Kathy decided to bring up Joe Wilson in the comments section discussing “leaking” and “sharing.”
In this whole controversy, I’ve never heard the argument that Joe Wilson got his job because his wife worked for the CIA. Even if it was true, was that really the point of the “leak”? To say that he got his job through some kind of strange nepotism?
There is a strong impression that the Bush administration was trying to use indimidation to either influence or discredit him. Either one is very inappropriate, whether you call it a “leak” or “sharing”.
First off, the argument that Joe Wilson got this job because Valerie Plame works at the CIA is as old as this column from Robert Novak 3 years ago.
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. “I will not answer any question about my wife,” Wilson told me.
After eight days in the Niger capital of Niamey (where he once served), Wilson made an oral report in Langley that an Iraqi uranium purchase was “highly unlikely,” though he also mentioned in passing that a 1988 Iraqi delegation tried to establish commercial contacts. CIA officials did not regard Wilson’s intelligence as definitive, being based primarily on what the Niger officials told him and probably would have claimed under any circumstances. The CIA report of Wilson’s briefing remains classified.
All this was forgotten until reporter Walter Pincus revealed in the Washington Post June 12 that an unnamed retired diplomat had given the CIA a negative report. Not until Wilson went public on July 6, however, did his finding ignite the firestorm.
I haven’t been following the Wilson-Plame-CIA kerfuffle nearly as closely as some bloggers have been, but I know that much. Now, onto why the Bush administration started leaking. Of course they were trying to quietly discredit Joe Wilson; the man simply doesn’t seem reliable; it’s entirely appropriate. His original op-ed for the New York Times shows quite a bit of sloppiness on both his part and that of the CIA—
I made it abundantly clear to everyone I met [in Niger] that I was acting on behalf of the United States government.
Let’s assume, for sake of argument, that you were a Niger citizen who had tried to help get Saddam uranium. Joe Wilson comes up to you and says, “I work the the U.S. Government, which is looking to start bombing people we don’t like. Did you try to help Saddam get uranium?” Are you honestly going to answer Wilson’s question?
Though I did not file a written report, [emphasis added] there should be at least four documents in United States government archives confirming my mission. The documents should include the ambassador’s report of my debriefing in Niamey, a separate report written by the embassy staff, a C.I.A. report summing up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally). While I have not seen any of these reports, I have spent enough time in government to know that this is standard operating procedure.
No written report = standard operating procedure? What on earth is going on here? Nothing in his background, listed in the op-ed, makes this particular career diplomat sound like he had any business being an investigator. It seems like incompetents are running the CIA. That’s the real scandal.
Hubbard posted this at 9:52 PM CDT on Sunday, April 23rd, 2006 as Global War on Terror, Iraq, Politics, Uncategorized
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asks some interesting questions over at PL–about salvation and which religion is true–and I thought that I’d try to explain them as best I can. But first, I thought that I’d give some background on understanding religions with the Wesleyan Quadrangle. Read the rest of this entry »
Hubbard posted this at 11:24 PM CDT on Saturday, April 22nd, 2006 as Faith, Philosophy
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What is the verb to describe giving classified information to a news organization? If the culprit is Scooter Libbey or Dick Cheney, and the information helps the presididnt, the operative verb is “leaking.” If you’re a Democrat giving classified information that hurts the administration, though, it’s “sharing.”
The CIA fired a long-serving intelligence officer for sharing classified information with The Washington Post and other news organizations…
Even the CIA spokesman says “sharing.” Yeesh, let’s not hurt her feelings with judgemental words like “leaking.” It might, ya know, imply such things are bad.
Apollo posted this at 10:13 AM CDT on Saturday, April 22nd, 2006 as Politics and the English Language
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Because that’s the only word that comes to mind when I read this:
But former Washington state governor Gary Locke and Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said no one raised the issue of human rights with Hu during the two-day visit in the Seattle area.
So what did they discuss? Panda bears and take out? I’m with Pelosi and Hubbard on this. Although not with Geoffrey–fellatio requires at least some degree of verticality; Bill Gates’s forehead is practically nailed to the ground.
Update: I just saw this in a story about the protester: “Hu was gracious in accepting Bush’s apology, Wilder said.” Bush actually apologized over this? Geoffrey might be half right–it’s not business leaders who need the knee pads, though.
Apollo posted this at 5:54 PM CDT on Thursday, April 20th, 2006 as Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!
