"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier
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Michael, God bless that cotton pickin' fertile ding dang noodle of yours! I now know that there is a thinking man among us who dares to speak up. xoxox Pam
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Benador Associates
Bill Whittle, on War
bleeding brain
Blog Iran!
Daily Lunch
Experimental Insanity
Junk Yard Blog
Midwest Conservative Journal
¡No Pasarán!
The OmbudsGod!
Scylla and Charybdis
Sgt. Stryker
Stuart Buck
The Truth Laid Bear
The Urban Grind
I know how the Jacksons feel
The Other Michael Parker
Hunt Waterfowl and Flyfish in Western North Carolina
Yellow Dog Outfitters: Jerry Ward, NC State Licensed Guide, 828-231-0570
::website:: Jerry's e-mail
BigEarth of New Mexico sez, The warmest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great national moment, reserve their neutrality.
Bill Whittle's mom sez, If you can’t say anything of deep and meaningful scientific or political import that is not supported by fact, reason, historical precedent and in-depth step-by-step logical analysis then don’t say anything at all!

:: Monday, June 30 ::


I laughed when I saw the title, but it is no laughing matter. Gal Luft, writing in the just-released July-August issue of Commentary, points out the advantages that Hizballah has over Al-Qaeda:

1) They control territory, which Al-Qaeda lost after the US eliminated the Taliban in Afghanistan and forced them to scatter.
2) Hizballah has a hell of an arsenal, while Al-Qaeda is now limited to the small stuff they can smuggle. Hizballah possesses good quality anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, so much that it helps other like-minded groups with their stockpiles. Luft reminds us of Hizballah's key role in the arms-smuggling ship Karine-A.
3) The third advantage, state patronage, describing Syria as the landlord and Iran as the sugar-daddy, funneling superior arms and a hundred million in funding annually.

Advantage number three brings to mind a recent Debka article reporting some clever maneuvering by the Bush Administration:
They have begun working quietly to divest him of one of his most powerful international levers, the Hizballah. For the last two weeks, a senior US official has been in secret negotiations with the group’s leaders for its voluntary disarmament, its withdrawal from the Israeli frontier and parts of southern Lebanon and a pledge to stay out of Iraqi Shiite affairs.

That’s for starters. Next, the Bush administration’s emissaries will demand guarantees from Hizballah leaders to desist from supporting Yasser Arafat and his Fatah-Tanzim and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as well as the Hamas and the Jihad Islami, and to break off operational interchanges with those Palestinian terror groups. The Americans also want an assurance that in the event of an outbreak of hostilities with Iran, the Hizballah will stand aside and not open a second anti-American front. Accession to these demands would end the Hizballah’s life as a fire-eating radical terrorist organization and remake it as a Lebanese Shiite political movement, safe from the threat of American assault.

:: michael Monday, June 30, 2003 [+] ::
:: Friday, June 27 ::
Great quotes this week to think about over the weekend:

"When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day,"

"If we doubt that, just look at (Supreme Court Justice) Clarence Thomas," he said. "Clarence Thomas is my color, but he's not my kind."

"I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked a [bleeping] day in my life."

Then there is this currently popular story being e-mailed everwhichaways:
At Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC recently the sergeant Major of the Army, Jack Tilley, was with a group of people visiting the wounded soldiers. He saw a Special Forces soldier who had lost his right hand and suffered severe wounds of his face and side of his body. The SMA wanted to honor him and show him respect without offending, but what can you say or do in such a situation that will encourage and uplift? How do you shake the right hand of a soldier who has none? He decided to act as though the hand was not missing and gripped the soldier's wrist while speaking words of comfort and encouragement to him.

But there was another man in that group of visitors who had even brought his wife with him to visit the wounded who knew exactly what to do. This man reverently took the soldiers stump of a hand in both of his hands, bowed at the bedside and prayed for him. When he finished the prayer he stood up, bent over the soldier and kissed him on the head and told him that he loved him.

What a powerful expression of love for one of our wounded heroes! What kind of a man would kneel in such humility and submission? It was the wounded man's Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush; a true leader.
You must always try to verify these stories, because Lee Marvin and Captain Kagaroo never really met on Iwo Jima:

Very likely true. (click)

Again very likely true. (click)

Best of all, posted on a California government-owned wesbite, even with Gray Davis' name at the bottom of the page. (click)

:: michael Friday, June 27, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 26 ::

Mike S. Adams, an associate professor at UNC-Wilmington, provides a true/false questionnaire about the current administration at UNC-Chapel Hill. It is so appropriately titled, "Of Mice and Moeser."

Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser made the headlines a year ago with mandatory Koran study for incoming freshman. After some outrage, the freshman were given a choice to submit a paper explaining why they would not choose the Koran study. Moeser, dipping into his supply of trite slogans, said it was about "academic freedom." Well, thank God he didn't say it was for the children.

:: michael Thursday, June 26, 2003 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 25 ::

The news of the Supreme Court decision on the University of Michigan was fast on Monday, but I still wanted to wait and finish reading the already published, "The Scandal of Diversity," in the June 2003 Commentary. In it, author Jonathan Kay makes the enormous point that affirmative action supporters up there in the Harvard category (Pres. Summers, Prof. Tribe) back up their arguments with this: it's good because they say it is.

Kay goes on to site a scientific study (by political scientist Stanley Rothman) on the effects of such racial diversity. The reported results were completely unsurprising - I saw this happen at UNC - but surprising to read they were printed in the New York Times. "Student satisfaction and perceived educational quality varied inversely with the proportion of enrolled African-American students."

I interpreted this the wrong way at the first reading, thinking back to how common sense was struck by the ever-increasing tolerance of bad behavior by favored groups who somehow had managed to win the privilege to behave and perform badly.

The Rothman study referred to by Kay was actually reporting that the more affirmative the action got, the more black students bitched. I saw this as well. Those at UNC for 91-92 will remember the deadline for signing up to be on the Homecoming Queen ballot. The deadline passed and lo, the photos revealed that not one black person had signed up. Outrage ensued, and the deadline was waived until a black woman was found to be place on the ballot. People naturally segregating as they do, the one black woman secured the black vote while the third-through-fifteenth parties split the white vote.

UNC made it clear: blacks have the right to exemption from the rules because of the institutional racism bogeyman, but they do not have the right to choose to not participate. (Mainstream feminism and the obligation to have an abortion come to mind.) And yes, I was among those who booed at the homecoming game when the queen was introduced.

Institutional racism brings to mind what is Frequently said about our justice and prison system and the numbers of blacks convicted and incarcerated. If schools, especially law schools, are admitting underperforming blacks and bending the rules for them while in school, then there are great numbers of underqualified and underperforming black lawyers. Black defendants are going to choose black lawyers. Are bad black lawyers sending more blacks to prison?

Diversity is a sham, perpetuated by narcissistic, self-congratulatory whites "serving" those who want to be able to do whatever they want and harming those who might otherwise benefit by understanding merit, rules, and deadlines.

:: michael Wednesday, June 25, 2003 [+] ::
:: Monday, June 23 ::

"An article about Saudi Arabian state-sponsored terrorism," I responded, sipping my beer as we sat by the pool. They really didn't want to know what I was reading, but just couldn't understand how the sun and breaking the no-glass-by-the-pool rule was not enough diversion for me.
They engaged, "How about them finding no weapons of mass destruction?"
I retorted, "how about those convoys entering Syria before the start of the war, enjoying the delays caused by a French-influenced UN?"

Ah, Syria, where President Bashar Assad is playing with a clever, although not totally original idea... pitch the Golan Heights' need to reunite with Syria by likening it with the "need" for a Palestinian state. But Debka reports that the Bush Administration is doing something clever of its own:
They have begun working quietly to divest him of one of his most powerful international levers, the Hizballah. For the last two weeks, a senior US official has been in secret negotiations with the group’s leaders for its voluntary disarmament, its withdrawal from the Israeli frontier and parts of southern Lebanon and a pledge to stay out of Iraqi Shiite affairs.

That’s for starters. Next, the Bush administration’s emissaries will demand guarantees from Hizballah leaders to desist from supporting Yasser Arafat and his Fatah-Tanzim and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as well as the Hamas and the Jihad Islami, and to break off operational interchanges with those Palestinian terror groups. The Americans also want an assurance that in the event of an outbreak of hostilities with Iran, the Hizballah will stand aside and not open a second anti-American front. Accession to these demands would end the Hizballah’s life as a fire-eating radical terrorist organization and remake it as a Lebanese Shiite political movement, safe from the threat of American assault.
Somebody please post a comment about how stupid my president is.

:: michael Monday, June 23, 2003 [+] ::

The Hootinan posts a picture worth a question. When in defense and war do we target children?

