October 31, 2006

Revised list of reasons to invade Iraq.

I'm re-doing my list of reasons to invade Iraq.—I've been keeping notes for possible revisions for a while now. And I've put it back into the present tense as of 2003, which eliminates reasons like our discovery of the UN Oil-For-Food Scandal, and any unexpected successes we've had since then. (Note: The redoutable Dean Esmay long ago posted Seven Reasons, which formed the origins of this list. And Wretchard blogged reason #1. I didn't just think this stuff up myself. Here's another good list, by TM Lutas.)

1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy terror 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 will avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, the stakes will be too high. They won't be able to just lie low for a few years and then strike again. We will be forcing them to react to our moves, instead of us always reacting to theirs—this should really be a reason by itself.

2. 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. Changing Iraq will change the dialog in the region. Deposing tyrants is a start, but there are good reasons to believe that democracy might take hold in Iraq—That would really change the region.

3.Terror-supporting nations. We can't make progress in changing them, until we take out ONE of them. Iraq is a good choice because we already have a good legal case, with many binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam is the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall will have the biggest effect on the others.

4. Iran: The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). The Mullahs can't close off their border with Ira, because their Shi'ite Holy Places are there. Invasion of Iraq puts an army right on Iran's border. And Iraqi Shi'ism, impotent under Saddam, does not agree with theocratic Iranian Shi'ism. We need its ideas to flourish.

5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people are being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. This is an internal war--to end it is to be on the side of peace. The UN sanctions regime has left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam builds palaces and funds terror groups and corrupts Western governments with kickbacks. And we are INVOLVED in the sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it. Saddam is waging an internal war against his people. Pacifists are enablers of Saddam's war and want it to go on forever—America should 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 mistakes. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.

7. WMD's: a danger that must be eliminated. (Note from the perspective of 2006: While it's true we haven't found large stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles. And more importantly, this is a war. A global war against islamic terrorism. 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 an 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.)

8. 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 bin Laden that we can't take casualties. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson. If Iraq becomes a quagmire, that's good. Assuming we stick it out and win.

9. 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 betrayal of South 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" will be contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs.

10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush has 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. [Note from 2006: For various people, including some of the Senators who voted for this campaign, 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.]

11. To learn how to fight this new kind of war. There has never been a war like this before. We need to learn how to fight it, and keep learning as enemy tactics evolve. There's no other way to learn than just plunging in and fighting. Armchair strategists are not much help. And Iraq is big enough to blood the entire US Army and Marine Corps, without being very dangerous (by historical standards, that is. Think Shiloh, or the Meuse-Argonne Campaign).

12. Revenge. Saddam and al Qaeda have been responsible for the terror-killings of American citizens, including American diplomats. These murders have gone unpunished. It was wrong for us not to avenge them violently. (I'm using the term "revenge" provocatively, to irritate appeasers. But feel free to toss out the concept of vengeance. it is still wrong, both morally and logically, to allow criminals to flourish and prosper through their crimes, and to prey on the weak. It is a sin.)

13. Archives. Totalitarian regimes always keep good records. We are going to learn a lot about what's really been going on in the world once we get into the files. (Me, I'd scan everything and put it on the Web.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 AM

fog of war...

A friend e-mailed and asked about how I thought Iraq was going.

I've always seen the Iraq Campaign as working on several levels, and having various goals. (I've posted lists from time to time. None of my drive-by lefty critics has ever dared to debate them one-by-one.) So it's not simply a win or lose thing.

We've already won on many of those levels:

  • show resolve--undo disasterous reputation for caving...√
  • Ending Saddam's hideous internal war against his own people. √
  • Ending Saddam's supporting terrorists and the threat of WMD's...√
  • Lured al Qaeda into a fight and hurt them...√
  • Turned a bunch of Arabs against al Qaeda types...√
  • "De-stabilized" the ME in some possibly good ways...√
  • Got us past the "No peace in ME until Palestinian question solved" nonsense...√
  • Stirred up some hopes of democratic reform in region...√
  • Placed armies on both sides of Iran...√
  • Uncovered the Oil-for-Food scandal...√

But of course we are hoping to transform the whole game, not just take some pawns and rooks. In that sense I'm worried and disappointed. We'll see.

And we hoped to have the other terror-supporting tyrants quaking in their boots, not just feeling a bit nervous. They were for a while there, but that hope has been sabotaged by our own domestic traitors, who have refused, for vile partisan reasons, to support their country (and Western Civilization) in its hour of need.

And It's hard to judge things while one of the big battles of the War on Terror is being fought. I refer to the US election. All the despots and terror groups have their heels dug in, hoping for a Copperhead victory. And it's no accident that attacks in Baghdad have been ramped up just now.

We are in the fog and smoke of battle. We onlookers just can't know how it is going. Look at this, for instance:

AFP najaf • Radical cleric Muqtada Al Sadr gave the go-ahead to a US-led raid on the bastion of his Mahdi Army militia in Baghdad and plans to purge his movement of violent elements, an aide said yesterday.

Sheikh Abdel Razzaq Al Naddawi, a senior assistant to the firebrand Shi’ite preacher, said Sadr had given the green light to last week’s action by US and Iraqi forces after meeting Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.

“It was meant to pinpoint the bad elements and hold them accountable before the law,” Naddawi said here. “This movement does not protect those who abuse people and the innocent.”

Last week Iraqi special forces and US advisers raided an address in Sadr City hunting what they described as a death squad leader. A subsequent battle left 10 militants and four civilians dead.

Previous raids by US forces in Shi’ite districts have drawn criticism from Sadr supporters, but the powerful young cleric is trying to reposition himself as an ally of Maliki’s struggle to halt a wave of sectarian violence. (Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Don't ask me what it means...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

October 30, 2006

How these things usually go....

From Hugh Hewitt, a bit of context on mid-term elections with a President in his second term...

...First, some very basic political history:

In the 1986 election, Ronald Reagan saw the Democrats gained a net eight seats in the Senate and take control from the Republicans with a 55-45 majority. The Dems added 5 House seats to increase their majority to a 258 to 177 margin in the lower chamber. For the math challenged, that is an 81 seat majority for the Dems.

In the 1974 election, the sixth year of eight Republican presidential years, the Watergate/pardon election saw Democrats add four seats in the Senate, for a total of 60 Democrats. Democrats crushed the GOP in the House, adding picking up 49 seats for a post-election day margin of 291 to 144 --a 147 seat edge!

In the 1958 election, Ike saw the democrats add 14 senators (including two from Hawaii) for a 65-35 Democratic-GOP split. The Democrats added 48 seats in the House and controlled that body by a margin of 283 to 153. Again, math fans, that's a 130 seat edge!

Now, with some facts in hand, go back and read the Post's agenda journalism. President Bush's unique electoral record is matched only by FDR's, and FDR's Democrats lost 76 House in 1938, and six Senate seats.

The Bush-Rove political legacy is already established, and even a narrow loss of both the Senate and the House would not dent it. If neither body's GOP majority is held, but the margins remain narrow, the Bush-Rove record becomes the most potent political performance in modern times for an eight year presidency, and if either or especially both are held, retire the laurels....

My personal suspicion is that we are in a transition period such as happens every 70 years or so in America. (Link to other posts.) The best comparisons are with FDR's fist two terms. (The 1860's were also such a period, but the war removed most of Lincoln's southern opponents from the game, which makes comparisons difficult.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:53 AM

He thought Reagan was a softie...

Andrew Ferguson has an article in American Standard on the weird situation of Dems and James Webb, Tangled Webb: Cognitive dissonance in Virginia. ... Really bizarre. And very funny, to think of those poor angst-oozing Eloi voting for a guy who resigned in protest from the Reagan administration because Ron was going soft, and not spending enough on armaments!

...Dreema Fisk, an Arlington poet and retired schoolteacher, told me she'd heard that Webb had once been a member of the Republican party--a group with which, she said, she was tragically familiar. "I come from West Virginia," she said, "and I discovered last time that my entire family back home voted for Bush." She shook her head and kneaded her hands. "I cried all night." (Ha ha. Suffer, granny. That's gotta be the funniest thing I've read this month! But it kinda makes you wonder about Amendment XIX.)

She said she was a Quaker. I asked her whether she'd read any of Webb's war novels. "Are they violent?" she asked. "Maybe I should read one."

Among those Arlingtonians who do know more about Webb, enthusiasm is often muted. As chairman of the County Board a decade ago, Ellen Bozman helped bring about Arlington's continuing era of Democratic dominance. At the party she told me that many of her acquaintances had expressed reservations about her candidate.

