Sunday, June 30, 2002
I'm doing my best Doc Menlo Impersonation. For more of these go here.
Saturday, June 29, 2002
Too often we neglect the more prolific and entertaining antecedent of the warbloggers, FreeRepublic. It often provides illuminating sidelights on the debate of the moment -- as when several of their members defended the First Amendment rights of Slim Shady because he had expressed contempt for homosexuals.
This week brings a corker: "How Can You Lincoln Haters Love the Pledge of Allegiance?" It's brilliant. The author chides:
"The Pledge says the Nation is 'Indivisible' -- exactly what Lincoln believed. In contrast, the Lincoln haters who are so many on Freerepublic think secession was legitimate - - in other words, you believe the Nation is 'Divisible'..."
And they're off! Some of the more amusing Freeper responses:
"We know the war is over and we know who won. We just miss what was lost, freedom."
"Over and over again, Lincoln has been shown to be a scoundrel of the highest order."
"I don't believe this union should be 100% indivisible, I believe that the states should hold a right of secession as a last resort. I'm a proud Southron... But, that doesn't mean that I'm not a ferociously patriotic American. I love this country, I love that flag, and I love that Pledge of Allegiance."
"God fearing Patriots and Conservatives do NOT Pledge Allegiance to a piece of CLOTH or a tangle of poorly defined concepts. This is called IDOLATRY. Thinking Conservatives pledge allegiance to God..."
And my semantic favorite:
"Just because the union is indivisible does not mean that it is indissolvable."
Never forget, whenever you witness yet another indefensible crackpot synthesis by one of the warblogbrethren, that the Freepers are always there firstest with the mostest, albeit in less elevated language.
PS For added yuks, check out "A 9/11 Hijacking: How 'Gay' Activists Smeared Father Mychal Judge." But don't mention it to Andrew Sullivan -- he's had such a hard week at Barney's.
Friday, June 28, 2002
OK, help me out with this one: What is Glenn Reynolds trying to prove with this blog entry? That if you're critical of American foreign policy, then you must also hate America? And if you hate America, you'll become a double murderer? This is a bit of a reach even for the Instapundit.
The warbloggers are learning - slowly - that not only are there other people out there with other interpretations, but that those other interpretations are occasionally valid and even binding. This realization is causing them no small measure of discomfort.
The proprietor of the waste of storage capacity and bandwith known as Right Wing News worries what the results will be when the International Criminal Court crashes head-on with national sovereignty. Us too. We look forward to watching the ICC in action, locating possible war criminals and the organizations that fund them - a task the warbloggers have shown nothing but the wildest of enthusiasms for. We are certain their enthusiasm will continue undiminished.
Political Posters from the United States, Cuba and Viet Nam
. . . via BookNotes, the Brave
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Confidence in U.S. War on Terror Wanes
Public confidence that the United States and its allies are winning has slipped to 33%, the lowest level since Sept. 11. In January, amid news reports that the U.S. military had al-Qaeda terrorists on the run, 66% said the United States was winning the war. (06/26/02) Killbloggers: limp, slipping, fade.
Euphemism for Israeli Settlements Confuse Coverage
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported last month (5/31/02) that at the behest of a Likud party minister, the Israel Broadcasting Authority has banned its editorial departments from using the terms "settlers" or "settlements" on radio and TV.Somewhere, there sits the men and women who think up the language of what the government of the United States of Hypocrisy and Israel are really doing. Then they basically hand it to the corporate media who repeat it with high-priced sets, mugs and hair. Statisticians, linguists, and evil-writer-types all confer and come up with things like "Tell the public they are attacking us because they are resentful of our freedom. Repeat 'we are a freedom-loving people' every chance you get." If they are the Heritage Foundation, they deliver daily notes to the House and Senate, member by member (and also call up NPR when they are ready to spin; npr, in turn, slobbers all over them like a dog feeding on bacon). They consult Hollywood: Fiction Dept., to solicit advice and also to inject with the party line: CONTROL (and the messages thereof).
The rebel alliance counterspins, and continues to grow. They have the (media) markets; we have the truth. They cannot win, if we keep our brains. What happens next, depends on everything: you.
In addition to banging drums and blowing bugles on behalf of the unelected president and his nifty war effort, Andrew Sullivan, a/k/a Saul Newton, has enlisted in the color guard and assigned himself the task of waving the empire's flags. He recently registered an entry on the St. George's Cross, the preferred standard for loutish football fans across Sullivan's native England. We knew he'd eventually be diminished to his current station. He's been tending in that direction for years.
Sullivan's problem, endlessly deliberated and whined over in several media properties, is that he's a Brit in America. Never mind that hundreds of thousands relocate similarly each year, most doing so without the benefit of native comprehension of the language (here we are charitable to Sullivan) and a large bank account. Sullivan may well be the sole wastrel among them who has squandered a ponderable hectarage of newsprint in his incredibly novel project of documenting the experience. When work on the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is at last completed, Sullivan will likely still be banging away about how he feels, like, so oddly American after visiting the orthodontist.
Sullivan's career in self-absorption is one of vacillations. One year he tells his devoted Sullivanians that he made a studied effort "to lose [his] accent within months of arriving" in America. The next year he plays Quentin Crisp (though substituting a gym towel for the trademark scarf), bloviating endlessly on foxhunting and other pursuits of Britain's overclass. The year following he embraces America and its innumerable wonders, and endorses military action against anybody anywhere who upsets our sleep.
The endless waffling in self-conception demands an attendant modification in opinion with each change. Sullivan, however, seems to have grown disoriented in the to and fro. Confused as to how and where he should be coming down, he diverts attention from his own insecurity with omnidirectional belligerence. A pair of drunken yobs turning over a Pak curry house makes for an unpleasant sight, but that's just the lads doing what they've done since times immemorial, when the ancient Britons devised a recipe for special brew and acquired their taste for casual violence. So as to prevent himself from getting caught with his pants down - again - Sullivan regards the exercise of American imperial might with the same easiness, though he is unable to locate any ugliness in our real actions against Afghanistan and he sees no ugliness in possible actions against Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Recall Sullivan's helpful addition of the former two countries to the Axis of Evil in May.
Harold Owens tells us he "Wrote to [sic] quickly," and reader Dan Safford tells Owens's customers that Charley Reese "worte [sic] for years for the Miami Herald [sic, again]." One wonders how close Safford's reading could have been, as Reese "worte" in the Orlando Sentinel.
Reese leaves me ill at ease, though he often serves up heresies very worth hearing. Giving the wreck-in-progress of The War Against Terror (TWAT), I hope Reese revisits and updates the following, excerpted from his February 11, 2001 Sentinel column:
Let us look at ourselves realistically.
Our military power is mainly nuclear, and nuclear weapons are suicidal. We have not won a real war since 1945. We had a stalemate in Korea and defeat in Vietnam. The Gulf War amounted to a mugging of the expeditionary force of a Third World country. It is no great military feat for 1,200 advanced warplanes, 600,000 troops and a fleet of modern ships to drive 200,000 draftees out of Kuwait, where inhabitants had neither air support nor cover.
We've become a nation that deludes itself with hype. We called that a great victory, and we conveniently forget that a truck bomber drove us out of Lebanon. The barefoot soldiers of a Somali warlord drove us out of Somalia. We have since taken to using $1 million missiles to blow up an aspirin factory in Sudan and some tents and outhouses in Afghanistan.
The war against Yugoslavia was a failure. We bombed a little country of 10 million souls. Their army, however, emerged unscathed. And we drove out the people we intended to protect. In the end, Russian diplomacy saved our face. Now our own inept diplomacy has American troops sitting in armed compounds for an indefinite period of time and with no hope of solving the political problems.
If we continue to pursue American hegemony, we will create our own opposition. What we have to do is recognize that the rest of world is not going to accept American hegemony.
The guy responsible for this blog entry at Global News Watch is such a blithering idiot that he thinks that Charley Reese is a leftist. If you can't tell your left from your right, you probably shouldn't have a blog.
