Tobacco Road Fogey

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Saturday, December 28, 2002

And the buildup goes on...

An AP roundup of the latest U.S. military deployment orders and alerts.
The Bush administration waited until after the holiday to issue the orders, which alert units across the United States and possibly overseas to prepare for deployment to the Persian Gulf, officials said. Officials said tens of thousands of military personnel will receive orders to go to the region, but a precise figure was unavailable.
Looks like they're getting serious. The interesting thing about this story, in my mind, is that the hospital ship has been given orders to sail. Why send the hospital ship unless they are expecting to have casualties in need of treatment?

Maybe this will quiet a couple of the unhappy warbloggers out there, if only for a day or two.

I doubt it...

UPDATE: Was watching "On the Record" on Fox and two talking-head generals pointed out the same point about the hospital ship. When asked by Greta's substitute host where we'd be at the end of January, their predictions were either "at war" or "within days of starting the war."

Don't imagine this will convince the wavering warbloggers, though.


New Victor Davis Hanson article

Another great article by the eminent Dr. Hanson containing some predictions about the after-effects of the upcoming invasion of Iraq.

Here's a sample:
Indeed, for all the grand idealism of Kyoto, Durban, and the ICC, Americans accept that in the past western Europeans would have cold-heartedly sold out Taiwan, Israel, or South Korea in any major confrontation in which democracy and sacrifice on the one side were pitted against autocracy, profit, and appeasement on the other. So Iraq is not merely a referendum on European-American relations, but rather a litmus test of the moral status of Europe itself, and of what side of history it wishes to be on. Let us hope it awakens from its ethical coma to take its rightful place at the vanguard of the war against barbarity.
And yet another sample:
The American left has missed yet another train as it was leaving. Currently it is reeling from an array of staggering developments that in the post-Cold War era threaten to leave it as discredited as segregationist Republicans were during the civil-rights movement. Anti-Semitism is suddenly more commonly a phenomenon of the academic Left than of the old, white, Neanderthal Right. Multiculturalism and cultural equivalence have been refuted by the ghoulish nature of the Taliban; the more the world learns about the "alternative" universe of Saddam Hussein and kindred Middle Eastern regimes, the more it shudders in horror.
Great stuff -- read it all!

Friday, December 27, 2002

More Good Stuff

Bill Whittle has a new article up on his blog called "Empire". Like his previous articles, "Freedom" and "Honor", it's a must-read, even if it is long -- OK, OK, very long.

Bill's article, "Freedom", has stirred up a bit of a row with some bloggers, though. Meryl Yourish has a good summary here of objections from some Jewish bloggers. By the way, Meryl, the way to combat "breathtaking ignorance" is to confront and refute it, not to "let it sit here as an example."

Thursday, December 26, 2002

New blogroll

I updated the blogroll using and a slight modification to this technique from Laurence Simon at Amish Tech Support. BTW, it looks better in Mozilla than it does in IE -- another reason to go with the Gecko, if you haven't tried it already.

Nice work and great tip, Laurence!

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

New riff on WWJD?

Laurence Simon, guest-blogging for Michele at A Small Victory, asks the following question:
By the way, here's a brain-teaser for the holidays: if Jesus drank water and laughed, would wine come out of his nose?
Can't say that I know the answer to that, but I'm cleaning soda off of my monitor screen after reading that question.


Running for cover?

Found this on Best of the Web, concerning a surprising incident at the convention of the Middle East Studies Association in Washington, DC, earlier this month.
Do the professors believe their own propaganda? There was a telling incident on the first day of the conference. An enormous book fair had been set up in the hotel exhibition hall, where participants could schmooze and check out each other's publications. A disproportionate amount of the material dealt with some aspect of the Arab-Israeli conflict, almost exclusively from the Palestinian point of view.

Suddenly, at the far end of the hall, there was a loud boom, like an explosion. Had the convention been a gathering of mathematicians or sociology professors, they presumably would have walked over to see what the noise was. MESA members instead stampeded for the exit, elbowing their way up the escalators to safety.

