Wednesday, March 31, 2004
The Carrot and the Stick
There is a single major flaw in the American effort against terror: an over-abundance of mercy. Mercy can be a good thing. Magnanimity towards a defeated foe can assure a lasting peace and a strong sense of charity can win you friends where you had none before. However, the prerogative of mercy can be deemed credible only when it is seen as just one of the alternatives at your disposal. When you are kind because you are afraid of being harsh, your enemies will see you as weak, and rightly so.
Take a look at what went on in Fallujah today. There four American civilians were killed by a mob who then desecrated the bodies while chanting anti-American slogans. Fallujah has been a problem all along. It is, in the words of one Daily Telegraph story, “an extremely pro-Saddam town in a staunchly pro-Saddam area.” It is, in other words, atypical of Iraq as a whole and an excellent candidate to be made an example of.
Some have suggested razing the entire city. I reject this on the simple grounds of practicality: there are 500,000 people there. No more than a few thousand are likely to be members of the active resistance and, even if extreme fighting were to occur during demolition, destroying the town is likely to saddle the Coalition with in excess of 400,000 people to house and care for. Were this a small village, such a proposal might carry more appeal, but it is not. So, what then?
The first step will be to identify some of those responsible. A group of fifty or so will do. How will these be selected? Simple: send a heavily armed convoy into the city and arrest the first fifty or so people who attack or confront the convoy. Then construct a gallows and, under the laws of war, hang them all. Place the city under full martial law and disperse any attempted gathering or demonstration with the use of live ammunition. Evacuate and demolish every structure in the area where the incident occurred.
We focus too much on the fact that Iraqis are Moslems and forget that most of them are Arabs as well and that, in many cases, the latter trumps the former. The Arabs are a practical people and one which respects strength. On the whole they value family and tribal loyalties more than they do religious or national ones. If we really want to hurt them, if we really want to make sure that they get the point, then we should strike at the things they really care about.
A few weeks of a “get tough” campaign and the Iraqis will well understand the fact that you can have no greater friend and no more dangerous enemy than the United States of America. Resistance must have a price. So long as the resistors believe that the United States will only respond within certain definable limits people will be able to observe those limits and judge for themselves the consequences of exceeding them. It is time to exceed those limits ourselves.
In the year since the beginning of the war I have not heard of a single case where an enemy irregular has been executed. Why is this? Per the fine traditions of warfare pirates, spies, and bandits (meaning terrorists and other irregular forces which do not obey the traditional rules of warfare) may be summarily executed upon capture. Certainly such actions would be contrary to both American and International Law at the moment, but I fail to see why that would be a terrible obstacle. American law can be easily changed and international “law” can simply be ignored when it is convenient to do so. After all, it isn’t like our enemies are following the letter or the spirit of the Geneva Convention themselves.
This, of course, would make for great domestic politics as well. In general the public strongly approves of the use of American force, especially against the sort of foe we are fighting. Those who do not approve are all supporters of our domestic enemies, in any case. However, actions of this sort would cause an uproar from the left-wing of the Democratic Party, thereby forcing John Kerry to implicitly defend the murderers of Americans. He should be good at this. He’s had a lot of practice, after all.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Polygamy Now Legal in Germany
Check this story out
Koblenz (AFP) - Die Zweitehefrau eines als Flüchtling anerkannten Irakers darf in Deutschland bleiben. Dies entschied das Oberverwaltungsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz. Die Frau, die mit ihrem Mann und dessen erster Frau in Ludwigshafen lebt, kann demnach eine Aufenthaltsbefugnis verlangen. Sie könne sich zwar nicht auf das so genannte Ehegattenprivileg berufen, da dieses nach den "hiesigen kulturellen Wertvorstellungen" nur für einen Ehepartner gelte. Es sei aber "unzumutbar", sie aus der Lebensgemeinschaft herauszulösen.
Die 1963 geborene Irakerin ist nach Angaben des Gerichts seit 1990 mit ihrem Landsmann verheiratet, der bereits 1977 seine Erstehefrau geheiratet hatte. Der Mann kam 1996 nach Deutschland, wo er als Flüchtling anerkannt ist. Seine beiden Frauen kamen 1999 gemeinsam nach Deutschland. Nachdem ein deutsches Standesamt beide Ehen nach irakischem Recht als rechtsgültig anerkannt hatte, erteilte die Stadtverwaltung Ludwigshafen nur der ersten Frau eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis. Dagegen klagte die Zweitehefrau.
Nachdem die Klage in erster Instanz erfolglos war, verpflichtete das Oberwaltungsgericht die Stadt Ludwigshafen nun, auch ihr eine Aufenthaltsbefugnis zu erteilen. Die Ehe sei in Deutschland in gleicher Weise als rechtsgültig anerkannt wie die Erstehe ihres Mannes, begründete das OVG seine Entscheidung. (Az. 10 A 11717/03.OVG)
Vor: Etappensieg für Mzoudi im Streit um
Here's a Babblefish translation:
Koblenz (AFP) - the secondary wife one as a refugee of recognized Iraqi may remain in Germany. This decided the higher administrative court Rhineland-Palatinate. The woman, who with its man and its first woman in Ludwigshafen lives, can therefore require a residence power. It cannot appoint itself to the spouse privilege in such a way specified, since this applies after the "local cultural value conceptions" only to a marriage partner. It is however "unreasonable" to extract it from the partnership. The 1963 born Irakerin is according to data of the court since 1990 with its compatriot married, who had already married 1977 its purchasing woman. The man came 1996 to Germany, where he is recognized as a refugee. Its two wives came 1999 together to Germany. After a German register office had recognized both marriages after Iraqi right as legal, the city administration Ludwigshafen gave only a residence permit to the first woman. On the other hand the secondary wife complained. After the complaint was unsuccessful in first instance, the Oberwaltungsgericht obligated the city Ludwigshafen now to give also her a residence power. The marriage is in Germany in the same way as legally recognition as arises their man, justified the OVG its decision
UPDATE: This also goes to my point on Gay Marriage. One reason for allowing this is the arguement that doing otherwise would "unmarry" the couple.
Yoshida’s First Five Laws of Politics
1) If you’re going to be blamed for something, then you might as well do it.
This one is simple enough. Whenever a right-wing government comes into power and makes the slightest cut in any budget whatsoever, it will be immediately accused of “gutting” public services. This is even true if such a government merely slows the rate of increase in spending and makes no actual cut.
Accusations that you have “slashed” public services are likely to stick for the simple reason that the public is prone to believe such things about you. The same is true for a left-wing government and tax increases. A left-wing government which leaves tax rates unchanged is still going to be accused of “raising” taxes and the public is going to believe those accusations.
Given this, if your opposition is going to be able to damage you by successfully accusing you of something (regardless of whether you actually do it) then you might as well do what you’re about to be accused of in order to reap the political benefits as well as suffer the consequences.
2) There’s no point in being nice to people who aren’t going to vote for you.
Too many governments suffer because they try to please all the people all of the time. Given the polarization of American politics (and politics in general) there’s no reason to ever bother even trying to play nice with your opponents. Regardless of how nice Republicans are to blacks, they’re still going to be tarred as racists and the Democrats are still going to win 90% of the black vote. Therefore, effort expended actually tying to appeal to groups unlikely to support you is wasted.
In fact, given that pretty much every group has another equally large group that hates it, trying to pander to people who aren’t going to vote for you in any case is a vote-losing proposition since it will demoralize your own base.
This should be remembered in the fight over the Federal Marriage Amendment. To date, a disproportionate influence has been exercised in this fight by the Log Cabin Republicans and other gay conservatives (meaning: Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch). The votes we gain by pandering to these people are dwarfed by those that can be gained through demagogic denunciations of them.
3) Word games work.
In the long-term both the abortion and gay “rights” battles are going to be won and lost because of semantics. By seizing upon the term “pro-life” and inveighing against “partial-birth” abortion, anti-abortion forces have seized the verbal high ground. Similarly, the pro-gay forces are going to win their battle, because they’ve managed to cloak their agenda in the rhetoric of civil rights, thereby cloaking opponents in an aura of disreputability.
4) Win battles by shifting the ground on which they are fought.
Most politicians these days are so unprincipled that, as the environment changes, they’ll seamlessly change. A government, therefore, can win every single ideological battle by staking our positions so extreme that the opposition will have little choice but to drastically shift its own positions in order to keep in step.
For example, if you propose a 5% cut in the budget for some item, your opponents will probably (depending on ideological affiliations) either call for a 10% cut or simply holding funding even. If, however, you were to propose a 50% cut then they’d have little choice but to shift to something much closer to what you proposed. Therefore, even if they “win”, you still end up with a 30% cut or something along similar lines.
I heavily advocated this theory after September 11th. Argue for only a limited response, and people will argue for no response at all. Call for a new crusade, and your opponents (or, at least, your more pragmatic opponents) will have to propose something nearly as extreme.
5) Don’t bid when you can be outbid.
Republicans should never fight for social programs because the Democrats are always prepared to offer more. If the GOP were to propose a guaranteed income of $20,000 a year for each American the Democrats would, of course, be prepared to pay $40,000. Therefore, you must find areas where your opponent has a limited (or fixed) area of movement, and push hard in these areas.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
What Hussam Abdo Tells us About the Terrorists
Last Wednesday Israeli forces at a checkpoint in Nablus apprehended a would-be suicide bomber. His name is Hussam Abdo, a sixteen year-old who was recruited to serve as a human bomb in exchange for one hundred Shekels and the promise of seventy-two virgins in Paradise. He is also, unsurprisingly, reported to be mildly mentally retarded. His story tells us a great deal about the nature of modern terrorism and how the strategy we have adopted will allow us to beat the terrorists.
“Sophisticated” people the world over laugh at the futility of trying to fight terrorism with military means. “Terrorism,” they like to remind us, “is caused by poverty and oppression and, until you end those things, you’ll never be able to stop terrorism.” Many of these very same people tell us that Palestinians, suffering under ‘Zionist occupation’, are the most oppressed and impoverished people in the world.
If this is the case, why is there not a suicide bombing in Israel every single day? Why are there not several? Certainly there appears to be no physical limitation on the ability of Hamas to actually make the bombs. The Palestinian territories are not like Japan at the end of the Second World War, where the volunteers for suicide attacks far outstripped the available weapons and, as a result, legions of civilians were armed with all sorts of bizarre contraptions to attempt suicide attacks. Obviously there are no moral scruples restraining the terrorists. So, then, what is it? There is only one thing it can be: a lack of bombers.
A week has passed since the assassination of Sheik Yassin and we have yet to see any of the promised hellish retaliation. Why is this? It could well be that one of these groups is planning a major operation involving dozens of bombers, but I doubt it. In fact, if one were to look closely, I would be willing to bet that there has been no notable upswing of suicide attacks at any point in response to any single Israeli action. Suicide bombers can lose their nerve too easily, too many things can go wrong: these people are being launched off the second that they’re ready.
Within the Palestinian territories the apparatus of terror exists. Indeed through Hamas, Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hezbollah, and the various other groups that exist terror in Israel has become every bit as bureaucratized as the Nazi apparatus of death. They lack not paper pushers, planners, speech-makers, or preachers: they lack for soldiers.
Take a good look at Hussam Abdo. He may be sixteen, but he looks far younger than that. In any case, he’s clearly not terribly bright. He’s the sort of recruit armies accept after they’ve already taken all of the able-bodied and marginally sane men from the jails. He’s a recruit of desperation, a gullible child lured into something by cowardly fanatics. The same goes for the recent decrees allowing the use of female suicide bombers. It’s a common practice to recruit women for military duty when the men have all already been picked through. However, for Moslems to resort to it indicates a real grasping, a real sense of urgency.
Not that this is all good. The obvious next step for Hamas and similar groups of thugs will be to break into homes in the middle of the night, grab the best available male, and simply draft him to be a martyr upon the penalty of the lives of his family. Of course, I imagine that such a tactic would not be sustainable for a very long time. In fact, its adoption would be a very good sign that the last vestige of order in the territories is about to collapse in upon itself.
The terrorist movement in this world consists of a tiny percentage of fanatics, willing to give their lives (and the lives of anyone else they find useful) for their cause. They are backed by another, much larger, contingent of followers. These are the people willing to organize terrorist attacks, but not to conduct them personally. Finally, there is an ever larger group of fair weather fellow travellers. These people are willing to shelter and cheer on the terrorists, so long as they think they can win. They also provide the pool from which new fanatics are drawn after the old ones have done away with themselves one way or another.
Victory comes by putting such military pressure on any terrorist population as to cause this structure to collapse. The fanatics will quickly burn themselves out, and cannot organize well on their own. They will eat away at their own numbers, even if they do cause some damage in the process. This group needs to be exterminated wholesale in order to expedite things. The middle group, the bureaucrats, are powerless without the fanatics to do their bidding. Without fanatics to generate the perception of victory, they will not be able to draw new terrorists from the general population, nor will they be able to create support by offering the possibility of victory. Without leadership to drive things forward, the whole endeavour consumes itself.
By forcing the terrorists into combat and reducing their numbers, Israel is exposing the true impotence of its enemies. Without a proven ability to win, the Palestinian people will not support them. If they will not support them, then they cannot draw the recruits they need to create the perception that they are winning. With the myth of the terrorists shattered, they people of the Islamic world will look to new Gods. Respecting strength as they do, it seems inevitable that they will turn towards the strength which defeated their old leaders.
Keep killing terrorists and the hollowness of their plans will be fully demonstrated to the world. Kill enough and they will become incapable of doing anything productive. Fight them and, ultimately, they will be destroyed.
Friday, March 26, 2004
The New York Riots of 2004
I expect there to be as much (or more) violence at the Republican National Convention in New York City this September as occurred at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. At the very least, the convention will almost certainly bring the worst civil disturbances that the United States has seen since the World Trade Organization met in Seattle. This, of course, is potentially perilous: but it might well also be a magnificent opportunity.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked to see real street battles. The extreme left is angry. Angrier than I’ve ever seen them. And they will be made angrier still by the harsh security measures which will be required to protect the dignitaries in New York. But the right is angry too, and there will be a lot of conservatives converging in New York City for the event. If the left wants to fight, expect the right to fight back.
Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of “protestors” will flood into New York for the convention. They will be joined by various thrill-seekers, malcontents, and trouble-makers. It would be insane not to expect things to get ugly.
This, however, can all be turned to the benefit of President Bush. After all, while there might be occasional clashes between pro and anti-American demonstrators, the majority of the clashes that occur will be between the treason legion and the NYPD (or the National Guard). A few days of seeing that on television (backed by anti-Bush rhetoric) will sour many people who might have otherwise voted for John Kerry. This will be especially true given that, since the people rioting in the streets are a core component of John Kerry’s “base”, he’ll have a hard time denouncing them convincingly. He might not even denounce them at all, and instead curse out the President for being a “divider and not a uniter” while explaining that, as a result of his post-Vietnam activism, he “knows something about riots for real.”
President Bush can use the demonstrations (especially if they’ve turned violent) as a rallying point for both his base and swing voters. While, naturally, the President would have to tactfully dance around the point in his speech, there’d be plenty of Republican commentators around to transmit the meme: Democrats are violent, anti-American anarchists. Perhaps Rudy Giuliani could be brought before the convention to hammer this particular point home.
All of this could easily work to transform the Republican convention from a staid event, barely covered by the media (as opposed to the coverage which is sure to be lavished upon the Democratic Convention) into mesmerizing television with a message. After all, in any riot, the average American identifies far more strongly with those seeking to put down the riot than they do the rioters. Those who romanticism political “activism” of this sort aren’t going to be voting for George Bush in any case.
The enemy at home is as dangerous as the enemy abroad. The course which they advocate means more than the loss of this war: it means the staining of American honor and the dismemberment of American power. The people who will be on the streets hate America and will be given ample time to demonstrate the point.
A battle in the streets of New York City might well be an excellent prelude to the battle in the voting booths. It will crystallize the difference between the parties. The Republicans are the party busy fighting a global war against savages bent on murder and destruction. The Democrats are the party busy appeasing savages bent on murder and destruction both at home and abroad. A multi-day political riot by leftists would give the American people an extended demonstration of every single pathology which afflicts the diseased brains of liberals.
Some will respond to this by pointing out the detrimental effect that the Chicago riots had on Democratic fortunes in 1968. I don’t believe that the situations are comparable. The 1968 riots hurt the Democrats for two reasons: they were partially set off by events on the convention floor and they involved the sort of people who were, broadly, seen as the base of that party. If the riots had been staged by Southern segregationists wearing “Wallace” buttons, I think they would have been seen as something else altogether. That will be the case here.
The average American simply does not feel the hate towards President Bush that the far left feels. Not only do they not feel it, they don’t even understand it. Some of them (the duller, less moral, and less useful ones) might not support him, but they don’t hate him. A lengthy riot by his opponents will hammer home one major point to the average American: these people are crazy, and they support John Kerry.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Ripples of 9-11
People ought to read the actual preliminary reports being released by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (popularly known as the “9-11 Commission”) instead of listening to the confrontational blather of Democrat partisans both on and before the commission and elsewhere. Contrary to what is being widely claimed in the media, the actual findings of the commission do not “blame Bush and Clinton equally,” rather they paint a damning picture of the failure of Democratic policies towards terrorism from the 1990’s. The present-day actions of the left give us no reason to believe that, if given another shot in power, they would correct any of the basic structural flaws in their strategy that made a 9-11 virtually inevitable.
In addressing the question of why 9-11 happened, we must understand that there are two distinct sets of issues at work here. The first is that of the event itself, why 9-11 happened on September 11th, 2001 involving four planes hijacked from two airports with nineteen hijackers onboard. These are the technical issues. The second are those of why the Islamists were in a position to attack the United States in such a way, why they thought that such a course would be successful, and how the conditions which allowed such an attack to occur could have been ameliorated. These are the strategic issues.
The Democrats want to focus on technical issues. This is because these are the ones which can be pinned on the Bush Administration and those which are more easily comprehendible. If only a memo here had been followed up upon, or if a visa check had been performed, or some other clue had been followed-up upon, then the plot might have unraveled. This is all technically true, but misses the deeper point. The primary issue at stake here isn’t (or, at least, shouldn’t be) whether, if all internal security measures worked perfectly, the attack could have been stopped. Had the 9-11 plot been unraveled on Clinton’s watch (and, in fact, several extreme terror plots were detected and stopped by various means) then al-Qaeda would have simply developed another plan, and then another plan: on until they were successful. Relying upon technical measures to stop a mega-terror attack means relying upon your internal security measures to be 100% effective 100% of the time. This is to be hoped for, of course, but to count on it (and plan based upon this assumption) is insane.
One report quotes the Bush Administration, on coming to power, as being frustrated with the strategy of “swatting flies” as pursued by the Clinton Administration. That was exactly correct. It may well be, as Richard Clarke told the commission on Wednesday, that the Clinton Administration had “no higher priority” than terrorism but, if that is the case, then it seems obvious to me that this “highest priority” fell into the same trap as all of the other “high priorities” during the Clinton Administration: most of the effort expended on the issue was spent talking over reasons not to do anything. The military section of the report on the Clinton Administration and al-Qaeda is a chronicle of excuses.
