Some Things Are So Stupid Only An Intellectual Could Believe Them

Calling Bush’s Views Manichean Is an Insult to the Manicheans
By Dan Skinner
Mr. Skinner is an instructor of political theory at Hunter College at the City University of New York. He is a PhD student of Political Theory at the City University of New York Graduate Center, focusing on the relationship between language and politics.

Did Bush get the categories right? Is he sure who is Good and who is Evil? If not, he is energizing a high-stakes dualistic game based on false distinctions. Of course, those with cooler heads know that the world is too complex and too diverse for such frigid black and white distinctions.

Another intellectual trying to prove how smart he is by bashing Bush. Bush is so simplistic, so uncultured. Did you hear? He actually believes in good and evil. Not like a sophisticated grad student.

Mr. Skinner says that Dubya should not make distinction between good and evil, after all he might be wrong. Today in Baghdad, 35 children were killed by car bombs, would Mr. Skinner call the ones who did this evil? How about the murder of 12 Nepalese? Is that not evil? The serial beheadings carried out by the “insurgents?” Were these acts evil? Or do we have to examine each act individually, with no connection with anything else? Was the Bataan Death March evil? Was the Rape of Nanking evil? Was the Holocaust evil? A better question is; how could any of these things be good? If you can’t readily believe that massacring children, bombing civilians and brutally murdering civilians could be a good thing, then there is no reason to even join Mr. Skinner in his post-modern confusion.

Isn’t it amazing how a few years of education can strip the common sense of some? I suppose this grad student will get pats from his thesis adviser and he will be the BMOC at the Student Union, but thankfully the audience for such academic bovine manure is small and shrinking.

Ahhh, Isn’t That Sweet?

2 Italian Hostages Got Gifts, Apology

ROME At times, they feared for their lives. They spent many days with blindfolds pressed against their eyes. Their Iraqi captors were convinced that they were spies or proselytizers of Catholicism.

And yet, in the end, their kidnappers apologized and gave them farewell gifts.

See? Those Iraqi “insurgents” and Jihadis are really nice guys at heart.

Let’s just forget that little headcutting incident, er, those headcutting incidents, oh….and that whole car bombing thing too. Yeah, a few children were killed, but, hey, it’s the Americans fault for giving them candy.

There’s A Message Here

Navy Keeps Lid on SEAL Identities

The accused SEALs were members of “capturing units” taking part in sensitive operations in Iraq, often at the direction of the CIA, said Tranberg, …

Charges against the SEALs include aggravated assault with intent to cause death or serious bodily harm, obstruction of justice and conduct unbecoming an officer.

The Navy said some of the charges stem from the Nov. 4, 2003, death of Manadel Al-Jamadi, a suspect in an attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross office.

While subduing Al-Jamadi, a SEAL allegedly struck him on the side of the head with a gun butt. Two CIA personnel brought Al-Jamadi to the Abu Ghraib prison and put him in a shower room, where was found dead less than an hour later.

The lesson? Better to have a “vigorous” field interrogation followed by a bullet to the head, than risk a court martial by bringing a terrorist in.

“Unimpeachable” Sources, I’m Sure.

In every story on Iraq since before the war was launched the Post has been telling us we are losing, it is a quagmire, and we must pull out as soon as possible. Today’s story is no exception.

They name anonymous sources both currently working in government and “former” officials who are growing more and more pessimistic about events in Iraq. That this is news to them is puzzling since they have been reporting the doubts of “officials” since the beginning.

Of course, they don’t share the identities of these “officials” or tell us if the reason they are former is because they worked for the previous administration.

I’m sure that as with Dan Rather’s sources, they are “unimpeachable.”

Both Sides?

The New York Times, America’s premier newspaper, the newspaper with “all the news that’s fit to print” gets it wrong again.

Washington > Campaign 2004 > Truth Be Told, the Vietnam Crossfire Hurts Kerry More” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/24/politics/campaign/24guard.html”>Truth Be Told, the Vietnam Crossfire Hurts Kerry More

Mr. Kerry’s nemesis, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is spending $1.3 million in five swing states with a spot accusing him of meeting with the enemy in Paris – a reference to his trip to the Paris peace talks, where he met with both sides.

He did not meet with “both sides.” He met with two Communist delegations, the North Vietnamese and their ostensibly equal partner, the Viet Cong.

You would think that someone who pretends to be writing a serious news story would at least get their facts straight. Or maybe they don’t want too.

A Distraction From Terror?

It seems to be an article of faith in anti-war circles, or at least, some anti-war circles that Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror. To hear them tell it, it would seem that there is only one group of terrorists in the world and Osama bin Laden is their leader. If we capture bin Laden, then the rest will give up, go home and take up making native handicrafts to sell to tourists.

What planet are they living on?

The Washington Post has a front page article on Abu Musab Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s man in Iraq, the man responsible for the murder by beheading of several civilians. If he were not an Arab, he would be considered a war criminal, but he is, and for Arabs the normal standards of civilization do not apply. But he is opposing America, that makes him an “insurgent.” The article trying to make the case that Zarqawi was somehow created by the American invasion of Iraq. But he was there before that and would not have disappeared no matter what happened to Osama. They also try to make the case that his primary goal is the overthrow of the Jordanian government. I guess in that case, we can rest easy, it’s OK to overthrow the Jordanians, they’re not Americans.

Zarqawi is not an honorable opponent and should not be admired as one. His preferred method of committing atrocities against civilians should make him a pariah, but the standards in the Arab world are not those of the civilized world, the standards of the Arab world are those of 7th Century savages.

This is why we must prevail. The Romans let the barbarians best them, and the world suffered. We must not do the same.

The Kennedy That Is And The Kennedy That Never Was.

Teddy Kennedy’s remarks that he is thankful that Bush was not President during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis trades on myth more than anything.

I believe that if Richard Nixon had been elected in 1960 instead of John Kennedy, there would have been no missile crisis. In fact, if Nixon had been elected, the last half of the Twentieth Century would have been a lot more peaceful.

The Soviet Premier at that time was Nikita Khrushchev, a member of Stalin’s inner circle who understood that it was important to know your enemy, and that is certainly what he considered the United States. Khrushchev had met Nixon, he had debated Nixon, I don’t think he liked Nixon, but he respected him. The same is true of Fidel Castro, he too had met with Nixon and they had taken the measure of one another. Both found their opponent formidable.

JFK, on the other hand was seen by both Khrushchev and Castro as a playboy. A light-weight, who was President only because his father’s money purchased the election for him. Don’t forget that 1960 was a very close election, foreshadowing 2000, with dubious votes in various Democratic areas. Nixon decided to put the country before his political ambitions and did not mount a challenge.

After that, in April 1961, there was the Bay of Pigs. When Kennedy refused to back up the Cubans that landed there, he reinforced the opinions of Khrushchev and Castro that he would take the most politically convenient course and that he would not stand up to them.

In June 1961, Kennedy and Khrushchev met in Vienna. Insiders reported that Khrushchev chewed Kennedy up and spit him out. Khrushchev was not impressed. After the summit, Khrushchev gave Walter Ulbricht, the leader of East Germany the approval for the wall separating East and West Berlin. Again Kennedy blustered and had American tanks move up to the wall, then he had them move back again. Khrushchev had his number, the Russian was a survivor of the Stalin regime and knew how to measure up his opposition. Kennedy decided that in order to show strength, the United States needed to increase troop levels and funding support for the South Vietnamese.

There we have, in the first nine months of his term, Kennedy’s weakness or perceived weakness set the conditions for the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and the long struggle in Europe.

I don’t know for sure that Nixon would have done better, but I don’t think he would have had too. Khrushchev and Castro both knew Nixon, they knew him to be a hard-line anticommunist, they knew that his political fortunes were dependent on him remaining a hard-liner. They would not have been certain of their ability to roll him the way they rolled JFK.

JFK was assassinated and took on the mantle of martyr. Nothing bad could be said of him, an emotional reaction which LBJ did not hesitate to take advantage of. Every program that Johnson wanted became a legacy of the sainted JFK, few remembered that his trip to Texas was in order to shore up declining support with an eye on the 1964 elections. His martyrdom was used by his brother Bobby and with Bobby’s assassination by a Palestinian extremist, the bloody shirt was picked up by Teddy, the least talented of the three brothers.

Now Teddy says that the war in Iraq has made a nuclear attack on the United States more likely. I’m not sure if he thinks that the Iraq invasion spurred the Iranian nuclear program or he thinks that we may be nuked by a bomb developed by the now defunct Libyan program? The program that had been a secretly operating throughout the Clinton years.

At any rate, today’s Kennedy does not measure up to the earlier one, and the earlier one was largely mythical.

Iraq Nukes; Gone, But Not Forgotten

Opponents of the Iraq War like to posture that there was no WMD, no nukes, and no threat. Saddam’s top nuclear scientist, Mahdi Obeidi, make it clear that, although the labs and equipment were gone, the knowledge was still there and Saddam’s nuclear program would have been rapidly reestablished if there had been no war and the sanctions were dropped. Not everyone wants to remember that there was movement in the UN to remove the sanction, and they had been getting more and more loose as the years went on.