Israpundit posts a picture asking a related question. Look closely at this one. What does this kid have in common with Senator Dianne Feinstein?

Now do you see why we need Eddie Eagle?
:: michael Monday, June 23, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 19 ::

This week in the mail I received an announcement that a Sunday school class I have attended will discuss this Sunday whether to suspend its support of the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child because of controversial remarks by Franklin Graham. This begs input.

I only assume that "Graham's comments" refers to:
''We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.''

"The silence of the (Islamic) clerics around the world is frightening to me.'' "How come they haven't come to this country, how come they haven't apologized to the American people, how come they haven't reassured the American people that this is not true Islam and that these people are not acting in the name of Allah, they're not acting in the name of Islam?''

''It is not my calling to analyze Islam or any other religions, though I recognize that all religions have differences. In the past, I have expressed my concerns about the teachings of Islam regarding the treatment of women and the killing of non-Muslims or infidels.''
In an irony akin to the Baptists sending new doctors to Yemen to replace those murdered, Graham said that Samaritan's Purse will continue providing millions in aid to poor Muslims. Operation Christmas Child's one million shoeboxes benefit those in largely Muslim nations.

So, was Graham wrong? Is Islam good? From the point of view believing Jesus' claim, "no one gets to the Father except through Me," and God's message via Paul that salvation is "the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast," how can another religion be good when it teaches you to earn your way into Heaven via obedience of five pillars? From the best I can read, a message of redemption is as absent from the Koran as is a mention of Jerusalem.

Could Graham have employed more winsome language than "evil and wicked?" Yes, unless a greater purpose is being served, perhaps more Christians understanding why they can go to Heaven.

The Koran is clear about the Holy Trinity and the Son of God:
[19:88-93] They say: "(Allah) the Most Merciful has begotten a son!" Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they should invoke a son for (Allah) the Most Merciful. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) the Most Merciful that He should beget a son: Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (Allah) the Most Merciful as a servant. [112:1-4] Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the One on whom all depend; He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none comparable to Him.
Clearly, one of our gods is lying.

Will anyone quote Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert's "All Muslims will be saved" on Sunday? Clearly we all hope Muslims will be saved, as does God, but are any of you really about to risk sending a false message of "I'm OK, you're OK"? When you do that, are you really loving your neighbor, or admiring your achievements in tolerance?

But why just take a Christian's biased and afterlife-focused point of view? From atheist Orianna Fallaci in 2001, warning that we are under an illusion that current events are just a perversion of a great faith, refers to Islam as a "mountain that for 1400 years has not moved, has not emerged from the abyss of its blindness, has not opened its doors to the conquest of civilization, and has wanted nothing to do with liberty and justice and democracy and progress." She further challenges Islam's contributions to the progress of humanity, as its followers "pass the time with their rumps in the air, praying five times a day."

Rude? Yes. But it's food for thought. Why did the blessings go west?

It is clear that either:
(1) She's right about Islam.
(2) The prayers of one general population are reaching the correct God, while the other largely seems to endure a life that largely foreshadows its afterlife, with no redemption and no hope.
(3) Both.

I say Franklin rightly spoke against a path that I believe could only have been authored by the devil himself. Face it: the human nature of Christians and potential Christians still shows a driving force to "be good and get into heaven". Islam exploits that human nature and is misleading a billion plus people while much of the rest of the world admires it like a work of art.

So on Sunday, while some argue that a charity should be boycotted because its evangelical Christian leader did his job, I hope they can stop early enough to remember in prayer:
Christians in Indonesia, where many members of Indonesia's armed forces have helped militant Muslims in their goal of ridding the country of Christians, and where Christians in Muslim-dominated areas have difficulty in obtaining permission to build churches.

Christians in Afghanistan, who even under the new government are still required by law to post a verse from the Koran over their doors, or risk interrogation.

Christians in Egypt, where there are cases of people who are trying to change their listed religion from Muslim to Christian get arrested for falsifying documents. Persons arrested on these charges have been interrogated and physically abused in an attempt to obtain information on other converts and their activities.

Christians in Turkey, where Christians in the east are not allowed to build churches or even make repairs on existing buildings, including some of Christianity's earliest.

Christians in Mecca (Mecca!), where Swissair cannot even fly over because of the cross on its tail. They have an underground church there, where they risk being found out by the Mutawwa'in, the religious police who can arrest, lash, and deport them.

