18 November 2008
Zombietime says the war in Iraq is over, and we won. This is a very dangerous thing to say in today's America. It goes against all the existing narratives that our helpful media dishes out daily, ie., that the war was lost a long time ago, and only a moron or a President who doesn't listen to his advisers -- but I repeat myself -- would continue the charade.
Turns out, the war was not lost a long time ago (though it was trending that way). But winning wars requires a Commander-in-Chief with both fortitude and judgment to, ahem, listen to the advice of an adviser, Gen. David Petraeus, who is an expert on counter-insurgency, and who convinced President Bush in December 2006 that changing our strategy was worth a shot, even though it would require another 20-30,000 troops to make it work. So President Bush, to his great credit, and despite just having been rebuked by the November 2006 elections, and despite constant calls for swift withdrawal by poll-watching Congressmen, decided to up the ante, and send more troops, and make Gen. Petraeus the commander of the Multi National Force Iraq to implement his strategy.
This was a very daring move. And it worked. And here we have an object lesson in why the military is under the command of the President, and not Congress.
I know all this because I read military and pro-defense blogs. And it would be awfully nice if more people knew why we won the war. They'll study the Petraeus doctrine in military schools for decades, because it was a revolutionary solution to an age-old problem, but the American people are too ill-informed and self-absorbed to notice; yet they know how much money Sarah Palin's wardrobe cost.
Can you say "culture in decline"?
So Zombietime is declaring November 22, 2008, Victory in Iraq Day. I'll gladly participate, keeping in mind those who have died to make this happen, and the leadership of President Bush in committing to winning the damn war.
But lots of people don't like President Bush, so by their tortured logic, that means we didn't really win, after all. Or if we did, it isn't very important. After all, he talks funny.
So never-you-mind that today, Iraq is mostly peaceful, due to both the change in strategy and the people of Iraq finally turning against Al-Qaeda in Iraq about two years ago, after realizing that terrorists care about nothing except killing innocent people by the truckload in order to gain power. And give the people of Iraq credit -- lots of credit -- because they risked their lives (including the lives of innocent women and children) in order to actively start fighting against terrorist scumbags who blow up little kids running for candy and strap bombs to kids with Down syndrome and then detonate them via remote control.
Just don't expect much comment on this historic victory over the terrorists and the unmitigated evil they represent. Nah, we live in a post-modern bubble here, where such things can be ignored, because they don't fit the narrative. It's cool. You just make up the facts you wish to be true, and ignore the true ones, and voila! A new reality is born.
So no front page headlines in 72 point type announcing victory, no victory parades, and no admission from the 20-30% of the country that suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome, that they were wrong. That would require intellectual honesty, and in a post-modern world, well ... who has time for that silliness?
And they fought so hard, for the other side, these rabid Bush-haters in the media and Congress and various leakers at State and CIA. During wartime, too! How exhausting for the poor dears. Of course, normally, this is borderline treason, but somehow we've gotten to a place where it's "the highest form of patriotism". Um, sure. OK.
Despite their efforts, we won anyway. And we'll remember who puts petty political squabbles over the nation's interests. And we'll teach our children all about the shameful conduct of the various factions that worked against our ultimate victory, and the way they advanced the cause of terrorists the world over for political gain at home. And how they then tried to spin it later, and then learned to avoid the topic when it wasn't a political winner for them.
Once we started winning, lots of people stopped pretending to care about the war. When we were losing, it was vitally important to them. Does that sound like patriotism to you? Me neither.
And we all know people who belong to this club. I'm not sure what to say to them, except that arguing about being lied into war is silly, because every war starts due to lies of some sort or another. Even a benevolent government has no real duty to tell the full truth to its people, in matters of war. Calling a press conference to announce that the real reason behind the Iraq war -- to increase pressure on neighboring countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and their terror-supporting ways -- is just giving away strategic information for free. And this was, in fact, the long-term goal, and so far, at least in part, it's working. If you didn't like that plan, what was your plan? Continue to pursue terrorists as individual criminals, in the courts, instead of the organized para-military force that they are? That doesn't work, for all kinds of reasons, and it led to 9/11.
