… and then some. But we’ll just pretend it’s not too late to proffer “turn-of-the-year” reflections and bits o’ news. (Had lots of pictures too but after about five hours of struggling with this miserable entry, I have given them up.)
For starters, some advice from Sgt. Grit: Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR.
2005 = THE YEAR OF THE LIE
That’s the extended essay part—scroll down. But first:
ITEM: CANADA VOTES – January 23
The final English-language debate last Monday among the four candidates was a typical piece of Canadian political theatre, Farce Division, since only three of the candidates are actually running for the big office (Prime Minister) and one of them is running to be the federal representative who ushers Québèc into independence and Canada into slow disintegration.
The debate featured the spectacle of Paul Martin, leader of a Liberal Party which has ruled Canada almost non-stop for about 70 years, babbling like he’d consumed 26 cups of coffee, engaging in an intra-provincial hissing match and near-fisticuffs with fellow-Québècois and Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, while dough-faced Conservative Stephen Harper and apple-cheeked socialist Kumbayah-master Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party looked on.
Canada may actually be looking at Regime Change on January 23.The Liberals are already blaming Bush.
ITEM: CANADA PUKES
as Hollywood prepares to release film on Bernardo/Homolka sex-crimes
Every so often another cheeseball director decides to make a film or TV movie which purports to “explore the psyche” of some grisly serial killer. By far the majority of these excursions leave the viewer with more than they needed to know about the details of the act of murder, but not the least bit more enlightened about what makes these deviates “tick” – so the audience feels doubly cheated, having learned nothing and having come away with no real excuse for watching the tripe. Moreover, the viewer is complicit in the transaction by which the film production has rubbed a barrel of salt into the wounds of the victims’ families and friends in exchange for sweeps-week or box office dollars.
It’s all set to happen again, as the feature film Karla opens on January 20, a revisiting of the twisted lives and nauseatingly sick crimes of Ontario’s own Paul Bernardo who (with a never-determined degree of assistance from his steely little bride Karla Homolka) kidnapped, raped, degraded, murdered, and dismembered two innocent teen-aged girls (and captured much of it in home movies) more than ten years ago.
In the name of justice, decency, charity and mercy, BOYCOTT THIS TRASH.
ITEM: Word came out that over the Christmas holidays President Bush was reading Imperial Grunts by Robert Kaplan. I, for one, was delighted to hear it—it’s about time the President got a good briefing about what the American military is doing on his watch: how they are the ones winning hearts and minds; shaping the future; carrying out the one-on-one diplomacy which will be the most determinative factor in the new alliances with Afghanistan, the Middle East, and other places (like the Philippines) where Islamist fascists have gotten a foothold and need to be pried loose. Up till now there hasn’t been a great deal of evidence that Bush actually knows what they’ve been up to day to day. If he’s finished the book, he’s ahead of me—I’ve only read the excerpt in The Atlantic. Worth a look.
ITEM: IRAQ VOTES—AGAIN—December 15 -- reported over 70% turnout—makes North Americans look like lazy, complacent JERKS. Over here the professional feminists have paid ZERO attention to the greatest advance, in the shortest span of time, for any group of women in HUMAN HISTORY.
ITEM: TED KENNEDY (puffy Massachusetts Senator and renowned long-distance swimmer) is said to be writing a children’s book.
It will be written from his dog’s point of view. The dog is a water spaniel. It’s name is “Splash.”
It is unknown at this moment whether Splash will be encouraged demonstrate how, if he’d been around in 1969, he might have been of assistance in hauling a certain young woman from eight feet of water off Chappaquiddick Island.
You absolutely cannot make this stuff up.
The whole exercise could not be more tasteless if Kennedy had named his dog “Kopechne”.
ITEM: RUMORS OF THEIR DEATHS HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Apparently what happens in New Orleans doesn’t really happen. That truth was the first thing washed away by Hurricane Katrina started to become obvious in late September, when the myths of rape and murder among the storm’s refugees were pretty soundly debunked, along with tales of uncontrollable mayhem in the Superdome and wild west gunfights in the streets.
