Sometimes Having The “Moral High Ground” Just Means That You Die On Higher Ground

McCain Names Practices Detainee Bill Would Bar – washingtonpost.com

McCain’s remarks were unusual because public officials involved in the lengthy public debate about U.S. interrogation practices have rarely made specific references to the CIA’s actions. Instead, they have made general claims about the need for rough interrogations or a desire to stop abusive behavior.

“It’s clear we have to have the high moral ground,” said McCain, a former POW tortured by prison guards in Vietnam, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Whenever I heard of the importance of eschewing certain practices in order to maintain the “moral high ground” I an reminded of the struggle of the Buddhist monks of Cambodia against the Khmer Rouge. They also had the “moral high ground” and were committed to the non-violent methods of combating the carnage, but the Khmer Rouge thought nothing of slaughtering them. In fact they were singled out to be killed first. Fat lot of good that “moral high ground” did them or any of the other victims of the killing fields.

The end of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror came hands of Cambodia’s traditional enemies, the Vietnamese, who had no claim to any moral grounds at all.

I’m reminded of this fable. (there are several variations)

One cold a little bird was flying south for winter, but the bird was late leaving. This winter was especially cold and it was not long before the little bird fell to the ground of a pasture a freezing heap. It just so happened though that cow was passing at that time and dropped a big cowpie on top of the bird. The bird slowly started to warm and it was so happy that it started to sing. The bird was singing so loudly that a passing deer heard the singing bird and thought that it needed help so it went and uncovered it a little so that it could get it self out the rest of the way. But then a fox happened upon the deer and wondered what in the world it was digging in shit for so it ran over chasing off the deer. The little bird not realizing this and still pretty much still covered was still singing and the fox quickly found the little bird and ate it.

THE MORAL: Everyone that shits on you is not your enemy; everyone that pulls you out of shit is not your friend.

And if someone helps you out of a desperate situation, it doesn’t matter if he did it for selfish reasons or not. If the bad guys win they will kill you and it won’t make a damn bit difference whether you had the “moral high ground” or not. Recall the Jewish elders that counseled restraint and acquiescence in the face of the Nazis because they believed that if everyone just went along and didn’t provoke them, then surely the Nazis would let their better nature rule.

There was actually more reason to believe this of the Germans, who had a history of tolerance, than there is to believe this of Islamist extremists who have made no secret of their goal to rule over the land of Dar el-Jarb.

On the other hand, in the Pacific, it was common practice to shoot wounded Japanese soldiers after every battle because of their penchant for blowing themselves up with hidden grenades killing Americans rather than submit to capture. Morally it was indefensible, but practically it was a matter of course. Imagine a commander trying to explain to a wife or mother that her soldier needed to die to “maintain the moral high ground”. He would have been relieved for cause and justifiably so.

General Sherman put it best, not “war is hell” which he never said, but “war is cruelty and you cannot refine it”. Not the most PC of attitudes but one which is supported by history.

These Days Tokyo Rose And Lord Haw-Haw Would Work For CNN or AP

Information Warfare: Outsourcing Combat Reporting to the Enemy

September 25, 2006: U.S. troops continue to be mystified at the odd reporting coming out of Iraq. What the troops witnessed is not what reporters are sending back. The bylines on those stories are American, as are the talking heads they see broadcasting from Baghdad. Some troops attribute the inaccurate reporting to bias, with journalists sending back what they want to be the truth, rather than what is actually happening. The troops see a very different Iraq from the one journalists are reporting.

War opponents like to point to WWII as the example of a war that was done correctly. But what they don’t realize, or more likely just ignore, is that in that war the press was firmly on our side.

They didn’t think that it was part of their job to propagate enemy propaganda. Our enemies had to resort to building their own propaganda offices with their own reporters and try to get it out to the world. Now days our press is willing, even eager, to take what our enemies put out and report it as if it were gospel. I seriously doubt whether the New York Times ever seriously considered publishing a sympathetic interview with any of the Nazi leadership during WWII.