And the best thing to do -- when you yourself are safely at home while others are fighting in a war you don't support because you don't understand it, or because you don't like the President -- is to keep quiet and support it anyway, at least outwardly. Do everything you can to keep national morale up, so we can win quickly, both to honor the memories of those injured and killed in that war, and to send messages to our enemies that yes, there is a serious price to pay for messing with us. War is like a classroom, and everybody in the world is learning from it; you want those lessons to be to your advantage in the future. Which also means, conversely, that giving up and running away when the going gets tough emboldens those who in the future, might not otherwise attack. This is basic Geo-Politics 101.
One more thing: undermining the Commander in Chief during a war works to accomplish the goals of the enemy during wartime, by actively killing morale and sapping the national will. Whether intended or not, that's what happens. So knock it off; we're lucky enough to live free due to the sacrifices of others, and so we owe them at least that little bit of gratitude, that little bit of humility, to do what we can to help them, so we can pay them back by quickly bring them home, victorious.
So, to all those elected officials, bureaucrats, and other lemmings who took principled stands that undermined our cause, congratulations. This means you, Dick Durbin.
And, to all the private citizens who took a principled stand, and refused to let a lack of good information stop them from trying to re-live 1969 all over again, congratulations. Someday you'll figure out that anti-war protests are nearly always full of crap.
To some of us, it looked an awful lot like putting partisan politics before the national interest.
But hey, if you say it was a principled stand, I believe you. And since taking a principled stand is about principles, not image and politics, I anxiously await all those drinks and meals you're going to enthusiastically buy when you run into somebody in uniform.
Or, you could admit it was all about trying to gain political advantage. Totally up to you.
13 November 2008
And what it tells me is this: that global warming, as a Pressing Issue That Will Kill Us All, Unless Brave Government Bureaucrats Save Us by Slowing Down Our Economy -- or, PITWKUAUBGBSUSDOE, for short -- is just about done with its 15 minutes of fame.
Do they ask for Nobel Peace Prizes back, ever? 'Cuz it just might be time for that.
Polling tells us that most people don't buy man-made Global Warming theories, and now we have evidence from places like fark.com -- hardly a bastion of conservative science-haters -- that folks are starting to see it all as a big joke.
Preserving the environment is, of course, an important goal. And we here in the West are doing a pretty decent job of it, in fact. Some places in the world, not so much. Something about needing to develop an economy first, to feed their people. What-ever.But then, of course, we still have some True Believers, like those who insist that "Only We Can Change The Climate", as shown by the yard sign I saw the other day.
"ONLY"? There are no other factors driving climate change?
What about the Sun? The oceans that cover 75% of the Earth's surface? The atomosphere? The rain forests? The winds and ocean currents?
What about the fact that we still don't understand enough about weather, much less climate, to build accurate weather models, or climate models?
What about all the climate variations in the past, before the Industrial Revolution? The world has only been partially-industrialized for about 150 years now. The climate has been around a lot longer than that, and yes, even warmer than it is today. If man-made CO2 is so important, how did that happen?
What about the latest evidence that we are entering a new minimum in sunspot activity, the level of which we haven't seen in like 300 years? There is pretty strong correlation between these periods and cold weather, such as lower crop yields, brutal winters, etc. In other words, it's as close as you can get to proving something without being able to recreate an experiment over and over.
I'm not sure how we got sold on this, but the idea that our cars and lawnmowers have a bigger impact on heating up our planet than the Sun is a little goofy. Think about it. When you are outside on a hot summer day, and you are in the sunlight, you get hot. When you move into the shade, you get noticeably, distinctly cooler. In fact, that's exactly why we like the shade.
