Tobacco Road Fogey

'puters, politics, and occasional prattle.

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Saturday, January 25, 2003
 

Wish I'd said that

Mark Steyn responds to Sheryl Crow's famous remarks:
That great thinker Sheryl Crow declared the other day: "War is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies."

In the Falklands, war solved a lot of problems. For 20 years, the islanders have lived in peace and freedom. So, in their own chaotic Latin fashion, have the liberated peoples of Argentina and most of the rest of the continent. If the best way to solve problems is not to have enemies, then the best way not to have enemies is to get rid of them. Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher.

Emphasis added by me.

I hope someone at the White House or the State Department is reading Steyn.
  


Thursday, January 23, 2003
 

Do we really care?

The French and the Germans appear to be quite upset with some remarks U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made on Wednesday.
French Finance Minister Francis Mer said he was "profoundly vexed" by Mr Rumsfeld's remarks - which branded France and Germany "old Europe - while a former employment minister described the US as arrogant.


Sounds to me like we need to get the Clonaid folks to make us up a few extra copies of Rummy. That way we can have a Rumsfeld clone as the ambassador to each of the EU countries.

Then, at least, they'd never be able to complain about not knowing what we are going to do or how we think.

Bravo, Mr. Secretary!
  

 

Former senator joins the Rangel club

Former U.S. Senator John Glenn called Wednesday for the reinstitution of the military draft.
"I think all strata of our society should share in this next 20 years we have ahead, which is undoubtedly going to have a lot of combat situations come up," former Ohio Democratic Sen. John Glenn told CNSNews.com .

"We're not looking forward to just a little bit of combat once in a while; this is liable to be a much greater combat role than anybody ever thought we were getting into," Glenn said.
The first identifiable memory I have in my life is of watching the television news broadcasts of Sen. Glenn's Friendship 7 Mercury mission. During much of my youth, he was one of my biggest heroes. As I grew older and he became more prominent in politics, I found some points of disagreement with Sen. Glenn, but still admired him.

Unfortunately, with statements like these, Sen. Glenn bears less resemblance to the hero of my youth and more resemblance to Ed Harris (the actor that portrayed Glenn in the movie The Right Stuff). The presumption that some socioeconomic groups in this country would fail to shoulder their share of the load, should our war on terrorism raise military manpower requirements beyond what the current volunteer system can handle, is insulting to all Americans. Apparently, all that Sen. Glenn remembers about the American public is the class warfare stereotype that the modern Democratic party loves so dearly.

It's thinking like this that shows why Ronald Reagan, an actor who played American heroes on the silver screen, was able to get elected President, while Sen. Glenn, who once was a real hero, could never even get the nomination of his party to run for President.
  

 

Ratcheting up the rhetoric

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice pushed a few more chips into the pot with this op-ed piece in the New York Times.
Instead of a commitment to disarm, Iraq has a high-level political commitment to maintain and conceal its weapons, led by Saddam Hussein and his son Qusay, who controls the Special Security Organization, which runs Iraq's concealment activities. Instead of implementing national initiatives to disarm, Iraq maintains institutions whose sole purpose is to thwart the work of the inspectors. And instead of full cooperation and transparency, Iraq has filed a false declaration to the United Nations that amounts to a 12,200-page lie.

...Many questions remain about Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and arsenal ? and it is Iraq's obligation to provide answers. It is failing in spectacular fashion. By both its actions and its inactions, Iraq is proving not that it is a nation bent on disarmament, but that it is a nation with something to hide. Iraq is still treating inspections as a game. It should know that time is running out.
I anticipate that we are going to see more of these types of statements from the Bush administration over the next few days, building to a climax with the president's State of the Union message on the 28th.

Opponents of the administration's policy toward Iraq have been asking for proof. It looks like they are going to get all they can stand, short of compromising intelligence sources and methods. I predict that their next tactic will be to raise their standard of proof even higher than they already have, and that the administration has the equivalent of the Kennedy missile-sites-in-Cuba waiting for them, once they've crawled out on the end of the limb.