In the later years of his Presidency, Clinton repeatedly had Bin Laden in his sights and refused to pull the trigger. Each time he (or someone within his Administration) was dissuaded from firing by grossly exaggerated fears of civilian dead (in one case it reports that, from a single missile strike, they feared that there would be three thousand civilian dead. Given that this number is roughly the equal of those estimated by leftists to have been killed in the entire war, these numbers are implausible, to say the least), by cries that more American “mad bombing” would enrage the world, and various other sundry concerns.
People like to point out that both the Bush and Clinton Administrations failed to retaliate for the bombing of the USS Cole. This, however, misses the point. The Clinton people failed to fight back because they felt that the death of nearly twenty US servicemen and the near-sinking of a billion dollar Destroyers was “insufficient provocation” and that there wasn’t “sufficient proof” of al-Qaeda’s involvement. The Bush Administration rejected direct retaliation for the Cole because they weren’t interested in playing a game of blow-by-blow diplomacy with a gang of sub-human murderers. They wanted to wipe them out.
There are no indications that the Democrats have since changed their approach to terror to any reasonable degree. Just as, before 9-11, they viewed terrorism as a manageable problem, one easily controlled by law enforcement and “international action”, so they still view it today.
The Democrats, in essence, want to “manage” terrorism whereas the Republicans want to destroy it. This is the critical difference between the two on this issue. In their heart of hearts the Democrats and their confederates believe their rhetoric. They see this, as they see nearly all things, through the lens of Vietnam. They don’t think that terrorism can really be beaten. Or, even if they believe it could, they believe that the price would be too high in terms of their political goals. War, they believe, will reinforce Republicanism among the people. If the people really believe that there is a War on Terrorism, then Republicans will come to dominate the White House just as they did after the Democrats blew their credibility on Cold War issues.
Forget al-Qaeda strategy, for the moment. They are already committed to this war. Had things been otherwise, they might have been dissuaded from launching it. But it is upon us. We can argue over exactly why this war began in a few decades, when it is over. Does anyone sane really not believe that we are in this war now? If we are, then we must win it.
The Democrats don’t have a strategy for fighting terror: they have a plan for managing its political consequences. A Democratic Administration will respond to any terror attack with tough rhetoric and Cruise Missiles, then they will exploit it to press their domestic agenda. I don’t believe that even a nuclear bomb in one of America’s great cities would wake them up. A basic hostility towards American strength has been weaved into their souls by decades of poisonous lies. They cannot be trusted to defend this Republic against its enemies.
Vote for Me!
I'm playing an online game. Part of that game is an "Iowa Straw Poll". In encourage all of you to go and vote for me. I fully realize that at least as many of you will vote against me as for me but, well, such are the risks of life.
Death is the Solution
From the reaction to the Israeli assassination of Hamas’ “Spiritual Leader”, Sheik Yasin, in some quarters you’d have thought that the Israelis had entered and defiled the Church of the Nativity. No, wait, it was the Palestinians who did that. Well, forget about that then. The primary reaction from European and Western sources was to exclaim their hatred for Yasin’s role in the mass-murder of innocent Israelis, but an equal concern for the fate of the so-called “peace process”. Frankly, I can barely speak the word without spitting it out. As Patrick Henry said, “Peace? But there is no peace. The war is actually begun.”
The only regret I have about Israel’s actions against Sheik Yasin is that they didn’t bomb his funeral procession. Anyone showing up to pay their respects to that man deserved to die. Such an action would have brought about a very great reduction in the terrorist population of the territories.
It’s time that we all face facts: there will never be peace in Israel so long as the Palestinians remain determined to wipe Israel from the map. Anyone who believes for a single second that the creation of a Palestinian microstate in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would alleviate the problem is deluding themselves. At Camp David four years ago, Ehud Barak offered Arafat everything that the Palestinians could ever hope to get from Israel and then some. Arafat turned him down without making so much as a counter-offer and, as frightening as it sounds, whoever finally follows Arafat is likely to be much less of a “moderate” than he. Make no mistake: this is a fight to the death. It will be over only when one side destroys the other altogether.
So what is Israel to do? Should we expect it to meekly submit to its own destruction? Do we honestly think that, if we were in the same position, we would tolerate the random murder of civilians on a regular basis? Understand this: as a percentage of the population, every Israeli Jew lost is roughly the same as sixty Americans. I do not mean this in the sense of worth; I mean that in terms of how each loss is felt across the nation as a whole. Imagine if Chicago lost a dozen people in a suicide bombing about every other week. As a percentage of the population, Israel’s thousand dead is the rough equivalent of 60,000 dead. If there were 60,000 Americans killed, at random, across the country how many do you think you would have known? As percentage of the population, Israel’s seven thousand casualties would be the equivalent of 420,000. Do you think you would have known any of them? Or been any of them?
Israel is in a war. To expect them to simply make “peace” with those who have murdered scores of their people at random is an absurdity. There can be no peace with killers and savages.
In the long term, there is only a single plausible solution: the transfer of the Palestinian and potentially disloyal Israeli Arab populations. Absent this, it is inevitable that Israel will be destroyed by either military force or demographic trends. As Benny Morris, the foremost chronicler of the original displacement of the Arab population of Israel has explained, the ultimate survival of Israel depends upon the coercive relocation of the Moslems located within Israel’s borders.
Now, naturally, this will not be possible absent a major crisis. The outrage of the international community, were Israel to undertake such a policy as a bolt from the blue, would be such that it could conceivably even bring some sort of international action against Israel. Such a policy could only be implemented in the immediate aftermath of a major atrocity against the Israeli people.
So what, then, is the solution? First of all, provisions and plans must be made for the displacement of the Palestinians under emergency conditions. After all, without such plans, the aftermath of a nuclear attack would probably feature only limited attacks by localized groups against the Palestinians, versus a concerted effort to assure Israel’s long-term security.
In the interim, the Israeli Government must walk a fine line. It cannot lose international support, but it also cannot allow the development of a Palestinian state which would receive international recognition. Second, it must protect its own citizens from terrorist attacks. To me, this calls for a policy of building (and strengthening) the defensive wall around Israel, which will keep out individual suicide bombers, and for stonewalling on any negotiations (or, better yet, engaging in and then disrupting them ad naseum).
The solution called for is more death for Palestinian terrorists, their supporters, and their sympathizers.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
The Two-Election Strategy
(This article, of course, is about Canadian politics. Those here for my insanity on other issues will have to wait a few hours. AY)
If Prime Minister Paul Martin drops the writ in early April for a May election, as is now generally considered likely, I believe that the result will be a Conservative minority government. While the Liberals hold a lead in the polls, that lead is soft, and would almost certainly erode under campaigning. A Conservative pick-up of about forty seats nation-wide, combined with Liberal losses in Quebec and scattered New Democratic gains, would result in the next Parliament looking something like this: 115 Conservatives, 100 Liberals, 55 Bloc Québécois, and thirty-eight New Democrats. On looking at these numbers I see two things: first, barring a Liberal disaster of unanticipated proportions, this is about the best that can be expected. With a lot of luck, perhaps the Conservatives could poach another ten seats from the Liberals and NDP, but not many more than that. Moreover, I see no likely scenario where the Conservatives are going to get the 155 members needed to form a majority government. This, I believe, might just be what the Liberals have in mind.
So, it’s the day after the next election. The jubilant Conservatives, with the most seats, are invited to form the next government. Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper prepares to move into 24 Sussex. But how on earth is this new government to govern? A coalition with the NDP is out, for obvious reasons. Ditto one with the Liberals. The only way to survive even the first day of the new Parliament will be to cut a deal with the Bloc whereby they’ll sustain the government on important votes in exchange for some sort of devolution of Federal rights to the Provinces. But such an arrangement would be unstable, at best. Moreover, it would open up the Conservatives to accusations of “consorting with separatists.”
Now, let’s stipulate (for the sake of argument) that such an arrangement will survive for a few months, at least. How does this new Conservative government get anything resembling a ‘conservative’ budget through the Commons? The short answer is this: it can’t. The Bloc (the only possible partners in the House) won’t agree to any such budget without the Conservatives making unacceptable concessions to Quebec. So then, what comes next must be obvious: there will have to be a second election. Almost certainly within a year, perhaps within a few months.
This is where the Liberals’ strategy reaches its climax. An election (and any number of other controversies having since passed) means that the party (and its surrogates) can shout, “Old News!” whenever someone tries to bring up the Sponsorship Scandal. Moreover, many ‘average’ Canadian voters will feel that the Liberals, having lost office over the scandal, have been sufficiently punished. Worse still (for the Conservatives), the Liberals will have three new lines of attack in the second campaign.
First, they will (if a Conservative government has been sustained by the Bloc) accusing the party of coddling the separatists and thereby endangering the future of the Canadian federation. They will point to how the Mulroney-era effort to bring “soft nationalists” into that Tory government led to the 1995 referendum and the near-termination of Canada. This argument will not fly in Conservative strongholds in the West, but it might well work in newly-won Conservative ridings in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
Second, they will argue that the Conservatives are simply incapable of forming a majority government and that, therefore, a vote for them is effectively a vote for a third election sometime in the not-too-distant future. This can be played up both in financial terms and in an effort to win over the politically-weary.
Third, they will seek to paint the Conservatives as the, “enemy of mainstream Canadians.” It is natural that a new Conservative government (with a usually-large number of rookie MP’s) would make any number of mistakes, especially ones of the sort which could be portrayed as “politically incorrect” and therefore used to paint all Conservatives as extremists.
Paul Martin, of course, could add to all of this by continuing to campaign against the corruption of the Chrétien Government as though he were the Leader of the Opposition and not the former Finance Minister. While the media might remind us of his role during the upcoming election, they’ll be tired of the story by the next one and eager to beat up on the Conservatives. He’ll also be able to take credit to the revelation of any new Liberal-related scandals by claiming that their revelation is the result of his anti-corruption drive during his time as Prime Minister.
As well, if faced with a spell of political instability and the possibility of a Conservative government, a great number of nominal Liberal supporters who will vote New Democrat as a protest in a May vote will revert to their Liberal pedigree in a second election.
Of course, this might all be totally off-the-wall speculation. Only time will tell as to that. But, as we head towards an election, we all ought to keep in mind that no one has ever suggested that the Liberals are not devious and politically clever. Eleven years of corruption have dug them a real hole, one they’ll have to fight to get out of.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Jennifer Garner gave $5000 to Democrats last year. In fact, she gave it to four different Democratic Presidential candidates. All on the same day- December 15, 2003. It sounds to me like, the day after Saddam was captured, she was so despondent that she gave money to four leaders of the party of treason.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Would the Democrats Have Stopped the Terrorists?
Over the last few days the media has gone into overdrive pushing the latest Democratic talking points which hold that the Bush Administration is responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks because they “failed to act” against al-Qaeda in the eight and a half months that elapsed between when they took office and the attacks. Some versions of this story hold that the Bush Administration was “handed a plan” to destroy the terrorists when they took office and failed to act upon it because they were obsessed with Missile Defense and Iraq. To say that, given the sources, they accusations lack credibility is a lot like saying that Britney Spears is just a little slutty.
Richard Clarke’s new book Against All Enemies is soaking up a lot more coverage than it deserves. Clarke, it appears, is a partisan Democrat. Records suggest that he’s made donations to two Democratic Congressional candidates, and his best friend is Rand Beers, who is John Kerry’s leading foreign policy advisor. This is a man who was, within the Bush Administration, denied the high office he thought he deserved (presumably that of Secretary of Homeland Security) so he turned hostile.
There’s a common myth these days (typically repeated by Iraq War opponents) that “everyone” supported the post 9-11 invasion of Afghanistan. This is simply untrue. A poll taken in November of 2001 showed that 26% of respondents opposed sending American troops to Afghanistan and other polls showed broadly similar numbers. And, in any case, a fair number of the supporters of the invasion played the whole thing passive-aggressively. If you were paying attention, you’ll remember the type. Mostly liberals (and people who would go on to oppose the invasion of Iraq), these people would affirm their support of action in Afghanistan, and then would state all sorts of reasons why it was a bad idea, likely to fail, etc. “We must respond to terror, but the Administration is failing to consider (the Arab Street/the Fierce Afghan Winter/the armies swallowed up by Afghanistan’s harsh terrain/whatever),” they would say.
Now, by many accounts, the Bush Administration was already making plans for military action in Afghanistan before September 11th. This fact has, indeed, been citied by the conspiratorially-minded opponents of the President as “proof” that the 9-11 was launched to provide an excuse for the seizure of Central Asian oil (it’s always the oil with those people). However, it is absurd for the critics of the President to pretend that they’d have been all for a preemptive war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
I can hear their complaints now. They’d have been the same as those used before the Iraq War, but multiplied because the advocates would not have had September 11th to help them make their point. We’d have been treated to lengthy discussions of all the difficulty of the task, how it would provoke terrorism, how it would cause the collapse of “moderate” Moslem governments, how it would result in a humanitarian disaster, and how the Europeans opposed it.
When was this invasion going to be launched, anyways? It took a few months for the Administration to simply take charge and it would have taken another several months (more even, given that this was pre 9-11) to secure the necessary backing in the region. Recall, the invasion of Afghanistan managed to come off so quickly because of the impetus provided by the attacks. Looking at the length of the Gulf War build-up, and all of the necessary diplomatic wrangling, six months of planning, deployment, and diplomacy does not seem to be an unrealistic figure. Add two months to that for the Administration merely to take charge and get its bearings and that makes the projected D-Day September 20th, 2001.
In any case, I have a hard time believing that the Clinton Administration proposed anything that would have really helped to stop the terrorists. After all, just a few months before Bush took office, Clinton’s national security team declined to retaliate for the attack on the USS Cole because they did not, in the words of Defense Secretary William Cohen, consider it to be a “sufficient provocation.” Yeah, those were the sort of people busy planning a preemptive war.
Oh, and does anyone think for a second that the Europeans would have been for this war? If so, what gives you that idea? After all, a lot of people in Europe opposed the invasion of Afghanistan after 9-11. Is it not the case that keeping our European “friends” happy ought to be the core goal of American foreign policy?
Clinton was in office for eight years. He did nothing to stop the terrorists. In fact, by retreating under fire from Somalia he emboldened them. Osama Bin Laden himself has explained this fact (which ought to have been self-evident in any case). Clinton’s weakness led directly to September 11th, this should be obvious to any fair observer.
When Clinton ordered the withdrawal from Somalia after the “Blackhawk Down” incident (which could have been prevented if his Defense Secretary had allowed the commander on the ground there to have the equipment he asked for) it convinced Bin Laden and his comrades that the United States was weak and cowardly: that it would run from a real fight.
So Bin Laden set out to drive Americans from the Islamic world by killing enough to them to scare them away. Murder enough Americans, he calculated, and they will decided to wash their hands of the Middle East (and Israel as well), opting for dishonor rather than death. When his initial attacks failed to cause a withdrawal (but also failed to bring a serious response) he concluded that the problem was that the attacks had been too small to be seriously felt by the American people. So he launched a bigger attack. And here we are.
All these attacks on the Administration are little more than an effort to deflect attention from this fact and the additional salient fact that Democrats have no real plan for fighting terrorism beyond sarcasm. Not to say that they don’t have a plan for dealing with terrorism in terms of politics: that they do have.
The obvious thing to me is that, especially from a the perspective of a Democratic President, the best way to respond to terrorism politically is to talk tough, launch some strikes that look good on TV, and then to use the attacks to bolster partisan political projects.
When I think upon it, the response of a Gore Administration to September 11th would have gone something like this. There would have been a military response, probably a combination of air strikes on al-Qaeda targets and perhaps a few Special Forces strikes. I doubt if there would have been any serious effort to overthrow the Taliban. Certainly there would have been no invasion of Iraq. No intense effort like those seen in the last two and a half years. They probably would have pushed for the ratification of the Kyoto Treaty (as a way of winning international support). Oh, and they would have pushed Israel to do a deal with the killer Yassir Arafat. They’d have also pushed for the International Criminal Court: the better to help cooperation against terror, don’t you know. No one can imagine a President Al Gore waging a war like President Bush has, can they? Can you imagine a President John Kerry doing so?
This whole dispute smacks of Democratic desperation. They understand that, John Kerry’s immature taunts aside, if this election is fought on issues of terrorism and national security they will lose. So they’re trying to play their trump card: to blame Bush for 9-11. That they’re doing this so early seemingly suggests to me that they’ve determined that they must do something to arrest Kerry’s sudden loss of momentum. It is especially notable that the release of Clarke’s book was suddenly brought up a full month: don’t think that to be simply a coincidence.
The real question here is this: which Presidential candidate will best be able to kill the terrorists? I don’t think that any sane person questions that the answer to that is simple: George Walker Bush. There’s no “nuance” to be had here. We are in a fight against a monstrous foe, one which means to destroy our civilization. This is a fight that we must win. It is the battle of all decent and moral humans.
More on Yasin
They had a picture of what was left of Yasin last night (far too brutal to reprint here), which left me thinking about something from the Simpsons:
"Here's an appealing fellow. I fact, they're a-peeling him off the sidewalk."
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Israel Kills "Spiritual Leader" of Hamas
A few thoughts. Good on them, first of all. Word is that Prime Minister Sharon personally directed the operation. He's still got it, I suppose. The real question is: what the hell took so long?
They really blew the bastard apart too. All the better.
The other day someone speculated that when these Moslem "martyrs" die they meet, rather than seventy-two virgins, seventy-two Virginians. And pissed-off ones at that. Sounds good to me.
Expect Yasin's funeral tomorrow to be huge. Frankly, I can't help but thinking that it would be a target-rich environment. Simply napalm the whole damned thing. Anyone who'd go out to mourn that man deserves death.
Richard Clarke, Democrat
The various charges being made former counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke are, it goes without saying, entirely partisan in nature.
Here's some more proof:
In 2002 and 2003 an individual identified as Mr. Richard Clarke of Alexandria, Virginia made two political contributions. One to Steven Andreasen, a Democrat running for the House in Minnesota and another to Jamie Metzl, a Democrat running for the House in Missouri.
Now, of course, it's possible that this could be a different Richard Clarke (we suffered that problem in the "Bush AWOL" case re: William Turnipseed), but I don't think so. For one thing, this Clarke is, in the 2002 contribution, listed as a civil servant (which Clarke would have been at that time) and in 2003 as a "consultant" (between 2002 and the 2003 contribution Clarke left government service). Second, both candidates have ties to the "Carnegie Endowment for International Peace", to which Clarke also seems tied.
This is a fellow auditioning to be the Secretary of Homeland Security in a Kerry Administration. Consider every word he now speaks to be a lie.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Was John Kerry Involved in a Plot to Murder Members of the Senate?
On the evening September 11th, 1970: thirty-one years to the day before al-Qaeda’s attack on America, John Forbes Kerry was sitting in a room somewhere with the other leaders of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, engaged in a busy meeting of the Executive Committee. Among other things they discussed plans to brand all American soldiers as “war criminals” (literally so, in the form of demonstrations outside of induction centers, “for the purpose of making clear the transition between citizen and war criminal”) and making plans for a speaking tour starring fake Vietnam veteran Al Hubbard and unindicted traitor Jane Fonda. In other words, thirty-four years ago, John Kerry was engaged in the heady work slandering and insulting America’s fighting men and consorting with liars and traitors. Little has changed since.