The Sun puts so much energy on this planet, even at a distance of 93,000,000 miles away, that the temperature difference between sunlight and shadow is at least 3-4 degrees, and often more. All. Over. The. Earth.
Add all that energy up, for me. I'll wait ... (cue jeopardy theme, dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah, dah dah dah dah DAH dah-dah-dah-dah-dah ...)
Ok, whatever, forget it, it's A LOT of energy. Furthermore, we like it, because it helps our crops and trees grow.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that every other established climate factor is bigger than human input. In other words, no matter what we do, we couldn't impact it to any measurable degree. OK, maybe if we detonated every nuke on the planet at the same time, some bad stuff could happen. But you get the idea: the amount of energy that is created by the interaction of all the factors above -- mostly driven by the Sun -- is a staggering sum, not fully appreciated by most people. It's like, a gazillion joule-newtons, or something. Srsly.
To think that we humans could compete with that, as a factor in changing climate, strikes me as, well, vain. We aren't really all that.
But just for discussion purposes, let's grant the point that man is causing CO2 to go up. So even with our supposed catastrophic impact on the climate, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has only risen from .00035 to .00038, or from .035% to .038%. So we need to freak out about that, because that change in .003% of the atmosphere is going to cause great ruin and devastation, but the other 99.997% of the atmosphere is nothing to worry about? Really?
Hey, I'm on board with taking care of the environment, and I do think we waste too many natural resources. But I need better evidence than that.
You'd think our fearless leaders in government and NGOs would be a little more skeptical as well. And you'd be wrong!
Those of us who live in the real world don't compete for federal and international grants. We don't put lipstick on our research pig, in a desperate attempt to convince small-brained bureaucrats -- who provide no useful service to taxpayers, but do hand out government largesse, i.e., our tax money we've so generously provided to them at the point of a gun -- that a CRISIS is upon us.
These good "scientists" and "researchers" and government/NGO lackeys all know that no matter what the cause of a given climate problem -- the Sun, perhaps, or La Nina, or other atmospheric shenanigans we still don't understand, and couldn't change even if we did -- the correct fix for that problem is always more money. Money fixes everything, even if the lack of money was not the cause of the problem in the first place. Money is magical.
Got that? So when the planet warms up, temporarily, well, this is just further proof or two things: (1) man is at fault, obviously, don't be an idiot, and (2) money is the obvious way to fix it. You big dope, you.
That is some pretty vain thinking, right there. But scientists who push this hype on us, and the government types that push this hype on us, they at least have an excuse for buying into it: $$$.
Us? Not so much.
And never mind that historically, it has been much, much warmer than it is today -- why do you think they call it Greenland? -- which would point to natural causes, and which would imply that could happen again. Never mind that generally, warmer is better for the planet and the people on it, especially for growing crops, which sustain us in the form of food. No, we need to ignore all that established fact, and focus instead on wild, unproven schemes that will definitely restrict our economic growth.
So you'd better rush out, and buy your carbon credits now, before the government forces you to, at a higher price. Even though they are an obvious scam, designed to line the pockets of charlatans and snake-oil salesman like our friend Albert Gore Jr.
10 July 2008
The French Press Agency reports that a group of German scientists has found that increasing exposure to carbon dioxide can actually boost crop growth.
Researchers at the Johann Heinrich von Thunen Institute spray plants with carbon dioxide jets so that the air around the plants is equivalent to with what some scientists predict will be the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by the year 2050.
Hans-Joachim Wiegel, one of the researchers, said that by spraying the plants "output increased by 10 percent for barley, beets and wheat."
Other established scientific concepts they plan to re-discover in the future:
- Earth orbits Sun instead of the other way around
- Water is wet
- Sky is dark at night, lighter in the morning, extra bright between noon and 5 p.m.
02 July 2008
And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians - they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities - the Iranians."Goodwill"?
Um, no. This statement is not just provably incorrect; no, it's much worse than that.
