Monday, November 06, 2006



But the cadets of the academies are united on this:


Journalist, blogging pioneer, ex-conservative and former rational human being Andrew Sullivan could hardly contain his glee when he posted that a newsrag called The Army Times is carrying an editorial calling for the resignation or firing of Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

See? See? Even the military has now openly turned against him!

There’s just one problem, Andrew—the Army Times (and its identical twin-tuplets the Air Force, Navy, Marine, and Military Times) has nothing whatever to do with the armed forces of the United States, beyond the fact that they are its target customer-base. Editor and Publisher may call them “Four leading
military papers” but they are substantially the same paper in content, with a selection of articles tailored to the separate military branches, and different banner names and colors. Moreover, they are the tabloid children of the Gannett Company-- a giant media conglom and America’s largest newspaper publisher (by circulation), whose signature newsproduct is USA Today. Despite the publishers’ self-appointed designation of their "Times” products as the “bibles of the military market”, actual military personnel refer to these clones as the “National Enquirer of our military.”

The editorial staff of these papers does not appear to contain a single member of the military (active or retired), and gives itself away by referring to the Secretary of Defense as “Rumsfeld” in the headline and several places in the editorial—military people would never do this. The pre-election appearance of the anti-Rumsfeld piece is a completely political act on the part of journalistical hacks, and adds absolutely nothing to the arguments it addresses.

Personally, I’m all for dishonorably discharging Rummy, and have been for over three years. I'm sure I am in lots of good, rational, knowledgeable company, and no doubt some of it is to be found within the American military—b
ut the editors of the Multiple Military-Wannabe Times ain’t among them.

General Mayhem (ret.), a.k.a. Wesley Clark [failed and fired Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, under fellow Rhodes Scholar and egotist Bill Clinton, and lone-wolf architect of the sky-high war against Kosovo (for which he failed to get approval for his planned ground invasion by 200,000 troops via an unpaved road through the ruins of Albania)—and who, like Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, turned anti-Bush and anti-war when insufficient attention was paid to his self importance: Clark here, Murtha here] –- is the centerpiece of a current television ad which is not only a HUGE, OUTRAGEOUS, BREATHTAKINGLY WHOPPING BIG LIE, but now fixed-in-history testimony to Clark’s being just STUPID.

Michelle Malkin has the whole tale on video here, but the gist of it is as follows:
each of three Iraq war veterans makes a brief, categorical assertion of a cause-and-effect relationship between “Iraq” (whatever that means—they don‘t even bother to say “the war in Iraq”) and some particular threat to world security.

Because of Iraq,” the viewer is told,
(1) Osama Bin laden is still a threat.
(2) Iran is closer to having nuclear weapons.
(3) The military is spread too thin.
Now even ignoring the prefatory “because of Iraq” clause, only one of these statements is demonstrably true: that the military as it is now deployed is spread too thin. We have about 1.3 million people in the military. Shut down obsolete operations in Germany and Korea, for starters, and this "thinness" might correct itself.

The first unprefaced claim (about Osama) is at best disputable, and the second (nukes) is technically true, but rendered laughable when characterized as an effect of the U.S. presence in Iraq. Iran is closer to having nuclear weapons because they have encountered no credible or effective opposition to their program from anyone, least of all the Euro-club that wasted three years negotiating with them.

There was originally a fourth vet in Clark’s ad, one Josh Lansdale, but his spot has since been excised since it appears that he may have given a false account of his battle injuries and treatment in another ad, stumping for Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill of Missouri. (See Malkin again) Lansdale's assertion in the Clark ad was that, because of Iraq “there are more terrorists in the world”-- again, disputable at best.

Clark himself winds up the ad by asserting that, because of Iraq, “America is less secure”—a conveniently vague claim severely hobbled by a five-year absence of terrorist acts on American soil.

General Clark then closes with the Out-and-Out Lie of the New Millennium: if you see commercials telling you to be afraid of terrorism, remember: it’s because of Iraq.

Oh I see, General. Because of Iraq.

Let's review:

We invaded Iraq in March of 2003.

Prior to that we had no need to be afraid of terrorism (?)-- terrorism which, in its most recent Islamist incarnation (forgetting for the moment the IRA, Basque separatists, Quebec separatists, Sikh separatists, Red Brigade, and the Tamil Tigers) has killed tens of thousands world-wide in the past 40 years alone (forgetting for the moment the past 14 centuries), in such places as Russia, Indonesia, India, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Scotland, Thailand, Spain, England, China, the Philippines, and of course, the United States.

