Well, I seem to be slow in catching on, but I just found this: The Anti-Idotarian Manifesto.
I think I can officially declare myself to be an Anti-Idiotarian.
The braindroppings of the Kaufmans and selected others.
Well, I seem to be slow in catching on, but I just found this: The Anti-Idotarian Manifesto.
A self-proclaimed Democrat that I've never heard of makes some very good points at Opinionjournal.com today.
Watching the primary campaigns among this year's pathetic crop of Democratic candidates, I can't help but think that their campaigns would be vastly improved if they would only rise to the level of "Death to the Republicans."
Instead, their platforms range from Howard Dean's "Bush is the devil" to everybody else's "I'll make you rich, and Bush is quite similar to the devil." Since President Bush is quite plainly not the devil, one wonders why anyone in the Democratic Party thinks this ploy will play with the general public.
. . .
And the most vile part of this campaign against Mr. Bush is that the terrorist war is being used as a tool to try to defeat him--which means that if Mr. Bush does not win, we will certainly lose the war. Indeed, the anti-Bush campaign threatens to undermine our war effort, give encouragement to our enemies, and cost American lives during the long year of campaigning that lies ahead of us.
Osama bin Laden's military strategy is: If you make a war cost enough, Americans will give up and go home. Now, bin Laden isn't actually all that bright; his campaign to make us go home is in fact what brought us into Afghanistan and Iraq. But he's still telling his followers: Keep killing Americans and eventually, antigovernment factions within the United States will choose to give up the struggle.
It's what happened in Somalia, isn't it? And it's what happened in Vietnam, too.
Reuters recently ran a feature that trumpeted the "fact" that U.S. casualties in Iraq have now surpassed U.S. casualties in the first three years of the Vietnam War. Never mind that this is a specious distortion of the facts, which depends on the ignorance of American readers. The fact is that during the first three years of the war in Vietnam, dating from the official "beginning" of the war in 1961, American casualties were low because (a) we had fewer than 20,000 soldiers there, (b) most of them were advisers, deliberately trying to avoid a direct combat role, (c) our few combat troops were special forces, who generally get to pick and choose the time and place of their combat, and (d) because our presence was so much smaller, there were fewer American targets than in Iraq today.
Compare our casualties in Iraq with our casualties in Vietnam when we had a comparable number of troops, and by every rational measure--casualties per thousand troops, casualties per year, or absolute number of casualties--you'll find that the Iraq campaign is far, far less costly than Vietnam. But the media want Americans to think that Iraq is like Vietnam--or rather, that Iraq is like the story that the Left likes to tell about Vietnam.
Vietnam was a quagmire only because we fought it that way. If we had closed North Vietnam's ports and carried the war to the enemy, victory could have been relatively quick. However, the risk of Chinese involvement was too great. Memories of Korea were fresh in everyone's minds, and so Vietnam was fought in such a way as to avoid "another Korea." That's why Vietnam became, well, Vietnam.
. . . .
In other words, the Iraq campaign isn't over--and President Bush has explicitly said so all along. So the continuation of combat and casualties isn't a "failure" or a "quagmire," it's a "war." And during a war, patriotic Americans don't blame the deaths on our government. We blame them on the enemy that persists in trying to kill our soldiers.
Am I saying that critics of the war aren't patriotic?
Not at all--I'm a critic of some aspects of the war. What I'm saying is that those who try to paint the bleakest, most anti-American, and most anti-Bush picture of the war, whose purpose is not criticism but deception in order to gain temporary political advantage, those people are indeed not patriotic. They have placed their own or their party's political gain ahead of the national struggle to destroy the power base of the terrorists who attacked Americans abroad and on American soil.
Patriots place their loyalty to their country in time of war ahead of their personal and party ambitions. And they can wrap themselves in the flag and say they "support our troops" all they like--but it doesn't change the fact that their program is to promote our defeat at the hands of our enemies for their temporary political advantage.
Think what it will mean if we elect a Democratic candidate who has committed himself to an antiwar posture in order to get his party's nomination.
Our enemies will be certain that they are winning the war on the battleground that matters--American public opinion. So they will continue to kill Americans wherever and whenever they can, because it works.
Our soldiers will lose heart, because they will know that their commander in chief is a man who is not committed to winning the war they have risked death in order to fight. When the commander in chief is willing to call victory defeat in order to win an election, his soldiers can only assume that their lives will be thrown away for nothing. That's when an army, filled with despair, becomes beatable even by inferior forces.
Our national media are covering this war as if we were "losing the peace"--even though we are not at peace and we are not losing. Why are they doing this? Because they are desperate to spin the world situation in such a way as to bring down President Bush.
It's not just the war, of course. Notice that even though our recent recession began under President Clinton, the media invariably refer to it as if Mr. Bush had caused it; and even though by every measure, the recession is over, they still cover it as if the American economy were in desperate shape.