Stay tuned. The president has more than just Iraq in his sights.
  

 

Interesting doings in Iraq

Opposition to Saddam Hussein appears to be growing among the Iraqi people.
Anti-Saddam slogans, such as "For how long will the Iraqi people sleep?", have been daubed on statues and photographs of the Iraqi leader. Leaflets predicting Saddam's downfall have also been circulated. The campaign of dissent, which is punishable by death for anyone caught, has apparently been co-ordinated by two opposition groups emboldened by the prospect of a looming war. The Iraqi authorities are said to have cracked down on suspected opponents. But they have also attempted to buy the loyalty of people close to the regime with payments and increased rations of food.
Looks like word of the American and British military buildup is getting through.
  

 

In support of the people of Venezuela

Visit here to support our Venezuelan blogging compatriots. Times are tough down there.
  

Tuesday, January 21, 2003
 

O.K. -- enough already

I hadn't planned to write much about the weekend's antiwar protests (other than pointing out a few moronic quotes picked up by Big Media), but the lame responses posted by the antiwar folks in this discussion over at Tacitus' place have my blood pressure elevated.

The way I see it, there are basically two main types of antiwar groups. For simplicity's sake, let's call them the idealists and the legalists. There may be groups that combine various aspects of my two classifications, but I don't plan to deal with them here.

The idealists are those who are morally opposed to war and all other sorts of violence. This would include religious groups such as the Quakers. It can also include secular groups such as radical libertarians who oppose the formation of state-contolled armies.

I can respect the stands of idealist antiwar groups, because I feel confident that they are opposed to all forms of war. However, I think they tend to be dangerously naive. All martyrs have a couple of things in common -- they are dead and their persecutors/killers outlived them. Martyrdom may be very principled, but it is ultimately self-destructive in the face of a persistent enemy. Nonetheless, it is their right to offer themselves as martyrs to their cause.

The legalist antiwar groups, on the other hand, are the ones I tend to have some problems with. The legalist groups insist that some set of conditions must be met before a state can go to war and, when these conditions are met, they will support the war effort.

In theory and given the right conditions, I could agree with some legalists. There are certain situations in which war is the best, if not only, solution, and those are the situations where we should go to war. In other situations, we should not go to war. In the current state of our world, however, some of the conditions set by some of the legalists are vacuous and disingenuous at best and ludicrous, if not dangerous, at worst.

What are some of the legalist arguments currently being bandied about that bother me?

This country should never be the aggressor, but should wait until we are attacked before responding.

To the proponents of this position, I have but one question: how many of your fellow citizens are you willing to sacrifice in order to satisfy this condition? One? A dozen? A hundred? A thousand?

Is your principle so sacred that the human rights of your fellow citizens become meaningless?

Save the "white hat" for the movies, where the victims get up after the shooting stops, wipe off the fake blood, and go out for a drink with the "shooters" after the work is done. In this age of weapons of mass destruction, the potential toll at risk by waiting for the first punch is far too high to condone in the name of some abstract principle.

We can only go to war if the United Nations approves of our going to war.

To the proponents of this position, I say: since when do we have to have the approval of other nations to defend our own citizens? Do you honestly believe that the United Nations is a fair and objective forum for debating such issues, and that we should be unconditionally bound by the decisions emanating from that body? Should any government voluntarily cede its responsibility to defend its citizens to a multinational body?

Should we even care what the Cuban government thinks about our policy in the Middle East? How about the North Koreans or the Libyans? Does any other country, ally or non-ally, decide how it is going to use its vote in the U.N. on the basis of anything but its own self-interest? If so, why should we voluntarily bind ourselves to serving their interests and not our own?

