Lawrence Kaplan hits it on the head when he writes about the number one obstacle blocking officials from going after Saddam. "Toppling Saddam, particularly with the aid of the Iraqi opposition, would topple a few legacies in Washington." How would President Bush explain his attack on Iraq as not being an operation his father should have ordered ten year prior? Toppling Saddam is the right thing to do, but it would put people like Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft in an awkward position.
The next terrorist attack on America will not be with hijacked planes because passengers and crews will fight back. Peggy Noonan quotes a flight attendent: "And let me tell you, if anyone starts any trouble on my flight he is going down, I mean I will break his legs!" Terrorists have a better chance using balistic missiles than planes as weapons of mass destruction.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Noonan on one point in her article. She want the military to search bags before they're loaded onto planes. She writes that "it would make everyone safer, which is part of their job." But the role of the military is to destroy things and kill people in the nation's interest. Barring an invasion, domestic security should be left in the hands of the police. Stationing troops everywhere may make people feel safer, but it reeks of a police state.
While not a Beatles fan, I appreciate the tremendous impact they had on popular music. And "Something" is just a gorgeous song. George, R.I.P.
Now, I know why many people flock to bands full of old geezers who shouldn't be strutting around like rock stars anymore (see Mick Jagger). Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young will fill seats in the Bradley Center next year because no one knows how long they will be with us (especially Neil). These people won't be around forever, and we want to savor the memory of their songs.
Andrea Millen Rich reports that Hernando De Soto was on the short-list for the Nobel Prize in Economics. I would be shocked if he ever won. While his ideas in The Mystery of Capital are profound and would deserve such an honor (he also wrote The Other Path) I don't know if he's written extensively in academic economic journals. I can't think of another Nobel Prize winner who didn't have many articles published.
If you oppose liberal/socialist orthodoxy like BjÝrn Lomborg does in his The Skeptical Environmentalist, then you're viciously attacked. Anti-Lomborg.com, while claiming not to "personally attack Lomborg" proudly displays a picture of him wiping a pie off his face from an attack in a bookstore. Such actions come close to the terrorist attacks by the Earth Liberation Front.
Now, I might enjoy the intellectual stimulation of a school like Patrick Henry University for a few weeks, but the current cultural homogeneity would get stifling. However, it's good to know that there are higher education options available other than the typical Left-liberal university.
Rich Lowry wants the U.S. to develop a special nuke to destroy underground bunkers. Think of it as the uber bunker buster, or the "Mother of all Bunker Busters" in Saddam-speak. Lowry writes,
But even if it were never used, developing such a weapon would send an unmistakable message about America's seriousness and resolve, and put the nuclear option back in play in a way that otherwise might not be possible.
Unfortunately, he doesn't address in what situation using nukes would be appropriate. I'm glad no official (not even Colin Powell) has stated that nukes won't be used in this war on terrorism. All options should be kept on the table. What I don't want to see is the U.S. using nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack. That would mean we lost a crucial battle, millions are dead, and we're fighting from a position of weakness.
Rush saw Bush was a little weak on some of his recent security decisions and comes to his rescue in the Washington Post. Let's see if G. W.'s Democratic opponents will criticize FDR for going far beyond any of Bush's actions.
One other note: is this a sign of Rush's future? It's obvious from this article that the man can write. If his future attempts to alleviate his hearing fail, will he go to the writing business?
If the allegations are true, I hope Paul "Pee-Wee" Reubens never works in showbiz again. Getting caught in a sexually compromising position once can be explained as mere foolishness, but getting caught a second time (especailly with child pornography) speaks of an anti-social sexual fetish.
All guns are blazing in the video game wars. Microsoft will have to sell lots of games for its Xbox in order to recoup the losses from the console. William "Trip" Hawkins, CEO of 3DO, even envisions MS dropping out of the video game market around 2003.
An interesting item in the article is Nintendo doesn't have to be the king of the console to make oodles of cash. That's because most of the games for their machines are created in-house.
Paul Johnson does a good job in trying to explain why the West has developed economically and politically while the Islamic World seems trapped in the 13th Century. The rule of law in the West is vital in explaining economic achievment and political liberty. Institutions do matter.
