October 20, 2008


Steyn for the win -- as usual!

....Alas, as a result of this massive investment of journalistic resouces, no investigative reporter will be free to investigate ACORN voter-registration fraud or Obama’s ties to terrorist educator William Ayers until, oh, midway through his second term at least.

Under the headline “Is ‘Joe The Plumber’ A Plumber? That’s Debatable”, John Seewer of the Associated Press triumphantly revealed that Joe is not a “licensed” plumber. In fact, he doesn’t need to be licensed for the residential plumbing he does, but isn’t that just typical of Bush-McCain insane out-of-control deregulation? It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that most of these subprime homeowners got Joe in to plumb their subprime bathrooms. Next thing you know, the entire global economy goes down the toilet. Coincidence?

Joe is now the most notorious plumber in American politics since the Watergate plumbers. And they weren’t licensed, either. It turns out Joe doesn’t even make 250 grand, and it’s only the 250-thousand-a-year types who’ll be paying more (please, no tittering) under Good King Barack. Joe Biden — that’s Joe the Bluecollar Senator — said that he didn’t know any 250,000-dollars plumbers in his neighborhood, or even in the first-class club car on Amtrak he rides every night to demonstrate his bluecollar bonafides. On Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer emphasized this point, anxious to give the apostate plumber one last chance to go with the flow:

Read the whole thing

Posted by Ith at 9:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 5, 2008

Palin Derangement Syndrome

In short, Sarah Palin is the emblem of what feminism was supposed to be all about: an unafraid, independent, audacious woman, who soared on her own merits without the aid of a patriarchal jumpstart, high-brow matrimonial tutelage and capital, and old-boy liaisons and networking.

What he said.

The rest here.

Posted by Ith at 9:37 AM

July 1, 2008

'America's Jedi Knight'

Loved Jonah Goldberg's column today on the Obamessiah:

... "I am absolutely certain," he proclaimed upon clinching the Democratic nomination, "that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." So wait, America never provided care for the sick or good jobs for the jobless until St. Barack arrived? That doesn't sound like the country most Americans think of when they wave their flags on the Fourth of July.

Obama went on to say that he will "remake" the country. Well, what if you don't want it remade? And Michelle Obama — who believes America is "downright mean" and is proud of America for the first time because of her husband's success — insists that Barack will make you "work" for change and that he will "demand that you, too, be different." What if you don't want to work for Obama's change? What if you don't want to be "different"?

Liberals might giggle at what to them sounds like paranoia. But if you aren't already entranced by Obama, Obamania can seem not only vaguely anti-American but also downright otherworldly. Star Wars creator George Lucas recently proclaimed that it's "reasonably obvious" Obama is a Jedi Knight. Mark Morford, a particularly loopy San Francisco Chronicle columnist, says Obama isn't really "one of us." Rather, he's a "Lightworker," the sort of being who can help us find "a new way of being on the planet." Self-help guru Deepak Chopra insists that an Obama victory would bring about "a quantum leap in American consciousness." Even NBC's Chris Matthews has been entranced by Obama's Jedi mind tricks. Obamania, he says, is "bigger than Kennedy. … This is the New Testament."

The whole thing here.

Posted by Ith at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2008

That About Covers It

The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death.


Read the rest of Chickenfeedhawks.

Posted by Ith at 8:07 PM

November 2, 2007

We Have Questions

Does she have answers?

Jonah Goldberg has a list of questions for Hillary.

Posted by Ith at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2007

'Look Who's Holding Hostages Again'

Mark Steyn on the current crop of U.S. hostages in Iran:

How do you feel about the American hostages in Iran?

No, not the guys back in the Seventies, the ones being held right now.

What? You haven't heard about them?

Read the rest here.

Posted by Ith at 12:49 PM

July 17, 2007


The G-File is back!!

And there was much rejoicing!

Posted by Ith at 1:16 PM

May 11, 2007

We Won't Hold Our Breath

An exceprt from a larger VDH piece:

....These workers belong to no European-style union, operate under no 35-hour work week protocols, enjoy no lifetime employment. They are the world’s most industrious laborers and we should be upset that high gas falls upon them inordinately.

As Americans we should all take a pledge: that we promise to use one toilet paper square, to turn up the thermostat to 75 degrees this summer, and to borrow to buy a Prius, when Al Gore and John Edwards move back down to, say, 3,000 square feet, when Sheryl Crow vows never to ride in a private jet, and when Ms. David promises to stay away from energy-burning commercial jets to Europe.

Right now I worry more about how Hector Rosales is going to pay the extra cost for his 1983 Ford 150 to get to north Fresno to mow lawns than Laurie David Gulfstreaming to her Martha Vineyard’s second home, while on break from her LA enclave.

Posted by Ith at 11:14 AM

May 9, 2007

VDH on the Ft. Dix Plot

The Fort Dix arrests raise the same-old/same-old script.

X-numbers of jihadists are caught trying to plot assassination, or to attack an airliner, or to take out a mall. They all will deny it.

Someone like CAIR will jump in, perhaps with the ACLU, alleging improper this and that; and the public after privately sighing relief and a few guarded grumbles along the politically incorrect lines of “Who in the hell let these people in this country?” will return to its normal state of amnesia.

And as long as these plots are not successful — or for that matter others like the recent Saudi effort to blow up an oil field, or those uncovered in Britain promising more killing — then we can have our hot-house arguments over whether we are really in a “war against terror” as we put scare quotes on anything associated with the notion of an Islamic threat.

But, if just one time, one of these plots succeeds and reaches a magnitude of 9/11 then the media will revert to form — suddenly dropping the “Bush took away our civil liberties” for “Bush didn’t do enough to protect us.”

And then, of course, the irony of it all can be seen in the profile of the suspects: Islamic terrorists from the former Yugoslavia, on whose behalf the U.S. bombed a European Christian country; illegal aliens at a time when those who object to the immigration crisis are considered nativists; a former resident of Jordan, a country showered with U.S. aid. At some point, we see how insidious are the effect of Middle East ingratitude, and how the envy and hatred of that region permeates its expatriates, the more so the United States has tried to help them.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution

Posted by Ith at 12:56 PM

November 9, 2006

Reading List

Ordered and in the mail: America Alone

Will report back after I've read it.

Posted by Ith at 4:24 PM

May 3, 2006

This Made Me Spit Tea

When I clicked on NRO, I got this:


Too funny!

Posted by Ith at 3:37 PM

February 10, 2006

'Losing Civilization'

Today's piece by Victor Davis Hanson is excellent.

.... Second, we, not the Islamists, are secure; our dependency on oil has masked a greater reality: that the Muslim Middle East, as in the days of the Ottomans, is parasitic on the West for advancements of all sorts, from heart surgery to computers. Most of the hatred expressed over the cartoons was beamed on television, through the Internet, or communicated over cell phones that would not exist in Pakistan, Syria, or Iran without imported technology.

The Islamists are also sad bullies, who hunt out causes for offense in the most obscure places, but would recoil at the first sign of Western defiance. Turkey may say little to the Islamists now, but they would say lots if the European Union decided to pass on its inclusion into the union. Local imams sound fiery, but if the West is too debauched a place for any pure Muslim to endure, why then do they not lead, Moses-like, an exodus of the devout away from the rising flood of decadence, and back to the paradise of a purer Syria or Algeria?