At this point in history, the U.N. is an impotent, bureaucratic debating society which lays a thin pseudo-democratic veneer over naked state ambition. When a country's membership in the U.N. becomes contingent on that country having implemented true democratic governance of its people, then we should take heed of what the U.N. says. As long as a dictatorship is allowed the same vote as a democratic nation, the U.N. is a farce and should be treated as such.

We supported Government X in the past. It would be hypocritical for us to go after it now.

To the proponents of this position, I say: times change and sometimes we must change with them. Our support of that government in the past may have been justifiable, or it may have been a short-sighted mistake. Shouldn't we attempt to correct our errors once we have seen them?

By this logic, we shouldn't be supporting the governments in much of eastern Europe because we were opposed to them in the past. Heck, we shouldn't even be supporting the British -- after all, isn't that the country that we originally revolted against to form this nation. Should we have continued to support Marcos and his cronies in the Philippines, or Pinochet and his cronies in Chile?

If we have wrongfully supported a government in the past, we owe it to the people of that nation to rectify that mistake. After all, they are the ones who likely have suffered most from our mistake.

We have no proof. Where's the smoking gun?

To the proponents of this position, I say (borrowing from Rachel Lucas): a gun only smokes after it is fired.

How much proof do you need? If an enemy is determined to keep his activities hidden, it is almost impossible for us to obtain hard proof without putting "boots on the ground" to overcome the resistance of the government in that country. In the case of WMD, the first definitive proof of the existence of such weapons might be a mushroom cloud over some city, either here or abroad.

During WWII, we only had anecdotal evidence of the Nazi death camps -- mostly, stories told by survivors who managed to escape from those camps. We didn't have satellite surveillance that showed us overhead views of Auschwitz or Treblinka or Dachau. When Allied troops overran these camps, we finally had the "hard" proof -- but at what price to the victims.

Conflict between nations is not like that in a courtroom. Power rules, not procedure, and the stakes are high -- possibly life or death. If only one side plays "by the rules", that side has taken on a disadvantage which might be fatal to its citizens. That, in my view, is a government that betrays its citizens.

We should let diplomacy work.

To the proponents of this position, I say: talking for talking's sake is counterproductive. It wastes time and energy. If only one side is seriously negotiating while the other is stalling for time, diplomacy has no chance of succeeding. The problem is in distinguishing the situations where only one side is negotiating in good faith.

If one side is found to be abusing the diplomatic process, then diplomacy must be immediately and summarily concluded, not to be reopened until the offending party changes its ways.

In conclusion, let me say that I am not condemning any of the antiwar protestors as people. They are my fellow citizens and have the same right to speak out as I have. All I ask is that they look at the arguments that they are making from my point of view, just as they ask me to look at the issues from their point of view.

In healthy and honest debate, we can find truth. And isn't that what we all are seeking?
  

Monday, January 20, 2003
 

If you can't argue with them, ignore 'em

Grognard, over at Sgt. Stryker's place, had the following remark concerning this weekend's antiwar protests:
I was inspired ot write something about the "peace protests" that have come to the media's attention over the weekend. But, I can't figure out what to say. You can't have a battle of wits with idiots, because they drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience. Logical arguments have no place in their illogical ravings.
Well said, Grognard, well said.
  

 

Good article on urban warfare

Trent Telenko has an excellent article over at Winds of Change.NET concerning U.S. military tactics in urban combat situations. Fascinating reading for us military junkies, but I think the most important part of the article is this concluding paragraph:
The lives of enlisted men, junior and field grade officers are made for sacrifice in war. The corollary is so too are the careers of flag rank officers. We seem to have another generation, just like the one in Vietnam, of flag ranks without the moral courage to face down their political masters for the sake of their men. Until that attitude is fixed, arguing over how this or that technical toy will make urban combat easier is less than useless.
Unfortunately, politics and promotion to flag rank go together like peanut butter and jelly. Keep in mind that many of the generals and admirals currently in place in our military command achieved those ranks during the Clinton years. How many of those promotions involved people like retired General Wesley K. Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and possible Democratic presidential candidate?