This is the same trick they played on the first President Bush, for his recession was also over before the election--but the media worked very hard to conceal it from the American public. They did it as they're doing it now, with yes-but coverage: Yes, the economy is growing again, but there aren't any new jobs. Yes, there are new jobs now, but they're not good jobs.
And that's how they're covering the war. Yes, the Taliban were toppled, but there are still guerrillas fighting against us in various regions of Afghanistan. (As if anyone ever expected anything else.) Yes, Saddam was driven out of power incredibly quickly and with scant loss of life on either side, but our forces were not adequately prepared to do all the nonmilitary jobs that devolved on them as an occupying army.
The one apparently sane Canadian notes:
Iraq has never been a quagmire, nor even close. The death toll since formal hostilities ended in May has been serious, but pales next to the mountain of corpses piled up by Saddam's regime.
. . . .
Opponents of the war and opponents of George W. Bush tend to be one and the same, and the intensity of their dislike for the President is such that it has often coloured the picture of Iraq that the world has been served.
The trick has been to equate Iraq to Vietnam. Al Gore made a point of it last week when he threw his backing behind Howard Dean for the Democratic party's presidential nomination, describing the situation as a "quagmire" -- the emotionally loaded term everyone knows means Vietnam.
Even on the surface this is a ludicrous proposition. U.S. involvement in Vietnam lasted the better part of two decades and killed more than 58,000 American troops. At its peak the United States had 440,000 soldiers in Vietnam, and they were dying at a rate of almost 320 a week. It was a jungle country, ideal for guerrilla warfare, in which insurgents had crucial support from major powers able to easily supply them with the weapons and financial support to carry on. And even as the United States fought on, it never had a workable plan for a legitimate government that could govern the country.
None of this is true in Iraq, nor even close.
. . .
It has somehow become more acceptable to attack Mr. Bush for risking U.S. lives than to condemn Saddam for murdering Iraqis. A report this week indicated Saddam's regime had executed 61,000 people in Baghdad alone. He is believed to have killed 180,000 Kurds, and his post-Kuwait reprisals on Shiite Muslims left another 60,000 dead.
He ran torture chambers and stuffed his prisons with political opponents. People were mutilated, apparently for no better reason than the entertainment of their killers. Critics had explosives strapped to them and were blown to bits. Dissidents were tossed off tall buildings. Since the U.S. invasion, authorities have found 41 mass graves; hundreds more are believed to exist, containing between 300,000 and 500,000 victims.
Yet the focus has been on attacking the Americans, a situation that may finally change with the capture of Saddam. It underlines a simple question. Given the choice, who would you want running your country: a democratic if imperfect administration like the one in Washington, or that madman they dragged out of a hole in the ground yesterday?
Well, this is amusing.
Ever since yesterday, when I starting seeing the images, I've been waiting for the headlines to appear. Somewhere. Anywhere. Sadly, nowhere. And I don't get it.
Well, the New York Times did cover the anti-terrorism demonstration (cover as in how Paris Hilton's clothes cover her, cover as in how well Rudy Guliani's hair covers his head, cover as in cover your ass by putting it in somewhere rather than cover the waterfront, which is supposed to be your job). Don't blink or you'll miss it. I'll spare you the first eight paragraphs of the story. This is the ninth:
In contrast, a heavily policed march in central Baghdad on Wednesday, organized peacefully by the country's major political parties, drew thousands of Iraqis to protest attacks by guerrilla fighters, which have injured and killed Iraqi civilians as well as occupiers.
David Horowitz' Frong Page Magazine had an interview with the man on Iraq and the Left and it makes for some very interesting reading. Read the whole thing. But here are a few snapshots.
"Most of the leftists I know are hoping openly or secretly to leverage difficulty in Iraq in order to defeat George Bush. For innumerable reasons, including the one I cited earlier, I think that this is a tactic and a mentality utterly damned by any standard of history or morality. What I mainly do is try to rub that in.
As I’ve told you before, there are some former comrades who take a decent position but they all half-understand that it’s now an anomalous one in terms of the “Left” as a whole. Some pessimistic liberals who don’t wish to sabotage the effort still describe the war against jihadism and dictatorship as “unwinnable”.
My short reply is that it is un-loseable. We still haven’t captured Radovan Karadzic or Ratko Mladic, who are hiding somewhere in Europe ten years after murdering over 10,000 Muslims in one day. But their protector regime is gone and one day they will be caught or killed. Osama bin Laden is dead in my opinion, and probably has been dead for more than a year. Saddam Hussein is alive, but not where he planned to be.