I don’t think that many people yet understand just how radical John Kerry was during the early 1970’s. As a leader of one of the major anti-war organizations (one which was so anti-American that it ordered the American flag hauled down at all of its offices and engaged in private negotiations with an enemy holding American prisoners and still engaged in battle with the United States) Kerry was certainly much more radical than Bill Clinton who, for all that he was derided as a “Hippy” was more a poseur among that crowd than anything else. During this period, John Kerry was associated with many people who were openly allied with the enemies of the United States.
Now, naturally, this will all be down-played by the media (“it was over thirty years ago!” liberal commentators will shout with the same earnestness that they told us a few months ago that Bush’s dental records from Alabama merely, “proved that his teeth were there, not that he was there”). But still, there’s one potentially explosive issue lurking in all of this: something which has, to date, been ignored by a mainstream media whose bias and heavy-breathing on the “Bush AWOL” issue (now fully exposed as a lie) was so blatant that it even made I, I hard-nosed and long-term observer of media bias, sick. To date, this story has only been seriously discussed in print by one reporter: Thomas Lipscomb of the New York Sun, who provided a great deal of the information I have relied upon in writing this.
Here’s the story in brief: from the 12th through the 15th of November in 1971, VVAW held a major meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. At that meeting a formal proposal was put forward before the organization to assassinate a number of pro-war United States Senators including Strom Thurmond, John Stennis, and John Tower.
The proposal was put forward by Scott Camil, a particularly ardent anti-war activist. Shockingly (given the supposedly “non-violent” nature of VVAW) this was not simply dismissed out of hand. Instead, fearing that they might be overheard by government agents, the senior members of the group relocated to a position on the outskirts of the city, where they debated and voted upon the issue! The vote was defeated, though there is debate over the margin of defeat. None of this is disputed.
Neither, at this point, is it seriously disputed that Kerry was at the meeting. The present line of his campaign, in view of several individuals who place him at the meeting along with FBI surveillance records which say the same, is that the Senator may have been there, but he neither remembers being there nor the reason why he quit the organization. Also at issue is whether Kerry actually quit the group at that time or if he merely quit his position on its executive.
It seems impossible to me that John Kerry would not remember whether he was at the meeting where he personally quite the organization which catapulted him to national fame. FBI records say he was there, other people say he was there: they recall because he gave an extended speech attacking Al Hubbard, another leader of the group, and then delivered a dramatic personal resignation. Why wouldn’t he remember? Given this stunning lapse of memory why isn’t the media, which spent several years spreading every hint of a lie about George W. Bush’s supposed “drug use” looking into the question of just how many drugs the French-looking Senator was doing at the time?
Think about this for a moment: we had weeks of acrimony over charges that President Bush blew off a few National Guard drills in 1972. The media (and the left) demanded “answers” and “evidence.” Now we have a case where the presumptive Democratic nominee for the august office of President of the United States, himself a United States Senator, may have actually debated the merits of and then voted upon a resolution which would have, effectively, authorized the assassination of a number of members of the United States Senate. Even accepting the accounts of those who say that Kerry voted, “no” on the motion, this is still a deeply alarming issue. After all, there’s no evidence that Kerry, on hearing deadly serious talk about assassinating officials of the Untied States, reported it to the proper authorities. If he did, let him say so: and let the proof in the matter be produced.
This was not the idle musing of some disgruntled do-nothing. Scott Camil had gone so far as to recruit assassins and parcel out targets. As I read it that is, in and of itself, a violation of any number of criminal laws (leaving aside regular criminal laws, it would also be a Federal Crime as the individuals targeted were Senators).
Some might seize upon John Kerry’s simultaneous resignation from his position on the Executive Committee as exculpatory evidence. It is nothing of the sort. If I were to go to a club meeting tomorrow, and the fellow members of the club began to seriously plan the assassination of a public official (even if they were only a minority of the membership), it would not be enough for merely to get up and wash my hands of the matter. On learning of an assassination plot, it is not enough to say, “Well, it isn’t my thing.” One who knows of a conspiracy to commit murder has a legal obligation to disclose that knowledge to the authorities.
In any case, Kerry still seems to have retained a link to the organization after these events. An AP report dated January 11th, 1972 describes him as being “head of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” A New York Times story dated January 26th 1972 describes him as, “a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” He is identically described in another Associated Press story dated April 22, 1972. Now, these might well have simply been errors: but they sure seem like awfully persistent ones.
This issue needs to be seriously explored. I cannot think of many plausible accusations of equal seriousness which could be made. If George Bush’s medical records from 1972 are an issue, then surely the possibility that John Kerry remained silent about a conspiracy to murder a number of United States Senators is at least an issue that deserves equal attention.
Oh, and there’s an interesting final note on this. Guess whose campaign Scott Camil has been offered a job with?
Friday, March 19, 2004
More on Why Kerry Will Lose
I think that this has the potential to be a big deal. The story is simple, but telling. While Snowboarding in Idaho the other day (and leaving aside the absurdity of having a nearly sixty year old man Snowboarding), a Secret Service agent accidentally ran into John Kerry and knocked him over.
Now, bear in mind, this is a Federal Law Enforcement officer- one who could take a bullet for John Kerry. He accidentally bumped into him only in the course of seeking to protect him from possible harm.
Asked about the fall sometime thereafter, Kerry said ("sharply," according to the conservative New York Times) that, "I don't fall down," the "son of a bitch knocked me over." Now, I don't know about you, but calling a Secret Service agent (who was merely trying to do his job) a "son of a bitch" sounds rather unprecedented to me. Extremely so, in fact. Can you imagine the storm that would be set off if President Bush said such a thing?
There's something lacking in the character of John Kerry. He seems to fancy himself a nobleman or something. How else can one explain such an awful reaction?
We'll hear more about this, I'm sure.
Andrew Sullivan's Distortions
In what sounds to me like a grasping attempt to induce Republican apostasy, Andrew Sullivan speculates that a President Kerry would be forced to be tougher on terror as President because, as a Democrat, he'd suffer a credibility gap in this area. This is patent nonsense.
What this problem would mean, in practice, is that President Kerry would talk really, really, tough on the terrorists, and then try to bolster his record with a laundry list of useless (but nice-sounding) micro-accomplishments. ("We've secured an accord with Bolivia, Kenya, and Burma for mutual cooperation against terror. By fighting in a multilateral fashion...")
The difference between the two is stark and obvious. John Kerry will be tough on terror: as tough as he minimally has to be to build his credibility on the issue. George W. Bush has shown, again and again, that he will be as tough on terror as he can get away with. These are, to put it mildly, very different things.
On a related note: I've yet to hear anything from Andrew on the bet I've offered him. He claims that the Full Faith and Credit clause will not be used to force recognition of Massachusetts gay marriages in other states. I'm willing to bet him $250 that, within one year of the first gay marriages being performed there, the Full Faith and Credit clause will be legally used to support recognition of these marriages by another state.
Drop him a line and encourage him to take the bet. After all, if he's right (and he seems awfully sure of it), I'd have to send him two day's pay (and, given the value of the Canadian dollar, closer to three).
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Kerry Will Lose
I’m going to make a prediction. It might sound foolish at this stage and it’s certainly true that I’ve made predictions in the past that have turned out to be wildly long, but I’m going to make it anyways: John Kerry is going to lose this election, and lose it badly.
The first truly ominous sign for Kerry since his sudden rise after Iowa is the surprisingly strong candidacy of Ralph Nader. Given the widespread perception that Nader cost Gore the last election, and the supposed fact that Democrats are united and energized because of their “anger” towards President Bush, I would have expected Nader to poll no more than 1-2%: all hardcore leftists who weren’t going to vote for a “corporate” Democrat anyways. Yet recent polls have consistently shown Nader with five or six percent support. In other words, at the present time, he’s polling double his final score in 2000. A recent CBS/New York Times poll showed Bush beating Kerry by eight points with Nader claiming a full 7% of registered voters. And, of course, the New York Times is hardly an outfit known for generating polling data which is favourable to the GOP.
People will tell me that I’m foolish to put much stock in polls at this stage in the game. I agree in that polls at this time are useless for judging final election results. But they are strong indicators of attitudes. Many mocked me when, in November and December of last year, I said that Howard Dean’s standing in national polls of Democrats showed that he was too weak to win the nomination. Despite all of the free publicity he got, all the accolades, Dean could never climb much over 25% in national preference polls for the nomination. This, in my opinion, indicated that there was some sort of innate resistance to Dean among a majority of Democrats and that, as soon as the field of candidates shrunk, Dean would be easily defeated.
Now what I see in the polls is this: Democrats are unenthusiastic about John Kerry, are willing to bolt to a third party in potentially dangerous numbers, and are unsure as to why they ought to support him. The man looks like someone who could be President. That’s about the sum of it. He was the safe choice.
Very partisan Democrats are very angry with this President and this Administration, there’s no denying that. But those people would vote for any Democrat for President, regardless of any other factors. Kerry has their votes locked up: but where else is he going to pick up votes?
Anyone who thinks that John Kerry is going to pick up more than a handful of votes from Republicans is suffering from a severe case of Pauline Kael syndrome. “My life-long Republican aunt is voting for Kerry,” does not, in my opinion, constitute evidence of widespread support. Not a single prominent Republican is behind John Kerry. Democrats like Georgia Senator Zell Miller and former New York Mayor Ed Koch are for Bush. There are no indications of a great love for Kerry among independents. Indeed, in open primaries, John Kerry attracted far less support from independents than John Edwards.
Additionally, the presence of Nader in the race makes it much harder for Kerry to shift his positions on national security issues: something he will need to do in order to compete with Bush in the fall campaign. If Kerry moves to a more hawkish position on defense, not only will he suffer attacks for flip-flopping, but he’ll also probably lose votes to Nader. And, I might add, Howard Dean’s hard-core constituency is still floating about. While these people weren’t enough to win him any primaries, they were a sizable percentage of Democratic primary voters.
I can easily see a situation arising where, with Kerry falling in the polls under the weight of Bush’s attacks on his defense record, a shift to the right by him is met with a call by former Dean supporters to “send the Democratic Party a message” in the fall. Given that, by most accounts, Howard Dean himself feels that he was done in largely by malfeasance on the part of the party, it is easy to see him, with a wink, only tepidly denouncing such actions.
The rushed primary season has resulted in a situation where the Democratic nominee has not been properly tested under the stresses of a campaign. In retrospect, the nomination was pretty much sewn up when Howard Dean lost Iowa. Gephardt was out, Dean’s dream had been shattered, Clark’s campaign suddenly stripped of its rationale, and Joe Lieberman was a lost cause. That left just John Edwards and John Kerry. John Edwards had nothing but a smile and a demagogic stump speech which, for all the new ideas it contained, could have been stolen from Huey Long. In the end it was John Forbes Kerry by what Homer Simpson once called the, “two sweetest words in the English language”: de-fault.
One thing which has been quickly exposed by the heat of a real campaign is that Kerry is dangerously gaffe-prone. Now some Democrats will, I’m sure, quickly throw in my face examples of the President’s occasionally mangled syntax. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Democrats, for whatever reason, believe the fact that George Bush occasionally mispronounces words to be extremely damning. I don’t think that the American people agree. Frankly, I think it makes the Democrats look petty, pedantic, and irrelevant.
What I’m talking about is the fact that John Kerry seems given to saying things which are stupid in their substance, rather than their form. No experienced politician ought to call his opponents crooks and liars: that’s what surrogates are for. Kerry’s claim that foreign leaders support him, given his negatives, was simply insane. His follow-up to it was even more baffling. First he claimed that it was no one’s business which foreign leaders supported him. Then he, in essence, told a voter who asked him about it to shut up. Now his campaign has issued a statement explaining that it considers the endorsement of Kerry by foreign leaders to be undesirable. Given the attacks on him for flip-flopping, his remark the other day that, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion (for Iraqi Reconstruction) before I voted against it” was colossally stupid.
Frankly, I think that Kerry is about to be torn to shreds. Everyone has already heard every negative thing about George W. Bush that’s going to manage to stick. There’s still lots to learn about John Kerry. His treasonous behavior while he was a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (where he apparently participated in private negotiations with communist leaders and voted upon a resolution calling for the assassination of a number of US Senators) is not yet widely known. Nor, for that matter, are his positions on any number of issues. His defense votes, his position on the death penalty, his position on gay marriage: all of these are not yet widely known. Yet, if he tries to shift to the right on any of them, he’ll suffer both attacks for flip-flopping and he’ll suffer defections to Nader.
It now seems clear that having the Bush campaign lead with the charge that Kerry is prone to flip-flops (as opposed to attacking his liberalism) was a truly inspired strategy. It’s worked and the media has picked up on it. Just as it was a common theme in 2000 that Al Gore often concocted bizarre lies about himself (“I’m the basis for Love Story”, “I invented the internet”, “I discovered Love Canal”, “my mother-in-law is taking a dog’s prescription drugs”), it seems clear to me that a common theme in this campaign will be that John Kerry says anything for support. Because of this, every time he tries to shift his positions on the issues, we’ll get a little media tempest about the latest “flip-flop.” Now the attacks on Kerry’s liberalism will have a much greater effect because his range of options has narrowed.
If Kerry falls in the polls before the convention, do not be shocked to see someone try to get back into the race. I could see Howard Dean giving it a shot (“we can’t win without the new voters I brought into this race”), I can see Hillary Clinton giving it a shot, and I could see Al Gore doing it as well. There might, indeed, be others.
Even beyond that, it doesn’t strike me as inconceivable that the Democrats might, even in October, try and pull the same stunt they did in New Jersey in 2002. Imagine this. It’s the first of October and tracking polls show Bush/Cheney with 53% support, Kerry/Edwards with 37% support, and Ralph Nader with 8% of the vote. However, polls show that in a Bush versus Edwards match-up, the results are Bush 47%, Edwards 42%, and Nader 7%. This works for any Democratic running-mate who gets a wave of positive publicity. Would you put it beyond the Democrats to, with a few weeks to go, force a lagging Kerry from the top of the ticket in favor of a better-polling running mate? I sure wouldn’t.
I may turn out to be totally wrong. We’ll see. I’ve got a fair record in these things. I called the correct number of Republican Senate wins in 2002 (I got two races wrong: I thought that the GOP would win South Dakota and lose Georgia). I said that the Passion of the Christ would gross hundreds of millions ages ago, and was mocked for it. I said that Dean was going to flame out, and people laughed. I said that the Beltway Sniper was a Moslem, and people said I was crazy- everyone knew it was a white militia member. I said that the 3/11 bombing in Madrid was al-Qaeda, and people said I was crazy. Not to say I’ve always been right: but I think I’ve got a fair track record in these things.
Let’s wait and see. Or, in the words of another fellow: bring – it – on.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Election 2004: Bush v. Bin Laden
I have said it many times before: the War on Terrorism cannot be won in a day, but it can be lost in one. There can be no more effective demonstration of this dictum than the recent election results in Spain. For all that we fear it; al-Qaeda’s actual forces are so small that, if they were to attempt to fight a traditional open battle, they would probably be destroyed by a single Spanish brigade. Yet it was al-Qaeda that beat Spain. Already their propagandists are crowing about the “conquest of Madrid” and proclaiming a truce to allow Spain to bend to its will. The cowardly reaction of a plurality of the Spanish people will bring a hundred times as many recruits to the ranks of our enemies as the Iraq War did. Only a very small percentage of people are willing to volunteer to die in a doomed cause. A much larger percentage is willing to fight in a victorious one. The spin-offs of the defeat of Spain will provide more evidence to prove one of Donald Rumsfeld’s famous rules: weakness is provocative.
In one of his post 9-11 missives, Osama Bin Laden explained that, “when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, naturally they will like the strong horse.” This is a comment that has never received the attention it truly deserves. It is, in my opinion, the key to answering the question of why 9-11 happened.
September 11th didn’t happen because America was too strong, or because it supported Israel, or because it placed sanctions on Iraq, or because it had troops in Saudi Arabia: it happened because al-Qaeda thought that America was weak. While it is true that all the things I have listed helped to motivate the attackers, they have very little to do with why the attack was planned and took place. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the leaders of Islamism are not insane or irrational. They are, in fact, working towards a very obvious goal: the restoration of Islam to the first rank of powers in the world (and eventually to absolute power) and they are going about that goal in a very specific way.
Step into the mind of Osama Bin Laden for a moment and look at the history of relations between Islam and the West during the 1980’s and 1990’s. When Iranian radicals took the personnel of the US embassy hostage, the United States did not respond with any sort of real force. When Hezbollah bombed the Marine barracks in Beirut, the Americans launched a few ineffectual attacks and then withdrew. When they bombed the World Trade Centre, the Khobar Towers, the Embassies in Nairobi and Dars-e-Salaam, and the USS Cole the American response was tepid, at best. When they killed eighteen US servicemen in Somalia, the forces were pulled out.
In fact, only twice in that period did the United States respond seriously to acts of Moslem aggression against the West: in 1986 President Reagan authorized the bombing of Libya and in 1991 President Bush launched Operation Desert Storm. However, both of these actions were incomplete, at best. Qadaffi and Saddam remained in power and the United States failed to support anti-Saddam uprisings. After 1991, with the exception of a few wasted Cruise Missiles in 1998, the United States didn’t respond to terrorism at all, except to run from it in Somalia. The one major war of the Clinton years was waged in such an obsessively casualty-adverse way that it became something of a pathetic spectacle.
Now, if you were Bin Laden, what would you conclude from this? I’d conclude that the United States was weak, unwilling to spill blood. They’d fight if pushed hard enough, but they’d run away after a few deaths. The series of al-Qaeda attacks through the last decade of the 20th century had an obvious purpose: to push America had enough to cause them to cut and run like the Spaniards have. That was the concept of operations on September 11th. Prior attacks, al-Qaeda reasoned, had not made the Americans run because they were so small as to go generally unnoticed by the public at large. So they decided to hit the United States hard, believing that it would respond with vicious rhetoric backed up by a Nerf bat, just as it did during the Clinton years.
The plan is obvious: hit the decadent “Crusaders” enough and they’ll decide that you aren’t worth the trouble of bothering. Once they are gone, you can overthrow all of their puppets in the region and restore the Caliphate. When that is done, Islam can recover its “lost lands” (notably the Kingdom of Andalusia in Spain) and resume its historic march into Europe which was checked at Tours by Charles Martel in 732 and at Vienna by Jan Sobieski in 1683.
Now, this plan may sound a little bit insane, but I’m not so sure. Obviously it sounds foreign but, so far as grand designs go, it seems to be rather simple and well, accomplishable. Certainly, there’s little that would, after a US abandonment of the region, prevent the establishment of a number of Islamist regimes in Middle East. Rising Moslem immigration to Europe would assist in the second part of such a plan. Is it unlikely to be successful? Sure. Impossible? Not particularly. No more impossible than any number of other things which actually happened such as, for example, the original spread of Islam.
