Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
April 29, 2008 - April 22, 2008

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rain Man escapes

Carl Bernstein shares his OCD mania with E&P

HOPELESS. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a terrible affliction, and it's indeed sad that it has reduced so many key figures in the old Watergate saga to caricatures of themselves. At regular intervals, John Dean breaks out of whatever home usually guides him through his halting day and announces that he sees in current events yet another incarnation of the 30-year-old scandal which long ago consumed his whole consciousness. Just this week, we had to endure another eruption of the same syndrome from Bob Woodward, a follow-on to many recent crazed comments and behaviors from fellow WAPO reporter Robert Redford. Now it's Rain Man's turn. Editor & Publisher magazine should get its knuckles rapped for humiliating such a damaged man so publicly by repeating his monotonous idees fixes in print:

In an online chat at this afternoon, Carl Bernstein, the famed Watergate reporter... took several hard shots at the current Bush administration -- almost every time he was asked about the Nixon era.

After a long explanation of how the American system "worked," eventually, with Watergate, Bernstein said:

"In the case George W. Bush, the American system has obviously failed -- tragically -- about which we can talk more in a minute. But imagine the difference in our worldview today, had the institutions -- particularly of government -- done their job to ensure that a mendacious and dangerous president (as has since been proven many times over, beyond mere assertion) be restrained in a war that has killed thousands of American soldiers, brought turmoil to the lives of millions, and constrained the goodwill towards the United States in much of the world."

There's much much more, all equally deranged and pitiful. No need to compound the sin by quoting additional nonsense. Did E&P think it was being funny? Or was it engaging in some form of misguided nostalgia, an emotional hearkening back to a day when liberals were so much more delighted with the state of the world, when the press really did have the power to undo the results of an election by the American people for partisan political purposes? (That was the charge against those who impeached Clinton, wasn't it?)

Long after the Civil War, there were veterans who somehow returned spiritually to Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg and stayed there till they died. We must all learn to accept that this fate has also befallen those who played some central role in the Watergate affair. It's a simple fact of life that we needn't explain. Nor should we participate in the low entertainment of making a crude circus of those who suffer so painfully in a 1974 that never ends.

E&P, have some decency. Leave the poor daft bugger alone.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bow Your Head.

USMC. This from Baldilocks today;. She's a veteran, and she attended the funeral of a man she respected but hadn't known well. She knew enough though.

I knew it the moment I entered the chapel foyer, and saw the Marine sergeant major in full dress uniform standing there to assist family members. The last time I saw that sight I was a family member. It hit me with all the force of that earlier funeral, and I knew that even though this was a near-total stranger this would not be a simple courtesy attendance, that I would relive that other funeral.

I knew that when I turned the corner into the chapel, there would be two Marines in full dress uniform standing guard on his casket, that it would be an open casket, and that he would be in full dress uniform as well. I knew that when we arrived at the cemetery, there would be seven Marines on the hill with rifles, standing at attention in that cold winter wind, and that a prescribed number of paces clockwise would be another Marine standing at attention with a bugle. I knew that Taps would play, and that the seven on the hill would fire three volleys. I knew that the two Marines from the chapel would ride with the casket and would handle the flag ceremony, would place the three rounds (one for each volley) inside the folded flag, and that the Sergeant Major would then present the flag to his widow, and thank her and her family for her husband's service.

Now, we know too. God bless Baldilocks. And God bless him. Thanks to all marines, of every age.

Ghost Walking

Bet your last dime. Johnny Unitas is still the Main Man...

PSAYINGS.5S.9-11. It happens once in a generation. A quarterback who commands his team like a general, regardless of physique and the odds. A half century ago it was Johnny Unitas, the stiff-legged quarterback in the black high-topped shoes who simply refused to lose in adverse circumstances. He couldn't run very well, his release was nothing like Joe Namath's, and he never registered a highlight like Randall Cunningham. But he was the Napoleon Bonaparte of the NFL. No Colt will ever again wear the number 19. They called him the "Main Man," and that's when the term entered the common tongue. He was the greatest quarterback who ever played the game in the old NFL.

