January 27, 2007 - January 20, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Rain Man escapes
Bernstein shares his OCD mania with E&P
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a terrible affliction, and it's indeed
sad that it has reduced so many key figures in the old Watergate saga
to caricatures of themselves. At regular intervals, John Dean breaks
out of whatever home usually guides him through his halting day and
announces that he sees in current events yet another incarnation of the
30-year-old scandal which long ago consumed his whole consciousness.
Just this week, we had to endure another eruption of the same syndrome
Woodward, a follow-on to many recent crazed comments and behaviors
from fellow WAPO reporter Robert
Redford. Now it's Rain Man's turn. Editor
& Publisher magazine should get its knuckles rapped for
humiliating such a damaged man so publicly by repeating his monotonous
idees fixes in print:
In an online chat at washingtonpost.com
this afternoon, Carl Bernstein, the famed Watergate reporter... took
several hard shots at the current Bush administration -- almost every
time he was asked about the Nixon era.
After a long explanation of how the American system "worked,"
eventually, with Watergate, Bernstein said:
"In the case George W. Bush, the American system has obviously failed
-- tragically -- about which we can talk more in a minute. But imagine
the difference in our worldview today, had the institutions --
particularly of government -- done their job to ensure that a
mendacious and dangerous president (as has since been proven many times
over, beyond mere assertion) be restrained in a war that has killed
thousands of American soldiers, brought turmoil to the lives of
millions, and constrained the goodwill towards the United States in
much of the world."
There's much much more, all equally deranged and pitiful. No need to
compound the sin by quoting additional nonsense. Did E&P think it was being funny?
Or was it engaging in some form of misguided nostalgia, an emotional
hearkening back to a day when liberals were so much more delighted with
the state of the world, when the press really did have the power to undo
the results of an election by the American people for partisan
political purposes? (That was
the charge against those who impeached Clinton, wasn't it?)
Long after the Civil War, there were veterans who somehow returned
spiritually to Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg and stayed there till they
died. We must all learn to accept that this fate has also befallen
those who played some central role in the Watergate affair. It's a
simple fact of life that we needn't explain. Nor should we participate
in the low entertainment of making a crude circus of those who suffer
so painfully in a 1974 that never ends.
E&P, have some decency.
Leave the poor daft bugger alone.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Bow Your Head.
This from Baldilocks
today;. She's a veteran, and she attended the funeral of a man she
respected but hadn't known well. She knew enough though.
I knew it the moment I entered the
chapel foyer, and saw the Marine sergeant major in full dress uniform
standing there to assist family members. The last time I saw that sight I was a family member. It hit me
with all the force of that earlier funeral, and I knew that even though
this was a near-total stranger this would not be a simple courtesy
attendance, that I would relive that other funeral.
I knew that when I turned the corner into the chapel, there would be
two Marines in full dress uniform standing guard on his casket, that it
would be an open casket, and that he would be in full dress uniform as
well. I knew that when we arrived at the cemetery, there would be seven
Marines on the hill with rifles, standing at attention in that cold
winter wind, and that a prescribed number of paces clockwise would be
another Marine standing at attention with a bugle. I knew that Taps
would play, and that the seven on the hill would fire three volleys. I
knew that the two Marines from the chapel would ride with the casket
and would handle the flag ceremony, would place the three rounds (one
for each volley) inside the folded flag, and that the Sergeant Major
would then present the flag to his widow, and thank her and her family
for her husband's service.
Now, we know too. God bless Baldilocks. And God bless him. Thanks to
all marines, of every age.
Bet your last dime. Johnny Unitas is
still the Main Man...
It happens once in a generation. A quarterback who commands his team
like a general, regardless of physique and the odds. A half century ago
it was Johnny Unitas, the stiff-legged quarterback in the black
high-topped shoes who simply refused to lose in adverse circumstances.
He couldn't run very well, his release was nothing like Joe Namath's,
and he never registered a highlight like Randall Cunningham. But he was
the Napoleon Bonaparte of the NFL. No Colt will ever again wear the
number 19. They called him the "Main Man," and that's when the term
entered the common tongue. He was the greatest quarterback who ever
played the game in the old NFL.
Last Sunday, when there were two minutes left in the Colts-Patriots
game (Colts losing, needing three to tie, blah blah blah), I said to my
wife, "Now we'll find out if the ghost of Johnny Unitas still walks for
the Colts." He did. He ambled onto the field and passed the upstart Patriots into oblivion.