The Taliban and the Ba’ath and the Serbian Socialist Party will not regain power, however much violence they muster. These are facts. The combat as a whole will never be “over”, because it is part of a permanent struggle between reason and unreason, among other things. But to assert that rather minimal point is also to assert that the enemy cannot win. Given the proven nature of that enemy, I hope I need not say any more about what I think of its subconscious sympathizers, let alone its overt ones."
"[T]here is a sort of buried compliment here that I find I am willing to accept. The neo-cons, or some of them, decided that they would back Clinton when he belatedly decided for Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic, and this even though they loathed Clinton, because the battle against religious and ethnic dictatorship in the Balkans took precedence. This, by the way, was partly a battle to save Muslims from Catholic and Christian Orthodox killers. That impressed me. The neo-cons also took the view, quite early on, that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was impossible as well as undesirable. They were dead right about that. They had furthermore been thinking about the menace of jihadism when most people were half-asleep.
And then I have to say that I was rather struck by the way that the Weekly Standard and its associated voices took the decision to get rid of Trent Lott earlier this year, thus removing an embarrassment as well as a disgrace from the political scene. And their arguments were on points of principle, not “perception.” I liked their ruthlessness here, and their seriousness, at a time when much of the liberal Left is not even seriously wrong, but frivolously wrong, and babbles without any sense of responsibility. (I mean, have you read their sub-Brechtian stuff on Halliburton....?) And revolution from above, in some states and cases, is - as I wrote in my book A Long Short War - often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.
The matter on which I judge people is their willingness, or ability, to handle contradiction..."
"Since I do still find that I use the method of historical materialism (not yet surpassed by any rival) I think it’s worth stating some unarguable propositions. First - all jihads have always failed. The last serious one, which was the declaration of a holy war by the Ottoman Empire in 1914, ended by the loss of that empire as well as the loss of the war, and was a defeat and erasure so complete that many people who hear Osama bin Laden’s call for the restoration of the Caliphate don’t even know what he’s screeching about. Lesser jihads tend to consume themselves in quarrels over spoils or doctrines: an irrational view of the world will tell against you in the end, as is shown by the crazy and self-destructive tactics now being pursued by Islamists in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey and elsewhere. They wish to be martyrs - we should be willing to help.
Second - dictatorship is a very unstable and uncertain (and highly vulnerable) method of rule. Third, no combination of dictatorship and clericalism can possibly stand against the determined power of the United States. In other words, the eventual result is certain victory, military and political, however long the task may take. It can be useful to bear this in mind. The job of citizens is to make sure that this American power really is self-determined, and not left either to professionals or to amateurs. We are not watching for the outcome of this war: we are participants in it and had better comport ourselves as such."
"Concerning Iraq, I have to remind you that those of us who took the regime-change position (I invited the readers of my Nation column to support the Iraqi National Congress and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan several years ago) were confronted first by the arguments of Bush Senior - who wrote openly that it was better and safer to leave Saddam in power in 1991 - and of Bush Junior, who ran against Gore on the question of “nation building”. We also had to fight against the CIA, as we indeed still do, and against the Buchanan-type forces grouped around the magazine The American Conservative. Finally, we faced the conservative Arabists of the State Department and at least half of the staff of Kissinger Associates. So don’t be so goddam cocky about who was, or was not “pro-American”. Having changed my own mind after the end of the first “Gulf War”, I had at least as many arguments to conduct with Washington’s right wing as I did with the soft or the dogmatic left, and would not wish this any other way.
Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it? Did you know his trial is over? Did you know he was sentenced? Did you see/hear any of the judge's comments on TV/Radio? I didn't think so. Our diligent media at work again. Everyone should hear what the judge had to say:
Well, eventually I figured the rise in anti-semitism would start making the mainstream news. And it seems to have happened. There are a flurry of articles on it now. New York Magazine has it on their cover with a sobering, sometimes maddening, and absolutely depressing article this week. Time has a slew of them: two in November (An Old Evil Raises Its Weary Head and What's Causing the Anti-Semitic Attacks?) and a more substantial one last week (Seven Days Of Hatred). And today, National Review (other than the excellent ones written by Victor Davis Hanson, in particular, Those Jews) published a piece by Andrew Stuttaford called As Rome Starts to Smoulder: European illusions of multiculturalism. Stuttaford's piece is particularly interesting. While I think he great underestimates the deep-seated antisemitism that I believe is endemic in Europe, I think he is right that at least part of what is going on is the "Europeans' desire to accept any compromise so long as it could buy them a quiet life, at least for a while."
