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Saturday, March 08, 2003

Low, low, low ...

There's a good article in the Weekly Standard, about how Democrats supported Clinton's threat to use force against Saddam in 1996, and demanded "national unity." And they got it! Republican leaders refrained from attacking Clinton on the issue. And now...
...John Kerry has flipped, too. "None of us knows why Saddam decided to test us now," Kerry said on September 5, 1996. "But if the history of the last six years has taught us anything, it is that Saddam Hussein does not understand diplomacy, he only understands power, and when he brandishes power in a manner that threatens our interests or violates internationally accepted standards of behavior, we must be prepared to respond--and with force if necessary." [emphasis added] Such force, Kerry went on, might well be used unilaterally: "The United States under President Bush and then President Clinton, led these earlier efforts to contain Saddam. Whereas some of our allies in the region are constrained from acting on this occasion, we are not."...
I remember those guys saying that "partisanship should end at the water's edge." And now, with the situation reversed, AND with Bush having a larger coalition than Clinton had, AND with Bush giving much more time and effort for consensus-building, AND with most of those Democrats having themselves voted to authorize the use of force, they are now attacking Bush like the lying curs they are, claiming "unilateralism," and "a rush to war" and "disdain for our allies" ....despicable.

And what's really disheartening is that, if you confronted the average Democrat, and said that this was dishonorable, they wouldn't even know what you were talking about. Or care.

Friday, March 07, 2003

P. Krugman
#81: Back in the Loony Bin

"In a desperate attempt to secure Mexico's one vote for war in the U.N. Security Council, the US has embarked on an unprecedented program of intimidation against Mexican-Americans residing in this country. Taking a page from the Roman Emperor Caligula whose motto was "oderint dum metuant " (Let them Hate as Long as They Fear), Mexicans are being harassed by actions not seen in this country since the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WW II. Whether this will sway President Vicenti Fox and the Mexican U.N. vote is not yet clear.

The anti-Mexican effort is being spear headed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert who is fresh from a similar campaign against the French wine industry. However, Hastert admits the Mexican problem is tougher. Unlike wine, which is clearly labeled, Mexicans are harder to detect. As rules of thumb, he suggests that they are brown-skinned, speak with a Spanish accent and reside mostly in Texas. But, as a precaution, National Guard troops have been put on alert along all border areas from Tijuana, California to Brownsville, Texas."
If any of the foregoing parody seems startling, strange, appalling or pathetic, then Paul Krugman's column today (03/07/03) is a must read for further details. With Democrats on the verge of committing political hari-kari over the Estrada court nomination, Krugman has responded with an incendiary column apparently aimed at holding the Hispanic troops in line. We've all heard of the political "big tent." In Krugman's case it's a big "loony bin" spanning from anti-war kooks to identity-politics pimps.

Fortunately, Hispanics are showing every sign that they can think for themselves.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. You can find Paul Krugman's writings, including the latest columns, here]

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Oh frabjous day...

Apparently some liberal Democrats are preparing to Impeach President Bush for things like attacking Afghanistan, and "threatening the independence and sovereignty of Iraq by belligerently proclaiming an intention to change its government by force while preparing to assault Iraq in a war of aggression."

Oh, let it happen! [It won't really happen--it's just a publicity gag.]


Poor devils from Saddam's dungeons can hobble in and beg to kiss President Bush's feet. Then Democrats can explain that they're Saddam's people, and he should be able do what he wants with them. Afghans can tell about executions during half-time at soccer games. Then Democrats can say that Americans are coarse and violent because they watch the Superbowl. Kurds can tell horrifying stories of genocide. Then leftists can tell us we are commiting "cultural genocide" by forcing Democracy on people for who it is "culturally innapropriate"...

I could go on -- the possibilities are endless ... but I need to get back to work.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

The wake-Up Call

Dave T just blogged some worries and doubts...

I'd like to suggest he's unduly pessimistic.

