Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Experts? What Experts?

This has got to be one of the most misleading headlines of the day. "Experts see military draft as inevitable," huh? Well, who are these purported experts? The article starts off quoting a 15-year-old kid. No expert there. Next, we hear from apparently sensible politicians, Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who say there is no need for a draft. Is there a story here yet?

Next we hear from Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who believes that we don't have enough troops right now (though the Pentagon believes it will have as many troops as Sen. Biden wants by 2007). So does, apparently, Lt. Gen. James Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve. So, too, do perople like Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, defense analyst Michele Flournoy and political commentator William Kristol. So who are these "experts" who have concluded that, from the foregoing opinions (which are not shared by the Pentagon), a draft is "inevitable?"

"J.E. McNeil, executive director of the Center on Conscience & War . . . and other anti-war activists such as Sally Milbury-Steen, executive director of the Wilmington-based peace organization Pacem in Terris, said they think a draft is on the horizon."

"Anti-war" activists! Not experts, surrender advocates! Why does the headline not read, as it should, "Anti-war activists see military draft as inevitable?"

This is merely an attempt by the loony left (the MSM, same thing) to keep alive the falsehood that conservative Republicans are war mongers who love sending kids to their death, and will therefore most certainly institute the draft (notwithstanding that this tactic failed miserably the last election). You gotta love the fact that the left has absolutely no ideas why people should vote for them, just why people (in this case, draft age adults) should vote against . . . , well, Bush. Earth to the left - you lost. Move on.

Worse, however, the otherwise sensible John Seiler at the OC Register's editorial page fell for this baloney.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Chaos or democracy?

The only real debate about the war in Iraq is on the right. The left reflexively opposes anything Bush does and hence wind up making ideological fools of themselves for mere temporary political points (that haven't worked at all, mind you). Right Wing News has an excellent post on the Left's admitted unseriousness when it comes to the war in Iraq. I also completely discount the left's appeasement ideology as a serious plan. Those who espouse appeasement can afford to only because they know the USA will cover their butts when it gets right down to it.

In any event, on the right there are those that emphatically support the war, and always have, not only because it was in our national interest, but for the good we are doing the Iraqis (the "neocons" at National Review, for example). Many of these same right wingers also believe the U.S. should have intervened militarily in Rwanda, or really, anywhere else there is mass genocide, on strictly moral grounds, whether or not the U.S. interests were immediately apparent.

Then there are those that supported the war strictly for the U.S.'s interests and, while happliy acknowledging the side benefits to Iraqis, don't think that should factor in to the equation. John Derbyshire, for example. Derbyshire's argument is that chaos in Iraq is just as good as a stable democracy there in terms of Iraq not producing a nuke to use on us. Point taken, but nukes are not the only worry. 9/11 was not a nuke.

Then there are those good old classic libertarians, best exemplified by the editorial staff of the Orange County Register. Keep the hell out of every country unless it is attacking us. Would this work if applied consistently? That is to say - end all foreign aid, pull our troops back from everywhere, pull out of NATO, etc.? It ain't gonna happen. It's like making an argument about reforming social security by stressing that the entire system, along with the income tax, should be scrapped. A fine intellectual exercise, but let's stick to the real world. Though they are invaluable in reporting stuff like this to cool neocon heads lest they become too optimistic that we can change a culture of barbarism into a civilzed society over night.

I fall into the democracy side. Chaos doesn't last. Afghanistan was a land of chaos until the Taliban made it decidedly unchaotic. Sure, there were pockets of resistence, but rebels didn't stop the Empire from blowing up Alderaan, if you get the analogy. Like Derbyshire implies, if we impose chaos on Iraq, we'll have to keep capping the next Saddams forever. We'll also royally piss off (and likely get killed) all those brave Iraqis that support us, plunging the U.S. further along the hatred scale in the muslim world.

Before modern times, wars were won in one of two ways: (1) total devastation, salting the earth, enslaving the survivors, pillaging all of any worth, then going home or (2) stay and imperialize. Simply whooping on someone, then leaving and allowing the defeated to lick his wounds and come back at you is not a good plan. Think Hannibal's sack of Rome. Germany got pummeled pretty good in WWI. If we pummel Iraq, pummel Afghanistan, or pummel multiple terrorists, we will not win. They will regroup and come back at us.

What ends conflicts is the establishment of democracy and (I'll even give President Clinton some props here) establishing trade. Democracies don't attack each other. China won't attack anyone either. Why? How much money will they lose if they do? Trillions. Japan and Germany aren't going to attack us ever again. We don't have to continually cap the next Hitler or Tojo. We're done. We should at least try this approach with Iraq.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Adios Kevin Shelley

This was completely under my radar screen:

California Secretary of State to Resign

Even though he is a Democrat, I liked Kevin Shelley. He did a very good job handling the Gray Davis recall effort - impartial and professional, in my humble opinion. I don't know anything about the claims referenced in the article. Idle speculation, but maybe the left didn't like him because of his handling of the Gray Davis recall.