No disrespect to Peyton Manning intended. He's the one who won the game. But he is so very
like the Main Man as to be...eerie. Granted, no flat-top. Apart from
that, though, Peyton Manning is
Johnny U. He is always, totally, in command of the offense. In person
he's reliably a bumpkin, but in action he's an uncompromising marauder.
His passing attack is almost miraculously accurate in the clutch, and
if you are clinging to a slender lead in the fourth quarter with two
minutes to play, the very last person you want to be receiving the snap
from center is the Main Man.
I just talked to my wife -- the fanatical Eagles fan who still
thinks the referee decided the New Orleans game by throwing a pissant
penalty after Jeff Garcia got a first down on fourth and ten. She said,
"What's the point of this entry? Why would anyone care, now that the
Eagles have been cheated out of their chance to humiliate the Bears?"
It didn't take more than a moment -- yes, like all men I'm in charge of
measuring moments, commercials, and Roman inter-regnums -- to say,
"Honey. What I'm doing here is pointing out just how doomed the Bears
are. They're not just facing Peyton Manning. They're facing the ghost
of Johnny F---ing Unitas."
I like Rex Grossman. It's kind of cute that he's too busy going to
parties to focus on humdrum things like football games. Maybe someday
he'll have a Super Bowl victory to fling in the faces of his detractors.
Just not this year. You heard it here first. Manning, Unitas, and the
Colts by fourteen. Of course, my wife responded as any Eagle would:
"Who gives a flying f---?"
Two exceptionally fine essays appeared on the internet over the
weekend. I found them to be not only brilliant individually but related
in ways that should be important to every American. If you'll bear with
me for a few paragraphs, I'll explain the relationship I see in full.
The more intellectually provocative of the two was by Christopher
Hitchens, the first commentator I've seen respond intelligently,
not naively or dismissively, to Mark Steyn's new book, America
Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, whichproposes that Islam will conquer
Europe within a generation by out-populating the enervated natives who
aren't producing enough children even to replace themselves. Unlike Ralph
Peters, who argued that "Eurabia" will never happen because
Europeans are too good at hatred and political oppression to surrender
sovereignty to the muslim hordes invading their countries, Hitchens
perceives that the process of European surrender is already fairly well
along at this point. Why? Because he is himself a leftist who
understands the cultural trap western liberals have set for themselves:
Two things, in my experience, disable
many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot
shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the
wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we
once called the “Third World.” You can see this identification in the
way that the Palestinians (about 20 percent of whom were Christian
until their numbers began to decline) have become an “Islamic” cause
and... in the stupid neologism “Islamophobia,” which aims to
promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses
associated with racism.
The second liberal disability concerns numbers. Any emphasis on the
relative birthrates of Muslim and non-Muslim populations falls on the
liberal ear like an echo of eugenics... [I]n the liberal mind, to
concentrate on the fertility of any one group is to flirt with
Nuremberg laws. The same goes for “racial profiling,” even when it’s
directed at the adherents of an often ideological religion rather than
an ethnic group. The Islamists, meanwhile, have staked everything on
Nor can there be much doubt that the awareness of demography as a
potential weapon originates with the Islamists themselves. Anybody who,
like me, has publicly criticized Islamism gets used to the accusation
that he has “insulted a billion Muslims.” A vague but definite threat
underlies this absurd charge, and in parts of Europe it already
Hitchens also undertakes to differ with Steyn in important respects. He
believes Steyn goes too far in regarding Europe's muslim population as
a single, unassimilated time bomb counting down to the destruction of
all western values, conventions, and democratic protections. (This is
also a correct moment to point out that I am, for brevity purposes,
oversimplifying Hitchens's evidence and inferences. I urge everyone to
read all of his essay; I have no intention to distort by omission.) Yet
he is compelled to agree that western liberal governments are also
oversimplifying their responses to Islamic peoples in a dangerous way:
The main problem in Europe in this
context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet
propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from
“the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as
the “authentic” one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural
authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches
treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen.
Now for some reductionism that would cause Hitchens to splutter a bit,
though I doubt he would dispute the gist. Liberals reflexively
associate muslim jihadists with the oppressed Third World they believe
has been created by the western Christian tradition. As critics of
religion, imperialism, capitalism and consumption, they identify
the jihadists' antipathy to all things western, even if specific muslim
beliefs are intellectually and philosophically opposed to their own
moral convictions about matters of race, sex, law, justice, and
tolerance. Because this identification is emotional rather than
intellectual, they respond almost automatically to the most extreme
(i.e., emotionally overwrought) expressions they encounter as the most
honest and therefore the most authoritative.