With December came a more specific statistical analysis of the known dead: about 1,000 for all of Louisianna, with no sign that either the storm, nor its instigating sorcerer (President Bush) discriminated on the basis of race, gender, or socio-economic status. Victims were fairly evenly black and white, male and female, and residents of poor and well-off parishes.
We await (hopelessly) the abject apologies of race-baiting big-mouths like Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan, with their willing accomplices in the hand-wringing press, for everything from unhinged wailing (Wolf Blitzer was the best: “They’re so poor, so black…”) to deranged bald-faced lying (Farrakhan: the levees “may have been blown up so that the water would destroy the black part of town”). The citizens of New Orleans and greater Louisianna await (hopelessly) the abject apologies of airhead mayor Ray “Schoolbus” Nagin and clueless, testy governor Kathleen “Call-my-decorator” Blanco and heavy-lifting Congressman William “Where’s-my-stuff?” Jefferson for enjoying the limelight of elected office without bothering to read the fine print on the social contract that says “your constituents are to be served and protected, not soaked for perqs and ignored.”
Tick, tock, tick, tock……
ITEM: HILLARY GOES ALL BOADICEA -- becomes instant expert on armor
Senator Hillary Rodham Broadbottom has her knickers in a twist about the alleged inadequacies of military body armor being used in Iraq. Apparently more people died from being shot where the armor wasn’t than those who were shot where the armor was.
Mrs. Clinton would have our infantry covered from buzz-cut to toenails with ceramic plates and Kevlar, and has blasted the “incompetent… unforgivable… Bush/Cheney policy” which allows soldiers and Marines to go into battle lacking sufficient coating to make them look like the lumbering Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Is she on to something? As the saying goes, “Ask the man who owns one.” -- that is, ask the guys who have to wear the stuff. “Baghdad Guy” for instance:
To start off with, no, our body armor is not perfect. It has
its vulnerabilities which I won't get into for obvious reasons, but overall it does a remarkable job of protecting soldiers, marines, airmen
and everyone else who wears it. Body Armor has saved numerous lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and it will continue to do so, especially as it is modified to better meet the threat we face. However, there are limitations as to how much armor you can add onto an individual and maintain his effectiveness as a soldier: when I step out the gate I am wearing on my person body armor, a kevlar helmet, my M4 rifle with a few hundred rounds of ammunition, my M9 sidearm with another hundred rounds of ammunition, 2-3 quarts of water, a portable radio,night vision equipment, and numerous other odds and ends. Butt naked to full combat load probably adds about 40+ pounds to my frame, give or take a grenade.
When someone designs an affordable lightweight polymer that allows for freedom of movement but can stop a 7.62 mm round (kind of like the batsuit in Batman Begins), sign me up, but until then let me move freely so I can avoid getting shot in the first place.
And this interesting take on the problem fromNeptunus Lex :
… reminds me of a story coming out of the days of Vietnam-era attack aviation. A couple of engineers were reviewing the history of aircraft that had landed badly damaged by anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles. The junior engineer turns to the senior guy and says, "You know, there’s a real pattern developing here of aircraft taking hits to the horizontal tail and on the trailing edge of the wings. Maybe we should put more armor there?”
The senior engineer, concerned as always with the impact of adding weight to an aircraft design disagreed, chiding the junior guy gently, “No, you’re seeing the pattern exactly wrong. All of the battle damage you see is from aircraft that returned. It’s the places where you’re seeing no damage that we need more armor. Those aircraft didn’t make it back.”
And the last word from the ‘Nam Chopper maxims of Col. Glen “Smoke” Burgess, USMC (Ret.), via Sgt. Grit: If you are wearing body armor, the incoming will probably miss that part.
Put it all together and I think we’ve earned the right to say to the junior Senator from New York: Shut up, you silly, stupid woman.
ITEM: MR. AND MRS. BILL GATES share Time’s “Person of the Year” award with BONO.