French courts are just bizarre. They go after Yahoo for letting people sell Nazi trinkets online. Now, they award money to a man because he received psychological trauma from his mother. His mother was raped by French soldiers during the Algerian war of independence resulting in Mohamed Garne's conception. If anyone should be compensated by the French government it's Garne's mother. To hold French rapists responsible for Kheira Garne's mistreatment of her son denies her of her own responsibility.
We're all dealt a hand in the game of life. Some are much, much better than others. How we play our hands is ultimately up to each of us. Kheira Garne was raped, but that doesn't justify abusing her son.
Cato's Ed Crane fights back against the many calls for expanded government in the wake of the 9.11 attacks. "We've been attacked precisely because our nation is seen as the symbol for respect for individual rights and human autonomy. That autonomy -- control over one's own life -- is the essence of the American experiment in respect for the dignity of humanity. As such, it calls for less government involvement in our lives, not more," writes Crane.
Waller Newell argues "that the birthplace of Osama's brand of terrorism was Paris 1968, when, amid the student riots and radical teach-ins, the influence of Sartre, Fanon, and the new postmodernist Marxist champions of the 'people's destiny' was at its peak."
Geoffrey Norman doesn't blame the announcers for boring, mediocre Monday Night Football games. He blames "salary caps, free agency, and a college draft that is designed to make every team in the league above average."
Pete du Pont is a thankful man. But let me borrow from his latest column:
Thankful would be an understatement, for in this wondrous land I have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in matters of consequence. God, country and my family gave me this gift; Thanksgiving is the day to treasure it.
Have any physics grad for friends? Get a few together over some beers, and you might come up with a serious plan for making a nuclear weapon. As Carey Sublette shows, much of the information is public knowledge.
While Safire is too harsh in his opposition to military tribunals, I do approve of his solution:
The solution is to turn his cave into his crypt. When fleeing Taliban reveal his whereabouts, our bombers should promptly bid him farewell with 15,000-pound daisy-cutters and 5,000-pound rock-penetrators.
I have no desire to see bin Laden or members of Al-Qaeda on trial. They should be destroyed before we even need to deal with that problem.
Let's be clear about the military tribunals that could try terrorists: they would be more fair than anything our opponents would have. Remember, the Taliban are the same people who were going to put American relief workers on trial for the horrible crime of preaching Christianity. A U.S. military tribunal would be made up of people fully emersed in a culture of liberty and justice. Will they be perfect? Of course not, but John Ashcroft put it correctly that we are in a (unofficial) state of war.
Bin Laden and his Taliban allies have no desire for peaceful coexistence. Mullah Omar made his feelings perfectly known when he said, "The real matter is the extinction of America, and God willing, it will fall to the ground."
There is no more need to "understand" these people. It's clear they want to destroy us. In the case of bin Laden, he's even been working on plans to build nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Unconditional surrender and complete victory are the only things that will protect America from this threat.
I know Strom is doing his best to finish out his term so the GOP doesn't lose another seat in the Senate, but it's time to retire when you have to move into a hospital. Strom, you've had a good run. It's time to say good bye.
I don't care that uber-snob Jonathan Franzen won the National Book Award for Fiction for The Corrections. Surprisingly, he didn't say anything bad about Oprah in his acceptance speech. I'm really happy that Andrew Solomon won for The Noonday Demon. It literally hurt to read it. The prose is powerful, touching, and deeply emotional. It covers genres such as memoir, straight-ahead journalism, and science writing with a strong, broad stroke. Solomon got a well-deserved award.
"'Corrections' Is Winner of Top Prize for Fiction"
Jeffery Hart has written a new book, Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe: Toward the Revival of Higher Education. Carol Iannone calls it an "excellent syllabus for a one-year introduction to the Great Books." It's a brief survey of some of the ideas and thinkers that form the basis of Western Civilization.
One also sometimes gets the impression that the offense of imperialism is not -- as for Western critics -- the domination by one people over another but rather the allocation of roles in this relationship. What is truly evil and unacceptable is the domination of infidels over true believers. For true believers to rule misbelievers is proper and natural, since this provides for the maintenance of the holy law, and gives the misbelievers both the opportunity and the incentive to embrace the true faith. But for misbelievers to rule over true believers is blasphemous and unnatural, since it leads to the corruption of religion and morality in society, and to the flouting or even the abrogation of God's law. This may help us to understand the current troubles in such diverse places as Ethiopian Eritrea, Indian Kashmir, Chinese Sinkiang, and Yugoslav Kossovo, in all of which Muslim populations are ruled by non-Muslim governments. It may also explain why spokesmen for the new Muslim minorities in Western Europe demand for Islam a degree of legal protection which those countries no longer give to Christianity and have never given to Judaism. Nor, of course, did the governments of the countries of origin of these Muslim spokesmen ever accord such protection to religions other than their own. In their perception, there is no contradiction in these attitudes. The true faith, based on God's final revelation, must be protected from insult and abuse; other faiths, being either false or incomplete, have no right to any such protection.
