF neighborhood she grew up in was kind of rough. But she said, "It was OK for us, because my dad was a hero in the war." (A little affray called World War II, back when the reporters were on our side.)

    Posted by John Weidner at 10:52 AM

    First time tragedy, second time idiocy?

    Trying to re-live your youth is not a good idea. This article, on Vietnam-Era protesters having a last hurrah, is just pathetic, and totally true--I see the same stuff here in San Francisco.

    The problem with these guys is not so much that they decided to be anti-war, but that they didn't decide. It was automatic, there was no pondering, no balancing of costs of benefits. And especially, both then and now, they were not about to ask any Vietnamese or Iraqis what they thought of the matter. Then as now, they will happily toss millions of foreigners down the garbage-chute without a second thought.

    ...If Jack Hoffman [brother of Abby Hoffman] has been politically drowsy since he last participated in protests in the early 1970s, he could now be called something of a political insomniac: He is handing out leaflets, speaking to disciples of the left, participating in demonstrations -- anything to bash President Bush and what Hoffman describes as a wrong-headed war.

    Hoffman is not the only aging Vietnam-era activist from the region agitating for Bush's ouster in November. For these veterans of political action, the consciousness of the late 1960s and early 1970s is seeing something of a revival: As they look to propel John Kerry to the White House, some say they haven't felt as driven since those heady days...

    Actually, if people like Hoffman can re-live their youth, in a way us conservatives can too. It was those people, more than almost anything else, who created the conservative movement.

    Before them there was no need for a "movement;" most Americans just were conservative. Journalists and pundits like to say that America has "moved to the right," but that's not true. The things Ronald Reagan became famous for articulating were normal middle-of-the-road American views until the 60's. And they are still normal American attitudes.

    We are like that Frenchman who discovered he'd been speaking prose all his life.

    The article is also interesting for the utter cynicism the anti-war anti-national-defense activists feel for the faux-patriotism of the Democratic convention. They have no doubt that it's a calculated lie.

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:23 AM

    August 8, 2004

    Head's still spinning...

    I'm still shaking my head over the stuff I wrote about yesterday, in the post Who's "beyond the pale?"

    We are all used to seeing any criticism of Democrats being answered, not by reason or facts, but by instant attacks on the messenger. They don't answer the charge, they try to make the "Republican smear machine" the issue. Or the "vast right-wing conspiracy." And always, the very best villain is their arch-nemesis, Karl Rove!

    But the accusation that Karl Rove is trying to pull a dirty trick by making Mr Kerry's Vietnam service a campaign's just too much for my little brain to grasp.

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 PM

    Word Note, (Leftlunacy Dept.)

    Kathy Kinsley writes:

    I don’t usually comment much on moonbats (from the right or the left). But Atrios’ latest bout of insanity (scroll down to ‘Celebrate Diversity’) is just plain weird. He seems to have decided that a t-shirt, which is endorsed by Instapundit, Frank J, and John Hawkins, with pictures of a bunch of guns on the front and the text ‘Celebrate Diversity’ is racist. I suppose because ‘diversity’ is shorthand, in his world, for ‘blacks’ or something? And Instapundit’s wearing of the t-shirt indicates he’s a racist. Right. Check the comments to Atrios’ post as well.
    The reason that this particular phrase is a tender spot for leftizoids dates back to the famous, and muddled, Bakke decision. Mr Bakke was denied entrance to a University of California Medical School, despite having higher grades and scores than minority students who were admitted. He sued. The Supreme Court ruled that numerical quotas for affirmative action were not permissable. But it did not ban affirmative action altogether, and in particular, Justice Powell's decision opined that it might be permissible to consider a need for diversity, along with merit.

    SO, GUESS WHAT! The entire left side of the universe instantly discovered that they had always known that "diversity" was almost more important than breathing. And that schools and universities (which had just dropped those banned racial quotas) would be consumed by the flesh-eating virus unless they ramped-up diversity to the maximum.

    And what kind of diversity did they need? Religious diversity? Political diversity? Philosophical diversity? No no no no.....they needed racial diversity! and how did they get it? With diversity quotas.

    So "diversity" is a code-word for affirmative action. Therefore laughing at it is "racist." But it's more than that. It's become a code word for the whole kit 'n kaboodle, for everything "progressive," especially for every attempt to eliminate some horrid piece of stuffy capitalist slave-owning dead-white-guy Western Civilization, and replace it with multicultural brain-leeches.

    And since, in common parlance, a "racist" is anyone who's winning an argument with a liberal, even with this larger definition of "diversity," it's still racist to laugh at "diversity." Atrios is right.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

    Brooks is just weird...

    I like how Orrin Judd responds nicely to this column by David Brooks, who complains that the Bush and Kerry campaigns are lacking in serious proposals for solving problems...

    ... Let us for the moment set aside the revolutionary accomplishments of the first Bush term--tax cuts; multiple free trade agreements; public school vouchers; HSA's; enhancements to retirement savings accounts; abortion limitations; government funding of religious social services; canceling the ABM treaty and spiking Kyoto and the ICC; etc.; etc.; etc..

    Here are just some of the proposals that remain to be enacted once the President has a filibuster-proof Senate: Social Security privatization; comprehensive energy policy; tort reform; tax reform; voucherizing public housing; etc.. Also pending approval, though more problematic because of opposition within his own party: immigration reform and a massive new space program.