The deluded here might believe that the divide is a moral one, between a supposedly decadent secular West and a pious Middle East, rather than an existential one that is fueled by envy, jealousy, self-pity, and victimization. But to believe the cartoons represent the genuine anguish of an aggrieved puritanical society tainted by Western decadence, one would have to ignore that Turkey is the global nexus for the sex-slave market, that Afghanistan is the world's opium farm, that the Saudi Royals have redefined casino junketeering, and that the repository of Hitlerian imagery is in the West Bank and Iran.

The entire controversy over the cartoons is ludicrous, but often in history the trivial and ludicrous can wake a people up before the significant and tragic follow.

Posted by Ith at 3:00 PM | Comments (2)

December 8, 2005

I Knew It Was Jonah

I have the Corner RSS feed on my Yahoo homepage, and I saw this subject header: "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!!!". I immediatly knew that it was a post by Jonah Goldberg, and I also knew what it meant. Should I be scared? Probably.

Posted by Ith at 10:10 AM | Comments (5)

November 7, 2005

When Everything Old Is New Again

A bit from Mark Steyn's latest. All of it is here.

.....The French have been here before, of course. Seven-thirty-two. Not 7:32 Paris time, which is when the nightly Citroen-torching begins, but 732 A.D. -- as in one and a third millennia ago. By then, the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were not exactly at the gates of Paris, but they were within 200 miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours. Somewhere on the road between Poitiers and Tours, they met a Frankish force and, unlike other Christian armies in Europe, this one held its ground ''like a wall . . . a firm glacial mass,'' as the Chronicle of Isidore puts it. A week later, Abd al-Rahman was dead, the Muslims were heading south, and the French general, Charles, had earned himself the surname ''Martel'' -- or ''the Hammer.''

Poitiers was the high-water point of the Muslim tide in western Europe. It was an opportunistic raid by the Moors, but if they'd won, they'd have found it hard to resist pushing on to Paris, to the Rhine and beyond. ''Perhaps,'' wrote Edward Gibbon in The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, ''the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.'' There would be no Christian Europe. The Anglo-Celts who settled North America would have been Muslim. Poitiers, said Gibbon, was ''an encounter which would change the history of the whole world.''

Battles are very straightforward: Side A wins, Side B loses. But the French government is way beyond anything so clarifying. Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They're in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort. It's way too late to rerun the Battle of Poitiers. In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ''French youths'' since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. ''There's a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,'' said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes' trade union Action Police CFTC. ''We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.''

Posted by Ith at 9:42 AM

September 16, 2005

"Great Scott"

Great Scott: James Montgomery Doohan (19202005) by Mark Steyn

(you can only read part of it unless you're a subscriber -- which I'm not)

Via The Corner

Posted by Ith at 8:32 AM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2005

Lonely Days

Jonah Goldberg predicts lonely days ahead for us.

Can't say I disagree. But I'm very much an "Eeyore" when it comes to international relations.

(The glass isn't half empty -- it's going to shatter into a million pieces)

Posted by Ith at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2005

"Tinkertoy Terminator"

Jonah Goldberg on Arnold Schwarzenegger and the recall.

Posted by Ith at 10:20 AM

June 28, 2005

Not Just For The Cocoa Puffs

After a long drought, where I was parched by the lack of a real honest to goodness G File, this morning, my thirst is sated.

Something to whet your whistle, before I send you off to read the rest:

About a month ago, I helped a Muslim woman with her groceries in a supermarket parking lot. She was dealing with her kids and her shopping cart started to roll away from her car with the groceries still inside. As it rolled, I saw a decent society of tolerance and kindness rolling away. The carts one wobbly wheel going chapocketa, chapocketa, chapocketa was onomatopoetically tapping out a small drumbeat for the forced march to oblivion of all we hold dear.

Thank goodness I was there.

Thank goodness this country produces heroes like me.

I sprang into action. Walking more than a dozen yards without concern about the parking-lot traffic, heedless of the SUVs barreling along at 5 perhaps even 10 MPH not even caring about what my fellow Americans might make of me giving aid and comfort to a Muslim woman. I knew that this womans faith in the American way of life was on the line! And I was going to do what was necessary! I grabbed that shopping cart and I pushed it through all the fear and bigotry this country has smothered that poor woman with. I pushed that shopping cart back to that womans minivan not so much so she could more easily unload her Cocoa Puffs, but because I have a dream. I have a dream that one day little Muslim boys and little Jewish boys, little Arab girls and little Scots-Irish girls will be able to join hands as sisters and brothers and push that great shopping cart we call America together with their one free hand.

I don't use the word "hero" lightly, but I am the greatest hero in American history. Except, maybe, for Al Gore.

Off you go!

Posted by Ith at 9:14 AM

June 17, 2005

A Sorry Bunch

VDH has a must read today.

Posted by Ith at 9:48 AM

June 15, 2005

Who Is Louis Pepe?

Until today's column by Jonah Goldberg, I hadn't heard of him. I have now, and I wonder: what about our elected representatives who are so eager to shut down Gitmo? Doesn't say much about them, no matter their answer, does it?

Posted by Ith at 2:45 PM

June 10, 2005

The Global Shift

Interesting reading from VDH on global power shifts, the U.S., India, and China.

Posted by Ith at 3:37 PM

May 16, 2005

And Cut Your Own Lawn While You're At It

VDH on illegal immigration: A Quick Fix -- Do Your Own Dishes. He hits pretty much all my points on the subject, and writes so much better than I do, so just go read.

Posted by Ith at 3:54 PM | Comments (5)

February 14, 2005

Chipmunks & Stuff

Jonah Goldberg has a good column out today: Raines, Rather, Jordan...

The whole thing is good, but I keep coming back for the chipmunks.

Posted by Ith at 3:33 PM | Comments (1)

January 20, 2005

Late Morning Reading

Victor Davis Hanson just posted on "The Corner" over at NRO.

Posted by Ith at 11:19 AM

October 15, 2004

The Therapeutic Mind

Good one today from VDH:

.... To all you of the therapeutic mindset, listen up. We can no more reason with the Islamic fascists than we could sympathize with the Nazis' demands over supposedly exploited Germans in Czechoslovakia or the problem of Tojo's Japan's not getting its timely scrap-metal shipments from Roosevelt's America. Their pouts and gripes are not intended to be adjudicated as much as to weaken the resolve of many in the United States who find the entire "war against terror" too big, or the wrong kind, of a nuisance.

Instead, read the fatwas. You hear not just of America's injustice in Palestine or Chechnya not to mention nothing about saving Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo or Afghanistan of the 1980s but also of what we did in Spain in the 15th century and in Tyre, Gaza, and Jerusalem in the 12th. The mystery of September 11, 2001, is not that it happened, but that it did not quite happen when first tried in 1993 during Bill Clinton's madcap efforts to move a smiling Arafat into the Lincoln Bedroom and keep our hands off bin Laden. Only an American with a JD or PhD would cling to the idea that there was not a connection between Group A Middle Eastern terrorists who attacked the WTC in 1993 and Group B who finished the job in 2001.