A real victory for the Pro-Life movement

Cow fetuses are all fine and good, but this case pretty much encapsulates the absurdity of Roe v. Wade:

PEOPLE v. VALDEZ, No C036614 (Cal. 3d App. Dist. February 04, 2005) Defendants' murder conviction is affirmed over their claim that California's murder statute does not apply to the killing of a fetus that, even absent criminal intervention, would not have survived until birth due to a fatal physical or medical condition.

You can view the opinion here. If mommy kills an unborn baby, it's a lifestyle choice. If mommy kills her born baby, it's murder. If anyone else kills a baby, born or unborn, it's murder.

I am pro-life for two primary reasons: (1) there is no principled distinction between a fetus and a newborn baby as far as human rights are concerned, and (2) a baby is way more of a burden on one's lifestle once born and if you don't want the burden there is a huge adoption waiting list. In the face of these two indisputable points, no pro-choice argument works.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

What Liberal Bias?

This has got to be one of the funniest articles I've read in a long time, an attempted hit piece on reporter Jeff Gannon and his employer, Talon News. Imagine, the nerve of a reporter to ask Bush questions that aren't derogatory, insulting partisan attacks. He must be a GOP undercover operative. No sane person would agree with Bush on anything.

According to the article's author, Joe Strupp, a senior editor at Editor and Publisher:
He is known for inserting blatantly pro-Bush statements in his inquiries at televised press briefings.

"Would they let Joe Lockhart or someone who works for the DNC [Democratic National Committee (news - web sites)] come in and do that? I don't think so," Edwin Chen, who has covered the president for the Los Angeles Times, told E&P. "They ought to get legitimate members of the fourth estate, not political hacks on either side."

Earth to the L.A. Times - the MSM is infested with former partisan Democrat hacks masquerading as legitimate reporters. Two words: George Stephanopoulos.

What set off this particular sour grapes rant?
[D]uring President Bush (news - web sites)'s televised press conference on Jan. 26, the president called on him for a question, bypassing dozens of far more experienced reporters.

Mommy, teacher called on Timmy! Wah Wah Wah Wah.

And what was the offending question - the "softball" - that so infuriated the MSM?
"Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. ... Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security (news - web sites) is rock solid and there's no crisis there. You've said you're going to reach out to these people. How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"

This is mild, but right on. Mr. Gannon could have quoted the dozens of Democrats during the Clinton administration, including Clinton, who all loudly professed that Social Security was on the ropes. "Save Social Security first," remember?

The MSM is cracking up. They can't handle competition. Like whinny little brats, all they can do is throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way. This article is yet another example.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Pro-Life movement wins one

In perhaps the least significant legal victory for the Pro-Life movement, one California Court of Appeal held the following:
PEOPLE v. BAKER, No. F044749 (Cal. 5th App. Dist. February 02, 2005) In calculating restitution for the theft of cattle, it is appropriate for the trial court to order restitution for calves that were likely born while the cows were misappropriated.

The necessary implication is that cattle rustlers must pay for stolen cow fetuses. Hey, every little victory counts.

Damned if they do, Damned if they don't

By now, you should have heard about the Associated Press' appalingly foolish story about a U.S. "soldier" kidnapped by Iraqi terrorists based on a picture posted on an Arabic language bulletin board website. The "soldier" is "Cody," a G.I. Joe doll sold in Kuwait. Wizbang has the full story. Read the comments at Wizbang for a good belly laugh.

This picture is as obviously fake as the "fake but accurate" cBS Bush National Guard memos. The flashing comparison on Little Green Footballs (I don't have time to find the exact link)between a Microsoft Word-generated memo and one of the supposedly circa-1970s Bush National Guard memos is just as compelling evidence of forgery as placing the fake picture of the "captured" U.S. "soldier" next to the box of the real G.I. Joe doll. Will the MSM apply the same standards to critics and the blogosphere as they did in the Memogate scandal - i.e., we must prove them wrong? And will they accept nothing less than metaphysical certainty of falsehood of the "I think, therefore I am" type?

These were the MSM's standards dealing with Memogate. If there is the smallest possibility that the fake memos might be real, then we can chalk the whole scandal up to time-pressured reporters trying to "scoop" their competitors, not to an anti-Bush partisan political agenda. The same arguments can be made about the picture's authenticity as the National Guard memos - we have no original to look at, just because there is one massively compelling explanation does not mean that the picture/memos cannot be authentic, etc.

If the MSM quickly dismisses this episode as a hoax, and admits it was played for fools, then they will basically be admitting that they subjected critics of the Bush National Guard memos to unfair standards of absolute proof before admitting (whoops, they haven't yet admitted the memos are fake - my bad) the memos are fake. If, instead, they stubbornly hold out hope that a shrunken head doll with plastic flash grenades on his vest is really a human being, then in the pubilc eye they will descend even further into the no standards, no fact-checking, partisan political hacks that many of us know they have been for a long time.

Correction: As Wizbang notes, the doll is not a G.I. Joe doll, but a Special Ops doll.