Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Friday, October 01, 2004

Required Reading Roundup

I've read lots of good stuff this week, you can do the same if you read on. Before you do though, let me tell you about a great web site called Many online newspapers require that bothersome free registration where they collect demographic information and whatever else. BugMeNot will give you a user name and password to get around all that. Use it and pass it on. To the weekend reading.....

James Lileks is on a roll, he talks debates, France and summits:
I can’t take any more talk about bringing allies to the table. Which ones? Brazil? Mynmar? Microfrickin’nesia? Are there some incredibly important and powerful nations out there whose existence has hitherto escaped me? Fermany? Gerance? The Galactic Order of the Belgian Dominion? Did we piss off the Vulcans? Who? If we mean “France and Germany,” then please explain to me why the reluctant participation of these two countries somehow bestows the magic kiss of legitimacy. They want in? Fine. They don’t? Fine. At this point mooning over France is like being that sophomore loser dorm pal who spent his dateless weekends telling his loser roommate about a high school sweetheart who stood him up for the prom. Give it up. Move on. I understand; they are wise and nuanced, we are young and dumb. We’re the cowboy leaning with his back against the bar, elbows on the rail, watching the door; we need our European betters to teach us how to ape the subtle forms of Nijinsky, limbs arrayed in the exquisite form of the Dying Swan. Understood. But I don’t want to be the Dying Swan. And I don’t want posture lessons from a country that spent the last 20 years flopping on its back and grabbing its ankles when Saddam showed up waving stacks of Francs in exchange for bang-sticks. Don’t you think I know about France’s relations with Saddam? Surely the advocates of the French Touch must know, and don’t care. Or they don’t know – in which case their advice is useless.

Germany? Whatever.

And it took lots of dead Americans to be able to say that.
He's got the agenda set for John Kerry's proposed summit as well, read the rest.

Mark Steyn has some thoughts for the Europeans, again read the whole thing, but I can't resist this excerpt:
By contrast, Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian is demanding a ballot for November 2 on the grounds that, "if everyone in the world will be affected by this presidential election, shouldn't everyone in the world have a vote in it?"


But, according to Freedland, in demanding the same rights as New Hampshire and Arkansas, "the human race would be making a declaration of dependence - acknowledging that Washington's decisions affect us more than those taken in our own capitals."

Yes, but that was your conscious choice - a choice not to keep up, technologically, militarily, economically, because you preferred 35-hour weeks, two months of vacation, cradle-to-grave welfare, etc.

And even today you Eurofetishists still trumpet all that as the core of European identity. And, if the core of European identity turns out to have made you impotent, you ought to treat the disease rather than demand free Viagra from Washington.

Dennis Byrne says it was the doves (like him) who got us into this mess:
For example: In the late 1980s, former President George H.W. Bush actually was trying "constructive engagement" to turn Saddam Hussein into a peaceful and responsible regional ally. Voices of "reason" and "moderation" insisted we could "engage" the dictator by offering him incentives and by playing nice. It got us ... a war. No intelligence failure here; we knew 120,000 Iraqi Republican Guard troops had gathered on the Kuwaiti border, but many (like me) opposed intervention. We doves were wrong.

After driving Hussein's invaders out, most folks (like me) thought that "containment" was better than marching to Baghdad. So the international community and the United Nations set up no-fly zones and imposed a "disarmament" policy and monitoring program to destroy and prevent the reconstitution of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. U.S. military forces were asked to hang around to make sure it all got done.

All of which was a great success: Hussein shot at planes flying in the internationally imposed no-fly zone and threw out UN weapons inspectors. The presence of our military forces in the Middle East inflamed lunatics like Osama bin Laden. The sanctions spawned the UN's gigantic Oil-for-Food rip-off, enriching Hussein and Russian, French, Chinese and German interests. Oh yes, and helping arm today's insurgents. Again, the doves (like me) were wrong. While the doves were looking to the UN for a solution, Hussein was spitting in its eye, its multiple empty resolutions and its feathery diplomacy.

Finally, Charles Krauthammer, who to my knowledge has never written a dumb column makes a compelling case to re-elect Bush.
The Michael Moore Democrats are having a jolly time with the President's reaction during those first seven minutes on 9/11. What counts is the first 100 days. The first 100 days witnessed the single most important victory ever in the war on terrorism: the conquest of Afghanistan, the installation of a pro-American government and the decimation and scattering of al-Qaeda. It seems easy now. It was not.

It was risky and required great political courage. Afghanistan was the graveyard of empires. Rugged, mountainous, impenetrable, recalcitrant and peopled by an enemy hardened and fanatical, it was considered unconquerable.

Bush led. And succeeded. He did it by mobilizing the American people within 10 days with one of the great speeches in modern American history, an address to Congress so compelling that 19,000 hockey fans in a Philadelphia arena stopped the game so he could be heard and they could be led. He did it by approving a military plan of audacity and originality. He did it knowing that the United States was going to war practically alone.

John Kerry tells us we have to wage a more sensitive war where we acquiesce more to "allies." O.K., let's talk allies. Which is the single most crucial ally in the war on terrorism? France? Germany? Russia? No. Pakistan. Pakistan made possible the destruction of the Taliban, and has been turning over to us the most important al-Qaeda figures ever captured. How did Bush turn the world's foremost supporter of the Taliban into our most critical ally against them? Sensitivity? Two days after 9/11, Bush had his Secretary of State deliver an ultimatum to the Pakistanis: Join us or else. They joined. That is leadership.

Bush was rewarded for this extraordinary first victory with overwhelming popular support. He could easily have spent the next two years lavishing attention on domestic affairs, ostentatiously opening a bioterrorism triage center in every clinic in every hamlet in America. Punctuate that with regular announcements about the hunt for al-Qaeda, and he could have coasted to re-election as Father Protector.
As we all know, rather than sit back, President Bush risked his political future - indeed his legacy - and decided to take on Saddam Hussein and start the inevitable (but long overdue) process of reform in the Middle East.

Read them all.


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