Saturday, August 23, 2003
At any rate, our good friends over at The Weekly Standard have done Americans a valuable service by following up on the evidence (which is quite substantial, apparently) of Al Qaeda's alliance with Iraq. The always dogged Stephen F. Hayes has a wonderfully complete story on the goings on over at CIA and in Iraq. One of the things that freaks the hell out of me is why the Bush people remained so quiescent as they were being pummeled in July during that bogus Niger Yellocake scandal. According to Novak and others, the Administration is holding back until mid-September (right after September 11th, I guess) to release what former U.N. inspector David Kay has uncovered. Methinks they will release news of WMD and lurking bin Ladenists in Baghdad then, and not before.
Meantime, Friedman apparently still gets it. In this column in Today's Times, Tom posits what most conservatives figured out when the tanks first rolled across the Iraqi-Kuwaiti frontier. He divines that the Iraqi "insurgency" is the decisive battle of the War on Terror. Should we succeed there, bin Ladenism is dead as a wave of modernism takes over the Middle East. If we screw up, we really screw up. However, in the end Friedman can't help himself, and believes that Bush's entire policy will become undone because the President lowered the top rate by three measly percent. Good article on the whole, but as for Friedman's summation? Well, Jesus wept.
However, it must be noted that a paralell concern is raised by Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol back at the Standard in this article. Their contention is basically that if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound. The Standard wants to spend the money now and get the shouting over with, a position I find myself in agreement with. If it's going to cost sixty billion, let's tell everybody and get the posturing over with before primary season next year.
Though their sympathies lie on opposite ends of the spectrum, at least all three men understand that the Iraqi theater is the decisive battle of the War.
But that's not all the Times has to offer us. If it's Sunday, it must be Maureen Dowd. She's pining once again for George W. Bush's manhood, only vicariously through her new political boytoy, John Kerry. Natch, she compares Kerry's Vietnam service to GW's stint as and F-102 jockey in the Texas Air Guard and finds Dubya wanting. Rumor has it that she's been out and about with Aaron Sorkin of West Wing fame. But that's Page Six stuff. There is no room on this blog for vicious, personal attack, innuendo, and gossip leveled against a fine, Pulitzer winner such as Ms. Dowd.
Although I would like to know how her two old friends, Jim Beam and Captain Morgan, are doing.
Finally, the Times breaks today with Don Rumsfeld performing a game of Musical Chairs at the Pentagon, trying to get the most out of the force without really having to increase it. Sometimes I think that this guy is Robert MacNamara on Steroids, but then I remember that Rumsfeld is a real, honest-to-God buttkicker who isn't afraid to tarnish some brass if the need arises. It looks as if Rummy wants to outsource roles and missions that are being performed by active duty kids now that the private sector could do just as efficiently, if not better. In the article, one fellow remarks that efficiencies and different tasking could free up enough men and women to fill out two divisions.
The L.A. Times, in its neverending quest to resuscitate the California Democrats, gives Bustamante a twelve point lead over Arnold in a new poll out today. Color me skeptical, especially after the bangup week that Arnold has had. News of the day, of course, was that Bill Simon decided to bail out before he became a spoiler. This leaves the Republican field to Ahnuld and Bustmante, with the irritating chihuahua, Tom McClintock, tugging at Arnold's pant leg. Finally, the Democrats are ready to promote General Wesley Clark, USA (ret.) to commander in chief status. Memo to Howard Dean: beware Collateral Damage.
Friday, August 22, 2003
I never thought I'd find a writer as self-absorbed as Maureen Dowd, but in the past half year, I found Mark Morford. Morford is actually paid money to write for the San Francisco Chronicle. Basically, his columns are one long stream of mastabatory conciousness, a tribute to self-indulgence. Every painful week it's "sex toy" this and "orgasm" that. Basically, a Morford column is one long, excruciating homoerotic cry for a trip through the Glory Hole of the Mind. This week's column is no exception.