If it is a statement made in good faith, it is downright dangerous; and if it is not made in good faith, it is pandering to the anti-American wing of the Left.
And in either case, it is borderline treason, to publicly make statements that offer aid and comfort to an enemy that is actively engaged in killing our armed forces.
Gasp! Did I just say treason?
Sure did. Look it up. Let's examine it, shall we?
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.Using a word like "goodwill" is offering Aid and Comfort. Check.
No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.She said this to the press. Check.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.She is the Speaker of the House; talk about your conflict of interests!
Of course, this statement itself, and its underlying, disconnected-from-reality, surreal lunacy, wouldn't be that big of a deal if Rep. Pelosi was just a fringe nutcase, standing in the subway, wearing dirty clothes and possessing few teeth, and hitting you up for a buck to buy some Mad Dog 20/20. Which, if there is any justice in the world, might be the case within a few years.
No, unfortunately, everything she says represents mainstream thought in the leadership of the party.
And everything uttered by the other "leaders" in our Democratic Congress agrees with the kinds of things Pelosi says: Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Obama, Kennedy, Clinton, the list goes on and on.
What this means is that everything that comes out of Pelosi's mouth -- and just about every politician's mouth, to be fair -- is intentional, and researched, and focus-grouped. Every. Flipping. Word.
But no Republican would be so stupid as to say something so idiotic. But the Democratic leader of the House, third in line for President? Sure!
So. What all this really means?
It means that there are a lot of people in the United States who believe the worst about our government, and the best about the government of Iran, and countries like it. And politicians therefore see no downside to offering aid and comfort to enemies of our armed forces. And the media whistles past the graveyard, ignoring outrageousness like this, because they largely agree with it.
This is not "dissent". Dissent is offered with respect and sober judgment, and from a platform of trying to improve the nation with constructive criticism.
No, what we have here are outrageous lies offered up by slimy politicians, for consumption by the clueless and the active supporters of the enemy during a war.
I'd pay money to watch Rep. Pelosi take her bizarre opinions about "Iranian goodwill" to Iraq, and talk to some military folk who could tell her how wrong she is.
We've all heard alot about ANWR, and how we shouldn't drill for oil there because it is "pristine".
In this case, "pristine" is another way of saying "bug-infested", and "a vast, uninhabitable wasteland, even for the caribou".
30 June 2008
Since the entire country is abuzz and atwitter over the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, Sen. Barack Obama, from my very own state of Illinois, I suppose I should note my take on that whole situation, for all eternity. This is the Internet, after all; opinions must be expressed!
So, here goes.
He has done nothing of note, in the U.S. Senate or at any level of Illinois government. Go ahead, try and find something important with his name attached to it.
His policies change with the wind, or more accurately, with the changing needs of the group he is pandering to at the moment. And they are all left-wing; his voting record proves it. There is no substantive difference between him and Hillary Clinton and just about any other standard issue Dem in today's party. Which is not surprising, really, since the party lionizes victimhood over any and all actual, you know, ideas.
He is a product of a corrupt political Democratic machine; if you want to believe it is possible to get anywhere in that system without being one of them, and without owing lots of favors at this point in his career, be my guest. I'll pass.
For twenty years, he belonged to a church run by a racist preacher, even naming his book "Audacity of Hope" from a phrase borrowed from the preacher, which to me says either (a) he bought into the racist victim-hood twaddle, hook, line, and sinker, or (b) he already believed it, or (c) he cynically pretended to believe it in order to profit from the book. None of these positions can win an election, which Obama finally realized, so he dumped the guy whose guidance he valued for twenty years. Hmmm. Either he is as clueless as it gets for those twenty years, or he is a political operator of Machiavellian magnitude. Let's be charitable, and assume its not both.
His association with known unrepentant-terrorist-turned-Ed-school-professor Bill Ayers seems, at the very least, inconvenient, and at worst, quite damning. Ayers is still as anti-American as he was in his Weathermen days, only now he does it from within the ivory towers, as a professor of education. Obama has been associated with him for decades. Ayers is an activist, and wouldn't partner with anybody who didn't buy into his vision.
