Saturday, July 26, 2003

Sharpton's at it again

I'm really bothered by the way that some "African-American" US politicians put the African part ahead of the American part. Consider this one:

Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton said in New York that Bush's plan for sending troops is insufficient. "It seems this administration's foreign policy is indifferent, absolutely indifferent, when it comes to people of color."

Sharpton, the NAACP, et al are simultaneously attacking President Bush for going to war to protect our country and criticizing him for "failing" to protect an African country where we have no national interest.

I'm also surprised to find our that only black people have any color. Obviously, Iraqis and Afghans don't.
Pain and healing

I think this reaction to the death of Uday is really revealing.

"I wanted him to be captured and questioned in front of the Iraqi people," Haydar said. "We have hundreds of questions. How many people have you killed? Why did you torture us? So many questions." He sighs. "But he's dead now, so let's look to the future."

The desire for answers is difficult. The question "Why?" keeps ringing in the heads of many Iraqis. There is also the desire for revenge, to torture him the way he tortured them.

Of course, "answers" or revenge would really do little to heal the pain. Now that he is gone, though, that process can begin. Uday can now only be spoken of in the past tense.

(By the way, I highly recommend reading ESPN's entire Blood on the Rings series about Uday's rule over the Iraqi Olympic Committee.)
Why we went to war

Daniel Drezner, guestblogging over at The Volokh Conspiracy, has a great item on "the real reason" we went to war. Drezner notes, as I did, that there were many reasons for the war and that Bush promoted many of them. WMD was only one of the many reasons presented for war. Krauthammer has a great column on the massive changes in the Middle East since 9/11.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Dean = Goldwater?

VodkaPundit has an interesting post comparing Howard Dean to Barry Goldwater. He thinks they might both be sure losers who end up helping their party in the long run (assuming that Dean becomes the nominee).

I'm not sure that he's right. Goldwater was a visionary and articulated a coherent conservative philosophy that he couldn't sell to the nation but which inspired a powerful movement in the Republican Party. Dean's vision is ... what? Saddam back in power? Dean has united the pacifists behind his campaign, but beyond that his campaign seems to be about hating Bush the most. I don't know what the legacy of a Dean candidacy would be.

By the way, I think that as soon as Dean opens a lead in either Iowa or NH, the other candidates will shoot him down. You'll see attack ads focusing on gun control, and they won't be pretty.

On the one hand, I can't see Dean winning the nomination. On the other, I can't see any of the other candidates winning it either. They're just a bunch of robo-bushbashers. Isn't there anyone in this campaign with any ideas other than warmed-over HillaryCare? The two likeliest outcomes of the 2004 election are Bush reelection and a Bush landslide.

Of course, anything can happen, including a Democratic victory -- it's just hard to see how.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Why we went to war

With Dick Cheney insistently trying to convince people that Saddam really was a threat to us, I thought Steven den Beste's piece in the WSJ today was very timely.

Den Beste points out that the overarching reason for going to war in Iraq was nothing short of the political remaking of the Middle East. Yes, this is the same strategy that was derided as a silly neocon fantasy before the war. Since the strategy is working, it is now respectable.

The fact remains that there were a great many reasons for going to war with Iraq. Whether or not Saddam tried to get nuclear material from Niger (though there is strong evidence he did) is so far down the list that I didn't even realize it was on the list until the 16-word non-scandal. Den Beste also points out that the humanitarian reasons to get rid of Saddam could not have been a primary motivation either. Remember that Paul Wolfowitz has said that WMD was used because it "was the only reason" that everyone could agree upon.

The spectacular success of President Bush's post-9/11 foreign policy seems lost on most observers. Besides the direct results of the two wars in Afganistan and Iraq, he has managed to encourage pro-democracy riots in Iran, get the US military out of Saudi Arabia, restart the Arab-Israeli peace process, prevent further terrorist attacks on American soil, and strengthen ties with our true allies in Britain and Australia while wisely reaffirming American independence from the UN. The war in Iraq will help stabilize the world oil supply and limit the influence of Saudi Arabia. We have also greatly enhanced the security of our ally Israel.