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Ladies and gentleman, please remain calm or I will–in the name of Allah!–take this paper bag off oh my head!
P.S. I think Moussoui is lying about Ried’s involvement (5 guys on each plane, except for the 5th one that going to the Whitehouse, hijacked by these losers….right.)
Tom posted this at 4:52 PM CDT on Thursday, April 20th, 2006 as Uncategorized
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, now Ann Coulter of the flame-proof lip gloss. Miss Coulter
proves that when she gets it right, nobody will say it better:
However the Duke lacrosse rape case turns out, one lesson that absolutely will not be learned is this: You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don’t hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money.
Also, you can severely reduce your chances of being raped if you do not go to strange men’s houses and take your clothes off for money. (Does anyone else detect a common thread here?)
And if you are a girl in Aruba or New York City, among the best ways to avoid being the victim of a horrible crime is to not get drunk in public or go off in a car with men you just met. While we’re on the subject of things every 5-year-old should know, I also recommend against dousing yourself in gasoline and striking a match.
The whole thing is worth reading, I think.
Hubbard posted this at 1:36 PM CDT on Thursday, April 20th, 2006 as Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!
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I liked the piece by your dad, Tom. It reminded me of something I heard excerpted from last Sunday’s “This Week.” Evan Bayh compared Bush, disfavorably, of course, to Lincoln. “[Lincoln] changed commanders until he found the right team,” Bayh said. “This president just doesn’t seem to be able to do that.” This is, as befits a senator, an historically illiterate statement. Lincoln changed generals a lot, but he never changed his Secretary of the Navy, and only changed his Secretary of War once, after less than a year in office when Simon Cameron proved ineffective and probably corrupt. Edwin Stanton–not an outsider, but someone Lincoln had appointed earlier to assist Cameron–served until 1868. There were lots of calls for Stanton’s head during the war, and Lincoln responded that if they could find someone else as good as Stanton, he would oblige. Stanton has gone down in history as an excellent secretary. Replacing Rumsfeld, contra Bayh, is significantly different from replacing a “commander.” In point of fact, we have replaced several commanders during this war, both high (3-4 stars) and low (1-2 stars).
Seeing the mediocrity on display in the criticisms the retired generals have leveled has got me pondering the nature of modern American generalship. America has produced only a handful of truly remarkable generals. Jackson, Sherman, Patton, MacArthur, and Schwarzkopf. Beyond that, a lot of generals who pass for great (Washington, Grant, Lee, Eisenhower) were merely competent in an age when competence was no mean feat. One miracle of the modern American officer training system (the academies and OCS) is that it has produced a military where competence is run of the mill. This is a wonderful thing, because so long as our soldiers are led competently, they have the training and equipment to carry most any fight. However, we should not confuse this competence for genius, or even talent. In fact, with the bureaucratic nature of the American military, it’s probably less likely that we could produce a great commander. Those who make it to the top are those who understand the system and who can best manipulate it to their own gain. This is not to disparage these officers, who are fine soldiers and patriots; it is merely to point out that, while the military overall is quite meritocratic, those who make it to the very, very top may not be the best commanders and strategic thinkers.
In The Soul of Battle, Victor Hanson describes at length the travails of Patton when dealing with his superiors. Those who are truly great understand their greatness, and they strive at every turn to put themselves in positions where they can do the most good (this is why they’re often asses). Hanson compares Patton to Omar Bradley, who was a very careful man, portrayed as the “GI General” because he displayed an unusual concern for common soldiers. But Bradley’s appointment above Patton, Hanson persuasively argues, slowed down the army emensely, gave the Germans several key chances to escape from anhilation, and, ultimately, cost thousands of American lives. Bradley would go on to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, while Patton died a broken man.
My point is thus: While these men were good at what they did, that does not mean that they were great commanders, great thinkers, or people with particularly great foresight whose views should always be heeded. There service was honorable, but they are now pontificating on politcal questions, and doing so poorly.
Apollo posted this at 11:12 AM CDT on Thursday, April 20th, 2006 as Iraq
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I normally disagree with her, but I think she gets it right in her op-ed in today’s L.A. Times. Money quote:
U.S. policy toward China is ineffective in upholding the pillars of our foreign policy — promoting democratic freedom, stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and growing our economy by promoting exports abroad. Instead, we have pursued trickle-down liberty — promoting economic freedom first, assuming that political freedom will follow. Reality exposes this policy as the illusion it is.