The election this November is not between George Bush and John Kerry. Rather, it is between George Walker Bush and Osama Bin Laden. It is blatantly obvious that the major goal of all the enemies of America is the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.
I fully expect to see terror attacks launched, either in the Untied States or aboard, in an effort to unseat the President. I also expect the Democrats to shamelessly seek to capitalize on those attacks as they have already, in the form of Governor Dr. Howard Brush Dean III, attempted to on the attacks in Spain (“it’s all Bush’s fault.”).
But we ought to think back to Rumsfeld’s rules. Weakness is provocative. How could the world take the election of John Forbes Kerry but as a sign of American weakness? How would al-Qaeda take it?
And how did they respond to earlier signs of American weakness? The election of John Kerry would be a boon to terrorist recruiting as Islamists, knowing that they are far less likely to die with that man as President, rush to join what appears to be a victorious cause.
Given this, we must make something clear to the people: a vote for the Democrats this November is a vote for al-Qaeda and all the other enemies of America. By electing a Democrat, you would be sending a signal to the world, “Americans are weak and frightened. Kill us and we will do what you say.” Anyone who votes for, gives money to, or in some other way supports or assists John Kerry will have blood on their hands if he is elected: American blood.
Is There a Revolution in Iran?
I keep seeing these reports being sent out by Iranian dissidents reporting real civil strife in that country. I don't know if these reports are exaggerated or what, but I'd like to know why I'm not hearing about this on CNN.
Check these out:
A Challenge and a Question for Andrew Sullivan
In a post today Andrew Sullivan argues that, on the issue of gay marriage, we should "let the states decide" and links to a New York Times article which claims that, because the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution was not used to legalize interracial marriage, gay marriage will not be nationalized as a result of gay marriages in Massachusetts.
Nonsense, I say. Just because the Full Faith and Credit clause was not used that way in the past gives no real indication that it won't be used that way today by activist judges. Certainly, there's very little stopping them from doing so.
This leaves me with a question and a challenge for Mr. Sullivan:
Question: If, as you claim, marriage for homosexuals is a "human right", then how could it possibly be right for some states to deny that right? Is it not true that the sudden enthusiasm for Federalism on the part of most gay marriage advocates is, in fact, a result of the realization that if gay marriage is legalized in one state, it will be imposed upon all the others? Is it not the case that you're merely trying to "run out the clock" with every nonsense argument you can find until gay marriage becomes a fait accompli, at which point you will shout for people opposed to gay marriage to "move on" and cry over the possibility of gay couples being "forcibly divorced"?
Second, as to the Full Faith and Credit clause, I offer a challenge to Mr. Sullivan:
I will bet you $250 USD that, within one year of the first legal gay marriages being performed in Massachusetts, a court (or other legal authority, such as an Attorney General) will cite the Full Faith and Credit clause in legally recognizing Massachusetts gay marriages in their own state. I know for a fact that Mr. Sullivan is far richer than I. How about it? Are you willing to back up your claims with dollars?
Hail Czar Vladimir!
Lost amid the clamor over the disastrous result of the Spanish elections on March 14th have been the results of the perhaps equally important Russian Presidential election of the same day. Frankly I suspect that, over the long term, these might be even more consequential. While it is far too early to proclaim the death of freedom in Russia, it would not be an exaggeration to say that, at the very least, liberal democracy has perished in that great land.
I still don’t know what to make of Vladimir Putin: is he a future tyrant that we shall have to confront? Or is he a strongman who will drag Russia into the modern era, a modernizer like Peter the Great? During the crisis of the late 1990’s, I took to referring to “Weimar Russia”. Frankly, as much as I’d like President Putin to be successful, I sometimes wonder if I was correct.
After all, when you think about it, the rise of Putin looks a great deal like the rise of Hitler. Russia did fairly well in the first years after the fall of the old regime, but then fell into economic chaos. Finally, the people democratically chose a strong leader to make order out of the chaos. While that election was broadly democratic, it was not without questions (the Apartment bombings in Russia prior to the last Presidential election, for example). Since then the nation has made a rather dramatic recovery and has begun to look towards a lost Empire.
I don’t believe this to be true. I very much don’t want it to be true. I view a strong Russia as a valuable ally in our coming conflict with China and hope that it would be useful against Europe. But I don’t think that it would be wise to altogether disregard the possibility of the worst-case scenario being true. We don’t know enough about the character of President Putin to rule out the possibility that, beneath the surface, he harbors some sort of mad ambition of rape and conquest.
The system of government that presently exists in Russia cannot be fairly called a dictatorship. While President Putin wields more power than a typical democratic leader, those powers he doesn’t have anything close to the control enjoyed by the old Soviet leaders. In fact, I suspect that he could be removed from office if he behaved in a way which did not truly enjoy the broad support of the Russian people. One of the great things about modern technology is the extent to which its spread has effectively undermined the capacity in any nation for a true totalitarianism. Those nations were old fashioned totalitarianism still exists mostly share a single common quality: isolation from the modern world.
What Russia has today is what I like to call an Authoritarian Democracy, one broadly similar in character to those that exist in some Asian nations, such as Singapore and Malaysia. The nation maintains something of a democratic character, but it is subordinated beneath a primary belief in the state and a leader who is accountable to only a certain degree. To put it another way, the present Putin regime could, for most practical purposes, be characterized as a Constitutional Monarchy. While Czar Vladimir holds less power than the terrible absolute rulers who presided over Russia in the past, he holds powers which can be seen as broadly comparable to those of the German Kaiser before the First World War.
While we must be wary of President Putin, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of our working with him. In fact, we’re likely to be a lot better off if we do. A strong Russia allied with the United States would be a vital pillar of any system of global security. While such a Russia would, of course, maintain its own interests, careful American diplomacy might successfully channel those interests.
A good positive first signal would be giving the Russians a free hand in Chechnya. Criticism of Russian actions there is silly and ineffectual. We aren’t actually going to do anything to stop human rights abuses there and, in any case, given the al-Qaedaization of that conflict, I see little reason why we not find better uses of our time.
Russia might also wish to march into Central Asia. This could be more problematic. Some nations in that region have been helpful to the United States and, for that, they must be rewarded. But, as for the rest, they can be left to their fate. If, that is, it would help bring Russia closer to the American position.
While the pro-US democracies in the Baltic region and other US allies in the former Warsaw Pact must be guarded, I see little reason why the United States would trouble itself about the fate of anti-American Belarus and the Ukraine.
Naturally, such deliberate neglect by the United States would have a price: full Russian assistance in the War on Terrorism. This would include, but not be limited to, diplomatic support, military assistance, and favorable deals on Oil to make up for any cut-off of supplies in the Middle East. Overall, I think that this would be hardly a bad deal for either side. Russia gets to get back some of the lost territory it desires most and the United States gets possible Russian assistance for action against our common Islamist foe. Perhaps even such a deal could be used to bring Russia’s nuclear arsenal more firmly under control.
We run a great risk in doing this. I understand that. But wars are not won by the timid. We must survey and facts and respond.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
The Peace Martyr: What Rachel Corrie Means to the Left
It was a year ago today (March 16, 2003) that Rachel Corrie, traitor and terrorist supporter, was dispatched to Hell while attempting to defend the home of a terrorist from an Israeli bulldozer. Since that time she’s becoming something of a martyr to those on the left, a sort of symbol for their cause. Rachel, some of them will tearfully tell you, gave her life for peace. And so she did. The question is what sort of a peace they mean.
“Peace,” the Soviets used to say, “ultimately means communist world rule.” This is something close to the attitude of those who cry for “peace” today. The International Solidarity Movement, the group to which Rachel Corrie belongs, cries for peace while it shelters suicide bombers. It promotes the principles of non-violence by using its members to guard tunnels that smuggle explosives used by suicide bombers and cutting holes in fences designed to stop terrorists from murdering Israeli children on their way to school. If the ISM, and their ilk, gets their way there will be “peace” in Israel: in that brief interval between the death of the last Jew and when the Arabs start killing eachother.
Let’s tell the truth: the majority of “peace” activists aren’t for peace at all, they’re for victory by the other side. They want us to lay down our arms, not our enemies to lay down theirs as well. These are the same people who, during the Cold War, thought we could end the whole thing if only the West got rid of their nuclear weapons while the Soviets kept all theirs. And it would have ended it too, I suppose.
It’s time to tell the truth about our dear friend Rachel: she was nothing less than a solider of the enemy. She was impeding fully legitimate Israeli military operations and acting in support of the enemies of Israel. She had been ordered to move, but refused. Israel had every lawful right to simply shoot her, if it wished to do so. There’s no right to protest in a war zone. To postulate that one exists is an absurdity.
Rachel Corrie is regarded as a martyr by the left not because she died for “peace”, but because she died fighting their Zionist enemies. She simply did what most of them were too frightened to do: she stood up against Israel on a battlefield. If peace activists were truly interested in “peace”, they’d be riding on Israeli buses to attempt to deter homicide bombings, or at least doing something to try and protect the Israeli people from the murderous assault of a savage people.
There’s a strange spirit afoot in this world. This struggle against the terrorists is to be a difficult one, and there are only two sides in it. Those self described advocates of “peace” have chosen their side, it would seem.
It seems harsh to say it, but Rachel Corrie deserved to die. An enemy of our civilization and, indeed of all decent human beings, not a day before her death she was busy burning the American flag amid a crowd of America’s enemies. She was a solider of our enemies, we should feel no compunction over dispatching her to a well-earned final reward then we do over the destruction of garden-variety al-Qaeda members.
The activists and our enemies are one and the same. Whatever distinctions which once existed between them are disappearing. The terrorist and the activist work towards the very same goal: the destruction of American power and of the State of Israel.
This is what “peace” means to them: an end to American strength. While they may have different end goals (for example, I don’t imagine that most of the homosexuals among the activists look forward to being stoned to death by Islamists. Perhaps a few do, but not most), however, their short-term goals are exactly the same. The activists cannot build their post-modern paradise with the Americans and Israel about and the Islamist can’t institute worldwide Shairah law.
We need to understand what these activists, such as Rachel Corrie, are fighting for. There’s a widespread misapprehension about that we ought to respect these people because they’re “idealistic”. Nonsense. They’re agents of the enemy.
Look at the recent arrest of a former Democratic Congressional aide who passed information on to the Iraqi intelligence services. I doubt if any more than a fraction of self-described activists would do differently if given the chance. They’re out to undermine and destroy America’s power in the world.
Frankly, I think it’s time that we begin to purge some of these people from positions where they can endanger America’s future. Given all the tears shed for Rachel Corrie, I cannot help but conclude that her confederates are strewn throughout the government and other vital sectors.
This is a democratic society and people are, of course, free to hold whatever opinions they like. We ought not be throwing people in jail simply for thoughts. But that doesn’t mean we ought to employ them in our public services or let them teach in our schools. The advent of loyalty oaths would, in and of itself, weed out some of the more annoying and ardent activists.
Burn in Hell, Rachel Corrie and all like you.
Monday, March 15, 2004
Here's a New York Times story that has some really, really bad news for John Kerry. Naturally, the story buries this information.
The Times/CBS News poll offered the latest evidence that the race for president was as tight as has long been predicted. Even after two weeks in which Mr. Bush has run televised advertisements promoting himself and attacking Mr. Kerry, and in which Mr. Kerry has enjoyed the glow of favorable coverage that greeted his near-sweep of Democratic primaries, the two men are effectively tied, with 46 percent of voters saying they supported Mr. Bush and 43 percent backing Mr. Kerry.
Get that? Bush is beating Kerry by three points among all adults. Given all the negatives, that's pretty damned good. But that's not really all that important. It's far too soon to tell anything about that. Here's the important part:
The candidacy of Ralph Nader looms as a potentially lethal threat to Democratic hopes of regaining the White House: With Mr. Nader in the race, Mr. Bush leads Mr. Kerry by 46 percent to 38 percent, with Mr. Nader drawing 7 percent of the votes. In a sign of the polarized electorate Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are facing, three-quarters of supporters of each candidate asserted they would not change their mind before the election.
Get that? Given all of the talk about how Democrats are:
3) "Anybody but Bush"
Don't you think that Nader should be getting about 1-2% in the poll, especially at this early point in the campaign. John Kerry really hasn't had time yet to piss anyone off. This is seriously bad news for the Kerry campaign. This means that some percentage of the left is really, really, resistant to John Kerry.
As well, the same CBS/NYT poll shows that Kerry's favorable/unfavorable has slipped to 28/29 in two weeks (it was previously at 37/28). That's a pretty strong southward movement in his favorables.
Other oddities in the poll:
By 59 percent to 35 percent, respondents said they supported a constitutional amendment that would "allow marriage only between a man and a woman." But 56 percent said that they did not view the issue as important enough to merit changing the nation's constitution.
Ummm... Yeah. I never get these people, the ones who support a Constitutional Amendment, but don't think the issue is important enough for a Constitutional Amendment. That's a position worthy of John Kerry, come to think of it. Still, polls are now showing support for the Amendment consistently near 60%, and I don't think it'll be going down anytime soon.
"It seems like a waste of time and energy when we should be thinking more about figuring out how we're going to have Social Security," said Ronald Sharp, 44, a Republican and retired mental health care aide from Detroit.
What's odd about this picture? I wonder how many "mental health care aides" get to retire at 44, in any case. He must be the one Republican in Detroit.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
The Treason of the Spaniards
What happened in Spain’s election was almost enough to make one feel nostalgic for General Franco (who is, unfortunately, still dead). Whatever other flaws he had (and they were both serious and numerous) at least he’d have made sure that Spain dealt harshly with Islamic terrorists and their allies. There is no inherent legitimacy in democratic decisions. A bad decision remains one even if it is taken in such a fashion. The choice of the Spanish people to, in response to the Madrid bombings, opt for the road of cowardice and of the appeasement of terror is such a decision.
The victory of the Socialists over the Popular Party in the Spanish general election is a victory for the terrorists and, indeed, for all the enemies of civilization. It is hard to understate the significance of what has happened here: al-Qaeda has, with the assistance of its confederates within Spain, defeated one of our staunchest allies in the war and created a template for the defeat of other allies. Every Spaniard who cast a Socialist ballot has blood on their hands. Not only the blood of their own countrymen, whose memory they have spit upon and dishonoured, but also those of their fellow Europeans who are now almost certain to die in follow-on assaults.
Ultimately, in this great fight against the terrorists and their allies, America stands alone. Even our staunchest allies can be removed from this fight not by the arms of our enemies buy by the cowardice and immorality of their own people. The terrorists, it would seem, have found the great Achilles’ heel of the West: the waning will of the people. Even if they were to deploy nuclear weapons, al-Qaeda and its ilk lack the force necessary to openly defeat the West on the battlefield. They can win only by breaking the will of the people, by using the threat of death to force them to submit.
From the point of view of al-Qaeda and other groups the point must seem obvious. In nations where the War on Terrorism is already unpopular, the people are far more likely to blame their own government for any attack than they are to blame the terrorists. This, in my opinion, makes it virtually certain that both Britain and Italy will soon be attacked.
Perhaps Britain is still the county it was in 1940 and it would come through an attack today as splendidly as it did then. But I’m not quite so sure. Frankly I think that the energy of that once-great Island race may have been sapped by generations of socialism and the cancer of moral Leftism. For all the good that Thatcherism did, it seems to have failed to arrest the Europeanization of Britain: a fact which makes it likely that, sooner or later, that nation too will head down the road of European cowardice and defeatism. In the event of a major terrorist attack, such as the one we saw in Madrid, I believe that Prime Minister Blair might be forced to resign. Similarly, the position of the present Italian government would also be seriously endangered by an attack. The moral courage of Europeans has evaporated along with the morality of their societies. Their will to resist has been worn away by decades of socialism, nihilism, pacifism, atheism, and sexual perversion. While they are useful to have along when available, relying upon them to remain solid in the long term would be idiotic.
More than anything else what this demonstrates is the folly of relying upon “allies” to wage the war on terrorism. Any war effort which relied entirely upon a “Coalition” could be shattered by just one bomb followed by one election (or vote in Parliament). A “multilateral” war effort requires the consent of everyone. Instead of tailoring a conflict to meet with the approval of one electorate, it would be necessary to seek it of twenty or so.
There is a certain sentiment out there, and it is the one which triumphed in Spain, that holds that if we leave the terrorists alone, then they will leave us alone. Just give us our Gay Weddings, our MTV, and the rest, some say, and we’ll be happy to leave the Islamist to do as he likes elsewhere. The war, in this view, is the fault of those in the West who have been foolish enough to stand up to our enemies. It treats the Islamist as a force of nature, an unstoppable fact. It is the mentality of defeatism.
This is the sort of mentality which underlies all the arguments against the war. After all, if we were simply to throw up our arms and let the terrorists have their way in the Middle East, what would happen to us? The Islamists would be so busy conquering and subduing people overseas that it would be a very long time. Sure, some hot heads would attack us anyways, but most of the terror-masters would be busy for decades. A few thousand would probably die, but such is something that will simply have to be accepted. This, I believe, is their attitude.
Appeasement merely trades the dangers of today for a greater danger tomorrow. Those who believe that Islamists could be satisfied by, for example, a Spanish withdrawal from Iraq, are utterly deluded. Perhaps in the short-term it might buy some time, but in the long term it merely promises a confrontation between Spain and a rising Islam. Islamist propaganda is often riddled with references to Andalusia and Granada, the lost lands of the Moors in Spain. This isn’t idle chatter. They Islamists really want them back: it’s not on the top of the agenda, but it will be as soon as other, more pressing, items are dispensed with.
Opposition to our war against the terrorists is treason against God and all of the decent and moral humans who have ever lived. It is an egregious insult to our forbearers and, indeed, to our civilization as a whole. Support for the policies of appeasement is a morally criminal act.
By responding to this act with cowardice, many Spaniards have done nothing less than commit treason against Western Civilization as a whole. They are making a Devil’s bargain, one where they’ve traded the lives and security of their children (and those of other Westerner’s children) for a little happiness today. They’d rather go about their everyday lives, lay about, and ignore the gathering storm.
We need to remember this. Our war against the terrorists cannot be won in a single day, but it can be lost in one. If John Kerry were to be elected President this November then the terrorists will have won or, at the very least, set us back a decade or more. A vote for John Kerry is an act of moral cowardice, of unbridled stupidity, of wanton immorality, and, indeed, of treason against all that is good and decent in the world.
Spain has fallen to the terrorists. We cannot let it happen here, no matter the cost.
Friday, March 12, 2004
The Case Against Abortion
I want to discuss abortion. I realize that this is a sensitive topic so, contrary to form, I mean to discuss it respectfully. It is an issue which, I feel, must be addressed and discussed. I don’t plan on making religious arguments: those arguments speak to none but the already converted. Instead I want to talk facts, numbers and, most of all: losses.