Last Sunday, when there were two minutes left in the Colts-Patriots game (Colts losing, needing three to tie, blah blah blah), I said to my wife, "Now we'll find out if the ghost of Johnny Unitas still walks for the Colts." He did. He ambled onto the field and passed the upstart Patriots into oblivion. No disrespect to Peyton Manning intended. He's the one who won the game. But he is so very like the Main Man as to be...eerie. Granted, no flat-top. Apart from that, though, Peyton Manning is Johnny U. He is always, totally, in command of the offense. In person he's reliably a bumpkin, but in action he's an uncompromising marauder. His passing attack is almost miraculously accurate in the clutch, and if you are clinging to a slender lead in the fourth quarter with two minutes to play, the very last person you want to be receiving the snap from center is the Main Man.

I just talked to my wife -- the  fanatical Eagles fan who still thinks the referee decided the New Orleans game by throwing a pissant penalty after Jeff Garcia got a first down on fourth and ten. She said, "What's the point of this entry? Why would anyone care, now that the Eagles have been cheated out of their chance to humiliate the Bears?"

It didn't take more than a moment -- yes, like all men I'm in charge of measuring moments, commercials, and Roman inter-regnums -- to say, "Honey. What I'm doing here is pointing out just how doomed the Bears are. They're not just facing Peyton Manning. They're facing the ghost of Johnny F---ing Unitas."

I like Rex Grossman. It's kind of cute that he's too busy going to parties to focus on humdrum things like football games. Maybe someday he'll have a Super Bowl victory to fling in the faces of his detractors.

Just not this year. You heard it here first. Manning, Unitas, and the Colts by fourteen. Of course, my wife responded as any Eagle would: "Who gives a flying f---?"

I'm just saying... Colts by fourteen.

Monday, January 22, 2007


SHAMMADAMMA. TruePunk here.

Two exceptionally fine essays appeared on the internet over the weekend. I found them to be not only brilliant individually but related in ways that should be important to every American. If you'll bear with me for a few paragraphs, I'll explain the relationship I see in full.

The more intellectually provocative of the two was by Christopher Hitchens, the first commentator I've seen respond intelligently, not naively or dismissively, to Mark Steyn's new book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, which proposes that Islam will conquer Europe within a generation by out-populating the enervated natives who aren't producing enough children even to replace themselves. Unlike Ralph Peters, who argued that "Eurabia" will never happen because Europeans are too good at hatred and political oppression to surrender sovereignty to the muslim hordes invading their countries, Hitchens perceives that the process of European surrender is already fairly well along at this point. Why? Because he is himself a leftist who understands the cultural trap western liberals have set for themselves:

Two things, in my experience, disable many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we once called the “Third World.” You can see this identification in the way that the Palestinians (about 20 percent of whom were Christian until their numbers began to decline) have become an “Islamic” cause and...  in the stupid neologism “Islamophobia,” which aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism.

The second liberal disability concerns numbers. Any emphasis on the relative birthrates of Muslim and non-Muslim populations falls on the liberal ear like an echo of eugenics... [I]n the liberal mind, to concentrate on the fertility of any one group is to flirt with Nuremberg laws. The same goes for “racial profiling,” even when it’s directed at the adherents of an often ideological religion rather than an ethnic group. The Islamists, meanwhile, have staked everything on fecundity....

Nor can there be much doubt that the awareness of demography as a potential weapon originates with the Islamists themselves. Anybody who, like me, has publicly criticized Islamism gets used to the accusation that he has “insulted a billion Muslims.” A vague but definite threat underlies this absurd charge, and in parts of Europe it already intimidates politicians.

Hitchens also undertakes to differ with Steyn in important respects. He believes Steyn goes too far in regarding Europe's muslim population as a single, unassimilated time bomb counting down to the destruction of all western values, conventions, and democratic protections. (This is also a correct moment to point out that I am, for brevity purposes, oversimplifying Hitchens's evidence and inferences. I urge everyone to read all of his essay; I have no intention to distort by omission.) Yet he is compelled to agree that western liberal governments are also oversimplifying their responses to Islamic peoples in a dangerous way:

The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen.

Now for some reductionism that would cause Hitchens to splutter a bit, though I doubt he would dispute the gist. Liberals reflexively associate muslim jihadists with the oppressed Third World they believe has been created by the western Christian tradition. As critics of western religion, imperialism, capitalism and consumption, they identify emotionally with the jihadists' antipathy to all things western, even if specific muslim beliefs are intellectually and philosophically opposed to their own moral convictions about matters of race, sex, law, justice, and tolerance. Because this identification is emotional rather than intellectual, they respond almost automatically to the most extreme (i.e., emotionally overwrought) expressions they encounter as the most honest and therefore the most authoritative.

