Saturday, January 25, 2003
worth reading ...I bookmarked this piece last December, and never blogged it. David Frum writes about the appointment of Elliott Abrams to the position of Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs at the National Security Council.
...One of the great ironies of Abrams’ career is that this man so reviled by the left is probably the single figure most responsible for what honest leftists ought to recognize as one of the most important achievements of the 1980s: the abolition of the old double-standard in favor of anticommunist dictatorships.Honest leftists? They don't seem to be too thick on the ground...
...So it’s good to know that his gallant service to his country and the cause of freedom has been remembered and honored by this President. But Abrams’ new appointment is no mere thank-you present. It is an opportunity for Abrams to put the beliefs that saved Latin America in the 1980s into action again in the Middle East..._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
...droll and glib outlook on life...Glenn Reynolds quoted from the first half of this excellent essay by David Warren. But I found the ending section much more interesting:
...From this distance, and because of the endless war, we fail to see what Israel has in common with Europe, Canada, even much of the U.S. It is a society which has advanced technically, and outwardly, in wealth and efficiency, but at the price of being poisoned -- in my view, poisoned in the soul. It has fallen into a post-modern, intensely secular, droll and glib outlook on life; one that forgets its own heritage and puts a premium instead on tolerance and what "feels good"; which discounts, indeed mocks, all myth and tradition, especially its own. It appears that Shinui has captured the shallowest end of this constituency._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
These are weighty and serious times, folks ...... but if you need to take a break and laugh, try this.
(via H.D. Miller )
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Friday, January 24, 2003
Shocking changes follow in the wake of the US war machine...From Kabul (link)
Her Volkswagen is as old as she is, but 34-year-old Fouzia thinks she is the luckiest woman on earth.You'd think our "feminist" organizations would be clamoring for more of this, wouldn't you?
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Sign me up for a test drive! (Test flight? Test dive? )I was just reading about a successful 'test-flight,' in San Francisco Bay, of the Deep Flight Aviator, a submersible that 'flies' underwater like an airplane (rather than using negative buoyancy to sink).
Thursday, January 23, 2003
Rain, do not hurt my flowers, but quickly spread
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
jabberwocky...Our friend Dave Trowbridge has a wit so sharp that it reminds me of those tall tales, where the Kukri or Katana flashes, and the enemy keeps talking for a while before his head topples off and rolls in the dust. BUT, sometimes a certain sort of anti-war argument makes him go all squoosh-brained and Blixy. Then I have to pull out my poor rusty cutlass and see what I can do.
Dave recently wrote: "Chris Bertram puts the case against war with Iraq into five succinct paragraphs that I find impossible to argue with..."
So I will try...
The case for war against Iraq is very weak. It has two components, neither of which stand up to serious examination...More than two components have been proposed. I've mentioned several others myself. Mr Bertram glosses-over lots of things...
The first is that the US is entitled to make war as an act of pre-emptive self-defence. . This clearly fails both because no-one has established that Iraq represents a credible threat to the US...Many people have argued that the threat is established. Bertram presents no counter-arguments, just a wave of the hand. Try this: Saddam HAS given weapons, aid and shelter to terrorists who HAVE attacked us; there's NO DOUBT he means us harm. And HAS spent vast effort and treasure on WMD. If he had a nuke, he COULD smuggle it into a port in a shipping container. I'd call that credible. Given his history, I'd say the burden of proof should be on the "Saddam will surely not hurt us" crowd.
...and because the putatively justifying doctrine, if generalized, would permit states to engage in actions which no right-thinking person would wish to sanction.This is a valid argument, but notice that there is no requirement of proof, no need to "establish a credible threat." Just a possibility off in the future. But if I argued that "leaving evil dictators (who use mustard gas on their own cities) in power, if generalized, would permit states to engage in actions which no right-thinking person would wish to sanction," do you think Mr Bertram would accept that argument?
And actually, "pre-emptive self-defence" is already what any nation will do in the right circumstances. If Monaco were an Anti-French power developing nuclear weapons, would Paris hesitate to take action?
...A variant of the pre-emptive self-defence doctrine would emphasize not the direct threat posed by Iraq, but an indirect one: Iraq might give "weapons of mass destruction" to terrorists. But despite 18 months of trying, no real evidence of Iraqi-Al Qaeda co-operation has been produced...There's probably some cool Latin name for this sort of bogus argument, where terms are changed from one sentence to the next. "Terrorists" somehow slithers into being only Al Qaeda, and the "might give" somehow turns into 'must show "real evidence" that it's already happened.'
The second main strand is the Saddam-is-evil/democratization argument. Saddam is evil, no question about that. This is a much better set of arguments in principle, but fails because, given the dramatis personae , there is no good reason to believe that the war will actually pursue democracy...Another slippy-slidey argument. It starts with a "fight against evil," and then "pursuit of democracy" is substituted. These are two different things. For instance, if Iraq ends up with an ordinary Arab government, like Jordan or Egypt or Kuwait, that's not democracy but it would be a HUGE human-rights victory.
...I'm not a supporter of the view that it is never justifiable to intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Sometimes such intervention can certainly be justified. A case in point was the ousting of Pol Pot by the Vietnamese...Wait just a minute here! Is he saying the the Vietnamese dramatis personae were pursuing democracy? Really? (One does meet leftys who think just that. You know, people's democracy, much better that the American kind where people get to do whatever they want.) Or is this part of the oft-seen line, that the only really evil countries are the US and Israel? Or just sloppy thinking? Or different rules for Communists? Or that if the death-toll is in the millions, it's OK to overthrow dictators, but mere hundreds-of-thousands don't qualify?
