Saturday, September 14, 2002
In the previous post, I discussed things I did wrong, errors in posting, etc. Now, I am going to make a post about one time that I was right, at least on some of the larger points. On August 11, I put forward the idea that on September 11, Bush would make the case for attacking Iraq. I wasn't right, but I was close. On September 11, he alluded to Iraq in his Statue of Liberty speech, though not directly. However, the very next day, he made the case in detail as to why Iraq must be overthrown. However, he did not draw a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I was wrong on this point, but I think the prospective audience played a factor here. The Al Qaeda link, while somewhat convincing, would not have the diplomatic impact of reminding the UN of how badly Saddam has ignored Security Counsel resolutions. By Bush playing up the latter points, he is basically telling the member states of the UN that their only brake on US clout would be lost if they don't agree to an "inspection by force", in other words, an invasion of Iraq by US forces to permit inspectors to do their job unassisted. No invasion resolution, and the UN becomes worthless by their own actions. The domestic aspects are coming up even better than I expected. Daschle and the Senate Dems are playing completely into the President's hands. They are trying to delay a resolution on the use of force, and this delay is, if anything prolonging their agony. Daschle knows too many Democratic Senators will vote no, and he hopes to move the vote until after the election. This will backfire incredibly whether or not they succeed. If they fail, they look ineffectual. If they succeed, they look like they are afraid to be responsible, and they will have extended the war debate up to election day, and due to the fact that since Jean Carnahan's seat was a gubernatorial appointment, the Republicans may get a majority right after the election anyway. The best way for Daschle to deal with this is to get the vote over with, and move on to something else, but he isn't doing that. As a result, the Dems are or will be toast. The diplomatic front is working as well. The speech in such close proximity to the anniversary of the Atrocity did have an effect on Europe. I also believe that Bush's speech putting UN credibility on the line pushed a lot of governments over the edge. If they truly believe in "multilateral" institutions, they can't not support an invasion. It would show them to be hypocrites.(They are, but that is another story). Bush even got the countries of the middle East to start changing sides. That microscopically sized fig leaf of the UN gives them plausible deniability. It isn't the United States doing an invasion, its the United Nations. Right. And I have the collected episodes of "Kiana's Flex Appeal" on tape because I'm such a fitness buff. Militarily, it looks like the US is willing to go in November, probably right after the elections. I have some ideas as to how it will go, but I'm going to hold off on that for later.
A lot of times, I notice that columnists rarely if ever take themselves to task if they were correct or not. For example, during the Gulf War, every single columnist wildly overstated how capable the Iraqi army was. At the time, I was telling people that we should win, and fairly easily, with under 1000 American combat deaths, and maybe 5000 casualties overall. This would be in a campaign that would take no more than 6 months. At the time, most people though I was nuts, that my casualty figures were too low, and that it would be a bloodbath. I was wrong only in the fact that I wasn't optimistic enough. After the war, though I was more than a bit miffed that so many pundits got it so wrong, and noone called them to account for it, and none of them bothered to write a single mea culpa on that point. This is one of the biggest benefits of the blogosphere. If you publish a column, and you take a patently asinine position, about a dozen bloggers will rip apart what you say and provide stinging counterexamples. There is, however, a danger that we might replicate what columnists do, and fail to do even the most minor examination about how our writings hold up to the light of day. Therefore we bloggers shouldn't become like our dead tree brethren and not bother to engage in a bit of self criticism from time to time. So, in that vein, here comes a few self criticisms of myself: In this post, I was a bit breathless. The emotion of the atrocity got the better of me and I posted a bit rashly. I still think some grassroots pressure is necessary, but looking back, I sound like the right wing equivalent of a Sierra Club weenie screaming about Kyoto. Ergo, I hereby say I should have taken a prozak and mellowed out. In this post, I said I was going to make a detailed post about September 11 one year on, my feelings then and now. I didn't. By the time the day was over, I was just too drained emotionally to do it. Occasionally on long posts, I don't do a good enough job editing myself, especially in my longer posts. On smaller posts, it isn't as big a deal, because I can sneak back and edit for grammar, etc. On long posts, once I put the post in place, that is it. Blogger won't let you edit long posts, and barfs a lung when you try. Because of that, when I make bonehead mistakes, like saying Oman when I meant Qatar, and saying Iraq when I meant Baghdad, it comes off wrong, and I can't edit it afterwards. I am now paying more attention to what I am writing, and taking a more than cursory look now. However, I'm not a professional writer, so I'm not sure how that will turn out. When I write, I tend to go with my gut instincts first. I don't revise much, because only rarely do I feel like the flow is wrong to what I've written. Also, I believe from time to time that I've ended a post sort of hanging, without a proper conclusion. I'll try and do better. There are more things I know I need to fix about my writing(I have to say--hee hee), but these are the biggies that I've noticed. Next post will be about something I believe I got almost exactly right. I was wrong in parts, but overall I think I nailed it pretty well. Coming soon....
Friday, September 13, 2002
And now I have put in my first poll question. I have to say I did a pretty good job, if I say so myself. Dang. I did it again.
The Arab News has problems with kids today. A teenage girl actually grabbed his son's hand! What a slut!