Posted by Ith at 9:08 AM | Comments (8)

October 8, 2004

I'm Angry

He's angry.

Must read, folks, must read. I can't just pick one bit to excerpt, because it all hits me right in the gut.

Posted by Ith at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2004

Things To Read

Two "must reads" today:

Steyn: Fantasy and "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Hanson: Civilization vs. Trivia

Posted by Ith at 11:29 AM

July 8, 2004

The Real Choice

Jonah Goldberg on the John John ticket:

.... The two Johns believe that America's problems lie in the White House, not overseas. They believe that there's a rich supply of "allies" who would take bullets intended for Americans, if only George Bush had better manners. They believe, despite the fact that George Bush has increased spending on education by 60 percent, and despite the fact that the environment is cleaner now than any time in more than 50 years, that what America really needs more than anything is an education president, an environmental president. Meanwhile, as our enemies lop the heads off our citizens and plan more 9/11s, George Bush says we need a war president. Sounds like the makings of a great debate.
Posted by Ith at 12:38 PM

May 7, 2004

Context & Hysteria

Jonah Goldberg's latest:

Because it is required to repeat the obvious as if it were catechism during feeding-frenzy moments like this, let me say again: The abuse of Iraqi prisoners depicted in those now world-famous photos is an outrageous scandal and the perpetrators must be punished.

O.K., now can I say something else?

CBS should be ashamed for running those photos.

Read the rest.

Posted by Ith at 9:43 AM | Comments (2)

March 18, 2004

An Epic Battle Rages

You all know how much I love Jonah Goldberg at NRO. I mean, what's not to love? He's even been kind enough to reply to my emails, so he gets props for that. (Oooh! I used the word "props" for the first time) (I feel so 'happening') As I was saying... It turns out Frank J. is after Jonah's job, and has written two letters to Jonah's boss, Rich Lowry, explaining why he is 'da man'. Jonah is being ably defended by these guys, and Frank has his katana, so it's going to be a battle of epic proportions, I'm sure. Since I'm also fond of Frank, I'm not sure who to throw my support to. I think I'll just be Switzerland -- unless someone would like to offer me monetary inducement, flattery, links. That works too.

Posted by Ith at 5:15 PM | Comments (5)

February 5, 2004


Particularly liked Jonah's column over at NRO today:

All of the Democratic contenders say that George W. Bush "divides" Americans like never before and that they and only they will be able to unite Americans. John Kerry says Bush uses "wedge issues" like the Defense of Marriage Act to divide the American people (even though it was Bill Clinton who did that). Howard Dean, before he imploded like a vegan souffl, was fond of declaring, "I am tired of being divided by race in this country. I'm tired of being divided by abortion, by gay rights."

John Edwards has a whole shtick about how the country is divided into "two Americas": There's an America for people of "privilege," and then there's an America for "the rest of us." Meanwhile the editorialists liberal as well as many conservatives wring their hands about the terrible fissures in American life dividing Americans. Former Clinton pollster Stanley Greenberg, in his new book The Two Americas, also says America is divided into, uh, two Americas. He writes: "Our nation's political landscape is now divided more deeply and more evenly than perhaps ever before."

Phooey. Well, half phooey.

Amen! As if there were a Dem president, we'd all be like happy little Smurfs, singing and holding hands, with nothing to divide us. Like hell! I promise you, if one of those guys is our next president, I shall be the most unhappy and divisive person you know. And be damned proud of it in the process.

This is my personal pledge to you, my gentle and beloved readers. See if you can get that kind of love from the InstaDude! :)

Posted by Ith at 5:26 PM | Comments (1)

December 30, 2003

In My Heart, I Always Knew

While perusing SDB's latest on the upcoming election (which you should go read all of) (do I need to even actually say that?) (never mind) I discovered something I think I've always secretly known in my heart o' hearts: I'm a White Male. No, really. I am! SDB offers proof in black and white:

* Analysts in both parties agree that Bush is benefiting among white men from his aggressive use of force against terrorism and his alternately folksy and blunt "bring 'em on" personal style.

* To a great extent, this is because white men as a group prefer cowboys to metrosexuals.

* The ideal "is that a real man is a man of few words and determined, resolute action: like in [the movie] 'High Noon.' And Bush captures this almost perfectly and effortlessly."

The president's black-and-white pronouncements on terrorism and war from his promise to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" to his "bring 'em on" taunt to Iraqi resisters which generate unease among many women and even some more affluent men, help cement Bush's attachment to blue-collar men, who, recent polls show, support him at higher levels than men with college degrees.

* Bush is benefiting, too, from a political environment focused on terrorism and national security issues that highlight the aspects of his personality that many men like best. Men have traditionally been more inclined than women to support military action, and recent polls show white men significantly more enthusiastic about the decision to invade Iraq than other Americans.

"He kind of runs a testosterone-driven White House, in terms of both the rhetoric and the dominant issue, which is war," said John Anzalone, an Alabama-based Democratic pollster. "It's a natural resonance with men, particularly white men. Usually the only thing that knocks that down for a Democrat is the economy."

* As long as the Democratic nomination is still in doubt, Democratic candidates won't be able to begin to moderate their message so as to begin to appeal to centrist voters. And by early August, the centrist consensus may end up as "A plague on all their houses" -- especially among white men, who are especially repelled by rhetoric which appeals to the Berkeley-left inside the Democratic party.

There you have it. I can no longer deny what I really am.

I feel so empowered now.....

(where's my damn tequila??)

Posted by Ith at 1:27 PM | Comments (7)

December 11, 2003

Tradition & Change

SDB has a post on Japan that's well worth a read. From a young age, I was around people from Japan. I grew up in a hotel a block from UC Berkeley, and we had many groups of Japanese businessmen go through. Since my father was the manager, he was at a lot of social functions the owner would hold, and invariably, the men, missing their own families, would want to meet me and my brother. I have so many great memories from so many encounters, I'm not sure which ones to talk about.

They were always insatiably curious about American life, and constantly asked us questions. Over the Bicentennial, we stuffed a bunch of gentlemen in our station wagon and went to watch the fireworks. One of the men wanted my brother and I to teach him American children's songs. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has the entire car load in stitches.

There was "Tex", that's what he wanted to be called. One of the younger men, who was obsessed with Texas. He was ready to go to Dallas for the day! He had no real concept of how big the US was. I'll always remember him and his cowboy hat.

One year, it was around Xmas, one of the men was having dinner with us, and my mum was trying to explain what turkey was. That was when we realized that animal sounds are different in other languages! I still remember the laughter when mum was going , "gobble, gobble.

When I was 14, a family moved into the hotel temporarily. The oldest daughter was my age, and we became good friends. After they moved back to Japan, we remained in contact. Four years ago, I was the bridesmaid at her wedding in San Francisco to a man from Rome. Now they live here permanently, and have a doll of a little girl. (I'm 40 now, so we've been friends a looong time!) My friend's father still wants me to come to Japan so he can show me around. Apparently, he has a whole itinerary planned! I hope to be able to do it one day.