His wife appears to be a bit of a nutcase. Or maybe she is a Republican cyborg.
I have to wonder, is there anybody from his past that is NOT an embarrassment?
And then, of course, he wanted to bring troops home, just in time to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Of course, all Democrats -- except Lieberman and maybe a few others -- were in favor of giving up as quickly as possible, and continuing to send the message to the world that America has no will to see anything through, and will give up at the first sign of struggle. How could they have foreseen that Iraq would turn miraculously around in the span of 18 months due to the leadership of two people: President Bush, and Gen. Petraeus? Damn that resolve and fortitude, and learning from mistakes!
His main accomplishment, then, seems to be a genetic gift: he's attractive, and part black. Like Billie Holiday, except prettier.
And he speaks very well, which is definitely a positive for any politician. I wish Bush had some of Obama's public speaking chops. But being an excellent public speaker doesn't help you be an effective leader or CEO, which is really what a President is. His rhetoric about "hope" and "change" is nice. It is also completely devoid of true meaning, and is just a faux-clever way of saying "I'm not Bush". Good thing he cleared that up, I was getting a little confused for a minute!
From what I can gather, "hope" means we should resort to our old ways of pretending we are weak in order to, I don't know, make other nations feel better? Here's what I hope: that the American people come to their senses sometime before November.
And by "change" he means raise taxes, increase the influence and cost of government in our lives, and appoint Left-leaning Supreme Court Justices for life. And talk to the Iranians without pre-conditions, and trust the U.N. implicitly, and sign away economic growth for illusory carbon offset gains which will do nothing for our planet (since warming is largely caused by the sun, which heats up the oceans, which produces CO2 as a by-product, like 800 years later, and so our piddly little manmade contribution -- .02% increase in CO2, from .0035 to .0037, or whatever it is -- is hardly something to stake our future over).
And any of a million other goofy, nanny-state, big-government, high-tax, anti-capitalist, anti-free-market, pork-laden "initiatives" he and his Cabinet, and the corrupt cowards in Congress, can cook up.
Just what we don't need.
And just to be clear, no, I'm not a racist, and I don't have anything against a black man or woman becoming President. The color of somebody's skin means nothing to me, as long as it means nothing to them, too. I value ideas and principles, grounded in experience and history, and people who have the vision and leadership to rally others behind them to implement those ideas and principles.
So I wouldn't vote for him if he was white, yellow, pink, or blue, either. Or a woman. I wouldn't vote for him if he was able to shoot sunshine and cookies out of his hind end. At this point, he looks to me like the 2008 version of Jimmy Carter, who gets my vote as Worst President of the post-WWII era.
And so, from here anyway, it seems that based mainly on his appearance, his race, and his ability to sound good while saying nothing of note, he has been anointed by large chunks of our population who are impressed by such things. Unfortunately, he is not an actor, trying out for a part of President, where it's all about presence, and elocution, and looks. If it were, Denzell Washington would be a better pick; he's better looking, and at least projects an image of a real man. I hate to say this, but it sure does look like the American population is treating this like a movie, and they're just voting for the one who makes them feel good. Prove me wrong, America!
The job of President is about surrounding yourself with good people who can execute on your vision, and who rely on your for leadership, to make the tough calls. Obama hasn't even complete a single term in the Senate yet. And Senators mostly make lousy presidential candidates, because the skills needed to excel in that office are quite different from the skills needed to excel as President. And the advisers he's got now are a bunch of retreads from the Clinton years.
People are free to think whatever they like, and believe in whatever they like, and vote for whoever they like, for whatever reason they like. Barack Obama is what he is: an inexperienced, big government, tax-and-spend, anti-war, anti-business, lefty. And the fact that he is young, gifted, and black doesn't alter those facts at all.