The net result? Secular western liberals have established a direct and
accelerating positive feedback loop between the most masochistic elements of
western culture and the most destructive elements of Islamic culture --
a kind of death spiral that, if left unchecked, could grow
progressively tighter, faster, and more annihilating until it climaxes
Hitchens thinks he knows how to avert catastrophe. And he just might be
onto something. But now it's time to consider the second essay that
prompted this discussion.
This is the one that's emotionally provocative. Written by Ben Morris
for the Jerusalem Post, its title is "This
Holocaust Will Be Different." It describes how the next murder of
six million or more Jews will be accomplished, in the most mundanely
One bright morning, in five or 10
years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day
or a year or five years after Iran’s acquisition of the Bomb, the
mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the
steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.
The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off
for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some
military sites, including Israel’s half dozen air and (reported)
nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped,
perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed
merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw
off or confuse Israel’s anti-missile batteries and Home Front Command
With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 20,000 square
kilometers), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A
million or more Israelis in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem
areas will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated.
Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or
touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.
Many will object that Morris's scenario is flawed on two counts. First,
that however extreme their rhetoric Iran simply knows better than to
commit, for religious reasons, an atrocity that would be tantamount to suicide. Not so:
To judge from Ahmadinejad's continuous
reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial
of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the
mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific
anti-Semite who often fulminated against "the Little Satan"...
He is willing to gamble the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim
Middle East in exchange for Israel's destruction. No doubt he believes
that Allah, somehow, will protect Iran from an Israeli nuclear response
or an American counterstrike...
Or he may well take into account a counterstrike and simply,
irrationally (to our way of thinking), be willing to pay the price. As
his mentor, Khomeini, put it in a speech in Qom in 1980: "We do not
worship Iran, we worship Allah... I say, let this land [Iran] burn. I
say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant..."
Second, doubters may believe that governments without supreme dictators are too concerned with mundane matters of money and lifestyle perks to inflame the wrath of great powers beyond set limits. But it is entirely possible that Iranian leaders have quite rationally, and
correctly, determined that there will no be no nuclear retaliation, no unacceptable price to pay,
even from the imperialist warlords of America:
As with the first, the second holocaust
will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds,
by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets.
Different messages have gone out to different audiences, but all have
(objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims
the world over have been taught: "The Zionists/Jews are the embodiment
of evil" and "Israel must be destroyed."
And Westeners, more subtly, were instructed: "Israel is a racist
oppressor state" and "Israel, in this age of multiculturalism, is an
anachronism and superfluous." Generations of Muslims and at least a
generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms...
The build-up to the second holocaust (which, incidentally, in the end,
will probably claim roughly the same number of lives as the first) has
seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate,
selfish appetites - Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets;
France with Arab oil - and the United States driven by the debacle in
Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its
nuclear destiny and Israel and Iran to face off alone...
Morris points out that Israel is already losing its political will to
go it alone, and that Iran has learned the tactical lessons of the
preemptive Israeli strike on Saddam's nuclear facilities. It would take
the Americans to act preemptively against Iran, and the U.S. is
collapsing inside its nostalgic masochism over Vietnam. One need only
to have watched Senator Carl Levin (who always reiterates his
neanderthal points three times in exactly the same words) on Fox News
Sunday this past week to hear the American liberal viewpoint that
speaking roughly to Iran is needlessly provocative, needlessly
provocative, needlessly provocative. And thus:
It will all be over, for Israel, in a
few minutes - not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years
in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the
world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred.
It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American
nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole Muslim world,
deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And,
of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial
murderer bring back his victims?)
So what would be the point?
There will be no point then. The whole purpose is to prevent it by what we do now and in the months and years to come. My motive for writing
this post is to point a finger at the Americans who will be culpable as
accomplices and collaborators when the second holocaust arrives. Some
of us aren't going to let them off the hook the way so many did when
the much-ridiculed Domino Theory came true and killed 2 million
Indochinese. This time, we have an historical precedent to consult and
comparisons to make. This will be no sin of omission by ignorance. This
will be a crime of commission that condemns your memory, if not your
nonexistent souls, to eternal damnation. Who am I talking about? Much
the same people Hitchens is talking about in his piece. He doesn't call
out the paleo-conservatives like Buchanan who really do hate Jews for
fascistic religio-nationalist reasons, or the vapid apologists for such vermin -- e.g., the commenter here,
on one of Instapunk's references to Buchanan's anti-semitism, who said:
A lot of conservatives also like
Buchanan. Many beleive [sic] he's also right on the war, and many, like me,
support him even though we think he's wrong on the war, but he's right
on everything else. So Buchanan might really be a unifying force in
He really does hate Jews, though. That is troubling. I like Jews. I
know many of them, and they've definitely helped make this country
great. So, to me that's a big down side, but the only bad side, of a
The only bad side. The only bad side? The rest would be great? He's not
a bystander. He's an accomplice. A moral midget whose grandiosity shows
him something as big as a small man when he looks in the mirror.