Anyway, our blogger, Howard Owens, makes the usual, baseless charges of anti-Semitism and trots out a poll to "prove" that Americans care about the Middle East. (No, dear. Americans care about terrorists from the Middle East coming to America.)
Then we get this howler: "Israel is the front line in this war. It must be protected at all costs. If Israel cannot be saved, none of us, including Mr. Reese, can be saved."
Oh, please. If Israel magically disappeared tomorrow (and, no, I am not calling for the destruction of Israel), the main reason the Islamic world dislikes us would vanish, too. Don't give me the usual crap about how they hate our way of life. Polls taken in the Middle East show that most Muslims love our way of life. It's our foreign policy they can't stand.
Instapundit writes, and sponsors a forum, on the proposition that decreased enrollment by males in colleges (which is to say, increased enrollment by folks of that other gender) is due to nefarious biases against boys. Today's straw man (or woman, or wimmin): Andrea Dworkin.
One waits breathlessly for IP's analysis of the fall-off in white guys on NBA teams. Might this be something else to blame on Cornell West?
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
On May 3, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in response to the Enron scandal, "Capitalism expands wealth primarily through creative destruction -- the process by which the cash flow from obsolescent, low-return capital is invested in high-return, cutting-edge technologies. But for that process to function, markets need reliable data to gauge the return on assets."
These words are haunting as we crash into another bogus-accounting scandal, this time courtesy of WorldCom. "If trust in Corporate America was already broken," reports CNN, "now it's in shambles."
Not good news. But the reaction at National Review Online today has been a fit a nervous giggling. Rod Dreher turns his schadenfreude, not on Arthur Anderson, but on MCI's lousy customer service: "I remember telling my wife that any company that incompetent in dealing with simple billing matters and customer-service requests has serious problems. This morning, quod erat demonstrandum." (Q.E. Duh, more like.) Robert George hopes that the Pledge of Allegiance case will divert the public from this scandal (unaware, perhaps, that invoking God as a diversion while people's pockets are being picked can have disastrous repercussions).
But the howler is supplied by Larry Kudlow ("CEO of Kudlow & Co."), who, in a spectacular show of bad timing, says that consumer confidence in Wall Street should be restored by an attack on Iraq:
"Could it be that a lack of decisive follow-through in the global war on terrorism is the single biggest problem facing the stock market and the nation today? I believe it is.... The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple-thousand points."
The Jingo prescription is novel but unconvincing. Maybe we should instead try to get the Lords of Wall Street (and, while we're at it, of Washington) to stop lying to us.
Attention: I'm writing an article wherein I elaborate on my uninformed and preconceived ideas. If you have any information supporting them, please forward it and save me - more likely an intern, actually - the trouble of actually researching the piece.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Andrew Sullivan runs a survey, finds his readership is "skewed right." Correct on both counts, I'm sure.
He also finds the Sullivanians are "overwhelmingly male (85 percent) and heterosexual (87 percent)," which fact he believes "will drive Richard Goldstein and others nuts." I doubt Goldstein, or anyone other sentient being, will be in the least surprised.
But the money shot is this observation:
"I was also struck by the fact that California is our biggest state; and that we're very blue-state heavy. I guess the site attracts blue-state dissidents or simple skeptics, or it reflects the often ignored fact that large numbers of people in the blue states are not knee-jerk liberals."
"Often ignored" by whom? Sullivan, preeminently. First there was his oft-quoted fear that the Blue States would "mount a fifth column" against the War on Whatchamacallit. Later, when John Walker rolled in with the Afghan tide, he was moved to compare Walker with war casualty John Spann, and the Blueness of the former's home state with the Redness of the latter's, opining:
"The thing that stood out most starkly is the blue-red split... Both [men] are almost absurd stereotypes of each part of America... One is from Alabama; the other is from Marin County, California. One is a national hero, the first American casualty at the hands of the enemy. The other is the enemy. Does it get any starker than that?"
Now Sullivan discovers (via SurveyMonkey) a divergence of opinion among residents of the Republic of Blue. Will someone please tell him that such divergences have been found even in Red States? And that it's rather unseemly to decry ignorance of which he himself has been a leading promulgator?
At the height of the last Australian Federal Election, and unsurprisingly the one before that, there were two massively overused terms, one was "racist", the other "un-Australian".
To put this in context - during the first of these two Federal Elections there was a political wildcard and idiot, Pauline Hanson, whose views (now oddly adhered to by John Howard) were labelled "racist", and anyone who so-much as expressed the opinion that some things she said might be right was called a racist as well. If you thought there should be less immigrants coming into Australia, you were racist. If you you thought there should be an inquiry into how the Aboriginal community was spending the $1 billion in funding they were receiving to no effect, you were racist. If you thought multiculturalism might not be the best way forward for the community, you were racist. If you agreed investigation into the rise in youth crime of various ethnic communities was warranted, you were racist.
Last election is was un-Australian. If you agreed with mandatory detention, you were un-Australian. If you thought we should review the immigration policies, you were un-Australian. If you felt that the Government shouldn't rush into a military effort in Afghanistan, you were un-Australian. An so on and so forth.
Now, unsurprisingly, there is a reoccurance of this pattern in America, though the new term is "anti-American" & "anti-Israel". Believe that the "War on Terror" is a shambles lead by an inconsistant and ill-defined strategy - why, that's anti-American. Believe the last American elections were a complete mess and the wrong guy won - hey, that's anti-American! Believe that the American calls for unilateralism on the war effort while screwing it's supporters on the World Trade Market is hypocritical - damn you, you anti-American bastard! The same goes for "anti-Israel". Think that the Palestinians have a ligitimate cause in wanting their own state, bingo! you're anti-Israel. Believe that Israel & American intervention is as much to blame for the current situation in the middle-east as anyone else? Why then you're both anti-American and anti-Israel. Think that the current Israeli effort to build a "fence" around the West Bank is a little to remenicent of the rounding up and systematic killing of Jews in Poland - then shut the fuck up, you anti-Israeli Nazi facist pig.
Over the next few weeks I'll be tracking the usage of the terms "anti-American" and "anti-Israel" across the warbloggers to illustrate this point. For instance, warblogger watch is anti-American because of this post by Grady Oliver.
Glenn Reynolds uses the term to describe Gloria Steinem as soon as she opposed the war in Afghanistan.
Media Minded uses the word to describe the Left because, well, they're the Left. They must be anti-American.
Broken Images uses it to describe The Guardian becuase, well, it too leans to the Left.
If you should happen to spot any rampant overuse of either terms, feel free to contact the warbloggerwatch and tell us. But be careful to conceal who you are - you wouldn't want to be labelled anti-American.
Oh dear---Li'l Scotty "Trustfund" Ganz has finally snapped. Apparently he has lost what little mind he had left, been driven into a frenzy of blood lust, and threatened our own Grady Olivier with unconscionable violence. Scotty imagines himself going to Grady's house and "kick[ing] his fucking teeth down his lie-clogged throat." The Warblogging worldview appears to have affected the inner depths of Scott's psyche and caused him to become a violence crazed madman---OK, he already was violence crazed, but now his violent thoughts are not directed only at the Muslim world, but at a peaceful, hard-working Maori-American. Snotty Scotty goes on to attack the parents of the various Warblogger Watchers in the same sort of high-pitched, screeching, hysterical tone that characterizes all of his writings, whether on political matters, his new Hello Kitty lunch box, or his oh-so-difficult job driving a mid-level/sub-talent movie director around Hollywood.
What's worse, Ganz has received several comments applauding his efforts, some which refer to Mr. Olivier as a bully---Snott threatens to assault Grady, and it's Grady who is the bully? Shame on you folks. You should know better---doesn't coming out on the side of violence for violence's sake support what we at Warblogger Watch have been saying about all of you Warbloggers all along?
