Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Belated News

Sorry for the delays today--tomorrow I'll explain what I did today that kept me away from the Big Tent. In the meantime, here are a few things that might be of interest.

Ben Stein has three questions:

(1) Is there any evidence at all of Americans' rights being trampled upon by the application of the Patriot Act?

(2) Where are all of the wild hurrahs that should have greeted the recent election in Iraq?

(3) Does anyone remember 9/11 any longer?
Jonah Goldberg says "Bug 'Em!":

...the Democrats are playing into the president's hands by getting outraged over this (just as they are being foolish by obstructing the Patriot Act). The president did the right thing, arguably in the wrong way. Trying to tear him down for it will only reinforce the view that Bush is dedicated to winning the war on terror and will make the Democrats look like they aren't.
James Lileks provides links to changes in a classic kids book and evidence that you have to be insane to want to live in New York city.

And, once again, not a single one of my beloved Cleveland Browns made the AFC Pro Bowl squad. Probably the right choice--although I think Andra Davis could have gone and the folks at ESPN think Reuben Droughns was deserving. Just another indication of the level of suckidation for the Browns. *Sigh*

See you tomorrow. I'll come with pictures.


dcat said...

Re: the last 2 of Ben Stein's three questions --

2) I'm not even certain what that means. I'd challenge Mr. Stein to show me a single mainstream media source that did not cover the election and analyze it as a potentially good thing. But "wild cheering"? We're not there yet. I am happy that there were elections. But Robert Mugabe has elections. Let's see what comes as a result of these elections. I'm not much interested in "wildly cheering" procedural accomplishments. I am more inclined to smile and hope. In any case, it is telling that the question is delivered in the passive voice -- the wild cheering from whom? I have not seen or heard of a source in which Mr. Stein's wildly cheering" has been outlined. Must be some sort of metaphor.

3) This is of course the most noisome issue of all -- who DOESN'T remember 9/11. It is as if when conservatives run out of arguments they feel the need to appropriate 9/11 as their own trump card. It is disatasteful and ugly and in this case irrelevent. Sorry to say, the Iraq-9/11 link still is not there. Liberating Iraq was a good thing, but I've seen no sign that we have forgotten 9/11. In fact, I'll bet $100 with any Big Tenter that there is not a major newspaper in the country that has not in the past week mentioned 9/11 at least 5 times. Any takers? Money. Where. Mouths. Are. No one has forgotten anything. Some people just find it distasteful to appropriate 9/11 every time we want to make a point.


Tom said...

2) Calling the Iraqi election a 'procedural accomplishment' is exactly what Stein was talking about. It was a lot more than that.

3) Sample headlines of newspapers mentioning 9/11 in the last few days:

"For Bush, 9/11 justifies eavesdropping"

"US senator apologizes for claiming 9/11 attackers came from Canada"

"9/11 Gone Wild"

"Bush eased domestic spy limits after 9/11- NY Times"

"Spielberg's Munich: A Post-9/11 Cautionary Tale?"

You're right: no one has forgotten 9/11--most people on the American left didn't get it in the first place.

Paul said...

Did the NYT not trump the Iraqi elections with the 'Bush is Spying' story? The newspaper in my town certainly did. 'Bush is Spying' was front page above the fold, while elections in Iraq was page 5A.

And how in the world can you equate an election monitored by the U.S. with an election held by Robert Mugabe?? I guess in your book we are no better than Mugabe.

I guess you would also be upset that during WWII there were posters, advertisements, etc. with the words 'Remember Pearl Harbor.' Conservatives are not out of arguments, we're just tired of trying to convince liberals that the enemy is real and still exists.

As for the Iraq-9/11 connection, read Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn's article 'The Mother of All Connections.' The link is there.

Jeff said...