    Oh, and, in the midst of all this, he's waging a global civilizational war and reforming Islam, while putting more attention, energy, and money into salvaging Africa than any world leader ever and shifting our national security policy from Atlanticism/Realism to a universalist alliance of democracies.

    The question isn't "where's the beef?" but what's Mr. Brooks's beef?

    Brooks writes:
    ...People used to complain that selling a president was like selling a bar of soap. But when you buy soap, at least you get the soap. In this campaign you just get two guys telling you that they really value cleanliness.
    Well, here's a Bush campaign speech. You can read it and see what you think. Seems pretty solid to me.
    ...That's why I will continue to work to usher in a new era of ownership and opportunity in America. We want more people owning their own home. We want more people owning their own business. We want more people owning and managing their own health care system. We want more people owning and managing a part of their retirement systems. When a person owns something, he or she has a vital stake in the future of the United States of America...
    Bush is talking about reforming Social a campaign! That's unheard-of in American politics.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:22 AM

    August 7, 2004

    A tantalizing prospect...

    This article suggests that Clarence Thomas is a possibility for the next Chief Justice. I can't think of a better choice. He's a great man and a top-notch jurist.

    AND, for a bonus, the torment of the collectivists would be indescribable. As I wrote once before (9/13/02):

    ...The endless scurrility and abuse heaped on a great man named Clarence Thomas is one of the disgraces of our country and our time.

    Leftizoids derive much of their supposed legitimacy from the Civil Rights Movement, and much of their bullying power from leftist judges. For a black person to not only be a conservative, but also a Supreme Court Justice, hits them in their tenderest spots. I suspect that most leftists think there is nothing wrong with slandering Thomas; that they are capable of inventing some ugly lie or distortion, and then with a clear "conscience" saying, "I define 'liberal' as someone interested in justice."...

    The possibility of Thomas as Chief actually comes from a book, Judging Thomas. It looks intriguing, I'll be reading it soon. And that line: "I define 'liberal' as someone interested in justice" was written by a leftyblogger back then, as the starting point of an argument or debate about liberals/conservatives. Unbelievable. It still seems unbelievable. Those guys need to taste defeat, if only for the good of their souls.

    Posted by John Weidner at 3:24 PM

    Who's "beyond the pale?"

    One Albert R. Hunt has an editorial spin-fest, Calling John Kerry's military service into question is beyond the pale:

    ....In Boston last week, the symbol of a nominee who was both a war hero and a war protestor was powerful. The stage was full of admirals and generals and veterans; leftist peaceniks were cheering warriors. That was a good thing.

    This presidential contest is between two men born of privilege. What they did three and a half decades ago is revealing about their character then. George Bush, like most of us, ducked; John Kerry fought. In the order of importance for Nov. 2, this should rank about 16th or 17th out of the top 20 factors. The 2004 election should be about the future.

    But if Karl Rove's pals persist, that ranking may climb...

    I agree, the election should be about the future. Not about the Vietnam War.

    BUT, the editorial leaves out a few pertinent items. It doesn't mention that it's Kerry who is making Vietnam the center of his campaign. The piece implies that Karl Rove's secret goons have simply ginned up the issue on their own, violating all propriety by focusing attention on the forgotten past. Ludicrous!

    ...Suppose in the 1992 presidential election, after an unconfirmed rumor surfaced about an alleged affair then President Bush had years earlier, Clinton supporters decided to make marital fidelity a central issue.

    That would be almost as crazy as the current effort by some Bush backers to focus attention on John Kerry's Vietnam War record and subsequent protests...

    The nerve of those Bushies, actually dredging up the long-forgotten Kerry Vietnam War record! Why, I didn't even know he was there. What twisted minds could have even thought of bringing up the buried past during Mr Kerry's high-minded focused-on-the-future campaign...Phoooey! The word "crazy" fits here, but it's Mr Hunt who should wear it.

    And if he really wants to say Bush "ducked" (attacking Bush's service is, of course, never beyond the pale) I would answer that George Bush joined a unit that was sending pilots to Vietnam. and he would have ended up in combat if the F-102 had not proved to be useless for that kind of war (It was designed to intercept bombers). Kerry joined the Navy during a land war, and volunteered for Swift Boats while they were deployed offshore, and weren't taking any casualties.

    "this should rank about 16th or 17th out of the top 20 factors." I agree. But it's not Karl Rove who has put it high on the list. If Kerry's "stage was full of admirals and generals and veterans," his fans have no right to start crying when Kerry's war record becomes an issue...

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:49 AM

    "riding on top of everyone else's platform"

    Drunkenbatman has a fascinating essay called Convergence Kills, about where Apple might be heading with its new technologies. He argues that convergence (the gradual merging of all our digital gadgets into one) is going to take the path of mobile phones eating everything else. Why? Because your phone is the one thing you always carry. Phones are already turning into cameras and PDA's, and also Internet browsers. Apple has just partnered with Motorola to include their music technology into the next generation of phones, which will work like iPods, though only holding 15 songs!

    Apple has claimed that its iTunes Music Store is mostly a loss-leader to sell their very profitable iPods. Maybe it's the other way around:

    There's an old adage about magicians; if you want to learn the trick, close your ears and open your eyes. Well it might not go exactly like that, but that's the lesson I took from it.