One can only hope the Democratic Presidential candidates continue to promote a platform of turning back the clock and letting Saddam do whatever he wants.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

David Adesnik has a post up on yesterday's raid in Mosul, and I have to say that I truly thought his post was a joke, a "sarcastic" comment. Uday and Qusai killed ... Quagmire deepens? I'll resist the urge to make fun of David, because I have a lot of respect for his work, and instead try to logically dissect the claim that these actions don't have a big impact on the ground.

For someone to fight in a guerilla conflict, there by necessity must be a reason to fight. Most of the guerilla activity has come from the "Sunni Triangle," where the populace has traditionally been the backbone of Saddam's support.

Why have these attacks been occurring on American soldiers? Although it is impossible to know every attacker's motivation, I think it obvious that the hope is a "Mogadishu scenario" where the Americans get tired of losses and decide to pull out. Presumably, then the Baathists could terrorize their way back into power.

I think there is considerable support for this view. Saddam himself supposedly showed Black Hawk Down to some of his generals, and there is some evidence that he may have prepared a guerilla strategy in the event that he lost. Finally, Saddam has supposedly been making tapes urging Iraqis to fight the Americans, and these tapes are replayed on the Arab satellite channels.

While the death or capture of Saddam is equally important, the death of his two sons was essential to dispelling the myth of a possible phoenix-like revival of the Baath Party. The demoralizing effect that it will have on remaining Baathist supporters is undeniable. The number of people likely to cooperate with American forces will surely rise. It's a catalyst for the entire cycle of intelligence, arrest, interrogation. Once Saddam is eliminated, remaining Baathist opposition will surely cease.

If the attacks are not Baathist-inspired, what is the alternative? Al-Queda? If so, then the "flypaper" analogy surely applies. Hunting Al-Queda operatives in Iraq and suffering a few losses doing so is surely preferable to losing thousands in another mass attack here in the US.

There are no logical alternatives to these two primary motivations for attacks on US forces in Iraq. Spontaneous anger at Americans for not getting the electricity on fast enough doesn't seem like a likely cause for risking one's life attacking a US soldier.

Just as in Iraq, one could call our War on Terror a "quagmire" because we haven't captured Osama yet, but in both cases that would be a fundamental misuse of the word. I haven't seen any evidence that indicates that we will be unable to accomplish our mission in Iraq, only information that indicates that some parts of that mission may be more difficult than originally believed. That's not a "quagmire" by any stretch of the imagination. That's still a victory.

I won't ascribe this motivation to David, but it's obvious that others like Matthew Yglesias are promoting the "no big deal" theory because they know that Uday and Qusai's demise benefits President Bush's reelction effort. Sorry, guys, that's wishful thinking and isn't going to work.

UPDATE: Boomshock also thinks that Adesnik was joking. If so, then he fooled he fooled his co-blogger.

UPDATE II: He was joking! Note that he also fooled Drezner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Groveling update

Michael Cottle has a good column in TNR Online about the NAACP convention. Key graf:

Obviously, the NAACP is an old and venerable group that has done immeasurable good for the cause of civil rights over the years. But when its leaders choose to pull such hysterical stunts, screeching like unhinged lunatics for the absolute delight of the media, they only serve to convince the rest of the country that black America has lost all sense of perspective. It's one thing to come unglued over police brutality or the sorry state of America's inner cities--but over Dick Gephardt's unwillingness to break a family obligation or Dennis Kucinich's stated commitment not to skip a House vote? Please. Such misbehavior also makes the Democrats look like they're kowtowing to a bunch of self-important extremists who cry racism every time someone hurts their teeny wittle feewings. This, in turn, does nothing to help the party in its efforts to reconcile its African-American base with the legions of white swing voters who defected to George W. last election.

That's the Democrats' problem in a nutshell. They are a more of a collection of interest groups instead of one group united behind basic principles. As James Carville pointed out, "The N.R.A. are very savvy politically. They understand what it is to win an election. They don't make Republican presidential candidates go there and hold assault weapons up in the air." That is to say, liberal interest groups are more interested in making sure that they get attention than they are about winning. Why? One reason is that they know that the odds are against them next year anyway, but the other is the lack of any recognized leaders in the party (aside from maybe Hillary Clinton).
LA governor's race update

The two state party chairmen spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday. Both The Times-Picayune and The Advocate note that our gubernatorial election is the only major open-seat election this year (ignoring California for the time being) and that the race will therefore be seen as a barometer of how the two parties are doing in the runup to 2004. (Of course, this is unfair, since the race will largely be determined by state issues.)