It's an attitude that used to show itself in the argument, once popular among large sections of the European Left, that there was a broad degree of moral equivalence between the Cold War's American (Holiday Inn, McDonalds) and Soviet (Gulag, mass graves) protagonists. It's an attitude that regards "peace" (that word again) as a good that trumps all others ... so when Israel is labeled the worst threat to world peace, or the U.S. and North Korea are described as being as dangerous as each other, it shows only that Europeans, left powerless by years of relative decline, falling self-confidence, and shrunken military budgets, have realized that both Israel and America are more interested in self-defense than suicide. That these two countries may be fully entitled to take the positions they do is, naturally, quite irrelevant.
To the EU, combating anti-Semitism, it seems, is less important than preserving the dangerous illusions of multiculturalism, and, probably, recognizing the demographics of a Europe where there are more Muslims to appease than Jews to protect.
I got this from a friend of a friend.
Best of the Web posted an unusual piece of reporting from Reuters today:
"In 1962 President John F. Kennedy issued a stirring call for the nation to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Apollo 17 astronauts landed there in December 1972."
The other day, I posted Julie Burchill's piece in the Guardian, on why she was leaving her employer. She just wrote another article on antisemitism, and it is terrific. Rather than add my babble, here is a snapshot, which blew me away. This follows a summary of notable rabid jew-haters:
"To contemplate the thought processes of such individuals makes any decent person want to wash their hands until the slime of hypocritical hatred is swept away. But when whole sections of society peddle such lies, it's scarier still. And when carriers of the disease are shielded by those who govern us, you start to believe the lunatics have taken over the asylum: the EU's racism watchdog recently suppressed a report on the rise of anti-semitism because it concluded that Muslims were behind many incidents. What sort of world do we live in, when racism is "allowed" to be reported only if it comes from the white and the right? What about a stubborn, shimmering little thing called truth?(Hat tip to Norm, as usual). Read the whole thing.
I don't care who's doing it - white, brown or pink-and-purple paisley-patterned - if they're picking on the Red Sea Pedestrians, they're wrong 'uns, like all racists. Make no mistake, the Jews are not hated because of Israel; they are hated for their very modernity, mobility, lust for life and love of knowledge. Their most basic toast, "L'chaim!" (To Life!), is a red rag to those who fetishise death because they have failed to take any joy from their life on earth.
"Not our Jews! Leave our Jews alone! " yelled the locals who turned out to fight the Mosleyites in Cable Street. It may be politically incorrect to call this ancient people "ours", but what the hell: they're tough, they can take it. And they are still our Jews, in that if they are wiped out, in Israel or anywhere else, we will be wiped out, too, one day, all of the modern world and its achievements - swept back into the Dark Ages mulch from whence we came. The cry of Cable Street still rings true. Not our Jews! But, this time, "our" means mankind, and the very future of our species."
First, check out Noam Chomsky's latest 'thoughts' on anti-semitism in the Independent. Here's a smidgen just to get your juices flowing...
"In the West, fortunately, it scarcely exists now, though it did in the past. There is, of course, what the Anti-Defamation League calls "the real anti-Semitism", more dangerous than the old-fashioned kind: criticism of policies of the state of Israel and US support for them, opposition to a vast US military budget, etc. In contrast, anti-Arab racism is rampant. The manifestations are shocking, in elite intellectual circles as well, but arouse little concern because they are considered legitimate: the most extreme form of racism."
"For now, Powell should be taken to task for getting involved in this sham of a peace process at all, and Bush should make it clear that Powell was acting on his own. Even if it makes the administration look shaky, it's better than looking like you stand in line with Clinton, Carter and Mandella by supporting terror."
"Not only do I admire the Guardian, I also find it fun to read, which in a way is more of a compliment. But if there is one issue that has made me feel less loyal to my newspaper over the past year, it has been what I, as a non-Jew, perceive to be a quite striking bias against the state of Israel. Which, for all its faults, is the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist, could bear to live under. "
Did you see what one of our ex-Presidents and resident blowhard, Jimmy "I Never Met a Dictator I Didn't Like" Carter, said the other day with respect to the Middle-East peace process? Criticizing the Bush administration for what he called its "bias" toward Israel, he speculated that history might have been different if he had been re-elected president in 1980:
"Had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution."Okay.... let's just skip his ridiculous speculation about being re-elected given that he lost in one of the worst landslide defeats of a sitting president in this country's history, and let's just move beyond his remarkable display of arrogance with respect to what he calls his prestige AND authority AND influence AND reputation (sorry, but Camp David was about two men with true courage and a third who was needed only to foot the bill), HOW could Carter, a man who 'purports' to be a mediator and statesman, use the term "final solution?" Two possibilities I can think of: he is either an idiot or a man with deep-seated hatred of certain semitic peoples. I am going to assume he is not an idiot....
Notwithstanding the fact that Kabbalah is an ancient tradition, the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles, home to such Torah luminaries as Madonna and Britney Spears, has evidently tried to trademark the red string 'round the wrist used to stave off the evil eye. The U.S. has turned them down.