Monthly Archives: May 2007

A Brief Note on Immigration Reform

Dafyyd has been following the Immigration brouhaha, posting regularly on the machinations of the leading lights of Congress as they develop policy inside the Beltway, absent any real citizen input, and trumpet their success while staffers quickly wrap the writing of the last 326 pages of the legislation. Having created this masterpiece of compromise, we are told they intend to vote on the bill immediately with minimum debate allowed or encouraged. Your scribe will hold his nose and his wallet until after the dust settles, but without any real hope that there will not be a stench or a robbery. Given the history of recent legislative product, I’m not hopeful, but something must be done!

The Big Lizard Analysis is here.

Update: A tour of the sausage factory provided by Powerline.

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Now Bernard Lewis….

A few posts back, we noted the comments of Ralph Peters on the lack of will on the part of the US in the battle against Muslim fundamentalism in Iraq. Today, Bernard Lewis, writing in the Wall Street Journal, adds his thoughts (of the same vein) to the forum. His conclusion:

More
recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S.,
are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first
assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a
little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether
they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the
consequences–both for Islam and for America–will be deep, wide and
lasting.

Read the whole thing, and weep…….

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Recidivism?

We’re regaining the upper hand in the fight for moral superiority. Slowly but surely, our legal system is overwhelming the administration’s fight on radical Islam. We fully expect full Habeas Corpus protection for all prisoners of war in the next administration. It is possible to expect that bail may be granted, et cetera, et cetera. Meanwhile, it appears that our attempts to rehabilitate prisoners in Guantanamo are no more effective than in our general prison population. It is after, all, our fault.

Behold the former inmates.

Yes, indeed, better to be morally superior than alive.

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Death From The Sky

There may be a lack of will on the home front, but it appears that American tenacity and ingenuity, and, yes, technological superiority still carry the day in Iraq. From In From the Cold a detail in the war that lends some perspective.

A taste:

As we’ve noted in the past, our enemy in Iraq is adept at shifting
tactics and procedures to meet a changing operational environment. But
unfortunately for the bad guys, we can adapt too, usually with deadly
consequences for the terrorists.

Read the whole thing………….

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Manliness in Politicians

Political science, he says, has been diminished to narrow questions of
self-interest instead of linking personal interest with the larger
issues of the public good. The republic always suffers when there’s a
lack of authentic heroes to harness pride and ambition.

From Suzanne Fields, writing in the Washington Times. The column follows a theme we have been advocating for a while, which is the lamentation of character and honor in the politics of our age. Another small taste:

It’s rare for an intellectual like Harvey Mansfield to offer philosophy
and reflection as something for Washington pols to think about. The
consultants who run campaigns are more likely to quote Dick Morris or
James Carville than Plato or Aristotle. Philosophy is about the
contemplative life, politics is about getting elected. Plato saw the
rulers and the ruled as inhabiting a dark cave who ought to be
listening to philosophers, thus getting their light from the sun.
Rodney Dangerfield would put it another way: "I don’t get no respect."

Fair Use constraints being what they are, please read the rest of her column.

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Sanity

We are very near the tipping point in Iraq. The anti-war party "claims" a mandate, which is really just another way of saying that they are in control of perception, and the incumbent president and his backers seem to be losing their will to prevail.

To restore some clarity to the issue, Ralph Peters, again makes an appearance:

Above all, we have to maintain a
strength of will equal to that of our opponents. War demands
consistency, and we’re the most fickle great power in history. We
must focus on defeating our enemies, brushing aside all other considerations.


At present, we let those other considerations rule our behavior: We
overreact to media sensationalism (which our enemies exploit
brilliantly); we torment ourselves over the least mistakes our troops
make; we delude ourselves that mass murderers have rights; we take
prisoners knowing they’ll be freed to kill more Americans – and the
politicians and Green Zone generals alike pretend that "it’s not
whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game."

That’s the biggest lie ever told by a human being who wasn’t a member of Congress.

Winning is everything. Fighting ruthlessly may not please the safe-at-home moralists, but it’s losing that’s immoral.

How can we win if we won’t fight to win?  Are we so  European  that we have to look for nuance in everything that we do?  Have we, as a nation, lost the core of our beliefs to the extent that we cannot see the way clear to victory?