Rereading my last post, I have to say I write "I have to say" far too much. I promise I'll try to improve my writing more. "I have to say" I sound real damn pedantic when I say "I have to say." There. Now, you don't have to say it. Update: I sound real damn pompous too.
Journalism's Tribute to Ike Turner Last night all three cable news networks took part in a rhetorical bitch-slapping of Scott Ritter. The fun started with Fox, when David Asman nailed Ritter on a number of points, including his mysterious flip flop on Saddam's chemical warfare capability, the payoff by a Saddam frontman, etc. One very instructive exchange:
ASMAN: September 11, 2001 was not hypothetical, nothing hypothetical at all. RITTER: Don't disgrace the death of those 3,000 people by bringing in Iraq. ASMAN: We know there are people out there willing to do the dirty deed and we also know Saddam Hussein has had contacts with these people in the past. RITTER: No, you don't know that. ASMAN: We know from Czech intelligence. They say that an Iraqi met with Mohammed Atta twice. RITTER: What does the CIA and FBI say? ASMAN: The FBI says the situation is not clear but Czech intelligence says it is. And why it is the only person, only Arab leader that [Usama bin Laden] likes and approves of and speaks highly of is Saddam Hussein, why? RITTER: That's absurd, David. In 1991 Usama bin Laden offered his services to confront Saddam Hussein. He issued a fatwa against Saddam Hussein. ASMAN: We talked to representatives of Al Qaeda here in 1998 shortly after the bombings of those embassies in Africa. The only Arab leader -- I spoke to them personally, the only Arab leader they were willing to praise, not to condemn, was Saddam Hussein. Why? RITTER: Well, I'm just telling you that the fact of the matter is the Iraqi government -- and I'm not an apologist for the Iraqi government, Saddam Hussein is the most brutal dictator I can think of today and I wish he was dead -- but the fact of the matter is Iraq is a secular dictatorship. ASMAN: Exactly. So why it that Saddam Hussein supports this secular individual? RITTER: Well, first of all, I don't think that case has been made. ASMAN: It's been made not only by Usama bin Laden himself but by representatives of Al Qaeda to me personally on air. We've got the tape. I can show it to you. RITTER: I'm not disputing that. ASMAN: You were disputing it. RITTER: I'm not disputing that people have sat before you and said these things. I'm disputing that Al Qaeda is in allegiance with Saddam Hussein. ASMAN: Why shouldn't they be? They both want the destruction of the United States. You don't think they do? RITTER: Let's keep Usama bin Laden out of this conversation -- out of this conversation because I'm not linking him.The rest of the interview is in the same vein. Asman raked Ritter over the coals like a prosecutor. He'd catch him on a point, nail Ritter to the wall on that point, then Ritter would change the subject, and the process would start all over again. By the time the interview was over, Ritter was thoroughly and utterly discredited. Though, of course, the day was just beginning for our little Saddam sympathizer. Ritter hung around a bit, and received another less intense bitchslapping from Bill O'Reilly(sorry, no transcript), who used reports from the Institute of Strategic Studies to nail Ritter on a number of points. It was a shorter interview, and the O'Reilly bitchslapping was a kindler, gentler bitchslapping, but no less effective. I don't have the details off the top of my head, but O'Reilly did nail him on a number of points, and wasn't his usual aggressive self. I have to say he partially redeemed himself for the atrocious job he did on the Pat Roush case. From O'Reilly, Ritter sashayed over to the UN for a hot date with Ashleigh Banfield(again, sorry, no transcript). She nailed him on a few points, and used the words "traitor" and "treason". Ritter then laid into her with a spittle punctuated diatribe about how he was an ex-marine, served in combat, yada yada yada. Of course, Benedict Arnold was a general who served in combat too. When she mentioned the Atrocity to him, and used the word treason, she looked like she could have pulled out a pistol and shot him right then and there. I have to say she showed quite a bit of testicular fortitude last night. Not bad, considering she is also MSNBC's eye candy. After that, it was over to CNN where Aaron Brown let Richard Butler do the bitchslapping for him. Aaron Brown was rather gentle during the whole thing, but Butler was devastating. He nailed Ritter on point a number of times, saying the Ritter was echoing "the rankest of Iraqi propaganda." Another informative exchange:
RITTER: No, the conversation he is talking about, is that when I pounded on table, and Richard Butler was threatening to shut down the concealment mechanism investigations, and I said, you can't do that, what about the intelligence we have about this, that -- and he said, we can't talk about that here, and I said, Richard you're shutting the program down, so I am going to bring it up in front of everybody, so you can explain why you're terminating... BROWN: He's not telling the truth. RITTER: He's a liar. BROWN: He's a liar. RITTER: He's a liar. BROWN: Mr. Butler? BUTLER: Sorry, who is he calling a liar? BROWN: You. RITTER: You. BUTLER: Oh, I just find that deeply sad. That is so silly. That is so silly. I don't know why on earth Scott is doing what he's doing. I feel, you know, I regret, this is saddened, sorry and silly. He knew very well that Iraq had weapons unaccounted for. The day we had the discussion I was just referring to, he knew that very well. What I fail utterly to understand, is why he's now telling the world that that's not the case. Now when we left Iraq, we filed a final report with the Security Council, that said what was unaccounted for. And we did that in the most extraordinary hostile environment. The Russians in particular, wanted UNSCOM destroyed, they wanted Iraq off the hook. They used all kinds of devices. The Russians today, are very different, by the way. But then, they used all kinds of devices to challenge and question, our final report on the unaccounted for weapons. They demanded