This page is from the original Don't Let Me Stop You blog. We have moved to a new site: Visit DLMSY on WordPress.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

UN for Sale - Cheap

Claudia Rosett of the Wall Street Journal has consistently provided the best coverage by far of the Oil for Food scandal. Paul Volker's report this week exposed a few more of the termites eating away at the UN from the inside, normally unseen. Rosett points out that the corruption described by Volker so far barely scratches the surface, covering only a little over $1 million out of the billions that are "missing" from OFF. Only $147,000 is documented as Benon Sevan's take, an amazingly low sum to purchase a UN official of his level.

Read the article.

Laura Bush

The new column by The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan is mainly about President Bush. We liked it, but she finishes with some words about the First Lady that we really loved:
"A word on Mrs. Bush. Everyone knows she is popular and admired, but I don't think it's been sufficiently noted that Laura Bush, in almost five years as first lady, has never made a mistake. She has not struck a false note or made a single misstep. This is remarkable. And our country has never seen anything like it.

Most first ladies five years in have made themselves look foolish at some point, or have been made to look foolish. Jackie Kennedy was the focus of sniping over her taste for luxury and long vacations, and was not loved until she was a widow. Lady Bird Johnson, with her well meaning, slightly clueless earnestness, was regularly lampooned. I remember someone doing an imitation of her in which she took the stage and introduced 'My two semi-beautiful daughters.' No one much liked the tightly wound Rosalyn Carter, and no one much disliked her.Nancy Reagan was reviled as a Hollywood airhead until she was reviled as a secret Machiavellian. Hillary Clinton was hated in many corners, and not only because she chose to interpret her husband's election to the presidency as her elevation to a co-presidency. That was only part of it. When they made fun of her changing hairstyles it was because she seemed not to be in search of a good look but trying on new blond helmets in which to grimly wade forward like Brunhilde. Even Barbara Bush, probably the most liked of recent first ladies, got tagged as the Gray Fox or the Velvet Hammer. She was called tough as a boot and tagged as sharp-tongued. But no one has ever laid a glove on Laura. It is as if she were born to be first lady--easygoing, gently humorous, demure, ladylike. It takes enormous reserves of emotional discipline to sustain graciousness, to do the job right, to so disarm the press with what must be called, vulgarly but inescapably, natural class. She has never embarrassed our country. Of how many leaders or their spouses can that be said?

Well done. Well and amazingly done. Someone should do a monograph on what it is she did and how it is she did it. And it should of course be noted that she is another reason for her husband's popularity with his base, and outside of it, too."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

All the News that Fits We Print

Tom Raum of the AP weighed in last week with a "news analysis" piece on the Iraq situation. Apparently the term "news analysis" means pure editorializing in something that looks like a news article. We will give the AP some credit for at least marking it as "analysis," but it's faint praise.

We remember Raum primarily for a post-election article he wrote last November, in which he described Hilary Clinton, as "a Northeastern centrist and one of the most polarizing figures in American politics." We initially thought him a highly gifted satirist for that line, but further reading showed he did not intend to be ironic. It's hard to justify calling Hilary northeastern, and ridiculous to call her a centrist by any standard.

Just ask yourself how a "centrist" could possibly be considered "one of the most polarizing figures in American politics" by anyone. Can you name a single "polarizing centrist?" It's an oxymoron.

So here is the recent article:
New pressure on Bush to find exit strategy
BY TOM RAUM / Associated Press Analysis
The deadly recent attacks on American troops in Iraq are increasing the pressure on President Bush to develop an exit strategy. The U.S. death toll from the war is now over 1,800, and a new AP-Ipsos poll shows the lowest approval yet for Bush's handling of Iraq, just 38 percent.

The president's fellow Republicans are growing nervous as they head into an election year.

Yet the administration must also confront the possibility that a U.S. drawdown of troops — tentatively planned to begin next spring — could further embolden the insurgents and throw Iraq into civil war.

"We will stay the course. We will complete the job in Iraq," Bush pledged anew during a news conference on his Texas ranch with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
Our general rule of thumb, and it has proved to be a good one, is that prominent use of the term "exit strategy" is a good indicator of a leftist world view. This AP-Ipsos poll has been widely cricticized, and the results of any poll are strongly influenced by the way the questions are framed. No mention of any specific Republicans who are "growing nervous." This is mainly spin and speculation on Raum's part.