Their least-known humanitarian project: STIFLING DISSENT IN CHINA
Bill Gates’ computer empire has already made headlines by (a) helping the Chinese government control the flow of information by agreeing to install programmed suppression of Microsoft-served weblog entries containing certain words like “democracy” and “human rights”; and (b) helping the Chinese government to locate (and thereby prosecute) dissidents using Microsoft computers to disseminate unacceptable messages. Now they have co-operated with the government by shutting down a Microsoft-served weblog on which a Chinese blogger was discussing controversial news.
Microsoft: Making our world a better place, one gag and conviction at a time.
ITEM: 2005 – YEAR OF THE LIE
That’s at least something we can all agree on. Where we part company is on what exactly were the lies, and who was telling them.
Back when the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy came out, and there was some controversy over the various actors’ reflections on whether or not it was appropriate to draw parallels between the fictitious battles for Middle Earth and the all-too-real battles against Al Qaeda and its sponsors, my sense was that the left-leaning types who rejected the parallels probably assumed that we pro-war crazies saw in those waves of Orcs, sweeping down upon the cornered Good Guys, the faces of Islamist “militants.” Not, in my view, a wholly unjustified interpretation of those scenes.
However, at the time I expressed a somewhat different take on those brilliantly executed scenes of descending hoards, especially the terrifying attack at Helm’s Deep in film II (The Two Towers). What I saw in the deformed bodies and ghoulish monster faces of the Orcs was the physical embodiment of The Lie, and the overwhelming power of an accumulation of Lie upon Lie upon Lie. This was evil incarnate. This was the vision of why Satan is called The Father of Lies.
Lies have been the overriding theme of this year’s global political discourse. The loudest, most heavily-covered and most oft-repeated refrain declared that “Bush Lied”—that George W. Bush took the United States into war in Iraq by means of a conscious lie: that Iraq possessed WMD (weapons of mass destruction), which subsequent searches have discovered did not exist.
The latter part of this statement is itself an easily demonstrable lie, since anyone who has actually read the relevant parts of (1) the 9/11 Commission Report, (2) the interim report of weapons inspector David Kay, and (3) the final report of weapons inspector Charles Duelfer, knows that there was no such finding as “WMD did not exist.”
The former part of the statement— that Bush consciously lied when he stated, in full agreement with every major intelligence agency on the planet, that there was clear evidence that Hussein’s Iraq possessed significant quantities of material and production capacity for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons —is a judgment call about the interior motives of one man, which must be based on a preponderance of evidence. Analyzed with any decent measure of objectivity, the case for presidential lying cannot be made—not even close.
That was the biggest of the Big Lies this year, but not really the most heinous. Nor would it have been the most damaging had the Bush administration been possessed of the minimal political sense which their jobs would seem to require. As Big Lies go, the “Bush Lied” lie is HUGE, but it was also lame, transparent, desperate, and crushable.
Equally persistent were the Katrina lies, the Plame/Wilson lies, and the torture lies (on both sides!).
The less frequent but far more heinous, outrageous, hateful, and consummately evil BIG LIE of the year was that (to quote that mouthy, light-weight, totally-out-of-his-league, token extreme leftist of FoxNews’s Newswatch, Neil Gabler) “Iraq is a DISASTER, and everybody knows it.” Or, put in more honest and specific terms: the American military is losing the war, has accomplished nothing, and has wasted the time, money, and lives this battle has cost—that their efforts are unwelcome, that they are the enemy, that they want to come home and should be withdrawn ASAP.
Lie, after lie, after lie, after lie, after lie, after lie.
These are lies that the Bush administration has never told, but they are lies which would have had no life in the public eye and ear had the administration done its job and trumpeted the truth by all the means that are easily available to them. When, last fall, the administration FINALLY went on the offensive against the flood-tide of lies which had swirled over the land for months and months, knowledgeable supporters of the war effort were delighted and relieved, but some of us were still scratching our heads at the content of the “pushback” speeches—HE STILL DIDN’T GET IT!
