Monday, May 31, 2004

A broadside in the war on blubber Mark Steyn, good as always on how the Eurotrash looks down its collective noses at the obeisity of the ignorant Americans.

To French schoolchildren, Americans are a race apart - strange, misshapen monsters staggering from across the ocean to devour anything in their path. As the French student advances toward graduation, he comes to understand that the condition of the American behemoth approximates that of the dinosaurs of old: huge bodies, tiny brains, doomed to extinction. After which, the natural leaders of the world will resume their rightful role.

That's why Michael Moore makes such a perfect performing seal for the European intellectual class: the vast bulk of his credibility derives from his vast bulk; to the sophisticates at Cannes, he's their very own Uncle Tom who growed like Topsy. As to Polly Toynbee's economic arguments, I don't buy that. The EU will have collapsed under the weight of its social programmes long before America collapses under the weight of its weight.

V.S. Naipaul was closer to the mark in his book A Turn in the South, marveling at how Americans had "turned fulfilment and the glory of abundance to personal fat. A kind of suicide, it might have seemed; but I also began to wonder," he wrote, "whether for these descendants of frontier people and pinelanders there wasn't, in their fatness, some simple element of self-assertion."

Sunday, May 30, 2004

It's too bad a story like this about the battle of Fallujah will only appear in the Wall Street Journal. I'm looking forward to reading the books on this war. We're not getting the story if it's at all positive. Though like the war, it isn't all good news of course. The Bush administration is letting the press define the war, rather than taking the initiative. That is a sure fire loser. If a low level PR hack (like me) can figure that out, why can't the big shots in the White House?

As for the close-quarters urban combat, I was in the city the first days of the battle. The overwhelming percentage of the small arms fire--not-to-mention mortars, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades--represented indiscriminate automatic bursts of the insurgents. Marines responded with far fewer, more precise shots. It was inspiring to observe high-testosterone 19-year-old lance corporals turn into calm and calculating 30-year-olds every time a firefight started.

There was nothing fancy about the Marine advance into Fallujah. Marines slugged it out three steps forward, two steps backward: the classic, immemorial labor of infantry, little changed since Hue, or since antiquity for that matter. As their own casualties mounted, the only time I saw angry or depressed Marines was when an Iraqi civilian was accidentally hit in the crossfire--usually perpetrated by the enemy. I was not surprised. I had seen Army Special Forces react similarly to civilian casualties the year before in Afghanistan.

The humanity of the troops is something to behold: Contrary to the op-ed page of the New York Times (May 21), the word haji in both Iraq and Afghanistan, at least among Marines and Special Forces, is more often used as an endearment than a slur. To wit, "let's drink tea and hang out with the hajis," "haji food is so much better than what they feed us," "a haji designed real nice vests for our rifle plates," and so on. Thus, it has been so appallingly depressing to read about Abu Ghraib prison day after day, after day.


Wow. Here's an editorial from the Boston Herald on Al Gore's recent tantrum at another MoveOn.org rally.

How dare Al Gore disgrace this nation
By Boston Herald editorial staff
Friday, May 28, 2004

He never mentioned Nicholas Berg. Or Daniel Pearl. Or a single person killed in the World Trade Center. Nor did former Vice President Al Gore talk of any soldier by name who has given his life in Iraq. And he has the audacity to condemn the Bush administration for having ``twisted values?''

Gore spent the bulk of a speech before the liberal group MoveOn.org Wednesday bemoaning Abu Ghraib and denouncing President Bush's departure from the ``long successful strategy of containment.''

Yes, the very same strategy that, under Gore's leadership, allowed al-Qaeda operatives to plan the horror of Sept. 11 for years, while moving freely within our borders.

Gore even had the audacity to defend the perpetrators of the prison abuse - by name - while denouncing President Bush [related, bio] for ``humiliating'' our nation.

How dare he. How dare a former vice president of the United States go beyond disagreeing with the current president's policies - a right of anyone in this free country - and denounce Bush as ``incompetent.''

How dare Gore say that Americans have an ``innate vulnerability to temptation... to use power to abuse others.'' And that our own ``internal system of checks and balances cannot be relied upon'' to curb such abuse.

And this man - who apparently has so much disdain for the nature of the American people - wanted to be elected to lead it?

It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party's nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.