Hopefully, not very many.
  

Sunday, January 19, 2003
 

New MasterCard ad

Wireless access point for the home network -- 99 dollars

Wireless network card for my laptop -- 69 dollars

Being able to blog while watching a ball game on TV -- priceless!!
  

 

Condi tells it like it is

National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice on NBC's Meet the Press, in response to Tim Russert's question "What is your reaction to the protest?", referring to the anti-war protests in Washington and other cities this weekend:
DR. RICE: I think it’s wonderful that in the United States, people can go out into the streets and show their true feelings. And it contrasts so greatly with the situation that people in Iraq find themselves in, where your tongue can be ripped out for criticizing the regime.
Don't hold back, Dr. Rice. Tell 'em what you really think.
  

 

U.N. becomes more irrelevant

Libya is expected to be selected as the chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Commission on Monday.

What's next -- Saddam Hussein as the head of the IAEA? Maybe Kim Jong Il as the head of UNICEF?
  

 

Ecumenical inanity

Apparently there was some kind of gathering of world religious leaders at the Vatican this weekend.
"As conflicts divide neighbors and nations and the threat of war hangs over us like a shadow, too many people see and employ religion as a force of divisiveness and violence, rather than a force for unity and peace," the representatives said in a concluding statement issued Saturday at the end of a symposium.
No disrespect intended to the learned eminences at this conference, but what else is new? The last I heard, the vast majority of the calls for divisiveness and violence were coming from the mosques of the Middle East.
"Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action," the statement said.
In other words, turn the other cheek. Even if the people striking you are doing it frequently enough to make your head spin on your neck like a top.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington D.C. told the gathering that lasting peace will never be achieved until the world addresses the "root causes of war and conflict."

He listed these as the rich-poor chasm, oppression of minorities and the "social evils of globalisation."
Once again, the "root causes" argument.

Unfortunately for Cardinal McCarrick, he missed the most important root cause of all -- killing people who don't believe in the same things you do.

Too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good.
  

 

Trading with the enemy?

Tucker Carlson has a nice piece in the New York Times Magazine section today. Looks like we might have to drum him out of the VWRC.

Some samples:
For Democrats to win back Congress and the White House in 2004, they must: a) arrange for the current president to mess up horribly, preferably by losing a war or driving the economy into stagflation, and b) pick a national political leader with the stature, political skill and clarity of vision to take advantage of the opportunity. None of this will be easy. More than anything, it will require luck, the most underrated factor in politics. That may take awhile.

...Ideally, Democrats would campaign on fresh, new, daring ideas about America's role in the world. In real life, fresh, new, daring ideas are rare. Even when you find them, it takes years to refine a crackpot theory into a workable policy. Democrats would be better off stealing Bush's positions, then making them stronger -- becoming more Bush than Bush.

...The Democratic Party needs to establish this same sort of tougher-than-thou credibility on foreign policy. The problem is that ''Democrats are really freaked out by anti-Americanism,'' says Peter Beinart, editor of The New Republic. ''They're a little like Canadians in that they have difficulty going to sleep at night knowing that people hate them.'' Fighting terrorism requires exerting American power. Exerting power makes people hate you. Hence the Democrats' bind. Beinart recommends ''a Sister Souljah moment with the U.N.,'' a high-profile news event that Democrats can use to show they really don't care what France thinks.

...And while they're at it, they ought to rediscover their sense of humor. Liberals used to be funny. They edited magazines like National Lampoon. They had a claim on cool. Then something happened. They became sour and earnest and neurotic about secondhand smoke. The Democratic Party became the that's-not-funny-young-man party, the party of no fun.
There's plenty more (5 pages worth), so check it out.
  

 

Rock on!!

I was watching the Rolling Stones concert on HBO last night while I was blogging and surfing, so imagine my surprise and delight when I found this, courtesy of Instapundit and Tim Blair:
"I say to Osama and the boys bring it on, evaporate me," Richards said on the eve of the band's Australian tour.