Considering what has been accomplished, 1800 American dead is amazingly light. Of course, each death is a tragedy for the serviceman or woman involved and the family, but before the invasion an estimate of 1800 dead at this point would have been considered ridiculously optimistic.
Bush suggested his resolve was only strengthened by a videotaped warning earlier Thursday from al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, threatening more terror attacks in Britain and tens of thousands of U.S. military deaths if the United States doesn't withdraw.
Al-Qaida threatens more attacks. Drug cartel threatens more smuggling. Koffi Annan says UN needs more money. Dog bites man. Dems promise more obstruction. Which of these is the most surprising? We're going with the "dog bites man" angle.
There has been little outward sign of progress in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the insurgency and to beef up the Iraqi army and police so they can take over security responsibilities and allow an orderly withdrawal of American forces.
Little sign of progress for those who rely entirely on the news media for news, that is.
Particularly lethal bombings over the past few weeks, including a roadside bomb that claimed the lives of 14 Marines on Wednesday, have made the situation look even bleaker than U.S. military experts suggest it is.
Perception is reality, so evidently the experts are wrong and Raum is right.
That translates into a continued erosion of public support for Bush's Iraq policy at home.

An AP-Ipsos poll this week showed that just 38 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq. A year ago, the public was evenly divided on Iraq, and Bush's stance on the war and terrorism helped him to election victory.

Bush has lost support most dramatically among younger women, especially those who live in the suburbs, and among less-educated men.
We're pretty sure that if the poll had offered a choice of Bush vs. Kerry for president that Bush would be the choice for president. That poll was taken recently.
Despite the horrific headlines, many military analysts say that attacks on U.S. troops have actually remained constant in recent weeks while attacks on Iraqi civilians have increased.

"As tragic as they are, they don't establish a pattern that says U.S. casualties are getting consistently worse," said Anthony H. Cordesman, an Iraq expert and former Pentagon intelligence official. He attributed recent deaths of Marines to the fact that "these are more aggressive military patrols going into hostile areas."
... but that doesn't fit the storyline, so just ignore it. There's more of the same, but that's too much already.

Update: Fixed small html error.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Line Up and Sign U

Just in case he should turn out to be gay, let's be ready. Via BotW we get: Conservative Bloggers Who Support The Gay Judge Roberts.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who Said This?

Today's Best of the Web Today provides this quotation from a speech by a prominent American politician. Can you guess who?
"The same amendment of the Constitution that forbids the establishment of a State Church affirms my legal right to argue that my religious belief would serve well as an article of our universal public morality. I may use the prescribed processes of government--the legislative and executive and judicial processes--to convince my fellow citizens--Jews and Protestants and Buddhists and non-believers--that what I propose is as beneficial for them as I believe it is for me; that it is not just parochial or narrowly sectarian but fulfills a human desire for order, peace, justice, kindness, love, any of the values most of us agree are desirable even apart from their specific religious base or context....

I can, if I wish, argue that the State should not fund the use of contraceptive devices not because the Pope demands it but because I think that the whole community--for the good of the whole community--should not sever sex from an openness to the creation of life.

And surely, I can, if so inclined, demand some kind of law against abortion not because my Bishops say it is wrong but because I think that the whole community, regardless of its religious beliefs, should agree on the importance of protecting life--including life in the womb, which is at the very least potentially human and should not be extinguished casually.

No law prevents us from advocating any of these things: I am free to do so.

So are the Bishops. And so is Reverend Falwell."
The percipicatious speaker was former governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat. Don't get too excited, though, he said it in 1984, so it doesn't count. The statue of limitations has run out.

Should Conservatives Give The New York Times a Break?

Here's a startling bit of news about the New York Times from Mark Tapscott at
"Thanks to a virtual blackout by his fellow editors elsewhere in the media, odds are good that you haven't heard or read that Executive Editor Bill Keller of The New York Times recently capitulated in the debate over bias in America's newspaper of record. Keller's capitulation came in a lengthy memo he distributed in the Times' newsroom in May as a response to an updating of a massive report by a committee appointed in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal to recommend measures to restore the gray lady's credibility."
I must admit I had heard nothing at all about this before. There are some startling things in that memo--not a surprise to learn, but stunning to see there.

Tapscott asks, "Should Conservatives Give The New York Times a Break?" Read the whole article to let him make the case for his answer.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Religious Test II

Manuel Miranda discusses the squel to the Justice Sunday event that previously worked the Left into such a tizzy over the--shudder--mixing of church and state.
Judging While Catholic II: "Despite liberals' attempt to taint Justice Sunday, and perhaps because of it, the event was an enormous success, which is why this Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT, Americans can log on to for a live Webcast of Justice Sunday II--an event that will introduce Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to millions of Christians.