Turned out it wasn't a bomb but only a blown air conditioner, and there were lots of embarrassed smiles as everyone filed back in. But for a group that insists the terrorist threat is a fiction, manufactured to justify persecution of minorities, they sure seemed awfully jumpy.
Naaaah, they probably thought that the Ashcroft Legions were storming the place to take them all away for a winter vacation in sunny Guantanamo.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Not clueless

Excellent article by Stephen Den Beste about how military force and diplomacy work hand-in-hand. Here's a sample:

Many have noted that there seems to be a drastic difference between the US and Europe in diplomatic influence around the world, which tends to gall the Europeans. Here they are, the postmodernists who think that diplomacy is their chief weapon and something that they're particularly good at, and for the most part no one wants to even talk to them. They're trying to broker a peace in Israel and it's not going anywhere; and when conflicts arise in other places and the parties involved look for a third party to act as a mediator, they always seem to call Washington and never seem to call Paris or Berlin or Brussels.

The reason is that the US has the ability to back up its threats. That's the dirty little secret of diplomacy that the postmodernists don't like to acknowledge: a diplomat is much more likely to be successful if his nation is militarily strong.

One of the reasons that Rumsfeld makes a lot of people around the world nervous is because he's in charge of the most powerful military on the planet. It's his job to make everyone nervous, and he's doing it extremely well. And because he does, Powell is far more successful than Solana at making deals, because Solana doesn't have a Rumsfeld standing behind him growling. Which is why Solana wants an "American partner" in negotiations for Israel. In essence, he wants Rumsfeld standing behind him, too, growling so that he (Solana) can also be effective.
I've seen this phenomenon in action on an online bulletin board that I frequent. This bulletin board has a small number of participants, but with a broad base of nationalities -- from North America, Europe, Israel, and Australia. Over the past year, I've watched many of the European participants in this bulletin board go from openly sympathetic toward the U.S. concerning the events of September 11, 2001 to openly hostile toward the current policies of the U.S. government. It is not uncommon to see President Bush referred to as stupid, hot-headed, or a "gun-slinging cowboy". Americans are regularly referred to as fat, lazy, and spoiled, ignorant of culture and higher learning, and as stupid sheep being led to the slaughter by a power-hungry group of fascists who are out to impose the bankrupt American culture on the rest of the world.

Israelis fare no better on this bulletin board. They are regularly called fascists, racists, and murderers. Homicide bombings within Israel are glossed over with the excuse that the Israelis had it coming to them, while Israeli military actions against Palestinians to prevent these bombings are roundly condemned.

Yet these same Europeans, when confronted by fed-up Americans or Israelis, will fall back on the "we don't hate Americans/Israelis, we just hate your warlike governments" line of thought. They appear to have been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the "war is bad" philosophy that they are willing to accept any result short of war to resolve a conflict. It doesn't seem to matter to them that their solution for "peace" is always one-sided -- that the "civilized" side should always kowtow to the uncivilized.

In short, they seem to have learned the wrong lesson from the past seventy-odd years of European history. To borrow from Sir Winston Churchill, "to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war", but not when the other side has your destruction as its explicit aim. They forget that the appeasement of the early 1930's led directly to the horrors of the late '30's and early '40's.

You need a big stick readily at hand to reason with a madman. That's what they've forgotten. They've allowed their big stick to decay into a hollow log, which will break at first use, but it's a lot easier to carry.

We have a big stick. So do the Israelis. And that's why the Europeans scorn us.

And that's why we'll have to defend them again, someday.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

A sucker bet?

Laurence Simon at Amish Tech Support has promised to dance naked in Times Square if Hillary Rodham Clinton gets any Electoral College votes in the 2004 presidential election. Is there any chance that we'll get to see the "Full Amish"?

A little research at the National Archives Electoral College website indicates that, if Ms. Clinton actually seeks and receives the 2004 Democratic nomination, she stands an excellent chance of receiving at least one electoral vote. Here are the number of times that the electoral votes of Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia have gone to the Republican nominee in my lifetime (eleven elections, starting in 1960):

DC never (since 1964)

MA twice (1980 and 1984)

MN once (1972)

HI twice (1972 and 1984)

Better hope she doesn't want the nomination in 2004, Laurence. Unless you really want to dance naked in Times Square.


Good read

Another great article from Victor Davis Hanson at National Review Online. If you like this article, check out some of his past articles for NRO at the archive link in the blogroll over to the right.

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