"I have friends who say they'll vote for him, but reluctantly," she said. "His service as a Reagan administration official, that bothers some people. And they worry--about other things."

"Like affirmative action?" I said.

"There are concerns here and there," she said.

"And guns," I said. "He's incredibly pro-gun."

"There can be reasonable differences Democrats can have," she said. "I had a cousin who had guns. He hunted. Of course, that was in rural Illinois."

"And the Confederacy. He really likes the Confederacy. He named his son after Robert E. Lee."

"One friend tells me she just won't feel right voting for him," Mrs. Bozman said. "I say, He'll listen. He'll learn."...

"I had a cousin who had guns. He hunted..." Geez. Give. Me. Strength.

I HOPE I am right in thinking that these useless cave fish are America's past, and not its future.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

October 29, 2006

In thought the seasons run concurrently...

But, without winter, blood would run too thin;
Or, without summer, fires would burn too long.
In thought the seasons run concurrently.
Thought has a sea to gaze, not voyage, on;
And hills, to rough the edge of the bland sky,
Not to be climbed in search of blander prospect:.
Few birds, sufficient for such caterpillars
As are not fated to turn butterflies;
Few butterflies, sufficient for such flowers
As are the luxury of a full orchard;
Wind, sometimes, in the evening chimneys; rain
On the early morning roof, on sleepy sight;
Snow streaked upon the hilltop, feeding
The fond brook at the valley-head
That greens the valley and that parts the lips;
The sun, simple, like a country neighbour;
The moon, grand, not fanciful with clouds.
In thought the seasons run concurrently
    -- Robert Graves
Posted by John Weidner at 5:26 AM

Take that, Newfoundland!

Though I've been trying to stay out of the blogging hurly-burly on Sundays, I just had to post this...I just noticed I was noticed, by Mark Steyn! Linking to this post. One of my heroes. Too cool.

This is on the sidebar at SteynOnline—in the post titled Campaign Countdown 2006 PELOSIPALOOZA!...(Living as we do in Pelosiville, we have to love that.)

Mark Steyn on my post

Posted by John Weidner at 5:10 AM

October 28, 2006

Puffick Storm...

The End of the World As We Know It? (Jane Smiley, October 28, 2006, HuffingtonPost.com)

You gotta check it out, this piece ties the leftist package up perfectly. The world is about to end due to Global Warming, and the Iraq Campaign was only about Dick Cheney stealing Iraq's oil, which is contributing to Global Warming. It all fits!

The thoughts one can think here are many, but what grabs me is that Climate Change is the perfect excuse! A Perfect Storm of excuses for feeling superior while ignoring the actual problems and sufferings in the world today. Well, "ignoring" is too weak a word. Assuming a position of God-like superiority is more like it.

Ten-thousand-a-week slaughtered in Darfur? Don't bother me with trivialities, man, can't you see I'm Visualizing-Lower-Carbon-Emissions? And anyway it's all just an excuse to steal more oil. And if those little people live, they will just burden the planet, and die anyway when the oceans rise.

Most important of all, it's an excuse to not adjust to change. To keep one's world-view firmly anchored in 1973. That's hard to do, even with the help of NPR and the NYT, since the predictions assumed to be true back when the Baby-Boomers were young have all failed. And the predictions that conservatives were making back then have mostly come true. (I won't list them; I've been blogging these things for almost 5 years now)

But no matter, Global Warming trumps everything! If billions are going to die soon, how silly it is to try to save millions now. If free enterprise and Globalization are lifting billions of people out of poverty (and statism has utterly failed to do the same) who cares? Those tiresome brown-skinned people would be better off poor. And happier of course. And more picturesque, for when us sensitive Western Liberals take a jumbo jet to their picturesque squalid countries for picturesque low-emissions adventure treks (wearing the latest in picturesque adventure garments) so we can feel spiritually superior to pudgy people on cruise ships or casinos...

And the very cream of the jest is that Global Warming trumps Global Warming! One even gets to be superior to the messy nitty-gritty political and engineering maneuvers and compromises needed to actually reduce carbon emissions. That the US is doing better at reducing carbon than Kyoto-pompous Canada is not important. It's the symbolism that counts, not nasty reality. That the best practical solution to carbon emissions is to invest massively in nuclear power is beneath notice—Only utopian solutions need apply. Ones that involve white middle-class Western leftists being put in charge of everybody else, and, much more important, being allowed to keep their world-picture intact...

(Thanks to Orrin Judd, whose comment is also good: "What's especially quaint about the anti-human Left is that they appear not to grasp that their belief that human engineering will cause some kind of catastrophic global warming is identical to their belief that they could human engineer a Marxist utopia.")

Posted by John Weidner at 10:40 AM

October 27, 2006

Awesome pics...

...of a Space Shuttle launch seen from from 60,000 feet.

(Thanks to Brian Tiemann)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:31 PM

smears, one more little item...

Apparently last year Robin Williams did a comedy routine mocking Rush Limbaugh for his pain-killer addiction, and laughing at the thought of him going into therapy.

Then, a week or two later, Williams announces that HE is going into therapy for his drinking problem. And asks for privacy! (And gets it! From the same news media that's now pretending outrage (at the false charge) that Rush mocked Michael J. Fox.)

Liberals are nothing but horrid little children.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:34 AM

Rambling thoughts...

Optimism is not a Christian virtue. Optimism is simply a matter of optics, of seeing what you want to see and not seeing what you don't want to see. Hope is facing reality with eyes wide open and saying, nonetheless this is what we're going to do by the grace of God. --Fr Richard John Neuhaus

I'm in a bit of a grim and cranky mood today. There are various things that don't look good to me. This new blogger, Reconquista, is crunching numbers and graphing Islamic terror attacks. I don't like the smell of what he's coming up with. Trouble.

...From this picture it’s immediately apparent that the attacks come in surges, with a fall-back between surges, as if they’re girding their loins for the next surge. Every new surge goes higher than the one before, and every fall-back doesn’t fall back as far as the previous one. It also looks as if the height of the surges is accelerating – each one increases attacks by a greater amount than the previous one did. It’s not absolutely certain from this view, but we can return to it later. There is a ratchet in operation.

Also, you might have noticed that we are currently in a fall-back stage, and might be wondering when the next surge will start? Strange as it may seem, the world is currently experiencing a – relative – lull in terrorist attacks, with another surge about to begin. Well, that’s what it looks like from this picture, but let’s revisit the monthly pictures armed with this new insight....

Thinking about more trouble on the way makes me doubly bitter about the appeasement and weakness and indecision that has got us into this mess, and is even now making things much worse.

And reading Mark Steyn's America Alone has made various things I was already thinking much more real and pressing. Is Europe past the point of no return? I've been suspecting so, and Steyn is painfully persuasive. One of the feelings that has got me down is a sort of mourning. Grieving. Countries like France and Germany are like much-loved uncles and aunts to me, and the thought of their senility and foreseen death is a bitter thing to deal with.

I'm finding myself somewhat more in accord with the Malkinites---"Islam is the problem." Maybe so. But what's their strategy? What's their long-term plan? Bellyaching is not a plan.

And I think they have no Christian Charity. For instance, the people who suffer the most from Islamic terrorists are ordinary Muslims. They are being killed in far greater numbers than are Westerners. It should be our goal to save them as well as ourselves. If possible.

I do not, by the way, have any sympathy with the view of certain people that Christian Charity means letting ourselves be kicked around, or means sitting by passively while tyrants oppress the weak or while genocides rage. That's just stupid. (And they don't even believe it themselves. it's just Christian tinsel draped over their real belief: Appeasement and Western self-hatred.)

Charity requires extending ourselves to fight evil and injustice. The world we are in now often puts us—either America or the ordinary citizen—in the position of the policeman who must shoot to save hostages or prevent murders. Both for individual and country, focused extreme violence is sometimes the Christian duty. And hand-wringing and indecision is sometimes a sin. We should be thinking about this. Thinking clearly. And mostly we are not.

Also, Fourth-Generation Warfare means that the "front" can be anywhere, anytime. The ordinary citizen can become a soldier in the blink of an eye. Like the people on Flight 93. I think that should be one of the central thoughts of all of us. (And I fault the Bush administration deeply for not emphasizing this, trusting instead in bureaucracies and plans. Pure folly.) Are you ready? Am I?

Another thing buzzing at the back of my brain is a dinner Charlene and I attended recently, honoring a quintessential "radical priest." That evening was, well, thought provoking. I could blog a lot about it, but probably I should just keep mum. But one thing we got to hear a lot of was how abu Ghraib was apparently the worst thing that had happened in recent years. Since I had in mind the fact that in Darfur about 10,000 people are being killed a week, the rants about abu Ghraib were...well, I'll just stick with "thought provoking."