Bush administration officials say they hope that China will become a “responsible stakeholder.” We should avoid wishful thinking. Beijing’s priority is regime security. Economic development, along with the harsh repression of its own citizens, are the means to maintain political power. Access to the U.S. market is central to Beijing’s strategy.
American access to the massive Chinese market is also essential, but our trade relationship has been a disaster. Despite more than a decade of concessions, the trade deficit with China has grown from $4 billion a year to more than $4 billion a week. China continues to manipulate its currency, making its exports cheaper and U.S. imports more expensive than they would be in free-market conditions.
Hubbard posted this at 10:53 AM CDT on Thursday, April 20th, 2006 as Philosophy, Politics, Those Wacky Foreigners
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From my dad, yesterday.
The Generals are Revolting
April 18th, 2006
Six retired generals have now called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the grounds that… well, just what has the Secretary done, or not done, that justifies his removal from the Pentagon in the middle of a war?
Read through all the generals’ statements, or listen to them on television, and it’s impossible to get straight precisely what it is these generals are squawking about. One minute they’re talking about our strategy in Iraq, and then they’re blathering on about the Secretary’s plans for re-structuring our military forces or about Donald Rumsfeld’s hard-driving, aggressive management style. For example, Major General John Batiste says about the Secretary that
We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And that leadership needs to understand teamwork.
The word “crisp” doesn’t leap to mind, does it? And Major General Paul Eaton claims now that Secretary Rumsfeld
alienated his allies in our own military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers.
This sounds serious, but surely General Eaton could have told us what advice these seasoned officers gave that was ignored. Was it about the war, or about force re-structuring – or about the design of new uniforms?
In all, the generals’ comments are so muddled—so imprecise and unfocused—that it’s tempting to dismiss these generals the way Groucho Marx, as the premier of Fredonia in Duck Soup, dismissed the peasants who had risen against him:
Guard: “Sire, the peasants are revolting.”
Groucho: “They certainly are.”
But our country is at war and our soldiers’ lives are at stake, so it’s worth some effort to try and untangle the lines, and to pin down just what it is the generals are trying to say:
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, some former military commanders, members of Congress and civilian analysts voiced concerns that President Bush wasn’t committing enough troops to the looming fight. The only active-duty commander who seems to have publicly voiced this concern at the time was Army chief-of-staff General Eric Shinseki, who quickly found himself unwelcome at the Pentagon. (His successor was named unusually early, and it was made clear that Shinseki’s term of office wouldn’t be extended.) It was a shabby way to treat this honorable officer, and it may well have sent a message to other generals that public dissent wasn’t appreciated by Secretary Rumsfeld – or by the President.
The “More Troops” Chorus Grew Louder
After Baghdad fell and it became obvious that stabilizing Iraq was going to be harder than the Administration had thought, the chorus of those calling for more troops on the ground grew louder. Both the President and Secretary Rumsfeld responded to this criticism by asserting – time and again – that it was our commanders on the ground who determined troop levels in Iraq, and that these commanders had never been overruled by the Pentagon or the White House.
To some of us who had either been in the military or had worked with the military, this seemed suspicious. Simply put, none of us had ever met a general who thought he had “enough” troops to accomplish whatever mission had been assigned to him. If our generals in Iraq were insisting that they had enough troops – when it appeared so obvious to so many of us that they didn’t – either these generals were different from those we had known, or the President and Secretary Rumsfeld were being disingenuous.
One explanation bandied about – in emails, phone calls and over drinks – was that our commanders in Iraq were “bureaucrats in uniform” who knew that asking for more troops would end their careers. After all, look what had happened to Shinseki. So they didn’t ask for more troops. This meant the President and Secretary Rumsfeld were – technically – telling the truth when they claimed that they had never rejected a commander’s request for more boots on the ground.
Now, if any of these six retired generals is claiming that, in fact, he had requested more troops and was turned down by the President or the Secretary of Defense – then this really is big news. It would mean that President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have been lying. This would lead not merely to Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation – but to the President’s impeachment. As best I can tell, however, none of the six has explicitly made this claim.