He is especially critical of the President (of course), and peddles every left wing totem ("BushCo", "lies", "oil", well, you get the idea...) that passes for coherent argument on that side of the aisle. This week he's all atwitter about the George Bush action figure (GW in flight suit) and swears that it's the perfect gift for asking oneself "...what, pray what, can I give the hardcore lockstep pseudo-Christian homophobic Republican on my gift list?"
I will swear on a stack of King James Bibles that this man is insanely jealous of Laura Bush.
Yet another chapter in the dumbing down of journalism.
Speaking of dumbing down, I have a big problem with MSNBC's Scarborough Country. Joe Scarborough was a congressman from Pensacola up in the Florida Panhandle. He was a rather magnetic figure during the Recount Hell, arguing the Bush case on various networks. MSNBC liked what it saw and hired him as a talking head after his retirement. They liked him so much they gave him his own show, Scarborough Country. The show is a conservative paradise, and that's its problem.
I love Joe, I really do. But as a conservative, I feel uncomfortable watching MSNBC employ Joe while he rams conservatism down the throats of the nightly audience. FOX News Channel is much better at doing this, since everyone knows FOX 's political position (very much in the tank for the Administration). MSNBC's plan to peddle Donahue failed miserably, because people didn't want his ideas peddled to them as a "cutting edge" talk show. Donahue was not only liberal, he was terminally so. Scarborough is the flip side of the same coin, and I would be much more satisfied if Joe learned to be a little less partisan and a little more even handed. FOX has learned how to pull this off to a great extent, and MSNBC needs to try and stop slavishly trying to imitate FOX's success.
If I want a partisan TV show, I'll tune in Janeane Garafolo's latest ramblings. Until then, I'll have to settle for FOX. Things could be worse, however. We could be forced to listen to the BBC.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
Personally, I think the terrorists have made a huge mistake. The destruction of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, followed up by this week's incident at the UN headquarters, mean that the insurgents have decided to go after soft targets only. These assaults on water mains, UN workers, and the electrical system provide much discomfort to the Iraqi civilian economy. It was a violation of a central tenet of guerilla warfare to take actions which adversely affect the people's ability to get through the day. The people will hold the foreigners responsible.
I interpret this as a sign of weakness. Over the past several months, we have seen guerrillas trying to go up against the U.S. Army. The Army has taken casualites, but has suffered no reverses in the field. So the insurgents have chosen to attack the Iraqi economy in the hopes of driving us out.
I don't think it will work, as enough of the political class here in Washington understands the strategic reverse we would suffer by a shameless bugout from Baghdad. Indeed, some of the more responsible voices in the Democratic Party, have spoken of the necessity of winning this conflict (with a dig at the President for good measure). However, as mentioned earlier, the heart and soul of that party lies with Howard Dean, who is in favor of said shameless bugout.
And there's no need to really consider a bugout. Most of Iraq is quiet. Shi'a Country, south of Baghdad to the Kuwaiti border and the Saudi frontier, is going through a period of recovery and an assertion of its own political identity within Iraq. It turns out that the Iraqi imams are far more secular than their counterparts in Tehran. Other than the tragedy of the British, who lost six of their own down in Basrah in late July, I don't see any problems down there.
Kurdistan is quiet as well, as we appear to have given the Kurds a free hand to run their affairs. Only the Sunni areas, where Saddam's power base was, is giving us trouble. That's where the Wahbists and assorted Islamic fascists have decided to set up shop. Bombings do not change the strategic situation; indeed, there is probably a growing backlash among Iraqis who want a chance at peace and prosperity. I have a prediction; it will be Iraqis who turn the terrorists in.