A huge genocide is happening right this moment. A war in fact, an internal war. One of the bloodiest in history. And the only thing that can stop it is American military intervention. And who is stopping us from ending this war? In a large part is is the "anti-war" people. The "pacifists." The Christians so-called, whose "Christianity" consists mostly of Bush-hatred and leftist cliches.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:05 AM

October 26, 2006

Ha ha ah...

The Forward: Top Democrats are rushing to repudiate former President Carter’s controversial new book on the Middle East, in which he accuses the Israeli government of maintaining an apartheid system...

There's an embarrassment for you. Letting cats out of the bag two weeks before the election...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:59 PM

Sometimes extinction is no bad thing...

SF Chron: A curious teenager in Argentina has discovered the fossil skull of the biggest bird ever found -- a swift, flightless predator 10 feet tall that pursued its prey across the steppes of Patagonia 15 million years ago, researchers at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County announced Wednesday.

The skull, tapering to a cruel beak curved like a brush hook, belongs to a previously unknown offshoot of extinct birds known as phorusrhacids -- "terror birds."

Weighing perhaps 400 pounds in life, the bird most likely preyed on rodents the size of sheep that once grazed on the South American savanna.

"It is an unbelievable creature," said paleontologist Luis Chiappe, director of the museum's Dinosaur Institute who documented the find in the journal Nature. "This is the largest known bird, with a skull bigger than a horse's head."....(Thanks to The Anchoress)


Actually we sent time travelers back to the past to hunt them. Not cheap, but more fun and danger than a safari....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 PM

If you need a laugh...

...check out James Lileks imitating Andrew Sullivan while being interviewed by Hugh Hewitt. (The actual interview with Sullivan is here. Hugh's column on it is here.)

Perfect. Just perfect....

Posted by John Weidner at 2:40 PM

smears, a couple more thoughts...

I caught a little more of Rush just now, and he made two good points.

One, he reminded us about how Pope John Paul II had Parkinson's, and was suffering so publicly in the last two years of his life. Remember how people were saying that he ought to retire, or just get out of our sight? Or just sort of like, die and get it over with? Hmmm? Remember that? What I wonder is, how much overlap there is between those people and the ones who are now calling Michael J. Fox a "hero" for suffering in public?

Also, Rush pointed out that ads like Fox's are lying to sick people! There is in fact no reason to think that any ESC cures are around the corner.

Also, I would add, there is nothing wrong with Democrats making Rush their campaign issue. That's politics. But there's also nothing wrong with me, or him, heaping scorn and contumely on such tactics, and pointing out that these are the desperation moves of nihilists, who have no positive vision or program or philosophy to put forward...

They run against Bush, or against Rush Limbaugh (neither of them running for office) because there is nothing they are for.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:48 PM


I caught a bit of Rush today. He's taking orchestrated attacks for his supposed "vicious personal attack" on Michael J Fox. Doesn't sound like anything of the kind to me. It is perfectly reasonable to speculate that Fox may be exaggerating the effects of his disease, since he does not look that way at other times, and has admitted he doesn't take his medications before testifying about Parkinsons in public.

And this was a political ad. Paid for and scripted by Dem political operatives. It's not a "public service announcement." In fact it's been run in support of at least one Dem candidate who has voted against Embryonic Stem Cell research. Fox is using his disease to get candidates of his party elected, and it is cowardly and bogus to claim that criticizing him is "out-of-bounds."

More importantly, it's time to blow the whistle on the dishonest Dem tactic of parading victims as spokesmen and then attacking anyone who answers back as "heartless." Think Max Cleland, the Jersey Girls, Cindy Sheehan. It's a shabby way of avoiding debate. Think of Sheehan supposedly having "absolute moral authority" as a grieving mom. Actually she only had "authority" by being a leftist tool, and the knaves who pushed her forward accorded zero respect, zero authority to the thousands of other mothers of our heroic dead who don't happen to agree with them...

Leftists don't want to debate the issues. They don't in this case want to talk about the fact that Adult Stem Cell research is already yielding therapies, while Embryonic isn't even close. That would beg the question of WHY they are so fervent, so religious about the less promising type of research...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:26 AM

October 25, 2006

Potentially dire implications...

A good piece in American Thinker, The Europeanization of the Democratic Party...

Ronald Reagan famous declaration that he “did not leave the Democratic Party. It left me” can be made more contemporary. The Democratic Party has not only left behind many of its old principles and ideals, it now seems to be in the process of losing its moorings and leaving America entirely. We are witnessing the Europeanization of the Democratic Party, with potentially dire implications for one of the most reliable and loyal group of supporters of the Democratic Party: America’s Jewish community.

A few analysts have seen the continuing evolution of anti-Israel attitudes within the Democratic Party and have noted how it is increasingly taking on the characteristics of the anti-Israel bias that is pervasive in Europe....

Thanks for the link to Alan Sullivan, who writes: A more accurate, inflammatory title would be “Nazification.” I think that's right. The most common indicator of soul-sickness in the modern world is anti-Semitism, and is being indulged by today's bleached-out socialists for the same reasons it was indulged in by the National Socialists. They are reactionaries bitter because their superiority is not acknowledged by heedless and fast-changing world.

And yes, the anti-Israel bias we see on the left is anti-Semitism. It is perfectly possible to oppose Israeli policies without hating Jews. Israelis do it all the time. But in that case the criticism would look very different. For instance there would be criticism of those who injure Palestinians even if they are not Jewish. Or there would be parallel criticism of Palestinians. Or even the simple recognition that most of what goes on in the Moslem world has nothing to do with Israel, except as an excuse.

If you are curious about the origins of the anti-Semitism (and anti-Americanism) we see on the left today, read on below...

AROUND 1830, a group of French artists and intellectuals looked around and noticed that people who were their spiritual inferiors were running the world. Suddenly a large crowd of merchants, managers, and traders were making lots of money, living in the big houses, and holding the key posts. They had none of the high style of the aristocracy, or even the earthy integrity of the peasants. Instead, they were gross. They were vulgar materialists, shallow conformists, and self-absorbed philistines, who half the time failed even to acknowledge their moral and spiritual inferiority to the artists and intellectuals....

....Of all the great creeds of the 19th century, pretty much the only one still thriving is this one, bourgeoisophobia. Marxism is dead. Freudianism is dead. Social Darwinism is dead, along with all those theories about racial purity that grew up around it. But the emotions and reactions that Flaubert,
Stendhal, and all the others articulated in the 1830s are still with us, bigger than ever. In fact, bourgeoisophobia, which has flowered variously and spread to places as diverse as Baghdad, Ramallah, and Beijing, is the major reactionary creed of our age.

This is because today, in much of the world's eyes, two peoples--the Americans and the Jews--have emerged as the great exemplars of undeserved success. Americans and Israelis, in this view, are the money-mad molochs of the earth, the vulgarizers of morals, corrupters of culture, and proselytizers of idolatrous values. These two nations, it is said, practice conquest capitalism, overrunning poorer nations and exploiting weaker neighbors in their endless desire for more and more. These two peoples, the Americans and the Jews, in the view of the bourgeoisophobes, thrive precisely because they are spiritually stunted. It is their obliviousness to the holy things in life, their feverish energy, their injustice, their shallow pursuit of power and gain, that allow them to build fortunes, construct weapons, and play the role of hyperpower.

And so just as the French intellectuals of the 1830s rose up to despise the traders and bankers, certain people today rise up to shock, humiliate, and dream of destroying America and Israel. Today's bourgeoisophobes burn with the same sense of unjust inferiority. They experience the same humiliation because there is nothing they can do to thwart the growing might of their enemies. They rage and rage. Only today's bourgeoisophobes are not just artists and intellectuals. They are as likely to be terrorists and suicide bombers....

..and teachers and "activists" and "pacifists" and lefty politicians.

Here's the original article, Among the Bourgeoisophobes; Why the Europeans and Arabs, each in their own way, hate America and Israel. By David Brooks. Required reading if you want to know what's going on.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:04 AM

October 24, 2006

Too busy to really blog, so, some quotes...

Excerpt from The Quotable Andrea...