So shaken is Grady that he has retained experienced legal counsel to see if Scott Ganz's comments are actionable; in addition, Mr. Olivier has hired personal protection, so you better not try anything, Ganz!
As to Snott's claim that all the Warblogger Watch contributors (wise Menlo, brave Edroso, sage Olivier, et al) are the same person, I can only say the idea is absurd; come to think of it, however, I have never seen Papa Lowell and Unkie Babaloo in the same place...
Monday, June 24, 2002
Even Daddy Warblogs can't get with the now-infamous Dennis Pluchinsky rant mentioned heretofore. It's a good omen that a prominent sabre-rattler recognizes rank psy ops when he sees them.
Of course, some never stop rattling. Quoth the Central Scutinizer, commenting on a different article in a different context (but expressing a POV all too familiar to his readership):
"Is it just me, or is keeping the United States from feeling good about, well, anything, but especially itself the main consistent theme of The Nation crowd? And why is that, exactly?"
A possible answer may be found in the abovementioned Pluchinsky item. Many recent attempts to feed (or, rather, force-feed) our nation's self-esteem (or, rather, its esteem for the current Administration) have been just plain ridiculous, and therefore counterproductive. It's not just "keeping the United States from feeling good" to say so. In fact, given the current shut-up-and-wave-your-flag environment, I'd say it's really a public service.
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Brendan O'Neill doesn't support human rights, because "Human rights has become a byword for Western governments getting rid of regimes they don't like and installing pro-Western, pro-human rights regimes in their place." Brendan declares that human rights are less important than political and democratic rights.
Let's take a look at some selected human rights, as defined as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty" Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." Brendan O'Neill does not support this.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." Brendan O'Neill does not support this either - even though his govenment, country and fellow citizens do, which is why he has the ability to espouse his point of view on the Internet.
Saturday, June 22, 2002
Glenn Reynolds is coming around to the idea that we need neo-colonialism to prevent the Saudis and Egypt from getting nukes. As I see it, colonialism is the one thing that will insure they get them. No one in Washington seems to care about nukes possessed by our client states, after all.
Quoted approvingly by some warbloggers is this jeremiad from State Department terrorism expert Dennis Pluchinsky, claiming that published discussions of any subject germane to national security abets terrorism. "Al Qaeda terrorists now know to pay a speeding ticket promptly," he writes. "They now know not to pay for things with large amounts of cash." The power of Big Media is apparently greater than previously suspected; never in their wildest imaginings have conservatives before imputed to BM the power to impart common sense.
"The president and Congress," suggests Pluchinsky, "should pass laws temporarily restricting the media from publishing any security information that can be used by our enemies."
As this Administration is famously inattentive to matters of Constitutional law, why should they wait? There are companies that every day provide information of use to our enemies, and swift action could easily be taken against them.
Take Berlitz, for example. As of now, any terrorist can walk in off the street and learn sufficient English to read our treasonous newspapers, or find nuclear recipes on the Internet.
Or Web MD. At this website, one can learn how to deal with anthrax poisoning. Given that the terrorists are notoriously clumsy with their biocontaminants, might not this advice be used to improve their methods?
There are also many sites where national security matters are discussed in detail on a near-daily basis. These very loose cannons provide a treasure-trove of strategic insights, albeit of a highly fanciful kind, and could give some Berlitz-educated Al Qaedan dangerous ideas. The Feds should be on these outlets like white on couscous. They might begin here.
Friday, June 21, 2002
Despite yesterday's promise to limit my warblogger-watching, I am moved to offer the following, much like someone downing a large quantity of ipecacuanha is moved to vomit all over the fucking place.
I have caught this blissful idiot dispensing some ill-informed opinion. Employing that most shopworn of rhetorical devices, he asks himself several questions. Allow me to answer here them in sequence:
1) How will a Palestinian state come about?
Answer: Likely through international fiat, much like Israel did. Amazing that Israel, which owes its existence to the affirmation of international opinion, operates in complete indifference to the same.
2) Will the Palestinians get everything they want in their state?
Answer: Of course not. A demilitarization of the PA is not just likely, it is already largely achieved, what with Sharon's longstanding efforts to undermine and destabilize the Palestinians by targeting their security forces. You are again correct re: the right of return. The Palestinians will of course be told, "no, you can't go back to the house in Jaffa which you fled over 50 years ago." Such rights are reserved for wealthy former inhabitants of the Baltic republics of the Soviet Union and their even wealthier offspring. Your point about the larger settlements standing is again largely correct.
Incorrect, however, are your conclusions from the recent Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communication Center poll that, as has been parroted everywhere by everybody, purports to show that the "Majority [of] Palestinians See Israel's Elimination as Goal." A quibble that handily shows that the poll, if it is to demonstrate a majority falling this way or the other, is wildly inconclusive is evident in the very text so often linked to by the warbloggers: "Fifty-one percent of people surveyed said the end result of the uprising should be 'liberating all of historic Palestine,' referring to British-mandate Palestine, part of which was recognized as Israel in 1948." The piece also noted "The poll had a three percent margin of error." A quibble, true, but the poll cannot be said to demonstrate a majority.
Interestingly enough, the previous poll gauging the same attitudes (conducted March 2002) asked the question with greater precision and in a manner that did not corral respondents into endorsing the "pushing of the Jews into the sea" as the worn saw puts it. In that poll, a full 41.6 per cent favored a "Two state solution: an Israeli and a Palestinian." A further 31.6 per cent reported wanting a "Bi-national state on all of historic Palestine." The possible response that demanded the Jews be pushed into the sea, a "Palestinian state on all of historic Palestine and return of refugees," was selected by a meager 12.5 per cent of those polled. I have no doubts that the Palestinians have been further radicalized by the intervening three-odd months, though the methodological poverty of the most recent JMCC poll undermines the results to the such an extent that they cannot be regarded seriously.
3) How will the Palestinians rationalize the fact that their state does not match their expectations (fantasies)?
How touching that you parenthetically and snidely deride them as "fantasies." Your question can be answered in tandem with the one that follows:
4) What will be the result of that rationalization?
Answer: Probably a general acceptance of their lot, much like they have generally accepted their current wretched lot. B'Tselem shows that 354 Israeli civilians and security personnel were killed by Palestinians in the 15 years ending January 2002. The intensification of the violence since then is, of course, noted, though the historically minded will of course recognize it as an aberration. This works out to an annualized 24 Israelis killed by Palestinians. Nearly 4,300 people were murdered in New York City in 1990-1991.
5) What will be the near-term result of creating a Palestinian state under anything resembling current conditions?
Answer: Again, I do not know, but I see no basis whatsoever for your assertion that "The creation of a Palestinian state under current conditions will lead to increased terrorism - certainly against Israel and quite probably against America." This seems only an odd expectation (fantasy) on your part that justifies the continued immiseration of the Palestinians.
Thursday, June 20, 2002
PENIS WARS CONTINUED: Steve, I'm not obsesessed with Reynolds traffic - two posts hardly an obsession makes. Hell, I wouldn't give it a passing thought if Reynolds didn't insist on going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about it.
Warblogger watching is harder on the ocular faculties than I had imagined, though the stomach upset it often occasions is far less surprising. I can now understand why the wonderful Mr. Eric Blair posts so seldom to this forum - he's no longer up to the task. Repeated confrontation with the obnoxious bilge discharged by the warbloggers frays the nerves and withers the spirits. Warblogger watching is, at bottom, an auto-administration of the Ludovico Technique, though it has none of the associated ameliorative upshots on character.
Actually, it works the other way. Having realized the deleterious effects on my psyche and my person, I am forced to limit my output on these pages. Having to suffer through another of Lowell Ganz's Rosemary Kennedy-like embarrassment of a son's shameful fulminations would surely reduce me to David Brock levels.