    When people are talking, you have a natural inclination to look at their eyes, and if they're doing something with one hand chances are you really need to be watching the other if you want to see what they're really up to. In other words, watch the hands. And Apple is particularly adept at misdirection...
    . . . . . . . .

    ...Apple is playing towards that exact same endgame, but with a twist: they're creating a new light-DRM [Digital Rights Management] platform that is riding on top of everyone else's platform. iMacs, Windows, mobile phones, everything. Google is also creating a platform riding on the backs of other platforms... except its based around becoming the access point for all things internet. Apple wants that, but for DRM content.

    They weren't kidding around with their vision of the computer as a hub for your digital life, they just forgot to mention that the hub will come with a lock. And guess who owns the keys? (Thanks to Joe Katzman)

    Apple has a head start, but a lot of other players will be trying to do the same thing...Good luck.

    My next cell-phone will have a camera for sure. I'm always seeing odd things and wishing I had a camera handy. And look at this--one inch hards drives for phones! It's coming.

    Posted by John Weidner at 10:29 AM

    August 6, 2004

    Sinking into the quagmire...

    BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 1,200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said. "Over 1,200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces," it said in a statement, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been "secured."

    It said most of the captured militiamen were criminals who were released from Iraqi prisons by ousted president Saddam Hussein before last year's US-led invasion....

    ... The US military said Friday that 300 militiamen were killed in Najaf since Thursday's fighting, while the province's coalition-appointed governor Adnan al-Zorfi said the number was as high as 400. The military said also three US soldiers were killed and 12 wounded....

    Most of them were criminals released by Saddam. Nonetheless, it will remain a matter of faith to those on the left-side, that it was only the blundering and incompetence of the Bush Administration that caused Iraq to become violent...That those guys would be happy campers if only WE had not made mistakes.

    Cori Dauber make a good point:

    ...But the reason I point this out is that it makes clear how little the press cares about anything but violence. As you read the coverage of Sadr's return to the frontlines, notice the names of the Shia cities involved, and ask yourselves: when was the last time you saw or read any stories at all about the way things were going in those areas...

    And Zayed says:

    ...One also can't help but wonder about the timing of Sistani's departure from Najaf to London for treatment. The man is known for his subtle messages, could this be a sign for his tacit approval to finish Sadr and his militia once and for all? The remaining Hawza clerics are highly unlikely to issue a collective statement in the absense of Sistani, even more so when they have been threatened and attacked by Sadr's supporters on many occasions...

    Posted by John Weidner at 3:29 PM

    The way men talk..

    This rings true, from Bob Mandel...

    ...I remember George HW Bush almost never spoke of his combat record, and he certainly was a true hero. Bob Dole spoke little of his service record, and he too, was certainly a hero. Yet, John Kerry can't give you the time of day without mentioning his Vietnam service. He spent a large part of his acceptance speech highlighting his Vietnam service. He has made it a focal point of his campaign. When he reflects on his service, it always revolves around him. He bought a movie camera and filmed not just his crew, but re-enacted battle scenes.

    One thing I always hear veterans speak of is their buddies who didn't come home. They always talk, almost exclusively, about what others did. I don't believe I've ever heard Kerry talk of those he served with who never came home. When he has a story about another crew member, it is how he (Kerry of course) saved the man's life...

    I grew up around men who served in WWII. One was on the USS Phoenix at Pearl Harbor. One was a Japanese prisoner in the Philippines. My Uncle was a naval officer in WWII and Korea. But I can't remember hearing any war stories, or any tales of daring-do. No doubt I could have asked for them, but somehow one just didn't.

    I have no interest in picking-apart Mr Kerry's Vietnam service, but I have to say that the way that he blabs about it does not impress me. Especially compared to how this guy writes...

    Posted by John Weidner at 12:35 PM

    August 5, 2004

    I had never heard that!

    Karl Zinsmaster has written a great article on the distorted picture of Iraq we get from our news media, with one shocker for me:

    How insightful is the Iraq reporting that you've been consuming? Take a little test.

    If I tell you that scores of Iraqi detainees have been killed and maimed this year in Abu Ghraib prison, you may not be surprised. But you're probably guessing wrong about who hurt them. The moronic American guards who are now on trial for improperly humiliating some Iraqis caused no deaths or injuries: The many casualties in the prison were all inflicted by Iraq's guerilla terrorists.

    During this spring's frenzy of reporting on the plight of detainees at Abu Ghraib, I was surprised that none of the stories mentioned what anyone who has spent time at the prison (as I have) knows is the central danger to the prisoners there. By far the gravest threats to the Iraqis in that facility are the mortars and rockets that guerillas regularly lob into the compound — knowing full well that the main victims of their indiscriminate assaults will be fellow Iraqis. One attack on April 21 of this year, for instance, killed 22 detainees and injured another 91...

    I had never heard that!

    Thousands of stories, tears of faux outrage, cries for impeachment, and claims that America has lost the "moral high ground" forever [that's what we got from that caterpiller Andrew Sullivan] and none of the wailing crowd gave a damn that the detainees were being slaughtered!