Hitchens didn't waste a sentence on scum of this particular sort,
but he did describe other Quislings, mostly of liberal persuasion. I'm going to
specify these further, probably to a degree he wouldn't approve of,
even though he'd know I'm right. These are the "liberal" candidates for
everlasting guilt when the next holocaust occurs:
-- All you "supporters of our troops"
who root for the insurgents because American deaths will embarrass Bush
and all you "supporters of Israel's right to exist" who root for
Hizbollah because Israeli deaths will embarrass Bush; you are both
treasonous to your home and treacherous to your friends. There is no
lower place in the human condition, whatever your religion, faith, or
philosophy. The suffering you deserve will come.
- All you college kids at Berkeley and
Harvard and Yale, and all the other elitist institutions which are
supposed to be fonts of liberal philosophy and tolerance , who protest
on behalf of the rights of Palestinian thugs raised from birth to seek
the annihilation of the Jews. Somehow, somewhere, you will know what it
it is to be a Jew. Herded into a boxcar. And then the gas chamber. If
there is such a thing as
-- All you peace-loving American liberals of every economic stratum who
see the United States as the criminal of the middle east -- and Bush as Hitler -- for daring to
oppose the criminal intentions of the world's only monotheistic
barbarian religion, which engenders hatreds among its separate sects
almost as murderous as it engenders for the religions from which it is
is a derivative and degenerated variant. You who whine for peace at any
price will never find peace of mind at any price.
-- All you amnesiac, Marx-besotted, complacently patrician American
Jews who continue to fund and vote for Democrat politicians who
undermine and betray Israel at every turn in the name of peace at any
price, with absolutely no regard for the obvious peril of jihadist
Islam, the fragile plight of Israel, or the national security of the
United States; there is a special place in hell for those as arrogant
and deluded as you, and don't be surprised if it resembles Birkenau --
or Tel Aviv 2012. (There's a blockbuster movie for you, Spielberg. Why
haven't you made that one? You could ask Streisand for the money...
-- All you post-modern, academic, intellectually bankrupt moral
relativists who have annihilated truth as a concept in your rotted
brains and now seek your own extinction as a relief from the ennui of
your empty lives, even if that relief involves the destruction of the
entire civilization, tradition, and heritage that produced the idle
luxury of your self-hatred. You will find that there is no escape. In that last, long infinite moment of dying you will grab desperately and vainly for the humanity you pissed away as a joke.
-- All you privileged, stinking rich liberal politicians who believe
you'll be personally protected by virtue of your connections and money
from any consequence of the anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-western
positions you mouth for the purpose of pleasing the vicious, ignorant,
selfish, bigoted idiots you've taught to prefer infantilism and
government handouts to responsibility and individual achievement; such
people will never believe that any idea is worth dying for, until the
day no one is willing to die to save them, or you, from extermination
by muslim fanatics. Your final wish will be for a gun.
-- All you smug featherbedders in the U.S. State Department who prefer
your high teas and cozy private dinners with despots to your country's
flag. Your holier-than-thou statements off the record, your treacherous
leaks, your politesse with murderers, your overweening confidence in a
knowledge of realpolitik that just ain't so is reminiscent of nothing
so much as the tailcoated twits of European diplomacy who smoothed the
way for Hitler while Jews were sewing yellow stars on the blouses of
their children. You will burn even brighter in hell than they are burning there
-- All you would-be European socialist parasites, whose ideal -- that decadent
sense of sophistication and entitlement which prevails across the perennially violent continent you deem most civilized -- was an illusion bought and paid for by the
Pax Americana which saved them from post-Hitler destitution, Soviet
Communism and the true monetary cost of their own unproductive economic
philosophies; your politics is a pipe dream whose smoke will ultimately
become as real as the exhaust from the smokestacks of Birkenau. (And in
the case of real Europeans, you know all this and don't care, any more than you
cared about the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.)