Before I take my leave for the next few days, allow me to offer a few notes for that most objectionable of warblogging sissies. "The Franchise" puts forward the following this afternoon: "ISLAMIKAZES: How's that for a new name for suicide bombers? A reader suggested it." Quite an indication as to who is reading your running display of prejudices, Sully! Warbloggers have been tossing that one around since April, at least. The more scrupulous employing the term cited this Jerusalem Post article crediting the term to professor Rafi Israeli, himself as much a remorseless thief of verbiage as your "reader."
The piece in which Prof. Israeli is credited bears a December 20 dateline (he used the term again in a March 21, 2002 piece, the likely location of the warbloggers' initial encounter with the "neologism"). Sadly for the learned professor, the term appeared first in a New Statesman piece. Worse, the issue of the Statesman from which the term was lifted was current when the Post wrongly credited him. The coincidence in dates strongly suggests Israeli merely repeated something he had read first in the Statesman. That he appears to have not issued a letter correcting the misattribution, which, given his later use of the term - in scare quotes and again without assigning the term to James - seems to suggest deliberate theft. A perusal of the professor's "scholarship," furnished no reason to believe he regards prevailing standards in academic discourse with anything above contempt.
I mention all this merely to register a miniscule correction in the historical record. I know how big you warbloggers are on accurate attribution ("Yes, I invented the term Paleostinians." Good for you, sugar!). As some guy/girl wrote, "this is the something or other, and we can do something your whatsitcalled." Or something.
Joshua Treviño has responded (June 17) to me responding to him, to which I will (briefly) respond. (Is the Blogosphere the Forum Romanum, or a hall of mirrors? We disport, you decide.)
In the previous edition, Joshua cited three American Muslim belligerents, and has now added more (along with a few British ringers), to say something about Islamic Westerners -- I'm still not sure what, as his argument is larded with demurrers ("I've no doubt that one can be Muslim and American"), but it still sounds bad. For example, from his follow-up:
"It's unfortunate but true that alone among immigrant and minority communities, it is the Muslims of the West who tolerate and often abet prominent strains of hostility toward their host cultures."
Here's an account of a party held in Chicago three years back, when Clinton pardoned some Puerto Rican terrorists who had helped blow up some Americans (their fellow Americans, one might say) in the 1970s:
"Last night, several hundred members of Chicago's Puerto Rican community celebrated the release of the prisoners with music and speeches before ex-prisoner Ricardo Jimenez took the stage to wild cheers. Speaking in Spanish, Jimenez called for a 'Puerto Rico libre' and said he would not stop the fight until Oscar Lopez Rivera and the other prisoners are free."
Several hundred? Sounds like a Fifth Column.
A lot of people, regrettably, feel some measure of cultural sympathy for terrorist movements within their own countries. But I don't recall anyone suggesting that selected Puerto Rican nationalists be detained without charges lest we get a repeat of the Truman shootout. Charging, trying, and jailing the perpetrators seemed to work fine.
It's no defense of hostile Islamic fundamentalism to say that their stateside sympathizers have the right to believe what they will, and say what they will, and that the government should only lock them up for actual crimes. That's long been America's secret weapon against totalitarian ideas -- kill 'em with Constitutionalism. I still think it could work.
PENIS WARS CONTINUE: Richard Hailey has taken on my mathematic analysis. Let's take a look at it.
Firstly, remember hits are a different issue to Unique Viewers. Hits are the number of times a page is visited. Unique Viewers are the number of people who visit the site. The number of Unique Viewers is ALWAYS lower than the number of hits (for obvious reasons).
Secondly, all the figures came from the Extreme Tracking figures:
It currently states there are:
Daily Unique Average: 14560
Weekly Unique Average: 90276
Monthly Unique Average: 225691
The main reason Richard's numbers differ so greatly from mine is that he is taking the current month's project figures, whereas I'm using the average figures. This month seems to be an exception (due to some major referrers (who will be one-hit-wonders), and will eventually affect the average. As he noted, my estimates were very rough and didn't exactly match the averages.
However, my very good friend Jeff pointed something else out to me.
"The flaws in Extreme Tracking have a lot to do with the etremely inflated unique monthly visitors count. As you note, unique visitors and unique IP addresses are 2 very different things. But look at his daily & weekly #s for this week (12:20 pm):
5389/18 Jun, Tue, 2002
17130/17 Jun, Mon, 2002
22519/Wk 25, 2002 (June 17 & 18)
5,389 + 17,130 = 22,519. Not accounting for dynamic IP addresses, the only way those could be 22,519 different individuals is if none of the 17,130 from Monday returned on Tuesday. Not likely. Extreme shows 427,260 uniques over the past 29 days. That works out to about 14,733 per day over the course of a month. Given that his daily average is shown as 14,733, it seems quite obvious that Extreme Tracking doesn't count monthly uniques - it takes the daily uniques across the entire month and adds them together to arrive at the monthly unique total. The only way that 427,260 number could be accurate was if each day 14,733 new visitors came to his site once and never came back again. Jeff"
In other words, the weekly and monthly figures are COMPLETELY FLAWED.
This makes it nigh-on impossible to find how many repeaters there really are.
Using Richard's maths, Insnayapundit gets on average 225691 hits on average per month. So 225691/30 should equal 7523 hits a day. Why doesn't that match the average uniques? Why is it less? Isn't that a sheer impossibility?
But nevermind... We'll keep going.
7523 multiplied by 8% gives 602 for AOL users. Applying the AOL factor of 3, we can assume that 1805 (Richard multiplied wrong on his page, multiplying by 2). 7523-1805 = 5718. At the upper AOL level of 14% that leaves 4363.
So those figures show 4363 - 5718, well within my 3000-8000 range.
Prove me wrong, children, prove me wrong!
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Instapunditwatch. Fact-checking Commander Reynold's ass, because he doesn't bother to.
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
PENIS WARS CONTINUE: Glenn Reynolds continues to discuss the length of his cock, despite his constant remarks that he doesn't care about it. Glenn has this latest gem:
Extreme Tracker, which counts only the main page, reports 226,916 unique visitors so far this month, for whatever that's worth.
So, what is it worth?
According to the quoted figures, Instapundit gets about 15,000 unique visitors each weak. Of these we need to work out how many are one-hit-wonders there are [floaters] and how many regular visitors there are [repeaters]. The big problem is that floaters will use several IPs over the course of a day, with the impact growing over the period of a month. For instance, an AOL user who logs on the internet and surfs to Instapundit twice a day will show up as two unique visitors on one day, 14 across a week, and 60 unique visitors across a month because of the roaming AOL IP addresses. In other words, the Instapundit unique figures get worse and worse as time goes on.
So let's mess with the maths as an example.
Assuming the figures are correct, if Reynolds is getting ~211,000 uniques a month, then about 6,800 of his 15,000 average visitors/week are floaters, with the remaining 8,200 his actual loyal audience ((6,800[floaters] x 30[days]) + 8,200[repeaters] = 212,200). This, of course, is only accurate if the repeaters only count once. The problem is, they don't.
So looking at the weekly figure, the breakout is more like 11,500 of the 15,000 are floaters, with the remaining 3,500 repeaters ((11,500[floaters] x 7[days]) + 3,500[repeaters] = 84,000). This, again, is only accurate if the repeaters only count once.
This is radically different - the monthly figures showing 8,200 repeaters, the weekly figures showing only 3,500. The fact of the matter is that the repeaters have a massive impact on the unique figures due to changing IP addresses.
Which figures are more accurate? It's hard to say. At best we can say that the loyal Instapundit audience is somewhere between 3,500 and 8,200 loyal readers, with the remaining views borne of people floating in on referral, web searches or simple spidering and never come back to Instapundit.
With 8,200 loyal readers at best, the New York Times need not fear Reynolds just yet.
Monday, June 17, 2002
Though no formal alliance has been concluded, we learned last week that the mighty Max Sawicky, one of our go-to guys for stats and studies over at Like Father Like Sun, was referring readers of his Weblog to this very site. Noted and appreciated. The man today tosses his hat into the Warblogger-watching ring along with this entry, the first of five promised necropsies of a corpse interred down Tennessee way. Our enterprise acquires further dignity. How about yours?