    YOU ARE FRAUDS! I mean you bozos of the press and politics for whom Abu Graib was the big story of the year! You didn't give a damn about the prisoners, you only wanted to wound America and encourage terrorists and help Democrats get elected. (Which is saying the same thing three times over.) Those poor prisoners are being blown into bloody sheds of flesh and splinters of bone, and you cold-hearted bastards never cared, and never will.

    One attack killed 22 and injured 91! Think about that, when you read the pompous buffoons who pretended they cared about the prisoners...

    (via Cori Dauber)

    Posted by John Weidner at 2:16 PM

    Soaring illogic

    My friend Frank writes:

    ...With little else going on I did some Times bashing in a note to a friend of mine. You might be interested. They are such easy targets I sometimes feel guilty for picking on them.

    The NY Times editorial Iran’s Nuclear Challenge (08/04/04) is laugh a paragraph. They are alarmed by Iran’s stated intentions to construct centrifuges for producing bomb fuel. But they blame it all on the Bush administration for dissipating our diplomatic and military capabilities in Iraq to the point where Iran has become more emboldened.

    Note the soaring illogic. Had we NOT moved to enforce UN resolutions regarding Iraq we would somehow be in a STRONGER position to deal diplomatically and militarily with Iran. But the biggest laugh comes in their final paragraph about what to do with Iran now:

    “For want of a better alternative, Europe is right to give Iran a little more time to change its mind. But the world cannot afford to wait long. Once the new centrifuges are completed, Iran's ambitions will become much harder to contain. If no agreement is reached soon, this apparent drive to build nuclear weapons should be recognized as a threat to international peace and security and taken up by the United Nations Security Council later this year.”
    Since we “cannot afford to wait long” we should go to “the UN Security Council later this year”??  You have to wonder how these people make it until cocktail hour.
    One line from the article: Diplomacy can resolve this issue only if both sides ultimately want a deal, and it is not at all clear that Iran's ruling clerics do... So what's the answer? Why, more diplomacy, of course!

    The article claims that Iraq means our forces are stretched too thin for us to have a military option. That's bullshit. We could blockade them tomorrow, without affecting Iraq in any big way. We could blow their reactors to bits in a matter of minutes. It's not military power that's lacking, it's political capital. Everything the Bush Administration does is attacked by the lefties and appeasers of the world, with the NYT in the lead. There's a limit to what can be accomplished with such a drag. Now the NYT has the incredible effrontery to complain that the Administration can't do anything!

    If the NYT crowd were Americans, instead of pseudo-Belgian appeasers and bellyachers, they would support our country in time of war, instead of doing everything possible to undercut and sabotage our efforts. The Mullahs are emboldened not by our lack of military power (which is roughly equivalent to the combined power of the entire rest of the world), they are emboldened by the NYT and all that it represents. They imagine they are dealing with a 50-50 America, with half of us being saps who believe the UN can save us. I predict they, and the NYT, are in for a nasty shock in November...

    Posted by John Weidner at 11:06 AM

    In a small, dimly-lit airport...

    This is a splendid story. I've been in dingy airports at 3AM, and the thought of one of those spooky dumps becoming a place of Grace is weird and beautiful...

    3 A.M. With the VFW
    By Sgt. Michael Thomas

    ...Thirty-six hours after our scheduled arrival, we landed in Bangor, Maine. It was 3 a.m. We were tired, hungry, and as desperate as we were to get to Colorado, our excitement was tainted with bitterness. While we were originally told our National Guard deployment would be mere months, here we were – 369 days later – frustrated and angry.

    As I walked off the plane, I was taken aback: in the small, dimly-lit airport, a group of elderly veterans lined up to shake our hands. Some were standing, some confined to wheelchairs, all wore their uniform hats. Their now-feeble right hands arms stiffened in salutes, their left hands holding coffee, snacks and cell phones for us.

    As I made my way through the line, each man thanking me for my service, I choked back tears. Here we were, returning from one year in Iraq where we had portable DVD players, three square meals and phones, being honored by men who had crawled through mud for years with little more than the occasional letter from home.

    These soldiers – many of whom who had lost limbs and comrades – shook our hands proudly, as if our service could somehow rival their own....

    (via Donald Sensing)

    Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 AM

    August 4, 2004

    Another "70-Year Cycle" thought...

    In the previous post, Ron Hardin commented:

    ...The 70-year cycle theory unfortunately focuses on the wrong thing. What has to be accounted for is why anybody gives Kerry the time of day. Somehow absolute phoniness slips through the normal filters of half of the nation. Is this every 70 years?...
    Well, yes. Exactly that. I think the Democrats have become like a religion repeating rituals which have lost their meaning. (Same for Republicans in the 30's. This is all entirely apart from whether the ideas involved are right or wrong.) It isn't just Kerry who is phony, it's the Party.

    A good example is the way Democrats cling to the Civil Rights Movement. For them it's always Selma. It's like my daughter said, about her expensive private school, "Black History Month comes four times a year." Similarly, I once heard a sermon by an Episcopal minister who spoke glowingly about how his college roommate's brother, or some such, a seminary student, was killed while on a march in the South. The connection was obviously an important point of pride and validation for the minister. The victim was actually described as "an Episcopal saint!" (If he had been killed while preaching the Gospel, they wouldn't have cared a fig for him.)

