Facing Up To Irrelevance

It would seem that the Washington Post is just a little bit confused. Today they have an editorial, yet again, calling on President Bush to “do something” about Darfur.

Facing Up to Darfur

The administration is right that a solution to Darfur’s crisis requires a political settlement between government and rebels. But in the absence of a breakthrough or even the prospect of one, diplomacy is a distraction from Darfur’s humanitarian disaster. In 2004, the administration invested considerable effort in securing various United Nations resolutions that didn’t have much impact on the ground; in 2005, the effort invested in peace talks has had a similar fig-leaf function.

Both diplomatic efforts disguised the basic question that the administration should face: Does it want to prevent genocide, or not? If it does, it needs to figure out a way to get a much expanded peacekeeping force into Darfur. If it does not, perhaps it should come out and say so.

But didn’t the Post get the word? I’m sure it has been in all the papers. The role of the United States military is not war fighting, it is not peacekeeping, the role of the U.S. military is to keep the troops safe. We’ll even accept defeat if it means keeping our troops out of harms way.

I’m sure the Post is not seriously suggesting that American troops be sent to the Sudan. There’s people with guns there; people with bombs; people that might endanger the troops. Somebody might get hurt or even killed. Even worse, that someone might be an American soldier.

Now, it’s all well and good to tsk-tsk over “rebels” getting killed in Darfur, but they’re black and in Africa. What do you expect?

The ones doing the killing are the sovereign government of Sudan. Surely the Post doesn’t propose that we invade a sovereign country and oppose their legal government. Not only that, but the government is Muslim. I’m sure they don’t want to sent troops against Muslims again. What about the “Arab Street”? We can’t fight Arab Muslims, it’s just too hard. Hasn’t the Post been paying attention to the whole Iraq debate?

I mean, what would happen if we sent troops and someone set off an IED?

The Post and the NYT would have to start opining about quagmires and demanding timetables for withdrawal. Democrats would wear themselves out making speeches asking why the troops are there. It would be chaos.

Of course there might be some lives saved. But if it were at the expense of American lives it would not be worth it. Far better to have the troops remain in the U.S. where they’re safe. We can alway put out press releases deploring the Darfur situation. It’s worked so far and it’s much safer that way. That’s what we did in Cambodia and Rwanda and look how well that has worked.

If people in the Third World are looking for reliable allies, they might talk to China or Iran. They may be murderous, but they still have a backbone.

As for the U.S.?

We’ll still be around making brave speeches about American ideals of freedom. Just don’t expect us to try to live up to them.

Iraq Is The Reverse Vietnam

He who needs no linkage has an interesting posting about how Iraq is different from Vietnam despite all efforts of the Democrats to make it so.

In Vietnam, the brass talked happy-talk, the press talked to grunts and reported that the war was going worse than we were told. But now it’s Americans who are talking to the grunts, and, as StrategyPage noted last year, getting a different picture of how the war is going:

So you don’t have to wait for the official version of what’s going on, or for reporters on the scene to get their stories to the folks back home. The troops send email, or pick up the phone, sometimes a cell phone, and call. This has caused a lot of confusion, because the media reports of what’s happening are often at odds with what the troops are reporting. This has been particularly confusing in a year where there’s a presidential election race going on. The Democrats decided to attack the way the war on terror, and particularly the actions in Iraq, was being fought. Part of that approach involved making the situation at the front sound really, really bad. But the troops over there seemed to be reporting a different war. And when troops came home, they were amazed at what they saw in the newspapers and electronic media. Politics and reality don’t mix.

It’s not surprising, then, that the more connection people have to the war, the better they think things are going. That’s precisely the opposite of what we saw in Vietnam, of course.

It’s not 1971 anymore. The troops support that war, and all the gyrations to avoid reporting it fairly are noted by them and their families.

There are more than three TV networks, there are blogs, talk radio and Fox News. The control of news by the Washington Post and the New York Times is a thing of the past. Journalists are no longer taken to be professionals devoted to the truth, but are seen increasingly as propagandists devoted to a particular point of view.

The Emperor has no clothes. Get over it.

What A Great Idea

Bring Bridge Back to the Table – New York Times

Warren Buffett and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, another bridge enthusiast, have recently asked me to organize a bridge program for public schools. They know that the key to reviving bridge is getting children to play, and they are prepared to provide $1 million of initial financing for the effort.

Public schools should be thrilled with this proposition. Bridge embodies cooperation, logic, problem-solving and has even been linked to higher test scores among children. Who knows, the next Warren Buffett or Bill Gates might be sitting in a classroom somewhere waiting for someone to teach them the meaning of a grand slam.

So schools that are unable to teach children to read, write and do math are supposed to take time out of the day to teach kids to play Bridge? But wouldn’t that cut into to the time spent teaching self-esteem and appreciation for other cultures?

Kids might take up Bridge if Eminem or 50 cent told them it was cool. One partner could be the “playa” and the other the “ho”. But the only ones that would be impressed with Bill Gates or Warren Buffet would be the kids that are already doing well in school.