Moreover, none of these six retired generals either held the top slot in Iraq since the invasion or has served as the Army’s or Marine Corps’ chief-of-staff. This means that all of them reported during wartime not to the President, or even the Secretary of Defense, but to more senior officers. Again, the same question pops up: Are these six retired generals now asserting that while on active duty in Iraq they had asked their superior officers for more troops, and their requests were denied? If so, then it’s the more senior officers above them – this would include Generals Richard Myers, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Tommy Franks, who planned and executed the Iraq invasion—who’ve been lying to us, or at least misleading us. That’s because Myers and Franks, like the President and Secretary Rumsfeld, have given us the impression that none of their senior subordinates has ever requested more troops and been denied them. And this, too, would be an explosive news story.
The Reporters’ Anti-War Agenda
It’s disappointing – but not surprising – that the reporters to whom the six retired generals have been talking haven’t troubled to get any of this straight. That’s probably because these reporters – and their publications and networks – oppose the war, and so are quite happy to publish or broadcast any criticism of the Defense Secretary that comes their way without asking the kinds of probing questions that just might turn the criticism into a non-story.
But surely someone in Washington – in the press or in Congress – can get cracking and ask the questions that will tell us what, precisely, these generals are trying to say. Are they calling the Defense Secretary and the President liars? If they are, then why did they wait so long to speak out? And if this isn’t what the generals are asserting – then what are they talking about? If they believe the current strategy in Iraq is doomed to failure – and there’s a case to be made for this – let these generals tell us what we must do right now, before it’s too late. Or, if what’s driving them is a distaste for the Secretary’s plans to re-structure our military forces – which quite a few senior officers oppose – that’s an old story and isn’t worth all the press coverage these generals and their statements have been given.
But if all this is really just an effort by a bunch of retired officers, with grudges to avenge and time on their hands, to get back at our Secretary of Defense for his brusque and sometimes abrasive manner of dealing with subordinates who are muddled, imprecise and unfocused when they speak – well, then these generals really are revolting.
Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. His on The Siege of Western Civilization has become an international best-seller.
Tom posted this at 11:14 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Uncategorized
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At least I think that’s the message to take away from this story, which has Harry Reid repeating that oft heard attack on the president: We’re letting allies do too much of the work.
The Bush administration is relying too heavily on other countries in the international effort to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, according to Sen. Harry Reid.
Reid, D-Nev., said the administration should be taking the lead, but instead is relying on Germany, France and Great Britain to convince Iran to end its uranium enrichment program.
This boggles my mind. Finally, since Iran isn’t smart enough to bribe France and Gerhard Shroeder’s not up for reelection, the West is presenting a united front against a major terrorist-sponsoring state, and Reid thinks it would be a good idea to shove those damned Euroweenies aside and show them how diplomacy is done, and provide them yet another example of America presuming it should be in the lead. This makes me long for John Kerry’s nuance!
And then there’s this:
And he said the U.S. has no military option in Iran.
“We don’t have the resources to do it” because of the ongoing war in Iraq,” he said.
So I’m guessing Reid sees us invading Iran? Because it’s our ground forces that are tied up in Iraq. Not very serious thinking, Senator. Our Air Force and Naval aviation, as the Taliban found out, have free reign over the third world, and they’re not tied down in Iraq.
I’d also like to point out this fascinating chart. In summary, America spends as much on its military as the rest of the world combined. I’ll go ahead and say that if we cannot take out Iran’s nuclear facitilities with 135,000 soldiers pinned down in Iraq, then there is no power on Earth who could take out the facilities, even without other military entaglements. If we can’t do it, then Iran is invincible and perhaps we should just give them the bomb as a good will gesture.
But the larger point is that Harry Reid seems a little thoughtless, at least on national security matters.
Apollo posted this at 10:53 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Politics
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After reading Geoffrey’s comment, I realize that my last post can read to mean the exact opposite of what I intended.
Having come across both articles on today’s Corner I was struck by the irony of Jihadists screaming about Western (and, specifically, British) prejudice towards Muslims on the same day that the Royal Navy promoted a Muslim to flag rank for the first time. My intended – and poorly made — point was to demonstrate how far Jihadist thinking is removed from reality; implying that Admiral Hussain is some kind of nacent traitor was as far from my mind as possible.
To the good Admiral, I offer my apologies and my congratulations; never mind bloggers, always go straight at ‘em.