:: michael Thursday, June 19, 2003 [+] ::
:: Monday, June 16 ::

Via Fred Lapides' post at Israpundit:

I foresaw this:
Florida judge ruled last week that a Muslim woman could not pose for a driver's license photograph in a veil, with only her eyes peering out. The state, the judge wrote, had a "compelling interest" in identifying its drivers; she rejected the arguments, supported by Muslim organizations, that the decision threatened "religious liberty."
I did not foresee this:
Although the evidence wasn't permitted in court, the woman, Sultaana Freeman, was convicted of aggravated battery in Illinois, The Chicago Tribune reported, in the beating of her twin 3-year-old foster children. According to police reports, child welfare workers said she invoked religious modesty to hinder investigators from looking under the children's Muslim garb, where one daughter had a broken arm, and both were covered with bruises. The mother's mug shot was taken without a veil. At any rate, even religious pilgrims to Mecca have to have uncovered faces in their passport photographs.
It interests me that this article is printed in the NYT, which, unfortunately has lost so much credibility that I could not even view Friday's front-page photo without trying to see a pro-Palestinian agenda. On the other hand, I find this article credible. While I wondered what they had on Scott Ritter, I never anticipated Freeman's child-abuse history.

Another great bust this week - Ann Coulter's report that the same random man on the street has been quoted in the New York Times more than a hundred times:
It was easy for the Times to spell Packer's name right because he is apparently the entire media's designated "man on the street" for all articles ever written. He has appeared in news stories more than 100 times as a random member of the public. Packer was quoted on his reaction to military strikes against Iraq; he was quoted at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Veterans' Day Parade. He was quoted at not one – but two – New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square. He was quoted at the opening of a new "Star Wars" movie, at the opening of an H&M clothing store on Fifth Avenue and at the opening of the viewing stand at Ground Zero. He has been quoted at Yankees games, Mets games, Jets games – even getting tickets for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He was quoted at a Clinton fund-raiser at Alec Baldwin's house in the Hamptons and the pope's visit to Giants stadium.
The Times covering an H&M opening? ....eeesh.

:: michael Monday, June 16, 2003 [+] ::
blue ice
I read of this a short while back, a bowling ball-sized chunk of crashing through the roof and hitting the living room floor just feet from the lady of the house and her daughter. This morning, news of such a chunk crashing through the skylight of a man's boat, and a lawsuit with a sensible end and award:
He received the court's ruling in the mail Friday. A judge ordered the airline to pay him $3,236 - almost the entire amount Erickson had sought. Mike Fergus, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites), was surprised at the decision. "I'll be darned," said Fergus, who hadn't heard of any similar suits succeeding before.
Well, I'll be darned as well. Why shouldn't such a suit succeed? I am actually surprised American Airlines fought it, unless they foresee something down the slope. Kudos to the man who didn't hire a lawyer like the former personal injury lawyer from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards.

A quick site-search at Overlawyered.com yields no results - therefore my opinion about the blue ice case must be correct. WWSBD? What would Stuart Buck do? He left it alone as well.

:: michael Monday, June 16, 2003 [+] ::
:: Friday, June 13 ::

"We all look forward with great pleasure to four years of wonderful inspiring speeches, full of wit, poetry, music, love and affection. Plus more Goddamned nonsense... Bill Clinton has not a creative bone in his body. Therefore he is a bore, and will always be a bore."
The news of David Brinkley's death caught me by surprise this morning. I remember him speaking at my UNC commencement, and his wisecrack at having had Michael Dukakis for a waiter at the Carolina Inn that morning. It was welcome relief after four years of UNC's ever-increasing PC climate, which would eventually reach the point of mandatory Koran study under Chancellor Mee-zer.

From my home town of Wilmington, Brinkley makes me proud, and thankful that sensible voices such as his still have their influence.

:: michael Friday, June 13, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 12 ::

Joseph A. Norland, a force behind Israpundit, posts a comparison between the failed asassination attempt by Israel against Abdel Aziz Rantisi and a failed assassination attempt by Count von Stauffenberg against Adolf Hitler. While my common sense told me there must have been such attempts against Hilter, I realized that I could not recall a single one - where was my memory of history? Norland includes in his post the details of von Stauffenberg's bombing and how the simplest rearrangement spared Hitler for another nine months.