It looks to me like Ms. Osberg has a chance to pick up an easy million. She could probably use her inability to make inroads with students to squeeze another million or two out of Gates and Buffet.

The “Tetting” of Iraq

Uncle Jimbo has picked up on the fact that many opponents of the Iraq war are willing to portray even a win in Iraq as a defeat if it suits their political purposes. They are trying to get out in front of the narrative by calling for a drawdown in the troop levels knowing that one was planned for next year anyhow. This way they can portray a drawdown as Iraqi troops pick up the struggle as a defeat for our forces.

The news media did this in Vietnam by portraying the huge military victory during the Tet Offensive of 1968 as an American defeat. They want to repeat their success.

To many of the “opponents of the war” the most important thing is not that the Iraqi’s can be free, the most important thing for them is that Iraq be portrayed as a defeat for President Bush.

BLACKFIVE: Iraq Endgame- Let’s win the narrative

We have entered the end game in Iraq and now the most important battle is no longer whether democracy and freedom prevail there, but how will we and the world view this conflict, and more importantly US power overall.

The opposition and their media have made no bones that they consider it a stinging defeat in a conflict predicated on lies, and that all the casualties were in vain. Aside from it’s outrageous detachment from reality, it is a narrative we cannot allow to stand.

There is a hopeful note however. Unlike Vietnam the soldiers that served in Iraq know what they did and know how much the Iraqis appreciated it. Thousands of those troops have returned home each with their unique stories and photos. They know the truth and will not be silent when the newspapers twist their stories into tales of defeat. Witness what happened when the New York Times truncated a soldiers letter to give the impression that the soldier was resigned to death rather than supportive of the mission.

The LA Times is starting already.

Some Questions For Col. Murtha

As we all know, Congressman Murtha is a decorated Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam. Most of his service was in the Reserves but that shouldn’t matter. He rose to the rank of full Colonel and surely had the requisite training along the way. After all, the Marine Corps doesn’t hand out the rank of Colonel for simply hanging around for 37 years.

As a Marine Colonel he knows the importance of planning and the many pitfalls inherent in having too rigid a plan. The unofficial motto of the Marine Corps is “Semper Gumby”, “Always Flexible”.

Therefore I am sure that his plan for “immediate redeployment” has been well thought out and the possible consequences weighed.

But, just as he is calling for President Bush to explain his strategy, the Congressman needs to explain his, and explain his reasoning on several points.

Via Betsy Newmark, I found this column by Clifford May that asks some of those questions.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Memo to Murtha by Clifford D. May

The Shia of Iraq would turn to Iran’s mullahs for protection against both al-Qaeda and the Baathists. To whom else could they turn? If what followed was an Iranian anschluss – annexation – of southern Iraq, will you have a plan to deal with that contingency?

Iraqis who “collaborated” with us would undoubtedly face execution – perhaps tens of thousands of would be killed for revenge or just to send a message. I guess Congress could offer a resolution condemning such behavior.

Thousands, perhaps millions of Iraqis would no doubt flee the country. Should the U.S. accept them as refugees? Or turn them away?

In many other countries where al-Qaeda has been applying pressure — Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand to name just a few – three things would now be clear: (1) It is dangerous to be allied with the U.S.; (2) it is futile to resist al-Qaeda; and (3) bin Laden and Saddam were correct in predicting that if you bloody Americans, they will always turn tail and run.

What A Waste Of Time.

Harlan Coben is upset because Bruce Springsteen didn’t get congratulated by the U.S. Senate.

Rock and a Hard Place – New York Times

ON May 26, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, sponsored a resolution congratulating Carrie Underwood for winning the “American Idol” television program.

Last Friday, Senators Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg, Democrats of New Jersey, sponsored a resolution congratulating Bruce Springsteen on the 30th anniversary of his album “Born to Run.”

Guess which resolution got shot down by the party in power?

[…]

But no love for the Boss.

Well, I’m upset too, but for a different reason.

Why should the U.S. Senate be wasting its time congratulating millionaire singers?

I like Bruce Springteen’s music too. But, get a grip! He’s a singer, an entertainer, a highly paid entertainer. But what exactly did he do that deserves congratulations from anyone?

You know, when you go to Sea World. everybody ohhs and ahhs when the dolphins jump through hoops and dance on their tails. They’re very entertaining. The children like them. But does anyone expect the U.S. Senate to congratulate them for it?

No.

That’s what Springsteen and other “celebrities” do. They get up on stage and sing and dance. They make us ohh and ahh. But they don’t actually do anything. They’re welcome to their opinions, but I’m no more interested in them than I am of the opinions of the dolphins.

As far as contributions to the country goes, pick any Private in any military unit that is in or has been in Iraq and that Private will most likely have done something more worthy of congratulation than Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood or the Grand Ol Opry.

Give it a rest.

You Have To Wonder

It’s so great when families get together for Thanksgiving. But you have to wonder who we’re dealing with?

Grandma is having trouble breathing and is pale and weak. But when you respond don’t go by the number on the house, it’s wrong. Go by the number on the mailbox.

Why would you have incorrect address numbers on your house?