I consider myself pro-life, with a few exceptions. I’m willing to permit abortion in cases where the life or the health of the mother is seriously endangered (I add “seriously” because any pregnancy carries with it, to some degree, danger. I refer to dangers beyond the normal). I’m also willing to accept the necessity of the practice in cases of rape or incest. Some argue against this (making the very good point that a child cannot choose their father), but I would argue that to force a rape victim to carry a child against their will is nothing less than a further perpetuation of the rape. The unborn child is made a victim in this case, but it is a victim of the father. More controversially, I’d also be willing to see an exception placed into law in cases where the unborn child is clearly damaged. Many are unwilling to make this statement, because it makes one sound like a Eugenicist. I don’t believe that to be true at all: I believe it to be common sense that women ought not be required, by law, to bear children who have no chance of ever contributing usefully to society.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, let’s discuss why I’m opposed to abortion in general. What I’m opposed to are that great majority of abortions that do occur: elective abortions. Specifically those that occur for no reason other than that the woman does not wish to have a child at that very moment, as she would find it inconvenient to do so. This is a practice which has claimed, at the very minimum, tens of millions of potential humans in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided. Think about that for a moment. Tens of millions of potential persons lost and, given that many of the first ones killed would now be old enough to have children themselves.
I am not foolish enough to pretend that, absent the legalization of abortion, all of those unborn children would have been successfully brought to term. Some, I’m sure, would never have been conceived. Others would have been aborted illegally. Others would have simply offset children who were eventually born in our time and would not have been otherwise (for example, a woman who had an abortion at twenty and had a child at thirty might have never had that second child if the original had been born). Still, let us (for the sake of argument) suppose that twenty million of the roughly forty million children aborted in the United States since Roe would have been carried to term and that those would, by this point, have had another five million children of their own.
Think about that for a moment. Think of the costs. Another twenty five million people would, in all probability, mean another trillion dollars in Gross Domestic Product. It would mean a bigger American market and, therefore, more jobs. It would mean more men of military age. It would mean more scientists, more teachers, more cops: more of everything. Certainly it would, to some degree, also mean more of all the things we find less desirable. But, in the end, the good would (as in almost all groups of humans) outweigh the bad.
In the last thirty years more potential Americans have been claimed at the hands of abortionists than the total of people who were killed by Hitler and Stalin combined. This is not an emotionalist ranting: this is a fact. Now, some might be comfortable with simply accepting that toll as the price of the sexual revolution: but I am not.
Abortion weakens the nation. It deprives it of its most valuable resource: human beings. An America without abortion would be a stronger nation; I can see no questioning this. Those who promote the practice are promoting a peculiar vision of individual “freedom” at the expense of the well-being of the Republic as a whole.
And what argument is there in support of abortion-on-demand? The only which is seriously put forward is that of a “right” to “control one’s body.” One of course, ordinarily possesses this right. Few are seeking to force women to bear children that they do not consent to bear. Certainly, I do not wish to do so.
But what is a woman doing when she consents to a sexual act if she is not consenting to, potentially, bear children? Certainly there are many measures which can be taken to reduce this risk (and, in fact, reduce it to essentially zero), but some degree of risk remains in any case.
What the advocates of abortion-on-demand seek is personal freedom without responsibility. They seek to forge a sort of strange androgyny by giving women the “freedom” to behave sexually as men do. The advocates of this practice seek to evade the consequences of their own actions.
Abortion is proving to be a method of slow suicide for the West. We are reducing our numbers at times when more are demanded. I have essentially zero doubt that, if abortion were generally unavailable in Europe, their birth rates would be much closer to the replacement rate. Certainly, the United States would be much healthier with a population of native-born Americans swelled by as much as 10%.
I’m optimistic on this front. The widespread availability of conventional birth control, combined with a passing of the fevered days of the Sexual Revolution, has certainly greatly reduced pro-abortion extremism. Polls consistently show that a large majority of the American people hold, to some degree, anti-abortion attitudes.
I don’t expect to see all abortion ruled illegal, nor would I quite wish it so. But I do expect it to be increasingly heavily restricted. Additionally, I think, the odds are rather high that sooner or later (so long as Republicans hold the White House), Roe v. Wade (and other pro-abortion rulings such as Casey v. Planned Parenthood) will be overturned, and we will see the nation move to a sort of patchwork solutions, with almost all abortions being illegal in some states and legal in others. This, I think, is about the best we can hope for in the end.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The Dead of Spain
We’re still not sure exactly who was responsible for the recent atrocity in Madrid. Initial speculation focused on the ETA, a violent Basque separatist group. Now, after a claim of responsibility by an affiliated group, most people are looking towards al-Qaeda. Frankly, on reflection, I believe that this was probably a joint operation, given evidence linking both the ETA and al-Qaeda to the attack.
The fact that the sort of explosives used match up with those that the ETA has been caught with in the past points directly at them. The operational methods (which are inconsistent with those of the ETA in the past), the style of the attacks, and the discovery of an Arabic video with Koranic verses on it in a nearby van linked to the attacks (along with the actual claim of responsibility by al-Qaeda) suggests an Islamist operation. It is not at all unthinkable that these groups might work together. In February of 2002 the British Guardian newspaper reported that the ETA had purchased Stinger missiles in Afghanistan.
Altogether this points towards weakness on the part of al-Qaeda as well as a serious danger. That al-Qaeda would be reduced to providing assistance for foreign terrorist groups attacking soft targets overseas suggest that the group has been seriously weakened.
One wonders why the ETA alone would launch such attacks. After all, anyone with any sense must know that such an attack is likely to strengthen the ruling party of anti-ETA Prime Minister Anzar, rather than the more pro-ETA Socialists. If anything, such a horrifying attack is likely to cause the Spanish authorities to simply wipe the terrorists from the face of the Earth.
Our Islamist enemies, on the other hand, have a stronger motivation for bringing this about. They have repeatedly threatened Spain for being a strong supporter of the United States in the War on Terrorism. Moreover, they have an independent reason to hate the country: Islamists continue to be obsessed by the fall of Moorish power in Spain. In one of his post 9-11 missives, Bin Laden himself ranted about the “tragedy of Andalusia”, referring the final crushing of Moslem power which came in 1492.
The most plausible scenario I can see is al-Qaeda providing aid and assistance to some faction of the ETA, perhaps in exchange for cash. Fanatic Basques probably don’t worry much about provoking a government reaction: like fanatics everywhere they probably welcome it. Neither al-Qaeda nor a fanatical faction of the ETA would, I imagine, be anything other than delighted at the terrible toll of the dead.
If al-Qaeda and the ETA (or some elements of the ETA) worked together to launch this attack, it also demonstrates the absurdity of the claims made by the anti-war left that the group would never have worked with Iraq because that nation was “secular” in character. If they’re willing to work with secular, “Crusader”, infidels: I can’t imagine they’d have that many qualms about working with their “secular” co-religionists.
This, however, raises the alarming specter of al-Qaeda as the training arm of terrorist organizations the world over. Imagine a world where a cash-strapped al-Qaeda runs about providing expertise and planning to, say, the Real IRA or, say, FARC in Columbia. The image of this seems to suggest to me that the phrase “War on Terrorism” is becoming more and more apt.
Our world is a dangerous one. The toll of the dead in this war is mounting as our enemy grows more desperate. They are cowards, in the truest sense of that word. Unwilling and unable to meet their fellow man upon the field of battle, they resort to the murder of innocents in order to intimidate free peoples.
In fact, the more one thinks about it, the clearer is becomes that there is only one war and one enemy. The specific ideological goals of the terrorists take a back seat to common thread in the wars they are all waging: the war is against free society itself. A modern terrorist war would simply not work in a closed or totalitarian society. An individual attack or two might be pulled off, but a sufficiently ruthless government would have little problem in crushing the terrorist cadres in little more than a few weeks.
Our enemies don’t want to destroy free societies: they don’t “hate freedom”. They wish to exploit it. They seek to undermine free society, to cow it, to force it into submission. They seek to abuse the people of democracies, to intimidate them and frighten them. That is the goal of the carnage in places like New York City and Madrid. Eventually the terrorists hope that free peoples will simply look at the ideological goals of the terrorists and say, “Israel/the Basque country/Northern Ireland/the Kashmir/the West Bank” is not worth the loss of life. This is the reality of the situation. In fact, the goals that the terrorists seek are, in their own way, rather limited (or, at least, their initial goals are).
After all, how would the loss of Israel change the lives of the average American? Or, for that matter, the consequences of an Islamist controlled Middle East? Were a national referendum held, an the American people asked to choose between the entire Middle East being controlled by Islamist thugs or the nuclear destruction of New York City, I expect that a majority would opt for the former. Of course such an outcome would, in the long term, have effects potentially far more harmful for a majority of Americans but, in the short term, it would make life much easier. Given the choice, a great many Americans would opt to trade the future for a little security and prosperity today. They wouldn’t put it that way of course, they’d rationalize things and tell themselves that the long term threat is not nearly as real as some claim, but they would do it nonetheless.
The attacks in Madrid, coming two and a half years to the day after 9-11, are a reminder of the difficulty of the task at hand. We can pound the enemy, we can kill him, but until he is eliminated altogether he will still be a threat. Even if we killed all but a dozen members of al-Qaeda, it remains entirely possible that such a tiny rump group could cause major damage.
We have only a single option: to press on and finish up this work that we are in. The savagery and brutality of the enemy must, at this late hour, be apparent to all decent people. It must be equally clear that this enemy can never be negotiated with or reasoned with: only exterminated.
In this hour of crisis we cannot turn to a man, such as John Forbes Kerry, who would tell us that this threat is “exaggerated” or that it can be dealt with via “law enforcement.” You don’t stop foreign murderers who want to bomb trains full of the innocent with subpoenas and incitements. You stop them with bullets, bombs, and the bayonet.
To refer to the dead of Madrid as “victims” is an insult to their memory. They are casualties of a war that our enemies have inaugurated but that we shall finish. These honored dead we shall revenge just as we shall avenge all the others we have lost. We will strike out with a fiery rage and mercilessly destroy our foes, until the last of them is dead.
A Hockey Absurdity
One of the few things I like about Canada is hockey. I played minor hockey for ten years, referred for seven (four as a Level II Official), and even spent one year as the Assistant Coach of another minor team. The thing I always liked most about the sport was its combination of individuality, teamwork, and violence. This, at least, is the North American form of the game. Hockey is a rough, tough, and often brutal sport. That’s the whole point of the thing.
The sports world has been abuzz the past few days over an incident in a Vancouver-Colorado hockey game on Monday night. Vancouver forward Todd Bertuzzi “sucker-punched” Colorado’s Steve Moore, knocking him unconscious and leading to the fracture of two of Moore’s vertebrae (it is unclear what exactly resulted in the fracture of Moore’s vertebrae, since a number of other players piled on top of him moments after Bertuzzi hit him. Bad blood existed between the Avalanche’s Moore and the Canucks as a result of an incident last month where Moore injured Canucks captain Markus Naslund.
Since that point the NHL has suspended Bertuzzi for the remainder of the season (including the playoffs), and fined the Canucks $250,000. Additionally, Bertuzzi’s suspension might be extended into the next season. This is one of the longest suspensions in NHL history. It is also an obscene outrage, an absurd injustice which is indicative of the decline seen in professional hockey during recent years.
Hockey isn’t basketball, but I think that some people wish it were. Any fair look at the video shows that what Bertuzzi did was, truthfully, relatively minor and certainly totally unworthy of anything resembling the penalty he received. Those who watched the game would see that Moore had run away from an earlier challenge to a fight, and Bertuzzi was merely trying to initiate one. It was simply unlucky that the punch knocked Moore out and, thereafter, that a number of players piled on top of him.
The reaction to this incident has been farcical. Yesterday it was on the front page of every single major Canadian newspaper available in Vancouver. Today CNN has been running it all day. Apparently ESPN has been running it nearly since it happened. All the various sportswriters of the nation have been busy condemning poor Todd Bertuzzi.
Perhaps, given the severity of the injuries sustained by Moore (and understanding that what Bertuzzi did was, technically, against the rules) he could have been given a suspension of a few games. But this is a minimum of sixteen games (twelve regular season and at least four in the playoffs) and, potentially, as many as forty. The only players I can think of who received comparable suspensions are one player who tried to knock the head off another player with his stick and another who managed to severely injure another player in a savage attack which occurred clearly after the end of the game.
Hockey is a violent game. People are going to get hurt as a natural consequence of playing that game. Those who are hysterical about this are largely people who want to feminize the sport. They want to make it like European or women’s hockey: a glorified form of figure skating.
The NHL’s leadership is complicit in this movement. Frankly, I believe that they want to make the game something closer to basketball- a light and prancing game for overgrown boys. I like professional sports: hockey, (US) football, and baseball. All have their own distinct character. The distinguishing feature of hockey has always been its violence. Take that away and you just won’t have that interesting a game.
People have an absurd public aversion to violence these days. There’s no reason to feel bad for professional hockey players: they get paid millions upon millions of dollars. As for the rest, we’ve got better things to worry about.
al-Qaeda in Spain?
You might not have yet heard about the bombings this morning in Spain. For some strange reason neither CNN or MSNBC (no Fox News in Canada) is covering them. They ought to be.
Already we have something like seventy confirmed dead. Since the attacks hit the wires only an hour ago (and the total has raised from three to seventy in that time), I'm going to guess that the toll will exceed a hundred.
People are fingering the ETA (Basque seperatists). They point out that there are elections in Spain in a few days and the present government has taken a hard line against the seperatists. I'm not so sure if that's what this is. From what I understand, the ETA has generally not attacked people. Certianly not like this. Losses of this scale have "suicide bomber" written all over it.
Frankly, this smells like al-Qaeda, or some other Moslem group, as opposed to the ETA. If it is the ETA, then that is alarming indeed- for it will mean that Islamist tactics are spreading. In any case, this is bad.
UPDATE: Well, it appears that the ETA has tried this sort of stuff before, so... Who knows? In any case, this is an atrocity, and whoever is responsible for it or associated with it ought to be killed.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
The American Front
The War on Terrorism is a battle that is being fought on many fronts. In addition to action in the Middle East and Central Asia, we are also facing a severe threat here at home. In the form of a seemingly revived Cuba and a rising Venezuela the Axis of Evil maintains a strong and spreading presence in the Americas. Given the recent change of government in Brazil and the continuing advance of communist guerillas in Columbia (as well as the rise of leftist parties in other South and Central American nations) the dangers posed by this advance cannot be underestimated.
I’ve long hated Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I can remember, back in the summer of 2001, pressing a representative of the Organization of American States on why, if Cuba was excluded from the organization, increasingly communistic, undemocratic, and dictatorial Venezuela was allowed to remain.
Chavez is cut from the same cloth as a great many other modern Third World leaders. While technically elected on a “democratic” basis, their values are fundamentally anti-democratic and their ultimate goal is dictatorship. Haiti’s President Aristide was another good example of this archetype, an individual who seeks the legitimacy of democratic traditions without any understanding of their meaning. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe also fits the mold. These leaders exploit ignorant, uneducated, and poor masses for their own purposes. They seek election only because it is easier than simply taking over with guns.
Chavez isn’t just a local thug. He’s got his hands on one of the largest oil supplies in the Hemisphere and he’s using that wealth to support the enemies of America. Under his leadership Venezuela has supplied arms and aid to the FARC terrorists in Columbia. He also established an alliance with the former dictator of Iraq and, according to some reports, transferred money to al-Qaeda. If allowed to remain in power, he will become another Castro. Worse, he will be a Castro with oil.
Some might say, “Well, he might be unpleasant, but he poses no danger to us and a radical communist would never ally with an Islamist group like al-Qaeda.” You might very well think that. But that would make you a fool. The enemies of America, for all they disagree amongst themselves, function as a single cooperative unit. For all that their long-term goals differ, the short-term objectives of Hugo Chavez, Osama Bin Laden, and Kim Jong Il are the same: the reduction of American power. To this end, they will work together. Therefore he, and those like him, must be removed.
His internal opponents have been attempting to recall him, but such efforts are unlikely to be successful. A rigged electoral commission has recently, on specious grounds, sought to throw out nearly a million signatures. Given that Chavez’s first attempt to take power came in the form of a military coup, I have little doubt that he will go to any length within his power to remain at the helm.
Frankly, none of this would be a problem if those in charge of the April, 2002 coup which saw Chavez removed from power had taken the sensible route and shot him at the first opportunity. This, I think, ought to be an iron law in coups: kill the fellow that you’re removing at the first chance you get. Alas, they didn’t do that: so Chavez is still there.
In all probability another coup is out. After his triumphant return to power, Chavez deposed most of those who might be in position to stage another. The people running virtually all major organizations in Venezuela today are loyal to the dictator.
Subversion is the best option for the removal of Chavez. He is already hated by a great percentage of the country, and I suspect that a little money (and a few guns) to those people would go a long way. There have already been a number of violent clashes between Chavez supporters and opponents. With a little massaging, I suspect that the nation could be plunged into a Civil War.
This brings us to the third option: direct military intervention. This sort of action could bring about great dividends. After all, Chavez could be overthrown with a minimum of force and the rewards are potentially great. After all, as a price for US assistance, the new government could be quietly convinced to provide oil to the United States at a preferential rate.
Action is called for now. Frankly, I’m somewhat afraid that if things are allowed to proceed Venezuela will deliberately play with oil production levels at a key moment in order to interfere with the US economy. Such an “October Surprise” could be seized upon by John Kerry and his fellow members of the legion of treason to attack President Bush over the economy.
The renewed spread of communistic ideals is a dire threat to American interests and, therefore, to the interests of all decent humans. We must strike out against our enemies and Venezuela is as good a place as any to do so.
Monday, March 08, 2004
“The Decent Opinion of Mankind”
In announcing his campaign for the Presidency in late 1967, Senator Eugene McCarthy assailed the war in Vietnam on the grounds that it was opposed by the “decent opinion of mankind.” That’s an interesting phrase, when you think about it: and one that’s been at the core of Democratic foreign policy ever since. American policy can be legitimate, the left holds, only so long as “decent opinion” supports it. But who defines “decent opinion”? The hard-working, hard-fighting Americans who are willing to stand up against tyranny or the limp-wristed, faint-hearted Europeans who want to see the “nuance” in evil?
This is not an irrelevant question. It is, in fact, at the very core of this election. While George W. Bush is probably not as hated around the world as some would suggest (I’ve used my Bush-Cheney ’04 coffee mug at work every day for several months without being attacked on it), it is certainly true to a great degree. Why, just the other day, a local Moslem took such great offense at my two pro-Bush bumper stickers that he followed my car for several blocks, screaming anti-American obscenities at me: with his mother in the car, I might add. He stopped (and drove off) only when I got out of my car at a stop light. Some warrior for Allah he was.
Of course, I’ve just wandered off-topic. But it seems to me that my little tiff does cut right into the heart of the matter: many Americans look down upon their countrymen. They seek approval from sophisticated and cynical Europeans, from wise and worldly Orientals, and from the deep and spiritual followers of various foreign religions. George W. Bush certainly carries with him the support of none of the following. I very much doubt if any Western Moslem would respond violently to a “John Kerry for President” sticker. While I simply regard any such outburst of violent conduct on the left as a manifestation of their collective insanity, a great many Americans: even normally decent ones, assume that the bizarre response of my Moslem friend (one which, to varying degrees is repeated the world over) means that there must be something wrong with George Bush.
