Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Glad I'm not the Only One

I'm really glad to find out that I am not the only person to have mistakenly thought that the Spin Doctor's song "Two Princes" had dirty lyrics the first time I heard it.

Go here and use the "find" function for the phrase "father will condone you." Then see what people thought the lyrics were. When I first heard the song (back in '94 or '95, I think), that's what I thought the lyrics were too.

That is all.

Genocidal Frustration

Ralph Peters' new "kill 'em all" column (thanx and a tip o' the hat to Gene Healey and Daniel Larison) seems to follow the line of thinking that Steve Sailer's worries about in terms of moving toward genocide against the Arab/Muslim world.

Of course, I was one of the earliest to start predicting things of this stripe (see here for a larger list). (Although, I suppose, the very first might well have been Paul Craig Roberts, who has an even earlier column than the one I am linking to suggesting that nuclear war might be a substitute for the draft, but I can't find it right now).

That is all.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lancet Round-Up

Justin Raimondo and Tom Engelhardt make essentially the same point: the resistance to the results of the Lancet study (that 655,000, or more accurately somewhere between 400,000 and 900,000 more Iraqis have died because of our invasion than would have otherwise died) is largely driven by a desire that it not be true.

At Creative Destruction, thought, Bob Hayes has some real objections to the way in which the study was carried out (see here and here). Amongst them are that the study did not do enough to prevent duplicate reporting and that it concentrated in urban areas, which might not be epresentative of the country as a whole (he has cause to believe that these areas would likely have disproportionately high casualties).

Steve Sailer brings his usual rationality and calmness here and here.

That is all.

On that New Jersey Decision

Common sense from Pat Buchanan.

That is all.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Jonah Goldberg

Justin Raimondo and Matt Barganier both have at Jonah Golberg for his latest column.

There are several problems with his article. First, and onw that both Matt and Justin pointed out, is that despite his claims, a lot of the "pro-war side" are abstractly pro-war. They think war is good for the American people, to give them meaning or to show off their power. In fact, Jonah Goldberg himself had an article where he talked about how war has advanced technology and science.

Another point where he is off is in suggesting that all of the natiwar people are for non-American-interest related humanitarian interventions such as Somalia or Darfur. Not only were and are a lot of antiwar people against thsoe interventions, it was Goldberg who suggested a U.S.-interest-free invasion of Africa, not some antiwarrior.

I will agree that a lot of the Democrats criticizing the war who had previously voted for it are being cowardly. The Kerry types, who refuse to take responsibility for the fact that they made a bad decision in authorizing Bush to go to war, are little more than sniveling fairweather friends. Murtha, of course, is not such an one, because he had the courage to say "I made a mistake. I was wrong, and I am sorry." Agree or disagree, he at least is willing to take responsibility for what he has done.

I also find it unconvincing his attempt to lay all of the problems of Iraq at the door of "intelligence failures."

B.S. No one who thought seriously about Iraq thought that there would not be a low-grade civil war and insurgency. That was a possibility that the administration either lied about or at the very least deliberately ignored because it would not fit with what they wanted to believe.

This, however, is something that no one that I have read has brought up:

Says Jonah: According to the goofy parameters of the current debate, I'm now supposed to call for withdrawing from Iraq. If it was a mistake to go in, we should get out, some argue.

Well, no. The arguments for withdrawing from Iraq are not based on the idea that "it was a mistake to go in, so regardless of anything else, we must get out." The arguments are alos based on the idea that we are unlikely to accomplish anything positive by staying in Iraq. That we were mistaken to go in is simply a supporting issue. No one, or nearly no one, who thinks we need to get out think that we are accomplishing good in Ira and yet need to get out anyway. This is as false as the idea that thinking we should get out is equivalent to wanting us to lose. It assumes that the antiwar people see the benefits of the war that the pro-war people are claiming.

This is another area where Jonah's thinking is murky:

Of course it's the central front in the war on terror. That it has become so is a valid criticism of Bush, but it's also strong reason for seeing our Iraqi intervention through.

This seems to assume that even though U.S. intervention has, in Jonah's opinion, created a bad situation in Iraq, that there is a way for our intervention to fix the problem. There is the possibility, even probability, that "seeing our intervention thorough" will only create more of the same.

He also defends democracy promotion, even if not an early rationale for the war (I actually believe that it was the primary motivation for the war, although very few other people remember it as such):

Jonah apparently believes that: "promoting a liberal society in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world" would "be in our interest and consistent with our ideals."

This, of course, ignores the fundamental issue of whether or not it is possible to successfully insstall a liberal democratic society in the Arab and Muslim world, which had always been the real concern of the realists on the antiwar side.