I hate to harsh on Joshua Treviño, since he has been a respectful opponent (May 29), but there's something in his current edition (June 10) that begs to be addressed:
"A John Walker Lindh makes for a freak case. A Richard Reid makes for a disturbing coincidence. A Jose Padilla makes for a trend. What will it take to shut them down? At what point does an ideology, a belief, or a faith become incompatible with the very idea of our America?" [italics mine]
While the headcount on Muslims in America is notoriously fungible (so much so that the State Department would rather talk about the number of mosques in America than the number of Muslims stateside), it's safe to say there are at least a million Mecca-facers hereabouts.
Is three out of a million a trend? If you think so, consider that there are about 45,000 Catholic priests in the United States, and at least 70 Holy Fathers have been caught molesting children over the past ten years in the Boston archidocese alone.
If three per million is, by JT's logic, a trend, what's (numbering conservatively) 1,556 per million? A tipping point? And should we not then carpet-bomb the Vatican?
Sunday, June 16, 2002
Does WorldNetDaily fall within WBW's bailiwick? Well, we do monitor National Review Online and OpinionJournal and other lunacy disseminators that are not technically warblogs. If you need a McGuffin, RightWingNews (prominent on the linkbar of the Central Scrutinizer himself) has spoken favorably of the WorldNetDaily item in question. In any case, this one is too good to miss.
Referring to a Zogby poll that claims most Mexicans believe their country is entitled to take back parts of the U.S., WorldNetDaily columnist Joseph Farah sees stateside Mexicans as "America's Palestinians." "The leaders of this movement are meeting continuously with extremists from the Islamic world," says Farah, and bolsters his claim with quotes from the website of the Aztlan movement.
"This is a story about a movement to create a new state within the borders of the continental United States," warns Farah. "It is a column designed to alert you and your elected officials to vital national security issues."
I've seen the Aztlan site, whose members indeed believe that they have been gypped out of their birthright. And I've seen FreeRepublic, many of whose members... well, let's hear them tell it:
Regarding the "South Carolina Sovereignty Flag" (sic till further notice): "I don't see why all South Carolinians do not embrace this flag - it a sovereign flag of freedom."
Freepers on other recent topics:
"I wouldnt call the souths attempts to secede 'treasonous rebellion'. Nor would i call it a 'civil war'. It truly was a war for 'Southern Independance.'"
"May the South rise again! Put that on your list."
"There was no rebellion or treason except that of Lincoln and the radicals. Crawl back under your rock, communist."
"As long as freedom lives in our hearts, Dixie will never die, nor will our heroes be forgotten!"
"The governement was disobeying its on laws through out the War for Southern Independance. The South if not legal, had a moral right to secede."
And many like this: "God Bless the Confederate States of America!"
<"sic" tag off>
Add to these Freepers' many loving references to Jeb Davis, Confederate anthems, Confederate flags, and such like, and you'll notice that Aztlan isn't the only, or even the most troublesome, bellwether of secessionism in our country today.
When will Joseph Farah "alert you and your elected officials to vital national security issues" regarding these folks? When will he report that they are "meeting continuously" with like-minded Southrons while Homeland Security sleeps?
My money's on Never.
Saturday, June 15, 2002
If John Ashcroft can arrest somebody for planning something--and by planning meaning allegedly not having gotten past the looking-it-up-on-the-internet-stage (no physical materials attained, etc.)--and file them away into military jail whilst simultaneously stripping away their constitutional rights as American Citizens (at first it was just the 'them'--the non-American citizens, and civil liberties groups warned . . . ), and stage and orchestrate the release of this information just so to really get the American public going--that is, AFRAID . . . who's to say it can't happen to you? I mean: in a totally trumped-up way--is what we think.
. . . further FEAR.
Remember, this is the Frog Boil here, as propagated by Bush & Co., and if we look at the direction of things, who's to say that the remaining dissenting voices in America (larger than advertised?) won't get clipped? Filed away?
CHEER FOR BUSH OR FACE ARREST, OSU STUDENT SEZ
To further my potentially future legal (political) case, I plan to append my email with this:
ATTN: ECHELON, CARNIVORE, AND OTHER CURIOUS SOURCES: I, DR. MENLO, DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR TO CURRENTLY BELIEVE--AND DO ESPOUSE BY LIVING--IN THE VALUE OF PEACE. MEANING PHYSICAL . . . PEACE/NO WAR. NO VIOLENCE. NO BLOWING THINGS UP. NO LETTING PEOPLE GO HUNGRY. NO LETTING THE TOP ONE PERCENT OF THE POPULATION OWN NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF EVERYTHING, AND I PLAN TO PROPAGATE THESE MEMES: THRU ART, THRU VERSE, THRU BEAUTY, AND YOUR PROGIT-LESSNESS. NO VIOLENCE. NO WAR. PRO-HUMAN. PRO-BRAIN. PRO-BODY. PRO-TRUTH. ANTI-HELPLESSNESS. GET YOURS NOW-->DRMENLO.COM
While retailing some of his experiences during the much ballyhooed "Operation Anaconda," [Army Private Matt] Guckenheimer artlessly spilled what was surely meant to be a secret order from his superiors.And the Warbloggers cheer them on! "Go Georgie! Go Dickie! You can do it! Kill Babies! Go Georgie! Go Dickie . . . "
"We were told there were no friendly forces," Guckenheimer said. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them."
Let that sink in for a moment: American soldiers were told to kill women and children. "Specifically." To kill a child. To put a bullet in the brain of, let's say, a two-year old girl. To hold the barrel of a rifle to her tiny temple and pull the trigger. To watch as the tender plate of her skull, the delicate bones of her face, her large bright inquisitive eyes were all obliterated in a burst of red mist. "We were told specifically to kill them." "Women and children." "To kill them."
So that's the kind of warfare being waged by those notorious two cowards, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. When their own generation was on the firing line, in Vietnam, both men ardently supported the war--but disdained to fight in it. For his part, Cheney was too busy with his long bootlicking rise to power: "I had other priorities," he has loftily proclaimed.
Meanwhile, Bush's daddy got his drink-addled little boy a cushy stateside berth in the Texas National Guard--but even then, Junior couldn't stick it. He bugged out for an entire year of his duty--desertion in wartime, a capital offense, if you're not rich and well-connected. Fortunately, his service records for that period were "scrubbed" by General Daniel James, former head of the Texas National Guard, who is now head of the entire nation's Air National Guard -- courtesy of his appointment by a grateful George W. Bush.
Now these two armchair warriors, Bush and Cheney, ensconced safely behind the greatest phalanx of personal protection ever seen in history, are sending out a new generation of young people to kill and die. Like their predecessors in the Vietnam War, they are twisting the faith and idealism of patriotic young soldiers and turning them into instruments of murder.
Friday, June 14, 2002
Warblogger-watching grows tiresome. The lummoxes at OpinionJournal are hauling off on the Lebanese, insufficiently outraged journalists, and a poor Ukrainian fellow for not raising an appropriate furor over the Lebanese Daily Star's failure to include the IHT as an insert, as is customary. The reason? The IHT "had an ad from the American Jewish Committee deploring anti-Semitic incidents around the world." As Taranto explains (partly) "Under Lebanese law, a foreign publication distributing in the country cannot publish items deemed propaganda for Israel." He cribbed that explanation from the AP, but neglected to include the sentence that followed: "Lebanon and Israel are technically at war."
Despite an earlier court case occasioned by the Daily Star's inclusion of an IHT insert which carried an ADL insert, Taranto's characterization of the Star's decision not to sell the IHT as "censorship in the Arab world" is questionable. The IHT's agreement with the Star provides the IHT be included without modification. It is curious indeed that an advocate of businessmen's rights of the more rebarbative sorts calls a publisher's decision not to accept an advertisement (with the unfortunate extension being his contractual obligation to refuse the remainder of the paper) "censorship."
