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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 14, 2003

Listening to COlin Powell at the UUN today, he said something that was almost exactly like something I wrote in one of my essays for my black belt test - war should always be the last resort, but it must be a resort. Maybe I could be Secretary of State someday... Not likely.


VDH Alert

It used to be that some well-intentioned Americans thought the all-wise U.N. should supersede the efforts of the big powers that had once acted unilaterally and without the approval of lesser — and more moral? — states. No longer. Through the efforts of post-Marxists, radical Islamists, anti-Semites, and an array of old-fashioned authoritarians in the General Assembly and the Security Council, the U.N. now unfortunately reflects the aggregate amorality of so many of it members.

We built the arena, the players came — and, for many Americans, it now seems almost time to leave: Syria on the Security Council; Iran and Iraq overseeing the spread of dangerous weapons; Libya a caretaker of human rights. How about a simple law to preserve a once hallowed institution: To join the U.N.'s democratic assembly, a country must first be democratic? Why should a U.N. diplomat be allowed to demand from foreigners the very privileges that his government denies to its own people?

The whole piece is stellar. He even tosses a bone to President Clinton:

After Vietnam, Americans were chastised into conceding that preemption and unilateralism were things of the past. Then we learned of slaughter in Bosnia and Kosovo — committed by Europeans and tolerated by Europeans. Mr. Clinton did not make the argument that Mr. Milosevic threatened the U.S. — imagine the outraged reaction, had Madeleine Albright with slides and intercepts proved that Serbia was seeking gas and germs that could threaten Americans.

Instead, we adopted preemption — unilaterally, without Congressional approval, and quite apart from U.N. decrees — and bombed Serbian fascists into submission. In fact, Mr. Clinton and Ms. Albright ordered bombs to be dropped almost everywhere — Kosovo, Belgrade, the Sudan, and, yes (remember General Zinni's 1998 Operation Desert Fox) — Iraq. I suppose the moral lesson caught on, and so now we are doing the same once more to Saddam Hussein. Thanks in part to Mr. Clinton, unilateralism and preemption to try to protect us in advance, while saving innocents from monsters — in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, and Haiti — are now good, while the wobbliness and moral equivocation of multilateralism and U.N. approval are deemed bad.

And his summation of the UN's anti-US behavior: "It is always better for a debating society to lecture those who listen than those who do not.". Priceless.

UK's Environmental Minister has seen The Matrix

Yup, you know that speech at the end where the Agent tells Morpheus how humanity is a virus? Mike Meacher just delivered a bigger version to Newcastle University.
[credit: junkscience.com]

Du Pont on Kerry

On Iraq as on the death penalty, Mr. Kerry is all over the map. He voted for the war resolution, which gives the president unilateral authority to go into battle against Iraq, but then argued that if President Bush "decides to go to war unilaterally," it would be "one of the greatest catastrophes and mistakes of our time." He also complained that Mr. Bush "has no plan for winning the peace." Clever: If the war goes badly, well, he was against it even though he voted for it; if it is successful, he voted for the resolution authorizing it. And if the war goes well, but post-war rebuilding goes badly, well, he can say I told you so. He's prepared for any eventuality, just as long as the voters don't notice his fancy footwork.

Also on OpinionJournal today, read John Fund's column on Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke.

Arafat Appoints Prime Minister

Of course, as long as it's Arafat doing the appointing, there won't be any Peace in Our Time. Although he did win a Nobel Peace Prize... Go figure.

Peace in Our Time

Saddam has issued a decree banning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Whew! Who knew it was so easy? Maybe he'll ban dipping dissidents in acid, too.

Thursday, February 13, 2003
Light reading for later...


A Brit Stands up for the USA

The article is a bit long, but great overall.

"It is preferable to continue to be envied because of our success and attachment to principle than to fall altogether into the company of those governments for which cowardice is wisdom, ingratitude is olympian serenity, and the spitefulness of the weak is moral indignation.

[credit: LGF]


From today's Best of the Web

On Tuesday the House voted 402-6 for a resolution "condemning the selection of Libya to chair the United Nations Commission on Human Rights," also a rebuke to the European commission members, which abstained in the vote electing the chairman. Siding with Libya were Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, an isolationist libertarian Republican who's a perennial foreign-policy dissenter; and five left-wing Democrats: William Clay of Missouri, Mike Honda and Barbara Lee of California, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Nick Rahall of West Virginia.

