Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Friday, May 19, 2006
I'm still catching up on all I've missed in the blogosphere over the last few weeks. At times this feels like an exercise in futility - the blogosphere moves at incredible velocity. So, in one post, here are some highlights, read the whole thing applies to each one.
One wonders why this has gotten so little play in the American media, but a captured Al Qaeda correspondence says (and I'm paraphrasing) that they are getting their asses handed to them in every way in Iraq, 'every year is worse than the last' the captured document laments.
Reading further, it becomes clear why so little attention has been paid. Al-Qaeda counts exactly one success in Iraq: their ability to manipulate the American Media into believing that the Iraq situation is out of control! No wonder the MSM have their senses turned to ignore, thankfully, Ed Morrissey is paying close attention.
More cognitive dissonance:
Little Green Footballs has video of that hero of the left, Noam Chomsky visiting with, and tipping his cap to those who defend with violence such progressive causes as treating women as second class citizens and imposing Islamic theocracy. But hey, at least he's against stupid Bush, seemingly the sole necessary quality to achieve leftist hero status.
Mark Steyn on Hollywood's sudden realization of the horrors of Darfur, and another devastating indictment of the UN. I'll quote at length:
I SEE George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have discovered Darfur and are now demanding "action". Good for them. Hollywood hasn't shown this much interest in indigenous groups of the Sudan since John Payne and Jerry Colonna sang The Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish in Garden of the Moon (1938).
I wish the celebs well. Those of us who wanted action on Darfur years ago will hope their advocacy produces more results than ours did. Clooney's concern for the people of the region appears to be genuine and serious. But unless he's also serious about backing the only forces in the world with the capability and will to act in Sudan, he's just another showboating pretty boy of no use to anyone.
Here's the lesson of the past three years: The UN kills.
In 2003, you'll recall, the US was reviled as a unilateralist cowboy because it and its coalition of the poodles waged an illegal war unauthorised by the UN against a sovereign state run by a thug regime that was no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders, which it killed in large numbers (Kurds and Shia).
Well, Washington learned its lesson. Faced with another thug regime that's no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders which it kills in large numbers (African Muslims and southern Christians), the unilateralist cowboy decided to go by the book. No unlawful actions here. Instead, meetings at the UN. Consultations with allies. Possible referral to the Security Council.
...If you think the case for intervention in Darfur depends on whether or not the Chinese guy raises his hand, sorry, you're not being serious. The good people of Darfur have been entrusted to the legitimacy of the UN for more than two years and it's killing them. In 2004, after months of expressing deep concern, grave concern, deep concern over the graves and deep grave concern over whether the graves were deep enough, Kofi Annan took decisive action and appointed a UN committee to look into what's going on. Eventually, they reported back that it's not genocide.
Thank goodness for that. Because, as yet another Kofi-appointed UN committee boldly declared, "genocide anywhere is a threat to the security of all and should never be tolerated". So fortunately what's going on in the Sudan isn't genocide. Instead, it's just hundreds of thousands of corpses who happen to be from the same ethnic group, which means the UN can go on tolerating it until everyone's dead, at which point the so-called "decent left" can support a "multinational" force under the auspices of the Arab League going in to ensure the corpses don't pollute the water supply.
...Those of us on the Free Iraq-Free Darfur side are consistent: There are no bad reasons to clobber thug regimes, and the postmodern sovereignty beloved by the UN is strictly conditional. At some point, the Left has to decide whether it stands for anything other than self-congratulatory passivity and the fetishisation of a failed and corrupt transnationalism. As Alexander Downer put it: "Outcomes are more important than blind faith in the principles of non-intervention, sovereignty and multilateralism."
I'll reiterate: Read the whole thing.
George Will says it is our civic duty to see 'United 93'
To the long list of Britain's contributions to American cinema -- Charles Chaplin, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Stan Laurel, Deborah Kerr, Vivien Leigh, Maureen O'Hara, Ronald Colman, David Niven, Boris Karloff, Alfred Hitchcock and others -- add Paul Greengrass, writer and director of "United 93." He imported into Hollywood the commodity most foreign to it: good taste. This is especially shown in the ensemble of unknown character actors and non-actors who play roles they know -- a real pilot plays the pilot, a former flight attendant plays the head flight attendant -- and several persons who play on screen the roles they played on Sept. 11.
Greengrass's scrupulosity is evident in the movie's conscientious, minimal and minimally speculative departures from the facts about the flight painstakingly assembled for the Sept. 11 commission report. This is emphatically not a "docudrama" like Oliver Stone's execrable "JFK," which was "history" as a form of literary looting in which the filmmaker used just enough facts to lend a patina of specious authenticity to tendentious political ax-grinding.
...The message of the movie is: We are all potential soldiers. And we all may be, at any moment, at the war's front, because in this war the front can be anywhere.
The hinge on which the movie turns are 13 words that a passenger speaks, without histrionics, as he and others prepare to rush the cockpit, shortly before the plane plunges into a Pennsylvania field. The words are: "No one is going to help us. We've got to do it ourselves." Those words not only summarize this nation's situation in today's war but also express a citizen's general responsibilities in a free society.
In economic news it was good to see that the federal income tax cuts of several years ago have been renewed. It was stunning to look at this chart illustrating how incredibly progressive the tax system really is. Anyone who claims that Bush's tax cuts are for the rich could only charitably be called a complete ass.
And Wretchard is on an exceptional roll with this follow up to his post that I linked below.
A small, still voice argued that we 21st century bloggers too no longer know what it is all about; and least of all those who formerly had an answer to everything. The really perilous thing about September 11 was that it opened the door into the wide world; raised our eyes from the orderly spectacle of New Year's Day TV football to the sights of Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan. September 11 not only took away lives, it took away innocence: no longer was it possible to repose confidence in the rationality and goodness of man. Not after seeing Zarqawi; not after watching people kill each other for no apparent reason; not after witnessing the madness that passes, in certain circles, for piety. Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus.
....The imaginary William of Baskerville, Eco tells us, died in the Great Plague. But while he lived, he lived. And may live still in some meaningful sense, at least to those interested in solving murders. Those passing familiar with Jesus' teachings know He taught that the path to the Father led through the ordinary. Those who prefer other metaphors may wish to think of a heterogenous universe, where meaning and love imperishable exist side by side with cruelty, horror and absurdity. And we must choose whether to try and understand it all or create and defend a bubble in which love and meaning truly do exist.
For these somewhat fanciful reasons I hope that the blogosphere will become less a cockpit of argument and ideas -- though it will always be that -- and more a forum for action: a place to facilitate meetings between real people, develop actual applications and accomplish physical tasks. There never was a flower, a glass of beer or a child's laugh that was ever truly futile. Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Maybe I can get caught up next week. Or maybe I will just look to enjoying Memorial Day, friends, and a glass of beer.