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Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
 
-- Ronald Reagan

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Friday, February 07, 2003
 
Famous Gun Nuts

This second poster is maybe a bit much.

 
Victor Davis Hanson on Doom, Doom and More Doom

A fine essay, as usual. Here's a link to the discussion of this piece over at Little Green Footballs.

For much of the fall of 2001, I listened to and often debated a number of commentators who pontificated about the high peaks and the "Afghan winter," Ramadan, the Russian and British empires, the Arab Street — about almost anything but the respective history and efficacy of the American and Taliban military forces. And rather than being contrite about their error in predicting American slaughter in Afghanistan, our critics have moved on to Iraq to find renewed opportunity to vent their almost religious cultural pessimism.

Indeed. Why is it the Chomskys and Fisks of the world are not called into account for the dismal inaccuarcy of their predictions for the Afghan campaign? I'm sure their response would be something like, "Well, Afghanistan isn't over yet, it's descended into tribal lunacy with warlords running the show, and there's no democracy there yet." Well duh. It was like that when the Taliban was in charge too, only no one knew or cared. But Afghanistan is a lot better off now than it was then. It'll take 20 years for that society to get back to normal. Wandering in the desert, as it were.

Instead of listening to this dejection, we should examine the 30-year record of the Iraqi army in a series of wars against the Kurds in the 1960s and '70s, the Yom Kippur fighting against Israel, the surprise attacks on Iran and Kuwait, and the first Gulf War, as well as several barbaric actions against the Shiites.

True, the Iraqi army has shown flashes of dash and organization — it seemed energetic during the first few weeks of its 1988 counterattack into Iran and the 1990 assault on Kuwait. Military analysts, perhaps too charitably, have asserted that the Republican Guard, which was nearly annihilated on February 26-7, 1991, at least held firm, even as many of its tanks were incinerated — reminiscent of the earlier armored brigades that kept charging even as they were obliterated by the outnumbered Israelis on the Golan Heights.

But despite displays of personal courage, the Iraqis as a rule have not fought well when confronted by opponents who were not weak or in disarray, as were the shocked Iranians and Kuwaitis. In earlier Kurdish wars, sporadic attacks against Israel, and the first Gulf War, Iraqi performance was generally dismal. And even the sudden infusion of French planes and the training in France of Iraqi aircrews did not mean air superiority over weak Iranian pilots.

Ouch! Not a ringing endorsement of the Iraqi military. In fact, the only real threat is Saddam's WMD's, which he still insists that he does not have. Some say, of course, that we should not attack Saddam because of these WMD's. Saddam would agree with that point, after all, that's why he went through all the expense to develop WMD's in the first place. That is the essence of blackmail, no? That's what's going on in North Korea. "Don't make me use this! Just give me what I want and no one gets hurt!"

I say damn the WMD's, full speed ahead.



Thursday, February 06, 2003

 
The UN is dead, let's bury it

Mark Steyn on the uselessness of the international community. [credit: instapundit]


Tuesday, February 04, 2003
 
Peace in Our Time

Well, maybe not with North Korea, check out these propaganda posters from the country that time forgot!

 
Are 'Manned' Vacations Worth the Risk?

ScrappleFace is one funny guy.

(2003-02-02) -- Many Americans are asking whether manned vacations -- by car, plane, train or ship -- are worth the risk of accidents and illness. Congressional Democrats may introduce a bill this week mandating unmanned, robotic family vacations.

"It would be just as fun as a manned vacation trip," said a Congressional aide, "except you wouldn't leave the house, so you couldn't get in a crash, or get some strange intestinal illness."

Under the plan, a family would still go through the ritual of looking at maps and web sites to plan the vacation, and the parents would still take a week off from work. Government-funded web sites would simulate the entire vacation, using web cams on user-controlled robots to show the interesting places they might have gone. A government-issued software package would include realistic animated tour guides.

"Risk is bad," said the Democrat aide. "We must prevent people from getting hurt, sick or killed at all costs, even if it means eliminating the so-called American spirit of adventure and discovery. It's the federal government's job to keep everyone absolutely safe all the time."


 
Columbia

I like Charles Krauthammer's take on the future of the space program. Like all government agencies, NASA is bloated, bureaucratic, and of questionable utility. But the dream of space travel and the human desire for exploration is strong, and I'd like it to continue. More efficiently, of course. But on to Mars, I say!

 
The UN is fast becoming a threat to world peace

The United Nations has been a thorn in the side of the free world since the mid-1970s, when Unesco was taken over by unfree countries of the Third World and the General Assembly passed the "Zionism is racism" resolution in 1975. Even so, some of us argued in print that, so long as the UN contributed a 0.1 per cent chance to helping maintain world peace, it was a worthwhile investment. That argument has worn thin.

By now the United Nations, with its Human Rights Commission chaired by Libya, is not only irrelevant; it is coming perilously close to endangering world peace and security. The majority of its members are in breach of most tenets of the UN Charter and yet these same members are rewarded with plum UN assignments.

In March, Iraq will assume the chairmanship of the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The UN is rapidly becoming more of a force for harm than good.

Countries that actually practise and value the UN constitution should probably withdraw from it. But at the very least, America, as its chief source of funding, should give the organisation notice after Iraq that reform is necessary.


Yes, indeed. The UN was a worthy idea. But it fell victim to its own desire for openness, and admitted numerous nations who did not share in the common values of the organization. Now those subversive elements are in positions of power.

 
Are you fucking kidding me?

That was the only response I could come up with when I saw this, the latest outburst from a "celebrity" idiot. (credit: Right Wing News) David Clennon, of CBS's "The Agency" said this: "I'm not comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler - because George Bush, for one thing, is not as smart as Adolf Hitler. And secondly George Bush has much more power than Adolf Hitler ever had." This is the kind of statement that really annoys me. Let's pick it apart!

First, he says he's not comparing Bush to Hitler, but then he directly compares the two! It's as if Clennon realizes that it's outlandish to say that President Bush is comparable to Hitler, so he gives the "Well, Bush is no Hitler, but..." equivocation. But that doesn't stop him from drawing parallels, which is what he really wants to do. Thus the logic of leftists - of course A and B are not comparable but if we do compare them then we come to the following conclusions. Clennon is talking out of both sides of his ass here.

Then, the obligatory dig at the President's intelligence. Now, I don't know how high an IQ Hitler had, and I'm not sure it matters. What matters to Clennon is that he makes sure that you know that he thinks Bush is an idiot - it's not that Hitler was smarter, but to people like Clennon everyone is smarter than President Bush. "Look, I'm not comparing Bush to a tree stump, because for one thing a tree stump is way smarter than that chimp-boy." Which in Clennon's mind is no doubt an insult to chimps.

And President Bush has more power than Hitler? Well, I suppose one could argue that point. After all, militarily speaking, the President is the commander-in-chief of a much more powerful fighting force than the Third Reich's military. Economically the US outdoes 1930's Germany too. But I don't think that's what Clennon is getting at. He's implying that Bush is in fact a Supreme Ruler and Lord, who with a casual word sets the course of his nation, and for whom all people of the nation serve. To Clennon, Bush is no more a President than Hitler was a Chancellor. No, now W. is the uber-Fuhrer. I am left to wonder if Clennon thinks Bush is comparable to Hirohito, who was after all considered a living god in Japanese society.

Comparisons like Clennon's trivalize Hitler's evil and the horrors of the Holocaust. This is not a police state (when the Ny Times is shut down by brownshirts, call me) and there are no death camps (under a thousand in Gitmo, all men, well-fed and not forced to work, versus millions of children, women, elderly and men, killed outright or given little food and forced to work until death, and boiled into soap afterwards.) No, Mr. Clennon, these are not comparable at all. These are not even closely related.

 
The French Way

Analysis of the French diplomatic efforts these days. Pretty good, and this bit is striking:

M Chirac is walking a political tightrope at home, where public opinion is set against any military action not sanctioned by the UN and where an immigrant population of four million Muslims exercises an unspoken influence on policy.

Muslim youths in Paris and other cities are carrying out a low-level "intifada" against French authority, burning cars in nightly raids, mostly unreported in the national news. The risk of escalating violence is real.

Thus we see the dangers of immigration without assimilation.


Monday, February 03, 2003
 
"Show weakness now and no one will ever believe us when we try to show strength in the future."

British P.M. Tony Blair on the UN and Iraq.

 
Columbia

Rest in peace.