an independent inquiry. Now, that inquiry took place. And at the end of that inquiry, even these extraordinarily hostile folks, the Russians, conceded, that yes, there were weapons unaccounted for in Iraq. Now, Scott knew that then, he knows that now. I ask you, Scott, why, are you going about the world saying to people now, that Iraq has no such weapons? Why are you saying... RITTER: Richard what are you saying? BUTLER: ... that we destroyed 95 percent... RITTER: I'm agreeing, that we had weapons unaccounted for. What is he saying. What's he saying. What fabrication is going on here, Richard? BROWN: There's no fabrication, I think there's a very clear question. Why are you going around saying the things that you've been saying about whether or not these weapons were accounted for? Whether they exist, whether they're likely to exist, programs that you said could be put back together in six months. It's been a lot longer than that since inspections are in there. So the question that a lot of people are asking, what are you doing? RITTER: What am I doing, I'm telling the truth. What do you mean, what am I doing?All in all, I have to say I was impressed by just about everybody here. It was one of the rare instances where you see patriotism and journalism work hand in hand. All the journalists in question had knives sharpened, and all of them looked almost gleeful in their willingness to nail Ritter to the wall for his perfidy and propagandizing. Watching the interviews, I have to say I saw absolutely no punches pulled with Ritter in any way, shape or form. I will have to say I didn't catch all of the interviews completely on air, but David Asman of Fox definitely did the best job of the bunch. Ashleigh Banfield, amazingly enough, looked the most angrily patriotic. O'Reilly was the most deadpan. He didn't have the typical demogogic aggression that he usually shows on air, but simply gave Ritter the rope to hang himself. Aaron Brown played most disinterested and neutral, but in reality was letting Butler do the heavy lifting. He only occasionally asked questions himself, but Butler was so devastating that Ritter came off again like a blatant Iraqi propagandist. Which, of course, is what he is.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
The editorial board at the Independent think that George Bush has now finally come around to their point of view. Those poor deluded fools. They actually think Bush was pleading with the UN. I wonder if they'll think he's pleading when Congress votes 300-100 in the House and 80-20 in the Senate for war, probably by Columbus day.
Watching Donahue, so you don't have to Well, I tuned into to Donahue show again, doubling their viewship for the day. Donahue had the usual crowd on. Tinfoil hat leftist Ramsey Clark, Has-been Brit MP George Galloway, a conservative talk show host from Seattle(name escapes me), and Jim Robbins from National Review Online. Galloway rambled about how the Iraqi people would litter the streets of Baghdad with American bodies and how the "Arab Street" would arise in flames. Then again, maybe I wasn't watching Galloway live, but a tape from 1990, I really can't be sure. Clark likened Iraq to Sweden, the talk show host tried to earnestly debate, and Jim Robbins tried to debate, but his expression had the bemused look of someone who only now realized he had inadvertantly eaten the hash brownies. I would have watched more, but there was some
soft core porn real quality television on HBO, and there is just so much tinfoil hat leftism I can take before I start thinking that someone put bad acid in my coffee too.
Oh yes. I haven't forgotten about the Donahue Show Death Watch.
McKinney for President That's no joke. The Green Party wants Cynthis McKinney to run for President. I think we in the blogosphere should send money to that campaign. Let's see Al Gore run to the left of that.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
I tried to do my duty in the fight against terrorists today, and nearly drowned in the attempt. Now, before all you out there wonder what daring and dangerous mission I was attempting, leading Navy SEALS up the Shatt Al Arab, or a forced boarding of a ship carrying a nuclear weapon into New York Harbor, it was none of these things. One thing I've always been worried about since the Atrocity is how vulnerable our dams are, and how much destruction could be wreaked if a bomb was placed near a dam. The lake near me, Lake Candlewood, has two dams that are used to hold back the water, but it isn't like the Hoover Dam, with spillways and such. The water is pumped up into the lake, and drains back through the piping that it is pumped. Basically the lake is a giant battery. After the attack, until I took my boat out in mid October, I would go out and drop anchor in a spot where one of the dams would be in sight, and I would be no more than three or four minutes away. Because it was the fall, there would not be many boats out there, and the Lake Patrol doesn't really patrol much at that time. Since I had plenty of time to do this sort of thing, it was not much of an inconvenience. I would drop anchor, turn on the radio, and read a book, drink a couple of beers, and keep an eye out for any Middle Eastern individuals operating a boat near the dam..