"If it gets to the stage where these guys are dictating if we rock or not, then forget about it.

"If McCartney uses these guys as an excuse, he should give it away. Don't give them the power.

"I can't wait to tour Australia, even if they take out my plane on the way there."
Let's (rock and) roll, Keith!

A side note on the Stones concert: Sheryl Crow made a brief appearance on stage, singing and dancing with Mick. And no, she wasn't wearing that T-shirt.
  

 

The left questions itself

Found this after following a link from Instapundit:
In my many discussions with friends about the war, it has been the unanimous opinion that the anti-war position is riddled with inconsistencies and poor logic. Even if some of the arguments are valid, the number of wrong ones makes us question the position.

...I have spent many -- many -- hours in argument with people about this. It is perhaps a sign that of perhaps twenty friends I have argued with -- all of whom are 22-26 year old very reasonable people who would consider themselves on the left edge of the Democratic party -- I have found almost nobody willing to take an anti-war stand other than myself, and that even I find myself out of sympathy with the stances taken by the anti-war organizations and publications (e.g., the Nation) that I am confronted with.
Can (un)common sense break out on the left? Stay tuned...
  

 

Alway proofread before publishing

'Cuz you never know how one little bitty error can twist the meaning of what you wrote.

Setting the stage:
My son was forced by extremely oppressive laws to sign up for Selective Service for Bush's imperialistic murder rampage around the world. On top of us probably going into impossible debt for my sons education, my son absolutely needs the financial aid and scholarship money to barely afford this dream of college. Now, there is the added threat of 5 years in prison, being labled a felon, and over $200,000 in fines if he doesn't sign up for Selective Service while receiving these benefits.
So, what's a mom to do?
I got up early before we gave my son the card to sign. I balled my eyes out so he wouldn't see me.
Ah...the old '60's solution -- make love, not war. At least she kept the bedroom door closed.
I can't believe this is happening. When will the hurting stop?
If it hurts, you must be doing it wrong.
What next, my daughter?! !
Now we're getting a little too kinky for a family blog.
On the inside I am screaming - My babies! GOD, MY BABIES!!!!!!!
Let it out, darlin'. You'll feel so much better.
I cannot help but know this is the same cry of anguish from other mothers around the world
So the women's magazines and self-help books would have us believe.
because of George W. Bush
I dunno. Laura's always looked pretty happy to me.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled serious blogging.


  

 

Simpering silliness from the protests, part two

Quoted in The Nation:
"Bush keeps talking about weapons of mass destruction," said the Rev. Graylan Hagler of Washington's Plymouth Congregational Church told the rally outside the Capitol. "When I look at the White House I am much more worried about words of mass deception."
Rev. Hagler, you should be more worried about ideas of mass idiocy.

Does Matthew 7:3-5 ring a bell?
  

 

Simpering silliness from the protests

Quoted by the Washington Post:
Another passenger on one of the St. Louis buses, Kristin Kumpf, 27, said that although she believes Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is an evil man, the United States is acting hastily in preparing for military engagement.

"War is not the answer. There absolutely has to be some mediation. He does horrible things to his people, but there are other horrible men who do horrible things that we don't worry about" because they don't have oil, she said, referring to the vast fuel reserves in Iraq.
Another Sheryl Crow wannabe?

Ms. Kumpf, to quote the old proverb, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Are you suggesting that we should not do what we can to remove "horrible men" from positions of power? That because we have let other "horrible men" stay in power, that we have to let all current and future "horrible men" stay in power?

I'd appreciate it if you informed the Democratic party of your opinions. Maybe you can convince them not to nominate a candidate for the 2004 presidential election. After all, shouldn't the current war-mongering resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue receive at least as much consideration as you are willing to give to Saddam Hussein?

Or isn't he "horrible" enough to qualify for the lifetime tenure?
  




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