They take the hate that these degenerate gaijin feel towards President Bush as a sort of personal insult. He represents America, and they hate him, so they hate us because of him. They feel that his unpopularity implicates them as well. It pains them that their President, unlike the wise and sophisticated William Jefferson Clinton, is roundly mocked at fashionable Paris dinner parties. The are embarrassed, like the rube who picks up the wrong fork.
The latest meme floating about is “sophisticated foreigners support John Kerry for President.” A cover story in Canada’s Maclean’s magazine focused on this point: other stories in the European press (including in the London Spectator, one of my favorite magazines) have tried to hammer this home. Foreigners like John Kerry; they appreciate his approach to the issues. His cousin if France’s former Minster of the Environment. On the orders of Kim Jong Il North Korean state radio has been approvingly replaying his speeches.
This, in general, is viewed by the average American as a positive. Who, after all, doesn’t like being popular? Shouldn’t all nations want that? Why should America hurt the feelings of its friends? These are not points which are going to sway conservatives, but they will sway those people the Democrats need to lie to in order to win in November: stupid people.
I have essentially zero doubt that all sorts of foreigners would fawn over John Forbes Kerry just as they did over Bill Clinton. His “intelligence” and “sophistication” would be constantly touted. This, of course, would come with a price.
In exchange for the adoration of these people, a President Kerry would have to essentially do their bidding in foreign policy. In a Kerry Administration, the foreign policy agenda would be jointly set by Europeans, the United Nations, and various people at the State Department who, based upon their demonstrated level of patriotism, may well be in the pay of one of the former.
For the Republic to forge its foreign policy with the goal of seeking the support of the “decent opinion of mankind” would bring about results similar to those of a high school girl who screws every guy in sight: it would bring a temporary boost in popularity, but at the price of dignity, honour, and health.
In a genius is shipwrecked with fifty retards, the genius will make himself unpopular by behaving normally: so ought he decide to behave like a retard for the sake of popularity? Should he join them in diapers and forget all he knows?
Any person with half a brain ought to see that the fact that President Bush is disliked in much of the rest of the world means that the nation is on the right track. After all, if the rest of those countries knew a damned thing about managing themselves and their relationships with others, there wouldn’t be so many problems in this world for America to fix. If you want to see how well a European approach to the world will work in the future, take a look at the history of the former Yugoslavia before the United States got militarily involved. The European approach to foreign policy, such as it is, is based upon the firm and sound principle of talking vaguely tough and then never actually doing anything. Belgrade is only a few hours from Berlin: yet the Europeans let the killing go on for years. Do you really think that these people can teach us a single thing about fighting terrorism?
There is only one truly “decent opinion” today: the American opinion. Everyone else is stupid, misguided, ignorant, or aligned with the forces of evil. Now, of course, this sort of statement will raise the blood pressure of sophisticates the world over. “Why, the world can’t be reduced to black and white, good and evil,” they will say. But they are utterly wrong: between freedom and slavery there can be no choice. The deliberately confuse the murkiness of means with the clearness of ends. “They bomb, we bomb,” they say, “so aren’t we all the same?” This sort of foolish and juvenile moral equivalency runs in their blood. They can see no difference between an evil bomb, loosed by Moslems, which kills thousands of American civilians or a righteous American bomb which blows Islamist fighters, or their supporters, or their sympathizers, straight into a fiery hell. “Both are bombs,” they say. But one is Godly, and one is not. One is moral: and the other is not. They refuse to distinguish between a few unfortunates, collateral damage in the parlance of the day, who tragically are required to involuntarily give their lives in America’s righteous cause and deliberately murderers Americans and Israelis. They fail to distinguish between the event and the response. The blood of all who die in this war is on the hands of the Islamist, for it is he who has initiated the battle.
The “decent opinion” of mankind is nonsense, a shield to provide armor to the beliefs of cowards, traitors, and seditionists. There is only one “decent” opinion; there is only one acceptable option: George Walker Bush must be re-elected. Only he can take this battle the enemies of all decent men. Only he can make them suffer for his sins.
My “decent opinion” is this. If re-elected, George Bush will, in the words of Stonewall Jackson, make our forces the army of the living God, and his country. We will strike out and destroy the evil that threatens us. American simplicity must carry the day over foreign “sophistication” and nuance.
Sunday, March 07, 2004
The Red President?
I’ve always wondered if it were possible for someone to get elected President with a truly secret agenda in the back of their mind. Could a sufficiently determined individual mouth the right platitudes, do the right things, get to know the right people, and then take hold of the greatest office in the land and use it for some strange purpose?
Such things are hardly unknown. Our recent history is filled with examples of covert agents how managed to remain under cover for years or even decades. Look at how high the Cambridge Spies rose in Britain before their fall. Or look at Robert Hansen and Aldrich Ames. They managed to pull off their deceptions for years without being detected. And this, I might add, they managed despite the fact that, to do their work, they needed to be known to Soviet (or Russian) intelligence and actively cooperate with them, thereby opening up any number of chances for exposure.
But what if someone was a really deep sleeper agent? Or simply a rogue individual with a private agenda? How could they be detected? How could they be stopped?
That brings us to this question: just how radical was John Forbes Kerry in the early 1970’s? How have his positions changed since that time? Has he ever renounced any of the positions that he held in the past? These are important questions that the media needs to ask and have answered. In his 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he made mention of the “Indian Nation of Alcatraz”, an apparent reference to the seizure of that island by a group of Indian radicals. Does John Kerry still believe that there is a right of secession from the United States? Does he believe that Indians have a right to seize American land at will?
In 1971 John Kerry accused American soldiers in Vietnam of a variety of war crimes and went on to proclaim that he himself had committed war crimes. Does he still believe this to be true? If so, ought he be tried for the crimes that he committed? If he does not believe that he or the other war criminals he cited should be tried, what does he think of the Nuremberg Tribunals, the Tokyo war crimes trials, or other, more recent, war crimes tribunals where various individuals who were merely “following orders”?
In 1984 John Kerry won the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in Massachusetts and went on to win the election partially as a result of his strong support of a “Nuclear Freeze”, a move which would have involved unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United States in the face of the Soviet threat. Does he still believe that unilateral disarmament would have been a good idea? If not, what changed his mind?
It’s wrong to castigate a politician for “flip-flopping” every time they change their position on an issue. Sometimes events truly change people’s minds. This seems to have certainly been the case with George W. Bush and “nation-building.” He was opposed, then 9-11 came, and he changed his mind. Politicians are bombarded with information every day, it is hardly surprising that some of it will, sometimes, lead them to new opinions.
That being said, John Kerry’s flip-flops have been so common, so inexplicable, and so often self-contradictory that one begins to wonder if he has any political principles at all. He’s liberal, sure: but he’s also from Massachusetts, so that’s nothing less than a political necessity.
To put it very mildly, it is not uncommon to find politicians who will say anything to get elected. Such people run for President not out of any great conviction save a narcissistic belief that they “deserve” the job. Nothing in John Kerry’s past would suggest that such a conclusion is unthinkable. Yet still, I am left with something of a deeper fear.
There is a second reason, beyond personal ambition and vanity, that a major politician may outwardly seem to have no major convictions: they have secret convictions that they don’t want to tell us about. They purposefully deceive the public because they are well aware that the voter will never willingly accept their ideas.
I’ve always found the history of young John Kerry to be an odd one. When he graduated from Yale in 1966, he gave a speech in which he attacked US foreign policy. Yet, almost immediately afterwards, he joined the Navy. Now, more recently, it has emerged that he joined the service only after his request for permission to study in France (thereby extending his draft exemption) was denied. Yet still: it strikes one as rather strange.
In Vietnam, John Kerry behaved like someone out to burnish a resume. He actually brought with him a film camera which he used to create films for later use. He kept a daily journal which he managed to type up. His refusal to release his military records (something that his surrogates angrily demanded of George W. Bush) is also troubling.
When he came back, and found the war unpopular, he turned to the radical left- becoming a leader of the anti-war movement. He even went so far as to actually commit the treasonous act of personally meeting with representatives of the enemy in an effort to “negotiate” with them.
In his 1970 run for Congress, Kerry claimed to be an “internationalist” and to believe that US troops ought to only be dispatched only at the orders of the United Nations. Through the “Winter Soldier Investigation” and other means, he spread anti-American propaganda of the same sort spread by the KGB. In the Senate he supported unilateral American disarmament, voted to cut virtually every useful defense program, voted to gut the intelligence community, deliberately obstructed efforts to fight the spread of communism in the world, reportedly sabotaged an investigation into American POW’s still held by Vietnam, and then pushed for full relations with that country.
To the best of my knowledge he has never foresworn any of the positions he once held. Indeed, he openly brags of some of them to this very day, though he is generally silent about the majority. I begin to wonder: did the radical John Kerry ever go away, or did he just go into hiding? Certainly, by most accounts he held near-communist views at that time. The people he associated with were radicals Maoists and their ilk. Everything he has done since that time has been directed towards the political advancement of John Kerry- all the way to the White House. But what is he taking into that place?
The old Soviet Union certainly had sleeper agents in the United States. While some were spies, many were simply waiting for the day on which they’d be called to action. They’d have been used to sabotage the American war effort, damage morale, and pull off all sorts of other nastiness. It is generally expected that a large number of your sleepers will eventually go native and simply decide to live in the society which they were sent to subvert. But some don’t. Some are so loyal that they never will.
What happened to all of those people when Soviet Communism fell? Did they all throw up their hands and quit? Certainly some of them would have. But almost as certainly some would not have. They’re still out there. They’re probably angry and, given that they’d have been recruited at least a decade and a half ago (and most of them long, long before that) some of them might well be in positions of power.
Now, I doubt if John Kerry is or was a Soviet agent of influence. Though, with equal certainly, I’d add that it doesn’t seem entirely impossible either: he couldn’t have done much more to help the Soviet Union had he been on the payroll of the KGB. Hell, he should have received the Order of Lenin for his efforts regarding Vietnam alone. Maybe he did. He might have thrown it away. Or perhaps he threw someone else’s Order of Lenin away. Who knows?
Or perhaps John Kerry never had any contacts with the Soviets. But he has never let go of the bizarre convictions of his youth. Perhaps he holds within him the spirit of the age of Aquarius, and he’s waiting until the right time to let it out. After all, it’s now pretty well established that Democrats will do just about anything to save an incumbent President of theirs. If President Kerry went on TV and announced his plan to communize America, I’m quite certain that a majority of Democrats would be ready to jump in line.
John Kerry may well now believe Communism to be repellant. If so, good for him: but he ought to say so. If one picture emerged of George W. Bush, in 1970, of raising his arm in what vaguely appeared to be a Nazi salute, the media would cover it for weeks. Why, then, has no one in the mainstream media probed John Kerry’s ties to an evil which, at the very least, is the equal of Nazism? Don’t answer: we all already know.
Saturday, March 06, 2004
A Vengeful Tomorrow
Frankly, I’m mystified at how anyone could have lost a relative on 9-11 and responded by calling for steps that would protect the murderers. Other than in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the only time that family members of the lost have been showcased is when one of them is trotted out to attack the Bush Administration with heavily-choreographed leftist rhetoric to bolster the cause of a courage-challenged Democratic Party.
The media has attempted to stir up a controversy over the use of 9-11 related images in the first batch of Bush-Cheney campaign commercials. This, in fact, is not the first time that they’ve done so: in the run-up to the 2002 mid-terms they tried to make trouble over a picture of Bush on the phone with the Vice President being used to raise money. The essential contention of the Democratic Party is this: 9-11 is sacred, and ought to be political. This is a novel idea coming from the same people who used the terrorist attack in Oklahoma City to attack Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio talk-show hosts.
9-11 is the centrepiece of the Bush Presidency. It is all that our politics have been about for the past two and a half years. It is the defining moment in the political life of George Walker Bush. The Democrats know this and, for this reason, they want it taken off the table. This is absurd; it would be like the Democrats of 1864 claiming that President Lincoln could not run on the Civil War because horrible battles like Gettysburg and Antietam were “everyone’s tragedy.” The Republicans of 1944 didn’t try and prevent FDR from running on the war. In fact, the Republican candidate that year, Tom Dewey, willingly held back evidence that Roosevelt knew of Pearl Harbor beforehand for the sake of national unity.
The most interesting element of all of this is the revelation that most of the 9-11 family members stepping forward to attack the Bush ads are nothing more than a tiny splinter group. One report puts their numbers at fifty-eight. In fact, far from being normal people simply offended by the “abuse” of the memory of their relatives, they are members of a group called “Peaceful Tomorrows”, a peacenik organization that opposes any military response to 9-11. If anyone is spitting upon the memory of those who died on September 11th, it’s these fools.
More interesting still is this: Peaceful Tomorrows is a project of the Tides Foundation, an ultra-liberal organization created in the 1970’s by an anti-war activist to channel money to radical groups. A great deal of the money which funds the Tides Foundation has come from the Heinz Foundation. Who runs the Heinz Foundation? Why none other than Teresa Heinz, the wife of Democratic candidate John Forbes Kerry.
If anyone is exploiting the dead of September 11th, it is the Democratic Party and its various fellow travellers, especially in the media. By falsely representing members of a communistic organization like “Peaceful Tomorrows” as speaking for the families of 9-11 victims, the media is wilfully and gratuitously insulting the dead.
Blood cries out for blood. The voices that counsel against taking this fight to the enemy as soiling the memory of the honoured dead of that terrible day for, by their words, they are making it more likely that those same events will be repeated, with all the attendant terror. From their silent graves the dead cry out, “Avenge us!” They do not cry, “Appease for us!”
In fact, by their actions, the members of Peaceful Tomorrows and similar groups are spitting upon the memory of those family members that they claim to love. The only acceptable, the only sane, the only moral response to September 11th is to strike out into the world and, with the avenging will of the Lord on out side, wipe those who committed or supported this act from the very face of the Earth. Humanity must be scoured of these evildoers, these subhuman monsters who can only be destroyed.
Friday, March 05, 2004
With a Whimper: The Challenge of US-European Relations in the 21st Century
This is an essay that began as one thing and ended as another. I went into this with the intention of writing on the potential of military conflict between a European Superpower and the United States, in particular on those areas where such open military conflicts might arise. However, as I conducted research for that paper, I came to a very different conclusion: there isn’t going to be any military conflict between the United States and European Superpower, because there is probably never going to be a European Superpower. In fact, unless trends change drastically, within a few decades the Europe that has existed for centuries may well be gone forever. In truth, it seems that Europe is dying while America is not. The challenge in Euro-American relations will not be, as many think, bridging the gap between a rising and fading Superpower: it will be one of managing the death of the Europe that was.
Why is Europe dying? To put it simply (and crudely) it is dying because Europeans are not breeding quickly enough or often enough. Between now and the year 2050 the world population is expected to rise from 6 billion to 8.9 billion while, at the same time, Europe’s population (or, rather, the population of the twenty-seven nations who are planned to be in the EU by 2007) is predicted to fall from 482 million to 454 million . As a result of this decline (among other factors), Europe’s share of the world economy will fall from 22% today to 12% in 2050 .
Unless these problems are addressed, discussing US-European relations on the common premise that of the, “US and Europe being equal partners in dealing with world problems ” is an absurd fantasy. Discussions among European intellectuals about how Europe can act to “balance” American power strike me now as being as futile and absurd as those in the scene at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s classic film Dr. Strangelove, in which various American policy-makers (and the Soviet ambassador) vigorously debate plans for survival shortly after the detonation of a ‘doomsday device’ which they all know will destroy the entire world.
In an August 2002 cover story, Britain’s The Economist explained just what our future world might look like, nothing that, “Europe's population in 2050 would be 360m and falling, America's would be over 550m and rising .” In other words, for the first time, Europe’s population would not only be smaller than that of the United States, but it would be notably smaller. Contrast this to 1950, when, “Western Europe was exactly twice as populous as the United States: 304m against 152m .”
Of course, you might point out to me that such population reductions need not be disastrous and that the increased American population could, in fact, mean increased consumption of resources by the United States and, therefore, lower living standards for Americans. But I think that such sentiments are little more than hope against hope, much like Adolf Hitler, in the last days of the Second World War, believing that he would be delivered as Fredrick the Great was as Russian armies neared the gates of Berlin.
In addition to the fundamental question of the actual validity of concerns over resource depletion (a theory that, at the very least, seems to be greatly exaggerated in its importance and implications, as has been well demonstrated by decades of predictions of imminent environmental disaster, none of which has ever come to pass) I strongly doubt if the United States will, so long as it is a Superpower, ever have to worry about real shortages of resources. If the United States ever really needs resources, it shall take them. I will not discuss further the merits of that particular proposition here; I merely state it as fact.
In Europe I am not talking about a phased and gradual reduction in population, I am talking about a population collapse and demographic shift of a sort that has not occurred in the memory of our civilization. Let us consider, very briefly, the case of Italy in order to further illustrate this point.
In the year 2000 (according to the United Nations) Italy had a population of about 57.5 million . In the year 2050, it is estimated that its population will be reduced to 43 million . This, in and of itself, sounds survivable. However, the raw numbers hide the real dimension of the problem. If present trends continue, in 2050, fully 42.3% of the population will be above the age of sixty (versus 24.1% today) . Worse still, 14.1% will be over the age of eighty (versus 3.9% today) . Moreover, there will be just 4.9 million children aged fourteen or under (versus 8.2 million today) meaning that follow-on cohorts, without a rise in the birth rate, are likely to see the population shrink farther.
The question, then, becomes not, “will Europe overtake the United States” but rather, “will Europe survive?” The task becomes not, “making Europe an equal partner”, but helping Europe “die with dignity”.
I do not mean by this to suggest that the challenges in US-European relations are over. In fact, they are just the beginning. The present situation in Europe does not portend the arrival of an internationalist, human rights Mecca, but rather the opposite. Our descendents, I think, shall look upon the dream of a peaceful and united Europe much the same we that we today long upon the efforts of the Briand-Kellogg Pact and many other idealistic but ultimately doomed efforts of the past.
The conflict then, is still there, but it is not the one I was searching for when I began. The future is not an Africa which comes to resemble Europe, but a disintegrating Europe that comes to resemble Africa: chaotic, violent, and torn by sectional and religious strife. This is what, most of all, we must strive to avoid.
We desire a Europe with a place in the world that suits its abilities. If we delude ourselves with notions ripped from the past, we increase the danger of a fatal explosion. Just as one cannot treat a used car as one would treat a new one, we cannot afford to ignore the real state of Europe, nor can we wait to make adjustments in our relationship.
Europe’s population problem is even worse than the broad examples cited above make it sound. After all, absolute population numbers are not the be all and end all of national power and Italy is just one European country. The United States today is richer and more powerful than China and Indian combined, yet has only three hundred million people versus the more than two billion who live in those countries. Europe’s problem, however, is compounded by the fact that its much-reduced future population is, as I’ve said, likely to have a much higher percentage of retired persons than it has today. These populations will also feature large numbers of immigrants and descendents of immigrants who, to date, the Europeans have failed to properly integrate into their society thereby preventing them from providing their full value to society.
Bill Frey, a demographer at the University of Michigan, estimates that, by 2050, the median age in the United States will be 36.2, whereas in Europe it will be 52.7 . Corresponding with this, the ratio of pensioners to workers will skyrocket from 35 for every one hundred workers today to 75 by the year 2050 .