    At the same time they are mostly blind to the real "civil rights" battle happening now, the battle to liberate minorities from the dependence-thinking that Democrats have fostered, and to liberate them from catastrophically bad big-city public schools. Battles which Dems are on the wrong side of, and George Bush is on the right side of.

    Senator Kerry is, in fact, the perfect Democrat candidate right now. He thinks political power is his by right and inheritance. He thinks the mantle of JFK and FDR will descend on him automatically. He's a millionaire bashing the rich. He can give a "Black Power salute," but has no real connection with black Americans. He claims to represent the "little guy," but is in fact contemptuous of ordinary Americans, and can't even fake it when faced with a cheese-steak, or a deer hunt, or throwing a baseball.. He, like his party, is passionately "against," but can't tell us clearly what they are FOR. The Party and the man are phony in just the same ways.

    Now that I think about it, every 70-year shift in our history has involved the question of race. The generation of the Revolution and the Constitution made the decision to not tackle the problem of slavery, because the survival of the Union was more urgent. (And I think that decision was much harder than we realize, and the lack of major debate was precisely because it was the biggest hot-potato of all.) The Republicans arose in the 1850's mostly in order to deal with slavery, and the Democrats took power in the 1930's with an obvious mandate to go the next step, where the Republicans had failed. And now I think Republicans are tasked with what one hopes will be the last step...

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:48 AM

    August 3, 2004

    Dems in action...

    Brendan Miniter notes in OpinionJournal that, while Kerry is calling for a larger military, Congress is actually working on it. With no help at all from "Senator" Kerry. Also:

    ... Then there's the small matter of getting soldiers the body armor they need in Iraq. No one can seriously suggest that the military isn't spending enough money. The problem lies in the supply chain, which somehow isn't getting all the necessary gear to frontline troops. But once again, legislation has passed the House to help address the problem and now is in need of a champion in the Senate. And in this case it even has a snappy name, "Rapid Acquisition Authority"--snappy by Capitol Hill standards.

    This legislation is very simple. It would allow the secretary of defense to bypass Pentagon bureaucracy when it comes to equipping soldiers in the field during war. This power would only kick in when a combat casualty has occurred and wouldn't authorize any additional money to be spent. We know it works, because the bill was modeled on an Army test program that successful equipped troops shortly before they invaded Afghanistan.

    Mr. Kerry was given two easy ways to champion the interests of military voters recently, and be flubbed both of them. Now he's asking for their votes.

    I really was planning to avoid this sort of "carping at Kerry" post, but the stuff is so, well, bizarre. Kerry could put just a little time into these things, and then claim he was actually "doing something" about the problems. Actually "accomplishing" something as a senator. He's flubbed a big chance. I guess after decades of doing nothing, it doesn't even occur to him.

    For really odd, imagine this: You are a political candidate at a rally, and a sudden rainstorm leads you to borrow a nearby lawyer's office for press interviews. She sits there quietly for 90 minutes while you impose on her space, and you never even talk to her or thank her!

    ...Kerry and Edwards retreated to De Blassio's law office as news crews from CBS, FOX and CNN conducted interviews with both men. De Blassio said neither Kerry nor Edwards acknowledged her even though she sat quietly through the more than 90 minutes they were questioned by the reporters.

    "There was no etiquette whatsoever on the part of John Kerry and John Edwards," De Blassio said. "I was just disappointed. For guys doing a small-town stump, to stop in my office and not even acknowledge me, I thought it was inappropriate."... [link, thanks to Betsy Newmark]

    Inappropriate? It's crazy! Unbelievable.

    It's also a very good example of the 70-Year Cycle at work. Dems are three generations removed from coming into power in the 1930's. And now they are like people who have inherited money and a place in the family business from grandpa, but have no idea how the family business really works. They value things like being on the board of the Museum of Modern Art, and imagine that that makes them superior people destined to lead. Guess what, the other shareholders are tossing them out.

    Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

    August 2, 2004

    This stuff just slays me....

    From the the London Observer, some nuanced Europeans display that subtle and empathic understanding of primitive foreign lands they are famed for...

    The US has hardened into two virulently opposed ideological and cultural camps that are almost equal in numbers. On the two seaboards, around the Great Lakes, in the north east and some cities of the south, the Democrats have their base: mildly progressive, multilateralist, tolerant and fair-minded. In the south, the Rocky Mountains and the plains lie the Republican base: religious fundamentalists, fervent believers in America's unilateralist destiny and culturally conservative.
    As reeled the mind. I've heard of "Manifest Destiny," but "Unilateralist Destiny?" Whoa! Cool.

    This slop fills my head with notions. Can't you just see those beatific sandal-wearing bi-coastal Democrats oozing mildness from every pore? And tolerance too, don't forget that. And just visualize their fair-mindedness radiating like a sweet-smelling benediction over the Great Lakes (and some cities in the South.)

    And the Republican base? Count me in. Manifest Destiny was just a warm-up; now it's no more Mr Nice-Guy! Hose 'em down. Let's kill us some injuns! Preferably mildly progressive, multilateralist, tolerant and fair-minded ones. With sandals. Get ready boys, to crush the inferior races and take their women and their petroleum and convert them to Christianity...

    Portrait of John Brown
    A typical Rabid-State cultural conservative
    contemplates world domination and the
    pulchritude of Ann Coulter...