Like Lebanon, we, too, are at war. Unlike Lebanon, we enjoy numerous God-given freedoms (at least nominally and at least before the ascension of that man so awful to contemplate Missouri voters affirmed their preference for a dead man over him). Like Lebanon, we have a press that is unable or unwilling to give us the true story. Taranto: Where's the outrage?
Jonah Goldberg is at it again. He admits that "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla's rights are being violated, but he just doesn't care.
[T]he issue isn't "can" Padilla's rights be violated, but should they be violated. I ask two questions to come to my conclusion. What does Padilla deserve? And, what should Americans expect their government to do?
As for what Padilla deserves, the short answer is nothing. Al-Qaida rejects the Geneva Convention and the rules of war because its aim is mass murder for mass-murder's sake. Its operatives are all essentially plain-clothes spies and saboteurs (who can be executed according to the Geneva convention, by the way). Those who say Padilla should get a civilian trial are essentially saying that if you reject the rules of civilized nations, like those inscribed in the Geneva Convention, you therefore deserve to be treated better, not worse, than those rules require.
Goldberg has tried this argument before, when he admitted that he is "not a well-versed student of the Geneva Convention." He doesn't know, I guess, that even accused spies and saboteurs get trials. So, need we remind Jonah that the accused dirty bomber isn't getting a trial at all, military or civilian? Ah, but he probably doesn't care about that, either. Nor, it appears, does he care about the notion of the United States being better than the terrorists.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
I offer two hastily typed notes forthwith and hope that you will pardon the lack of connection between them:
1. I feel bad for poor Andrew Sullivan in that history has already laid claim to the title "Sullivanians," robbing him of one of the more euphonious terms with which he could describe his devotees. A loss for Andy, but a gain for Warblogger Watch. The similarities between the original Sullivanians and the new crop are remarkable: a shared belief in the fundamental evil of maternal love (manifested in the warblogging Sullivanians as a determination to prevent the Palestinians from realizing a Motherland, or, in a corrupt form, as indifference to dead Iraqi children); a common organizational form with a collection of pathetic followers arrayed around a megalomaniacal leader who fancies himself infallible; the theater figures in both movements, though information supplied Warblogger Watch has it that Andy's turn as Benedick was even less enjoyable than the dismal stagings of the Fourth Wall Reperatory Company. "I'll be back Monday with guns blazing. See you then." We can't wait, little Andy.
2. Lileks delights over his own graceless bangings on the keyboard today. He introduces his daily Bleat, an apt word for so enthusiastic an adherent of prevailing orthodoxies, by saying "Having reread today's bleat, that's all I can say: hooooboy. I bring this up just because I think it's . . . unusual, and reveals a different aspect to a place I pass daily and patronize once a week. It's an interesting story you might have heard, but I've not seen it discussed anywhere in blogland." You can almost hear the blood rushing to and engorging his penis.
He has found that a director of an Islamic investment concern whose U.S. arm holds Lileks's local coffee chain in its portfolio is a wild fundamentalist. He makes much of a now deleted webpage (though, supersleuth he is, he tracked down its Google cache) that lists the members and mission of the Shari'ah compliance board on which the director in question serves. It states the company is "committed to providing financial products that conform to Shari'ah, as well as ensuring that all of the Bank's operations conform to Shari'ah." Lileks apparently misunderstood this as stating the company's U.S. holdings must accept the Koran or something (the financial product would be the fund, not the portfolio company), as he then dredges up some of the writings of the director in question that expand on some of the Koran's nuttier and more misogynistic passages. It seems he's saying First Islamic Investment Bank would like to force Shari'ah on us stateside.
Lileks grants Muslims their "right in America" to proselytize, and he indulges his similar right to ridicule them. I hope Lileks would permit us an exercise of our not-yet-taken-away American right to follow his lead. I could have guessed by his narrow-mindedness that Lileks is a Christian, though he allows in his current column that he is a Lutheran. Of course Lutheranism, whose founder wrote that "the Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves," and that "we ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them," is a wholly sensible body of doctrine. Lileks, a man who seconds Ariel Sharon's realistic fear that the Palestinians are threatening to push the Israelis into the sea, is merely following Church precedent in abiding the campaign against the Palestinians, just like Luther abided the German Peasant War with such brio: "They [the peasants] should be knocked to pieces, strangled and stabbed, secretly and openly, by everybody who can do it, just as one must kill a mad dog...Therefore, dear gentlemen, hearken here, save there, stab, knock, strangle them at will, and if thou diest, thou art blessed; no better death canst thou ever attain." Man, is that ever some nutty shit my American ass is completely incapable of relating to.
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
InsideEuropeIberianNotes (June 9) writes "We had a look at Warblogger Watch. It's actually rather well-written (better than at least 75% of blogs) and pretty funny, though we think the contributors are a bunch of jerks..." There's the pull-quote! Call our agents!
The remainder of the entry slams WBW (a collective entity in IEIN's reckoning -- crikey, does that make us anarcho-syndicalists?) for being "anti-Jingoes," then goes on to defend the jingo nomenclature with thoroughly expected quotes from George Orwell.
One could argue the etymological point, but why bother? Between WWI and WWs II through whatever, IEIN draws a distinction that is, in this case, truly without a difference. The word in question has retained, through various conflicts, an unambiguous meaning. While conservatives have become pretty good at trifling with neologisms, older usages are harder to manipulate.
In my own postings (pushing aside here the groupthink attributed to my colleagues and myself by IEIN), I have concerned myself with online lunacies inspired by the present conflict. As I am not an exalted thinker, I have been content to call certain malefactors on breaches of common sense and logic, not ideological deviation. Thanks to the high volume of gibberish polluting the Internet these days, I haven't wanted for targets.
We can always debate the sanity of certain actions and ideas, and IEIN, which is better-written than at least 76% of blogs, has a place at that table. But let's not waste everyone's time with patriotic word-games. (P.S.: "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" predates the Pogues' version.)
Reprinted via dangerousmeta!:
the new york times article on blogs. 'inherently political'. hmmmph. a rift? if the warbloggers believe they were the first to look 'outward', then yes, there's a rift ... or maybe a reaganesque 'common sense gap.' surely they must realize that political discussion has been a constant thread even in tech and diary weblogs. the journalists who write these articles have no history with weblogging, and neither the journalists nor the newer 'pundit-style' [to use their terminology] bloggers seem to read archives or old discussion group postings ... and that, my friends, is a crying shame. even webloggers must take in their own history. at american samizdat, it's instructive to go back in the archives of each site of the the alliance of world-weary webloggers to read about september 11, and the approaching war. the alliance page was set up ten days after the attack, pointing to weblogs who had shelved their 'normal' postings to cover this crisis ... and our power as aggregators of varied news sources in association with first-person accounts, and off-the-cuff emotion is staggering. it would also be instructive to go back and read postings from these same folks in the pre-2000 election season, because everyone needs to understand that punditry has been no stranger to weblogging. the clinton impeachment was before my time [early 1999], but search scripting news for 'impeachment,' and that will probably lead you to other weblogs discussing the issue. you might even try some 'o.j. simpson' searches on the older blogs. these are only a few examples. i really don't understand, i guess, what 'warblogs' are supposed to be doing that's 'new' or 'different,' other than having their narrow classification being portrayed by the media as a divisive element in the weblogging world. "we're new! we're great!" how many times have we 'older' webloggers heard that one? we smile, remember our time in the sun, and let the youngsters have their fun. more will come, replacing these in the limelight. divisive, my foot. we all learn some things, and life goes on. -permalink-
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
A few inaccuracies on your part to address, shouldn't take long. First, when I stated that the majority of the big names remained unaccounted for, I was referring to our inability to put a dent of significant size in the list of 22 Most Wanted Terrorists, a high priority of any War Against Terror worthy of the name. You write "as of 15 January, one third of Pentagon's 36-odd Taliban most wanted, and 8 of its 20 Taliban most wanted, had been reported dead or captured, according to Carl Conetta." Ignoring the doubling-up of "Taliban most wanted" (you meant to type al Qaeda in the second instance), 8 of 20 works out to less than 50%, at least according to my abacus. You also stated that Abu Zubaydah's capture, which "was only possible once the war had rendered him a fugitive." This ignores both American suspicions against him for his part in the thwarted Millennium Attacks as well as his March 27, 2000 indictment by the Jordanians.
