Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Prof. Reynolds: Sunnis deserve to die

We're not kidding about this:

QUITE SOME TIME AGO, Mickey Kaus wrote:

Keep this between us, but would a violent-but-short Shiite vs. Sunni civil war (in which the U.S. was not involved) be the worst thing that could happen? Just askin'! It might be the essential predicate to a rough ethnic and religious balance of power. Or it might produce a stable, de facto partition.

Well, it might not be the worst thing that could happen (from our perspective), but it would be very bad. However, from the Sunnis' perspective, it would be the worst thing that could happen, since they are growing increasingly unpopular as sponsors of / collaborators with terror attacks through Iraq -- and nobody liked them that much anyway.

I suppose, to be fair, Reynolds says that he doesn't think that civil war would happen, but what the hell is he talking about here? Genocide A-OK?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:50 AM

What the-- ?

Just heard some unnamed 'expert' on NBC observe something above the Shuttle. "You can see the birds up there, flying around -- they're vultures. Do they know something we don't know?"

Holy moley.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:38 AM

Surrender in the GWOT?

This is going to make a lot of froth-mouths very unhappy:

"New Name for 'War on Terror' Reflects Wider U.S. Campaign"

Choice excerpt:

In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation's senior military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catchphrase of choice. Administration officials say that phrase may have outlived its usefulness, because it focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Press Club on Monday that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution." He said the threat instead should be defined as violent extremists, with the recognition that "terror is the method they use."

Although the military is heavily engaged in the mission now, he said, future efforts require "all instruments of our national power, all instruments of the international communities' national power." The solution is "more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military," he concluded.

What's next, therapy and understanding for terrorists? What say you, Hugh, Powerline, et al? Eagerly awaiting response.

Also, guys, 'GSAVE' -- sounds like the name of your bonus card at Rite Aid.

UPDATE: Welcome, Eschatonians. Apparently, the PR office at the Defense Department didn't get the new memo. Get the headline in their release on Myers appearance at the press club: "U.S. Must Maintain Will in Terror War, Myers Says."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:08 AM

Monday, July 25, 2005

Why the Federalist Society story matters

I see that some don't really think this Roberts/Federalist Society flap is all that much to write home about. Here's where I disagree.

Let's do something of a hypothetical. Let's say that a judge named Jonathan Miller had previously been identified in the press as a member of the ACLU. Now after these reports ran, let's say Miller would go out of his way to extract corrections from news organizations explaining that he was most certainly not a member of the ACLU. Then, later, after nominated to the Supreme Court, let's say we find out that Miller is on a steering committee for the ACLU and was identified as part of their leadership directory. We learn that Miller now cannot recall whether this was the case.

I'm sure no one would raise an eyebrow, right?

SIDE NOTE: Is anyone else noticing the right-wingoshpere's response to this? That it's a McCarthyite witch hunt? So hilarious on so many levels. The issue now is not whether Roberts is a member of the Federalist Society, but rather, why he would deny affiliation with it so vehemently. If it's such a wonderful organization, why would he be taking pains to disassociate himself from it?

And also. Did you see Charles Lane's earlier reporting on this? I'll bet he felt like he got hoodwinked but good, and that's why he ran this story today.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 1:20 PM

I have no idea how my name ended up in that leadership directory

Must've been a typo by that ultra-conservative group's secretary. Yeah, that passes the BS test. This White House is fairly brazen in their deception strategies, let's see how they run with this latest nugget regarding their Supreme Court nominee. This is a long excerpt mostly because what's being argued here is so silly, the upshot being: "I'm not really part of this society, even though I went to meetings, was part of a committee, and appeared in their leadership directory, cuz I didn't pay dues."

Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard A. Leo said that either he or another official of the organization recruited Roberts for the committee. Roberts's task was to serve "as a point of contact within the firm to let people know what is going on" with the organization. "It doesn't meet, it doesn't do a whole lot. The only thing we expect of them is to make sure people in the firm know about us," Leo said.

Membership in the sense of paying dues was not required as a condition of inclusion in a listing of the society's leadership, Leo said. He declined to say whether Roberts had ever paid dues, citing a policy of keeping membership information confidential.

Whelan, who has been a member of the Federalist Society but said he had no recollection of his own membership on the steering committee, said the society is tolerant of those who come to its meetings or serve on committees without paying dues.

"John Roberts probably realized pretty quickly he could take part in activities he wanted to" without being current on his dues, Whelan said.