The net result? Secular western liberals have established a direct and accelerating positive feedback loop between the most masochistic elements of western culture and the most destructive elements of Islamic culture -- a kind of death spiral that, if left unchecked, could grow progressively tighter, faster, and more annihilating until it climaxes in catastrophe.

Hitchens thinks he knows how to avert catastrophe. And he just might be onto something. But now it's time to consider the second essay that prompted this discussion.

This is the one that's emotionally provocative. Written by Ben Morris for the Jerusalem Post, its title is "This Holocaust Will Be Different." It describes how the next murder of six million or more Jews will be accomplished, in the most mundanely plausible terms:

One bright morning, in five or 10 years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran’s acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.

The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel’s half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel’s anti-missile batteries and Home Front Command units.

With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 20,000 square kilometers), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A million or more Israelis in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem areas will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.

Many will object that Morris's scenario is flawed on two counts. First, that however extreme their rhetoric Iran simply knows better than to commit, for religious reasons, an atrocity that would be tantamount to suicide. Not so:

To judge from Ahmadinejad's continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against "the Little Satan"...

He is willing to gamble the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim Middle East in exchange for Israel's destruction. No doubt he believes that Allah, somehow, will protect Iran from an Israeli nuclear response or an American counterstrike...

Or he may well take into account a counterstrike and simply, irrationally (to our way of thinking), be willing to pay the price. As his mentor, Khomeini, put it in a speech in Qom in 1980: "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah... I say, let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant..."

Second, doubters may believe that governments without supreme dictators are too concerned with mundane matters of money and lifestyle perks to inflame the wrath of great powers beyond set limits. But it is entirely possible that Iranian leaders have quite rationally, and correctly, determined that there will no be no nuclear retaliation, no unacceptable price to pay, even from the imperialist warlords of America:

As with the first, the second holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds, by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets. Different messages have gone out to different audiences, but all have (objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims the world over have been taught: "The Zionists/Jews are the embodiment of evil" and "Israel must be destroyed."

And Westeners, more subtly, were instructed: "Israel is a racist oppressor state" and "Israel, in this age of multiculturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous." Generations of Muslims and at least a generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms...

The build-up to the second holocaust (which, incidentally, in the end, will probably claim roughly the same number of lives as the first) has seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate, selfish appetites - Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets; France with Arab oil - and the United States driven by the debacle in Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its nuclear destiny and Israel and Iran to face off alone...

Morris points out that Israel is already losing its political will to go it alone, and that Iran has learned the tactical lessons of the preemptive Israeli strike on Saddam's nuclear facilities. It would take the Americans to act preemptively against Iran, and the U.S. is collapsing inside its nostalgic masochism over Vietnam. One need only to have watched Senator Carl Levin (who always reiterates his neanderthal points three times in exactly the same words) on Fox News Sunday this past week to hear the American liberal viewpoint that speaking roughly to Iran is needlessly provocative, needlessly provocative, needlessly provocative. And thus:

It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes - not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred. It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole Muslim world, deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And, of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial murderer bring back his victims?)

So what would be the point?

There will be no point then. The whole purpose is to prevent it by what we do now and in the months and years to come. My motive for writing this post is to point a finger at the Americans who will be culpable as accomplices and collaborators when the second holocaust arrives. Some of us aren't going to let them off the hook the way so many did when the much-ridiculed Domino Theory came true and killed 2 million Indochinese. This time, we have an historical precedent to consult and comparisons to make. This will be no sin of omission by ignorance. This will be a crime of commission that condemns your memory, if not your nonexistent souls, to eternal damnation. Who am I talking about? Much the same people Hitchens is talking about in his piece. He doesn't call out the paleo-conservatives like Buchanan who really do hate Jews for fascistic religio-nationalist reasons, or the vapid apologists for such vermin -- e.g., the commenter here, on one of Instapunk's references to Buchanan's anti-semitism, who said:

A lot of conservatives also like Buchanan. Many beleive [sic] he's also right on the war, and many, like me, support him even though we think he's wrong on the war, but he's right on everything else. So Buchanan might really be a unifying force in this country.