    Posted by John Weidner at 9:46 PM

    Remember "fake turkey?"

    Remember last Thanksgiving, when President Bush flew to Iraq to serve diner to our people? And the main reaction from the Media Wing of the Democrat Party was a big sneer? Remember the "fake turkey?" (It wasn't, of course, fake, but the lie is still circulating.)

    Now we have what seems to be "the fake Wendy's lunch."

    ...A member of the Kerry advance team called Nikola’s Restaurant at the Newburgh Yacht Club the night before and ordered 19 five-star lunches to go that would be picked up at noon Friday. Management at the restaurant, which is operated by CIA graduate chef Michael Dederick, was told the meals would be for the Kerry and Edwards families and actor Ben Affleck who was with them on the tour.

    The gourmet meals to go included shrimp vindallo, grilled diver sea scallops, prosciutto, wrapped stuffed chicken, and steak salad. The meals came to about $200...

    Sounds tasty. Shall I just sit here a while and hold my breath and wait for the press to make a big deal out of this fake? Ha ha, just kidding. Never happen.

    Thanks to PowerLine, where DEACON adds: Even my French wife, no fan of fast-food, is incredulous over this. She asks, "couldn't they stand to eat one Wendy's meal?" Apparently not.

    I myself prefer Burger King, but is not Paris worth a mass?

    Posted by John Weidner at 12:15 PM

    August 1, 2004

    F-102, Vietnam, and George W. Bush

    NOTE Aerospaceweb has taken down their page on Bush and the Texas Air National Guard, due to abuse by people linking to photos. Here's the text from the page, taken from Google's cache:.

      It really bothers me that a coward like George W. Bush spent the Vietnam War training to fly old and useless planes in Texas while John Kerry was heroically risking his life in combat and got three purple hearts!
      - Jennifer Braun
    We normally shy away from the world of politics, but we get variations of this kind of question regularly and feel it necessary to clarify some information. We'll do our best to avoid bringing our own political biases into this article since we are more interested in defending an "old and useless" aircraft than any particular politician!

    George W. Bush's military service began in 1968 when he enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard after graduating with a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University. The aircraft that he was ultimately trained to fly was the F-102 Delta Dagger. A number of sources have claimed that Bush sought service in the National Guard to avoid being sent to Vietnam, and that the F-102 was a safe choice because it was an obsolete aircraft that would never see any real combat. However, those perceptions turn out to be incorrect, as will be seen shortly.

    The F-102 was a supersonic second generation fighter designed in the early 1950s for the US Air Force. The primary mission of the aircraft was to intercept columns of Soviet nuclear bombers attempting to reach targets in the US and destroy them with air-to-air missiles. The technologies incorporated into the aircraft were state-of-the-art for the day. The F-102 set many firsts, including the first all-weather delta-winged combat aircraft, the first fighter capable of maintaining supersonic speed in level flight, and the first interceptor to have an armament entirely of missiles. Among the many innovations incorporated into the design were the use of the area rule to reduce aerodynamic drag and an advanced electronic fire control system capable of guiding the aircraft to a target and automatically launching its missiles.

    The F-102 made its first flight in 1953 and entered service with the Air Defense Command (ADC) in 1956. About 1,000 Delta Daggers were built, and although eventually superseded by the related F-106 Delta Dart, the F-102 remained one of the most important aircraftin the ADC through the mid-1960s. At its peak, the aircraft made up over half of the interceptors operated by
    the ADC and equipped 32 squadrons across the continental US. Additional squadrons were based in western Europe, the Pacific, and Alaska.

    As the 1960s continued, many of these aircraft were transferred from the US Air Force to Air National Guard (ANG) units. By 1966, nearly 350 F-102s were being operated by ANG squadrons. A total of 23 ANG units across the US ultimately received the fighter, including squadrons in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    One of the primary ANG units to receive the F-102 was the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) at Ellington Air National Guard Station, which operated the aircraft from 1965 through 1974. These planes were given responsibility for patrolling the Gulf Coast and intercepting Soviet Tu-95 bombers that regularly flew off the US shore while carrying a payload of nuclear weapons. The 111th was and still is part of the 147th Fighter Wing in Houston, Texas. It was here that George W. Bush was stationed following his enlistment in May 1968.

    It is a common misconception that the Air National Guard was a safe place for military duty during the Vietnam War. In actuality, pilots from the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, as it was called at the time, were actually conducting combat missions in Vietnam at the very time Bush enlisted. In fact, F-102 squadrons had been stationed in South Vietnam since March 1962. It was during this time that the Kennedy administration began building up a large US military presence in the nation as a deterrent against North Vietnamese invasion.

    F-102 squadrons continued to be stationed in South Vietnam and Thailand throughout most of the Vietnam War. The planes were typically used for fighter defense patrols and as escorts for B-52 bomber raids. While the F-102 had few opportunities to engage in its primary role of fighter combat, the aircraft was used in the close air support role starting in 1965. Armed with
    rocket pods, Delta Daggers would make attacks on Viet Cong encampments in an attempt to harass enemy soldiers. Some missions were even conducted using the aircraft's heat-seeking air-to-air missiles to lock onto enemy campfires at night. Though these missions were never considered to be serious attacks on enemy activity, F-102 pilots did often report secondary explosions coming from their targets.