You also took issue with my statement that an undetermined number of Afghan civilians had died. True, the Los Angeles Times piece did reckon the number ("conclusively" in your telling) at 1,200, though theirs was just one of a number of estimates. Even ignoring the work of Marc Herold, the warblogger's go-to guy for dubious stats just a few days back gave a range of "between 600 and 1,500," which suggests that the statistics are anything but conclusive.
You further state that the Shlomo Ben Ami quote is off topic. Please re-read the piece, this time noting that Ben Ami's words are reproduced immediately after a sentence stating Arafat "never turned down '97 percent of the West Bank' at Taba." "The pressure of Israeli public opinion against the [Taba] talks could not be resisted" can be readily translated as "No such offer was made." Sadly for you and others unable to comprehend the import of so matter-of-fact a statement by an Israeli official, the times did not include any helpful onomatopoeia at the conculsion of Ben Ami's quote.
If you tabulate my score as "0 for 3 on his factual challenges" your innumeracy rivals your illiteracy in its severity.
And I thought I had been pretty fair to Hitchens.
Here's Thomas M. Holsinger on strategypage.com, quoted approvingly by Instapundit:
"...failed and failing states which have served as terrorist sanctuaries will be conquered and occupied by a friendly country (us if necessary) with the means and ruthlessness to root out terrorist infrastructure. This is a fundamental change in the post World War II order. Borders will change and whole countries cease to exist."
We all know what this means: watch out, terror haven Canada! You hoseheads have already come under fire from the American Association of Concerned Taxpayers. ("The days of Americans rolling their eyes at the angry angst of our maple leaf neighbors are over. Listen up Canada: Either you are with them, or us. You decide.") Now Mark Steyn has inserted the thin edge of the wedge, proposing the annexation of Alberta ("The Albertans would be up for it, and, to be honest, they’re the only assimilable Canadian province, at least from a Republican standpoint"). Soon we will come for the whole shebang.
One wonders if the old dream of a U.S.-Canada-Mexico common market will someday be obviated by a North American superstate. Tom Ridge is worried about Mexico. Why not just annex it? The concept is already has its early adopters.
Think of the benefits. Goodbye border patrol! Southerly security issues could be treated by whatever measures Homeland Security has in store for the rest of the U.S. And annexation will make it easier for Vicente Fox to prosecute his own local troublemakers without having to split hairs over whether they're really terrorists or not.
Cross-referencing our terrorist list with Mexico's might prove a little dicey -- theirs includes Taiwan, for one thing -- but that's nothing a crack team of negotiators couldn't work out.
In time we could start working our way further down the map. We could make Venezuela the new Texas, and without resort to the politically unpopular means heretofore used to pacify our fractious hemispheric homies.
We can't let this get out of hand, of course. Some nations must remain independent, so that U.S. corporations might retain their convenient tax havens.
But the idea has promise. Since we're not too good at making friends, let's eliminate the middleman and make other countries parts of us. Then we can go back to our pre-9/11 pastime -- squabbling among ourselves -- but on a much grander scale.
"Attention Warbloggers! You are condemned. Did you know that? The instant the terrorists you support took over our government, you sentenced yourselves to death. Warblogger Watch is here to seek justice for our dead. Highly trained soldiers are coming to shut down once and for all Glenn Reynolds's ring of terrorism, and the Taliban that supports them and their actions.
"Our forces are armed with state of the art military equipment. What are you using, obsolete and ineffective weaponry? Our Brad Olson will rain fire down upon your camps before you detect him on your radar. Roy Edroso's bombs are so accurate he can drop them right through your windows. Our infantry is trained for any climate and terrain on earth. Warblogger Watch soldiers fire with superior marksmanship and are armed with superior weapons.
"You have only one choice ... Surrender now and we will give you a second chance. We will let you live. If you surrender no harm will come to you. When you decide to surrender, approach Warblogger Watch forces with your hands in the air. Sling your weapon across your back muzzle towards the ground. Remove your magazine and expel any rounds. Doing this is your only chance of survival."
Monday, June 10, 2002
The War Street Journal, as usual, thinks that Washington isn't hawkish enough. Assistant to the Publisher Richard J. Tofel wants the Democrats to out-hawk the Republicans: "The Pearl Harbor of our time -- the moment that truly changes everything -- was not last Sept. 11, I fear. It lies ahead. And that looming threat requires us to choose between becoming the America Firsters of the 21st Century and returning to being the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy."
It isn't enough that the GOP has abandoned its anti-war (i.e., "America First") history and become, on foreign policy, the party of Roosevelt, Truman and JFK that Tofel wants. There must be no opposition party whatsoever. And if Democrats like Joe Lieberman get their way, the Democrats will try to out-hawk the Republicans.
Friday, June 07, 2002
The earliest manifestations of Peggy Noonan's war-related madness were chronicled here and here. Shortly thereafter she settled back into her usual, less troubled hagiographic state. But on Friday she relapsed horribly.
"I think of the comment of a friend whose sister lives in an ashram in Washington state," Ms. Noonan writes. "Her swami, a follower of an Indian form of astrology, has announced that June 10 and 11 will be cataclysmic for the world. She called her brother, my friend, to tell him that she loved him. My friend tells me all this and we look at each other and know what the other is thinking: I don't believe in swamis and I don't believe in Indian astrology, but June 11 is nine months after 9/11, and the enemy seems to like nines. We both sort of breathed in and out again. Should we avoid cities on those dates?"
Her previous Catholic mysticism was weird enough, but now Noonan is attending numerology and followers of swamis.
What has caused this relapse? Perhaps it was precipitated by Bush's new Homeland Security initiative -- or the security fiasco that (one could be excused for suspecting) led to it; Noonan does warn, late in her ravings, that "The longer we obsess on the systems failure that contributed to Sept. 11, the more we contribute to the next systems failure."
The latter explanation would offer some hope for Noonan's sanity. Once a Republican operative, always a Republican operative, and it would be less worrisome to imagine that the Riefenstahl of Reaganism is merely pulling a Cheney in the service of the Administration's approval ratings.
Alas, her column offers further evidence that Noonan has indeed flipped:
"As you read this I want you to do something. If you think that another bigger, more terrible shoe will not drop in our time, stand up right now.
"You're still sitting. Because just about every sane and sentient adult knows that more shoes will drop, some with a deadening thud.
"If you think New York City will not be a target, or the target, of the next big shoe or shoes, stand up.
"You're still sitting..."
This reverse-Howard Beale exhortation goes on for a while, and one imagines Noonan typing it out and envisioning millions of readers proving her psychic powers by dutifully remaining in their seats.
Her real call to action, though, is to "Think dark... be dire... We are living in a time when it is one's patriotic duty to be imaginative." And what must we imagine? "On the same day, New York and Washington are, say, dirty-nuked."
And what must be done to prevent this? Scrutinize Arabs and Muslims, she says (at least as carefully as she did last October). But above all, we must fear. "Why isn't our government telling people, through television and pamphlets and speeches and announcements, what they need to do to survive a potential nuclear attack?" asks Noonan. "What should mom and dad in the suburbs do if they see a flash of light and a two mile high cloud in the city 22 miles away?"
For some, the answer will always (or in times of psychological distress) be to live in terror. Me, I live in an apartment in Brooklyn. I have no backyard in which to build a bomb shelter, and no inclination (or money) to purchase one. If a nuclear device strikes New York, I figure, I'm screwed. More to the point, if the combined might of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies can't prevent such devices from striking, we're all screwed, and all the preparedness plans in the world won't unscrew us.