In the same vein, Peters continues:

Consider just one of the many issues about which we’re insistently naive and hypocritical: torture.

Earlier this month, our Army released the results of an internally
initiated survey of soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The results showed
that almost half of our troops would condone torture in a specific
instance if it saved their buddies’ lives.

The media were, of course, appalled. I was shocked, too – surprised that so few of our troops would condone any action that kept their comrades alive.

Torturing prisoners should never
be our policy, both because it’s immoral and because it’s usually
ineffective. But it’s madness to declare that there can never be
exceptions.

Forget the argument about the "ticking bomb" and
the terrorist who might have information that could save numerous
lives. Let’s make it personal.

Whether you’re left, right or
in between, ask yourself this yes-or-no question: If torturing a known
terrorist would save the life of the person you love most in the world,
would you approve it?

If your answer is "no," you’re not a
moral paragon. You’re an abomination. And please make your position
clear to your husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter. Just
tell ’em, "Sorry, honey, but I’d rather see you dead than mistreat a
terrorist. It’s a moral issue with me."

There are countless
other ways in which we elevate the little immoralities required in war
above the supreme immorality of losing. Leftists loved My Lai – they
just adored it – but they were never called to account for the
communist atrocities after Saigon fell. Pol Pot’s butchery was never
laid at the feet of the self-righteous bastards who shrieked, "Give
peace a chance."

And no one on the left will discuss what might happen if we fail in Iraq. The truth is that they don’t care.

We face merciless, implacable enemies who joyously slaughter the
innocent with the zeal of religious fanaticism. Yet we want to make
sure we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

We’ve tried many things in Iraq. They’ve all failed. It’s a shame we never really tried to fight.

What are we doing to ourselves?






 

 

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The Ideal President

Professor Bainbridge asks if it is time to consider a new archetype for our presidential contenders. Having lost his enthusiasm for the Southern Man, he proposes that we should consider, perhaps, a Yankee city-boy. His list of preferred attributes:

  • Knows which wine to match with the foie gras-stuffed quail being served at a state dinner
  • Won’t wink at the Queen
  • Doesn’t hunt, fish, or go with girls who do
  • Smokes cigars
  • Is sometimes accused of having a metrosexual streak
  • Only drinks beer with foods that would score at least 10,000 on the Scoville scale
  • Can credibly debate the relative claims of The Matrix, Star
    Wars, Bladerunner, and Star Trek II to be the greatest science fiction
    movie of all time
  • Can credibly debate the relative claims of The Who and Bruce
    Springsteen & The E Street Band to be the world’s greatest rock and
    roll band
  • Came from a state that didn’t secede
  • Can recite at least one Monty Python skit from memory
  • Can credibly debate the relative claims of Blazing Saddles,
    The Producers, and Young Frankenstein to be Mel Brook’s best movie,
    while explaining why Spaceballs is a candidate for the worst movie ever
  • Has never sat through an entire Woody Allen movie, an entire Nascar race, or an entire Dixie Chicks concert
  • Wouldn’t camp out 5 days to get Garth Brooks tickets even if s/he was camping at the time
  • Went to Germany on vacation because s/he couldn’t find a highway with high enough speed limits in the US
  • Prefers football to basketball to baseball to soccer
  • Doesn’t play golf
  • Doesn’t bowl
  • Has no kids to foist subsequent generations of politicians on us
  • Has a spouse with no political ambitions
  • Lives with at least one golden retriever

As a Southerner (By the Grace of God), I admit to an inborn preference for my guys, but it’s hard to argue that a change in accent and tastes might be just the thing to knock the ship of state back onto a more desirable course.

The deal is, however, that the Professor’s list seems to point to a person who has lived in the world of the rest of us. Modern politicians seem to come from another place, where they have to pretend that they are just like you and me. You know, fake accents, houses, haircuts at the neighborhood barbershop, and the rest of the fooling that modern candidates think they have to do. It is almost as if the collective consciousness understands that Real People Don’t Run For Office anymore.

I will add one item to the Professor’s list: Believes in term limits and knows who Cincinnatus was.

H/T Pajamas Media.

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