Meanwhile, in other terrorism, the IDF began it's counteroffensive against Palestinian terror. A leading Hamas operative was taken out of the game, permanently. The deliberate killing of children has shocked the Israeli body politic and has forced Sharon to end the charade of the Road Map. Some on Free Republic blame Bush for holding Sharon back. They fail to recognize that Bush chose not to call for restraint, and has given Sharon a green light to go after the bad guys, as long as not too much china is broken. For a peace to be possible, terrorists must be entirely defeated or exterminated, whichever comes first. I think that all concerned realize that for the Abbas Government to succeed in Palestine, the Israelis will have to do the heavy lifting and eliminate the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
Finally, everyone's favorite B-list actress, Janeane Garafolo, has been chosen by CNN to be its left wing flavor of the week to sit across designated conservative Girly Man, Tucker Carlson. Garafolo's appearance led to enough fireworks for CNN's terminal afternoon ratings book to go up by perhaps a tenth of a point. However, as our all seeing eyes at the Media Research Center report, Garafalo filibustered her way through a scrawny, limp wristed Carlson, leaving the flustered conservative sorely in need of a testicular implant. Naturally, she had to work in the Nazi angle....
Garofalo, at same time as Carlson and in a comment missed by the CNN transcribers for the posted transcript: “It is in fact a conspiracy of the 43rd Reich.”
Now if Tucker Carlson had had even the remotest resemblance to a swinging pair between his legs, he would have upbraided this intellectual shahid bomber with a ferocious counterattack based on her ignorance of National Socialism and European history. But Carlson wouldn't do that, which is why CNN has to pay him the big bucks, and doesn't have to pay me one damn red cent to avoid their daily vomitorium of the airwaves.
You know you are dealing with the truly ignorant when they can do little more than scream "Hitler" over and over again. Carlson had the opportunity to do that, but he blew it, as usual.
What really incenses me is the continued comparison to Vietnam. I fired off a letter to Herbert, upbraiding him for being an ignoramus about the subject. The NVA and the VietMinh had been fighting in the field twenty years when they first fought us at the Battle of the Drang in 1965. The NVA Regulars and their VietMinh cadres were a very well trained, well supplied, and well led army of guerrillas and Regular NVA troops. The insurgents who oppose us, up to and including any Al Qaeda present, are simply not in the same class. In addition, they had the resources of the entire Warsaw Pact at their disposal, especially the new generation of SAM's and generous helpings of arms and ammunition. The jihadis in Baghdad do not. The Vietnamese fought extremely well, as any American who was there will attest. We know how well the Ba'athists fought. The foreign jihadi are no better, I suspect.
But don't take my word for it! Read this fine piece of writing on the U.N. incident by the world's premier miltary historian, John Keegan. This article in today's Daily Telegraph puts paid to the sublime ignorance of those who will not learn.
The left-wing Democrats' loss of nerve continues. This angers me, because at a time of war against a demonstrably fascist enemy, it seems that they have decided to sit out the conflict.
What liberals don't understand is that Americans want their country protected. Liberals appear unwilling to protect it by any means necessary. I strongly suspect that the latent fear of terrorism that they are displaying will be perceived by the American people for what it is, a lack of fighting will and spirit. You can't graft spine onto people.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
One of the points Schwarzenneger made was to claim that none of his economic advisers could tell him the amount Sacramento's actual operating deficit. What he did with this was most clever. He stated that because no one really knows what Davis and his cronies have done with the money, the Terminator would need to send in a team of independent auditors to go through the state's books to see where the money actually is. This relieves Schwarzenneger of the necessity to put out a Ten Point plan of cuts for each agency. Had he specified cuts early on, each beuracracy would have started putting out thousands of pages of position papers detailing just how vital their program was to the State's welfare. Which would have suited Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante no end. The California Democratic Party's propaganda ministry, also known as the California press corps, would have done their level best to illustrate the squalor that would result should Arnold and his Rich Republican Friends cut spending (the illustration at right is yet another example of Republican cruelty...). Arnold's people, who worked for Pete Wilson and went through this during Proposition 187 back in 1994, might have been born at night, but not last night. They put Arnold squarely in the Center of what my gut tells me that most of the California electorate is looking for at this point in time: fiscal discipline combined with a sense of social responsibility, and the will to act on both. Arnold's action of today has also helped him secure his base.
Strangely enough, our old friend the Common Tator chimed in this week about Arnold's long term strategy. According to him, Arnold needs McClintock and Simon to actually stay in the race, not drop out. In addition, Ray comments on how the Field Poll fell the way it did (Bustamante-25%, Arnold-22%). Apparently, the Field Poll is using a different turnout model, one more closely resembling 2002 than 2000. Click on the link for a bit of number crunching and some superb reasoning from the Tator.