These may seem like fine distinctions, but Roberts has insisted on them. In 2001, after he was nominated by President Bush for the seat he currently holds on the court of appeals, Roberts spoke to Post reporter James V. Grimaldi and asked him to correct an item Grimaldi had written that described Roberts as a member of the Federalist Society. In a subsequent column, Grimaldi wrote that Roberts "is not and never has been a member of the Federalist Society, as previous reported in this column."
Being a part of some ultra-right wing society is one thing, finely parsing your relationship with it and then actively attempting to deceive reporters and others on it is another matter. Have a feeling we'll be hearing much more on this. Read and decide.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:48 AM

Sunday, July 24, 2005

If we just think positive, we win in Iraq!

Hereafter known as the the Kumbaya Strategy. I kid you not, this is the thesis of Austin Bay's cover story in the Weekly Standard, an article that explains how we'd be winning even bigger if it weren't for those darned news media types publicizing all those blown-apart Iraqis. It also shows how Gen. John Abizaid is keeping his fingers on the pulse of the Arab Street in Riyadh and Tehran from his fortified bunker in the Green Zone. This is what it's come to:

"The mood of how this war is going in Baghdad and Arab capitals is better than in Washington and London," Abizaid said...

Why? I asked. Why is that? Why the rank negativism?


Patient, he said. We have no patience, I thought. Washington, D.C., and cable news have no patience. Our own ridiculous, catered-to generation, General, has little patience for anything except capital gains, and maybe that's too generous a statement. If the Big Mac is two minutes late, Boomers, be they left or right, get pissed.

And it goes on like this.

Oh, and there's more incisive commentary on "Why we're winning."
Winning the global war against Islamist terror ultimately means curbing the terrorists' strategic combat power, and that means ending the media magnification of their bombs.

I remember a very early morning in July 2004, still on active duty, when I realized this was the case. I walked into the coalition's Joint Operations Center in Al Faw Palace, Baghdad, and took a seat in the back of the tiered amphitheater. A huge plasma screen draped the front wall, like a movie theater screen, divided into ceiling-high panels capable of displaying multiple computer projections. A viewer could visually hopscotch from news to weather to war. The biggest display, that morning and every morning, was a spooling date-time list describing scores of military and police actions undertaken over the last dozen hours. The succinct, acronym-packed reports flowed like haikus of violence: "0331: 1/5 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, arrests suspects after Iraqi police stop car"; "0335 USMC vicinity Falluja engaged by RPG, returned fire. No casualties."

The spool spun on and on, and I remember thinking: I know we're winning. We're winning because--in the big picture--all the opposition (Saddam's thugs and Zarqawi's al Qaeda) has to offer is the tyranny of the past. But the drop-by-drop police blotter perspective obscures that.

Look, no matter how bleak the situation appears (read this counter-narrative to Bay's sunny optimism), I'm not such a pompous ass to declare outright that we somehow won't "win," whatever that means, in Iraq, but I am also not such a pompous ass to declare that "we're winning" right now. Who is Austin Bay kidding?

A final note: We also get a retread of Bay's now-infamous line: "...flash the flames of that one rig, on CNN and, 'Oh my God, America can't stop these guys,' is the impression left from Boise to Beijing." Which was dissected a bit here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:40 AM

Sounds like a job for Pajamas Media!

Every week, there are about a dozen Instapundit posts that make me throw up my hands, roll my eyes and groan. I resist attempting to rebut it, because, well why bother? Nonetheless, I thought I'd point out this recent doozy, which is probably not the most egregious or ill-thought-out thing he's tapped out in the last week, but is still pretty representative:

AN ANTI-TERROR RALLY BY MUSLIMS in Antelope Valley, California. You know, if these people had blown something up, they'd be getting more press. Which suggests that if the press wants to help eliminate terrorism, it should adjust its priorities.

UPDATE: Here's a report of an antiterror protest in Iraq, too. The same point applies.

ANOTHER UPDATE: There's more anti-terror protest action in Denmark.

Hey, there are anti-terror protests! That's super! But here's the thing, Prof. Reynolds: who among us out there supports terrorism? Well, Muslim extremists and wackos on the left and right. Let's put it this way: If some intrepid blogger found out that Germans were holding a rally denouncing Adolf Hitler would that be newsworthy? Would there be blanket coverage? Of course not. Because everyone agree with the sentiment. People think Hitler sucks in the same way that people think terrorism sucks. The only way those protests would make news is if the Muslims in Antelope started talking about the good things that terrorism produces.

And a final point. Implying that the press somehow doesn't want to "eliminate terrorism" by virtue of its news judgement is not only deeply flawed reasoning, it's deeply offensive. But then, I'm no expert on this. As a wise man once argued, if we just stop talking about terrorism, it'll all go away.