Tom posted this at 10:26 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Uncategorized
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Report: UK terrorists being recruited
An Iranian terrorist group stated on Wednesday that it was recruiting Muslim British citizens to come to Israel to execute suicide bombing attacks against Israelis.
A spokesman for the group, Mohammad Samadi, told the London-based Guardian that Israel was the primary target of their attacks. “All the Jews are targets, whether military or civilian. It’s our land and they are in the wrong place. It’s their duty to pay attention to the safety of their own families and move them away from the battlefield,” he stated.
He claimed that there were many disaffected Muslims throughout Europe that could volunteer for such a mission. “We understand the suspicion with which Britain, America and other western countries regard their Muslim populations,” he said, adding “We don’t condemn them for this because we believe every Muslim has the potential to turn into a bomb against the west.”
UK Navy Gets First Muslim Admiral
CAIRO, April 14, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – The Royal Navy has appointed its first Muslim Rear Admiral, Pakistan-born Amjad Hussain, a British newspaper said Friday, April 14.
“I count myself very lucky to live in a country where the opportunities have been beyond my imagination,” Hussain told The Sun.
Rear Admiral is the fourth-highest rank in the Royal Navy, equivalent to a major-general in the Army or an Air Vice-Marshal in the Royal Air Force.
Hussain, who has become the highest-ranking ethnic officer among the 200,000 personnel of the British armed forces, said in the Navy one’s work is what really matters.
“Like most people I’ve just got on with my job. I would hate to think anybody would get promoted because of their ethnic origin,” the father of three told Britain’s biggest-selling daily.
Tom posted this at 4:46 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Another Great Victory For Jihad
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South Park is as crass a show as they come.
The cartoon’s gags include an emaciated Ethiopian boy named Starvin’ Marvin, recurrent jokes about animal sexuality and flippant depictions of child abuse.
Religion is a frequent target of creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
A recent episode brutally mocked Scientology, basically implying that every believer is a naïve idiot. Jesus Christ makes frequent appearances on the show, most memorably when he defecated on George W. Bush.
A sensitive soul who watched South Park since its 1997 debut would’ve been offended several thousand times by now, a fact that doesn’t seem to bother Comedy Central much, though the network has recently declared one topic taboo.
It may be okay to show Jesus defecating, but network censors refused to depict the Islamic prophet Mohammed “just standing there looking normal,” as an Internet commenter put it.
In the episode in question, Americans fearful that Mohammed would be depicted by the Fox Network ran around searching for enough sand to bury their heads, hoping that if they did so the problem of Islamic radicalism would go away. At the moment in the episode where Mohammed was to be shown, viewers saw the following message: “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”
Later the network released a brief statement: “In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision.”
They refer to recent riots prompted by a Danish newspaper’s decision to depict Mohammed in political cartoons, and the subsequent decision of radical Danish imams to use the episode to stoke violence.
In a quickly globalizing world, where Western countries have taken in hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants, religious taboos we’ve never had to worry about before suddenly have the potential to stoke offense in immigrant communities, trigger domestic disturbances and exacerbate international tensions.
These facts necessitate that we consider the cultural norms of Muslim immigrants as we decide how to behave, whatever our ultimate conclusions. In the Danish cartoon controversy, for example, most American newspapers refused to reprint the cartoons even after they became newsworthy, arguing that doing so would needlessly offend the sensibilities of Muslim readers. It’s a defensible position.
But The South Park episode’s censorship is different. It is significant because Comedy Central clearly hasn’t any qualms about offending religious groups. Rather, is has resorted to censorship out of fear that Islamic radicals will kill people over the episode.
Glenn Reynolds, a law professor and well-known blogger, explains why this approach is fraught with peril.
“The lesson is that if you want your religion not to be mocked, it helps to have a reputation for senseless violence,” he wrote on his blog InstaPundit. “Is this the incentive structure we want?”
It sure isn’t, but it’s increasingly the incentive structure we’ve got, and that’s a dangerous thing if we plan to keep welcoming newcomers with different cultural norms from around the globe.
Stories documenting our slide down this slippery slope are everywhere lately.
A college newspaper in Illinois recently fired its editor for publishing the Mohammed cartoons. Borders and Waldenbooks stores refused to stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it showed them.
At New York University, law students sponsoring an event to discuss the cartoon controversy were told that if they displayed images of Mohammed the university would bar the public from attending the event.
Glenn Reynolds again proves indispensable.