Recalling a time when setbacks didn't deter us Mark Steyn on what Memorial Day ought to mean to us today.

All wars are messy, and many of them seem small and unworthy even at the moment of triumph. The unkempt lice-infested Saddam Hussein yanked from his spider hole last December is not so very different from the Jefferson Davis captured in May 1865 while skulking away in women's clothing, and thereafter depicted by gleeful Northern cartoonists in hoop skirts, petticoats and crinolines.

Conquered and captured, an enemy shrivels, and you question what he ever had that necessitated such a sacrifice. The piercing clarity of war shades into the murky grays of postwar reconstruction. You think Iraq's a quagmire? Lincoln's ''new birth of freedom'' bogged down into a centurylong quagmire of segregation, denial of civil rights, lynchings. Does that mean the Civil War wasn't worth fighting? That, as Al Gore and other excitable types would say, Abe W. Lincoln lied to us?

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The Connection I wonder how much more we'll need?

Here it is again The connection between Saddam and 9/11 is there. It will continue to be ignored of course, but the evidence seems pretty strong to me.

Why do U.S. spooks seem so cool to the Prague Connection? Embracing it could pinpoint a great, big, unconnected dot. As then-Czech foreign minister and intelligence coordinator Jan Kavan told Epstein, it could be embarrassing "if American intelligence had failed before 9-11 to adequately appreciate the significance of the April meeting."

Additional records extracted from the Mukhabarat's Baghdad headquarters indicate that Saddam Hussein's intelligence operatives have known Atta's boss for years.

"The following is a summary of the main activities and opportunities of the working party, following the orders issued by Excellency on 4/1/1992" (Jan. 4, 1992). So reads a March 28, 1992 document designated "Top Secret" by the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The 11-page, Arabic language document — translated into English and shared by a U.S. Senate source — describes Baathist espionage from Tunisia to Kuwait.

Under "Saudi front/M4," the document says, "Contacted and continued relations with (4) of our old sources which still live in Saudi Arabia, and they are ... d- Saudi Osama Bin Ladin/ he is well known Saudi businessmen (sic) founder of Saudi opposition in Afghanistan, had connection with Syrian division."

Absent surveillance footage of Saddam Hussein driving Mohamed Atta to Portland, Maine's airport en route to American Airlines Flight 11, war critics and Bush bashers refuse to believe that Iraq's deposed dictator might have been involved in 9-11. Still, Baathist files keep yielding clues that the carnage of Sept. 11 might not have caught Saddam Hussein totally by surprise.

Friday, May 28, 2004

An excellent piece from the Jerusalem Post on the level of hyperbole aimed at Bush. He asks the reasonable question, when you call Bush a fascist, what words are left for real fascists?

THERE ARE two explanations for all this. One is that Bush really is as bad as Sid, Al and Paul say: the dumbest, most feckless, most fanatical, most incompetent and most calamitous president the nation has ever known. A second is that Sid, Al and Paul are insane.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

More from the WSJ about the link between Saddam and Al Qedah. I still don't understand why the administration isn't making more of this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Women in Iraq This is kind of scary. We may be able (with great difficulty) to impose some sort of civilized society on these people. But underneath it all, they will still be Muslim. And that is a problem, a defect, that I don't know can be fixed. The rot goes too deep.

Something frightening lies at the heart of this nation, I've come to understand, something dark, irrational, thuggish, especially among the "ignorant men" of its lower classes. In public, it often takes the forms of a weaponized stare that glowers at an unescorted woman — or a woman accompanied by a foreigner — as if yearning to see her disgrace herself, do something scandalous or un-Islamic, in order to fuel invidious gossip and innuendo. In private, it manifests itself in the threat, and frequently the reality, of violence to restrain and subjugate females. To accommodate and placate this malevolence, Iraqi females learn to repress their own behavior and instincts, while safeguarding their most important social possession — reputation.

This is lovely Yeah, the UN sure has more moral authority than we do. That's why it's so important to have them involved rather than being "unilateral." We have so much to learn from the vastly superior Europeans.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Here's an amazing letter explaining the real reason for the war in Iraq. It was printed in the Salt Lake City paper of all places. She must spend a lot of time alone in that city.