Think about this for a moment. In 1900, the life expectancy of the average American at birth was 47.3 years . If predictions hold up, in 2050, the average European will be five years older than that. By 2050, it is estimated that more than 40% of all Europeans will be above the age of sixty . This is a demographic shift unlike any other ever experienced by a major nation. Just how will Europe provide for itself when it becomes the “Grey Continent”? Even if retirement ages are raised, the average human’s abilities are naturally limited by age.
Now, I do not mean by this to belittle or demean the older individuals among us. Certainly there are a number of useful roles that the aged can with within a community. However, it must be universally realized that one cannot have a healthy society when there are so many retired people that, essentially, every single working person will be expected to earn enough to provide for one retired individual. This too, I might add, does not take into account the strong possibility that there will be health advances developed that prove capable of extending the length of life without actually changing the quality of life. Such developments could only work to swell the ranks of Europe’s legions of geriatrics.
Why is Europe in so much demographic trouble? It is for the reason I provided at the beginning: Europeans have stopped having children. It is generally accepted that a ratio of 2.1 live births for every woman is required for a population to simply maintain its numbers . In Italy and Spain that ratio has dropped to 1.26 per woman , and in Germany to 1.37 . France retains one of the higher rates in Europe at 1.85 children per woman , but this number is inflated by the high fertility rate among immigrants, who remain largely isolated from French society. According to one estimate, the fertility rate among the non-Muslim population is about 1.3 children per woman .
Now, I do not deny that immigrants can make a positive contribution to society. Certainly, they have done exactly that in America and in many other nations throughout the world. Problems, however, occur when a society fails to make any substantial effort to integrate an immigrant population while, at the same time, allowing that population to grow exponentially.
At the present time, it is estimated that there roughly five million Muslims in France . This means, in other words, that a group which consists of about 8.3% of the French population accounts for 29.7% of births in France. As Christopher Caldwell noted in the Atlantic Monthly, “Not since fifteenth-century Spain has any Western European country had so substantial a Muslim presence .”
Now, this would not be a weakness: were these populations properly integrated. The United States has, over the years, integrated any number of diverse people from any number of diverse backgrounds. Modern Europe, however, lacks any real experience with large-scale immigration. They need immigrants to perform labour and to keep population numbers up, but they do not wish to invite them into the mainstream. However, the poor way in which France has handled the integration of immigrants seems more likely to provoke an illiberal backlash than it does to bring about social peace.
In France the dangers of this volatile mix are well-illustrated by the debate over the wearing of Muslim headscarves in schools. Speaking to his nation, President Jacques Chirac declared that the headscarves (along with Jewish skullcaps and large Christian Crosses) would be banned because, “secularism is one of the great successes of the Republic. It is a crucial element of social peace and national cohesion. We cannot let it weaken. ” Some have expressed fears that such a ban, when actually enacted into law, will lead to riots.
This is not purely a French phenomenon. The Netherlands, for example, has much the same problem. Muslims make up ten percent of the population in Holland . There, Pim Fortuyn, a homosexual former Marxist and leader of a new political party, was assassinated for calling for the assimilation of Dutch Muslims, whom he felt were a threat to that nation’s tolerant social order. Now, to be fair, he was killed by someone who was not, himself, a Muslim, but the individual who committed the act claimed to be acting partially on their behalf .
Some articles have compared the situation in France to America’s racial situation in the 1960’s but, in fact, it is much worse. Whereas American blacks shared with their brothers a common culture, language, and religion, Muslims in France and elsewhere in Europe live in virtually segregated ghettos. Theodore Dalrymple, writing in the Spectator, declares that France has, “opted for the South African solution to the problem .” Going on, he notes that on a visit to the mainly-Muslim housing projects around Paris, “the alienation and hatred I found there exceeded by far anything I have ever encountered in this country (Britain) .”
There exists, I think, a real danger that the Europe of the future may, in the end, be demographically overrun. It is not had to envision a France where young and energetic Muslims make up a third of the population struggle against an aging (and dying) majority in an effort to make France, as the joke goes, “the most democratic country in the Muslim world.” These also exists the danger that it might lead to exactly the opposite reaction, leading to events which are certain to be universally unpleasant.
In a situation where the French refuse to change for the Muslims, and the Muslims refuse the change for the French, it is the population that is younger and more dynamic that will eventually win out. Failing to provide for the protection and integration of minorities when you are in the majority endangers one’s own rights, should you ever find yourself in the minority. The years to come, I think, will see a struggle for the very soul of France. This spectacle will be repeated all across Europe.
At the same time as this goes on, Europe’s relevance in the world-at-large will continue to decline. Today Europeans make up roughly 12.5% of the world population, by 2050 that percentage may have dropped as low as 5%, with much of that percentage being of retirement age.
This erosion of population numbers and vitality will bring with it economic decline. A report from the French Institute for International Relations projected that, by 2050, EU-wide growth would drop to roughly 1%, versus growth of 2% in North America (and 2.5% in China) . Over the long term, this will have almost incalculable effects. Suppose that today the United States had $11, Europe had $8, and China had $4 . After ten years at these rates of growth the United States would have $13.41, Europe would have $8.84, and China would have $5.12. After another ten years the United States would have $16.35, Europe would have $9.76, and China would have $6.54. Over a century, the United States would end up with $79.69, China would have $47.25, and Europe would have just $21.64.
Now, of course, these figures are largely speculative. Over time it is probable that Chinese and American growth would reach similar levels and that both would decline, while Europe’s might rise. On the other hand, it is certain that, with massively shrinking populations, it must be conceded that the possibility for serious economic growth in Europe is essentially zero.
Combined with rising pension obligations, this economic slowdown will lead to a surge in government debt. Some reports suggest that, by 2050, the French and German national debts might both be as high as 250% of GDP . This would mean that, at any reasonable rate, interest payments would constitute as much as 15% of the national income. Under such conditions, one begins to wonder if European politicians will be able to resist the temptation to simply begin printing money to pay the bills.
Naturally, all of this is going to be detrimental to Europe’s already-weakened military power as well. In 2001, the total military spending of the European Union was $156.73 Billion USD, versus $291.2 billion in the United States . After the events of September 11th, this gap rapidly increased. In FY 2004 the United States is set to spend $399.1 billion on defense while Europe will maintain roughly the same levels .
Even these numbers disguise the true weakness of European military capabilities. In all of Europe there is only a single large Aircraft Carrier, the French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle. That ship, it ought to be noted, took eleven years to build and has a number of critical flaws including the fact that, “the nuclear reactor installation was done poorly, exposing the engine crew to five times the allowable annual dose of radiation .” As a result of these flaws, the French government is apparently planning on keeping the ship in port and buying a British Aircraft Carrier instead.
Europe possesses no equivalent to American B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers, lacks heavy transport aircraft comparable to the American C-17 or C-5, and possesses not indigenous cruise missile capability (some Royal Navy attack Submarines are fitted with American-made Tomahawk Cruise Missiles). The few AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft that exist in Europe are of American manufacture.
The weakness of European military power is self-evident. It is such that it can be said, without hyperbole, that all of Europe’s navies combined could be defeated by a single US Navy Battle Group. What this means in practice is that, were Europe to decide to challenge the United States militarily, it would not only have to match American spending, but probably to exceed it in order to make up for lost ground.
Fantasies that Europe as a whole might someday soon posses the strength to actively challenge American power are just that: fantasies. Other nations will not take Europe seriously because they know that Europe does not possess serious military power and, if they did have it, they wouldn’t be inclined to use it anyways.
This weakness creates another danger. In the absence of military might, it is possible that some future European leaders will decide to explore non-traditional methods of war. Already European MP Ilka Schroeder has accused the European Union of supporting the Palestinian Authority in order to wage a, “proxy war between Europe and the United States .” While this is, at the present time, surely something of an exaggeration, I cannot help but wondering if some future European leader, faced with a restive Islamic population at home, might not choose to make such a scenario fact.
“Well then,” you might ask, “does not the United States at least face the same problems as Europe?” The answer, to put it quite simply, is “no.” While it is true that the United States will face its own pension crisis in the near future, it will not be nearly as severe as that in Europe. The same reports that suggest a rise of French and German national debt to 250% of GDP suggest a rise in American debt to about 100% of GDP a high figure, to be sure, but not nearly so crippling as that faced by Europe.
While Europe’s population is falling, the American population is rising and doing so rapidly. Using the “high series” or projections by the US Census Bureau (which have, to date, seemingly been met or exceeded in the years since they were made , making one wonder if the real figures will be ultimately higher) a US population of 553 million is expected for the year 2050 . The ‘low’ series figure provided for that year is so low (313 million) that it will probably be exceeded by 2007 (the year in which, under the ‘High Series’ projections, the United States was due to arrive at its present population). The middle figure of 404 million is more reasonable but also, given the rapid rate of growth, unlikely.
It is interesting to note that, even with zero immigration, the US population would rise to 327 million by 2050 whereas, under similar conditions, European populations would nearly collapse altogether. In 2003 the fertility rate in the United States was estimated at 2.07 , more or less the replacement rate (and, given the low levels of mortality in the United States, probably a little higher than that).
In fact, despite the numerous predictions that America, like Rome, is about to fall, one draws the opposite conclusion. American power has, if anything, only begun to rise. Depending on immigration levels and birth rates, the United States of 2050 might have a population well in excess of five hundred million and an economy to match it. In such a world American power would, if anything, be enhanced.
Under such a scenario, the American share of the world population would actually tick upwards, from about 4.9% today to 6.2% in 2050, therefore surpassing the share held by Europe. While population numbers are not (nor have they ever been) a central figure in bringing about national greatness, a nation with too small a population (such as, for example, the modern State of Israel) runs a very real risk of being done in by demographics. America runs no such risk while, at the same time, it also remains unlikely that the American population will rapidly grown beyond the capability of the American government
Meanwhile, American military power continues to be massive and growing. As I mentioned earlier, Europe’s collective navies are so weak that they could probably be defeated by a single US Carrier Battle Group. What I failed to mention, however, is that the United States has twelve of these groups.
US Military technology, on the whole, is decades ahead of that of Europe. Europe has yet to produce a single ‘stealth’ aircraft, whereas the United States has already produced and put into service three different models (the F-117 ‘Nighthawk’, the B-2 ‘Spirit’ and the F-22 ‘Raptor’). European military technology lacks the advanced communications and coordination capabilities available to the United States.
Most of all, Europe lacks the military-industrial base of the United States. While it took France eleven years to build the Charles de Gaulle, the United States built four larger Nimitz-class Carriers in the same period. Carriers, I might add, that actually work. Were it necessary, it could doubtlessly build more. The same holds true across virtually all types of military equipment.
In spite of these facts there are still many who predict an imminent American decline. Billionaire financer George Soros says that the, “quest for American supremacy qualifies as a bubble ” which he compares to the tech “bubble” of the late 1990’s. Lewis Lapham, of Harper’s Magazine (among many others), compares America to Rome.
Those who would make such comparisons should be careful. If the United States is indeed the new Rome, it is certainly in a stage comparable to the later days of the Roman Republic. This would mean, in short, that the world can expect about five centuries of American Empire a prospect that, I suspect, would hardly be relished by the individuals in question.
The Future of US-European Relations:
The key factor, I think, in moving relations between the United States and Europe in the right direction is a careful move towards a less Euro-centric foreign policy and web of alliances. I realize that this is an odd conclusion to come to out of a discussion of US-European relations, but it is the conclusion I have to nonetheless. NATO, to this very day, remains the primary American alliance, yet it is little more than a Cold War anachronism, nearly irrelevant in the modern world. A sensible view of American foreign policy in the future must recognize the diminishing importance of Europe.
US-European relations aren’t a matter of “bringing America into the international community” via Kyoto, the Rome Statute, and similar international treaties: it’s a matter of finally and totally discarding the post-1945 world order. These treaties are, in general, designed as little more than tools to attempt to contain American power. It is time for European nations to accept that they are no longer the most important in the world. Similarly, it is time for politicians and intellectuals in the United States and Europe to come to that same conclusion.
We live in a world whose structures are, to a very large extent, still defined by the results of 1945. Certainly our mentality is.
Think about it for a second. Who is a more important ally of the United States: Australia or Germany? Which of the two has fought alongside the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan? Which of the two is in a more important strategic position? I believe that the answer must be Australia. In any case, the difference between the two is such that they must, at the very least, be counted as equals in value and importance. Germany’s larger population (but for how long?) is easily offset by Australia’s key location.
From an objective perspective, which nation is more important: Brazil or France? Brazil has a population of 182 million and a $1.376 trillion economy . France has a population of 60 million and a $1.558 trillion economy . In other words, Brazil has about the same size economy and three times the population of France. Yet how many words have you heard about France’s relations with the United States versus Brazil’s?
Modern discussions of foreign affairs are rife with statements of how the United States must “heal the rift” with Europe. Frankly, while such a development would not be unwelcome, I am at a loss as to a compelling strategic, political or diplomatic reason why any real effort must be put into such an endeavour beyond, that is, the tugging of what Abraham Lincoln once called the, “mystic chords of memory.”
In the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs, Ronald Asmus, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, asserts that, “both the United States and Europe will be worse off ” if the breach between them is not healed. But, once more, I wonder: just who is harmed in such conditions? It certainly is not the United States. Europe matters only so much as it matters in the minds of Americans. Europe is militarily feeble and in a state of decline.
What many seem to wish is for the United States to, as a former US Ambassador to the European Union recently wrote, “treat Europe as a real partner .” In a November, 2003 speech at Princeton University, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said that the United States and Europe “have to agree on how to respond to this threat (terrorism) and do so as equal partners (italics mine). ” But, I ask, why?
The idea of equality between the United States and Europe is a fiction. The United States is stronger than Europe today and getting stronger, while Europe is weaker and getting weaker. For the United States to treat Europe as an ‘equal’ partner in the world would be a fundamentally wrong direction for US foreign policy. In the modern foreign policy calculus, what Europe thinks matters far less than what China or Japan thinks. Granting to the European Union the presumption of equality with America is a move that has fore more to do with sentiment than it has to do with reality.
Before our very eyes the center of the world is shifting. The day once was that Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands were all nations large enough, powerful enough, and influential enough that they alone could be a player on the world stage. That is no longer the case. Nearly everyone today understands that only through unity can Europe truly continue to be a force in the world.
The center of gravity in the world is shifting from East to West. Horace Greeley once issued an exhortation for our young men to go West: now that is where we require our diplomat’s minds to travel.
In this century the rising powers will be nations which, in the 20th Century, were consigned to the sidelines of international affairs. India, Brazil, Indonesia, China, and Japan (which was, of course, largely consigned to the diplomatic and military sidelines after the Second World War) will be the great powers now. A unified Korea would have a population of roughly 70 million and a trillion dollar economy , both of which would grow quickly after unification, instantly vaulting it into the ranks of Great Powers.
In the face of this, the Europeans must accept that they will be a junior partner in any future alliance, not an ‘equal’ one. Europe lacks the military power, economic prowess, or national will possessed by the United States. To insist that Europe must be treated as differentially as it was in the 19th Century is an insult to the rising powers of the world, who possess today those things that really count.
The problem with elevating Europe to a position it no longer deserves is that it gives us a distorted picture of the world. In holding onto the illusion of the old Europe we do a great disservice to both the European and ourselves. The leaders of the European Union and what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dubbed, “old Europe” are left with something of an Ottoman complex, holding onto the faded remains of a once-great Empire, deluding themselves into thinking that they still count. Europe doesn’t matter so much because they matter, they matter because we think that they matter. By enlarging the importance of Europe in our minds, we grant them powers that they no longer deserve and we encourage Europe to behave in ways that it would not, were it truly aware of its real state.
There is, of course, the chance that I may be wrong. Europe might see a rapid demographic turnaround. Europe might manage to successful integrate millions of immigrants. Europe might do any number of things. Similarly, the United States could well, for all we know, be destroyed or forced to turn itself into a garrison state by attacks launched by terrorists armed with biological or nuclear weapons. What I am presenting, of course, could be rendered moot by the inconvenience of facts. But let us, within the context of this discussion, assume that I am right.
It is natural to expect that Europe will not simply accept this decline. Already some European nations are offering cash to people will have children. The Italian Government is offering 1000 Euros to families that have a second child . But such measures are expected to be of little use. After all, China has great difficulty using force and threats to get their people to stop having children- I suspect that people who do not wish to have children (or more children) will go right on doing so, regardless of the consequences for their nations.
Some too are now seeking to integrate immigrants into European nations. The French ban on headscarves, however misguided some might think it to be, is a part of this effort. Yet, in seeing these efforts, I cannot help but think of those two miserable words that are so often the judgement of history: “too late!”
In fact, the most notable response to the immigration problems of the continent has been the sudden rise of a number of political parties which are often mischaracterized as being ‘far right’ such as Jean Marie Le Pen’s National Front in France, the Freedom Party in Austria, the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, Italy’s Northern League, and the now-defunct List Pim Fortuyn in Holland. These groups, I think, are going to be gaining in power as time goes by.
One visitor to Marseilles tells of a housing block filled with various immigrants and a hand full of white families. When he asks a local official how many of the twenty remaining white families are members of the National Front, they reply, “All of them. ” The same official later estimates that, in fact, it’s probably more like fifteen. Yet still, the point is made. When the established institutions fail to deal with the problems of the people, they will turn to new institutions.
The world was shocked when, in the spring of 2002, National Front leader Jean Marie Le Pen came in second place in the French Presidential election. However, most seemed to take reassurance from the massive victory won by President Chirac in the second round of the election, where he beat Le Pen by a margin of 82-18 . Yet this does little to conceal the fact: the anti-immigrant parties are on the rise in Europe at the same time the immigrants themselves are.
Herein, I think, lies the greatest potential for actual conflict between European nations and the United States. I do not mean to hysterically suggest, as some have, that Jorg Haider and Le Pen are Fuhrer’s-in-waiting, prepared to conquer Europe. But rather that the problems generated by their policies bring with them the natural potential for conflict.
It is a polarization of society. What would happen in a France that was a third Islamic, a third National Front, and a third in the center? If such trends continue, is it not possible that we might see the evils of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s re-enacted elsewhere upon the Continent?
Should the European Union survive, there exists the possibility that it will become a vehicle for coercion. What would there be to prevent some future German or French government from using military force to keep an unwilling nation within the Union in order to assure the protection of their own economy?
After many days of thinking on the subject, that is the only possibility I can think of which creates a plausible situation where the United States might come to blows with some of the primary states of Europe.
Say that Poland, to pick a single example, decides that it wishes to leave some future EU which levies onerous taxes upon the Union as a whole in order to support the failing economies of France and Germany. The European leaders respond by claiming that the EU is indivisible, for any number of reasons, and threaten to take military action. Poland then appeals for military assistance from the United States.
The most likely scenario? No. Possible? I think so. The greatest danger of the structures of the EU today is that they are incredibly well-suited to abuse and the fostering of tyranny.
In a way, the rise of the Le Pen’s of the world is a natural response to just the sort of events that have gone on in Europe. However, at the same time, the United States cannot allow Europe to slip into what, for lack of a better phrase, might be called a New Dark Age.