...But getting back to the “truth” fad—I guess this comes from the rise of psychology and psychoanalysis. This “science” was supposed to aid us in understanding human nature, but if you ask me the most hidebound medieval theologian—even the simplest medieval baker or farmer—had a better understanding of human nature than today’s average person with a brain confounded by several decades of psychiatrist-speak. No one before Freud would have even thought of using the word “repressed” to speak of a well-behaved human being, but we have learned that someone who can’t control their “urges” is a “free spirit.” Never mind that the constant need to have Great! Sex! at all times has left a generation of people haggard, wounded, and unable to relate to the opposite sex except as an enemy....
--Andrea Harris (

And from AOG:

...I suppose one major difference is that I place the blame for all of the killing in Iraq on the people doing the killing, not those trying to prevent it. The USA has spent, bled, and died to minimize the deaths. I feel no shame on behalf of my nation because others are mass murdering scum and so I do not regret my support for the invasion at all....

He needs some leftists to explain to him that everything bad that happens is caused by the US (or Israel).

From the Daily Mail:

...A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.

It reveals that executives would let the Bible be thrown into a dustbin on a TV comedy show, but not the Koran, and that they would broadcast an interview with Osama Bin Laden if given the opportunity. Further, it discloses that the BBC's 'diversity tsar', wants Muslim women newsreaders to be allowed to wear veils when on air.

At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians...

No comments needed...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:46 AM

Underdogs lashed by the acid tongue of George W Bush...

I didn't mention the ridiculous excuse-making by Mr Calame of the NYT, because everybody else was doing so. But our friend Frank prodded me, and really, it's just irresistable...

...What kept me from seeing these matters more clearly earlier in what admittedly was a close call? I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press —...

What constitutes "vicious criticism" to a leftist? It's saying, "You are wrong." That's hitting below the belt. (And if one says, "You are VERY wrong?" "Hate-mongering!")

What babies.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:10 AM

October 23, 2006

Good suggestion...

Charlene was reading more of America Alone this morning, and said that Europe ought to bring in immigrants from Mexico! Sounds like a good idea. Bring in Latin American Christians with strong family values who want to work and get ahead. Better than immigrants from the Weird World, as she put it.

Better, yes. But, thinking more, I don't imagine it would help much. The new people would be corrupted and destroyed by welfare-statism and Euro-nihilism the same way the old people have been.

Immigration works here because America is not a place, it's an idea. One that anyone can assimilate to. And we have a culture that, despite unceasing attempts by leftists to corrupt it, still values hard work, achievement, and patriotism. And, despite the unceasing enmity and attacks of leftists, America is still mostly Christian, and retains a useful leavening of Judaism...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:45 AM

October 22, 2006

Something for Sunday...

...It is the peculiarity of the warfare between the Church and the world, that the world seems ever gaining on the Church, yet the Church is really ever gaining on the world. Its enemies are ever triumphing over it as vanquished, and its members ever despairing; yet it abides. It abides and it sees the ruins of its oppressors and enemies. "O how suddenly do they consume, perish, and come to a fearful end."

Kingdoms rise and fall; nations expand and contract; dynasties begin and end; princes are born and die; confederacies are made and unmade, and parties, and companies, and crafts, and guilds, and establishments, and philosophies, and sects, and heresies. They have their day, but the Church is eternal; yet in their day they seem of much account...
--- John Henry Cardinal Newman
Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

October 21, 2006

Obsessing over Global Warming is a way to avoid facing the big problems...

Charlene and I have been reading Mark Steyn's America Alone. It's about demographic implosions and the collapse of civilizational morale in the Western world. And about population growth and growing aggressiveness in the Islamic world, which is moving into the vacuum at a frightening rate...

And it's all stuff I already know about and have blogged about. But it's different having a brilliant writer like Steyn slam it into your face. All at once, not picked up her and there. Grim. Painful. Highly recommended...

....The single most important fact about the early twenty-first century is the rapid aging of almost every developed nation other than the United States: Canada, Europe, and Japan are getting old fast, older than any functioning society has ever been and faster than any has ever aged. A society ages when its birth rate falis and it finds itself with fewer children and more grandparents. For a stable population—i.e., no growth, no decline, just a million folks in 1950, a million in 1980, a million in 2010—you need a total fertility rate of 2.1 live births per woman. That's what America has: 2.1, give or take. Canada has 1.48, an all-time low and a more revealing difference between the Great Satan and the Great White North than any of the stuff (socialized health care, fewer hand-guns, more UN peacekeepers, etc.) that Canucks usually brag about. Europe as a whole has 1.38; Japan, 1.32; Russia, 1.14. These countries— or, more precisely, these people—are going out of business....

...In the fourteenth century, the Black Death wiped out a third of the Continent's population; in the twenty-first, a larger proportion will disappear—in effect, by choice. We are living through a rare moment: the self-extinction of the civilization which, for good or ill, shaped the age we live in. One can cite examples of remote backward tribes who expire upon contact with the modern world, but for the modern world to expire in favor of the backward tribes is a turn of events future anthropologists will ponder, as we do the fall of Rome...

The vastness and strangeness of the changes that are happening leave me abashed, and I don't feel like pontificating. But I found it interesting that Steyn quotes Henri de Lubac, who placed the blame for the modern world's many troubles on "atheistic humanism." De Lubac wrote, famously, "It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man."

My gut feeling is that that's the key.

Charlene surprised me by remarking that it's a "fun book." I resisted the impulse to say, "You're crazy," but yet I immediately understood, evil fellow that I am. We are witnessing a great bonfire of failures of everything we hate. Trendy leftism, smug secularism, feminism, multiculturalism. Pacifism. Big-government liberalism. Anti-human environmentalism. Atheism. The Culture of Death (and how!). Nihilism! Steyn captures it perfectly when he writes that it's the belief that everything is going to end up being like Sweden. (In whose capital, by the way, the most popular boy's name is now...Mohammed.)

...Across the developed worid, we're at the beginning of the end of the social-democratic state. The surest way to be in the demographic death spiral is to be a former Communist country in Europe: the five lowest birth rates in the wor!d are Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Russia, and Ukraine. But the next surest way is just to be in Europe: nineteen of the lowest twenty birth rates in the world are on the Continent (the twentieth is Japan). Conversely, the only advanced nation with a sizeabie population reproducing at replacement rate is the United States. True, there are significant variations from red state to blue state, immigrant to native-born, and in other areas: Mormons in Utah have one of the highest fertility rates on the planet, while the city of San Francisco could easily be mistaken for an EU capital, though in fairness to the good burghers of that town they had to embrace homosexuality to achieve levels of childlessness the Continentals have managed to achieve through ostensibly conventional sexual expression.

But the fact remains: Europe is dying and America isn't, Europe's system doesn't work and America's does, just about.

So here's a radical thought for Will Button and the Europeans: instead of cal!ing for America to "join the world," why not try calling on Europe to rejoin the real world? Otherwise, you'll be joining what we used to call "the unseen world."...
Posted by John Weidner at 10:31 PM

"Freedom of action in space"

One of the reasons I get very impatient with those conservatives who say that Bush and the Republicans have "let us down" is that there are lots of cool things happening that they never acknowledge, or put into the balance-pan to weigh against those things they don't like. Such as this:

WASHINGTON—U.S. President George W. Bush has quietly signed a new National Space Policy that asserts his country's right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."

The policy also rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space.
The document characterizes the role of U.S. space diplomacy largely in terms of persuading other nations to support U.S. policy, encourages private enterprise in space and emphasizes security issues.

"Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power," the document, a revision of the U.S.'s previous space policy, asserts in its introduction.

The Bush administration bluntly denied the revisions were a prelude to introducing weapons systems into orbit.

"This policy is not about developing or deploying weapons in space. Period," said a senior administration official, who asked to remain unnamed....(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

OF COURSE we will have weapons in space. It's impolitic to mention it, but somebody's gotta be the cop. And it will have to be us. Just as, right now, we are the cops on the global sea lanes. China or Japan can be confident that slow vulnerable oil tankers will creep across the sea towards them unhindered because the United States Navy won't tolerate anything else. And it won't be something we have any choice about; these tasks devolve on the strongest power like-it-or-not. In the 19th Century Great Britain guarded the freedom of the seas. They declined, we rose, and the job fell to us.

...There was a note of caution, however, from Michael Simpson, president of the International Space University in France.

"On the one hand, it worries people like me who would really love to believe that space will be a place where we don't take our combat and our history of conflict with one another," Simpson told the Star's Scott Simmie.

"The concern, and where the rest of the world has got to get involved, is how do you decide what is a threat, and what is really the legitimate use of space by someone else?"...

Geez, how hard is this stuff to understand? You are legitimate if you are in the Axis of Good. That's International Law now. Just watch what America and Australia do, and do the same.

"International Space University in France." And what the heck is that? I probably don't want to know. I bet they are planning a new Airbus consortium, to overtake us in space...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

"Without incident"

Right now Democrat Party symbiotes are ramping up the usual pre-election slaughter in Baghdad. And Democrat Party surrogates in the "news" media are playing this for all it's worth.