(Which made me 100 times more effective than Norm Mineta). Anyway, today, given the significance of the date, and the fact that the threat level was elevated, I decided that maybe it was a good idea to do what I did last year, and drop anchor near either the New Milford or Danbury dam. The problem was the weather. The wind was coming out of the northwest at well over 30 mph. Now I keep my boat moored at the marina represented by the triangle at the bottom right corner here:      Because the wind was over 30 mph, and the fact that the wind was from the northwest, the winds would create waves which would converge right as I came out of the protected area of the marina. Because that fluke the two and a half foot waves on the rest of the lake became four and half foot waves. As a result, my 18 foot boat, which I have never, ever had a problem handling waves on the lake for the 20 years I've operated a boat, now was a prospective star player in the remake of the Poseidon Adventure, with me playing the role of Shelley Winters. At that point, I decided that my courageous mission to protect our waterways would have to come to an end, and I would have to drink my two beers at home. I couldn't turn the boat around though, because if I did, the boat was certain to capsize(the waves were that big). However, the island that was north of my position on the map above would provide enough protection for me to turn around and get home. So, I headed to the island, and turned around 100 yards south of the island, where the waves were only a foot or so.. Now I had to get back to the marina, and that meant going back through the same monstrous waves that I had to fight to get where I was. Because the stern sits kind of low, a big wave could swamp me by coming over the stern. I tried to hug the west side of the bay to get out of the worst of the waves, while trying to go fast enough not to be swamped from behind, but not so fast as to submarine the bow. I finally made it back to the marina, soaked completely through by the spray, battered but unbowed. I went home, sad that I couldn't complete my mission. I sat down and opened one of the beers, which promptly exploded in my face, as it had been completely shaken up by the ride, That was the only bomb that went off today. Thus ended my valiant foray into counterterrorism. While Operation Beer for Freedom was not a success, I felt proud in my service to my country. Update: Who am I kidding? I went out on the boat, got completely wet, got beer up my nose, to stop a couple of would be terrorists who were crushed into jelly by a daisy cutter on some hillside in Afghanistan. Well, not really. Since September 11, every time I get the feeling I'm being too paranoid, I think I'm just being paranoid enough. So what. Cops can't be everywhere, and if we citizens help by taking up the slack, maybe we'll all be safer. Update: I changed the map to show where I was, where the waves got really huge, where I turned around, and where I was going to go. As you can see, I didn't get very far. Update: Given that a bunch of terrorists were picked up in Buffalo, maybe I spoke too soon about being crushed to jelly on an Afghanistan hillside. It wouldn't be hard at all for one of them to pick up a forty foot boat, load it up with about 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, and blow it up in one of the locks that are part of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
OK, I'm not a big lobbyist, but some grassroots work needs to be done. The congressional district I live in, the 5th congressional district is an extremely important district in the upcoming congressional elections. It is a swing district, and both parties want it in the upcoming election. Both parties are very interested in the outcome. That is why I am asking anyone who is reading this to contact either Rep. Nancy Johnson at (202)225-4476 or Rep. Jim Maloney at (202)-225-3822 and demand that they tell you how they will vote on a ground invasion of Iraq.
I am going to write something about today, and my overall feelings from a year ago, sometime later today. I need to gather my thoughts properly for it. The rage is still there, the pain is still there. The edge is off it a little. Unlike a year ago, when I was aching for someone to confront me face to face with "root causes" so I could beat them senseless, now I am prepared just to give an angry stare when confronted by such idiocy.
From Bill Rudersdorf via the Great Glenn:
"It is better to avenge a friend than to mourn him long" --Beowulf xxi,1-4
As I watch the memorial services today, it still hurts. Damn those who did this to us a year ago, and damn those who contemplate doing such a thing.
They've been reading the names of the victims of the Atrocity now for about 30 minutes. They are still at the Ds.
James Lileks has an excellent posting where he talks to himself one year ago. Definitely go read it.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
This makes me ill. Yahoo decided to make this thing they call the "9/11 Living Tribute". This "tribute" allows you to pick a symbols from one of the following categories: Flags(which include such lovely flags as those of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq), Heroes, Hope, Love, Peace, Religion, Tolerance, and Unity. The Heroes category is fine, though I think they should have included pictures of soldiers and cops as well. Love had a few tiles with hearts and stuff. Peace, had, of all things, the Peace sign from the '60s, and, to put it bluntly, the last time I had any thoughts of peace was sometime before 9:00 on September 11, when I heard the second plane hit the South Tower on the radio. Religion had religious symbols, though, to be frank, mentioning Islam in a memorial to the atrocity is more than a bit declasse, considering that these attacks were done in the name of Islam. . Tolerance really burns me up, though. Why should I show be expected to show tolerance to those who stone women for adultery and hate everything I hold dear? Showing tolerance under such circumstances is an abomination to memory of those who died that day. Unity is pretty nondescript, holding hands and stuff like that. What is really glaring are the symbols that aren't there. There is no Victory. No Freedom. No Liberty. No Patriotism. No Honor. nor Duty, nor Country. If I am going to put a symbol on their virtual tribute, I want to put up a picture that symbolizes those things. Maybe Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms series, or pictures of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima or Ground Zero, or the painting the Spirit of '76. I'd even be willing to include the painting of the Death of Nelson for our friends across the pond. I want pictures of West Point Cadets in formation, the VJ-Day kiss, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Three thousand people did not die one year ago for "tolerance", and I doubt that Osama Bin Laden incinerated three thousand Americans as a protest against Berkley's Ethnic Studies curriculum. Yahoo's attempt at remembrance is multicultural garbage, and an insult to those who died that day.