But present day journalists have absolutely no problem with publishing stories and interviews that help the terrorists. Remember Eason Jordan’s admission that CNN didn’t report news about Iraq that was critical of Saddam in order to keep their access? If given the choice between being hurt or killed and reporting accurately, most will opt to censor their reporting for their own safety. Look at how they let themselves be docilely led around in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Safety first and reporting second, or lower.

Panic Attack!!

Just had a medical call for a young lady who was having a “Panic Attack”.

“Panic Attacks” are something that seems to have developed since I was a kid. When I was growing up no one had “panic attacks”. They somehow had ‘nervous breakdowns” but never “panic attacks”. Even then they were few and far. I never knew anyone who had one, or even anyone that knew someone that had one. They were things of fable and myth that usually affected people in a far higher income bracket that ours.

We were the children of parents that grew up in the depression and fought in WWII. Our uncles and older brothers fought in Korea. They were people who never had the luxury of “panic attacks” or nervous breakdowns. There was no time. You had to show up for work and do your job or raise your children.Having a ‘nervous breakdown’ was considered somehow shameful. Not something to be discussed if it were admitted at all

But that’s all changed. Having a “panic attack” or a “nervous breakdown” is not seen as a problem. It’s an “illness” and no cause for concern. It’s not your fault, nothing is today. You can pick up the phone and call 911 and someone will rush to your side to take your BP, slow your respirations and calm you. There is no expectation that you should deal with it, no idea that it might be the result of your own doing. This, like most things in America today, is the responsibility of someone else. It is someone or something else that causes it and someone else that must deal with it. Never ourselves.

Do you think the tribesmen in the Hindu Kush have ‘panic attacks’? How about people scraping out a living in SubSaharan Africa? Probably not. “Panic Attacks” and “nervous breakdowns” are the afflictions of the comfortable affluent. Poor people don’t get them. You might point out that poor people in America do get them. but all that does is point out how affluent the American poor really are. What we consider poverty, most of the world considers upper middle class.

Well, I Guess That Means It’s Time To Quit

War Price on U.S. Lives Equal to 9/11 – Forbes.com

Now the death toll is 9/11 times two. U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now surpass those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America’s history, the trigger for what came next.

The latest milestone for a country at war came Friday without commemoration. It came without the precision of knowing who was the 2,974th to die in conflict. The terrorist attacks killed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Just let the terrorists know that we will only fight until the casualties equal the number they murdered. Even better, set a time limit, say, three months. If we haven’wt won by then we throw in the towel and scurry off home begging for mercy.

Yeah, that’s a plan.

Democrats For Vote Fraud

Voter ID bill finds foes in Oregon

WASHINGTON — An election reform bill moving through Congress could require voters in Oregon and Washington to send copies of their driver’s licenses or other identification every time they vote by mail.

Oregon Democrats, following their instructions from the Party bosses, oppose any attempt to insure that voters are actually citizens. There is no problem with voter fraud in Oregon, they say.

That may or may not be true. Certainly it’s not true in neighboring Washington were the current Governor won the election by a little over 100 votes in an election where more than 1,000 votes were shown to be fraudulent. No problem. She’s a Democrat and there’s different standards for Democrats.

DeFazio said he worries that the bill would discourage voter turnout.

“There are a lot of people who barely have any time to sit down with the ballot let alone to run down to Kinko’s and get their identification Xeroxed,” DeFazio said.

You mean they’re too busy to walk over to the convenience story copy machine while they’re picking up their beer and lottery tickets? Sounds weak to me. There’s copy machines everywhere now, and people that are going to use that for an excuse not to vote will just as easily find another one, or none at all.

But, of course, it’s not meant to be a real objection; it’s only an attempt to construct some type of cover for voting against the bill.

I’m sure that Democrats in other states have come up with a whole slough of different reasons to oppose it. There was probably a list sent out by the DNC. All they need to do is pick one. The important thing is to maintain the system that allows people to vote often whether they’re legal or not.

All Right James, You’re Forgiven

I read “The Bleat” almost every day. James Lileks writing is great; he can make an otherwise ordinary afternoon seem interesting. While I, on the other hand, can make a night in the 911 Center seem boring.

