Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Democrats' disgrace 

Amen brothers and sisters! Tony Blankley nails it here. I can never get enough Patton quotes. Remember "I'd rather face a German division in front of me than a French one behind"?
This one's for you Michael Kelly - God rest your soul...T
"To march against the war is not to give peace a chance. It is to give tyranny a chance. It is to give the Iraqi nuke a chance. It is to give the next terrorist mass murder a chance. It is to march for the furtherance of evil instead of the vanquishing of evil." --Michael Kelly

Sometimes we can better understand where we are politically from afar than from within. Consider this assessment from Europe's biggest and Germany's most influential magazine, Der Spiegel, this week:

"The wind has shifted in Washington. America, not just its president, is at war. The Democrats are still critical of the failed Iraq campaign, but they are no longer opposed to the 'War on Terror' in general. It has been accepted, and not just as a metaphor... Ninety two percent of Americans are opposed to an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and a majority doesn't want to see the US's special detention camp at Guantanamo Bay closed. At the moment, the American electorate's biggest criticism of Bush is that he has not been aggressive enough in pursuing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

"Indeed, when voters hit the ballot box in November 2008, they will be looking for more than just a candidate charismatic and clever enough to lead the country politically. They will also ask themselves which of the candidates is sufficiently tough, crafty and brutal to win the multi-front war that the Bush administration has begun.

"Many Americans now despise Bush [because of Iraq]. Nevertheless, Americans are still loathe to admit defeat. This is precisely what distinguishes Europeans from Americans... The Americans favor the power of force, even in its crudest form, which explains why the U.S. military might is so superior to that of all other nations." (By Gabor Steingart. Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan.)

We see evidence that the Democrats are beginning to appreciate the truth of the above description. The New York Times has suddenly started counseling caution about any sudden departure from Iraq. Sen. Barack Obama's steroid-enhanced rhetoric now has him calling — Rambo-like — for possible pre-emptive war against Pakistan. Sen. Hillary Clinton announces that she might use nuclear weapons against terrorists (I hope she doesn't find the terrorists in New York, where one of my sons lives, or London, my hometown). The Democratic congressional leaders quickly passed President Bush's requested FISA electronic intercepts authority.

The Democrats, after spending the winter, spring and early summer frantically calling for getting out of Iraq as fast as their little feet can carry them, are now, as autumn approaches, demonstrating their Olympic-class back-pedaling skills.

By winter (with the complicity of the drive-by media hat tip to Rush Limbaugh) the Democrats hope to expunge the historic record of their failure of war nerve this spring. This is the moment for Republicans from the president, to the candidates for president, to the incumbents and challengers for offices all the way down to dog catcher (and especially dog catcher) to remind the public of the springtime Democratic Party defeatism and lost nerve.

They should be inspired to follow the immortal advice of Gen. Patton to his troops regarding what they should do to the Nazi enemy: "We are going to hold them by the nose and kick them in the ass... we are going to go through them like crap through a goose." Of course, the Democrats are only the domestic opposition, not the enemy. In American politics we have no American enemies — only philosophical opponents — I mean that.

The leadership of the Democratic Party has, by its public words this spring, disgraced themselves for a generation. Republicans have the right — and the duty — to engrave in the public mind the springtime Democratic perfidy and cowardice in the face of the enemy.

This spring and early summer: Sen. Harry Reid said the war is lost; Gov. Bill Richardson said that on his first day in the Oval Office he would order our troops to leave Iraq immediately (even if it meant throwing down their weapons on the way out); Hillary bragged that if Mr. Bush doesn't end the war, she would do so immediately upon her arriving in the Oval Office (God preserve us); and Mr. Obama took pride of place in his adamant opposition to, and call for immediate departure from, the Iraq war.

Gen. Patton also observed that "Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser." That is as true today as it was six decades ago. (This is the great misreading of the American public by the current Democratic Party. We Americans are only sentimental about dogs — we have three in our family — not about human losers. We love kick-ass football players — unless they hurt a dog, and then we righteously send them to hell, where they belong).

The public must not be permitted to forget these cowardly public statements by the Democrats. It is the job of the Republicans this fall and winter to remorselessly and repeatedly remind the public of what the Democrats were saying this spring. In that disgrace lies the potential for a well-deserved Democratic Party defeat in November 2008.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

A bad case of malignant narcissism

So, by now you've all heard that NASA has admitted that the record high temperatures of the 90's were, well, not record setting, and, well, not that hot after all...oh you haven't heard? Stop watching the MSM, ladies and gentlemen. These agencies are paid taxpayer funds to produce either, A: there IS NO evidence of global warming, meaning the study needs no further funding, or, B: there IS evidence of said, which means endless funding to continue research. You do the math. As we were taught in Psych 101, this is most certainly NOT a double blind study. Please take a few moments at your leisure and use the "Search This Blog" feature (left column, about 1/3 of the way down the page) for many more articles and scientific white papers on climate change, and it's history..T

Warm-mongers and cheeseburger imperialists

Something rather odd happened the other day. If you go to NASA's Web site and look at the "U.S. surface air temperature" rankings for the lower 48 states, you might notice that something has changed.

Then again, you might not. They're not issuing any press releases about it. But they have quietly revised their All-Time Hit Parade for U.S. temperatures. The "hottest year on record" is no longer 1998, but 1934. Another alleged swelterer, the year 2001, has now dropped out of the Top 10 altogether, and most of the rest of the 21st century – 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 – plummeted even lower down the Hot 100. In fact, every supposedly hot year from the Nineties and this decade has had its temperature rating reduced. Four of America's Top 10 hottest years turn out to be from the 1930s, that notorious decade when we all drove around in huge SUVs with the air-conditioning on full-blast. If climate change is, as Al Gore says, the most important issue anyone's ever faced in the history of anything ever, then Franklin Roosevelt didn't have a word to say about it.

And yet we survived.

So why is 1998 no longer America's record-breaker? Because a very diligent fellow named Steve McIntyre of labored long and hard to prove there was a bug in NASA's handling of the raw data. He then notified the scientists responsible and received an acknowledgment that the mistake was an "oversight" that would be corrected in the next "data refresh." The reply was almost as cool as the revised chart listings.

Who is this man who understands American climate data so much better than NASA? Well, he's not even American: He's Canadian. Just another immigrant doing the jobs Americans won't do, even when they're federal public servants with unlimited budgets? No. Mr. McIntyre lives in Toronto. But the data smelled wrong to him, he found the error, and NASA has now corrected its findings – albeit without the fanfare that accompanied the hottest-year-on-record hysteria of almost a decade ago. Sunlight may be the best disinfectant, but, when it comes to global warming, the experts prefer to stick the thermometer where the sun don't shine.

One is tempted to explain the error with old the computer expert's cry: That's not a bug, it's a feature. To maintain public hysteria, it's necessary for the warm-mongers to be able to demonstrate that something is happening now. Or as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram put it at the end of 1998:

"It's December, and you're still mowing the lawn. You can't put up the Christmas lights because you're afraid the sweat pouring off your face will short out the connections. Your honeysuckle vines are blooming. Mosquitoes are hovering at your back door.

"Hot enough for you?"

It's not the same if you replace "Hot enough for you?" with "Yes, it's time to relive sepia-hued memories from grandpa's Dust Bowl childhood."
Yet the fakery wouldn't be so effective if there weren't so many takers for it. Why is that?

In my book, still available at all good bookstores (you can find it propping up the wonky rear leg of the display table for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"), I try to answer this question by way of some celebrated remarks by the acclaimed British novelist Margaret Drabble, speaking just after the liberation of Iraq. Ms Drabble said:
"I detest Coca-Cola, I detest burgers, I detest sentimental and violent Hollywood movies that tell lies about history. I detest American imperialism, American infantilism, and American triumphalism about victories it didn't even win."

That's an interesting list of grievances. If you lived in Poland in the 1930s, you weren't worried about the Soviets' taste in soft drinks or sentimental Third Reich pop culture. If Washington were a conventional great power, the intellectual class would be arguing that the United States is a threat to France or India or Chad or some such. But because it's the world's first nonimperial superpower the world has had to concoct a thesis that America is a threat not merely to this or that nation state but to the entire planet, and not because of conventional great-power designs but because – even scarier – of its "consumption," its very way of life. Those Cokes and cheeseburgers detested by discriminating London novelists are devastating the planet in ways that straightforward genocidal conquerors like Hitler and Stalin could only have dreamed of. The construct of this fantasy is very revealing about how unthreatening America is.

And, when the cheeseburger imperialists are roused to real if somewhat fitful warmongering, that's no reason for the self-loathing to stop. The New Republic recently published a "Baghdad Diary" by one "Scott Thomas," who turned out to be Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp. It featured three anecdotes of American soldiering: the deliberate killing of domestic dogs by the driver of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle; a child's skull worn by a U.S. serviceman as a fashion accessory; and the public abuse of a woman to her face, a half-melted face disfigured by an IED. In that last anecdote, the abusive soldier was the author himself, citing it as evidence of how the Iraq war has degraded and dehumanized everyone.

According to the Weekly Standard, army investigators say Pvt. Beauchamp has now signed a statement recanting his lurid anecdotes. And even the New Republic's editors concede the IED-victim mockery took place in Kuwait, before Pvt. Beauchamp ever got to Iraq.