But there are other things happening that I bet you won't see on your evening news. (Just a guess, I don't watch it myself.)

The second mass pilgrimage in a month was held this past weekend without incident of violence in Iraq.

This past weekend Iraqi security forces successfully provided security for nearly one million Shia pilgrims who thronged to Najaf, Iraq in a peaceful commemoration of the death of the first imam. The pilgrimage concluded without incident...

...In September, nearly 4 million Shia pilgrims flocked to the holy city of Karbala without incident....

Just thought you might find that interesting.

(Thanks to GatewayPundit.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 AM

October 20, 2006

More on Grownups do the work while the children whine, etc...

So, Clinton endorses “torture” in special cases...

Where's the outrage? Well, yeah, there isn't any because it's not politically useful.

But I think there's something more going on. The outrage crew indulges in its fits with the knowledge that they are protected, that they can fuss all they want but that rough men will still guard the walls. "...Travellers scowl at us and countrymen give us scornful names. "Strider" I am to one fat man who lives within a day's march of foes that would freeze his heart, or or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly..."

Our Butterburrs know perfectly well (though perhaps they don't articulate it consciously) that if that famous hypothetical "ticking bomb" situation occurred in their little town, somebody would do something. So they are free to sit on the sidelines of life, Pharisaically scrubbing their hands in search of "purity," without any fear of consequences. What Clinton said fit their wishes perfectly.

My own deeper concern is to what extant the supply of "Striders" is a renewable resource. Whether they will always be there when needed, or whether things like indoctrinating our schoolchildren obsessively on the evils and faults of America is going to dry up the springs of Republication virtue. Dry up the supply of strong men who go out and put their lives on the line to protect us all....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

October 19, 2006

Grownups do the work while their children whine but expect to be fed...

Seen in Best of the Web...

..."British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett last week issued the latest European demand to close down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," The Washington Post reports. "The existence of the prison is 'unacceptable' and fuels Islamic radicalism around the world, she said, echoing a recent chorus of complaints from Europe about U.S. counterterrorism policy."

OK, so the Europeans want us to shut down Guantanamo. And what do they propose we do with the detainees?

Behind the scenes . . . the British government has repeatedly blocked efforts to let some prisoners leave Guantanamo and return home.

According to documents made public this month in London, officials there recently rejected a U.S. offer to transfer 10 former British residents from Guantanamo to the United Kingdom...

So, what is the plan of the critics to deal with those captured in the War on Terror? Of course there is no plan. Or rather, the plan is that the US continue to do the heavy lifting, while everybody else gets to earn appeasing-points by biting our ankles. "We're not your target. It's those meanie Americans you should attack."


Posted by John Weidner at 5:36 AM

October 17, 2006

"apparently inexplicable behaviors become obvious..."

I saw this in a post by AOG:

...This post at the Daily Duck about the NCAA’s rabid enforcement against “offensive” logos reminds me of an incident that was formative for me back in my college days.

One of the second tier protestors of the fad at the time (anti-apartheid, I think, but doesn’t really matter) was a friend of a friend and so I exchanged views with her now and then. I thought even at the time that the protests were silly and their stated policies more likely than not to be counter-productive to their stated aims. I pursued that subject and eventually ended up with the following scenario as a litmus test:
There is a village and the people in it are starving. You can carry in food yourself and distribute it, saving 10 people from starving. Or, you can have a robot carry the food in and it, being stronger, would transport enough food to save 100 people. What do you do?
To both of this this required no thought but for different answers. As you may guess, I was for the robot. The FOAF was for carrying it herself, because other[wise] it wouldn’t be evident that you cared. It took me a while to really come to grips with the concept that ordinary, non-deranged people thought that way but it has come to symbolize for me the essential narcissism of the MAL and provide a powerful analytical tool. It is frequently the case that if you presume that the protestors of this ilk are driven primarily by concerns about their own image (internal and external), apparently inexplicable behaviors become obvious.

In this case, it’s not about the feathers, or the Native Americans, but about the enforcers looking like crusaders for the oppressed...

Well, we see this sort of thing every day. Try explaining to a liberal that raising the Minimum Wage is not going to help the poor. Or try telling a "pacifist" that their actions are causing wars, or killing people, as I have. They won't engage the question in any logical way, but the message of their squirrelly answers is that that's perfectly OK! As long as you are doing the "right" thing, as long as the symbolism is right, the fact that they are hurting the poor, or causing wars and killing people is of no moment. (And the subtext of their subtext is that even using logic and clear thought is heartless and contributes to climate change.)

There are other reasons for focusing on symbols. It's often much easier politically. It's easy for a politician to denounce confederate battle flags, hard and unpopular to tell black constituents that its time they pulled up their socks and got to work. Or on the conservative side, easier to denounce the Dubai Ports deal than to make difficult strategy choices in the War on Terror, and stick to them.

Similarly, Global Warming has become a symbolic issue. The fact that the US is doing better at reducing carbon emissions (correct me if I'm wrong on this) than Kyoto-waving Canada means nothing. It's kleider machen leute all the way down.

Also, most people just don't want to think about large issues. They want to reduce any big question to a simple little one. (Which is why I'm blogging, rather than expressing myself in conversations.) It is easy to denounce Nazi regalia, way too hard to think about where Nazism came from. (And way way way too hard to ponder the awful (in the original sense of the word) question of why there was never a backlash against Communism when the Iron Curtain fell, comparable to the backlash against Nazism.

And, engaging real issues means you may have to define what it is you believe. Underlying all these underlyings, it seems to me, is a deeper problem of nihilism. People hate to define problems, or define their beliefs, because they don't really believe anything...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

October 16, 2006


I couldn't resist this bit of DailyKos comment that Dean Barnett found...

Whenever you blow up stuff deep underground, you run the risk of forcing the tectonic plates to shift.

Recall how there were no nukes in North Korea under Clinton, when the adults were in charge of foreign policy. I hope that Hawaii residents can put two and two together and vote Democratic because the GOP's idiotic mishandling of North Korea is a clear and pleasant danger. Heh, the smoking gun just fired, Dee-dee-dees!

GWB's hard-on for more war and instability in the Middle East (the successful results of his conscious actions and inaction) have led to a world that is less safe in myriad ways...

Damn slippery, them tecto plates. One hard nudge, and they go sliding around like marbles on a saucer...

And this Pearls Before Swine cartoon (thanks to my daughter) may be apposite...(click on "continue reading.")

Pearls Before Swine cartoon

Pearls Before Swine
Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 AM

October 15, 2006

"Sorrow walks after love..."


The guardians said: 'Wait for him if you like.
Often he comes when called, this time he may.
You will know it when the hawk, ruffling to strike,
Glimpses his white coat, and forbears to slay.
If it be in his mind, he will
Come at twilight to the dark pool.'

I said, 'Since childhood I have watched for him,
Burying this head so heavy with so much
Confusion, in my hands, while the world, dim
With many twilights, spun toward his touch.
Through a child's fingers then the time of love
Flowered in his eyes, and became alive.

'Sorrow walks after love: our childhood dies.
My twenty years of fighting came to this:
The brown eyes of my love looked in my eyes,
Beautiful in farewell, at our last kiss.
Her eyes like his eyes dealt so deep a wound,
Until he touch it, it will itch in wind.'

The guardians with stone flesh and faces of
Crumpled and heavy lines, stared at me.
With neither pity nor the fear of love,
Each stony hand clenched on a stony knee.
Grinding like a crushed stone, each voice said, 'Let
Time pass. Pray you are not too late.

-- Dom Moraes
Posted by John Weidner at 4:19 AM

October 14, 2006

Alternate history--The Burgundiosphere...

Via Tim Blair, a fine letter to Mark Steyn...

I am a Brit nearing 60 living happily in the U.S.A. these past few years. I have just read America Alone. The World as I knew it has already ended....

....I live in the South in modest circumstances. Each day God sends is a joy – I catch my breath at the politeness and gentility of everyday life, and the innate goodness of the people I have the good fortune to meet every time I go to the store or fill up with gas.

It’s the same thing in Australia – whenever I have had the privilege of visiting I have been struck by how much Australia has stuck to its values and continues to do so. The complete and utter absence of bullshit is exhilarating.

And as each day passes I realize with deep sorrow how much multiculturalism has damaged, and is close to destroying, my beloved old England. As you have mentioned before, "Fings ain’t wot they used ter be".

National pride hides in the closet in England. It is the love that dare not speak its name....