I personally think we do plan to foster democracy in Iraq. But right now it's just my opinion against his. (And if I'm wrong, I'll admit it. I wonder if other people will do the same?)
But consider this. Thousands of leftists are now demonstrating to keep Iraqis enslaved within a hideous tyranny. Where are the leftists demonstrating FOR democracy in Iraq? (Or Vietnam. Or Cuba.) Where is the leftist pressure on the administration in favor of democracy? Where are the leftists who are eager to get involved in rebuilding Iraq? Where are the leftists who are building democracy anywhere?
The last paragraph is another phony argument. One British writer, who believes the war is not justified, but should be pursued in the national interest, is held up as typical of all British war supporters. No chance that any of the others are acting on principle.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
plain speakingThis seems delightfully blunt. Maybe it signals the end of mealy-mouthed diplomatic talk...
White House:French Statement Means Iraq Still Has WeaponsVia Rand Simberg, who expressed the situation with delicate exactitude: "Boy, for all of supposedly being the people who invented diplomacy, the Frogs are sure off their game. And being outsmarted by a retarded cowboy, too. That's gotta hurt."
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When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul...Much of the nation is suffering from extreme cold weather, the headlines are filled with storms and catastrophes, and where are Charlene and our son Rob going this weekend? Why, Grand Forks, North Dakota, of course!
They are visiting the University of North Dakota. Rob wants a career in aviation, and UND's Aviation Program is tops. Of course, for a boy from the mild and sweet climate of San Francisco, North Dakota in January will be quite a shock ... a test of his resolve, perhaps.
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great parodyI just encountered this parody of Lileks by Combustible Boy :
TED BARLOW'S OVERFLOWING WITH lightbulb jokes, giving over about thirty-two million blog posts to assessing the fractional bulb-changing prowess of notable names from the headlines, the bylines, and the blog punditocracy. Or rather, he's using the bulb theme to do as good an impersonation of each as he can. I was inspired to try it out myself...There's lots more, and it made me smile...
Monday, January 20, 2003
Down the blue night the unending columns press
seen in a comment at Mark Steyn ...
Think Globally, Act Unilaterally -- Deb PlattAlso this, in response to a comment that the only conservatives with a sense of humor were either Jewish, or former Liberals:
MARK REPLIES: First, I can testify from personal experience that Mrs Thatcher is extremely funny, albeit in a somewhat unnerving way. Second, on our few brief encounters, George W Bush has also been a barrel of laughs, at least when compared with the competition last time round and most of the crowd next time (John Kerry, John Edwards). Third, the problem with Ike, Nixon, Ford, the first of the Presidents Bush, Heath and Mulroney is not that they’re not funny but that they’re not conservative_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Cat Out of Bag Moment...Patrick Sullivan writes:
"Krugman's friend Brad DeLong betrayed the Stealth Axis of Spending recently, with this admission on his blog:...the existence of the baby-boom generation, rising medical costs, and the belief that everyone ought to be able to see a doctor together more-or-less force federal government spending up from its current twenty percent or so of GDP to somewhere between twenty-five and thirty percent over the next generation. [Steve] Cecchetti's belief that taxes should be restricted to 19 percent of GDP and debt to 50 percent is a decision to award victory to one side of American politics in a debate that has yet to be started.Increasing the size of the federal govt. by up to 50% would decrease private investment (and thus economic growth) by a factor that would dwarf any such effect from current projected budget deficits. Pretty clearly Krugman, DeLong, and Fellow Travellers, are crying crocodile tears over the deficits' effects on long term interest rates."
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Fisking where due...The weblogger to follow on the subject of Korea is Wes Dabney. We met him at a blog-bash, he's an army officer currently studying Korean at the Defense Language Institute.
He's Fisking Josh Marshall, and I think it's well deserved. Marshall used to seem like a pretty reasonable guy, but less and less. I think he and some other "reasonable leftists" have reached the limits of how reasonable they are going to be. Korea was probably the last straw. People like Marshall are not going to own up to the fact that the last two Democrat Presidents have have been guilty of extreme, almost treasonous, folly and ineptitude. Now it's time to lie and cheat, and try to push forward the ludicrous theory that all was well, until that coarse fellow Bush said harsh and wounding things to the sensitive North Koreans, and caused them to build nuclear weapons.
Another Korea morsel from Wes:
Looks like some American and foreign businesses are starting to pull out of South Korea. Look for the anti-America demonstrators to start getting smacked down by the riot police and probably a "Be nice to foreigners" national campaign just like the last time their economy got in trouble. The key there is "fear gone, God forgotten". As soon as their economy improved, I saw a rising nationalism taking off in Korea again and nationalism soared during the World Cup. Now, here we are again and I bet that as soon as their economy takes a dive they'll be all nice and polite like a alcoholic uncle that wants some money.
Funny think about leftists, how they keep changing their names. Back in the 30's they rejected the charge that they were socialists, by labeling themselves liberals. (Thus polluting a grand old term that meant something very different.) And nowadays they are centrists. Or Progressives. Phooey.
One good thing about hanging around with conservatives is that they won't start hiding behind some new name, like progressive traditionalist... (Also, as Mark Steyn mentioned, if you mingle with conservatives or Republicans, you won't have to mix with celebrities. That's a huge plus!)
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