I'm not sure if my interest in Japanese culture is a chicken or egg thing actually. But I do find it a fascinating one. I've been fortunate to have met so many people from Japan, and to learn something about them and their very different culture. A series of books I can heartily recommend are the Sano Ichiro novels, which take place in 17th century Japan. Great stuff if you have an interest in history and/or Japan.

Update: Going for the traffic jam!

Posted by Ith at 6:24 PM | Comments (4)

November 25, 2003

Lucky Dog!

No, not Cosmo.

Jonah gets to see Return of the King in a preview showing on the 8th!! I'm very jealous!

Posted by Ith at 5:44 PM

November 20, 2003

A Nifty Ringlet

My favourite columnist. Jonah Goldberg, is going to be interviewed for a documentary that will be on the RotK DVD when it's released! How cool is that?

One of his Corner comments on it gave me a giggle:

If you're sitting there, fists clenched in rage around Frodo and Gandalf action figures wondering why I get to do this Lord of the Rings interview
while you can recite the The Silmarillion from memory, I'm sorry. Apparently the documentary's producers liked my review of the first movie. You may be more qualified -- you know who you are -- but in this instance, "there can be only one!"

Oh, wait, that's from Highlander.

(Somewhere, some LOTR geek just shouted "Argghhh! It burns!")

And he was nice enough to reply to my email congratulating him. I know he gets more mail then anyone can deal with, so it meant a lot that he took the time.

Oh, and if you've never read the review in question, you should. His commentary on Tolkien and the books was spot on and one of the best things I've read on the subject. (and boy, have I read a lot!)

Posted by Ith at 5:55 PM | Comments (3)

October 24, 2003

As Always

Lots of good stuff in VDH's latest.

.... For some reason or another, a series of enormously important issues the future of the Middle East, the credibility of the United States as both a strong and a moral power, the war against the Islamic fundamentalists, the future of the U.N. and NATO, our own politics here at home now hinge on America's efforts at creating a democracy out of chaos in Iraq. That is why so many politicians in the U.N., the EU, Germany, France, the corrupt Middle East governments, and a host of others are so strident in their criticism, so terrified that in a postmodern world the United States can still recognize evil, express moral outrage, and then sacrifice money and lives to eliminate something like Saddam Hussein and leave things far better after the fire and smoke clear. People, much less states, are not supposed to do that anymore in a world where good is a relative construct, force is a thing of the past, and the easy life is too precious to be even momentarily interrupted. We may expect that, a year from now, the last desperate card in the hands of the anti-Americanists will be not that Iraq is democratic, but that it is democratic solely through the agency of the United States a fate worse than remaining indigenously murderous and totalitarian.

Throughout this long, perilous road the acrimony leading up to the war, the sudden fickleness of Turkey, the last-ditch efforts of the Saddamites to empty their prisons and arm thugs and criminals, the looting of infrastructure, and the destruction of power, water, and transportation facilities strategy and tactics were constantly in flux and events conspired to make the American effort more difficult with each unforeseen hurdle.

Yet here we stand, a little more than six months later, with a country that was the worst in the Middle East evolving into the best. We are witnessing nothing less than the revolutionary and great moral event of the age, and when it comes to pass, a reborn democratic Iraq will overturn almost all the conventional wisdom, here and abroad, about the Middle East, the nature and purpose of war in our age, the moral differences between Europe and America and the place in history of George W. Bush.

No wonder the current hysteria looks likely to increase in the months ahead.

Posted by Ith at 5:36 PM

Speaking Of Jonah...

He explains why he was wrong about the French.

Posted by Ith at 5:23 PM

October 8, 2003

A Goldbeg File, Yes....

... but this was the bit that cracked me up:

....But that's an argument for another day. California has only one governor at a time and this one deserves the benefit of the doubt. And besides, by winning despite the best efforts of feminists (and Huffington too), he managed to make his greatest line from Conan the Barbarian, obviously into something of a prophecy. In that film he was asked, "Conan, what is best in life?" He answered: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!"

The whole 'file' here.

Posted by Ith at 5:40 PM

September 24, 2003

Goldberg Catch Up

Still finding stuff I missed while I was away. Here's Jonah Goldberg's column from Spet. 11, 2003.

..... As with all deranged people, the compassionate have two possible courses of action: They can try to help or, if that doesn't work, they can try to protect themselves through less-gentle means. Obviously, the best protection is to help the deranged get un-deranged. And that is what we are trying so desperately to do in Iraq. We are trying through example, persuasion, and all-too necessary toughness to show the Arab world that there is a better way than grinding poverty, violence, and corruption. I, like most Americans, truly want it to work. But if it doesn't, if the cup-of-coffee-and-the-sandwich approach doesn't work, America will still do what is necessary to protect itself. And that won't be the preferable option for anybody. Trust me.

Worth reading it all.

Posted by Ith at 6:05 PM | Comments (2)

September 4, 2003

The Politics Of Dangerous Stupidity

Jonah Goldberg writes on Bush=Hitler.

.... Show me the camps. Show me the millions of people being gassed. Show me the tattoos on people's arms. Show me elderly Muslim men being beaten in the streets, their stores smashed, and books burned. Show me huge piles of emaciated bodies stocked high like cords of wood.

Instead, on the web we find juxtaposed pictures of Bush with a dog and Hitler with a dog; Bush posing with children and Hitler posing with children; Bush appearing before large crowds and Hitler appearing before large crowds. By such "standards" every president every politician since at least the day photography was invented is a Nazi. To assume the mantle of "reasonableness" as Lindorff does by conceding that Bush isn't as good an orator as Hitler was, is to claim soundness of mind by conceding that a clock doesn't melt because vests have no sleeves.

The likes of Wolin and Abbot Gleason are more clever. They, too, say that Nazism is coming, but they don't refer to the Holocaust. They simply mean an illiberal regime with imperial ambitions is in the offing. I think this is ludicrous, too. But it's a different argument. Nevertheless, the intellectuals insist on using Nazism as a way of decrying what they see as American militarism. But comparing America to Nazi Germany in this way is like saying Jonah Goldberg is just like the "Son of Sam" serial killer because they both get lots of parking tickets. To leave out all the genocide and murder is to leave out a pretty important part of the story.

So if you can't show me the death camps and the horror, find another example. Compare Bush to Bismarck or Franco or Mikey from the Life cereal commercials for all I care because any of those would make more sense.

Posted by Ith at 5:35 PM

August 21, 2003


Another good VDH column: Phase Three?

Because September 11 was a direct consequence of our early failures to confront our enemies, our general response to the latest challenges should be even greater defiance. It is time to bring to fruition the president's warning of nearly two years ago, that one is either with or against the terrorists. So Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, from which our enemies (many now in Iraq) operate, must either close their borders, turn over terrorists, and join the ranks of civilization or chose the side of barbarism and accept the terrible consequences of such a fatal decision.
Posted by Ith at 5:13 PM

August 11, 2003

Not The Nazi You're Looking For

I have a feeling this will be one of the most quoted bits around the blogiverse today. The latest gem from Mark Steyn, this time on the charges that Arnold is a Nazi:

Okay, Arnold's not a Nazi. He was born in the Austrian town of Thal, but not until 1947, and thus was technically unable to join the Nazi Party no matter how much he may have wanted to. But he certainly has family ties to the Nazis. His wife's grandfather, Joe Kennedy, was one of America's most prominent Nazi sympathisers.