Plan for domination

I believe President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld's thinking goes along these lines:
The American population is growing about 0.92 percent a year; 66.7 percent of that very same population is between the ages of 15 and 64 and these same people are having about 14 babies a year per 1,000. At this rate, we need to greatly reduce the male half of the population.
Without the males, females will slow down and, in some cases, stop breeding. This will move us in the direction of a more controllable number of people, mostly weak women. By sending large quantities of men to fight this war in Iraq that we've cooked up, we can eliminate many of the stronger ones.
The children who lose fathers in this war, especially the boys who won't have a father's guidance, will succumb to depression and have possible suicidal tendencies. The surviving female children will be hardened by losses and by their mothers who turn bitter and tough. We'll give these children one great thing to hold onto and strive toward, an absolute sense of patriotism; not just faith in our country, but unshakable faith in our president and other leaders since we are in fact guided by God himself.
We will make machines out of these children, willing to die for any course we decide to lay out for them. We will keep some of the weaker ones in the factories to build our weapons and machines for our continued plan of world domination.

Kathleen Anderton
Salt Lake City




The Green Side This is from a weblog maintained by the father of a Marine in Iraq. Again, he provides a somewhat different picture than what we are getting from our mainstream media. Here he even takes a parting shot at Zinni.

I will close with something that was on my mind this morning when I punished myself by watching CBS news. I saw the anchor come on and just before he spoke, I told my rack mate "Lets see what the opening line is going to be...." Sure enough before he said anything else, he said "It just keeps getting worse and worse...." Yes, he was talking about Iraq. Honest to God we laughed at him. I'm not kidding. It is getting to the point where the Marines are getting past their anger at the talking heads and are laughing. To really get a rise out of them, requires a retired military officer who betrays his oath and stokes the fear mongering.

Andrew Sullivan here with a good piece putting the war in perspective. It's not all bad news as the mainstream press would have us believe, and of course it's not all good news either. What war ever has been?

Friday, May 21, 2004

Nuclear Materials: U.S. Announces It Intends to Move Tons of Uranium From Baghdad Excuse me, but isn't this significant in some way? TONS of URANIUM!!??? In a country that supposedly had no WMD?

At times like this it's good to remember the classics. Thomas Paine on sacrifice:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Here it is from the horse's mouth, also known as the weblog "Iraq the Model." It's a weblog written by an Iraqi who works as a dentist if I recall correctly. Here he relates a discussion he had with a taxi driver who lives in Sadr City.

"A Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham" Jim Glassman expands on the point Andrew Sullivan made below:

Explaining U.S. policies and actions to the world -- and fighting the lies being told about us -- has never been more important. But never have we botched the job so badly.

This job -- promoting the national interest by informing, engaging and influencing -- is called "public diplomacy." We used to be the best at it. With institutions like Radio Free Europe and the USIA, public diplomacy helped win the Cold War, and it has the potential to win the war on terror, saving American lives and money.

But, after the Berlin Wall came down, the U.S. started to dismantle the apparatus of public diplomacy, or P.D. The worst blow came when we disbanded the U.S. Information Agency. Today, the State Department spends just $600 million on public diplomacy -- a joke. Some in the administration even see P.D. as sissified, not for tough policymakers.

Meanwhile, hostility toward the U.S. has reached shocking levels. A March survey by the Pew Center, for example, found 70 percent of Jordanians believe suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq are justifiable and only 8 percent of Pakistanis believe Iraqis will be better off with Saddam gone. And Jordan and Pakistan are our allies.

"A year ago," said Mark Helmke, key aide to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind). "I reported that American public diplomacy was a mess. I said it lacked a strategy, a vision, and money. Today, that situation is worse. American public diplomacy is a disaster."

Islamic headgear is not essential I was amazed when I first read this. I was always under the impression that the hijab had been part of Islam forever. Instead, it's just another bad fasion statement from the 1970s. Too bad it hasn't gone the way of quiana nylon shirts and cuffed bell bottoms. From an article by Amir Taheri:

Sadr's neo-hijab made its first appearance in Iran in 1977 as a symbol of Islamist-Marxist opposition to the Shah's regime. When the mullahs seized power in Tehran in 1979, the number of women wearing the hijab exploded into tens of thousands.

In 1981, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic, announced that "scientific research had shown that women's hair emitted rays that drove men insane" (sic). To protect the public, the new Islamist regime passed a law in 1982 making the hijab mandatory for females aged above six, regardless of religious faith. Violating the hijab code was made punishable by 100 lashes of the cane and six months imprisonment.