I've long suspected that the Anglosphere is the new "England." And that poor England itself is too far over the edge to pull back. (I would LOVE to be proved wrong on that!) A certain mysterious and palmary quality of Englishness has been passed on to many lands, with Australia and the USA currently showing the most of it. And India being a question mark of the most fascinating sort...

An interesting thing to ponder is, how much of this "Englishness" is racial/tribal/deep-cultural—I don't quite know what term I need. And how much was contingent on history. Especially on how Britain's being an island prevented the need to create an absolutist monarchy with a large standing army ready to fight the forces of Philip II or Louis XIV. One wonders if, had Burgundy or Bavaria been islands, they might have preserved more of the pluralism of the Middle Ages. Things like parliaments, boroughs, declarations of rights, perhaps a system of slowly-evolving law with a fairly independent judiciary...Might we now be saying that those places settled by Burgundians have a special flavor of freedom, moderation and free enterprise?

One interesting oddity to me is that when I wander Catholic blogs, it is often impossible to know if I am "in" the US or Australia. [link, link] At least until somebody mentions the Archdiocese of Mudamuckla, or the scandals at Yankalilla. Then I know I'm far from Kansas...(Just kidding with the Aussie place-names. I love them. Here's a good quote.) I've never had that experience with an English Catholic blog. And recently Englishwoman Natalie Solent, who is Catholic, mentioned in an interesting post that Catholics are "frightfully dull nowadays." Wow. I can't imagine anybody in America or Australia saying that, grave though our many Catholic problems and shortcomings are....

I am the land of their fathers.
In me the virtue stays.
I will bring back my children,
After certain days.

Under their feet in the grasses
My clinging magic runs.
They shall return as strangers.
They shall remain as sons.

Over their heads in the branches
Of their new-bought, ancient trees,
I weave an incantation
And draw them to my knees.

Scent of smoke in the evening,
Smell of rain in the night�
The hours, the days and the seasons,
Order their souls aright,

Till I make plain the meaning
Of all my thousand years�
Till I fill their hearts with knowledge,
While I fill their eyes with tears.
    --Rudyard Kipling
Posted by John Weidner at 11:36 AM

October 13, 2006

A prophet without honor, except in his own self-estimation...

Ha Ha. I was right! Just saw this at InstaPundit:


Youngsters in a suburban Fort Worth school district are being taught not to sit there like good boys and girls with their hands folded if a gunman invades the classroom, but to rush him and hit him with everything they got - books, pencils, legs and arms.

"Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success," said Robin Browne, a major in the British Army reserve and an instructor for Response Options, the company providing the training to the Burleson schools.

That kind of fight-back advice is all but unheard of among schools, and some fear it will get children killed.

But school officials in Burleson said they are drawing on the lessons learned from a string of disasters such as Columbine in 1999 and the Amish schoolhouse attack in Pennsylvania last week. . . .Browne recommends students and teachers "react immediately to the sight of a gun by picking up anything and everything and throwing it at the head and body of the attacker and making as much noise as possible. Go toward him as fast as we can and bring them down."

Well I blogged this same idea back in 2001!

One thing is clear: hijacking is dead. Right? Anybody tries it and the passengers will yank off his arms to beat him over the head with. Right? In fact, this huge problem has been solved.

SO, what other problems might be solved just by changing the way we react?

Imagine the next time someone comes into a crowded room and starts shooting. People don't panic and scream and crawl under tables. Instead, they throw things. Anything. Chairs and tables. Computers and cell phones. Keys and coins and books and purses and shoes. The pictures on the wall.

Imagine the torrent of stuff that 20 people in a frenzy could throw. Enough to overwhelm one guy with a gun, that's for sure. Some people would get shot, but not many.

But this only works if everybody knows what to do. And is willing. Maybe now we may be willing. Airline passengers certainly are. Suppose everyone who reads this passes it on to a few friends. Soon, everyone will know what to do...
Posted by John Weidner at 4:24 PM

October 12, 2006

"We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices"

The vile Lancet is at it again. Another absurd exaggeration-of-Iraq-deaths study, released, once more, right before a US election.

(You don't need to be a statistician to shred this "study." For instance, modern warfare usually produces 3 or 4 wounded for each fatality. So according to this study, about 1 out of 10 Iraqis should have been wounded in the past 3 years. Uh huh, right. So where are they? The thing is clearly bogus, so we can expect the "pacifists" to repeat this figure as gospel.)

Please don't miss this post by Omar, of Iraq the Model....

...Among the things I cannot accept is exploiting the suffering of people to make gains that are not the least related to easing the suffering of those people. I’m talking here about those researchers who used the transparency and open doors of the new Iraq to come and count the drops of blood we shed.

Human flesh is abundant and all they have to do is call this hospital or that office to get the count of casualties, even more they can knock on doors and ask us one by one and we would answer because we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices.

I wonder if that research team was willing to go to North Korea or Libya and I think they wouldn’t have the guts to dare ask Saddam to let them in and investigate deaths under his regime.

No, they would’ve shit their pants the moment they set foot in Iraq and they would find themselves surrounded by the Mukhabarat men counting their breaths. However, maybe they would have the chance to receive a gift from the tyrant in exchange for painting a rosy picture about his rule.

They shamelessly made an auction of our blood, and it didn’t make a difference if the blood was shed by a bomb or a bullet or a heart attack because the bigger the count the more useful it becomes to attack this or that policy in a political race and the more useful it becomes in cheerleading for murderous tyrannical regimes....

I despise these liars. But far more, I reject with the utmost contempt the unspoken sub-text of this "study," which is that there is nothing worth fighting and dying for.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 AM

October 11, 2006

"they knew what was going on and did nothing"

I think the Foley affair is being blown up absurdly. Sleazy though his IM's were, any kid of today who uses the Internet has encountered worse. And the idea that boys old enough and sophisticated enough to become Congressional Pages are going to have their little psyches shattered if they encounter a gay predator—online, for pity's sake—is laughable. (And moral pomposity coming from the very people who fight tooth and claw to prevent the Boy Scouts from shielding 10-year-olds from the same thing...Well, color me unimpressed)

But let's, for the sake of argument, grant the Lefty premise—that Republicans through inaction for political advantage, have gravely endangered young people in their care. Let's stipulate to San Fran Nan's position, that homosexuality is so degrading that a male infant of 17's life is ruined if they *shudder* encounter it. Shouldn't the same criticism be leveled at a certain other party that's delayed for the same reason? John Fund writes, in OpinionJournal...

Politics is all about timing. Apparently, the liberals behind Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the group that received information about Mark Foley's sexual instant messages as far back as April, originally planned to unleash its blockbuster a bit later in the 2008 election cycle. The American Spectator reports that a political consultant with ties to the Democratic National Committee told the magazine: "I'm hearing the Foley story wasn't supposed to drop until about ten days out of the election. It was supposed to be the coup de grace, not the first shot."...

Should I point out the irony, or would that be insulting everyone's intelligence?

As always, I'm bored with the surface story and interested in what's underneath. I would say to those who are suddenly up on their pillars of moral outrage, what is your general philosophy on such questions?

What do you believe? About morality, that is? Where do these beliefs come from? Do you have a system or philosophy that can provide you with general guidance, so you could apply it to some new situation that comes up? Or is your outrage based on "Oh everybody knows that is wrong!"

And if the latter, have you ever pondered on the various things that "everybody" used to think were wrong, but now don't? What do those changes mean? Is there some stopping point at which we will stop discarding moral rules?

Of course I'm wasting electrons here. No Leftist dares to open such worm cans.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 AM

October 10, 2006

Magic thinking.

Apparently there are appeasers who are saying that if only Bush had not made his Axis of Evil speech, we wouldn't be having problems with North Korea!

Unbeleivable. I think this is an example of what psychologists call "magic thinking."

I would simply be laughing, and heaping scorn and derision on this, except that one starts to wonder if our civilization is simply doomed, if ostensibly intelligent and serious people can be so stupid and craven and blind.

Bush was RIGHT. Neo-cons and theo-cons were right. Even the paleo-cons were right on this one.

And there's something even more stupid, if that's possible. these guys believe that negotiations are the solution to our problem, right? And what is the basic posture for successful negotiating? Do I have to SPELL THIS OUT, for any liberals who may chance upon this post???

IF you want negotiations and other non-violent solutions to succeed, then you present a united front. You present an appearance of confidence and strength. Right? If the WaPo is negotiating with its unions, it would be appalled if an editor revealed that they felt like they were in a weak position and would have to yield a lot. He'd be, rightly, FIRED.

So when we see leftist opinion leaders constantly undercutting the administration, at the very time we are trying to solve these ticklish problems without opening new military campaigns in the war, we can safely conclude that they don't want the United States to win.