How then, is the United States to deal with the problems of Europe? We have already discussed the needs for a change in the way we view Europe, but that still leaves the question of how an internal collapse within Europe would be managed. Even if we have reduced the European role upon the world scene, it cannot be denied that the economic, political, or social collapse of the continent would require an active American (and world) response.
The United States must abandon its faith in centralized European institutions return to the vision of a ‘Europe of states’ and seek to contain the affairs of the Continent. This will be done best if it is done through a handful of carefully selected European surrogates.
Of all nations in Europe, the United Kingdom is the one with the greatest affinity for the United States and the greatest potential for action. A firm Alliance with Britain is the key to any future American policy in Europe, as Britain is the one nation capable of acting as a ‘bridge’ between the two. While all of Europe is, to some degree, in decline some nations are worse off than others. Forging new, bi-lateral links with Europeans (as the Bush Administration has done in Eastern Europe) will open the door to future joint endeavours in order to keep the peace in the new Europe as time goes on.
I can very easily see a future in which some nations begin to simply fall apart. Where French extremists screaming for a “France for the French” attack Muslims while Islamic extremists commit atrocities of their own, all the while an ineffectual and crippled French government stands on the sidelines. In the event of such a crisis, the United States should not hesitate to use force.
This may well mean that, someday, American troops may be called upon to stage humanitarian interventions in places that would today be unthinkable. It may well be given to us, here in this generation, that we will have few choices but to deploy boys from Nebraska into the streets of Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, or one of the other great cities if Europe in order to prevent the inhabitants from killing eachother. We may not wish to answer such a call, but we will have few other choices. History would judge America harshly if it shirked its duties in such a crisis.
Naturally, we do not wish it to come to that. This is why we must cultivate links in Europe and seek to nudge European nations in the right direction, towards the twin goals of peace and pluralism.
American leaders should do their best to encourage responsible politics in Europe. This means fighting against the Le Pen’s of the world, but it also means fighting the Chirac’s as well, for they are the ones who have made the mess.
A healthy Europe will require a new generation of leaders. We will need leaders who will break from the present European consensus while, at the same time, not moving in the direction of ultra-nationalism. Frankly, I do not know if such leaders are even truly present in Europe today: but if they are there, we must find them and help them however we can.
The challenges facing European-American relations in the coming years are immense and terrible, but not insurmountable. It will be difficult, and there will be setbacks and failures, but I cannot but still hope that it will turn out for the best in the end. We must, as Abraham Lincoln once said, recognize that the fragile doctrines of the past are insufficient to the stormy present.
We must begin by accepting the simple fact that the old Europe, that which we have hated and admired in nearly equal measures, is gone forever. This is not a mere rhetorical statement, but an assessment of the facts on the ground. The Europe of a half century from now will be made up of people who adhere to different religions, come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and probably recognize different national borders than those we know today.
Those who still believe that we can attain a post-national world, where states are dissolved and we are ruled by the framework set out in a pile of international treaties, are dreaming, and probably always were. The state is here to stay, it is the defining feature of our way of life. To believe that humans can organize themselves absent a state is to believe that humans can breathe without oxygen or walk without legs. It isn’t that the state will be gone, it is merely that the states we come to know in the future will be different than those that we have known in the past.
What I have presented, admittedly, is only a single interpretation of facts and futures. I, of course, have been known to be wrong in the past. Figures far more distinguished than I have, to my shock, been wrong from time to time.
But I do not believe that I am wrong. Humanity is a creature of habit and, being as such, we have a lamentable tendency to ignore facts which do not fit with our worldview until events render such a denial impossible. Europe is in a decline, has been in a decline for many years. It has never recovered from the slaughters of the two World Wars and, probably, never will.
I think back to the great enthusiasm for Greek Independence among Western European intellectuals in the early years of the 19th Century. They marched off to Greece to fight, envisioning a people with the spirit of Athenians and Spartans. What they found disappointed them, they could not conceive that a people such as those of history were the ancestors of the men they had met. Yet they were.
We have a hard time believing that, in this new century, we could see nations fall, peoples disappear, and all of those other things which we had once believed were consigned to the past. Yet it could happen. I believe it will.
For us to fail to even examine this possibility, to plan for a world of the future which will move along the same lines as those we have known in the past is naïve, even foolish. If we must leap into the future we should do so feet first and with our eyes open.
How Disgusting is Democratic Underground?
I was on Free Republic when Paul Wellstone's plane crashed. People there weren't hoping for his death.
Senator Paul Wellstone was as repellant a Democrat as you'll ever find. I hated the man's politics. I was looking forward to his defeat. I think a majority of Freepers would have agreed with those sentiments. So, let's review the posts after his plane crash was announced:
Here's the first response to the news: I pray that all on board survived and if not, may God rest their souls.
Most other posters expressed similar sentiments. A few who said unkind things had their comments deleted and were rebuked by their fellow posters.
Now let's review the response of the population of Democratic Underground to the news of John Ashcroft's illness:
Not a fan of bigotry, the Good Lord has seen it fit to strike down Attorney General John Ashcroft for his attempts to prevent US cities from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
All I can say is... I hope he dies. If there is a just and loving God out there Ashcroft will die. He deserves nothing less than death for defiling our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Those little gems, by the way, was from a fellow named "Meldread".
Another thread features these pleasant people praying for him to suffer pain.
Interestingly enough, they wish none of this upon the actual enemies of America. Given who these people that is, to say the least, unsurprising.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Nearly a year has now passed since the commencement of the Battle of Iraq. Given the time elapsed it now seems appropriate to assess the success of our venture there, the relative rightness of our pre-war arguments, and the path that we must now take towards a brighter future.
Let us review our successes. Iraq is free and Saddam is in jail. More than that, the spin-offs of the invasion have been astounding. Libya has surrendered her weapons of mass destruction. Two foreign tyrants, thus convinced to US resolve, have willingly gone into exile when, in the past, they would almost certainly have stayed. Any objective look at the Middle East today suggests a single conclusion: the tide in the region is turning towards freedom. Even unsteady allies such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have begun to take resolute action against terrorism.
As a result of the war, al-Qaeda has been reduced to little more than a gang which murders the very same Moslems it claims to represent. What does this tell us about the state of the organization? It tells us a lot about their desperation. Effective anti-terror action by the United States and its allies has reduced them to committing criminal atrocities against whatever civilians are available.
Two and a half years have now passed since 9-11. In that time al-Qaeda has not managed to stage a single major terror attack on an American target. There has been no second 9-11. There has not even been another USS Cole. While it is entirely true that there may be such an attack tomorrow, that there has not been one for so long is an astounding accomplishment.
In my mind, at least, there is little doubt that the invasion of Iraq has contributed to this. As I said long before the war, invading Iraq forced the terrorists to stretch their resources: to open a new front which is far more costly for them than for us. There is a limited pool of people willing to undertake terror attacks and, in Iraq, that pool is being drained. Each terrorist expended or killed there is one unavailable for duty elsewhere.
This should all be obvious to any fair observer. The attacks which are now taking place in Iraq are not the work of thrown-together gangs or ad hoc groups to oppose the American occupation. They are the work of well-organized and trained fighters. By most accounts: foreign fighters. Were they not in Iraq, the people planning suicide attacks on Mosques and placing bombs by the roadside would be elsewhere and doing other things.
Now, I must admit, all has not gone as I expected. Frankly, I expected to see weapons of mass destruction used during the war. That they were not came as a great shock to me as, I think, it came to everyone else. This, however, ought not be a deal-breaker. Nor should it be ranked as a great failure of our intelligence services.
Iraq’s weapons are a mystery which will probably never be completely solved. So far as we can tell, Iraq’s lack of WMD was a secret which was hidden from even Iraq’s own commanders. Saddam, by all accounts, believed he had such weapons or, in any case, wanted very much for the world to believe that he did. He sought to evade UN inspections and made roundabout threats of the use of WMD. If Saddam didn’t know that he had no such weapons, how could we be expected to know?
But, I’ll admit it, we were probably wrong. Some were also wrong about the ease of the subsequent occupation. I don’t count myself among that number because I always believed that a strong reason for the war was to open up a new front in our battle against the Islamist. But it is clear to me that those who printed a rosy picture of a trouble-free aftermath were mistaken. I’ll concede that as well.
But, in the end, who was more wrong: those who favored the war or the opponents? War opponents told us that thousands (or tens of thousands) of US servicemen would die. That there would be a humanitarian disaster in Iraq, resulting in millions of deaths. That there would be massive terrorist reprisals in the United States. That the resultant outrage would cause the collapse of “moderate” Islamic governments. None of this has come to pass.
The reconstruction of Iraq, while not as successful as some had hoped, is still proceeding with amazing rapidity. Life in Iraq is already better than it was under Saddam. The economy is recovering and oil production has reached pre-war levels. Given the dire pre-war predictions of some, I’d say that the civil situation can be fairly described as stable. The nation is well on the way to a life of prosperity that exceeds anything which could have been dreamed of just a few years ago.
All told, the invasion of Iraq: ‘Bush’s War’, as some have dubbed it, must be regarded as one of the most successful strategic gambits in the history of the United States. George Walker Bush saw the Gordian knot that was the old Middle East, that which each of his recent predecessors has attempted to deal with, shouted, “what does it matter how I untie it!” and finally done something real.
All has not gone perfectly. This is to be expected. Only a fool would have, before the war, assured you of perfection. Yet, the facts remain to be the facts. Any objective assessment shows that the invasion of Iraq was one of the most brilliant successes in the history of warfare and that, with a few hitches, the post-war situation has been skillfully handled. Iraq will suffer, and it will see set-backs, but it will never be like it was before. Not if George W. Bush has anything to say about it.
The more I watch him, the more I am convinced that George Walker Bush is a great man: a man of destiny. He is the right man, in the right time, and at the right place. He is a man of great moral conviction who knows how to win this war.
Our future does not belong to the timid. It belongs to the vigilant, the active: the brave. George W. Bush knows this, feels it viscerally, and it acting upon it. We cannot turn from the course he has charted for us: it is the path to the final victory over this enemy.
Some would have us turn from this path, see us return to older ways. Terrorism, they assure us, isn’t such a big problem: it’s all our imaginations. Well, I remember the World Trade Centre: I visited the place. It was the first thing I ever saw of New York City and, to this very day, the last. I shall never, so long as I live, forget that day, in the Summer of 2001, when I saw it in person for the last time.
We are winning in Iraq. There will be setbacks but, in the end, victory will be ours. George W. Bush is one of those great and mysterious men that arrives on the scene once in a generation. We must have him for another four years to continue this work that we are now in.
Onward from Iraq we must now journey. To fight all that other evil in the world. To defend America. To secure the future. This is our task, our duty, and our destiny.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
After Gay Marriage
I have a serious question for the advocates of gay marriage: what are your final demands? Does it stop with gay marriage, or does something come after? If so, what? And does something come after that as well?
To put it simply, I believe that their demands are, by their very nature, essentially unlimited. They have mostly successfully achieved their goal of removing religion and tradition as a basis for law. They also deny the right of a community to make law by its own standards. So what, exactly, do they want?
If you eliminate the will of God, the weight of tradition, and the beliefs of a community as a basis for deciding morality, on what basis does the new morality then rest? It seems to me that it stands upon a single tenet: the consent of the parties involved.
Essentially the new morality holds that if I agree to do something, and you agree to do it as well, and the potential for harm to others is minimal, then there exists no basis for others to object. The problem with this standard should be obvious to any person who is minimally sane.
This battle is about more than simply whether or not gays can marry. It is about the very basis of morality in this country. On one side rests the traditional moral code which has served this nation so well and, on the other, a new and experimental code of morals unlike any other which has ever been tried.
Two people (or a group of people) can consent to any number of things which, while not directly harmful to others, no decent community can allow. Take cannibalism for example. I think that an overwhelming majority of people will agree that cannibalism is a thoroughly immoral practice that ought to be illegal. Yet, it is entirely possible that I could consent for you to kill and cannibalize me and that, in so doing, you would harm no one other than me (who, of course, consented to the harm).
This is not a theoretic concern: this actual situation has arisen. A German man named Armin Meiwes actually killed and ate another man who volunteered for the job in response to an internet solicitation. By any decent standard, Armin Meiwes is a criminal who ought to be executed. However, because the killing was consensual (and Germany has no law against cannibalism), Meiwes was convicted of a crime equivalent only to assisting in a suicide. If his "victim" had stabbed himself (and Meiwes had still dismembered, cooked, and eaten him), then the Cannibal would be free to roam the streets today. Have we seriously come to a point where we cannot agree that it is wrong to eat other people and that the people who do so ought to be severely punished or, at the very least, permanently placed in a home for the criminally insane?
Do we really wish to accept cannibalism in our society? I ask the question because I have very little doubt that, if we continue down our present path, we shall have it before very long. While I do not expect people to commonly volunteer to be killed and cannibalized, I can see some form of cannibalism becoming popular in certain circles. An individual could donate (or sell) their body for food in the same way that people today sell their bodies for science. This would have the effect of being both completely consensual and rather efficient. I can imagine any number of people approving the practice. To those who object they will simply sniff, "well, you don't have to eat it if you don?t want to."
Some laughed when I predicted that the legalization of gay marriage would, eventually, lead to the legalization of pedophilia. However, I firmly believe that it will. More than that, I'm sure that the "progressives" out there who read this now and who are still living in 2054 will be standing at the ready to ridicule me for my "pedophobia" or whatever other term you will have invented to describe those who have an "irrational bias against adult-child relationships."
Some defend homosexuality, citing its long history of acceptance in some parts of the world such as, for example, how prominent it was in Ancient Greece. What they ignore is this: the sexual abuse of children was just as prominent as homosexuality. The preferred buggery partners of many Greek men of that age were young boys. This, I am very certain, is a fact that we shall hear approvingly at some point in the years to come. After all, if we can try twelve year-olds in adult court, some will say, surely we believe that they can consent to sex?
After all, if I went back in time to 1954 and predicted that, fifty years later, homosexuality would be considered the equal of heterosexuality and that gays would be on the verge of being allowed to marry eachother on equal footing with traditional couples, what do you think that people would have said? They'd have laughed and called me an alarmist kook. Well, we'll see.
I think that in 2054 the various leaders of the popular left will be holding ceremonies to honor greying old men, choking back tears, who were "unjustly persecuted by an oppressive and moralistic society." Some future pedophile-rights leader will stand on the stage (with his ten year-old consort) and babble on about how wonderful it is to have society "legitimize" his "lifestyle." Popular lore will be filled with tales about how, in the bad old days, prudish people "oppressed the natural sexual impulses of children."
Some will attack me for associating homosexuality and pedophilia. I do not mean to do this. While it is true that, to some extent, the gay movement and the movement to legitimize child molesting are linked, this is not the point that I wish to make. Rather, I simply mean to state this: if we abolish the basis of traditional morality, then we will ultimately abolish all of the morals that go along with it.
The Aztecs, practitioners of as awful a culture as has ever existed, used to sacrifice volunteers who would then be skinned. Individuals would then war the skin around until it rotted to nothing, chanting words of praise for "Our Lord, the flayed one." If people want to voluntarily revive this charming practice, should we let them? After all, no one who did not consent would be harmed.
It cannot be denied that the combination of Judeo-Christian morality with Western culture has brought the United States (and the British Empire before it) greater success than has ever been enjoyed by any other nation in the world. Why then, should we abandon it? For the sake of a few gays who want a state-issued certificate to make themselves feel better about their sins?
I have a nightmare. A recurring one. I am going to tell you about it, because I think that it’s worth your time. In the evening of my sorrow, I can see the fall of America. What we face before us in this century is a grievous crisis, a testing: a supreme and final challenge.
Fate has made the United States of America the last bastion and final defender of Western Civilization. Everything that the West has meant, everything that the West has done, everything that the West has ever stood for: it all comes to here. Now is the time. This is the place.
The valiant Spartans of Thermopylae. The gallant Athenians of Salamis. The Armies of Alexander. The Legions of Caesar. The fleets of Britannia. The passion of Christ. All of it: that terrible suffering, that stunning bravery, the glory, the shame, and the sadness- that magnificent heritage of liberty bequeathed to us by our forefathers- it is now ours. We are the sole remaining guardians, the last defenders. If we fail, then the end has come for it all. Could it all have been for nothing?
That is what I fear. That is what haunts me in the hours before the dawn. We could fail.
What would the world be like if that were to come to pass? The Chinese would probably be the Hyperpower. They have much of the same dynamism that we once had. Their star is on the rise. They are not a society plagued by guilt and self-doubt. They are a confident people, a bold people, and one eager to avenge the wrongs that they believe have been done to them.
I see a China on the march in the Pacific. Absent a miracle, the United States will not go to war with China to defend Taiwan or Mongolia or even, for that matter, Russia. In another few decades, I doubt if Russia will be in any real position to contest control of Siberia. It too will fall to the Chinese advance. Perhaps a resurgent Japan will have the courage to stand up to China, but I doubt it. It seems far more likely to me that the Chinese and Japanese will reach a sensible accommodation. India might resist too, they are actually our best hope for an ally against China, but it would be foolish to count upon it.
The United States of this future will not resist the Chinese. It will be busy finding ways of paying for massive government pension and medical obligations. Its people will be reasonably content to be left alone with their petty entertainment and free sexual morality. If the day ever comes when the Aztlanites seek to rip the Southwest from the Republic, many may be more than willing to see it go. Those who oppose such a more will be derided as reactionary and racist.
Europe will simply be gone. Overrun. The great Cathedrals of Europe will be desecrated as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was two years ago, an event which was allowed to pass nearly without comment. The vacuum created by the collapsing populations of Europe will be filled by a rising Islam. Some European nations may, a century from now, be as Islamic as any in the Middle East. Others will simply collapse and fade away. Perhaps, just perhaps, valiant Britain might, separated as she is by water, survive. But I think that such thoughts are just the forlorn hopes of a man who cannot bear the thought of a world without a Britain.
Traditional Christianity will survive only in a few areas of the United States and perhaps, oddly enough, in pockets of China and Africa as well. Elsewhere, where it survives at all, it will be in a bastardized and unrecognizable form. With it, all forms of moral restraint in the former areas of the West (at least in those areas where Christianity is not replaced by Islam) will simply melt away.
This is the world I see. This is the world I fear. A mean world, an empty world: a world of horror, shame, and dishonor.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
I'll probably write a lot more in the next few days, I've been quite busy in the last week. I'm going to try and get a good night of sleep, for now.
Life on Mars (Part Two)
Well, they found that an area had been "drenched" with liquid water. That being the case, it's strikes me as almost certian that some form of life once existed on Mars. And, most importantly (from my point of view) could again.
This is why we must get to (and annex) Mars.
Monday, March 01, 2004
Life on Mars?
That's the rumour...
Politics1's Senate List
Politics1 has a list of Senators opposed to the FMA. Frankly, I don't expect those numbers to hold. The debate on this has just begun and few yet understand how gay marriage in one state will spread across the country.
When San Fransisco gay marriages start spreading to South Dakota, watch some of those Senators to start waffling.