By the mid-1980s a form of hijab never seen in Islam before the 1970s had become standard gear for millions of women all over the world, including Europe and America.

Andrew Sullivan on "BUSH'S FAILURE" in Iraq:

The answer cannot be the president's crude and simple rhetorical tropes. What Bush doesn't seem to understand is that in any war, people need to be reminded constantly of what is going on, what is at stake, what our immediate, medium-term and ultimate objectives are. The president has said nothing cogent about Karbala; nothing apposite about al Sadr; nothing specific about what our strategy is in Falluja. Events transpire and are interpreted by critics and the anti-war media and by everyone on the planet but the president. All the president says is a broad and crude reiteration of valid but superfluous boilerplate. This is not war-leadership; it's the abdication of war-leadership.

We are at a critical juncture. With some perspective, we have achieved much in Iraq, with relatively low casualties. But it will all go to hell if we lose our nerve now. It's long past time that people can be asked simply to trust the president. After the WMD intelligence debacle and the Abu Ghraib disgrace, he has run out of that capital. He has to tell us how we will win, what we are doing, how it all holds together, why the infrastructure repair is still in disarray, and how a political solution is possible. I'm not sure any more that this president has the skills or competence to pull it off. But I am sure that he has very little time to persuade us he can.


I can't disagree with a word of this. Bush's inability to put a coherent sentence together is a real problem at a time such as this. Fortunately for Bush, the only thing worse than another Bush term would be a Kerry administration.

"But speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens on Michael Moore

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I'd hate to have to go up against the Brits. They are still our match when it comes to giving battle. All their regiments have a long history of famous battles of which they are rightfully proud. Here's another one.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Written on Water Wow. Here's a negative assessment of the war in Iraq. I respect Helprin's opinion too. At least he aims at both sides, which deserve it too.

In a war that has steadily grown beyond expectations, America has been poorly served by those who govern it. The Democrats are guilty of seemingly innate ideological confusion about self-defense, the Republicans of willful disdain for reflection, and, both, of lack of imagination, probity, and preparation--and, perhaps above all, of subjecting the most serious business in the life of a nation to coarse partisanship. Having come up short, both parties are sorely in need of a severe reprimand and direct order from the American people to correct their failings and get on with the common defense.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Apocalypse Soon? A great piece on the coming propaganda battle sure to arise over the coming movie "The Day After Tomorrow." As unlikely as it may seem for a Hollywood movie to have an impact on reality, as the writer points out, there is presidence:

In the Western United States, it's likely to be a hot, fiery summer. The New York Times editorial page has already blamed the drought there on global warming, even though the correlation between global temperature and Western drought is, statistically speaking, a big fat zero. But environmental fear creates political pressure, and plenty will be exerted on a handful of senators to switch their votes on S 139. After Bush vetoes a bill that passes a panicked House, Kerry exploits climate hysteria and knocks down one more state (maybe increasingly Democratic Arizona, burning?) than Gore did. Make that President-elect Kerry.

Can't happen? Well, in 1979, Jane Fonda starred in "The China Syndrome," another scientific impossibility, about a contained nuclear reactor meltdown, that coincided with a national panic over the accident at Three Mile Island (which killed no one and released only tiny amounts of radiation). Since then, we haven't approved building another nuclear plant -- the only major power source that doesn't emit gases capable of warming the planet.


Somebody should introduce this guy to that fat, drunk asshole Teddy Kennedy. Of course this story is buried, while three week old news about the idiots at Abu Ghraib is still on the front page.

Now's not the time for Bush to go soft Mark Steyn, great as usual on Iraq. In the Arab world it is much more important for us to be feared than loved, and the sooner we realize it the better it will be for all sides. Apologizing for the actions of a handful of idiots gains us nothing in the Middle East.

By the way, you might be wondering by now where the great procession of Arab leaders lining up to apologize to America for Nick Berg's murder has gotten to. Only a few Middle Eastern men want to saw the heads of Jews and infidels. But an awful lot more -- the majority in some states -- are either noisily approving or silently accepting of such an act. Winston Churchill wrote of two ''curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries'' -- not only the ''fanatical frenzy,'' which you can see in the orgiastic pleasure Berg's killers take in their clumsy work, but also the ''fearful fatalistic apathy,'' to which many more Arabs are prone. It's the latter that makes them such easy waters for the sharks to swim among.