    These missions were also dangerous, given the risks inherent to low-level attacks against armed ground troops. A total of 14 or 15 F-102 fighters were lost in Vietnam. Three were shot down by anti-aircraft or small arms fire, one is believed to have been lost in air-to-air combat with a MiG-21, four were destroyed on the ground during Viet Cong attacks, and the remainder succumbed to training accidents.

    Even in peacetime conditions, F-102 pilots risked their lives on every flight. Only highly-qualified pilot candidates were accepted for Delta Dagger training because it was such a challenging aircraft to fly and left little room for mistakes. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today's combat aircraft. For example, the F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14, the F-15 is at 2.47, the F-117 at 4.07, the S-3 at 2.6, and the F-18 at 4.9. Even the Marine Corps' AV-8B, regarded as the most dangerous aircraft in US service today, has a lifetime accident rate of only 11.44 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102 claimed the lives of many pilots, including a number stationed at Ellington during Bush's tenure. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG pilots.

    Nevertheless, we have established that the F-102 was serving in combat in Vietnam at the time Bush enlisted to become an F-102 pilot. In fact, pilots from the 147th FIG of the Texas ANG were routinely rotated to Vietnam for combat duty under a program called "Palace Alert" from 1968 to 1970. Palace Alert was an Air Force program that sent qualified F-102 pilots from the ANG to bases in Europe or southeast Asia for periods of three to six months for frontline duty. Fred Bradley, a friend of Bush's who was also serving in the Texas ANG, reported that he and Bush inquired about participating in the Palace Alert program. However, the two were told by a superior, MAJ Maurice Udell, that they were not yet qualified since they were still in training and did not have the 500 hours of flight experience required. Furthermore, ANG veteran COL William Campenni, who was a fellow pilot in the 111th FIS at the time, told the Washington Times that Palace Alert was winding down and not accepting new applicants.

    After being accepted into the ANG, Airman Basic Bush was selected to attend pilot training. His six weeks of basic training was completed atLackland AFB in Texas during July and August of 1968. Upon its completion, Bush was promoted to the officer's rank of second lieutenant. He spent the next year in flight school at Moody AFB in Georgia from November 1968 to November 1969. The aircraft Lt. Bush trained aboard were the T-41 Mescelero propeller-driven basic trainer and the T-38 Talon primary jet trainer. He also completed two weeks of survival training during this period.

    Bush then returned to Ellington in Texas to complete seven months of combat crew training on the F-102 from December 1969 to June 1970. This period included five weeks of training on the T-33 Shooting Star and 16 weeks aboard the TF-102 Delta Dagger two-seat trainer and finally the single-seat F-102A. Bush graduated from the training program in June 1970. The previously mentioned Maurice Udell was a flight instructor for Lt. Bush who was interviewed by the Associated Press in February 2004. MAJ Udell recalled that Bush was one of his best students saying that, "I'd rank him in the top five percent."

    As he was completing training and being certified as a qualified F-102 pilot, Bush's squadron was a likely candidate to be rotated to Vietnam. However, the F-102 was built for a type of air combat that wasn't seen during that conflict, and the plane was withdrawn from southeast Asia in December 1969. The F-102 was instead returned to its primary role of providing air defense for the United States. In addition, the mission of Ellington AFB, where Bush was stationed, was also changing from air defense alert to training all F-102 pilots in the US for Air National Guard duty. Lt. Bush remained in the ANG as a certified F-102 pilot who participated in frequent drills and alerts through April of 1972.

    By this time, the 147th Fighter Wing was also beginning to transition from the F-102 to the F-101F, an updated version of the F-101B used primarily for air defense patrols. Furthermore, the war in Vietnam was nearing its end and the US was withdrawing its forces from the theater. Air Force personnel returning to the US created a glut of active-duty pilots, and there were not enough aircraft available to accommodate all of the qualified USAF and ANG pilots. Since USAF personnel had priority for the billets available, many of the Air National Guard pilots whose enlistments were nearly complete requested early release. The ANG was eager to fulfill these requests because there was not enough time to retrain F-102 pilots to operate new aircraft before their enlistments were up anyway. Bush was one of those forced out by the transition, and he was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant in October 1973, eight months before his six-year enlistment was complete. Bush had approximately 600 flight hours by the time he completed his military service. In the fall of 1973, Bush began coursework at the Harvard Business School where he received an MBA in 1975.

    The point of this discussion is that the military record of George W. Bush deserves a fair treatment. Bush has been criticized for avoiding service in Vietnam, though the evidence proves that the Texas Air National Guard and its F-102 pilots where serving in Vietnam while Bush was in training. Bush has been criticized for using his family influence to obtain his assignment, but the evidence shows that he successfully completed every aspect of the more than two years of training required of him. Bush has been criticized for pursuing a safe and plush position as a fighter pilot, but the evidence indicates the F-102 was a demanding aircraft whose pilots regularly risked their lives. Bush has also been criticized for deserting the Guard before his enlistment was complete, but the evidence shows he was honorably discharged eight months early because his position was being phased out.

    This is not to say that there exist no points of contention in Bush's record worthy of criticism. There are indeed some irregularities from April 1972 to May 1973 that indicate he may not have completed his responsibilities as a National Guardsman. However, these allegations have been fully investigated in the past and were found to lack credibility. Both the New York Times and the Boston Globe investigated Bush's military service and concluded that "Bush logged numerous hours of duty, well above the minimum requirements for so-called 'weekend warriors.'"