We are not going to amass an empire. The one time we had an empire on our hands, after the Spanish-American War, we found it a real pain, and got rid of it. (Except for Puerto Rico, which realized it had a soft berth, and wouldn't leave.) Empires are neither profitable nor fun. Grabbing the Sandwich Islands made sense, sure, but Basra? Blech.

Assuming we follow through with The Plan, and try to bring freedom and democracy and prosperity to Iraq and other places, we will not be harming our fundamental institutions. We will be affirming them gloriously. Those ARE our fundamental institutions! And there is no better way to improve ones skills and mastery of a craft, than to teach it to someone else.

And that's what we are here for. (Brace yourselves, Wilsonian Visionary Position-Paper coming...) America doesn't exist to be comfortable, or safe, or rich, or to invent burgers 'n fries, or the Internet, or the bagel-toaster. We are here to help the world learn some really cool ideas that were cooked up over two-hundred years ago, and which have turned out to be astonishingly successful. And when we share them we are giving a far better gift than donations of money or food. We teach people to be strong and free. Someone once joked about bringing democracy to Germany after WWII: "It's no problem, the Germans are good at following orders. We've ordered them to be democratic." Right now the Germans can thumb their noses at us, and that's good! And Schroeder's antics will cause Germans to vote for someone else, and that's also good. No empire there...

About that "spiral of repression," I'm scanning the horizon like Cortez, but I sure don't see it. Liberties eroding? Any examples? Any numbers? As for Ineluctable; not so. Actually, the erosions of liberties have mostly come during our few really big wars. But this country has fought an astonishing number of "little wars," and these usually featured no repression, and often the populace was hardly aware of them. That seems to be the pattern now. Many people are still vague about which is Iraq and which is Iran. Also, after our big wars we did not have to fight to "reverse the erosions of civil liberties." They were off like a dirty shirt.

And while it is obvious there can't be a VT Day, that doesn't mean there isn't an end to the war. Lots of things don't have clear cut-off dates, but still have ends. The flood waters gradually recede, and first a steeple is seen, then a barn, then a house, then a fence...We captured that fat ugly al Queda guy recently, and all of us made little adjustments to our mental terror-ratchet. Click. North Korea will be dealt with. Click. Maybe Pakistan. Click. Saudi. Click...There will be ups and downs, but we will know. (And what's that about how we aren't doing anything against the Saudis? We are about to grab the world's second-largest oil patch, and you think that's not a move against the largest oil patch? Remember, it's all about oil.)

And in some ways this kind of war is less damaging than others. The problem with wars is that we tend to become like our enemies. Militaristic and obedient and harsh. But in 4th-Generation War, our happier virtues are not weaknesses but strengths. Our openness and freedom and playfulness make us nimble and clever fighters, and enormously attractive to many of the world's people. Remember those jokes last year, "If I don't buy this wide-screen TV, the terrorists have won?" Silly but with a morsel of truth. And look at our soldiers. Educated and thoughtful people. Often Christian. Lots of them are college-educated guys who can pop into, say, Afghanistan, don the local costume, pick up the lingo, build schools one day, and kill terrorist slimeballs the next...So who's fundamental values are being eroded here? Sounds more like we are becoming our best selves. (Egad. Those Americans are becoming......cowboys!)

It's the socialist anti-war Left that is trying to erode our values and institutions. And this war is a huge setback for them, because it has been a huge wake-up call for ordinary Americans, (And not just here--look at Eastern Europe!) a call for us to value what is good and true, and defend our freedom from the rabble who hate it. This war is going to strengthen freedom, and marginalize those who hate it, whether in Berkeley, Paris or Islamabad..
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ponder a new map of the world...

An article, The Pentagon's New Map, on the newly influential work of Thomas P.M. Barnett, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE...
...What was interesting about all those scenarios is the assumption that only an advanced state can truly threaten us.  The rest of the world?   Those less-developed parts of the world have long been referred to in military plans as the “Lesser Includeds,” meaning that if we built a military capable of handling a great power’s military threat, it would always be sufficient for any minor scenarios we might have to engage in the less advanced world.