Finally, Jonah suggests that we ought to hold referendum and let the Iraqis tell us what to do. Other than the fact that leaves out the idea of the American citizenry having any say in our being there (apparently we ought to be, in his opinion, slaves to the Iraqis), he also has a little more barbarity in there than is apparent at first glance:

" If Iraqis voted "stay," we'd have a mandate to do what's necessary to win, and our ideals would be reaffirmed. "

In other words, if we could get 50% of Iraqi to ask us to stay, we could raze the villages of the other <50% of Iraqis to bring them to heel.

Sigh.

So clueless, so stupid, so...Jonah.

That is all.

African Adoption and Madonna

In all of the business about Madonna adopting a Malawan child, one theme that has been ocnsistently sounded is why she adopted a kid with a living father, instead of an orphan, with the implication (a) that she would have done more good the latter way, and (b) that she is using her money to rip kids away from their biological families.

However, the father says hee is okay with this adoption.

What no one has yet considered (as far as I know) is the issue of low paternal investment in Africa. That is, in much of Africa, men do not provide for their wives and children, because marital fidelity is considered much less important in much of Africa and therefore men do not have much confidence that their kids aren't the product of cuckolding.

This would go a long ways to explain why someone might not have hte same motivation to want to be the one to provide for his children.

Perhpas that is not what is going on here, but it should at least be considered as a possibility.

That is all.

The Shameful NAACP

William Anderson on the organization's seemingly inconsistent approach to the Duke rape case.

Of course, one might think that an organization entitled "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" is titled such that they see their interests less in terms of abstract racial equality, and more in terms of protecting their own and only their own.

On the other hand, at least they are concerning themselves with darker-skinned and non-elite blacks rather than focusing entirely on a "mulatto elite," as they originally did.

That is all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Can You Say "Delusional?" I Knew You Could!

Poor Penraker still believes in the tooth fairy - I mean, foreign fighters.

In fact, even the article he links to isn't saying what he is saying.

It sounds more like Talabani is asking for help from Syria and Iran than accusing them of running the insurgency.

But we won't let little things like facts get in our way, will we?

That is all.

Why I Do Not, as a General Rule, Watch Anime

I've never really found anime as fascinating as some do. I have occasionally watched more than a minute of Inuyasha on the Cartoon NetWork, and two years ago I found Lupin III mildly amusing, but in general I don't find it that interesting.

Two things, though, that I have noticed about anime:

(1) As Udolpho has pointed out, there seems to be a creepy pedophilic element in a lot of the Japanese cartoons, where obviously sexualized characters look like they are still in elementary school. (More precisely, everyone looks like they are in elementary school, so any sexual behavior by default involves people who look underage).

(2) In graduate school, I once watched an episode of Knights of the Zodiac wih a friend who insisted that it was the best cartoon ever. I couldn't help but noticing how they translated onto screen the comic book conceit that one can recite an entire paragraph of dialogue in the time it takes to do a jump-kick. This becomes not only bizarre, but in my opinion extremely boring, as you can watch a whole minute of a fight scene during which time one of the contenders is still suspended in the air waiting for his attack to hit home.

In any case, I much prefer American cartoons (including the American versions of cartoons that also had different Japanese versions, i.e. classic Transformers).

That is all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Bend-Over Brigade

While I do hope for a G.O.P. victory in the House (the Senate can go to Hell), Tony Blankley's "vote G.O.P.! Wah! Who cares if your Senator is a worthless leftist piece of pseudo-conservative dung?" puts him squarely in the bend-over brigade category.

Clark Stooksbury and Daniel Larison have some more choice words for "Bend-Over" Blankley.

That is all.

Even a Broken Clock

I'm not a big fan of George Soros, but this piece on the War on Terror is pretty reasonable, in my opinion.

Let me restate Soros' four objections in my own words:

(1) When fighting on their own turf, terrorists are essentially guerillas. So you wind up with the major problem that plagues anti-guerilla warfare: how to stop the guerillas without turning the populace in which they live against you (which, unless you decide to stop potential future guerillas by wiping out or severely and permanently tyrannizing the populace, is the main goal of the anti-guerilla's strategy; wherezas the strategy of the guerillas is to make it that you alienate the population so that they will support the guerilla forces).

(2) There is no single terrorist organization that we can go to war with, and not all terrorists threaten us or are part of the same threat. We need to view terrorism as a bunch of different problems, not lumpable together into one big problem (except to the extent that we look at the law enforcement side, where we can develop general rules to catch terrorists and to stop terrorist attacks). There is also the nasty side of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." The War on Terrorism can be used to suppress dissidents by labeling them "terrorists." I'm not saying that we would do this, but the War on Terror could give less free countries cover to do so.

(3) We are fighting mosquitoes with an elephant gun.

(4) We need to be careful to look at how we appear to the rest of the world, and to determine when we are right and they are wrong, and when perhaps their perceptions are justified. We also have to consider when, even if we are right, discretion is the better part of valor.

That is all.

(3)

Shanghaied? In Reverse?

Here's a piece on human trafficking in Iraq.

Thanx and atip o' the hat to Jim Henley.

That is all.

Costs of Illegal Immigration

This is errible.