We always come back to that strong horse/weak horse thing. But the point to remember is that Osama bin Laden talked about who was seen as the strong horse: It's a perception issue. America may be, technically, the strong horse but, thanks to its press and its political class, the administration is showing dangerous signs of climbing into the rear end of the weak-horse burlesque suit. If America retreats into its own fatalistic apathy, there will be many more Nick Bergs in the years ahead.


Saturday, May 15, 2004

IRAQ THE MODEL It's too bad we don't get to hear more from real Iraqis like this guy. As bad as things go at times it is making a difference.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on Rumsfeld and Iraq VDH has a way of putting things in historical perspective that really helps keep me hopeful. As difficult as this war is he makes clear the reasons why we have to persevere and why we went there in the first place. Sometimes I need to be reminded.

The Saddam-9/11 Link Confirmed I wonder why we're so afraid to state the obvious? If Saddam was about anything at all he was about revenge. Yet we still look the other way when it comes to Iraq and 9/11. This is from Laurie Mylroie who already proved an Iraqi connection to the first WTC bombing:

Evidence is “something that indicates,” according to Webster’s. Proof is “conclusive demonstration.” The report of a well-regarded allied intelligence service that a 9/11 hijacker appeared to have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent a few months before the attacks is certainly evidence of an Iraqi connection.

Clarke’s adamant refusal to even consider the possibility of an Iraqi role in the 9/11 attacks represents an enormous blunder committed by the Clinton administration. Following the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center, senior officials in New York FBI, the lead investigative agency, believed that Iraq was involved. When Clinton launched a cruise missile attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters in June 1993, saying publicly that the strike was punishment for Saddam’s attempt to kill former President Bush when he visited Kuwait in April, Clinton believed that the attack would also take care of the terrorism in New York, if New York FBI was correct. It would deter Saddam from all future acts of terrorism.


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Nick Berg's executioners all too clearly enjoyed beheading him Theodore Dalrymple on human nature. It ain't a pretty sight and I'm afraid I agree completely:

My vision of humanity has darkened, not since I read about Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, which seemed to me exotic and distant, culturally and politically, but since I began to investigate the lives of ordinary British people in modern conditions. I have come to the conclusion that the default setting of man is to evil and that, if not all, then many or perhaps most men will commit evil if they can get away with it.

Where there is neither social nor legal pressure to behave decently, there will be a festival of evil. We have created a society in which often there is neither such pressure; as a consequence, I am confronted every day in my work by new evidence of man's propensity to evil, in the conduct of my patients or that of the people with whom they consort. The gratification that people derive from inflicting suffering on others is unmistakable. Furthermore, it is quite obvious that evil exerts a fascination and attraction for others who do not themselves indulge in it.



Testing some new software.

Fox News is reporting that Nick Berg, the American hostage beheaded in Iraq by Al Queda, apparently allowed other people to use his e-mail account, one of whom was Zacarrias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" who was arrested prior to 9/11! Apparently Moussaoui used the account while he was in flight school learning how to fly planes into buildings. Right now they are calling it a "coincidence" but it has to be the most incredible coincidence I've ever heard of. That could explain why the FBI was so interested in this guy, interviewing him three times while he was in Iraqi custody. Some reports say he had an Israeli stamp in his passport and had a Jewish prayer shawl with him when he was detained. That was sure to go over well when he was snatched.

Sometimes the Brit reporters get it: Usually they don't but this one does. What's particularly sick is the comment from the American reporter about the need for more Iraqis to die so that Bush loses the election. But the stakes are bigger than that:

Whatever we thought about the war before it was launched, it is imperative that the forces of Arab nationalism and Islamism that now threaten to destroy Iraq are defeated. If America fails in Iraq it will be all of us in the West, not just Bush, who will suffer. But those who would be most in peril, of course, would be the Iraqis, who deserve better than to have their country treated as an electoral playground by the American Left or Right. To wish otherwise is as sick as the grins on the faces of the Abu Ghraib torturers.