Muslims must rule because Islam is the true faith. There is no concept of the separation of church and state under Islam. For muslims, the political is the personal is the religious. Just as Mohammed was both religious and political leader of the first muslims, many Muslims feel the need for religious and political law to be as one. This idea is antithical to Western Political thought.
But think of Western imperialism not as political, but as cultural. Mass communication and world trade has brought Western ideas and products to Muslim lands. Some can coexist with Muslim beliefs while others offend. Lewis makes a similar point when we writes, "More than ever before it is Western capitalism and democracy that provide an authentic and attractive alternative to traditional ways of thought and life." Muslims hate America because of our political, economic, and technological power. The source of this power is liberty. So it's not a stretch to say that America is hated because she is free.
What is most unfortunate is that the West can do little to change the Muslim theo-political worldview. This is an internal struggle amongst Muslims themselves. The best we can do is provide a shining example of the benefits of political and economic liberty while providing an adequate defense.
Chelsea Clinton was raised by two very smart (although amoral) parents and was surrounded by intelligent people. With all the opportunity for intellectual development, she's so shallow as to be concerned about the consequence of President Bush's tax cut while watching the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
I had sympathy for Chelsea growing up in the White House. I thought she could rise above the dismal level of honor, honesty, and decency in her environment. Now, I'm not too sure.
The most important scholar alive on Islam and the Middle East is Bernard Lewis. His books are selling (his The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years is patiently sitting on my bookshelf), and leaders seek his insight. Emily Yoffe profiles him for Slate and defends him against the orientalist critique of Edward "Palestinian rock thrower" Said.
Michael Lind's and Ted Halstead's new book The Radical Center may be the most provokative political book of the year. It's reached the pages of The Washington Times, and I'm sure plenty of self-described "moderates" will go ga-ga over it. I've added it to my wish list.
Despite gripes from pundits, progress is being made in Afghanistan. With Kabul under the control of the Northern Alliance, a peacekeeping force should be brought in to prevent the anarchy that led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place.
"Afghan Opposition Fighters Roll into Kabul as the Taliban Abandons the Capital"
This is pretty simple: Bush won. The Supreme Court didn't choose the President as people like Alan Dershowitz would like you to think. The only way Gore could have eked out a victory in Florida was to have a state-wide recount (something the Gore campaign opposed).
The NY Times's story is interesting in that they write that Bush would have won if the Supreme Court would have allowed Gore's limited recount of selected Florida counties. The story also ends by stating that if the counties would have used their individual ballot standards in a state-wide recount, Bush would still have won. But throughout the rest of the story, it explains that Gore really should have won using the consortium's arbitrary standard (the Times even admits that the consortium's examination wasn't a "real- world situation"). The Times skirts around questioning Bush's legitimacy, while seriously questioning his victory. Reading between the lines, the paper doesn't want to appear unpatriotic, but deep down, they think Gore won.
In a related commentary, John Lott and James Glassman discovered that Florida Republicans were more likely to have a spoiled ballot than Democrats. You won't hear much about this from race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, because it won't conform to their faith that the Florida election was a deeply racist affair.
The Bush administration is getting tougher with Arafat. Bush won't meet with him if he comes to New York for an upcoming UN General Assembly meeting. Arafat must decide if he really wants to join the West by severing ties to groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and to help protect Israel from terrorist attacks. Is the ex-terrorist capable of such a feat? I'm not hopeful. Ex-president Barak gave him almost everything he wanted for the creation of a Palestinian state, but Arafat turned him down. The latest round of violence soon began.