28 June 2008
"I think that the Second Amendment means something. I think that if the government were to confiscate everybody's guns unilaterally, then I think that would be subject to constitutional challenge," Obama said in 2004.
In a separate interview, Obama said, "I have said consistently that I believe the Second Amendment is an individual right."
So he can read. And he is firm, firm, in his commitment to Constitutional rights that were plainly spelled out 230 years ago.
The junior U.S. senator from Illinois has insisted that he supports both the law-abiding use of firearms and reasonable gun control. The NRA and the McCain campaign, though, claim Obama's record in the Illinois General Assembly shows him to be a gun grabber.
Obama was among just eight state senators who voted against a new law making it legal for Illinoisans to use guns to defend themselves in their own homes, even if their own hometown should have a law saying that's not legal.
Sure, just call the cops, so when they finally get there, they can clean up the bloody mess that used to be you and your family.
There is something wrong, something very basic, when a politician votes that way on such an important matter as defending your home and family. Either the politician (a) believes such a position is good and just, or (b) adopts such a position just to win public favor.
I find both (a) and (b) severely lacking, in various ways.
He can't run in a general election on that stance. So he will now have to dance for us, and pretend that it is our best interests to allow judges and legislators to hammer out some kind of fuzzy gray area between "guns are a Constitutional right" and "reasonable gun control".
That always works out so well.
22 February 2008
The article and post are must-reads, if one wants to understand the reality of the world today.
Reading either exposes Al-Qaeda for what it is: a political organization, using Islam to advance political goals. This may come as a shock to some; news like this rarely finds its way into any mainstream media outlet, and even when it does, it disappears so fast it is nothing more than a blip on the radar.
For instance, the original intent of their terrror mission was to strike back at the corrupt, tyrannical leaders of Middle Eastern countries. And chaos works to their advantage:
The theoretical basis for this strategy, an al-Qaeda document called the "Management of Savagery", has been the subject of study at West Point. It was anonymously authored by the mysterious Abu Bakr Naji, who anticipates the fact that while the Jihad will be everywhere tactically defeated by American forces, the necessary fate of each battlefield would be ruin and chaos; and it would not be an unfavorable outcome because chaos is on Allah's side. As the world's system administrator, America would be tied down attempting to restore order everywhere. The dilemma the US could not avoid was that to rule was to maintain order; but to fight the Jihad was to foul its own nest.
Chaos and terror is a strategy; those who view it from afar and think "bring our troops home now" are in effect campaigning for the terrorist agenda. Whether they believe they are doing so, or not, is unimportant; the point here is that power-mad scumbags are blowing up innocent people in order to further their own agenda, and are forcing us, as defenders of freedom, to make hard choices: are we in the fight, or not?
It is basically a battle of wills.
So far I'm not impressed with the West, other than certain leaders like Tony Blair, Australian PM John Howard, and President Bush.
From the article:
... the thesis of "The Management of Savagery" is drawn from the observation of the Yale historian Paul Kennedy, in his book "Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" (1987), that imperial overreach leads to the downfall of empires. Naji began writing his study in 1998, when the jihad movement’s most promising targets appeared to be Jordan, the countries of North Africa, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen .... Naji recommended that jihadis continually attack the vital economic centers of these countries, such as tourist sites and oil refineries, in order to make the regimes concentrate their forces, leaving their peripheries unprotected. Sensing weakness, Naji predicts, the people will lose confidence in their governments, which will respond with increasingly ineffective acts of repression. Eventually, the governments will lose control.
Savagery will naturally follow, offering Islamists the opportunity to capture the allegiance of a population that is desperate for order. (Naji cites Afghanistan before the Taliban as an example.) Even though the jihadis will have caused the chaos, that fact will be forgotten as the fighters impose security, provide food and medical treatment, and establish Islamic courts of justice.
"The Management of Savagery".
The ... Management ... Of ... Savagery.