    While it is not our goal to compare and contrast the records of the candidates on this subject, the fact that the questioner cites John Kerry's military service makes us feel it necessary to comment. It is interesting to note that there are just as many, if not more, irregularities in Kerry's military record as there are in Bush's. Kerry can certainly be praised for some of the actions he performed while in the line of duty, but his record does contain some troubling portions as well. Not the least of these is his involvement in the controversial group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) while he was still an active-duty member of the US Navy. Kerry's testimony before Congress as VVAW spokesman in 1971, during which he accused soldiers serving in Vietnam of being war criminals, was found to be based on largely falsifed information as documented by Wikipedia. The Boston Globe has also reported on troubling accusations regarding the circumstances surrounding Kerry's medals, particularly his first two purple hearts awarded for minor injuries that may even have been self-inflicted.

    Nevertheless, the important point to remember is that one can find good and bad elements in virtually anyone's military history. If the military service of both George W. Bush and John Kerry is to be an issue during the upcoming election, then both records ought to be treated with balance and fairness rather than be subjected to double standards.

    To learn more about the history and military service of the F-102 Delta Dagger, readers should see The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft by David Donald, ed., and Convair F-102 Delta Dagger by Wayne Mutza. Another excellent resource is Joe Baugher's American Military Aircraft, particularly the F-102A and Squadron Service sections.

    As we had anticipated, this subject has generated a tremendous response from our visitors, both positive and negative. Below are a few of the replies we have received.

    "I want to express my gratitude for your excellent discussion of the F-102's service in Vietnam. I was a mechanic with the 509th [Fighter Interceptor Squadron] in the Philippines. We were the primary F-102 unit to deploy to Vietnam, and I was stationed at Da Nang when we were attacked by the [Viet Cong] in 1965...the attached picture shows one of our F-102s destroyed in a VC raid.

    ...I am so happy to find a site like yours that looks past politics to tell the truth about our service and contributions to the war effort. I want to thank you on behalf of myself and my squadron mates, especially those who didn't make it home."
    - George, 3 August 2004

    "Your site is an obvious front for the right-wing conspiracy that hijacked the media and is destroying America. Your pathetic attempt to defend draft-dodger and deserter Bush is nothing but right-wing lies. Where's the proof? Show it to me and then I'll correct you. All you have is b---s---."
    - name withheld, 1 August 2004

    "Heartfelt applause to I just had the pleasure of reading the answer to the slightly vitriolic question regarding President Bush and Senator Kerry's military service. A plain reading of the available information proved far superior a response than any mere counter vitriol. The fact is mightier than the hyperbole."
    - John, 1 August 2004

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 PM

    whack whack whack...

    It doesn't matter how many time you whack the moles, they pop up again. And for sure there's no way the Dems will stop telling despicable lies about the President's military service, no matter how often the lies are debunked.

    You might want to bookmark this page, it's got all the the facts. (The postmodernists won't care about facts of course, but there are still lots of people who are old-fashioned enough to be interested in them.)

    .... It is a common misconception that the Air National Guard was a safe place for military duty during the Vietnam War. In actuality, pilots from the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, as it was called at the time, were actually conducting combat missions in Vietnam at the very time Bush enlisted. ...

    ..Even in peacetime conditions, F-102 pilots risked their lives on every flight. Only highly-qualified pilot candidates were accepted for Delta Dagger training because it was such a challenging aircraft to fly and left little room for mistakes. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today's combat aircraft. For example, the F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14, the S-3 is at 2.6, the F-15 at 2.47, the F-18 at 4.9, and the F-117 at 4.07. Even the AV-8B, regarded as the most dangerous aircraft in service today, has an accident rate of only 11.05 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102 claimed the lives of many pilots, including a number stationed at Ellington during Bush's tenure. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG ....

    also keep in mind that while Bush missed some reserve meetings, by that time the war was over (for us at least), the Air Force had way too many pilots for the available cockpits, and the 102's had been taken out of service. There was no longer anything for Lt Bush to actually do in the reserves...And also, every reservist misses some meetings.

    Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 PM

    Steyn ageyn...

    Mark Steyn in the Telegraph:

    ...His default position is the conventional wisdom of the Massachusetts Left: on foreign policy, foreigners know best; on trade, the labour unions know best; on government bureaucrats know best; on defence, graying ponytailed nuclear-freeze reflex anti-militarists know best; on the wine list, he knows best...
    (Thanks to OJ)

    Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 AM

    The Jews are to blame, of course...

    German surgeons have amputated the leg of Palestinian legislator Nabil Amr, who was shot by masked gunmen on the night of July 20th in his Ramallah home, family and colleagues of the former minister said on Thursday.

    They said Amr's right leg was amputated from the knee down due to severe nerve and muscle damage from two bullets fired through a window of his Ramallah home minutes after his return from a television interview where he criticized Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

    Arafat has called off an investigation into the attack and has blamed Israel for shooting Amr...

    Thank God we are out of the Clinton years and the Democrat years. Having the President of the United States getting chummy with terrorist filth like Arafat and actually inviting him to the White House is a national disgrace.

    (Thanks to Pejman)

    Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM