December 21, 2005

There she goes again

You remember Cindy Sheehan? You know how the media collaborated in giving attention to her publicity stunts far in excess of their relevance?

Well, she doesn't.

But the peace movement in the U.S. remains small. Why?
One thing that has prevented the peace movement in America is the media. I spoke with 5,000 people in North Carolina on March 19, 2005, and the press called the protest "insignificant." They covered the Terri Schiavo case instead.

Yeah, the media sure has been screwing over Cindy Sheehan, hasn't it? Those reporters, so unsympathetic to her goals, so unwilling to accord "significance" to her protests.

I was unable to find any media mention of her March 19 event as "insignificant", but here's the Fayetteville (NC)'s puff piece on the protest. Sure doesn't sound like it's talking about an event that lacks significance.

Moving along:

You feel like you were mistreated by the press?
They got hold of everything I've ever said and scrutinized it so carefully. They never scrutinized what Bush said. No one said, "Why did you lie to the American people and say there was WMD?" The press found an easy target in Iraq, and they found an easy target in me.

I can only assume that by "press" here she means "bloggers", because as far as I know the mainstream media has never highlighted the outrageous comments by Cindy Sheehan. The press didn't find an easy target in her; it found a wonderful figurehead. Need I even bother to dig up a few dozen articles and op-eds lauding Sheehan as the saintly "peace mom?"

Cindy Sheehan thinks that the press was out to get her. Every time I think I'm no longer capable of being amazed by the liberal capacity for self-deception, I'm proven wrong.

December 21, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (1)

December 12, 2005

Well, so much for that statistic

As Jack Murtha is fond of saying, over 80% of Iraqis want us out. But... alas, the facts. According to a recent (and very comprehensive) poll of Iraq:

Q33 - How long do you think U.S. and other Coalition Forces should remain in Iraq?

Count %
They should leave now 435 25.5
They should remain until security is restored 527 30.9
They should remain until the Iraqi government elected in December is in place 331 19.4
They should remain until the Iraqi security forces can operate independently 266 15.6
They should remain longer but leave eventually 55 3.2
They should never leave 23 1.3
Difficult to say 70 4.1
Total 1707 100.0

Three quarters of Iraqis don't want us to leave immediately... rather the opposite of what Murtha said. Almost half of Iraqis want us to stay in place until the security situation is resolved. Don't worry, Iraqis. We will.

Hit the road, Jack. And don't you come back no more no more no more no more.

December 12, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 09, 2005

Welcome to thirty years ago!

The blogosphere (and the mainstream media, too) is a-buzzin' about the latest web video from the RNC, featuring a white flag of surrender waving in front of prominent Democrats as they make their doom-and-gloom pronouncements about Iraq. I swear to God that this, from the Washington Times, is not parody:

[T]he ad features a white flag waving in front of Sen. John Kerry as he seems to accuse U.S. forces of terrorism during an interview with newsman Bob Schieffer of CBS.

"There is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night terrorizing kids and children, you know, women," the Massachusetts Democrat said.

Kerry spokesman David Wade expressed outrage that Republicans would attack a decorated Vietnam combat veteran.

"The only shots these Republican hacks have ever fired are from their computers," he said. "So they might not know that the flag that flew over John Kerry's boat in Vietnam was red, white and blue.

"Only in Dick Cheney's party would a vice president who skipped Vietnam on five deferments allow an attack on a veteran with three Purple Hearts," Mr. Wade added. "They want a debate about patriotism? Bring it on."

Seriously, Mr. Wade, is that all you got? Because your guy served in Vietnam, on a boat no less, he's insulated from criticism? You don't care to defend your employer's statements, or explain them, or refute the claim that he's calling American soldiers terrorists? Just "how dare they question a veteran?" That's it?

December 9, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

December 06, 2005

Hello Murtha, hello fodder

Too good to pass up from Mickey Kaus, here we have the Hon. Rep. Jack Murtha on ABC's This Week:

[T]here's a civil war going. We're caught in between a civil war right now. Our troops are the targets of the civil war. They're the only people that could have unified the various factions in Iraq. And they're unified against us. --ABC's This Week, 12/4/05

[W]hy should I believe what the CIA says about what's happening in Iraq, that there's going to be a civil war? First of all, al Qaeda was wrong. It was wrong on the nuclear stuff. It was wrong on everything they have said over there. So why should I believe that there's going to be a civil war? --same show, a few moments later.

[T]he military won a military victory. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. ...[snip] ... Now, it's got to be a political win. They have to win this politically. The Iraqis themselves. We'll stay there forever. The Iraqis are never going to say turn it over. We can't allow them to say when it's gonna turn it over. --This Week, 12/4/05

You're gonna see the Iraqis clamoring. Listen, anybody we support in Iraq loses the election. And so they're gonna be clamoring for us to get out. --same show, a few moments later.

So there's a civil war going on right now, but Murtha doesn't believe those who say that withdrawal would lead to civil war. And the Iraqis will never ask us to leave at the same time they're demanding we leave. Bear in mind, again, that all of these statements were made on the same show. The only consistent message is "whatever the Administration does is wrong."

December 6, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 03, 2005

A great honor

As some of my readers know, my day job is with Microsoft in the Xbox group, which among other things should explain why I've been a bit too busy to blog much lately. On Friday we had a big party to celebrate the launch of the Xbox 360. It was a good party, featuring the Presidents of the United States of America, who played Lump at least twice. But the best part for me wasn't the entertainment, or the free booze, or even the spectacle of 2,000 drunk nerds trying to dance. No, the best part was a conversation I had with some extraordinary men.

The company did its best to keep the party exclusive. Only people who worked directly on the console were invited; not even the employees of Microsoft Game Studios, who developed some crucial launch titles, were admitted. But the company did extend invitations to some non-Xbox employees: a handful of soldiers from Ft. Lewis who had just returned from Iraq. I talked to several, including spending nearly an hour with a corporal who was home to recuperate from an injury sustained in combat.

What they told me was not novel; anybody who follows the conservative blogs has heard nearly identical wording from other soldiers. But hearing it live and in person from men who've been there was a very powerful experience. To a man, they were infuriated with the media. They cannot believe that the war they see on television is the same war they're fighting, and they're baffled and angered that journalists seem to be going out of their way to paint a falsely negative picture. And they believe very strongly in their mission. They are certain that they are winning.

The recovering corporal (who I will not name) had been shot a total of twenty-three times, including three times in the back by a friendly but careless SAW gunner. Apparently, American Kevlar is some pretty effective stuff. He'd also cracked three ribs when he caught an RPG round in his chest. Fortunately, he'd gotten the drop on the RPG's owner (now deceased) who as a result did not have time to arm the grenade before igniting the rocket. His firstborn is on the way. And yet, he can't wait to go back. He's frustrated that his men are there without him.

He told me stories of room-to-room fighting against enemies who were shooting at them from inside an orphanage, while terrified children screamed and cried. He told me of taking sniper fire from inside a mosque, but being under orders not to return fire, to instead move up and physically take down the enemy rather than shoot at a holy site.

Words cannot express my gratitude towards these men, nor my pride that America has such heroes in its service. Any words I use, no matter how superlative, would be shamefully inadequate. All I can offer are tokens. But I'll say this much: I'm going to do my utmost to see to it that these men get some Xbox 360s to play with.

December 3, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

December 01, 2005

Ah, the objective press

From the Independent (UK), in an article about a Belgian girl who became a failed suicide bomber:

Western governments have been forced to recognise that the Iraq war and the televised brutal treatment of Muslims has radicalised an entire generation.

Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin who is accused of being the 20th hijacker, was a law-abiding student who became an extremist, taking flying lessons with the purported intention of committing mass murder.

Richard Reid, a Briton, has been sentenced for trying to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic in December 2001. Reid, from Bromley, south-east London, converted to Islam in prison, where he was serving a sentence for mugging. He and Moussaoui attended the radical Finsbury Park mosque.

Yes, it's quite obvious that the Iraq war and the televised "brutal" treatment of Muslims were responsible for "radicalising" Moussaoui and Reid, because both men are possessed of superhuman powers which enable them to see through time and thus they were able to forecast these events long in advance of their occurrence.

"Brutal" gets scare quotes (TM Reuters) because brutality is relative and quite frankly Muslims in Iraq have received much more brutal treatment at the hands of their "radicalized" brothers than they ever got from Westerners. "Radicalising" gets scare quotes because it's an interesting way of euphemizing "turned into psychopathic wannabe mass murderers." Somehow the brutal treatment of Nick Berg has failed to radicalize Westerners to that extent.

The Independent seeks the cause of the 37-year-old "girl next door's" suicide, and finds it.

By now Degauque was unemployed and at risk of losing her state benefits.

Yes, if only the Belgian government hadn't been quite so stingy with its largesse, Degauque may never have fallen under the thrall of the man who induced her to blow herself (and only herself, thank goodness) up. The man was, purely incidentally and coincidentally, a Muslim, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with anything, except to the extent that he was motivated to avenge his brethren who suffered the indignity of being posed for photographs with panties on their heads.

I'm tempted to say that with friends like these we don't need enemies, but it should be plain that the Independent and their compadres in the American press are no friends of the West.

Update: Welcome visitors from Pajamas Media. My first link from them, I'm so proud :)

December 1, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 20, 2005

Dear Rep. Murtha

Dear Representative Murtha,

The headline on the Associated Press article reads, "Insurgent ambush in Iraq leaves 24 dead." Ever notice that when you see a headline like this, it turns out that the vast majority of the dead are themselves Iraqis? This particular case is no exception; only one of the fatalities was in fact a United States soldier. 15 were innocent Iraqi civilians, and, as it turns out, the remaining 8 were terrorists... or, to use your and the Associated Press's terminology, "insurgents." It's truly a unique way of reporting a battle. If the current staff of the AP were around half a century ago, they'd probably have reported "Battle of Iwo Jima leaves 30,000 dead." One doesn't usually lump enemy casualties in with friendly and innocent casualties, which leads one to wonder whether the AP even considers the terrorists to be the enemy at all.

But never mind that. It kind of gives the lie to your claim that "our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency", doesn't it? In fact, calling the terrorists the "insurgency" begs the question. Insurgents fight against established authority, while these bastards slaughter their own people. Given that they've been killing Iraqis over Americans by a factor of several dozen to one, what is the basis for your claim that Americans are their "primary target?"

The primary strategic objective of the so-called "insurgents" is to gain control over Iraq. United States forces are quite rightly seen as a major obstacle to this goal, so their intermediate objective is to get America out of the country so they have a freer hand. Obviously the only way American troops will leave Iraq is if their civilian leadership chooses to withdraw them, so they are attempting to compel just such a political decision.

And in this, sir, your party is their ally.

In war, casualties happen. This is a blindingly obvious fact which somehow you and yours have overlooked. And the terrorists know that they can count on you to beat the Administration over the head with each and every American casualty. They know that the Democrats will expertly use every dead body to advance their shared political goals. They know that their allies in the media will exert great effort to assist. They know that the casualty ratio they suffer every time they go after American forces is completely unsustainable, but they also know that they need not suffer it for very long -- they can lose fifty to our one and it's a victory for them, because every dead American advances their goal and yours and is worth any price they pay.

So to whatever extent our troops are the target of the "insurgency", it's because you have made them so. You have taught the terrorists that it's worth their while to allow their foot soldiers to be mowed down like wheat for the chance to take out an American or two. By your words and your actions, you have put American soldiers in greater danger.


P.S. I congratulate you on your creative use of the euphemism "redeployment" instead of the much more descriptive "retreat."

November 20, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2005

They even have the same initials


PARIS - President Jacques Chirac said Monday that more than two weeks of violence in the poor suburbs of France is the sign of a “profound malaise” and he ordered new measures to reach out to troubled youths and fight the discrimination believed to be at the root of it.

I always knew that Jacques Chirac, with his incompetent leadership and his preference for anything at all over military action, reminded me of somebody. And now I know who.

But fight the good fight, Jacques. As riotous thugs set your nation ablaze, make sure to reach out to them and give them what they want. The sky is the limit.

November 14, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Not dead yet

Been in Las Vegas for the last week. Had a blast, spent a pile, but was unable to blog. I'm back now, and will resume my regular irregular blogging schedule shortly. Stay tuned.

November 14, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 31, 2005

Jurisprudence 101

Watching the Democrats break out in hives over the nomination of Samuel Alito, Jr. to the United States Supreme Court, I am once again stunned by the sheer amount of ignorance about the role of the judiciary in American society.

Take Alito's dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I've seen a number of fans of Casey argue over the spousal notification requirements at issue, which is the only part of the decision from which Alito dissented. Most of these arguments revolve around two questions: should a pregnant wife notify her spouse that she's seeking an abortion, and should there be a law mandating that a pregnant wife notify her spouse that she's seeking an abortion. But neither of these is properly the purview of a judge. The former is up to philosophers, ethicists, theologians, and, in the final analysis, individuals. The latter is up to legislatures. Neither of these questions should even be an issue for a judge called upon to rule on the law.

Judges are concerned with finding facts, and determining law, and that's it. And "determining law" means determining what the law is, not what the law oughtta be. In this case, precedent demanded that the circuit judges rule on whether the Pennsylvania law mandating spousal notification imposed an "undue burden" on a woman's right to an abortion. This is a judgment call; the words "undue burden" are supremely vague and reasonable people can disagree on whether or not the burden imposed by spousal notification is "undue".

Or take Alito's dissent in Doe v. Groody et al, which the crowd over at Democratic Underground is having a field day with. Let's look at a few choice comments:

Although the case is technical, what it boils down to is this: Alito approves of cops strip-searching little pre-pubescent 10 year old girls.

Read that again: Alito approves of cops strip-searching little prepubescent 10 year old girls.


Scalito's a creep. When a man thinks like that, you have to wonder what he's done to his own children.


The whole case just makes me shiver. I have daughters that age. Who wouldn't I try to kill, cop or not, if they tried to do that to my babies?

What's more, Scarlito has a teenage daughter. And he'd let the cops do that to HER?


For a ten year old prepubescent girl that's tantamount to a lesbian rape. And to have your Mommy powerlessly forced to watch!

Jesus! You couldn't show that in a Quentin Tarrantino movie w/o an NC 17 rating! Larry Flynt would be banned in Cincinnati if he showed that in Hustler.

But Scalito thinks it's OK.

Let's destroy him with this. He's a sick, perverted rape-enabler.


First of all, whether Alito "approves" of strip-searching 10-year-old girls is not the issue. Should ten-year-old girls ever be strip searched? Whether the answer is affirmative or negative, that was not what Alito was called upon to decide, and it is not what he should have considered. Here's what was at issue:

Police officers and other government officials acting in the course of their official employment enjoy general "qualified immunity" to offenses committed in the pursuance of their duties. This makes the hardest kind of sense. Serving a search warrant, after all, is technically breaking and entering. If a police officer executing a faulty warrant were subject to criminal liability, we'd find a lot fewer people willing to serve as police officers.

This immunity is not absolute, and fails when an officer's actions involve unreasonable violation of clearly established rights. That was the issue in this case: a district court had granted summary judgment that the officers were not entitled to immunity, and Judge Alito dissented from the Third Circuit's affirmation of that judgment.

The officers in question were executing a search warrant. To obtain this warrant, an affidavit was submitted, giving the probable cause for the warrant's issuance, and requesting permission to search the residence of one John Doe. The affidavit seeks, no fewer than three times, a warrant to search "all occupants of the residence." Based on the ensuing warrant, officers searched the residence and Mr. Doe, while enlisting the aid of a female officer to search Mrs. Doe and the young Ms. Doe.

Unfortunately, the warrant to which the affidavit was attached neglected to include the "all occupants" stipulation, listing only Mr. Doe. Under "Date of Violation" and "Probable Cause", the warrant simply read "see affidavit", but under "person and/or premises" it listed only Mr. Doe and his residence.

Warrants are to be construed liberally, under United States v. Vantresca, on the grounds that they are typically drafted in haste by non-lawyers. The question before the Third Circuit in this case was whether the reading given the warrant by the executing officers went beyond the bounds established by Vantresca.

Personally, I don't think it did. The officers clearly acted in good faith and in accordance with what they believed was their authority. The only question is whether their belief was reasonable, and given the contents of the affidavit attached to the warrant and the warrant's clear deference to the affidavit on other matters, I believe it is. But again, this is a matter on which reasonable people can disagree.

But I reemphasize, the question was not whether the search was invalid. The question was whether the officers acted in such an egregious fashion and in such bad faith that they should be subject to criminal prosecution for their searches of the two female Does. One can believe that the officers did not act with such bad faith as to lose their immunity without supporting the searches themselves, and without supporting searches of 10-year-old girls in general. Like Chief Justice Roberts's french fry ruling, this is a case where one's natural feelings of repugnance towards an action should not color one's interpretation of the law.

Judge Alito is no child molestor, despite what the DU crowd would have us believe.

October 31, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)