Oh, wait. That's not the Nazi family ties the Dems had in mind?

And in other news, this is my first full day back at work since I've been sick, so wish me luck!

Posted by Ith at 7:45 AM | Comments (2)

August 1, 2003

Cultural Honey Bees

SDB has a very good post on "cultural cross-pollination". Part of the post touches on what I was attmepting to say here. But of course, being Steven, it's much better written! So go on and read it all.

Posted by Ith at 7:55 AM

July 26, 2003

Hanging Around A Petrol Station

Mark Steyn's latest is a hoot.

Good evening. Reports that the former Italian leader Benito Mussolini is "dead" and "hanging" "upside down" at a petrol station were received with scepticism in Rome today. Our "reporter" - whoops, scrub the inverted commas round "reporter", the scare-quotes key on the typewriter's jammed again. Anyway our reporter Andrew "Gilligan" is "on" the scene "in" Milan. Andrew...

Andrew Gilligan: I'm leaning on a lamp post at the corner of the street in case a certain little duce swings by, and I don't see any dead dictators, John. But then the Allies have a history of making these premature announcements...

He's just above your head, Andrew. I know you don't like to do wide shots, but, if the camera pulls back, I think you'll find that's definitely a finger tickling the back of your ear...

AG: Well, there you are. He's not hanging from a petrol station, is he? He's hanging from a rope attached to a girder on the forecourt of a petrol station. We've become all too familiar with the Allies playing fast and loose with the facts.


Thank you, gentlemen. Meanwhile, the turbulent region's only independent TV network, al-Dente, reported that most Italians refuse to believe that the former duce is really dead. Joining me now are French intellectual theorist Michel Foucault and the leading Italian fundamentalist cleric, Pastor Al Forno, a vocal critic of the Allied administration.

Pastor Al Forno: This is yet more Hollywood-style trickery from the Americans. In the bars of Rome they are certain that this is a doctored still from Esther Williams's aquatic ballet in Million-Dollar Mermaid, with Esther and the girls diving off the boards retouched to look like hanging fascists. If you look closely, you can see the outlines of the swimsuits under the blackshirts. And the cheering Italian peasants in the background are Victor Mature and Walter Pidgeon. This propaganda is so crude it's laughable.

But it's 1945 and Million-Dollar Mermaid won't be made till 1952. Isn't that the case, Professor Foucault?

Michel Foucault: Ah, mon cher BBC ami, the very concept of time is a social construct intended to produce effects of reality within a false chronological discourse. For all we know, Mademoiselle Williams's movie may already be in development at MGM.

Thank you, M le Professeur. As the situation in post-war Europe deteriorates, a new poll shows that 20 per cent of Germans believe the British were behind the invasion of Poland.

Very funny stuff! Go read it all.

Posted by Ith at 11:11 AM

July 4, 2003

Recall Madness

Jonah Goldberg's take on the Davis recall. He hits a lot of the points that have me concerned.

As an aside, we went in to downtown Monterey for dinner on Tuesday, where the Farmer's Market was just winding down. The Recall Davis table was on the corner, and the guy at the table was getting into it with a Davis supporter waiting to cross the street. The Davis guy was screaming, "I want to get rid of Bush!!"

Ahhh... California!

Posted by Ith at 2:03 PM | Comments (1)

July 3, 2003

Just Thinking About Tomorrow

Tomorrow hell be yesterdays man

"Howard Dean, Democratic front-runner, is arrogant and thin-skinned, says Mark Steyn, and pretty soon hell be forgotten"

Posted by Ith at 7:41 AM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2003

Oh My!

SDB on Americans not visiting France these days.

When I took a vacation in the Netherlands, about 1990, when we first got out of the train from Schiphol to the center of Amsterdam I wanted to ask a railway guard there for help. But I didn't want to make the traditional ugly-American assumption that "everyone speaks English", so I walked up to the railway guard and said, "Pardon me, do you speak English"? His answer: "Yes. Do you?"

After that, we stopped asking while we were in any of the major cities. (I was told later that this was pretty typical Dutch humor.) The simple fact is that everyone, everyone we ran into in Amsterdam and The Hague were fluent in English. It wasn't until we were out in the sticks, such as the Frisian countryside, or Waddeneilanden, that it was actually something we needed to worry about, and even there the young people all spoke English. But even there, no one ever seemed to resent us as English-only speakers. I don't recall any negative vibes from anyone anywhere.

I had a similar experience there. We were in Harlem, and I needed to get my glasses fixed, so I walked into an eyeglass shop on the main street, hoping to get them repaired. The very nice lady in the store explained to me that Dutch is a language no one in Holland expected anyone to learn!

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I had several unpleasant experiences in Heidelberg, even though I'd learned the basics (please, thank you, hello, goodbye and such) so as not to be rude. We walked into one shop so I could look at some earrings that were in the window, and when I asked about them, was informed this wasn't a "tourist store". Then, at the winery at the castle, I asked for a glass of wine, using what German I knew, and the guy at the counter literally slammed the glass down in front of me like he'd really have rather thrown it at me.

Holland, I'd love to visit again, Germany isn't on my revisit list!

Posted by Ith at 5:21 PM

June 3, 2003

No Foregone Conclusions

Another good read from Victor Davis Hanson: Lessons of the War

The whole thing is well worth your time, but I've included a small excerpt below.

Until recently, it seems to have been widely believed in the Arab world that the superior technology of the West could, in fact, be nullified by just such threats of random and horrific violence, perpetrated by goose-stepping death squads or masked, pajama-clad bombers. And the breakneck effort to craft weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, and nuclear, must also be seen largely in this contexti.e., the desire to find a surrogate capability, particularly after the loss of the Soviet Unions nuclear deterrent, that might restore to Arab regimes the perceived power to stave off utter defeat in a conventional war against Israel or the West.

In their choice of military tactics, Arab dictators and Arab terrorists are, indeed, birds of a feather. Baathists who in the recent conflict ran from the 3rd Mechanized Division and suddenly reconstituted themselves as gun-toting civilians in the streets of Mosul and Tikrit resemble the West Bank Palestinian martyrs brigades who in daytime pose as nationalist protestors and at night become masked assassins. The Saddam fedayeen who bushwhacked American columns were pale imitations of Hamas and Hizbullah. It was no accident that suicide bombers and Arab martyrs showed up in the penultimate stages of the war in hopes of murdering Americans at check points and on patrols. Nor is it a surprise that Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas, the Palestinian murderer-terrorists, should have felt so at home for so long in Baghdad.

WHAT IS it that permits this radically dysfunctional system to perpetuate itself? The question is really political rather than military, and ultimately the answer is a state-induced terror that has its roots in the absence of consensual government and of notions of personal freedom, thus ensuring little self-criticism or accountability in matters of war-making or anything else. Helping to keep this entire edifice afloat is an ingrained (but also state-supported) habit of denial: a disavowal of just how deep, and how self-inflicted, are the deficiencies of ones own society; a rejection of every alternative view of reality that would expose these inadequacies for what they are; an unwillingness to assume any responsibility for repairing them.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, American viewers were exasperated or convulsed at the circus-like spectacle provided by Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the so-called Baathist information ministera/k/a Baghdad Bobwhose daily communiqus detailed an endless string of catastrophes for coalition forces. Seeming at first odious, then deranged, at last almost entertaining, al-Sahaf confidently declaimed lines like We have killed most of the infidels, and I think we will finish the rest soon even as split-screen television images revealed Abrams tanks looming a few miles away, or Marines resting in Saddams Baghdad palaces.

