Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Is it Denial, or is it Deliberate?.
(Not that it matters, much.)

James Lileks expresses - as only he can - my take on current events in today's Bleat:
I heard some of the confirmation hearings for the new SecDef and was impressed, providing they’ve changed the name of the office to the Secretary of Deference. I think they should have pressed him to list all the other countries he opposed “attacking” just so everyone’s clear and we can begin the new year on the same page.

The Bush doctrine has been dead for some time, but this was the funeral oration. I don’t believe in “rope-a-dope,” and I don’t believe in the miraculous Israeli strike, and I don’t think the momentum can be reversed. It’s as if we invaded France and spent three years getting their government back on their feet before proceeding to Berlin. Given this, the debate over the ISG’s recommendations is rather superfluous, but the report does tell you where some people’s heads have become permanently socketed.
Go read the rest.

Peggy Noonan in her "Separate Peace" column from last year said (and was pilloried for saying):
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
Let's see what the elites of the "Iraq Surrender Group" recommends we do:
RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:

• Syria’s full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.

• Syria’s full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.

• A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel’s problem with Hezbollah.)

• Syria’s use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.

• A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.

• A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.

• A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel’s right to exist.

• Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.
Right. We went through how many years of trying to get Saddam to comply with UN Security Council resolutions? And if Syria decides not to play? What then? We issue another strongly-worded condemnation? The report also says:
The United States must build a new international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region.

In order to foster such consensus, the United States should embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international support structure intended to stabilize Iraq and ease tensions in other countries in the region. This support structure should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq’s neighbors—Iran and Syria among them. Despite the well-known differences between many of these countries, they all share an interest in avoiding the horrific consequences that would flow from a chaotic Iraq, particularly a humanitarian catastrophe and regional destabilization.

A reinvigorated diplomatic effort is required because it is clear that the Iraqi government cannot succeed in governing, defending, and sustaining itself by relying on U.S. military and economic support alone. Nor can the Iraqi government succeed by relying only on U.S. military support in conjunction with Iraqi military and police capabilities. Some states have been withholding commitments they could make to support Iraq’s stabilization and reconstruction. Some states have been actively undermining stability in Iraq.
Like IRAN and SYRIA...
To achieve a political solution within Iraq, a broader international support structure is needed.
Who does the Iraq Surrender Group think we need the aid of? Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan, in addition to Iran and Syria.

Let me think... What was one of the reasons for the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Hussein and the establishment of a democratic form of government in the heart of the Arab world? Oh, yeah. Let Charles Krauthammer express it more eloquently than I, from his Time Magazine piece after Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution":
Jon Stewart, the sage of Comedy Central, is one of the few to be honest about it. "What if Bush ... has been right about this all along? I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may ... implode." Daniel Schorr, another critic of the Bush foreign policy, ventured, a bit more grudgingly, that Bush "may have had it right."

Right on what? That America, using power harnessed to democratic ideals, could begin a transformation of the Arab world from endless tyranny and intolerance to decent governance and democratization. Two years ago, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, I argued in these pages that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America "coming ashore" to effect a "pan-Arab reformation"--a dangerous, "risky and, yes, arrogant" but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity.
And it wasn't just Krauthammer. See line 4 of the eye chart:

That's a Henry Payne cartoon from 2004.

And the clowns elites of the Iraq Surrender Group expect the existing governments of the Middle East to HELP us establish the viper we've deliberately tried to place in their midst?

What were they smoking? Or are they just trying to convince and placate us, while really knowing the reality on the ground?

Today is the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Back then we, as a nation, understood the job and the risks. While we've never, really, been 100% united about anything, during that period I'd say the percentage behind the effort was in the 90's. But now I think Peggy may have been more right than anybody wanted to acknowledge. They've got theirs. No one in "the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere" wants to stand up and say "we've got to roll up our sleeves and sacrifice." No one's going to do a Churchill and say "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." It might affect the sales of Playstation 3's. Or their chances of getting re-elected.

We'll just wait 'till a young muslim male chanting "Allahu akhbar!" presses the button on a nuclear weapon in some American port city, and then report on how we need "greater understanding" and ask ourselves - again - "why they hate us."

In his October 2001 speech, President Bush concluded with:
The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.
Well, we've wavering, the public is apparently tired (since the media chants nothing but defeatism at them), and the Iraq Surrender Group recommendations indicate that faltering should be official U.S. policy. Lileks is right. The Bush Doctrine is dead.

All that's left now is the failure part.

Ah, well. How 'bout them Chargers?

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