They don't. They simply don't. What they want is for us to lose, in a manner similar to Vietnam. Then they will hit the electoral jackpot, and the COST, like in Vietnam, will be merely be millions of brown-skinned people dying, conveniently offstage, where the fake pacifists and fake anti-war activists and opportunistic leftist politicians don't have to smell the millions of rotting corpses that they are responsible for.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:02 AM

October 9, 2006


This is cool, if you know anything about these guys: Gurkha Spirit Triumphs in Siege of Nawzad

...The first major attack began at 1.50am when a Gurkha corporal spotted armed men "leopard crawling" towards the compound 60 yards away. He opened fire killing four.

Ten minutes later a coordinated assault began from three directions. Every one of the six sand-bagged positions around the compound and on its roof were hit by rocket-propelled grenades. The command post on the roof received four separate hits.

For many of the Gurkhas, seven of whom had just finished training, it was their first experience of combat. "For the first five minutes under fire I was just so frightened," said Tkam Paha Dur, a 19-year-old Gurkha rifleman, to the amusement of his comrades."After that it became just like a live firing exercise."

With the Taliban closer than 50 yards, Rifleman Nabin Rai, 20, manning a heavy machinegun on the roof, had several rounds ricochet off his weapon before a bullet went through the gunsight and hit him in the face.

"His commander called for him to be medi-vacced out, but he refused to come down from the roof," said Major Rex. "Later he was again hit, this time in the helmet. He sat down and had a cigarette, then went back to his position."

With a full moon negating the advantage of British night vision equipment, the Taliban launched another full-scale assault the next night, using dried up underground watercourses to move men and ammunition around the British position.

"We took two or three RPG hits on one position and significant machinegun fire from a range of about 20 yards," said Lt Angus Mathers, 26.

"They had used tunnels and knocked holes in the compound walls to get close."

The Gurkhas threw 21 grenades at the Taliban position before an Apache helicopter arrived overhead.

The pilot later described the situation as "like the Wild West", with tracer converging on him from numerous positions. He hovered 20 yards above the compound firing back with the helicopter's cannon while the empty shell cases cascaded on to the heads of the Gurkhas below...

Many have said that the Gurkhas, Nepalese hill-men of several tribes, are the best natural soldiers in the world. Brave, deadly in battle, and unfailingly cheerful and good-natured.

I'd opine that we ought to be raising some Gurkha battalions ourselves, but they would not fit in at all with the ways of the US military, which tends to use people as interchangeable parts, transferring them here or there. But a Gurkha battalion is a home and a little world unto itself, and the British officers who join it learn Gurkhali, and the rather odd Gurkha culture. And they often spend their whole career with their battalion.

The book to read is Bugles and a Tiger, by John Masters. I give it my highest recommendation. It's a rare treat if you are interested in either military things, or India...

Excerpt below:

....Most Gurkhas are Hindus of a sort, though their reiigion does not sit heavily on any except those of the higher castes, which the 4th did not enlist. In Flanders in 1914, when our 1st Battalion had had no food for a couple of days, food at last appeared in the trenches—several hundred cans of corned beef, each canclearly marked with the canning company's trade mark, a bull's head. No Hindu, however lax, can eat beef; but this time it was going to be beef or nothing. The colonel sent for the senior Gurkha officer and wordlessly pointed to the rations.

After a moment came the quiet reply, "Sahib, We are here to fight the Germans. We cannot fight if we starve. It will be forgiven us. Remove the labels, and let it be corned mutton."

Gurkhas vary in shade from pale wheat-gold to dull, dark brown. Their skulls are usually round—but, whatever the shape, always thick. I saw a Gurkha havildar (sergeant) bend down to tie his bootlace just behind a particularly fractious mule. The mule let drive, and both iron-shod hoofs smashed with murderous force into the havildar's temple. He complained of a headache all afternoon. The mule went dead lame.

Though there are, of course, exceptions, the distinguishing marks of the Gurkha are usually a Mongolian appearance, short stature, a merry disposition, and an indefinable quality that is hard to pin down with one word. Straightness, honesty, naturalness, loyalty, courage—all these are near it, but none is quite right, for the quality embraces all these. In a Gurkha regiment nothing was ever stolen, whether a pocket knife, a watch, or a thousand rupees. Desertions were unheard of, although once the men had gone on furlough to their homes in Nepal they were quite inaccessible to us. There were no excuses, no grumbling, no shirking, no lying. There was no intrigue, no apple-polishing, and no servility. The perfect man—or, at the least, the perfect soldier? Not quite. The Gurkha was slow at book-learning, and he liked gambling, rum, and women; and, in his own home, he was apt to be unkempt....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 PM


I always feel a bit redundant, posting something that Glenn Reynolds has posted. But this is too peasant to pass up. From WSJ:

The Labor Department released its September jobs report on Friday, and some wags are calling it the "whoops" report. The "whoops" is a reference to the upward revision of 810,000 previously undetected jobs that Labor now says were created in the U.S. economy in the 12 months through March 2006.

So instead of 5.8 million new jobs over the past three years, the U.S. economy has created 6.6 million. That's a lot more than a rounding error, more than the number of workers in the entire state of New Hampshire. What's going on here?

Our hypothesis has been that, due to the changing nature of the U.S. economy, the Labor Department's business establishment survey has been undercounting job creation from small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs. That job growth has been better captured in Labor's companion household survey, which reported 271,000 new jobs in September after 250,000 new jobs in August, and a very healthy total of 2.54 million new jobs in the past year...

...Most of the media has ignored all this and instead focused on the disappointing 51,000 "new jobs" number from the establishment survey for September. But even in that survey, the jobs number for August was revised upward by 62,000 and the U.S. jobs machine continues to roll out an average of about 150,000 additional hires each month. Even the loss of residential construction jobs in September, due to the housing market slowdown, was nearly matched by payroll gains in commercial construction.

This boom in employment started in August of 2003, roughly coincident with the economy's growth acceleration in the wake of the Bush Administration's 2003 tax cuts on dividends, capital gains and in the top marginal income rate on the highest earners. Yet on the same day that the Labor Department discovered 810,000 new jobs, Nancy Pelosi promised that if she becomes Madam Speaker next year, within 100 hours of taking the gavel the House will vote to repeal those tax cuts and raise the minimum wage....

If you love the poor, vote Democrat. They promise to preserve the poor, as a national resource.

Uncle Sam--

Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 AM

October 7, 2006

"inaccessible longings and ice-sharp joys..."


All day I have been tossed and whirled in a preposterous happiness:
Was it an elf in the blood? or a bird in the brain? or even part
Of the cloudily crested, fifty-league long, loud uplifted wave
Of a journeying angel's transit roaring over and through my heart?

My garden's spoiled, my holidays are cancelled, the omens harden;
The plann'd and unplann'd miseries deepen; the knots draw tight.
Reason kept telling me all day my mood was out of season,
It was, too. In the dark ahead the breakers only are white.

Yet I—I could have kissed the very scullery taps. The colour of
My day was like a peacock's chest. In at each sense there stole
Ripplings and dewy sprinkles of delight that with them drew
Fine threads of memory through the vibrant thickness of the soul.

As though there were transparent earths and luminous trees should grow there,
And shining roots worked visibly far down below one's feet,
So everything, the tick of the clock, the cock crowing in the yard
Probing my soil, woke diverse buried hearts of mine to beat,

Recalling either adolescent heights and the inaccessible
Longings and ice-sharp joys that shook my body and turned me pale,
Or humbler pleasures, chuckling as it were in the ear, mumbling
Of glee, as kindly animals talk in a children's tale.

Who knows if ever it will come again, now the day closes?
No-one can give me, or take away, that key. All depends
On the elf, the bird, or the angel. I doubt if the angel himself
Is free to choose when sudden heaven in man begins or ends.

    -- C. S. Lewis
Posted by John Weidner at 2:58 PM

Tough love...

Glenn Reynolds posted an e-mail from a reader. An excerpt...

We're not losing momentum in Iraq. The Pentagon strategy is a very deliberate form of tough love that is forcing the Iraqis to defend their own country.

Arabs are culturally the most passive, fence-sitting people on the planet. By their own admission they follow the strongest leader out there. If we had sent 500,000 troops to Iraq and fought a Soviet-style counterinsurgency, the end result would have been an Iraq with no incentive to do the very hard work of creating viable fighting forces from scratch. We would've been their new masters in perpetuity....

That's what I've been saying for a long time, but not expressing it as well. When we talk of bringing democracy to the Arab world, we are really talking about forcing them to grow up. And there's no way for people to do that except by trying things and making mistakes. Your children won't grow up if you map out their lives and protect them from having to make choices or face difficulties. Same with countries.