Eight more Democrats, profiles in courage all, voted "present": Frank Ballance and Melvin Watt of North Carolina, Maurice Hinchey of New York, Carolyn Kilpatrick of Michigan, Jim "Baghdad Boy" McDermott of Washington, and George Miller, Fortney Pete Stark and Maxine Waters of California.

Perhaps those Congressmen had really good reasons for not voting for this resolution. I'd like to know what they were, since I can't think of one.

The Afghan Army

I like this article; it reminds us of the progress we've made in Afghanistan, and the long distance left to go.

Potential pollutants and poisons may be beneficial in low doses.

And you thought I was wasting my time building up an immunity to iocaine powder!

[credit: junkscience.com]

Soy Burgers are for Girly Men

Estrogen-mimetic compunds have been a source of consternation for some green activists, mostly in Europe. They usually are quick to point out the evils of synthetic compounds - a British co-worker once told me that the collection of volatile organic compounds that make up "new car smell" was in fact estrogen-mimetic. It turns out though, that one of the most powerful (i.e. greatest estrogen activity) compopunds occurs naturally in soy. So check this out. Don't panic, of course, since I don't see an epidemic of girliness in Asia (although the men there tend to have less body hair. Hmm.)

I have even seen commercials for nutritional supplements made from soy and marketed to menopausal women. The products claim the "plant estrogens" ease the pains of menopause. Search for "soy estrogen" on Google and a lot of stuff shows up. What's b.s. and what isn't? I can't tell!

[credit: junkscience.com]

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Glenn Reynolds on Hypothetical American Imperialism

From Instapundit, of course.

Consumption Tax

I found this Bruce Bartlett article persuasive; in recent times I was not in favor of a consumption tax, but that opinion has been evolving for a while. Give it a read.

Enviro-Socialism Watch

Boy, Green activists sound a lot like Marxists these days. Here's what gets me though: Since Saddam is known to crush the little people, and is also known to wantonly destroy the environment when it suits him (as the marsh Arabs can attest; also see Kuwaiti oil fields in 1991), shouldn't the Greens support his removal?

NYT Defends Ken Lay?

Hmn. This article makes the point that the evidence suggests that Lay was not criminal, just foolish. Of course, being foolish at that level certainly borders on the criminal, but intent should count for something. Read it, it's very interesting.

Health Watch

Normally my first impulse when reading a story like this is to doubt it, being a skeptical bastard. But what's presented here makes me at least curious. If, in fact, there is a high level of strontium-90 in the child's teeth, and if in fact there is no source for this isotope other than the nuke plants, then it's certainly worth investigating further.

Why do I doubt these kinds of things typically? Mostly because they appeal to emotions rather than logic - after all, something had to cause the kid's cancer, and what adult doesn't feel pain at the sight of a kid undergoing chemo. But that doesn't eliminate the need for proof. And a plausible explanation is not proof. So I think I'll try to track down the study cited in this story.

The Appeasers: Then and Now

Interesting stuff here (of course I say that because I agree with it).

Supporters of what is erroneously called the "peace movement" argue that the real threat to peace is from the hegemonic drive of America; that Iraq is a victim, not an enemy; that war means militarism abroad and repression at home, and finally, that the war will turn into a quagmire in which a new imperial war, driven by Jewish interests, endangers the peace of the entire world.

It is, in fact, a new left-right alliance similar to that which occurred in the pre-World War II days, in which the American First Committee included men like Lindbergh, old progressives turned nationalists like John T. Flynn, and radicals like Norman Thomas. Indeed, Lindbergh's famed 1941 speech that the drive for war was emanating from "the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration" is echoed today by Pat Buchanan and his fellow editors at The American Conservative, who scream about what they call an "imperial war on Iraq" and which Buchanan blames on the Israeli lobby, much as Lindbergh explained interventionist sentiment before Pearl Harbor. Back then, opponents of war argued that sanctions against Japan were only a pretext for military action and were unnecessary, just as today the "peace movement" argues that sanctions against Iraq are harmful only to innocent civilians and help perpetrate a war fever.

While the remnants of the Old Right and the ever-diminishing political Left may be united in a fight against what they call American "global hegemony" and "imperialism" even their language is now the same.

I can't wait to use this line in my next debate with a lefty nutty: "Hey, you sound just like Pat Buchanan!"

[credit: Jay Nordlinger at NRO]

Monday, February 10, 2003
Good Point

And, in 1941, our Charles Lindbergh alleged that the anti-Hitler drive for war sprang from “the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration.”

These days, one can hear much the same cry: only replace “Roosevelt” with “Bush.”

by Jay Nordlinger in National Review