There is also news today that Richard Ieyoub was endorsed yesterday by the AFL-CIO. Now, the unions aren't as politically strong in Louisiana as in a lot of other states, but this is still significant. When you put this with Ieyoub's massive warchest, his connections with black community leaders, and his statewide name ID, his campaign is definitely looking good. I wonder when some of the other Democrats are going to bring up the old allegations of his misuse of campaign funds.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Another icon to be trashed by TV?

So CBS is going to do a miniseries called "The Reagans" and has decided to cast James Brolin (who just so happens to be the husband of Barbara Streisand) as #40. It doesn't exactly look like we're going to see how Reagan's conservative vision won the cold war and inspired America. Instead, the series will no doubt focus on Iran-Contra and Nancy's astrology.

I'm going to hold out a glimmer of hope, though. Maybe Brolin, in researching the role of Ronald Reagan, will see the light and become a conservative! And then Barbara could switch parties too, and ... pigs could fly.
Alternate universe alert!

A MSNBC report on the weekend gathering of the Green Party shows the effects of drug abuse:

New Mexico Green Carol Miller, who is also seeking her party’s presidential nomination, said, “A lot of progressives are focusing too much attention on the presidential election. I’m very worried about the make-up of the Senate. I would like not to see a filibuster-proof Senate. I don’t want to see 60 senators of a single party.”

As for the presidential election, Miller said, “I think Bush and Cheney are probably not going to run. There are very troubling accusations (about Iraq).”

Miller likens Bush to Lyndon Johnson, who withdrew from the 1968 race after a humiliating showing in the New Hampshire primary. “Johnson should have had his second election in the bag. But he had a war that didn’t turn out as he had planned.”

What a shame that this woman is running for President when she could be serving her cause so much better by working for the BBC or the New York Times.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

BUSH LIED!!!! critics "worthy of Comical Ali"

Tim Blair points us to a good column from Tony Parkinson reminding everyone that we didn't fight Saddam simply because someone said that he had tried to buy uranium from Niger.
Two Democrats in Louisiana runoff?

Bob Novak is the latest to buy into the conventional wisdom that Louisiana could send two Democrats into the runoff of its gubernatorial election this fall.

Although I can't totally dismiss the possibility of that occurring, please remember that everyone said the same thing about the 1996 U.S. Senate race, where Republican Woody Jenkins ended up finishing first in the primary.

I actually think that, quite contrary to the conventional wisdom, there are reasonable odds that two Republicans might end up facing each other in the runoff this year. Why? Because there will be fewer GOP candidates.

I don't believe that both Bobby Jindal and Hunt Downer will stay in race until the election because they both being backed by Gov. Foster and his cabal. One of them will eventually drop out. Also, Dan Kyle won't have the money to run a serious campaign. That means the GOP field could be effectively reduced to two, while I think all four Democrats are going to run strong campaigns and run hard all the way to the finish.
President Bush to address Urban League

So now President Bush is going to speak to the Urban League after skipping the meeting of the NAACP. Of course Kwiesi Mfume would view this as "an affront," but this is an excellent decision by Karl Rove. The NAACP has become an organ of the Democratic Party and long ago ceased to exist as a civil rights organization. On the other hand:

With affiliates in 34 states, the Urban League concerns itself more with economics and self-sufficiency than with political activism.

That is to say, the Urban League actually helps black people instead of using demagoguery to keep blacks in a perpetual state of dependency on government handouts and the Democratic Party.

Why would the NAACP want someone it had falsely accused of James Byrd's lynching to even address the organization?
Education success!

It seems that the British have come up with a great method for improving test scores, something we've used many times here in the U.S.

Of course, you can also simply fire the test director if not enough students pass. I mean, if not enough students pass, the only logical explanation is that the test was too hard, right?

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