General, Sir, peruse if you will a Wikipedia-style ballpa
rk sampling of the terrorism death toll prior to 2003 (when, as you may recall, we invaded Iraq):
2,996 - September 11 attacks, (New York City, Arlington, VA, Shanksville, PA, United States, 2001)
329 - Air India Flight 182 (Atlantic Ocean, south of Ireland, 1985)
299 - US and French barracks bombings, (Beirut, Lebanon, 1983
270 - Pan Am Flight 103, (Lockerbie, Scotland, 1988)
257 - 1993 Mumbai bombings (Mumbai, India, 1993)
225 - 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, (Tanzania, Kenya, 1998)
202 - 2002 Bali bombing, (Indonesia, 2002)
171 - UTA Flight UT-772, (Niger, 1989)
170 - Moscow Theatre Siege, (Russia, 2002)
168 - Oklahoma City bombing, (Oklahoma, United States,1995 —included because McVeigh & Nichols likely had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Philippines)

116 - Superferry 14 bombing, (Philippines, 2004)
112 - Avianca Flight 203, (Colombia, 1989)
91 - King David Hotel bombing, (Jerusalem, 1946)
90 - Central Bank Bombing, (Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1996)
88 - TWA Flight 841, (Ionian Sea, 1974)
86 - AMIA Bombing, (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1994)

63 - April 1983 US Embassy bombing, (Beirut, Lebanon, 1983)
37 - Attack on USS Stark by Iraq, (Persian Gulf, 1987)
33 - Pan Am Flight 110, (Italy, 1973)
33 - Coimbatore blasts, (India, 1998)
30 - Passover massacre, (Israel, 2002)
29 - Israeli Embassy Attack in Buenos Aires, (Argentina, 1992)
29 - Mosque of Abraham massacre, West Bank, (1994)
26 - bus No. 18 Jerusalem massacre, (Israel, 1996)
26 - Lod Airport Ma
ssacre, (Israel, 1972)
26 - Ma'alot massacre, (Israel, 1974)
22 - No. 5 bus Tel-Aviv massacre, (Israel, 1994)
21 - Dolphinarium massacre, (Israel, 2001)
21 - Beit Lid Junction massacre, (Israel, 1995)
20 - Khobar Towers bombing, (Saudi Arabia, 1996)

19 - Patt junction massacre, (Israel, 2002)
18 - Kiryat Shmona massacre, (Israel, 1974)
17 - USS Cole Bombing, (Yemen, 2000)
17 - Haifa bus 37 massacre, (Israel, 2003
15 - Sbarro massacre, (Israel, 2001)
15 - Matza restaurant massacre, (Israel, 2002)
12 - Avivim school bus massacre, (Israel, 1970)
11 - Jerusalem bus 20 massacre, (Israel, 2002)
6 - World Trade Cen
ter bombing, (New York, United States, 1993)
Prior to September 11, approximately 800 Americans had died at the hands of jihadist terrorists, picked off by ones (Leon Klinghoffer or Robert Dean Stethem) and by hundreds (U.S. embassy bombings of 1998), Then they died in thousands, on American soil. And it’s all because of Iraq?

Wesley Clark, you are an idiot.

The Clark ad draws attention once again to the
left-wing penchant for letting “victims” make their arguments for them, on the assumption that, out of some combination of moral authority and guaranteed sympathy, the victims and their claims are unassailable. (Cindy Sheehan, Max Cleland, Michael J. Fox)

The vets in the Clark ad, one of them an amputee, are the putative victims of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism in general. The list above shows that there are plenty of victims to go around (and that doesn’t even include the brainwashed fools who “martyr” themselves in the cause of mass murder). But members of a volunteer military are not among them—they are adults, they made as informed a choice as anyone who is of age can make.

If there is suffering in that choice, it is as voluntary as it is real, and it has parallels in other wa
lks of life. Welcome to adulthood, guys—welcome to the eternal human conundrum—it can hurt.

It’s because of Iraq... Make me gag, General.

THE CANCER METAPHOR -- a meditation on National Security voting

I’ve spent the last month and a half dealing with the swift and deadly course of metastasized cancer in a family member, and will keep the details of that experience pretty much to myself. But in retrospect one can’t escape its perennial usefulness as a political metaphor.

Imagine the war on terrorism, with its primary mass lodged in Iraq, as an increasingly lethal cancer on the gasping lungs of the body politic.

Dr. Republican says:
You can try chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or some combination thereof, all of which can be painful and physically devastating to the point where you may consider the cure worse than the disease and may wish for death—but at the end of the day, you could very well extend your life for many healthy years. You could also opt to co-exist with the disease as long as possible, managing it with pain medication and a healthy living regime (and possibly a Mediterranean cruise or two), until such time as you enter into professionally managed palliative care towards a peaceful end.
Dr. Democrat says:
You should never have smoked.