As to the rest of the Pack?
Well, Davis went on a crying jag last night, blaming a Right Wing Republican Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy to steal elections. The Governor admitted that he had made a few mistakes (oh, such as saddling California with untenable oil contracts and deliberately lying about the extent of the State deficit during last year's sham budget process), but the Recall was a much larger issue. It seems that Republicans, with their secret handshakes, homoerotic fraternity initiations, and sub-rosa decoder rings, are actually trying to steal the election of 2002.
Of course, Davis has been talking to the Clintons. That's an open secret. Whenever some Democrat mentions conspiracy, Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton's well worn cigar, cannot be far behind. Well, someone handed the jar of invisible ink to Cruz Bustamante, because he became a Member In Good Standing of the Conspiracy the minute he smelled Gray Davis' blood in the water. Why so much blood in the water? Davis wasn't looking when Cruz put the knife in the back, that's why.
Meanwhile, the unions have all lined up behind Gray (looks like Davis is calling in his markers). Bustamante outlined a ginned-up version of Gray Davis' budget proposal to buffalo the voters into thinking that a vote for Cruz is a vote for Change. Bustamante calls it "tough love for California". Eight billion dollars in new taxes are part of the package. Meanwhile, the chihuahuas tugging at Arnold's leg, McClintock, Simon, and Ueberroth, remain under the illusion that they can sweep the state by running as True Conservatives (as opposed to Arnold, the UnTrue Conservative). They can't. They just don't want to admit it to themselves quite yet.
Especially Simon, who declared that he would be "happy" to accept Arnold's endorsement in the future. That statement brought an immediate reaction from California's pets......
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
"It's going a bit far to compare the Bush of 2003 to the Hitler of 1933," writes a judicious Dave Lindorff in "Bush and Hitler: The Strategy of Fear" on the left-wing Web site Counterpunch.org. "Bush simply is not the orator that Hitler was. But comparisons of the Bush administration's fear-mongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by Hitler and Goebbels ... are not at all out of line." Lindorff, a contributor to The Nation magazine and Salon.com, maintains that Hitler "would be proud that an American president is emulating him in so many ways."
Understand that the comparisons between Bush and Hitler have become a staple of leftist opinion these days. I recall the rather excellent television miniseries on the life of the Young Hitler that was released early in the summer. The director attempted to make a connection between Bush and Hitler by altering certain historical dialogue surrounding the negotiations with von Hindenburg for the Chancellor's office and the Reichstag Fire. Naturally, in their role as vanguard of the proletariat, these "liberals in a hurry" are often the mine canaries for what the larger group of liberal chatterers will be peddling to the Democratic Party's rank and file in the following year.
The Bush/Hitler comparisons have great resonance among Democratic Party activists, especially the Outer Party crowd that populates various left wing websites. These are the True Believers; today's members of "Refuse and Resist" who are tomorrow's DNC staffers, campaign workers, and legal outriders. Lowry gives several examples of the kind of malicious hate that meanders down the river of Democratic politics. Of course, the Hitler charge is a canard, and is reflective of the form of opportunistic demagoguery that has taken hold of the Left these days.
Take the case of Lindorff above. The very fact that President Bush has chosen to maintain the country in a state of medium readiness betrays a judicious understanding of the threat and the need to act to defend against that threat. In addition, this President has chosen a strategy of holding the enemy by the belt, going at them in their home territories and fighting them there. Now then, it just so happens that when one alerts people to possible terrorist attack, they are much more on guard. There is an undercurrent of fear when one prepares for attack by Jihadi. There is a sense of anxiety at the news of major military operations overseas. However, if Lowry is correct, Lindorff merely makes a comparison to the Adolf and Goebbels, as if the assertion that fear and anxiety exist
must prove the proposition that Bush is deliberately stoking fear to maintain state control.
In this case, the President can't win. Bush can make prudent preparations to warn citizens against incoming attack or the Patriot Act can be passed to make penetration of terrorist cels easier, but such actions bring with them public anxiety.