“If you don’t like ideas, don’t bother arguing with them. Just threaten to kill people,” he writes. “They’ll back down. Or at least their booksellers, universities, and governments will. How long before other groups take this lesson to heart?”
I wondered the same thing after I told Borders I’d be boycotting their stores and they replied as follows: “Borders is committed to our customers’ right to choose what to read and what to buy and to the First Amendment right of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. In this particular case, we decided not to stock this issue in our stores because we place a priority on the safety and security of our customers and our employees. We believe that carrying this issue presented a challenge to that priority.”
After all, Islamic radicals don’t have a patent on terrorism. If their tactics work, it’s only a matter of time before neo-Nazis or environmental radicals or Reconquista groups or anti-abortion radicals or Chinese immigrant separatists step up their own campaigns of intimidation.
Even if the trend is isolated to Islamic radicals, these events are troubling because Western society needs frank discussion about the threat posed by Islamic radicalism now more than ever. It’s surely true that one need not display cartoon images of Mohammed to conduct that discussion. Indeed, I think it’s generally a good policy to refrain from needlessly offending religious taboos.
But the South Park episode, the Borders and Waldenbooks ban and the NYU event represent self-censorship motivated by fear, censorship that treats groups threatening violence more respectfully than other groups, and censorship that impedes serious discussion about a defining issue of our time.
There is a better way, especially in a country that aspires to remain a nation of immigrants.
If Islamic radicals (or any other faction of immigrants) threaten to kill anyone who flies the American flag outside their house, the best response would be for everyone in America to raise the Stars and Stripes. When they threaten violence over an obscure magazine, we shouldn’t remove it from bookstore shelves. We should make sure every supermarket and convenience store is stocked with it too.
Terrorism is a tactic employed only so long as it’s effective. If we stand together, refusing to be cowed by fear, it is no longer effective. Let the networks you watch, the businesses you shop at and the universities you attend know that any time they seem to forget, particularly if you value a nation that can welcome immigrants without being intimidated by the most violent among them.
conor friedersdorf posted this at 3:02 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Uncategorized
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The odd thing (to me, at least) about George W. Bush and John McCain is that both of them seem to be instinctive politicians rather than thinkers. After reading books like Reagan in his own Hand, for example, it becomes clear that the Gipper thought through his ideas and initiatives. Contrariwise, Bush and McCain go by instinct. While their instincts are similar and generally sound—hawkish, generally socially conservative—neither of them has a Reaganite visceral reaction to big government and its regulatory state. Bush happily spends money, on the grounds that when someone hurts, the government should help. McCain happily regulates political speech, on the grounds that when politicians hurt, the government should help.
A McCain presidency would probably be a third Bush term, which would be an ironic result for the Bush-loathing liberals and Bush-hating conservatives.
Shifting gears slightly, Hugh Hewitt’s straw poll shows McCain doing poorly. I’d take it with a grain of salt, though not with the salt shaker of a Daily Kos poll. But Rudy Giuliani seems to be doing quite well. Rick Brookhiser, already a supporter, just reiterated his views. James Q. Wilson also seems to be a Giuliani 2008 man. One must have brains to deal with the New York City media, so it isn’t fair to class him as an instinctive pol. But will he run? And if he does, how will he do?
Hubbard posted this at 12:49 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Politics
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Delays happen on the metro. Everybody understands this. What’s more surprising, at least to me, is that people talk loudly about intimate things on cell phones while they wait. Today’s offender was an awful woman who has, it appears many problems. “That bridesmaid dress that [expletive string deleted] wants me to wear? It makes my neck look AWFUL.”
I want to say, “Don’t worry, nobody will notice your neck with a face like yours.” I don’t, partly because I attempt to have manners, partly because she’s built like an antediluvian triceratops.
She continues with a discussion of the bride’s issues, to the point where I pity the bride: if this is what her friends are like, what kind of enemies does she make? Then the awful woman starts talking about her own sexual misadventures—everyone around her is now only pretending to read newspapers and books—and I start to feel that she deserves every rash and listener. A word comes to mind, “shaggenfreude”: pleasure at the sexual misfortunes of others. Has it been coined?
The more I listen to the awful woman, the more I want to see her in the bridesmaid dress. It may well be proof, as Jonah Goldberg once said, that “ours is a just and decent God.”
Hubbard posted this at 8:36 AM CDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 as Vignettes
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