Savagery, The Management Of.
Think about that -- the whole movement is a gigantic hate crime against freedom-loving people everywhere.
Yet, to listen to some, we're supposed to get upset about making enemy combatants at Guantanamo uncomfortable for a few minutes.
OK, how about this? We shoot them immediately upon capture, instead. It's what they deserve, and it's in our best interests, and we have every right to do it, both by historical precedent, and by authority of the Geneva Convention.
"The Management of Savagery" is about political power. Terrorism, itself, is about political power. Always has been, always will be.
Yet, large segments of the Western world seem to want nothing more than to stick their heads in the sand, and pretend we can just take our ball and go home, so that the forces of terrorism will leave us alone. But they won't, and if you doubt that, I suggest to you that the people of Madrid on March 11, 2004 probably thought the same thing.
Islamist terrorists know the West is weak - that's why they are poking and prodding the beast. They know many in the West have no will to fight, and no respect for themselves or their culture. They want us to fight and be divisive, and to ultimately give up. And if we do, we accomplish their goals for them, and teach them that we are weak.
I.e., by taking our ball and going home, and by letting douche-tools like Dick Durbin compare our troops to Nazis and Guantanamo to a Gulag without apologizing in any meaningful way, we play right into the hands of the Islamist terrorists.
No thanks, I'm trying to cut down.
12 February 2008
The White House wants a $1.4 billion stimulus/national security package…for Mexico (Michelle Malkin, February 11, 2008)
I doubt that such an explanation is even possible though.
To have one, you'd have to find legal and rational justification for a plan to give money collected from U.S. taxpayers to the government of Mexico ... to defend Mexico's southern border from an invasion of Central Americans, many of whom are undoubtedly destined for the U.S. When at the very same time we hear U.S. policians invoke arguments against doing the same thing for our southern border.
Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
11 February 2008
Back in Novemeber 2006, Charles Rangel opened his considerable cake hole and offered this pearl of idiocy about our military:
"I want to make it abundantly clear: if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq."
Is he just that dumb, to believe this old canard from the Vietnam War days? Which, by the way, wasn't even true then?
I already knew it was untrue from prior reading I've done. But just to prove a point, five minutes with Google and a reasonable search phrase was enough to point me to this Heritage Foundation study.
And guess what? Lower income recruits are under-represented compared to their percentage in the overall population. Upper income recruits are over-represented, and the gap grows the higher up you go in the income strata.
Or maybe Rangel just doesn't care if it's true, and is just pandering for the anti-war vote.
DING DING DING DING DING!!
Rangel is completely wrong. Not that surprising; politicians are often wrong, especially when they open their mouths.
No, what is most interesting here is that nobody in the media called him on it, except for Best of the Web, which then got many, many letters and emails from those who have served or know those who did.
They seem to have a pretty unified message for him:
When people wonder why I dislike and distrust the mainstream media, and almost all politcians, but especially the supposed "liberals", so implicitly and completely, it's because of things like this. They can lie all they want about the very military that protects their sorry, contemptible asses. Because nobody calls them on it.
And so it encourages the insiped "Bush Lied" bumper stickers and cute key chains that clever people hook onto the outside of their purses to count down the seconds until Bush is out of office. And it encourages rehashed My Lai massacre stories like Haditha, which feed popular misconceptions about honor or the lack thereof.
I try really hard to avoid getting all pissed off about idiots any more. Not good for my health.
But I know I've just about had enough of all this. The myopia about WMD. The demonization of Bush and Cheney because they had the gall to try to exert American power in pursuit of American interests. Hauling out old, tired "recieved wisdom" from the Vietnam era that wasn't true then, and is completely irrelevant now. The smug superiority of risk-averse know-it-alls whose first choice is always to do nothing, rather than try something, but who reassure us they "feel" deeply about it, to legitimize their inaction.
Facts have been reduced to trivia questions.