He really does hate Jews, though. That is troubling. I like Jews. I know many of them, and they've definitely helped make this country great. So, to me that's a big down side, but the only bad side, of a Buchanan presidency.

The only bad side. The only bad side? The rest would be great? He's not a bystander. He's an accomplice. A moral midget whose grandiosity shows him something as big as a small man when he looks in the mirror.

Hitchens didn't waste a sentence on scum of this particular sort, but he did describe other Quislings, mostly of liberal persuasion. I'm going to specify these further, probably to a degree he wouldn't approve of, even though he'd know I'm right. These are the "liberal" candidates for everlasting guilt when the next holocaust occurs:

-- All you "supporters of our troops" who root for the insurgents because American deaths will embarrass Bush and all you "supporters of Israel's right to exist" who root for Hizbollah because Israeli deaths will embarrass Bush; you are both treasonous to your home and treacherous to your friends. There is no lower place in the human condition, whatever your religion, faith, or philosophy. The suffering you deserve will come.

- All you college kids at Berkeley and Harvard and Yale, and all the other elitist institutions which are supposed to be fonts of liberal philosophy and tolerance , who protest on behalf of the rights of Palestinian thugs raised from birth to seek the annihilation of the Jews. Somehow, somewhere, you will know what it it is to be a Jew. Herded into a boxcar. And then the gas chamber. If there is such a thing as justice.

-- All you peace-loving American liberals of every economic stratum who see the United States as the criminal of the middle east -- and Bush as Hitler -- for daring to oppose the criminal intentions of the world's only monotheistic barbarian religion, which engenders hatreds among its separate sects almost as murderous as it engenders for the religions from which it is is a derivative and degenerated variant. You who whine for peace at any price will never find peace of mind at any price.

-- All you amnesiac, Marx-besotted, complacently patrician American Jews who continue to fund and vote for Democrat politicians who undermine and betray Israel at every turn in the name of peace at any price, with absolutely no regard for the obvious peril of jihadist Islam, the fragile plight of Israel, or the national security of the United States; there is a special place in hell for those as arrogant and deluded as you, and don't be surprised if it resembles Birkenau -- or Tel Aviv 2012. (There's a blockbuster movie for you, Spielberg. Why haven't you made that one? You could ask Streisand for the money... Right.)

-- All you post-modern, academic, intellectually bankrupt moral relativists who have annihilated truth as a concept in your rotted brains and now seek your own extinction as a relief from the ennui of your empty lives, even if that relief involves the destruction of the entire civilization, tradition, and heritage that produced the idle luxury of your self-hatred. You will find that there is no escape. In that last, long infinite moment of dying you will grab desperately and vainly for the humanity you pissed away as a joke.

-- All you privileged, stinking rich liberal politicians who believe you'll be personally protected by virtue of your connections and money from any consequence of the anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-western positions you mouth for the purpose of pleasing the vicious, ignorant, selfish, bigoted idiots you've taught to prefer infantilism and government handouts to responsibility and individual achievement; such people will never believe that any idea is worth dying for, until the day no one is willing to die to save them, or you, from extermination by muslim fanatics. Your final wish will be for a gun.

-- All you smug featherbedders in the U.S. State Department who prefer your high teas and cozy private dinners with despots to your country's flag. Your holier-than-thou statements off the record, your treacherous leaks, your politesse with murderers, your overweening confidence in a knowledge of realpolitik that just ain't so is reminiscent of nothing so much as the tailcoated twits of European diplomacy who smoothed the way for Hitler while Jews were sewing yellow stars on the blouses of their children. You will burn even brighter in hell than they are burning there right now.

-- All you would-be European socialist parasites, whose ideal -- that decadent sense of sophistication and entitlement which prevails across the perennially violent continent you deem most civilized -- was an illusion bought and paid for by the Pax Americana which saved them from post-Hitler destitution, Soviet Communism and the true monetary cost of their own unproductive economic philosophies; your politics is a pipe dream whose smoke will ultimately become as real as the exhaust from the smokestacks of Birkenau. (And in the case of real Europeans, you know all this and don't care, any more than you cared about the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.)

-- All you dimwit globalist, pining-ex-Marxists who are even now trying to perpetrate the fraud that a degree and a half of warming is far more dangerous to the world than a billion barbarians who hate you, the culture that produced everything your identity consists of, and the fictitious notion of harmony with nature you imagine as the atheist's Eden. You won't live long enough to feel the warming you fear: you will live long enough to fear the hatred you refuse to see.