"U.S. Tells Arafat to Stop Embracing Hamas, Hezbollah"
Forget the daisy cutters and bunker busters. Nukes should be ready for use at a moment's notice. The U.S. should also publicly state that we're not afraid to use them either. It doesn't matter if he has weapons of mass destruction or not (I think not). Bin Laden shouldn't think he can threaten the U.S. Part of this war is a war for prestige. The U.S. must look like the strongest, toughest SOB out there so future bin Laden will think twice about challenging us.
Wispolitics.com has the first poll numbers on the Wisconsin governor's race. Incumbent, Scott McCallum is stronger than I expected. The election is a year away, but McCallum is leading all democratic challengers including Milwaukee Congressman Tom Barrett and Attorney General Jim Doyle. Doyle is the strongest Democrat right now because he has the most name recognition, but I still think Barrett will be his party's nominee.
What does Powell mean when he said, "nations such as Iraq, which have tried to pursue weapons of mass destruction, should not think that we ... will not turn our attention to them"? Is he in favor of a Desert Storm II operation? Does he regret not marching on to Baghdad after liberating Kuwait?
Powell's statement does mean that the U.S. is serious about terrorism world-wide. Bin Laden isn't the only target so other groups and harbor nations much watch out.
"Powell Says U.S. Will Deal with Iraq Eventually" [via Reductio]
Patrick Ruffini analyzes Brett Schundler's defeat.
I must point out this paragraph from this NY Times' story:
But while Mr. Schundler was pouring forth with proposals for tax and toll cuts, a complicated overhaul of the public education system, and other ambitious measures, Mr. McGreevey said little that was specific and less that was controversial.
In the eyes of reporter David Halbfinger, McGreevey coasted to victory with a vapid, empty campaign that relied on political inertia following the 9.11 attacks. It also didn't help that President Bush never made a trip to New Jersey and test whether his sky-high approval numbers could rub off on another Republican.
Baseball will shut down two teams. One for sure is Montreal, who's fan base is so tiny as to be undeserving of a major league franchise. The other most-likely team is Minnesota. That's a team with real history. They had beloved stars like Kirby Puckett and Rod Carew, and they won two World Series. This decision does show the players union that there is real economic problems in the game. The next step is to put together real revenue sharing and a salary cap.
Donald Rumsfeld notice the same thing in picture from Ground Zero: "Today is Nov. 1, and smoke - at this very moment - is still rising from the ruins of the World Trade Center."
Rumsfeld puts into perspective the speed this war is being conducted. It won't be fast for speed's sake. "It is about will - the projection of will, the clear, unambiguous determination of the president and the American people to see this through to certain victory." This will take time. Liberals and conservatives, get off this administration's back!
I feel another cliche coming on: 9.11 has brought Americans closer together. I again use a cliche because it's accurate. My proof? Students and teachers in an elementary school in Southeastern Wisconsin are forever linked to their counterparts in a NYC school 15 blocks from Ground Zero.
Let me quote my sister:
We have an unusual opportunity to show these kids about helping one another, about showing that we have a responsibility to take care of each other.
We have that "repsonsiblity to take care of each other" not just because it's right, but because it's a quality evil people like Osama bin Laden don't possess. We're better than him, and everyday we should do something to prove it.
Don't buy the conventional wisdom that Arab-Americans are under lots of duress because of the 9.11 attacks. Here's some material pulled from a Washington Times feature on Muslims around Detroit:
Mr. Saad says that reports of widespread harassment of Arab-Americans following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been exaggerated.
"This talk about Arab-Americans being harassed is a big misconception," he said. "I have had a great reaction. I hear all of this, and I thought, 'Well, maybe my suppliers won't work with me any more.'
"But I have had well wishes from all of them, and all of my customers, Italian, black, white," he adds.
Jeff Youssef, standing in the market gabbing with anyone who walks by, says the same thing.
"The harassment has been inflated," he said. "The media has decided that is the story. But we are mostly left alone. Most people, no matter what color, get hassled at some point."
Adds Angela Harb, a West Bloomfield woman of Palestinian descent: "These communities are very tight, and in some cases, some don't even see others."
Growing up in Livonia, Miss Harb, 41, never went to school dances.
"Instead, our community had its own affairs. Even when I go away, I miss seeing my culture everywhere," she said.
Tim Attalla has three children ? Omar, Yusef and Allie. Mr. Attalla feared initially that they would be subject to the anti-Arab insults that were so widely reported by some media outlets. He lives in Northville, an affluent upscale suburb.