-- All you dimwit globalist, pining-ex-Marxists who are even now trying
to perpetrate the fraud that a degree and a half of warming is far more
dangerous to the world than a billion barbarians who hate you, the
culture that produced everything your identity consists of, and the
fictitious notion of harmony with nature you imagine as the atheist's
Eden. You won't live long enough to feel the warming you fear: you will live long enough to fear the hatred you refuse to see.
-- All you moron conspiracy theorists who watched commercial airliners
fly into the World Trade Center and then decided, because of your
political persuasion, that the towers weren't leveled by the Islamic
terrorists who admitted the crime, but imploded by Mossad and/or the
Bush administration. This is a pyepie that's been five
years in the baking; everyone with half a brain has tasted it and spit
it out. Why? Because it's poison, and it tastes bitterly of dead Jews,
past and future.
-- All you American atheists who continue to equate fundamentalist
Christians with the fundamentalist muslims who are exactly like them --
except for the fact that fundamentalist Christians don't cut the heads
off their enemies, the tongues off their religious critics, or the
clitorises off their women. Your lives will add up to the nothing you revere.
-- All you American demagogues who presume to preach a policy of
spineless appeasement based on the infallible moral sense of grieving
mothers and maimed, embittered veterans. You are all whores and
cowards and liars, and the crop you are sowing will produce death on a scale far
beyond the desiccated husk of your imagination.
-- Jimmy Carter, and all you apologists for the most openly
anti-semitic American president since Woodrow Wilson, another Democrat
of manufactured reputation and rotten character. History will reduce you to the contemptible worm(s) you are.
You are ALL damned to hell the moment the second holocaust occurs. There will be no cover in the claim "I didn't know...," "I had no idea...," "I never intended...," "I meant no harm...," "I was only trying to...," "I didn't hate..." There's one very simple fact that overrides all your protestations of innocence. This scenario has happened before, just over half a century ago. You have been warned. No moral person of any faith or philosophy has any excuse for being an accomplice in its repetition when the warning signs are so loud, bright, and specific. And if I am still alive when it happens, I will do everything in my power to accuse every one of you to your face. I will say, "You! You helped kill the Jews."
This I swear.
Is there anything the accomplices can do, that we -- meaning the rest of us -- can do, to fend off what seems
an increasingly inevitable catastrophe? Yes. First of all, we can all
seek to remedy the American epidemic of ignorance, particularly about
the real history of Islam and the real history of the Nazi holocaust.
Here's an anecdote from Morris's essay that might demolish your
abstract distaste for Zionists and convey the reality of what
"civilized" Europeans did to the Jews::
A terrible episode happened with Mrs.
Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house,
found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn't
help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into
the square in front of the town hall.
There... she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall
with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and
watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child
was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and
thrown - It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as
blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that
way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went
with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a
carriage in a train to Belzec.
Now think about the Iranian holocaust denial conference. Do you feel it
in your gut yet? If not, you have a lot
of work to do. To save your soul.
Second, we can pay very close attention to Christopher Hitchens's
carefully crafted countermeasures, all of which depend on dispensing
with our convenient fantasies about the Third World virtue of jihadists
and our "Who gives a damn?" attitude about the Jews.
Here is Hitchens's list, quoted in full. Study it, and if you don't
understand it, read his whole essay and research anything in it you
1. An end to one-way multiculturalism
and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not
mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently
only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by
death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves
validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue
threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping
Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full
weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all
times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda
within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish
and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere
in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.
2. A strong, open alliance with India on all fronts, from the military
to the political and economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange
program, to demonstrate solidarity with the other great multiethnic
democracy under attack from Muslim fascism. A hugely enlarged quota for
qualified Indian immigrants and a reduction in quotas from Pakistan and
other nations where fundamentalism dominates.
3. A similarly forward approach to Nigeria, São Tomé and
Príncipe, and the other countries of Western Africa that are
under attack by jihadists and are also the location of vast potential
oil reserves, whose proper development could help emancipate the local
populations from poverty and ourselves from dependence on Middle
4. A declaration at the UN of our solidarity with the right of the
Kurdish people of Iraq and elsewhere to self-determination as well as a
further declaration by Congress that in no circumstance will Muslim
forces who have fought on our side, from the Kurds to the Northern
Alliance in Afghanistan, find themselves friendless, unarmed, or
abandoned. Partition in Iraq would be defeat under another name (and as
with past partitions, would lead to yet further partitions and
micro-wars over these very subdivisions). But if it has to come, we
cannot even consider abandoning the one part of the country that did
seize the opportunity of modernization, development, and democracy.