Tom & Paul:

As a Democrat who supported the war in Iraq, I have to take issue with your assertions. First, there have been several elections in Iraq but the violence continues, why is this election going to signal that anything will change? Second, like it or not--good news does not and never does make headlines. Who cares what the NTY or the Columbus Dispatch says today---if Iraq improves people will understand. Third, I don't know where you get the notion that "most" people on the left didn't get 9/11. We were attacked and almost everyone supported the war in Afghanistan. The president has never made a coherent case for how the war in Iraq is connected to 9/11. The fact that they lamely tried to tie Hussein and Al Queda together was a sham. There is no credible evidence to link the two. He never trusted the American people enough to make a complicated and nuanced case for war---hence his reasoning for the war WMD and terrorist links have proven false but they were never the real reasons for going to war in the first place.

Stop comparing this war to WWII--there are few similarities. This is more like Korea. Hopefully, fifty years from now we can look back on this and praise Bush. I really do hope that---but I fear that democracy will not take root and the situation on the ground will continue to be the fiasco that it looks and smells like.

Most of Bush's problems are of his own making and just b/c we criticize the president does not mean we have forgotten 9/11 or fail to realize that there is a dangerous enemy. It is all too easy to think that your opponents are simpletons or are naive. Most Democrats are not academic leftists or student activists.

Paul said...

'The violence continues.'
Iraq will not be a utopia just because there were elections. There is violence all over the world, even in the U.S. What's your point? The violence is contained in 3 provinces in Iraq, while the other 11 are peaceful and have greeted our troops as heroic liberators. It's not a fiasco, either. Ask any returning soldier.

'Who cares what the NYT says??'
Uhh...only most other news outlets in America, most of Manhattan, etc. Are they not the 'Newspaper of Record?' Their attempts to discredit this administration and undermine the war effort with negative reporting are shameful.

'If Iraq improves, people will understand.'
How will NYT readers know if Iraq improves?

'Iraq and Al-Qaeda not linked.' 'No credible evidence.'
Okay, did you not check out the link from Hayes and Joscelyn I put up? I guess Iraq became infested with terrorists AFTER the U.S. invaded.

'Stop comparing this to WWII.'
NO. This fight for the survival of Western Civilization is just as important. Besides, the comparison was simple. 'Remember 9/11' is just like 'Remember Pearl Harbor' or 'Remember the Maine.'

Tom said...


I suppose we can agree to disagree about the prospects of democracy taking root in Iraq. I think we can agree that it will be much harder than the president and his administration imagined at first (I have an article on this very subject that is no doubt being ignored at a magazine right now).

Pardon my blanket assertion about most of the American left, but it was more a response to the previous comment making blanket assertions about conservatives. That said, the argument over whether or not we should be in Iraq is exactly what I meant about most of the American left not getting it. For the seven millionth time: Sadaam Hussein was a bad guy with access to lots of money and lots of weapons; he was actively hostile to the United States; his regime sponsored terrorism (at the very least Palestinian suicide bombers); he was a destabilizing force in a region where radical Muslim terrorists feed on the lack of stability. After 9/11, most Americans, led by President Bush, came to the realization that we could not afford to ignore that region any more. Please don't tell me that the president and supporters of the war did not make this argument from the beginning, because the letters on my keyboard are worn from typing the same damn thign for two years now.

The only problem with the war in Iraq is that the critics have eaten up so much of our will that other regimes that present similar problems as Saddam's (Iran, Syria) seem like they are going to get another free pass. Unfortunately, the Democrats have proven themselves to be in the pockets of those who really did not get 9/11--the one's who insisted Afghanistan was a war crime and that it would be the worst quagmire of all. The leadership of the Democratic party has blown off Senator Lieberman and the base of the party has started to turn the screws on Senator Clinton (something she is doing her damndest to fight off, much to her credit). Most Democrats are not student activists and academic leftists, but that doesn't matter if they don't take back control of their party.

Stephen said...

I would also take issue with the assertion that President Bush has not made a coherent argument linking the war in Iraq to the war on terror that started after 9/11. He has made the argument many times. It is pretty coherent.