"They have had no problems at all," Mr. Attalla said. "I think the media does more harm than the other kids."
While the Arab-American media has also protested loudly about racial profiling and attacks on U.S. Muslims, most will, under direct questioning, say the incidents are isolated.
When the Rev. George Shalhoub told media callers that he had received no threats following the September 11 attacks, the conversation was over.
"They didn't want to talk to me at all if I wasn't being threatened," said Mr. Shalhoub, a Syrian immigrant who presides over St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church in the suburb of Livonia.
California Republicans shouldn't be griping about Richard Riordan not hiring enough Republican political hacks. After a successful run as Los Angeles mayor, he's the GOP's best shot at turning the lights out on Gov. Gray "Who turned out the lights?" Davis. Is Riordan a pure conservative? No, but California is a weird state that has a hard time electing die-hard conservatives (Ronald Reagan being an exception). When your party's highest office held is Secretary of State, electability must trump ideological purity.
What I really think is some of Riorden's critics are miffed that their political friends aren't working on the campaign.
Big games from Ahman Green and Allen Rossum compensate for Brett Favre's sub-par performance. It also sets up next week's game as the biggest in years between the Packers and the division-leading Chicago Bears.
I'll use the cliche "politics makes strange bedfellows," because it fits in this case over the Republican energy bill in the Senate. The bill would allow oil drilling in Alaska's ANWR. The Teamsters are pushing very hard for the bill and think they have enough votes to stop a filibuster. That means they have enough Democratic votes to stop a filibuster. Teamsters and Republicans fighting side by side to boost oil production: a pleasant surprise.
Most of the Teamsters support comes from the belief that the energy bill will create jobs that may boost Teamsters' ranks. But you can be sure some of the support is because the Democrats have treated the Teamsters so shabbily in the past. When Bill Clinton ran the party, they backed Ron Carey over current Teamsters' President James Hoffa. Democrats even helped funnel illegal campaign contributions for Carey's re-election. There's bad blood here.
President Bush is also practicing good politics to bring the Teamsters' and his interests more in line. Pushing for tougher steel import restrictions made him more sympathetic with organized labor. There is also the fact that war brings groups together in ways that peace can't. If Bush plays this right, he could get the fast-track trade negotiation authority he want's and should get.
In Thomas Madden's words, the Crusades were "in every way a defensive war." The Muslims won the Crusades and almost conquered Europe in the process. The reason the term "crusade" is such a pejorative is that they're looked at through a modern instead of a medieval prism.
Jonathan Franzen: literary snob. The man is given the opportunity to show thousands of people his art by being picked for Oprah's book club. Is Franzen grateful? No, he starts complaining that Oprah's logo on the book cover somehow takes away from his work. Franzen is just too good for Oprah and her millions of fans. Being picked for the world's most popular reading list somehow takes away from "the high-art literary tradition."
Franzen just doesn't appreciate the gift he's been given. It would be more understandable if Oprah's selection forced him to change parts of his book, but that's not the case. As Jonathan Yardley puts it, Franzen just shows how "snotty, self-absorbed and self-righteous" some writers can be.
Radio shock jock, Erich "Mancow" Muller, wants to run for Illinois lieutenant governor. This just may be his verison of Howard Stern's NY governor run.
Mancow is a self-described "conservative, Bible-thumping radical who curses." Obnoxious and juvenille, yes. But political material? Why not? Minnesota has a bald, populist ex-wrestler. A good thing about Mancow is that he's for limited government and isn't afraid to say so.
"Chicago Conservative Shock-Jock Plans Political Run"
Scott Cunningham makes me laugh out loud with his take on independent book stores [DISCLAIMER: I work for one of the "evil" chains.]:
The independant bookstore is a lot like the neighborhood grocery store. It's interesting to go into, but pretty much only because we feel sorry for the guy, and because at that moment, we're feeling especially nostalgic or something.
Bill Kristol wants a new war strategy. It's only been seven weeks since the 9.11 attacks. No one said this would be a quick war. The Gulf War took months of preparation and weeks of airstrikes before ground troops moved in, yet Kristol wasn't complaining (publically) about the poor strategy President Bush I was using. With his tone, I'm pretty sure he would have been livid over FDR's "dawdling" in the months after Pearl Harbor.