That assumption was shattered by September 11.  After all, we were not attacked by a nation or even an army but by a group of—in Thomas Friedman’s vernacular—Super Empowered Individuals willing to die for their cause.  September 11 triggered a system perturbation that continues to reshape our government (the new Department of Homeland Security), our economy (the de facto security tax we all pay), and even our society ( Wave to the camera!).  Moreover, it launched the global war on terrorism, the prism through which our government now views every bilateral security relationship we have across the world.

In many ways, the September 11 attacks did the U.S. national-security establishment a huge favor by pulling us back from the abstract planning of future high-tech wars against “near peers” into the here-and-now threats to global order.  By doing so, the dividing lines between Core and Gap were highlighted, and more important, the nature of the threat environment was thrown into stark relief...
Via Rand Simberg

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Some good words

from Andrew Sullivan...
THE REAL AGENDAS: And one reason to pay only limited attention to the howls of outrage as the U.S. and U.K. do what is necessary is the fact that very little of the opposition to this war is actually about this war. For some it's about "war" in general - a newly empowered new age pacifism. For France, it's about ... France, and its eclipse as a power of any significance...

... For the broader anti-war forces in Europe, it's about American uni-polar power - and the need to counteract it, even if it's being put to good use. For still others, especially in the Vatican and France, it's the old Jew-hatred again...

...For the anti-war left in America, it's really about Bush. The pent-up fury they felt after Florida never found expression or even validation in the wider culture. It was repressed in the first months of a new presidency - and then made irrelevant by 9/11. Finally, they have a chance to demonstrate their hate - which is why so much of the demonstrations' focus has not been on Saddam, Iraq or even war, but on Bush. The anti-Bush left knows that a successful war will only strengthen the president further and marginalize them even more - hence their utter desperation and viciousness today...

...Meanwhile, a real and actual problem in global security is being addressed. Thank heavens that for some, this moment really is about Saddam.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Donald Sensing clears away... category of rumor that has been bugging a lot of people:
...I don't remember even one operation or exercise during my Army career, with service from battery level to Corps to Army Staff, where the phase of the moon got more than a casual mention. Not one time was it a consideration in actual operational planning that I recall, even for parachute assaults where one would think it would make a difference. The reason is that other factors, from logistics to political, always overwhelm factors such as weather and moon phase.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Cheer yourself up a bit,

Read Europe’s Hidden Conservatives : The young and the free thinking. By Richard Miniter
...Slowly the network of free-market groups is changing Europe. There are many small, but hopeful signs of a conservative renaissance in Europe. Think-tank leaders say that conservative arguments are starting to resonate with ordinary people and are taken more seriously by the continent's op-ed editors. Small businessman and even executives are increasingly writing them checks. A new group seems to emerge in Europe every month.

Traveling around Europe, one finds a sense of excitement among young leaders. Today the European free-market movement is roughly were the American movement was in 1977. The good news: It is no longer 1968 in old Europe. But it is not yet 1980, either. And no Thatchers or Reagans have appeared yet....
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Filthy Capitalists undermine yet another Socialist Paradise...

...Last week land in Baghdad was selling for more than $A400 a square metre, an increase of 20 per cent in recent months, as hopes rise that sanctions that have crippled the economy will end after more than 10 years

In the past year prices in some of Baghdad's upmarket suburbs, where foreign diplomats and businessmen would live in a post-Saddam Iraq, have risen by up to 50 per cent.

Riad Shaban, who has worked as a real estate agent in Baghdad for 30 years, said he could not find enough property for clients.

"Land is the best investment because buildings can suffer things like rockets and missiles," one of Mr Shaban's clients said.

If they could not find land, Mr Shaban said, they invested instead in upmarket houses...

Article here, via Tim Blair