Rather than bunker ourselves, how about we find a better way to deal with the rest of the world?
Is that too crazy? Or too sane?
And now for something completely different part two: A nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. Or: The Larch.
What’s that? Liberals don’t know how to respond to the nuclear exchange according to Victor Davis Hanson? Actually, the prospect of a possible nuclear exchange highlights quite graphically the limitations of bombing and terror campaigns. It also highlights how incredibly banal your average Warblogger’s position on war is. Does it encourage or deter nuclear exchange when the US announces that it will initiate first strikes on its alleged enemies on its own? Does it encourage or deter nuclear exchange when we act unilaterally and kill civilians and then declare victory? Does it encourage or deter nuclear exchange when we withdraw from the World Court (Please explain how this gets Pakistan and India back to the negotiating table?)? In fact, what I’ve found is that the average Warblogger hasn’t commented on this too much because if Pakistan and India were to follow the Warblogger’s mantra—
(Those mantras are, in no particular order: Your opponent is evil and evil only and nothing rational could describe their evil evil evil acts of evil , negotiation is useless (they are, afterall, subhuman and quite evil), there are no root causes to disputes, force works and people don’t mind our civilian casualties because we’re the good guys, blowback doesn’t exist and my favorite: We don’t care what the world thinks. Bombs away and that Ted Rall/Noam Chomsky/Mike Moore he’s no good…)
--then a nuclear war is inevitable. We have to hope that both sides in this dispute are more intelligent and more sensible than Americans and the sillier monarchy worshiping Warbloggers (Figures. During a particulary nasty debate over at Plastic that we had some time back I wondered aloud whether his family was allied with the Shah. I’m still wondering…) amongst us. Of course they can’t quite bear to face up to their own logic, that is: if our policies are encouraging nuclear holocaust wouldn’t it be better for us to change our policies? If, sigh, there was only a Decent Right as Mike Walzer might say. That would mean doing the opposite of what I mentioned earlier and I’ve probably said this before but what could the United States do to prevent nuclear war? Well we could join the World Court enthusiastically and propose an arbitration process for nations if it doesn’t already have one. We could ask that Israel and the PLO immediately join that process and then turn around and ask Pakistan and India to do the same. That would be consistent. We could also ask for United Nations troops in both Kashmir and the Mideast. That would also be consistent.
Speaking of Israel, I have been accused of being anti-semitic because I didn’t approve of the IDF using tanks to roll over homes. To be honest, the reason I don’t approve the Israeli tactics is that I’m firmly of the belief that their use of force creates more problems for them than it solves. But here’s another question for you Warbloggers: is it in the interest of Israel for there to be a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan? I’ve looked at those dispersal patterns and they look like they’re coming awfully close to Israel. Of course, these are wildly optimistic dispersal patterns that don’t include either side developing hydrogen bombs or stores of chemical weapons or what happens when you have multiple nuclear plant explosions or what if China or the Stan countries decide to intervene with their own weapons or in the confusion al-Qaeda gets its hands on a couple of nuclear weapons and aims a plane toward Israel…Well, to me, it just seems a lot simpler to work toward peace.
You could even make a capitalist argument for peace efforts. I know the prospect of 20 million brown people (They're justiable causalties they'll bravely intone.) does nothing to move the hearts of the hardened Warblogger, allegedly safe in his or her comfy chair. (How many of you have enlisted for this noble and just war effort? You’re only 30 Pejman “Never Takes an Israeli War Crime/Atrocity Seriously” Yousefzadeh. When will you sign up?). So try to think of it this way. Nuclear war could be bad for Israel, in that a there may be a Pakistani bomb with their name on it. Nuclear War could turn the mideast oil reserve into a radioactive wasteland—but, in an optimistic silver lining behind every radioactive cloud Glenn Reynolds moment (“I’ll be fine after the nuclear exchange,” sez my strawman Instapundit. “A fellow blogger told me I’d be okay and…Ted Rall sucks!”), I guess we would move toward alternative fuels at last. And, last but not least, nuclear war could be bad for the stock market and that could even hurt the economy."How dreadful" as Andy Sullivan might say in a fit of manly exasperation.
Afterall, what’s more important: choking on your war lust or doing everything you can to prevent the deaths of 20 million people? Wouldn't it be better if the War on Terror, whatever it is these days, be put on hold not just for Israel but for the world? Better not ask the Warbloggers. They’re probably busy stocking up on Iodine and thanks to their administration cohorts we probably should too….
Just a minor correction to Grady Olivier's entry below: The Chicago School of economics has nothing to do with the Austrian School, aside from both tending to be free-market, the latter more so than the former. Austrians, in fact, are critical of the Chicagoites for the very reason Grady cites, i.e., because the Chicago School "examine[s] equations instead of actually existing economies." Furthermore, most Austrians are firmly anti-war.
At National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson says liberals are unserious about the burgeoning India-Pakistan crisis. Why would that be? Because they can't use it as a stick to beat Israel.
"While our elites can vent the full range of their anger and self-righteousness at Israel -- as the symbol of Western 'colonialism' using its superior power and wealth to 'oppress' the 'other' -- Kashmir offers no such romance or glorification of the noble, indigenous anti-Westerner, and almost no opportunity for the political correctness of the morning latte or the evening seminar," he says.
Reverend Al Sharpton does say he's going to the region -- or, as links site RightWingNews puts it, "Sharpton Copies Jessie Jackson's Useless Trip To Israel And Decides To Try Draw Press By Going To India/Pakistan." But I suppose this doesn't count.
"Kashmir is very deadly business," Hanson goes on, "where the lives of millions may well hang in the balance -- and where easy and smug proclamations pale beside the specter of vast cities in ashes."
So one would assume the warblogbrethren -- no Jenin obsessives, they -- would have brought a Hansonian seriousness to the discussion. Here's Instapundit on the latest developments:
"JOE KATZMAN has a linkfest of resources on the impact of an India/Pakistan nuclear war. He also has an extended analysis of Al Qaeda's likely reasons for actually wanting a nuclear war between the two. Sadly, he's pretty persuasive. Of course, if there are nukes flying around, an extra nuke or two in the right place might go unnoticed..."
If I'm reading this right, the Professor thinks nuclear war in South Asia would make an excellent cover for nuclear strikes against Al Qaeda. Is this a joke, or a "ha ha only serious?" Perhaps Hanson knows.
(Instapundit's Katzman link is more serious, but equally fanciful, offering scenarios for Al Qaeda mischief in the region, including the assassination of Donald Rumsfield.)
Later, same page: "UPDATED FALLOUT MAPS for an India / Pakistan nuclear war are available through Shoutin' Across the Pacific. As long as it's not 'irradiating across the Pacific.' Actually, the fallout generated by Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons appears to be relatively minor anyway..."
Other recent examples of warblogger high seriousness on this subject:
"In the meantime, looking for a fair fight in Lakers-Nets, Tyson-Lewis ... and India-Pakistan?" (LagTime)
"Like nine other people who watched the news over the sleepy post-Memorial Day week, I noticed those Pakistanis and Indians
are still real excited about having a war.... Will you people quit this garbage? It's 2002. You all need to work on your image, right?... Turns out it's more fun to be alive than to be crisped by a crude nuke due to some jackalope's big idea about national pride." (Ken Layne, at FoxNews)
I hardly blame them. Given the high noise level emanating from the War on Whatchamacallit, it's hard to focus on this new threat. Even good sources such as Indian Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar don't give us much to go on ("We have convinced ourselves that we are a nice set of people. Nice guys have no place in this world today. I am not saying that we must all be bad guys...") So why wouldn't a weary warblogger prefer to scan pictures of Hollywood starlets?
Still, there are places you can go to get more informed analysis on the subject. Here is one. You can also read papers situated nearer the hot zone and get other angles, like this interesting Pakistani POV.
But let's not pretend a lack of seriousness on such subjects is a liberal phenomenon. Why, I bet some of Hanson's colleagues even take morning lattes.