The President can reason that it is best to remove a Saddam Hussein before the latter has a chance to get back into the WMD business. In so doing, however, Bush had to attack first to remove the threat before it had a chance to grow. He and his advisers believe he is doing the right thing for the country.
Now it just so happens that a byproduct of these actions, public anxiety, plays to the strengths of the Republican Party. In poll after poll, Americans trust the Republican Party to handle matters of national security much more than they do the Democratic Party. It was not always thus: at one time, when Barry Goldwater and John F. Kennedy walked the earth, both parties competed to be the Party of National Security. As often as not, as in 1960, the Democrats would win. Then, of course, Vietnam happened, and the core leadership of the Democratic Party was destroyed in both reputation and effectiveness. By the Seventies, the Democrats had become an accomodationist party.
The fact that Republicans benefit politically from a concentration on national security frustrates the Left. In the mind of the average Lefty, Bush is using "the War on Terror" to intimidate opponents and steal other people's oil. It is not too far a stretch from that assumption for Leftists to start concluding that the war against Islamic Fascism is bogus, a superstructure designed to hide the greed of the plutocracy behind a constant mobilization for war. Thus, Bush opens himself up to the charge of fear-mongering (whatever that is) from the Left. Naturally, the totemic boogieman in the historical Universe is Hitler; it becomes compelling for a polemicist such as Lindorff to instinctively make the comparison between the two.
I mean, no one is going to compare Bush to Leopoldo Galtieri of Argentina or the late, great Genereal Hugo Banzer of Paraguay, now are they? Small time Latin American caudillos just don't provide the same oomph to the polemic that the Austrian Paper Hanger does.
What is most important to note is not what Lindorff, et.al., have to say about George W. Bush. Rather, the tone of their articles reveals what is at the core of the Left in particular, and the Democratic Party in general: fear. Understand that Bush and his Administration have taken actions at home and overseas to protect the United States. Further, these actions are reasonably prudent in time of war and compare favorably to the actions of, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt, that great liberal statesman who threw 100,000 Japanese-Americans into gaol simply because they were Japanese-Americans. Virtually the entire Left and much of the liberal voting bloc in this country have turned against the War on Terror, rationalizing that the actions taken by the Administration were either illegal or motivated by lies. They do this because they have lost the will to prosecute the war, and they despise the President who is waging that war. At long last, after all the comparisons to Hitler and National Socialism have been made, we are left with a political party that is afraid. Fear of the unknown, and fear of this President's popularity, motivates these people to that one emotion.
The Left has given in to fear. The polemics and the rationalizations are simple cover for that fact. In a great struggle against a fascist enemy, they have lost their nerve.
The September 11th attack was the single defining moment of our time. We all live in the wake of that atrocity. Some of us accept the world in which we live and understand the enemy against whom we fight. Others wish for a bygone era in which the jihadist was something you read about in the International section of the Sunday paper, and fabulously wealthy comic opera dictators could be left alone and "contained". Our liberal friends and the leftist allies are mostly found among the latter group of people, as they find reason to question the legitimacy of the invasion of Iraq and the larger struggle, the War on Terror.
My sense is that after the initial outrage of 9-11, the left has begun to lose its nerve. They are losing their will to defend Western Civilization. Oh, they say the right things, but they don't really mean it. Too many leftists believe that we "had it coming" or that we were the authors of our own karmic blowback. They are too numerous among the opinion makers within the Democratic Party for them to be dismissed as a potty group of cranks. They are the people who hate George W. Bush with a deep passion and support Howard Dean's call to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq immediately. My contention is that they want the Nineties back.
They can't have their era back, of course. September 11th was as profound a historical marker as August, 1914. We have entered a new and more violent future, and if you'll forgive me from borrowing from Mr. Churchill, it is one that will be "made more protracted by the lights of perverted science." We Americans enter the cruel world as it is, not as we wish it to be. There are lots of people out there who want to come to my country and kill as many of its people as possible. We have chosen to take our war to them. That disturbs some people. Good, it should.