What needed to be put forward was the fact-laden, graphic (as in MAPS), hero-rich history of what has been accomplished in Iraq—not necessarily proclaimed aggressively or as a challenge to nay-sayers, but told PROUDLY, documenting and glorying in the historic significance of the elections, the civility of the constitutional compromises, the (YES) enhanced quality of life for many, many Iraqis in most parts of the country.
Here's a piece of info some of us have known about for nearly three years, but the Bushies have not found occasion to revel in publicly: the Saddamite genocide against the Marsh Arabs, and their subsequent restoration and return, with the help of the American military. Jay Nordlinger previews his own longer dead-tree article, at NRO.
Mr. Bush and his staff have maintained a kind of “need-to-know” dribble of information in our direction, without seeming to have a clue about what it is we really NEED to know. The poll-numbers tell us that Bush may well have pulled his tail-feathers out of the fire, but not because he fought back with the best political arms and ammunition, tactics and strategy he had at hand—that he succeeded (so far) tells us just how profoundly the American public WANTS to hear evidence that their country is fighting the good fight; how tenaciously they have held to their conviction that we are in a war for the preservation of liberty and the best of our culture, that we have what it takes to prevail, and that our fighters in the field are doing precisely that.
Americans have also wanted to know what they could do to serve while "standing and waiting." Well, for starters there's Spirit of America -- probably the most effective means for ordinary citizens to directly assist the military in improving the lives of Iraqi civilians, police, and military. That the profile of this organization is still operating under the radar, and its supporters still number only in the thousands, is shameful -- sort of equivalent to having only a handful of Americans aware that Kate Smith wanted them to buy War Bonds in 1945.
At the end of the infamous Christopher Hitchens/George Galloway "debate" (verbal slug-fest), Hitchens closed with about the most profound and unarguable thing anybody said all night:
...you would have more to be proud of... if you could after tonight, point to something that you have done to help build up the new Iraq. Point to something that you were doing to help the Iraqi women's organizations who indeed do have to combat fundamentalism. Point to something you had done to help unearth the mass graves, and console the relatives of those who are found in them. Point to something you had yourselves contributed to the emancipation of Kurdistan. You could do something perhaps something to help the new Iraqi press and media acquire some more modern equipment on which to conduct this debate. Why don't you think of the possible nobility of that alternative?
Here's what one person (me) has been able to contribute to for the future of Iraq through Spirit of America, since reading about the organization in April of 2004 on OpinionJournal.com--Television equipment for Al-Anbar province
--Sewing machine for women's center in Ramadi
--Tool kit for Iraqi tradesman
--Democracy project (training and prep for first election)
--Operation snapshot -- instant cameras for kid-fun at checkpoints
--Gifts for children
--Development of virus-free Arabic blogging program
--Second election news coverage
--Recreational equipment for Iraqi army base at Tal Afar
--Cell-phone for Lebanese activists at Freedom Camp, Beirut
--Irrigation for Al-Anbar agricultural co-op
--Children's classroom supplies
--Rubber 25-gallon water barrels
--Iraqi Orphans project
--Repair of women's radio station in Baghdad
--Equipment for Najaf teaching hospital cardiac unit
Why do this? Because every Iraqi to whom an American soldier or Marine shows support and confidence is one less Iraqi ready to blow American heads off-- maybe my kid's, if that's where he's sent this year.
All of these projects are administered through the military, primarily the Marines. Apparently Congressman Murtha and his fellow-pinheads want to withdraw from this. Not likely. Anyone can join in the effort, for any amount of money. Don't pull out-- pull together. CRUSH THE ORCS!
So what is the real story of the military effort in Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush regime? I cannot help but think of Shakespeare (actually that happens a lot, under many circumstances), who put into the mouth of his sometimes controversial character, King Henry V, these words to his troops:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here.
A little over the top? Maybe. But most of the troops who've been there, by an overwhelming margin, express views that are pretty much in line with this quotation. And that's no word of a lie.
A final word from Col. Burgess, via Sgt. Grit: The madness of war can extract a heavy toll. Please have exact change.