Reno's losing. Darn. I knew I should have donated to her campaign. Now, before you conservatives get upset, I also supported Ralph Nader, knowing full well what it would do to Gore's chances in the election. Machiavelli's got nothing on me, baby!
The Pentagon is deploying Avenger missile system to key sites in Washington on September 11. The Avenger is a launcher system for the Stinger missile mounted on a Humvee. I believe they are setting these things up mainly as a show of force. The Stinger is a great missile to take out helicopters and fighter aircraft, but against a jumbo jet, it is about as effective as a bb gun. The range is only about 3 miles, which means the shooter has maybe 20 seconds to acquire and fire upon a jumbo jet. Furthermore, the warhead is one kilo, which is completely incapable of taking down a jetliner. In vietnam, B-52s routinely were able to limp home after taking hits from SA-2 and SA-6 missiles, which had significantly larger warheads. If a B-52 can fly hundreds of miles after a hit by a big missile like an SA-2, I don't see why a 767 couldn't finish its attack run after being hit by an even dozen Stingers. If this was a serious attempt to improve air defense, they'd deploy the Patriot, the Improved Hawk(I'm not sure if this is in frontline use anymore), or they could deploy SM-2 equipped ships to the major ports. So I would not put a whole lot of faith in those little missiles to stop anything big. If they attack in a cessna, they're dead, but a 767? No.
Blah Blah Blah I've been noticing multiple tinfoil hat leftists publishing columns about how they are not going to mourn during the 1st anniversary of the atrocity. The basic jist is "I am not going to blah blah because of the warmongering blah Rumsfeld blah blah, blah civil liberties blah blah John Ashcroft blah Guantanamo blah, blah Richard Perle blah imperialism blah blah blah." "Lisa Beamer is not a 'victim' blah blah commercialism blah blah, blah blah over it blah blah blah." "We must blah blah examine blah blah ourselves blah blame blah we blah blah wrong." "The blah blah simplistic blah blah cowboy blah blah blah." I might do a mass Fisking like the one I did of all the leftist pundits who suddenly fell in love with Brent Scowcroft. Then again maybe not. I could probably do the same fisking three or four times, just cutting and pasting, because they say say the exact same thing, with words just shuffled around a bit. It is amazing. The antiwar crowd is not only wrong(again), but they wrong in such a cliched, hackneyed, and trite fashion. Ah well. I've got a few errands to run today, and I'll be back later today to do the fisking, if the mood takes me. Then again, maybe I'll just say, "NO BLAH BLAH BLAH!!", like the psychopathic James T. Kirk in Star Trek. I'll save that for later though. Update: I forgot. "Blah blah poverty blah blah, Kyoto blah blah blah. "ICC blah blah unilateral blah." "Blah ABM blah blah." Update: I forgot some more. "Blah root causes blah blah." "Blah Blah arrogant blah blah." "Johannesburg blah blah blah."
Monday, September 09, 2002
I just channel surfed to HBO, who were playing a film called Telling Nicholas. I only caught the very end. The movie was a documentary about a woman who died at the World Trade Center, who left a 7 year old son behind. The story tracks through about 10 days after the attacks, and ends with the father having to tell his son that his mommy died. The son asks "Why did my mommy have to die?" and after watching that, yet again, I have absolutely no feelings of mercy or kindness towards those legions of murderers in the Middle East. If we kill every one of the fuckers, it still won't be enough.
A scary thought to ponder: The nuclear bomb was perfected 57 years ago. The ballistic missile, 58 years ago. The computers used to figure out how to build nuke in 1945 are orders of magnitude less powerful than computers that now sit rotting in landfills. Now, knowing the technology is that old, would anyone want to give Saddam one more second to build a nuke?
I've made a slight change to the format of the blog, by moving the blog description from the left over to right under the title. The reason why I call this blog the Big S Blog is not because I wish to let my inner rancher out. It is because I like really big cars. like the one in the picture above. Nothing pleases me more than barreling down the highway in something that weighs two tons, with 8 lovely cylinders gulping gasoline at truly obscene rates. I don't like SUVs because they are trucks(and not because some eco-weenie has a beef with them). I like big cars, hate CAFE and wish Big 3 would bring back such lovelies as the Plymouth Fury, the Lincoln Mark III(pictured above), and the old Chevy Impala, (not the new FWD wimpala that took its place). If it ain't got 400 cubes and 20 feet of sheet metal, it isn't a car, in my humble opinion.
Does anyone know if there is any form of Blog netiquette? I want to make certain that I do the proper thing when people link to me(which I am afraid I might have inadvertantly failed to do). Is there a commonly accepted practice of blogiquette? Inquiring minds want to know.
For some reason, traffic to my blog is going through the roof today. The last time I got a boost this big was when the Great Glenn linked to me. If one of you have come here just recently from another blog, let me know in the comments where you came from. I need to do a thank you post soon, to Cato, the Great Glenn, another Blog whose name I have since forgotten, and the blog(s) today that are sending my stats through the roof.