A joke, but too bitter to be mere jest. Such state-sponsored whoppers, spread from Ramallah to Cairo and beyond, are hardly a new phenomenon. In June 1967, as Michael Oren reminds us in Six Days of War, there were triumphant broadcasts about heroic Arab armies approaching the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Egyptian jets pounding Israel even as Israeli soldiers were sweeping to victory on three fronts and Egyptian air fields were littered with the remains of that countrys air force, destroyed in the first minutes of war. Such fabrications are among the intellectual legacies of the Arab regimes of the Middle East, whose homegrown proclivities toward mythmaking and braggadocio were only enhanced by decades of immersion in a Soviet-style disinformation apparatus.

Posted by Ith at 5:40 PM

June 1, 2003

Reporting From Iraq...

Mark Steyn.

'nuff said, go read!

Posted by Ith at 1:31 PM

April 28, 2003

Of Dixie Chickens & Hackers

Jonah Goldberg is on today. Check out his latest:

....Now, I don't want to belabor this point, but there is something remarkably obvious that needs to be said. In countries where actual free speech is threatened, where fascism or Orwellian thought control are the order of the day, the victims of the backlash don't typically go on to pose naked on the cover of a magazine, mock their critics, and score exclusive primetime interviews on national TV as well as, literally, thousands of write-ups in magazines and newspapers across the country. It's just not the way it works in hmmm I dunno, let's say, for example's sake, Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Over there people whocriticized the president received different treatment. Over there, if I were to mention at the local bazaar, for instance, that Saddam Hussein dyes his mustache, I might expect a knock on the door later that evening from some men. One of them might grab my tongue with a pair of pliers and then, without anesthetic, slice my tongue off before I was carted off to jail for an unknown and unknowable period of time.

And I guess just for giggles I should mention that Saddam's regime would still be doing this sort of thing today if we lived in the sort of crazy mixed-up world where people take the Dixie Chicks, Tim Robbins, and Martin Sheen seriously.

...... When Madonna says that democracy is undermined whenever critics of the president are criticized, it makes me wonder what kind of train wreck her interpretation of the Kabbalah must be. Sheen and his defenders want to be simultaneously saluted for their "courage" to speak out while at the same time believe they there should be no risks for those who do speak out. Well, if there are no risks, where's the courage? And why should movie stars have a right to risk-free political speech when no other profession has anything close? If I owned a hardware store and put a sign in the window reading, "Down with Bush" I'd lose business. Or, if I put one in the window saying "Down with Saddam!" I'd also lose business. This is because other people have the right to associate themselves with ideas just as much as movie stars have the right to express their "ideas." Only by the logic of the bitchy little world we call Hollywood, where even men are divas, would we say it's outrageous that store owners are having their "right" to sell three-penny nails revoked.

Well worth popping over and reading it all.

Posted by Ith at 5:37 PM

March 30, 2003

Anan's Double Standard

Ludicrous double standard further proof of United Nations' anti-U.S. bias

What we are witnessing now is barely even a double standard since it's not clear Saddam is being held to any standard at all, while America's armed forces are being held to a higher standard than any - any - in human memory.

Fortunately for the Iraqis, we don't need the United Nations to serve as our conscience. And if the finger-wagging continues, we may decide we don't need the United Nations for anything at all.

Posted by Ith at 1:42 PM | Comments (2)

March 29, 2003

Armchair Generals

A different take from the always different Mark Steyn

Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery (Retd) agrees that the media are in trouble, but blames it mostly on a confusion of war aims. "The problem is they relied on this two-pronged 'shock and awe' business. On the one hand, you'd have these reporter chappies embedded with your Royal Marines and so forth, 'awed' at how absolutely ripping it is to be in a tank. On the other hand, you'd have your crack columnists in Baghdad, 'shocked' at the scale of Anglo-American carnage, with hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, smart bombs landing on every hospital, nursery schools blown to kingdom come, etc.

"Well, the bally carnage never showed up, so it was a week of awe and no shock. The editors assumed that, by the weekend, they'd have Bush and Blair on the run. Instead, we now stand on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe: even as I speak, George Galloway, John Pilger and thousands of others are being systematically starved of material.

"And let's not forget that disgusting breach of the Geneva Convention when poor bloody Robert Fisk was paraded across the Independent and forced to eke out 1,200 words about his lavatory paper. So much for superior hot air power. Though I must say the line about how 'In the sands of Mesopotamia, Britain lost an empire but at least I've found a roll' was awfully good."

Longtime gay strategist Alexander the Great argues that you have to look at the root causes. "The media had an over-reliance on their elite special forces, the celebrity contingent," he says. "They move fast, but they're too lightly armed to hold their positions and they're easily shot down. Take Martin Amis: the Guardian hires him to penetrate to the very heart of the subject, only to have him limp back with some feeble comparisons between Texas and Saudi Arabia. We've seen all this before: on the first day, you make a spectacular advance, but the publisher never recoups."

Alexander feels the media planners overestimated the degree of resistance. "If you look at the strategically important stronghold of Hollywood, they said it would be a cakewalk. Michael Moore would have a big cake and then walk to the podium, and he'd be greeted by cheers from the beleaguered locals, who've been cut off from the rest of the world for years. Instead, they jeered him. Oh, sure, now we're told it's not because these isolated Hollywood villagers are loyal to Bush, only that they're too terrified of reprisals to speak out. Funny how the story keeps changing."

Do I have to tell you to go read all of it? Didn't think so.

Posted by Ith at 3:24 PM

March 28, 2003

Vulture Pundits

VDH's latest. Go read! (please)

All these people need to calm down, take a deep breath, and read their history computing the logistics of fighting 7,000 miles away and considering the hurdles of vast space, unpredictable weather, and enemies without uniforms. And? In just a week, the United States military has surrounded one of historys most sadistic and nasty regimes. It has overrun 80 percent of the countryside and has daily pulverized the Republican Guard, achieving more in five days than the Iranians did in eight years.

Twenty-four hours a day, thousands of tankers and supply trucks barrel down long, vulnerable supply lines, quickly and efficiently. There is no bridge too far for these long columns. One-hundred percent air superiority is ours. There is not a single Iraqi airplane in the sky. Enemy tanks either stay put or are bombed. Kurds and Shiites really will soon start to be heard. Seven oil wells are on fire (with firefighters on the scene) no oil slicks, no attacks on Israel. Kuwait City is not aflame. Millions of refugees fleeing into Syria and Jordan have not materialized. Even Peter Arnett is no longer parroting the Iraqi government claims of ten million starving and has moved on to explain why the Iraqis were equipped with chemical suits to protect Saddams killers from our WMDs!