-- All you moron conspiracy theorists who watched commercial airliners fly into the World Trade Center and then decided, because of your political persuasion, that the towers weren't leveled by the Islamic terrorists who admitted the crime, but imploded by Mossad and/or the Bush administration. This is a pyepie that's been five years in the baking; everyone with half a brain has tasted it and spit it out. Why? Because it's poison, and it tastes bitterly of dead Jews, past and future.

-- All you American atheists who continue to equate fundamentalist Christians with the fundamentalist muslims who are exactly like them -- except for the fact that fundamentalist Christians don't cut the heads off their enemies, the tongues off their religious critics, or the clitorises off their women. Your lives will add up to the nothing you revere.

-- All you American demagogues who presume to preach a policy of spineless appeasement based on the infallible moral sense of grieving mothers and maimed, embittered veterans. You are all whores and cowards and liars, and the crop you are sowing will produce death on a scale far beyond the desiccated husk of your imagination.

-- Jimmy Carter, and all you apologists for the most openly anti-semitic American president since Woodrow Wilson, another Democrat of manufactured reputation and rotten character. History will reduce you to the contemptible worm(s) you are.

You are ALL damned to hell the moment the second holocaust occurs. There will be no cover in the claim "I didn't know...," "I had no idea...," "I never intended...," "I meant no harm...," "I was only trying to...," "I didn't hate..." There's one very simple fact that overrides all your protestations of innocence. This scenario has happened before, just over half a century ago. You have been warned. No moral person of any faith or philosophy has any excuse for being an accomplice in its repetition when the warning signs are so loud, bright, and specific. And if I am still alive when it happens, I will do everything in my power to accuse every one of you to your face. I will say, "You! You helped kill the Jews."

This I swear.

Is there anything the accomplices can do, that we -- meaning the rest of us -- can do, to fend off what seems an increasingly inevitable catastrophe? Yes. First of all, we can all seek to remedy the American epidemic of ignorance, particularly about the real history of Islam and the real history of the Nazi holocaust. Here's an anecdote from Morris's essay that might demolish your abstract distaste for Zionists and convey the reality of what "civilized" Europeans did to the Jews::

A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn't help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall.

There... she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown - It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.

Now think about the Iranian holocaust denial conference. Do you feel it in your gut yet? If not, you have a lot of work to do. To save your soul.

Second, we can pay very close attention to Christopher Hitchens's carefully crafted countermeasures, all of which depend on dispensing with our convenient fantasies about the Third World virtue of jihadists and our "Who gives a damn?" attitude about the Jews.

Here is Hitchens's list, quoted in full. Study it, and if you don't understand it, read his whole essay and research anything in it you don't understand:

1. An end to one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.

2. A strong, open alliance with India on all fronts, from the military to the political and economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange program, to demonstrate solidarity with the other great multiethnic democracy under attack from Muslim fascism. A hugely enlarged quota for qualified Indian immigrants and a reduction in quotas from Pakistan and other nations where fundamentalism dominates.

3. A similarly forward approach to Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the other countries of Western Africa that are under attack by jihadists and are also the location of vast potential oil reserves, whose proper development could help emancipate the local populations from poverty and ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

4. A declaration at the UN of our solidarity with the right of the Kurdish people of Iraq and elsewhere to self-determination as well as a further declaration by Congress that in no circumstance will Muslim forces who have fought on our side, from the Kurds to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, find themselves friendless, unarmed, or abandoned. Partition in Iraq would be defeat under another name (and as with past partitions, would lead to yet further partitions and micro-wars over these very subdivisions). But if it has to come, we cannot even consider abandoning the one part of the country that did seize the opportunity of modernization, development, and democracy.

5. Energetic support for all the opposition forces in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora. A public offer from the United States, disseminated widely in the Persian language, of help for a reformed Iran on all matters, including peaceful nuclear energy, and of assistance in protecting Iran from the catastrophic earthquake that seismologists predict in its immediate future. Millions of lives might be lost in a few moments, and we would also have to worry about the fate of secret underground nuclear facilities. When a quake leveled the Iranian city of Bam three years ago, the performance of American rescue teams was so impressive that their popularity embarrassed the regime. Iran’s neighbors would need to pay attention, too: a crisis in Iran’s nuclear underground facilities—an Iranian Chernobyl—would not be an internal affair. These concerns might help shift the currently ossified terms of the argument and put us again on the side of an internal reform movement within Iran and its large and talented diaspora.