War and Peace Even some Nobel Peace Prize winners know the stakes in Iraq. This is from East Timor's minister for foreign affairs:

In almost 30 years of political life, I have supported the use of force on several occasions and sometimes wonder whether I am a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. Certainly I am not in the same category as Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela. But Mr. Mandela, too, recognized the need to resort to violence in the struggle against white oppression. The consequences of doing nothing in the face of evil were demonstrated when the world did not stop the Rwandan genocide that killed almost a million people in 1994. Where were the peace protesters then? They were just as silent as they are today in the face of the barbaric behavior of religious fanatics.

Some may accuse me of being more of a warmonger than a Nobel laureate, but I stand ready to face my critics. It is always easier to say no to war, even at the price of appeasement. But being politically correct means leaving the innocent to suffer the world over, from Phnom Penh to Baghdad. And that is what those who would cut and run from Iraq risk doing.

The Curse of Pan-Arabia Fouad Adjami on how we seem to be screwing up in Iraq by appearing weak to a culture that preys on weakness.

In the scales of military power, the Arabs have not been brilliant in modern times. But there is cunning aplenty in their world, and an unerring eye for the follies of great foreign powers. The Arabs can read through President Bush's stepping back from his support for Ariel Sharon's plan for withdrawal from Gaza. There are amends to be made for Abu Ghraib, and those are owed the people of Iraq. Yet here we are paying the Palestinians with Iraqi coin. The Palestinians will not be grateful for our concessions; and they are to be forgiven the only conclusion they will draw. Those concessions have already been taken as the compromises of an America now in the throes of self-flagellation.

We can't have this peculiar mix of imperial reach, coupled with such obtuseness. It is odd, and defective in the extreme, that President Bush chose the official daily of the Egyptian regime, Al-Ahram, for yet another interview, another expression of contrition over Abu Ghraib. In the anti-Americanism of Egypt (of Al-Ahram itself), the protestations of our virtue are of no value. In our uncertainty, we now walk into the selective rage of the Egyptians, a popular hostility tethered to the policies of a regime eager to see us fail in Iraq -- a regime afraid that the Iraqis may yet steal a march on Egypt into modernity. Cairo has no standing in Iraq. Why not take representatives of a budding Iraqi publication into the sanctuary of the Oval Office and offer a statement of contrition by our leader?


A Foreign Reporter Gets a Story of U.S. Paranoia WTF? If this is true something is very wrong at Homeland Security.

The images we see -- and those we don't Here's Jeff Jacoby on the media's sudden aversion to showing sensational photos from Iraq.

As I write on Wednesday afternoon, the CBS News website continues to offer a complete "photo essay" of naked Iraqi men being humiliated by Americans in a variety of poses. But the video of Berg's beheading, CBS says, "is too gruesome to show." No other network and no newspaper that I have seen shows the gory pictures, either.

What exactly is the governing rule here? That incendiary images sure to enrage our enemies and get more Americans killed should be published while images that show the world just how evil those enemies really are should be suppressed? Offensive and shocking pictures that undermine the war effort should be played up but offensive and shocking pictures that remind us why we're at war in the first place shouldn't get played at all?

Yes, Virginia, there really is a gaping media double standard. News organizations will shield your tender eyes from the sight of a Berg or a Daniel Pearl being decapitated, or of Sept. 11 victims jumping to their deaths, or of the mangled bodies on the USS Cole, or of Fallujans joyfully mutilating the remains of four lynched US civilians. But they will make sure you don't miss the odious behavior of Americans or American allies, no matter how atypical that misbehavior may be or how determined the US military is to uproot and punish it.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on how the world might have been different if Jimmy Carter had been born with testicles and reacted a little differently to the Iranian hostage crisis and demanded the hostages be released:

When that demand is not met, instead of freezing Iran's assets, stopping the importation of its oil, or seeking support at the U.N., Mr. Carter orders an immediate blockade of the country, followed by promises to bomb, first, all of its major military assets, and then its main government buildings and residences of its ruling mullocracy. The Ayatollah Khomeini might well have called his bluff; we may well have tragically lost the hostages (151 fewer American lives than the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would take four years later in a single day in Lebanon). And there might well have been the sort of chaos in Tehran that we now witness in Baghdad. But we would have seen it all in 1979--and not in 2001, after almost a quarter-century of continuous Middle East terrorism, culminating in the mass murder of 3,000 Americans and the leveling of the World Trade Center.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Abu Ghraib as Symbol I hadn't really thought about it like this. Krauthammer points out that while the war against Islamists is about many things, it is also in vary large part about sex. These images coming out of Abu Ghraib have played right into the hands of the Arab "Black Helicopter" crowd. Like Ruby Ridge and Waco to Tim McVeigh types, this vindicates what Islamists have long been saying about the West.