Few, if any, major bridges in Iraq have been blown; there are no mass uprisings in Saddams favor. The Tikrit mafia fights as the SS did in the craters of Berlin, facing as it does and within weeks either a mobs noose, a firing squad, or a dungeon. Through 20,000 air sorties, no jets have been shot down; there is nothing to stop them from flying another 100,000. They fly in sand, in lightning, high, low, day, night, anywhere, anytime. Supplies are pouring in. Saddams regime is cut off and its weapons will not be replenished. This is not North Vietnam, with Chinese and Russian ships with daily re-supply in the harbor of Haiphong. British and Americans, with courageous Australians as well, are fighting as a team without even the petty rivalry of a Montgomery and Bradley.

Our media talks of Saddams thugs and terrorists as if they were some sort of Iraqi SAS. Meanwhile, the real thing scary American, British, and Australian Special Forces is causing havoc to Saddams rear guard. In short, for all the tragedy of a fragging, Iraqi atrocities, misdirected cruise missiles, and the usual cowardly antics inherent to our enemys way of war, the real story is not being reported: A phenomenal march against overwhelming logistical, material, and geographical odds in under seven days has reached and surrounded Saddam Husseins capital.

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM

March 17, 2003

Goldberg On ABC

Liked this quote from Jonah Goldberg on The Corner:

That's what ABC News is calling its special coverage of Bush's speech. Too bad they weren't around for Pearl Harbor. They could have called it "When Air Defenses Fail."

Posted by Ith at 6:12 PM | Comments (2)

March 14, 2003

The Yanks Are Going Home

Great Mark Steyn column. 'Nuff said. Go read.

Posted by Ith at 5:56 PM

March 11, 2003

It's The Waiting

Earlier today, I wrote this post on the feeling of frustration and worry I have. I should be in bed now, but here I am blogging up a storm, unable to settle down enough to sleep. One more blog to read, one more post to make. That one to go read is Steven Den Beste writes on "It's the waiting that wears".

It fits my mood today, and really fits my mood staring at the monitor in the dark when I should be asleep.

I'm going to go and at least try to reast. If you're staying up, go and read Steven's post.

Posted by Ith at 11:06 PM | Comments (2)

March 6, 2003

Steyn On France & Canada

Another wonderful article by Mark Steyn. That's all I have to say, so go read all of it!

After Carolyn's aside, the airwaves were far less supportive. Canadians are happy to condescend to Americans, but are less comfortable boasting about hating 'em. Hate, after all, is unCanadian: We're the people who hate the haters so much we have laws and commissions to punish such sentiments.

But here's the thing: Suppose those damn Americans aren't "morons." Suppose they really are "bastards." If they're morons, they'll be too moronic to notice the ever widening gap between the U.S. and its northern neighbour these last 18 months. But, if they're bastards, they might do something about it. They might, say, remove the uniquely privileged rights of entry Canadians presently enjoy to the United States, an arrangement that dates back before the invention of Canadian citizenship to our status as British subjects and which is arguably not reflective of our present Ducrosian disposition. If the damn Americans were bastards, they might require Commonwealth citizens resident in Canada, who hitherto have been able to cross back and forth at will, to undergo a 60-day visa application process which obliges them to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest U.S. consulate to be interviewed in person.

What's that? They've already begun introducing these things? Oh, my! In
Canada, the border is the economy. So, if the border slows down, the
economy is sure to follow. Our economic well-being hinges on those damn
Americans being morons not bastards.

Posted by Ith at 5:53 PM

February 28, 2003

In Her World....

A followup on Kel's post earlier in the week about Janeane Garofalo . This time around, Jonah Goldberg's take on it:

But Ms. Garofalo thinks there's no use for war whatsoever. On Fox News, anchor Brian Kilmeade asked her if she thought there would be inspectors in there if there were not 150,000 troops "breathing down his neck." She responded, "Yes, I do think there would be inspectors in there."

Well, that's funny. Saddam kicked the inspectors out in 1998, and I don't think even Scott Ritter and Tariq Aziz would concede that the inspectors are in Iraq because we are threatening war.

But Ms. Garofalo's 32-million-member-strong movement is called "Win Without War," and it would hardly be convenient if war were helping us win, even slightly. In other words, she comes from the "give peace a chance" school, which is congenitally incapable of seeing that peace is always given a chance right up to the moment war starts.

We've given Saddam more than a decade of chances for peace, with 17 U.N. resolutions. We've tried to win without war. But Ms. Garofalo doesn't see that, because she thinks she's the first person to even suggest such a thing. If people could just see how simple it is to win without war, everything would be fine. One can almost see FDR with his Cabinet. Pearl Harbor in smoking ruins. He's drafting his declaration of war when, all of a sudden, Eleanor bursts in with a brilliant suggestion: "Franklin, darling. Let's win without war!"

"'Win withoutwar?' My God, Stimson, what am I paying you for? Ellie, darling, that's gold! Sheer gold. We can win without war!"

It almost sounds like a perfect Saturday Night Live skit. Maybe Garofalo should go back to her old job and try it out.

Posted by Ith at 6:10 PM | Comments (1)

Full Circle

According to Victor Davis Hanson, the world's gone off the deep end & he thinks we're seeing history come full circle. The whole article is well worth toodling over to read, but here's an excerpt:

Western Europe has almost gone the way of Weimar. Amoral, disarmed, and socialist, it seeks ephemeral peace at all costs, never long-term security, much less justice. Furious that history has not ended in perpetual peace and leisure, it has woken up angry that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair disturbed its fanciful slumber with chatter about germs and genocide.

In recompense, cranky Western elites, terrified of trouble, indict on the cheap the democratically elected Mr. Sharon, while the masses in the millions go to the street to protest a war against a monster like Saddam Hussein and pay fealty to the terrorist Arafat. As in the past we see ideals in the militarily weak but spiritually strong leaders of Eastern Europe, as the Czechs and Poles once more reveal themselves to be far more moral men and women than any in Germany and France the historic duet that so often either started or lost wars.

Meanwhile an American president and a British prime minister, the target of this domestic vitriol and self-loathing, once again stand nearly alone against fascism. Because they do, we know the ending of this sad spectacle. Saddam will end up like Hitler in his bunker, with a mistress or two and a half-dozen doomed toadies. Postbellum Iraq will yield up the age-old horrors that may even be too sick for the tabloids; Anglo-Americans will once again rebuild a defeated enemy country and a passive-aggressive France will triangulate, seeking to reclaim glory without power as it looks for profits among the flotsam and jetsam of war.

The image of the French representative Dominique de Villepin pompadour hair flying at the U.N., thin arms waving as he warns of Anglo-American bullying of dictatorial Iraq, and empty talk of France's grand historic commitment to law and justice says it all: all this from the author of Les Cents-Jours ou l'esprit de sacrifice, a recent revisionist history that laments not the four million killed in Napoleon's mad ambitions, but the "dream" that was lost at Waterloo, a battlefield 12 miles from Brussels, the current center of the latest undemocratic European utopian fantasy.

The world, not America, has gone off the deep end just as it did some 70 years ago when faced with similar choices between cheap rhetoric and real sacrifice. And so just as the tragedy of Pearl Harbor for Americans put an end to all the nonsense of the 1930s, let us hope that the memory of September 11 and the looming showdown with Iraq will do the same for the present farce as well.