6. Unconditional solidarity, backed with force and the relevant UN resolutions, with an independent and multi-confessional Lebanon.

7. A commitment to buy Afghanistan’s opium crop and to keep the profits out of the hands of the warlords and Talibanists, until such time as the country’s agriculture— especially its once-famous vines—has been replanted and restored. We can use the product in the interim for the manufacture of much-needed analgesics for our own market and apply the profits to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

8. We should, of course, be scrupulous on principle about stirring up interethnic tensions. But we should remind those states that are less scrupulous—Iran, Pakistan, and Syria swiftly come to mind—that we know that they, too, have restless minorities and that they should not make trouble in Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Iraq without bearing this in mind. Some years ago, the Pakistani government announced that it would break the international embargo on the unrecognized and illegal Turkish separatist state in Cyprus and would appoint an ambassador to it, out of “Islamic solidarity.” Cyprus is a small democracy with no armed forces to speak of, but its then–foreign minister told me the following story. He sought a meeting with the Pakistani authorities and told them privately that if they recognized the breakaway Turkish colony, his government would immediately supply funds and arms to one of the secessionist movements—such as the Baluchis—within Pakistan itself. Pakistan never appointed an ambassador to Turkish Cyprus.

Hitchens may not be right about all of it, but he's not hiding his head in the sand and blaming Bush for a worldwide offensive of genocidal maniacs. He wants to solve the problem and prevent cataclysm, not rearrange the deck chairs on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Working continuously to defeat muslim jihadists is the only way we can prevent another holocaust -- and save ourselves. Do either of these objectives interest you? If not, please go gentle into that good night now. We have no use for you.

Related Posts:

Holocaust II
Michael Moore Takes Charge
The Algebra of Non-Anti-Semitic Anti-Zionism
Talking Peace
The Man with Two Faces
Kool Kaffiyahs
Where Credit Is Due...
The Goosestep Enigma
Jimmy Carter: Send him home
The Invisible Parenthetical
Pat Buchanan: He's Ba-a-a-a-a-ck!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


First woman presidential candidate and first black man elected U.S. Senator?

ON NOT GETTING SOLD A BILL OF GOODS. Nobody's accusing anyone of anything here, just keeping the record straight for you political youngsters. In all the really quite spectacular fuss that's being made about the impending presidential candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, there are two names I sort of expected to hear (not) and didn't. Which means that those who depend on the MSM for their information might be inclined to think that Hillary is the first female presidential candidate from a major party and that Barack Obama is the first popularly elected black male senator from a major party. Neither of these things is true.

The first woman to have her name formally placed in nomination for the presidency of the United States was Margaret Chase Smith of Maine (in 1964),  who also was the first woman elected to both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

The first black male elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote was Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts, in 1966.

Both were Republicans. That's probably why no one is invoking their names at present. It's true that Margaret Chase Smith ran as a favorite son daughter of her home state and never had a chance to win the nomination, but she had a long and distinguished career in national politics and was respected on both sides of the aisle for her ability and integrity long before the first feminists burned their bras. I urge everyone to read her bio linked above. It's easily been a decade since I've heard her name even mentioned by anyone in the mass media.

Edward Brooke, who was a combat veteran and a graduate of Boston University Law School, served two terms in the senate and was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. He now lives in Warrenton, Virginia. The bio linked above also contains a link to his autobiography, titled Bridging the Divide. Since he began his adulthood serving as an officer in a segregated infantry unit during World War II, then spent his middle years in the senate during one of the most turbulent periods in U.S. history, and subequently battled back from cancer to become a spokesman for a vastly under-publicized strain of that disease, his book might be at least as interesting as Obama's account of a young life that's barely embarked on its greatest challenges. Just a thought.

The first that Barack Obama can claim as his own is that he is the first black man elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. Two short years ago. All of you who believe the Dems always lead the way in matters of minority opportunity should ponder this circumstance.

Now you can go back to worshipping your favorite 21st century messiah or whatever it is you were doing before this brief interruption.

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