Of course, trust the liberals to insist that the real problem is that we do not have a socialist health care system that takes more of our taxes to help us treat uninvited foreigners. Because, you know, we owe it to Mexico to treat its citizens.

That is all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quick Thoughts on North Korea

I'm not certain that I would blame Bush or his policies for the problems with North Korea. Maybe moreso Clinton, for giving them stuff (although I am under the impression that the Bush administration may have given them some aid as well), but in neither case do I think that there was an obvious way to stop North Korea if someone had just had the guts. Any military attack would likely have caused them to unleash their artillery on Seoul.

Maybe some people think that sacrificing Seoul would be worth it, but it is not plain to me that it would indicate a lack of nerve to take the position that we do not want to risk Seoul by attacking the North Koreans.

And short of military action, there is not much that we can do that would actually affect anything, at least not without China's (and maybe Russia's) help.

If we believe Mark Steyn, I suppose we could threaten to nuke Beijing and Moscow in order to force them into helping us, but - Hell, if I have to tell you why this is a stupid idea, then you're already lost.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And What Exactly Do You Want Us to Do?

Stan Kurtz is once again screaming about how America is not taking the threat of North orea seriously enough.

But that's not the issue. The issue is that we can't really do that much about it, unless China comes on board, and therefore there is little point in debating about it. I suppose we could just nuke the country, or carpet-bomb it, but does anyone think that doing that would not have tremendous consequences (including the likely devastation of Seoul by North Korean artillery).

That is all.

Sorry I've Been Away for a While

I've been busy at work and getting furniture and curtains for my apartment.

That is all.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Mistake Pro-Warriors Make

Recently Lawrence continues to assert that the Iraq War was a good idea, even if the occupation and democratization project were not.

Forgetting for a moment his assertion that everyone believed Saddam had WMD (see my previous blegging post) and that it was likely that he would pass them on to terrorists (and forget for a moment the question of whether chemical weapons, which are the most lkely banned weapons for Saddam to have had, are really WMDs in any objective sense), there is a question as to whether his solution is realistic. [Note: In case it is not clear, I do not question Mr. Auster's integrity. I just think that he is likely to be honestly mistaken in some of his conclusions].

Essentially, he thinks we should have gone in there, smashed Saddam, and set up a new government immediately, not caring if it was democratic or not, and then withdraw most of our troops, leaving perhaps a small contingent in a deserted area as a forward base in case of future troubles.

There is one big problem with this. Unless we planned on simply putting the next layer of the Ba'ath Party in charge, there is no way that any government we installed could take control without a massive U.S. presence.

The Ba'ath Party is the only organization that already had the forces and the infrastructure to keep control of the country. Only someone whom they would follow would be able to use them to do so. If we were to install Ahmad Chalabi, as the execrable Andrew McCarthy, Michael Ledeen, and Barbara Lerner wanted, we would still have needed to have occupied Iraq in order to make certain that he maintained control of the country. The idea that if we had just set up an "Iraqi"-controlled government in the beginning, that that would have somehow quieted everything down, is as ignorant as the belief that once you remove the dictator, suddenly the "natural" desire for democracy will manifest itself.

I suppose one might argue that the Iraqi National Congress would know more about the people of Iraq and thus would have avoided some of the problems that were caused by cultural ignorance (e.g. they would know who to talk to and what to say in order to get things done). Perhaps, although I question whether their various agenda would necessarily be conducive to keeping the country stable and together.

There is also the fact that any government we installed would have to, to some extent, reflect ppular will unless we were willing, personally, to massacre large numbers of people to suppress any rebellion. Sistani, remember, was the one who pushed for elections when Bush wanted to have a caucus. This is one of the things that delayed the "tansfer of power" to an Iraqi government. Those who argue that we alienated the Iraqis by occupying the country rather than by turning it over to "Iraqis" (i.e. the Iraqi National Congress) immediately seem to forget who it was who pushed for the delay, in order to make certain that Iraqi would have elections.

Of course, we could have just said "screw you," to Sistani, and put the Ol' Chalabster in there anyway, but it could have caused great civil unrest. And we, not the INC, would be the only force capable of putting it down, so we would be the ones responsible for killing large numbers of Shiites to suppress their terroristic goal of actually voting for their own government. Bad PR, I would think, although I suppose we could avoid it yb simply shooting any journalist who had the temerity to report on it rather than focusing on school re-paintings.

In short, in for the war, in for the occupation - unless you don't care if Iraq devolves into chaos, in which case, we could have removed Saddam, smashed his governemnt, and left, not even bothering to set anyone up to take his place.

That is all.

Bleg

I remember reading several, several months ago that there were reports by a German agency that indicated that, to the extent that they had independent intelligence, they did not think that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. I think I read it at Jin Henley's weblog or at Matt Yglesias's old haunt. Could someone help me find either the post or some of the original articles that the post was based on?

Thanks.

That is all.
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