One of the lefty lines I've encountered goes something like: "Shi'ite death squads are killing people in Iraq. Look what a horrible evil we Americans have created." This is stupid on the face of it, since there was no possibility that Shi'ites would not take some revenge for generations of oppression and murder and torture by Sunni's. (Of course leftists are especially upset because they wanted Saddam to keep killing Shi'ites and Kurds by the hundreds-of-thousands. That's called "peace," folks, and is a blessed thing.)

But it is stupid on another level, because this is a problem that the Iraqis themselves must confront and solve. Or fail to solve. If there were some way we could have squelched all Shi'te militia activity, it would, I suspect, have been a bad thing.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:06 AM

October 6, 2006

A bit of info

There's a lie currently being parroted, by a certain "herd of independent minds," to the effect that the President can declare anybody an "enemy combatant," and just lock them up indefinitely.

I assumed this was false, and though I have a little list, I didn't bother to pass it on to Karl. But I didn't have the facts at hand, so I was glad to encounter this at Best of the Web:

...In fact, every detainee held by the military goes before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal--an Article 5 hearing in the Geneva Convention's parlance--and under the Military Commissions Act the decisions of these tribunals are subject to judicial review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Currently, that means every detainee held; Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and the other 13 new arrivals at Guantanamo Bay will receive Article 5 hearings in the next few months...

Truth, as always, will chase the lie around the globe in vain, but at least in the Information Age we little people can give her an extra push. So keep this stuff in mind..

And of course the Bush-haters never mention the trifling fact that the whole reason there is any question about who to detain is that the terrorists are committing a war crime, by not clearly distinguishing themselves from non-combatants.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

October 5, 2006

It's what we have Republican Presidents for...

From a review, by James Nuechterlein, of several books on Abraham Lincoln, in the August issue of First Things...

...At other times he showed flashes of imperial insistence. In January 1865 he was two votes short of getting the necessary two-thirds margin in the House of Representatives for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. His instructions to his vote managers were blunt: "I am president of the United States, clothed with great power. The abolition of slavery by constitutional provision settles the fate, for all coming time, not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come—a measure of such importance that those two votes must he procured. I leave it to you to determine how it shall be done; but remember that I am president of the United States, clothed with immense power, and I expect you to procure those votes." The votes were procured...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 PM

Something to chew on with your Cheerios...

From Harry Potter and the Decline of the West, by "Spengler," in Asia Times...

...It may seem counter-intuitive, but complacency is the secret attraction of J K Rowling's magical world. It lets the reader imagine that he is something different, while remaining just what he is. Harry (like young Skywalker) draws his superhuman powers out of the well of his "inner feelings". In this respect Rowling has much in common with the legion of self-help writers who advise the anxious denizens of the West. She also has much in common with writers of pop spirituality, who promise the reader the secret of inner discovery in a few easy lessons.

The spiritual tradition of the West, which begins with classic tragedy and continues through St Augustine's Confessions, tells us just the contrary, namely, that one's inner feelings are the problem, not the solution....

I'm not sure I agree with this. Harry Potter is also a guy who follows a lonely path and gets a lot of scorn and misunderstanding along the way. and one is never sure the story will have what we call a happy ending...

(Thanks to Orrin)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:34 AM

October 3, 2006

Time for change...

I found this over at BrothersJuddBlog. It's too good not to post myself...

Cartoon, Democrat defense positions

Posted by John Weidner at 4:57 PM

a little more intolerance needed, perhaps?

from OpinionJournal...

...And Mr. Hastert was informed that fellow Illinois Republican John Shimkus--who oversees the page program as part of a six-member board--spoke privately with Mr. Foley, who explained that the email was innocent.

What next was Mr. Hastert supposed to do with an elected Congressman? Assume that Mr. Foley was a potential sexual predator and bar him from having any private communication with pages? Refer him to the Ethics Committee? In retrospect, barring contact with pages would have been wise.

But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?...

Dems must be thrilled that they can campaign on something other than their non-existent policies or philosophy, but still, the ironies here are just amazing...

Perhaps the Republican House leadership should introduce a resolution expressing the House's regret for tolerating homosexual predators such as Reps Foley and Studds and Frank, and expressing support for organizations, like the Boy Scouts of America, that are working to prevent such lamentable occurrences...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 AM

October 2, 2006

Insidious...and absurd....

Dafydd on the Royal Society's attempts to suppress "groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change."

...Those of you who have always thought of the British Royal Society as a "scientific body" can perhaps be excused for being gobsmacked at its conversion to a leftist activist group; but in fact, this is just a stage in the Left's gradual and insidious takeover of all manner of previously nonpartisan, apolitical, but patriotic American and British organizations (a non-exhaustive list in vaguely chronological order):

  • It started with civil-rights organizations during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, such as the Civil Rights Congress;
  • Then it was civic organizations;
  • Many Protestant and Lutheran churches and Reform and "Conservative" synogogues;
  • Charities;
  • The Red Cross;
  • The USO;
  • The entire court system;
  • The news networks;
  • Trade unions;
  • The music industry;
  • The television industry;
  • Science-fiction publishing;
  • The great universities, especially the Ivy League (the rot spread from Berkeley and Harvard outward);
  • The national newspapers;
  • The Democratic Party, which used to be chock-a-block with patriotic war hawks like Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan, Scoop Jackson and Al Gore sr., is now run by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and soon-to-be minority leader John P. Murtha;
  • The literary establishments and awards organizations (from the Pulitzer to the Nobel to the MacArthur Awards);
  • The primary and secondary government schools;
  • Libraries;
  • The JAG corps;
  • Walt Disney (especially during Michael Eisner's "de-Disneyfication" of Disney);
  • The Girl Sprouts (they're still working on the Boy Sprouts... but what they can't take over, they must destroy);
  • The Catholic Church (see above about what they can't take over);

So it should be no surprise that leftism and political correctness has taken over first the medical establishment, and now the great science bodies: remember the FDA banning silicone breast implants, primarily because feminists objected to the very concept of breast augmentation? Well, now the AAAS, the NSF, Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, Science Magazine, Scientific American, and many other scientific organs have toed the PC line on such issues as the Strategic Defense Initiative, nuclear power, artificial sweeters and artificial fat, second-hand smoke, AIDS, pesticides (DDT), preservatives, and yes, global warming (especially global warming)...

He's got more on the bogosity of the global warming "scientific consensus," which is actually a leftist consensus that many scientists do not agree with.

I myself am mostly interested in the more general question of leftist takeovers of groups and organizations. And the way each of those takeovers has generated opposition, and various interesting work-arounds and by-passings. That's a pretty depressing list Dafydd's come up with, when you look at them all together. Perhaps it means that there isn't much hope, that rot will keep spreading indefinitely.

On the other hand, there's also a common thread of deadness about all those groups. They are not where the new ideas and trends are coming from. And they are all on the defensive. Many are simply dying—big newspapers, Democrat Party, oldline churches...

The Catholic Church is kind of a world in itself, and it is interesting in this context because it contains a myriad of groups and enclaves, some of which have been taken over by leftists. Dafydd could have made a long sub-list under that line! And the lefty parts are definitely the ones that are dying, and the non-lefty ones are where we see growth and renewal. And, just as in the larger world, the lefty groups have strongholds in the academy, and publishing and education. And in the bureaucracies! And they are obstacles that people "route around," often with the help of the Internet...

And I'd guess that there's none of those taken-over groups on Dafydd's list where you would not find people looking back to the 60's and 70's as the time when things were "normal." As a baseline to measure the world by. Imagine guys with gray pony-tails and weedy garb—still wearing jeans, and T-shirts with messages. And rusting Volvos with stickers. And Che posters and Grateful Dead albums....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

October 1, 2006

I wander still....


Naked apples, woolly-coated peaches
Swelled on the garden's wall. Unbounded
Odour of windless, spice-bearing trees
Surrounded my lying in sacred turf,
Made dense the guarded air—the forest of trees
Buoyed up therein like weeds in ocean
Lived without motion. I was the pearl,
Mother-of-pearl my bower. Milk-white the cirrhus
Streaked the blue egg-shell of the distant sky,
Early and distant, over the spicy forest;
Wise was the fangless serpent, drowsy.
All this, indeed, I do not remember,
I remember the remembering, when first walking
I heard the golden gates behind me
Fall to, shut fast. On the flinty road,
Black-frosty, blown on with an eastern wind,
I found my feet. Forth on journey,
Gathering this garment over aching bones,
I went. I wander still. But the world is round.

    --C. S. Lewis
Posted by John Weidner at 6:29 AM