Which is why the torture pictures coming out of Abu Ghraib prison could not have hit a more neuralgic point. We think of torture as the kind that Saddam practiced: pain, mutilation, maiming and ultimately death. We think of it as having a political purpose: intimidation, political control, confession and subjugation. What happened at Abu Ghraib was entirely different. It was gratuitous sexual abuse, perversion for its own sake.

That is what made it, ironically and disastrously, a pictorial representation of precisely the lunatic fantasies that the jihadists believe -- and that cynical secular regimes such as Egypt and the Palestinian Authority peddle to pacify their populations and deflect their anger and frustrations. Through this lens, Abu Ghraib is an "I told you so" played out in an Arab capital, recorded on film.

Victor Davis Hanson on Iraq on National Review Online Our Weird Way of War is the title of this one. We are our own worst enemy. The Arabs will never be able to defeat us, so we go out of our way to defeat ourselves on their behalf.

Key here is our own acceptance of such moral asymmetries. Storming the Church of the Nativity is a misdemeanor in the Western press; shelling a minaret full of shooters is a felony. Blowing up Westerners in Saudi Arabia or Jordan is de rigueur; asking Muslims to take off their scarves while in French schools is a casus belli. If Afghanistan has roads, a benevolent man as president, and al Qaedists on the run, call it a failure because Mr. Karzai has not been able, FDR-like, to tour the countryside in a convertible limousine waving to crowds.

Institutionalized cowardice plays a role as well in this weird way of war: Call the few dozen dead in a West Bank town the wages of Jeningrad or the fire-fighting in Fallujah an atrocity, but don't utter a peep about the 80,000 dead in Chechnya or the flattening of Grozny. The Russians are not quite folk like the Israelis or Americans. They really don't care much if you hate them; they are likely to do some pretty scary things if you press them; they don't have too much money to shake down; they don't put you on cable news to yell at their citizenry; and you wouldn't really wish to emigrate there for a teaching fellowship anyway.

The moral of all this? The West can defeat the enemy on the battlefield, but in distant and much-caricatured wars on the dirty ground it can only win when it has leaders who can convince a fickle public into sacrificing, being ridiculed, and putting up with inevitable short-term disappointment that is the price of long-term security and stability — a sacrifice that in turn will never be acknowledged as such by the very people who are its beneficiaries both here and abroad.

CBS shouldn't have aired inflammatory footage Jonah Goldberg here, and he's right. This story is being played as "look what we caught them doing" instead of what it really is, the military investigating itself. The left is, of course, using it as a club to bash the Bush Administration. Meanwhile the terror masters (to use Michael Ledeen's term) are loving it. The same people who feed prisoners through shredding machines claim to be outraged by pictures of naked prisoners being made fun of.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

New Iraq Shocker: Prisoners Forced to Wear Beanies, Swallow Goldfish Perspective of a different sort from blogger Iowahawk.

A little perspective from the WSJ on the Iraqi prisoner abuse story. The media are in full Inquisition mode, and are gleefully plastering their front pages with new photos and "troubling questions." What it needs is a little context and reality check. This sort of thing was policy in Iraq before we got there. The Army finds out about it and starts taking steps to punish the people responsible and somehow Rumsfeld should resign. Huh?

The curious lack of curiosity about WMD This is interesting. I really don't understand why the Bush Administration isn't making more of this. Are they waiting until it's closer to the election?

Saturday, May 01, 2004

U.S. Tries to Calm Furor Caused by Photos What a disaster. The people responsible for this deserve nothing less than a dishonorable discharge and at least 10 years in Leavenworth. They have done more damage than an entire army of terrorists. Now all the moonbats have all the ammo they need to discredit our efforts. These soldiers have disgraced their uniform and brought nothing but trouble to the troops who have to stand out there in front of the guns. How many new recruits have joined the terror groups? How many more Americans will die as a result?

Americans should be wary of their European Allies Here's a good example of how the supposed support we had world wide right after 9/11 is largely a myth. People in Europe resent us and always have. 9/11 changed nothing.