Throughout the controversy last spring, journalists, especially, seemed to disbelieve the charge that Democrats--of all people--could discriminate against, well, against anyone. But the proof, to anyone paying attention these past three years, was overwhelming."
He goes on to list, point by point, the circumstantial and direct evidence of liberal bias against judges who might actually believe in God.

Technorati: , , ,

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Japan and World War II

Tycho found this story on Something Awful. The author, Zack Parsons, contrasts the Allied treatment of German atrocities with the American post-war treatment of Japan. Although the Japanese engaged in terrible actions in the occupied countries and performed medical and biowarfare experiments on unwilling, human subjects, they were never forced to face these facts. The article includes details of the activities of Unit 731, the best known of these medical groups.

There's a resurgence today of Japanese nationalism that considers Japan a "victim" of WW II and Hiroshima/Nagasaki symbolic of that victimization. In Parsons' view this denial is possible because of the coverup, in which the US was complicit, of many of the evils that flourished in Imperial Japan.

He has a good point. Although similar groups exist in contemporary Germany, the Holocaust record is hard to deny. It's also appalling that the perpetrators in Japan were allowed to escape any punishment for their crimes.

Scopes "Monkey" Trial

Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy has a very interesting review of the legal aspects of the famous Tennessee case on the teaching of evolution. The actual facts bear almost no resemblance to the popular mythology that has grown up around the case (e.g. Inherit the Wind).

I spotted this at Chris Berg's blog. He also has some startling information about the content of the text that Scopes was using.

Looking Back at Hiroshima

Yesterday's anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima attracted a lot of commentary. Sixty years later argument still rages about whether or not it was the right thing to do. Having looked at it from both sides over the years, our view is that it was. We had been fighting for years in a bloody war with suicidal enemies, and the saving of American lives alone easily justifies it. When we add in the value of a quick, certain victory vs. the risk of giving the enemy more time to develop his own version, it's no contest. Ultimately, Japanese deaths and economic devastation were also reduced by forcing a quick surrender, although of course the residents of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki paid the price for the rest of Japan.

PTG at Plains Feeder also believes it was the right decision. He recommends a book chronicling the experiences of some people who were on the ground in Hiroshima that day.

Glen at Nashville Truth is not so sure the bombing was justified. He provides a quote from Gen. Eisenhower, who believed the bombing was unnecessary, as Japan was already defeated. Ike was certainly in a position to have a well-informed opinion. Reportedly, Gen. MacArthur was also opposed, believing the Japanese would surrender anyway, if we allowed the continued rule of the Emperor.

The last link also has quotes from others who were opposed to the bombing, either before or later. Some of the alternatives suggested would have been more devasting to the Japanese even if they eventually worked: naval blockade (starve them); massive conventional/fire bombing of cities; etc.

Hindsight is golden. The Wall Street Journal provides some historical context in the form of opinions of the GIs who would have had to invade Japan. OpinionJournal:
"In 1945, Paul Fussell was a 21-year-old second lieutenant who'd spent much of the previous year fighting his way through Europe. At the time of Hiroshima, he was scheduled to participate in the invasion of the Japanese mainland, for which the Truman Administration anticipated casualties of between 200,000 and one million Allied soldiers. No surprise, then, that when news of the bomb reached Lt. Fussell and his men, they had no misgivings about its use:

'We learned to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, and for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live.'

Mr. Fussell was writing about American lives. What about Japanese lives? The Japanese army was expected to fight to the last man, as it had during the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Since the ratio of Japanese to American combat fatalities ran about four to one, a mainland invasion could have resulted in millions of Japanese deaths--and that's not counting civilians. The March 1945 Tokyo fire raid killed about 100,000; such raids would have intensified had the war dragged on. The collective toll from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings is estimated at between 110,000 and 200,000.

[...] Not least, and despite the terrible irony, the bombings were salvation for Japan, since they prompted Emperor Hirohito to intervene with his bitterly divided government to end the war, thus laying the groundwork for America's beneficent occupation and the country's subsequent prosperity. To understand the roots of modern Japan's pacifist mentality, so at variance with its old warrior culture, one need only visit Hiroshima's peace park." [This is quite a good article, so read the rest.]
The long term value of breaking the warrior culture of Japan should not be underestimated. Would that have been achieved without the bombing or the massive loss of American lives a full invasion would have entailed? Probably not.

Update: In the comments Kira recommends this excellent article on the atomic bomb decision. The authors review recently declassified information about what Truman knew and when he knew it.

Technorati: ,