They don't seem to realize this destroys the entire premise of the piece, which is meant to be about the dehumanization of soldiers in combat. Pvt. Beauchamp came pre-dehumanized. Indeed, he was writing Iraq atrocity fantasies on his blog back in Germany. It might be truer to say he was "dehumanized" by American media coverage. In this, he joins an ever lengthening list of peddlers of fake atrocities, such as Jesse MacBeth, an Army Ranger who claimed to have slaughtered hundreds of civilians in a mosque. He turned out to be neither an Army Ranger nor a mass murderer.

There are many honorable reasons to oppose the Iraq war, but believing that our troops are sick monsters is not one of them. The sickness is the willingness of so many citizens of the most benign hegemon in history to believe they must be.

As Pogo said, way back in the 1971 Earth Day edition of a then-famous comic strip, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Even when we don't do anything: In the post-imperial age, powerful nations no longer have to invade and kill. Simply by driving a Chevy Suburban, we can make the oceans rise and wipe the distant Maldive Islands off the face of the Earth. This is a kind of malignant narcissism so ingrained it's now taught in our grade schools. Which may be why, even when the New Republic's diarist goes to Iraq and meets the real enemy, he still assumes it's us.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Obama Vespucci?

Listen, Kos, I'm in charge here, ok? please? oh don't tell Cindy Sheehan!Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 06, 2007

Perceptions of Iraq War Are Starting to Shift

"If opinion continues to shift (the way it is), if others come to see things as O'Hanlon and Pollack have, Democrats could find themselves trapped between a base that wants retreat and defeat, and a majority that wants victory."

These remarks, by liberal think tanks and former anti-war generals, have the left wing fanatics caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Victory for the USA means oblivion for the democrats...T

It's not often that an opinion article shakes up Washington and changes the way a major issue is viewed. But that happened last week, when The New York Times printed an opinion article by Brookings Institution analysts Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack on the progress of the surge strategy in Iraq.

Yes, progress. O'Hanlon and Pollack supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- Pollack even wrote a book urging the overthrow of Saddam Hussein -- but they have sharply criticized military operations there in the ensuing years.

"As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq," they wrote, "we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory,' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with."

Their bottom line: "There is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008."

That's not what almost all their fellow Democrats in Congress want to hear. Freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda of Kansas, who unseated Republican Jim Ryun last fall, bolted from a hearing room when retired Gen. Jack Keane described positive developments in Iraq. When she came back, she explained: "But let me first just say that the description of Iraq as in some way or another that it's a place that I might take the family for a vacation -- things are going so well -- those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country, instead of saying, here's the reality of the problem. And people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."

But reality can change -- and in war it often does. For George W. Bush and his leading advisers, the reality of Iraq in June 2003 was that we had won a major military victory and that any postwar messiness was not a big problem. We'd put a proconsul in for a year, set up elections and install an Iraqi government, train Iraqi soldiers and police, and restrict our troops to a light footprint. But that reality changed, into full-fledged sectarian warfare, after al-Qaida bombed the Shiite mosque in Samarra in February 2006.

Bush and his military commanders acted as if that reality hadn't changed, until the voters weighed in last November. Then, Bush made changes, installing new commanders and ordering a surge -- an increase in troops, and a more forward strategy of confronting and cleaning out al-Qaida terrorists. And the reality apparently has once again changed.

It can be argued that the surge will prove insufficient to produce the "sustainable stability" that O'Hanlon and Pollack see as a possible result. Serious military experts have argued that we still don't have enough troops or that we won't be able to keep enough troops in place long enough -- current force rotations indicate a net drawdown of troops next spring. And certainly there is room to make the argument that Bush should have acted sooner, as the results of the Samarra bombing became apparent months before the voters' wakeup call.

But it is also reasonably clear that Boyda's "reality of this issue" -- that our effort in Iraq has definitively and finally failed so clearly that there should be no further discussion -- may no longer be operative. That, instead of accepting defeat and inviting chaos, we may be able to achieve a significant measure of success.

Wars don't stand still. In June 1942, the House of Commons debated a resolution of no confidence in Winston Churchill's government. Four months later came the war-changing victory at El Alamein.
Gen. David Petraeus, the author of the Army's new counterinsurgency manual and the commander in Iraq, is scheduled to report on the surge in mid-September. The prospect of an even partially positive report has sent chills up the spines of Democratic leaders in Congress. That, says House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, would be "a real big problem for us."

The Democratic base has been furious that Democrats in Congress haven't pulled the plug on the war already, and Democratic strategists have been anticipating big electoral gains from military defeat. But if the course of the war can change, so can public opinion. A couple of recent polls showed increased support for the decision to go to war and belief that the surge is working. If opinion continues to shift that way, if others come to see things as O'Hanlon and Pollack have, Democrats could find themselves trapped between a base that wants retreat and defeat, and a majority that wants victory.
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