UPDATE: Yeah, so that protest in Antelope was covered by a sharp-eyed blogger, right? A web-based super-sleuth catching the evil media napping? Well, no. Glenn Reynolds, meet the Antelope Valley Press (daily circ., 26,065) . If you go to the website now the protests are the lead story. Also it was covered in a lenghty article in the L.A. Daily News (daily circ, 200,000) The blackout spreads.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:06 AM

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Taking credit when it's probably best not to

This is pretty funny:
Late Thursday night, a group calling itself the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, named for a former lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, posted a statement claiming responsibility for Thursday's attempted strikes and vowing that terror would continue as long as Europe's soldiers were deployed in Iraq. The statement's authenticity could not be confirmed.
Other things Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade is claiming responsibility for:

Interesting factoid: the Brigaders endorsed Bush for president last year, for what now seem like obvious reasons.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:05 AM

For your own good

We see that the US is refusing to comply with a court order to release previously undisclosed photos and videos from Abu Ghraib. Get this:
In the letter sent Thursday, Sean Lane, an assistant United States attorney, said that the government was withholding the photographs because they "could result in harm to individuals," and that it would outline the reasons in a sealed brief to the court.

Could result in harm to individuals. Yeah, like, what, more anal rapings?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:12 AM

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dog days

Wow. It's been, what almost a week since the last post. Busy, yes. Bored with blogging? Maybe a little. Perhaps it's time I got me one of them fill-in bloggers, like the big boys get.

I do have to sort of rethink the direction of this thing.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:32 PM

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Troops clothed in pro-torture garb, courtesy of Rush Limbaugh

Things to make you sick:

RUSH: Got a great e-mail here to share with you, folks. "Dear Rush: Greetings from Camp Ramadi in Iraq again." This is the guy who sent us a picture, sent a great e-mail in; we sent him some Club G'itmo gear. We sent him a whole bunch of Club G'itmo gear. He says: "Greetings from Camp Ramadi here in Iraq again. We received your generous shipment of Club G'itmo apparel and Jihad Java coffee mugs in fine order here today. Suffice to say these items were used to officially inaugurate the grand opening of Club G'itmo East here in Iraq. I've enclosed with my e-mail a picture of our opening ceremony complete with soldiers, both on duty and off, enjoying some of the finer elements of life that many Americans partake in back home: Organized softball -- although we play in a real sandlot -- one-hole golf course complete with all the punkers you can play courtesy of the incoming mortars that make the most wonderful craters to play out of. What a great joint venture the insurgents have done for us by creating such a marvel with their measly bombs. It's a win-win situation.

In case you're wondering what they're wearing, click here for more examples.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:18 AM

Friday, July 08, 2005

Blatant un-self-awareness alert

Glenn Reynolds laments widesperead coverage of terror attacks:

What's interesting to me is that members of the press are exquisitely sensitive to the dangers of being manipulated by our own government, but so much less so in other cases.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Zelda Aronstein emails:

I bet if the media voluntarily stopped showing any pictures of all terror attacks, that the terror would stop. Thus ending the GWOT without a shot.This policy would be NO DIFFERENT than how they cover folks who run on to baseball fields: they do NOT show them on TV; they ignore them. Would the media ever put peace above their ratings/profits? Never.

Sadly, that's probably right.

See Glenn Reynolds restraining himself from covering the terror attacks of 7/7 here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Oh, and here. Also here. And more here, here, and here. More restraint here and here. Sticking his finger in the eye of terrorists the world over by not commenting here and here and here. Showing he's a much better person than the easily manipulated barons of the press here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

Doesn't he know the terror will go away if he just stops blogging about it?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:54 PM


Monita Rajpal of CNN is in London, inexplicably attempting to flatten her beautiful British accent into a bizarre midwestern American twang. Doesn't she know that the British way of saying "around" and "markets" is so much lovelier than its Des Moines equivalent? Especially coming from a South Asian? Hasn't she heard of Daljit Dhaliwal?

LATE UPDATE: That's better. Heard "dote" as in "I dote it will deter tourism."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:41 AM

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We really didn't think too hard when we named our institute

Was reading this jeremiad against the Time's cultural coverage, and couldn't let this pass:
Douglas Gentile of the National Institute on Media and the Family was quoted as
saying that “psychologists love to slice it up many different ways, but it boils
down to this: Kids copy what they see on TV.”


I love it.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:21 PM

Not dead

Just taking it easy, not being near a computer the last few days. That was nice.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:21 PM

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