I looked at my reviews on Bloghop today(all four of them), and there was one great, one good, and two hate its. Now even after the Great Glenn linked to my site, noone much hated or loved it(in reality, I think everyone was too lazy to click on the little bitmaps on the left). However, once I trashed Bill O'Reilly, I immediately got two hate-its. Now, if I was some sort of marketing executive, I would get all whiny about why Bill O'Reilly fans don't like my posts, and that I should repent and say that Bill O'Reilly did not act as an apologist for the Saudi Regime. Luckily though, I'm not a marketing executive, so I will happily ignore that little focus group. So, in that vein, I am going to link to this article in the Wall Street Journal. I think this paragraph is important, because the author, like myself was an O'Reilly supporter:
I did not come at this as an O'Reilly hater. I regard Fox News as a national treasure, and even wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal a few years back about Mr. O'Reilly's rise at a time when he was whining that the New York Times would not even mention his name. But the freedom of American women and children in Saudi Arabia is an extremely sensitive issue, not to be entrusted to a man whose ego and naiveté lead him to believe that in one TV show he can settle what other people have been working years to do. That same ego still leads Mr. O'Reilly to claim that simply getting the women to London is a victory, when all he did was bring them out of one controlled environment into another. We know from history not to trust these kinds of arrangements. In 1985, a Soviet sailor jumped ship in the Mississippi River, and was sent back after a U.S. government interview determined he wanted to go home. Last year this sailor turned up in the office of Sen. Jesse Helms--one of the few to make a stink at the time--as an ordained Catholic priest. He recounted that his earlier statement, about wanting to return to the USSR, was made because of KGB intimidation.So I'll repeat what I said before. At best, Bill O'Reilly acted as a useful idiot, at worst, he intentionally put his own quest for self-aggrandizement over the rights of American citizens. He colluded with the Saudis and hindered the attempts of Pat Roush, Rep. Dan Burton, and others who have been actively trying to fight for those same rights against the Saudis and our State Department. And that is more important than his show. Now let the hatemail commence. All I can say is that I'm writing here to fight "for the folks out there", as it were.
I like CNN Well, not really. However, for about 2 minutes, I didn't think of them as the Clinton News Network. Paula Zahn said this about Scott Ritter:
There are a lot of people who think Scott Ritter has drunk the kool-aid.So for the next hour or so, I'm giving CNN a pass on all the leftist tripe they usually peddle.
Tony Blair disses the New York Times. Actually, he didn't diss them explicitly, but instead of printing his thank you to New York in the "Paper of Record", he published it in the New York Post. Most people who aren't from New York forget that there are three other papers that cover New York City, the New York Post, The Daily News, and Newsday. Unlike the NYT, the other papers focus much more on Joe Sixpack sorts of issues, and approach their coverage, both left and right, from that standpoint. By Tony Blair choosing to print in the New York Post instead of the New York Times, Blair basically was saying that the New York Times doesn't speak to the average New Yorker. And I have to say that I like that.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
William Raspberry thinks the American people have gone nuts. He just wants us to get over the atrocity, and just not talk about Saddam Hussein.
The administration's monomaniacal focus on Iraq's Saddam Hussein as the fount of all terrorism was starting to sound like a clinical case of transference until, in recent days, the White House seemed to take a deep breath. Wouldn't any clinician worth her salt observe that Hussein (without having done much of anything since last September) has become immensely bigger and more menacing precisely as Osama bin Laden (remember him?) has become less available? To say such a thing is, I know from hard experience, to invite the incredulity of those who wonder if you are proposing to wait until Hussein does something before you take care of that weasel. Well, actually, yes.And which city do you choose to be wiped off the map before we retaliate? Because that is what you are advocating. Let Saddam murder thousands moreof our citizens before taking him out. One of the big lessons of September 11 is that you can't wait for terrorists to kill your loved ones before you attack. But then again, unlike the rest of us, you are sophisticated enough to be "over" it already, right?
It isn't as though the "something" the Iraqi president could do would change our way of life. We're not talking about Hitler (though the name keeps coming up). We're not talking about the Soviets, who did threaten to bury us. Hussein's military has been both decimated (by us) and exposed as unmenacing. What threat has Iraq uttered against us to justify the war talk that permeates Washington these days?To quote an old no-nuke slogan, "One nuclear weapon can ruin your whole day." And Saddam has proven by his actions that he is capable of using such a weapon unprovoked, or giving it to anyone who will promise to detonate it over an American city.
Ah, but don't forget his weapons of mass destruction. I don't. But it strikes me as a little weird that we are willing to take lethal, potentially globally destabilizing action on our surmise that he (1) has such weapons and (2) intends to use them against us, when, as far as I can tell, we took no useful action in the face of pretty firm knowledge before last September.Maybe because the Atrocity showed how vulnerable we are to loons like Saddam? Maybe because the Anthrax attacks showed how badly we could be hurt by a biowar attack, that could for all intents and purposes be untraceable? Perhaps you aren't willing to use lethal force to defend this country. Luckily, we have a President, Cabinet, and Congress with a bit more wisdom than that.