5. Energetic support for all the opposition forces in Iran and in the
Iranian diaspora. A public offer from the United States, disseminated
widely in the Persian language, of help for a reformed Iran on all
matters, including peaceful nuclear energy, and of assistance in
protecting Iran from the catastrophic earthquake that seismologists
predict in its immediate future. Millions of lives might be lost in a
few moments, and we would also have to worry about the fate of secret
underground nuclear facilities. When a quake leveled the Iranian city
of Bam three years ago, the performance of American rescue teams was so
impressive that their popularity embarrassed the regime. Iran’s
neighbors would need to pay attention, too: a crisis in Iran’s nuclear
underground facilities—an Iranian Chernobyl—would not be an internal
affair. These concerns might help shift the currently ossified terms of
the argument and put us again on the side of an internal reform
movement within Iran and its large and talented diaspora.
6. Unconditional solidarity, backed with force and the relevant UN
resolutions, with an independent and multi-confessional Lebanon.
7. A commitment to buy Afghanistan’s opium crop and to keep the profits
out of the hands of the warlords and Talibanists, until such time as
the country’s agriculture— especially its once-famous vines—has been
replanted and restored. We can use the product in the interim for the
manufacture of much-needed analgesics for our own market and apply the
profits to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
8. We should, of course, be scrupulous on principle about stirring up
interethnic tensions. But we should remind those states that are less
scrupulous—Iran, Pakistan, and Syria swiftly come to mind—that we know
that they, too, have restless minorities and that they should not make
trouble in Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Iraq without bearing this in mind.
Some years ago, the Pakistani government announced that it would break
the international embargo on the unrecognized and illegal Turkish
separatist state in Cyprus and would appoint an ambassador to it, out
of “Islamic solidarity.” Cyprus is a small democracy with no armed
forces to speak of, but its then–foreign minister told me the following
story. He sought a meeting with the Pakistani authorities and told them
privately that if they recognized the breakaway Turkish colony, his
government would immediately supply funds and arms to one of the
secessionist movements—such as the Baluchis—within Pakistan itself.
Pakistan never appointed an ambassador to Turkish Cyprus.
Hitchens may not be right about all of it, but he's not hiding his head
in the sand and blaming Bush for a worldwide offensive of genocidal
maniacs. He wants to solve the problem and prevent cataclysm, not
rearrange the deck chairs on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Working continuously to defeat muslim jihadists is the only way we can
prevent another holocaust -- and save ourselves. Do either of these
objectives interest you? If not, please go gentle into that good night now. We have no use for you.
. Nobody's accusing anyone of anything here, just
keeping the record straight for you political youngsters. In all the
really quite spectacular fuss that's being made about the impending
presidential candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, there are
two names I sort of expected to hear (not) and didn't. Which means that
those who depend on the MSM for their information might be inclined to
think that Hillary is the first female presidential candidate from a
major party and that Barack Obama is the first popularly elected black
male senator from a major party. Neither of these things is true.
The first woman to have her name formally placed in nomination for the
presidency of the United States was Margaret
Chase Smith of Maine (in 1964), who also was the first woman
elected to both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
The first black male elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote was Edward W. Brooke
of Massachusetts, in 1966.
Both were Republicans. That's probably why no one is invoking their
names at present. It's true that Margaret Chase Smith ran as a favorite
son daughter of her
home state and never had a chance to win the nomination, but she had a
distinguished career in national politics and was respected on both
sides of the aisle for her ability and integrity long
before the first feminists burned their bras. I urge everyone to read
her bio linked above. It's easily been a decade since I've heard her
name even mentioned by anyone in the mass media.
Edward Brooke, who was a combat veteran and a graduate of Boston
University Law School, served two terms in the senate and was awarded a
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. He now lives in Warrenton,
Virginia. The bio linked above also contains a link to his
autobiography, titled Bridging the
Divide. Since he began his adulthood serving as an officer in a
segregated infantry unit during World War II, then spent his middle
years in the senate during one of the most turbulent periods in U.S.
history, and subequently battled back from cancer to become a spokesman
for a vastly under-publicized strain of that disease, his book might be
at least as interesting as Obama's account of a young life that's
barely embarked on its greatest challenges. Just a thought.
The first that Barack Obama can
claim as his own is that he is the first black man elected to the U.S.
Senate as a Democrat. Two
short years ago. All of
you who believe the Dems always lead the way in matters of minority
opportunity should ponder this circumstance.
Now you can go back to worshipping your favorite 21st century messiah
or whatever it is you were doing before this brief interruption.