This allows our media and our politics to float about aimlessly, unmoored, bouncing randomly off of the latest piece of useless and often completely incorrect "news".
Lots of us accept this as normal.
It is not normal. We don't tolerate evasiveness and obfuscation in our kids or our spouses. There, it's called "pathological lying". And to the extent that we accept it, we are "enablers".
And so what we're doing is enabling politicians -- who really should know better than to just throw wildly inaccurate statements out there -- to do it anyway ... because nobody calls them on it.
Likewise, we enable the media -- who continue to fail miserably at their centrist, non-partisan watchdog role, yet continue to be mystified at their declining influence and revenue streams -- to do it anyway ... because nobody calls them on it.
Think about what this means. We live in a country where both journalists and politicians routinely put complete bullshit out into the public sphere with no regard for the truth. They play us for fools.
They think we are too stupid to notice, or care, that what they'e putting out there is either flat out wrong, or only partially true.
And they might be right.
I've never understood why people put up with this. To put up with it is to be implicit in the deception.
This is one of the reasons I have a blog. To call "bullshit" on charlatans and knaves like Charles Rangel. Politicians and journalists are two groups that have enjoyed privilege and power for far too long, and they've done it largely by controlling the use of information to their advantage.
Lets hope the sand is running out of that particular hourglass.
05 February 2008
WASHINGTON (CBS News) ― CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly confirmed Tuesday for the first time the names of three suspected al Qaeda terrorists who were subjected to a particularly harsh interrogation technique known as waterboarding, and why.Three people. The big bad U.S. government has used waterboarding against ... three ... people.
"We used it against these three detainees because of the circumstances at the time," Hayden said during a Senate hearing. "There was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were inevitable. And we had limited knowledge about al Qaeda and its workings. Those two realities have changed."
Hayden said that Khalid Sheik Mohammed - the purported mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States - and Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were subject to the harsh interrogations in 2002 and 2003. Waterboarding is an interrogation technique that critics call torture.
Waterboarding induces a feeling of imminent drowning with the restrained subject's mouth covered and water poured over his face.
How many people have been beheaded by Al Qaeda in Iraq? 10 or 15?
With all this hubbub about "torture" in Congress, and in the press, you'd think we had some kind of production line set up, where we strapped innocent women and children to waterboards at one end and drowned them at the other. But, as it turns out, not really. Three people. Three terrorists. That's it. And we got intel from them.
It's time to talk about torture. There are a variety of discussions to have about torture. One is about the Geneva Conventions, and who is covered by it. Another is about human rights groups like Amnesty International, and the use of torture as an issue to push their agenda. And there is another, about national sovereignty and security, which is the one that most concerns me.
I find it both instructive and highly annoying that this last point is so rarely discussed.
Fact: the world is a nasty place. It has always been a nasty place. It is only within the last 200 years or so that the idea of "human rights" even came into existence.
More to the point: other parts of the world don't subscribe to Western notions of human rights. And they probably never will. As much as the compassionate but naive Western liberal would like everybody to "just get along", any sober and rational look at the world has to conclude that it just can not ever happen.
It is a minor miracle, in fact, that it has happened at all, in any section of the world. And it hasmostly happened in lands settled by the British, who exported their concept of the rule of law along with Christian ethics and morality via missionaries. The combination then allows economic prosperity. I don't think this is by coincidence.
So it's very important to understand how new and uniquely Western the whole concept of "human rights" really is. As Westerners, some of us might like to pretend that our moral vision of the world is "better" and should be adopted by everybody else because ... well, just because. Good idea. Unrealistic expecations. I wish them luck in that endeavor.
What this means is this: when it comes to national security, the cost of being wrong is too high to play games that allow us to say "we played nicer than they did".
Some people would deny that this moral equation is true. I invite them to explore that in more detail.
This debate, more than any other, has convinced me that our nation is just not serious enough about defending itself.
And I say this as somebody who would not condone real torture. Like this: this is torture.