Maybe the difficulty of preventing the random acts of terrorism is another reason for our focus on Hussein. That's frustration. This is insanity: to believe that Saddam has chemical and biological weapons and, in addition, has murderous sympathizers around the world -- and to believe that his last order wouldn't be to unleash those weapons and those sympathizers on America and American interests abroad. That we are the principal target of his weapons of mass destruction is, as far as I can see, shakily based speculation. That we would be the principal target after an attack on Baghdad is beyond doubt. How then would such an attack reduce the threat of anti-American terrorism?More wit and wisdom from Neville Raspberry. Perhaps you consider the attack on Bush 41 rank speculation. I don't. Perhaps you consider the Prague meeting with Atta rank speculation. I don't. Perhaps you think that he'll only stop at gassing the Kurds again. I don't. I don't want to live in a world where murderous scum like Saddam can threaten me or my family. But that's just me, I'm kind of nuts that way.
But doesn't that amount to defending the Iraqi butcher? No, it is a call for a return to sanity. Alfred L. McAllister, a behavioral science professor at the University of Texas, Houston, did a survey on how Americans think of war and enemies pre-9/11 and post-9/11. He found significant increases in the numbers of those who, post-attack, believe that military force is needed when our economic security is threatened, that terrorists do not deserve to be treated like human beings and that in some nations, the leaders and their followers are no better than animals. Oh, and he also found a significantly increased tendency to substitute euphemisms for "ghastly events." Perhaps like "regime change" for "premeditated murder?"Treating terrorists as pond scum. What a horrible thought! The idea that those who make common cause with terrorists deserve to be eliminated with about as much compunction as I might squash a bug Neville Raspberry thinks this is wrong. By Mr. Raspberry's thinking, we should just wait until another hole is scooped out of another city, and then give the terrorists and their sponsors a real strong talking to, then we should get over what happen, and not "go nuts". Until that happens, though, we should treat them like somebody who spit on the sidewalk.
Blogger won't let me edit long posts, so I'm going to add some addenda to the previous post here. Steve Chapman's permalink to the article is here. Also, I'd like to add that this guy is more than just a crackpot, but actually could be very dangerous. If there are tranzies who believe that a full scale war including a nuclear exchange is acceptable to advance their goals, then it is a small leap to believe that there are tranzies who would be willing to engage in terrorist acts to advance them as well. Update: OK, It's not an update, but an apology. It is Steve Chapman. Not Scott Chapman. Major league brain fart, which, because Blogger makes large posts unedtiable, now has captured that mistake for eternity. When I die and go to heaven, St. Peter will look at this entry, and say at the Pearly Gates, "Are you sure you don't want St. Paul? Sigh.
Scott Chapman posted this link to Paul Treanor, a crackpot who wants to declare war on and dismantle the United States. The summary runs as follows:
The best European response to a new American war is not useless protest, but a declaration of war. A declaration of war would clarify the historical and future relationship between Europe and the United States. It should include a reference to the historical background, and a moral justification for the defeat of the United States - the logical purpose of any war. It should also indicate future policy toward the United States, after its defeat. Revised 08 September 2002.Chapman thinks this guy is a complete crackpot. I agree, but the issue is that to the Tranzie crowd, his views are merely an extension their own taken to a wild extreme. Nothing I read in his manifesto is really all that far removed from standard Tranzie fare, the only thing radical is his proposed remedy. Consider the following:
Nevertheless it is a historical reality that specific political and cultural factors shaped the United States, and that it is a unique state with a unique relationship to Europe. The US-American political tradition has its origin in one predecessor in Europe, and one only: English liberalism. As a result its internal political culture is monolithic: there is no equivalent of the left-right divide in Italy or France. A large proportion of the (white) population is descended from immigrants who deliberately choose to leave Europe, either through persecution or through poverty, and who thought they could escape both in America. The resulting mixture of anti-Europe resentment and belief in American superiority, is not found in, for instance, Brazil or Argentina.What he says here is basically correct, especially when it concerns American attitudes to the Continent(which all tranzies consider Utopia). The only difference is that instead of resentment, he should use the word disdain. Looking at the economic statistics for Europe, the comic relief that occurs in Brussels on a daily basis, we Americans have a point. That is what bothers Paul Treanor. We present a successful ideological alternative to the tranzies, and that needs to be stamped out. The only difference is that while most tranzies want to shackle the US by way of the UN and the EU, Paul would rather send the EU's not-so-vast military to stamp us out. Later on, he writes:
The national identity of the United States is also unique. More than in other nation states, it is based on the shared belief in the superiority of the country's political institutions, such as the Constitution. Most people in other countries have never read any section of their own Constitution: it is irrelevant to their national identity. The economic system is also incorporated into the national identity, to an unusual extent. If you ask Poles to describe some things which are specifically Polish, it is unlikely that they would answer: "capitalism". To Americans that is an essential part of their culture - not simply an economic system favoured by the current government. The United States is also characterised by extremely active interventionist lobbies, which have no equivalent elsewhere. War lobbies in other countries are typically related to border disputes and irredentist claims agains a limited number of nieghbouring sttates. United States citizens are ready to demand war (and nuclear annihilation) against many countries, on many pretexts. Not all citizens do that, of course: but the range and vehemence of the war fever is unique. At present it is directed at Islam, the Islamic world, the Arabs and/or Saddam Hussein - but the same vehemence was directed against Serbs, Serbia, and Slobodan Milosevic a few years ago. In a few years it could be directed against another, unrelated, enemy.Again, here, he is fundamentally correct. While we don't demand war at the drop of a hat, American foreign policy has had as a secondary goal to expand the reach of democracy, human rights, and rule of law, the bedrock of the capitalist system. This was the secondary goal of American foreign since WWII(#1 was defeating communism). Also, the sort of wars that are most popular with the American people are the kind that end with a complete victory. This is doubly distressing to tranzies, because when we win our victory, the government that gets put in place is a government modeled in some way shape or form on the principles of the American government. We not only used blunt military force, but we also used it successfully to expound our ideals. Here again, he gets it right, but from the exact wrong perspective:
In other words - unless Europe stops the United States - no other economy than a free-market economy will exist on this planet, no form of state other than a nation state will exist on this planet, and no form of social life other than a liberal society. No political ideal or innovation, which can not secure majority support in a democracy, will ever again be realised. All humans will live in a liberal market democracy, no human will ever experience any other way of life, and no artefact or social form will exist, except those which are compatible with a a liberal market democracy. That does not necessarily mean, that there will be a McDonalds in every village. But the prospect of indefinite planetary stagnation is far worse anyway, and the possible preservation of cultural diversity can not justify it. This is the primary moral justification for a war against the United States: to prevent it from fulfilling what probably is its historical destiny. Once a state such as the United States comes into existence - an expansionist ideological state with unipolar hegemony - it is inevitable in the long term, that it will remodel the world according to its ideology. Unless it is stopped, that is. There is no guarantee that its 'success' in this respect will ever be reversed. This is the primary moral justification for a war against the United States: to prevent it from fulfilling what probably is its historical destiny. Once a state such as the United States comes into existence - an expansionist ideological state with unipolar hegemony - it is inevitable in the long term, that it will remodel the world according to its ideology. Unless it is stopped, that is. There is no guarantee that its 'success' in this respect will ever be reversed.Again, he is very wrong, but he is also right, in a way. We do want to expand liberal democratic government. We do believe that it has a universal application. That is why we built that form of government in Germany and Japan after the war. It is what we fought the Cold War over. He is right. We don't want to to see a political ideal or innovation without the solid support of the majority. These are good things. Liberal democracy and free markets allow more people to live better lives than any other system, and the proof is in looking at the economic backwardness of Eastern Europe after 50+ years of communism, and the atrocious economic stagnation in the Middle East, and the moribund economic growth in a Europe dominated by tranzy thinking. When we talk about Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism, it is democracy, rule of law, and free markets are at its core. We do want to transform the world(or at least, right now, the Middle East). We have found from brutal experience that governments that are not liberal democratic governments tend to do things like support terrorism, launch wars of aggression against their neighbors, and brutally repress their own people. The more the government resembles a liberal democracy, the less likely that is to occur. Unless something better comes along, we don't want that to change. So far, nothing better has, despite all attempts to do so, starting with Robespierre, then to Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Saddam, Osama, etc. Then Paul gets into this 8 point list of reasons for war, and when I read it, the only thing that comes to mind is, "What's your point?"
When you read his site in toto, it becomes apparent that he is a radical Tranzy. The only difference between him and the average tranzy is that instead of taking the route of trying to push the United States into diplomatic avenues to limit its ability to expound its ideals, he wants to go straight for the jugular with a nuclear exchange. Tranzies will find a lot to admire in his thoughts. The service Paul provides us here is to show just how dangerous transnational progressivism is if it achieves real power.
- The United States as a nation, and the American people, believe in the superiority of their national values, their political system, and and their way of life. They hold their values to be universal in application (valid everywhere), and universal in their superiority (right and good everywhere they are applied). We have proven in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea that liberal democratic governments do work even in non-Western societies.
- They regard their own beliefs on this issue as absolutely and self-evidently true, and define their system of values as 'freedom'. In consequence, they are unable to recognise the legitimacy of any resistance to the imposition of these values. Since freedom itself can not be an unfreedom, and since in their eyes their values constitute freedom, they tend to conclude that no person can suffer any coercion by the imposition of American values, and that no resistance to them can be rational. In countries that have embraced liberal market democracy since WWII, all have lived more peacefully and had an improved standard of living over their non liberal democratic counterparts. Since it is safe to assume that people want to live prosperously, choose their own laws and path in life, American style democracy cannot be coercive
- The United States does intend to impose its values by force, even if the force is initially used on some other pretext, or in self-defence.[Self defense being obviously a pretext] Officials of successive United States governments have repeatedly stated that they intend to bring freedom, to all or part of the planet. The United States has imposed its value system on certain other territories in the past, believing that action to be a 'liberation', and a benefit to the population affected. As has been proven by Germans, Japanese, and others, this is inarguably true.
- The United States will not cease or withdraw from this intention and strategy, and will not concede limits to its application.
- The United States will not de-recognise the universality of its values, or accept a territorial limit to their application.
- The historical consequence of this pattern is, that the United States has indeed imposed its values on successive territories, covering a cumulatively larger proportion of inhabited territory. To the eternal gratitude of those who have been imposed upon
- The values of the United States, including liberal democracy, liberalism in general, the free market and the nation state, are wrong. only to the eyes of tranzies like Paul. To the rest of us, it is the tranzies that are wrong
- Therefore, the prevention of their present and future imposition by the United States is morally legitimate and good. Again, only to tranzies.