Posted by Ith at 5:58 PM

February 23, 2003

Of Needles & Bubbles

Out of a lot of great stuff, I'm pulling this one lil bit from Steve Den Beste's latest post.

These things are all consistent with my basic liberalism, which is to say my belief in liberty as an ultimate good for myself and my fellow citizens. I know that my liberty is fragile and easily destroyed. That liberty can only exist as long as my nation continues to exist to defend it. Our lives as citizens exist inside an artificial bubble which is constantly under greater or lesser threat and which must be actively maintained. There's nothing natural about our lives. The natural state for humans is barbarism, cruelty, violence and death.

"There's nothing natural about our lives. The natural state for humans is barbarism, cruelty, violence and death. This really resonates with me, especially now. I've long believed that we're only this much [this is me at my desk holding my thumb and finger about an inch apart] away from civilization collapsing. And the more we rely on technology, the easier it becomes. Think about it; every decade we move farther and farther from knowing how to do the most basic things. My mum is seventy, she knows how to can food, including meat, she knows how to cook on a wood stove, how to kill and prepare animals to be eaten. Out of those, I can probably can vegetables and fruits, and cook on a wood stove. But would I know how to plant crops at the right time, or when wheat is ready to harvest? How about taking the wheat from harvest to flour? What about soap? I know they used lye to make it, and that it was hot and smelly, but that about covers my knowledge. How do I make cloth?

Why do I worry about it all? I don't know, I guess it's just me being me. I worry about bioweapons, things like weoponized smallpox. If it doesn't kill all of us, how many deaths it this world away from total collapse of civilization as we know it? How many deaths would it take for our country to collapse? Our food comes from all over the country, all over the world. What if the trains and trucks stop running? No electricity, no running water, no medical services. Scavenging would work for a while, but it's a temporary solution.

There's a Brit TV show from the 70s called "Survivors" that deals with a world after a bioweapon escapes from a lab in China. Only a handful of people survive. In one of the episodes they talk about the simple sewing needle -- what happens when all the needles are gone? Take a needle from its beginning: mining the metal, smelting it, then whatever goes into making the molds, let alone to the point of making the needle itself. How do you do any of it? How do you do any of the millions of things that make our world as we know it work? Just the basics, not even things like computers or telephones or cars. Things like clothing, shelter, heat, light, food and water. We keep losing more and more of that knowledge.

Artificial bubble indeed.

Posted by Ith at 3:36 PM

February 21, 2003

Friday Reading

Another great VDH article: One Enemy, One War, One Outcome

Just as Italian fascists, Japanese militarists, and German Nazis saw commonalities in their efforts to spread right-wing nationalist rule, so Islamic radicals seek to end Western global influence in similar ways either through the establishment of Islamic republics in the Gulf and other oil-producing countries or loose alliances of convenience with tyrannies like those in Syria, Libya, or Iraq, which can be cajoled, blackmailed, or openly joined with in ad hoc efforts to destroy a hated West.

Fascist states and radical Islamists, in fact, exhibit affinities that go well beyond sporadic and murky ties between such governments and fundamentalist terrorist groups. For one, in a post-Soviet Union world, they all seek weapons of mass destruction to be used as intercontinental blackmail as a way of weakening Western resolve and curtailing an American presence abroad.

For another, their common ideological enemy is liberal democracy specifically its global promotion of freedom, individualism, capitalism, gender equity, religious diversity, and secularism that undermines both Islamic fundamentalism in the cultural sense, and politically makes it more difficult for tyrants to rule over complacent and ignorant populations. Third, our various enemies share an eerie modus operandi as well: Al Qaeda terrorists blew themselves up killing Americans; and so do terrorists on the West Bank and so does Saddam Hussein send bounties to the families of such killers.

And Jonah Goldberg: Cowardice vs. Appeasement

This highlights one of the interesting things about appeasement. For something that is allegedly so bad, it is almost always popular. If public opinion had been against it, the Munich Pact wouldn't have been signed. Which brings me to the last deservedly infamous appeaser: Bill Clinton. During the 1990s Clinton played footsy with terrorists and rogue states. Indeed, he even renamed rogue states, calling them "states of concern." His idea of effective national security was to sweep problems under the rug. In 1996, we declined to take custody of bin Laden because we didn't know what law we could accuse him of breaking. After the African-embassy bombings, rather than unleash the righteous fury of the arsenal of democracy, Clinton delivered a "proportionate response" attacking two of bin Laden's assets, because bin Laden attacked two of ours doing anything more would be unfair. He paid North Korea to stop producing one kind of nuclear weapon while they started another secret program almost immediately. The Clintonites still defend this as a success as if getting a man to promise to stop making swords matters much if he immediately switches to battle-axes.

Bill Clinton did this because it was popular. Or, to be more accurate, he played these games because to do otherwise might jeopardize his popularity. Clinton is famously vexed by the fact that he had no opportunity to become a "great president." But the fact is, when you're terrified of rocking the boat, it's difficult to achieve greatness. In fact, when you sweep all the nation's problems under the rug so the next guy has to deal with them, you stack the deck for the next guy to become a great president if for no other reason than that you've let problems fester into crises and hence greatness will be thrust upon him.

Posted by Ith at 6:06 PM

February 6, 2003

What's In It For Us?

Mark Steyn on the French and why they're not your average Eurowimp.

In other words, this is the war, this is the real battlefield, not the sands of Mesopotamia. And, on this terrain, Americans always lose. Either they win but get no credit, as in Afghanistan. Or they win a temporary constrained victory to be subverted by subsequent French machinations, as in the last Gulf War. This time round, who knows? But through it all France is admirably upfront in its unilateralism: It reserves the right to treat French Africa as its colonies, Middle Eastern dictators as its clients, the European Union as a Greater France and the UN as a kind of global condom to prevent the spread of Americanization. All this it does shamelessly and relatively effectively. It's time the rest of the West was so clear-sighted.
Posted by Ith at 7:15 AM | Comments (3)

January 28, 2003

Europe, Seriously

An excerpt of a post by Jonah Goldberg in the Corner today:

The Europeans claim that they lost millions of lives and experienced war first hand in WWI and WWII. That's true and no one should discount the importance of these experiences in the collective European mind. But the question is not whether or not the Europeans learned a powerful lesson in the world wars -- they obviously did -- but whether they learned the right lesson. The European "lesson" seems to be that war is, as Chirac recently said, "always a failure." That's simply the wrong lesson. The right lesson is "never again." Unfortunately you don't hear many Europeans saying "never again" much these days or at least not about the right things. If the Europeans learned the right lessons, why did America have to stop the slaughter in Bosnia? If America is pro-oil and anti-Muslim why did we risk blood and treasure for Muslims on oil free ground? I'll tell you why. Because America learned the right lessons while the Europeans held conferences on why America is the problem.

It is a classic free-rider problem. The Europeans take the global stability largely provided by America for granted. They assume their courts and conferences are the glue holding together a peaceful world order and downgrade their militaries to glorified police forces. So when America does what it deems necessary to preserve that order -- even if it causes temporary instability -- the Europeans think America is needlessly stirring up trouble.

Posted by Ith at 2:21 PM