Because you did we’re now going to spend years issuing subpoenas to everyone you ever met, and probing your past until we find out who offered you your first cigarette, whether that person owned shares in a tobacco company, whether the package had a warning label, if you were sold cigarettes as a minor, if the manufacturer had engaged in false advertising or covered up medical research on the negative effects of smoking, if your school provided adequate anti-smoking education, if your mother smoked while driving your to school, and (if you’re female) whether you took up smoking in order to eat less and conform to unrealistic ideals of body image foisted on you by the fashion industry.

Have I left anything

Stop that coughing
—I can’t hear myself think…

Impeach Joe Camel, and have your lungs removed by a date certain
Everybody dies. But most of us don’t advocate refusing even to confront a fatal disease. Death may be inevitable—the blood-soaked triumph of a new Muslim caliphate is not. That IS the jihadists’ goal. We should stop at nothing to cure them of that ambition. With Dr. Republican (ideally) you get some course of treatment—with Dr. Democrat you get diagnosis of everything but the cancer.

We achieve a brand of immortality only through our children. Yes, we and they will die-- but let it not be by suicidal distraction, myopia, or indifference. “Not today, O Lord / O not today...”

Kerry is a stereotypical Northeastern liberal in a country with a prevailing Southern, Midwestern and Western mainstream that eschews his region and his philosophy. He's a plodding elitist in a game that, as the successes of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush demonstrate, places its premium on ease and common touch.
And that’s from somebody who wanted him to win in ‘04!
(John Brummett, Las Vegas Review J

The Kerry Kerfuffle
goes on and on, which it should, at least until somebody nails exactly what he meant, and what it all means. I’ll take my stab.

I truly don’t think that when Senator Kerry spoke his fateful words -- about dumb clucks getting stuck in Iraq-- he had at that moment
formulated in his mind the specific intention to call people in the military stupid. I believe he intended the remark to be about George Bush, and I think he thought that’s what those words actually said.

That is because Kerry, like so many Democrats and other assorted liberals, thinks that there is only on
e person engaged in fighting the war in Iraq, and that person is George Bush, with some assistance from the inner circle of his administration.

When these peo
ple think of who is butting heads with terrorists in Iraq, who is running (and running rings around) the new government there, who is being ambushed and sandbagged by suicide bombers, they see only the hapless Bush swaggering and waving his hands, with a ten-gallon hat in one and an empty pistol in the other. These folks can appear all too often to be on the side of the enemy, standing up for his human rights and thwarting American efforts to conquer him, because the enemy of my enemy (Bush) is my friend.

Kerry did not consciously mean to insult the individuals in the ranks of our military because, for him, these people don’t exist—they are not real. They are a collective chess piece in the hands of a Republican president, and his every move with them must be checked and checkmated.

Kerry himself has been remarkably consistent on two themes throughout his public life (going back to his college days as chairman of the Yale Liberals):
(1) that he is morally and intellectually superior to just about everybody, and
(2) that the American military (himself excepted) is a faceless mass of thugs and murderers.

Apply these two principles to Kerry's humiliating defeat in 2004 at the hands of a goofball rube, and you get this tunnel-visioned personal focus on the heart of the Iraq war, in which the human beings actually in the line of fire disappear into the outer margins, and the guy getting his butt deservedly whupped in Baghdad is just George Bush.

Kerry now appears to be permanently down for the political count—at last—but he is such a uniquely preposterous, rather Dickensian caricature on the political canvas, it’s just too much fun to resist embellishing the portrait. Mark Steyn has a go in the Chicago Sun-Times:
A vain thin-skinned condescending blueblood with no sense of his own ridiculousness, Senator Nuancy Boy is secure in little else except his belief in his indispensability…

[T]empting as it is to enjoy his we-support-our-dumb-troops moment as merely the umpteenth confirmation of the senator's unerring ability to SwiftBoat himself, it belongs in a slightly different category of Kerry gaffe than, say, the time they went into Wendy's and Teresa didn't know what chili was.

…[W]hat he said fits what too many upscale Dems believe: that America's soldiers are only there because they're too poor and too ill-educated to know any better. That's what they mean when they say "we support our troops." They support them as victims, as children, as potential welfare recipients, but they don't support them as warriors and they don't support the mission.

So their "support" is objectively worthless.

And so they signed up with the weirdly incoherent narrative of John Kerry -- a celebrated anti-war activist suddenly "reporting for duty" as a war hero and claiming that, even though the war was a mistake and his comrades were murderers and rapists, his four months in the Mekong rank as the most epic chapter in the annals of the Republic.
ouch, ooch, ugh, ouch, eek, arg-g-g-h-h-h-h-h-h......

If Kerry can stand up to that, he might deserve another Purple Heart. Or he might be up for a Purple Heart he finally deserves. Or something like that.

Nice to see Steyn still has his sense of humour, since he has just this minute published (at last) a new volume called, auspiciously, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. Buy. Read. Absorb. Hit the sheets and save the planet.