Last Friday I read his posing and he mentioned watching DVDs of “The Lost” and another series that is now out on DVD. I have read his praises of all the old “film nior” releases and HBO series such as “Deadwood” and “Carnivale”. But I had never seen a mention of the show that I consider possibly the best thing ever done on TV. “The Wire”.

I fired off an e-mail taking him to task for that. He has a blurb saying that he received hundreds of e-mails and it is unlikely that he will answer. I was fine with that. I don’t expect people to respond to notes from me; I just wanted him to take a look at this program since he is obviously bright and knowledgeable. He would like it.

I was, therefore, very surprised when I received an answer. Not least because I had misspelled “Wire” on the subject line. I was telling him to watch “The Wore” instead. Clearly, I thought, he would look at this and immediately punch the delete key, sending my clumsy missive into the richly deserved void it deserved.

He let me know that he did watch “The Wire” and had mentioned it in his newspaper column “The Quirk”, which I never read. (It’s a labor of money-grubbing capitalism, serving to provide funds for Chuck E. Cheese instead of a light conversation like “The Bleat”).

See how clumsily that is phrased? No hits for me.

Anyway, in Monday’s Bleat, in the final paragraph, he works in the fact that he is watching “The Wire”.

So, all is forgiven James, you can go back to your normally scheduled writing.

This Ought To Give You An Idea Of How Scary That Coup Is

Bring the whole family and have your picture taken with the tanks.

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Things will only get out of hand if Thaksin decides he wants to have a counter-coup. According to an editorial in “The Nation“, one of the English language newspapers, Thaksin was planning a coup against his own government on Sept 20, which forced Gen Sonthi Boonyaratklin to take action on Sept 19 to head it off.

Judge Rules “Big Brother” Knows Best

A Federal judge ruled today that government for and by the people has perished from the land. Judge, Elizabeth D. LaPorte of Federal District Court in San Francisco ruled that President Bush cannot set aside rules set by President Clinton because Clinton has pretty blue eyes.

President Clinton had decreed that roadless areas were totally and completely off limits regardless of the realities on the ground.

Judge Voids Bush Policy on National Forest Roads – New York Times

The administration replaced that rule with a policy of state-by-state management under which governors submit recommendations for the use of national forest lands within their borders.

Judge LaPorte said that the original rule had laid out “the inherent problems in this kind of local decision making,” particularly “the failure to recognize the cumulative national significance of individual local decisions.”

This rule would have taken the decision making out of the hands of a small clique of bureaucrats and put it in the hands of the people that know the area best. A dangerous proposition in the minds of the environmentalists. This would have exponentially increased the number of people that the environmental lobbyists would have had to try to convince, or otherwise affect.

This Is Something I’ve Wanted To See For A Long Time

The Punch Clock Campaign | Sunlight Network

The Punch Clock Campaign is a four month grassroots campaign to get Members of Congress, whether they are running for re-election in 2006 or not, and all other FEC qualified candidates, to sign an agreement to post their daily schedules on the Internet.
punchclock.gif

I would dearly love to see Members of Congress posting their daily schedules on the Internet. It probably won’t work because the last thing most Congressmen and Senators want is the people back home actually seeing what they’re up to.

Now, if we can make them subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Equal Means Equal?

Ruling may imperil Portland school funds

A recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling barring a special property tax in Eugene could mean trouble for the city of Portland and Multnomah County’s efforts to help Portland Public Schools by paying for things such as campus cops and after-school mentoring.

In 1990, the voters of Multnomah County voted for Measure 5 55% to 45%. One of the main selling points of the measure was that it would equalize school funding Statewide.

But now that the voters realize that “equal” means that the Portland Schools get no more money than the most remote school in Eastern Oregon, they are not too happy and are trying to find a way to get around it.

Wait until the Democrats get Universal Healthcare enacted and they find out that they will have to wait just as long as and get no better treatment than the illegal immigrant that arrived here last week.

Equal sounds good. But be careful what you wish for, you might get it.