In the comments section I posted how these two incidents figure in how I think about God's will, that they are two mysteries to add to the list. Norland replied with a remark I will think about all day:
You are lucky not to have lived through that period, and not having memories of those days.
Actually, there were several attempts on Hitler's life, and Shirer lists them. All attempts failed, so your musings about God's will may be more complicated than seems from the one attempt by von Stauffenberg. Or maybe the basic premise is, well... For example, primitive medicine starts from the premise that a person's disease is a result of a curse or evil spirit. So the question asked is, "which curse or evil spirit caused this person's disease?" Little wonder they come to conclusions different from those that the Mayo Clinic would come up with. You see, it's the premise...

:: michael Thursday, June 12, 2003 [+] ::

Paul at Experimental Insanity took my attention to reports of cannibalism in North Korea. I knew they had been eating the bark off the trees, but this level of desperation may be what it takes to get those who still want to appease Kim Jong Il to turn against him. We in the civilized world read of cannibalism in Africa and are almost complacent about it, while at the same time many of us fool ourselves into thinking that North Korea isn't another similar hell on Earth.

This time my sense of history back online, I recalled European cannibalism during the Dark Ages up to and even shortly after the reign of King Charlemagne, who was the first Western king after the fall of Rome. The persistent war and pestilence drove the people to eat people, prompting a monk to write that animals were safer than men. Have they eaten all the animals in North Korea?

:: michael Thursday, June 12, 2003 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 10 ::

I wanted to write nothing about the former First Lady and the book that TV's blathering heads won't shut up about. It was a farce to begin with, that this woman, coming from a position she didn't earn, a position she then abused, would get an eight million dollar advance for her memory which, under oath- how many dozens of times? - she testified could recall nothing. Remember that? -it was during the hearings over the purloined FBI files (or was it the hearings over the illegal closed-door health care planning sessions?) She testified over eighty times that she didn't recall (or was that Harold Ickes? -I don't recall).

It had to be done, however, because forcing the Secret Service to pay rent in Chappaqua is not enough to maintain the mansion, the town house in Georgetown, and wearing Carolina Herrera clothes. It seems, however, that media mention of the ghost writing of It takes a Village to Raise a Child is about as rare as them ever mentioning the plagiarism in Dr. King's doctoral thesis.

Back to Hillary, who could not even recall she had Rodham for a middle name until after the 1992 election, probably still hasn't learned how to pronounce Chappaqua. Is it any wonder that Camille Paglia, disillusioned Democrat, called her the "treasury-draining, globe-hopping Marie Antoinette of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue"?

By contrast, the country can't seem to get off the Martha Stewart jokes. This is a woman who earned her position, created jobs, helped the ailing K-Mart chain, and whose company has been a decent stock. It was Camille Paglia, again, who influenced the way I see Martha Stewart:
After the women's movement reawoke in the late 1960s, it veered, despite the valiant efforts of Betty Friedan (who was driven out of her own organization, NOW), toward a harsh careerist perspective that deified the professional woman while ignoring and demeaning the stay-at-home mom. Martha Stewart recovered, revised, updated and celebrated the arts of homemaking, which not only justified the life's work of masses of ordinary women but spoke to the midlife fatigue of baby boomers, who were turning away from the fast-buck, junk-bond '80s and refocusing their energies on home turf.

Like Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx), Stewart emerged from an immigrant family (in this case Polish) to identify strongly with a dreamy, high WASP vision of relaxed town-and-country life. The irony is that the Stewart regime is one of ceaseless labor, made possible by squadrons of anonymous off-stage aides. Nevertheless, Stewart is visibly a gung-ho, hands-on, get-down-in-the-dirt dynamo, whose demonstrations of technical ingenuity help keep the ancient crafts alive in this era of mass production.
Columnist Alan Reynolds writes this week probably the best take on her legal situation, adding credibility to her recommended legal defense site.

:: michael Tuesday, June 10, 2003 [+] ::
:: Friday, June 6 ::

Via a post at Israpundit, A very interesting review of speech codes in certain Protestant churches is found in "Liberal Protestant Churches Rebuff Pro-Israel Speakers ," where:
Connie Baker, co-chairperson of the Chicago-based Church Network for Education on Palestine, which publicizes between 30 and 40 events per month, said she would probably not host mainstream Jewish organizations at events she was responsible for. "When we talk to mainline churches, they have no idea of the Palestinian perspective. The only point of view they're reading in the newspaper is the Israeli point of view. We have found that people are inundated with the Israeli perspective."
Hopefully averaging more than an event each day will help Ms. Baker counter the media's cover-up of the massacre at Jenin, and help good, church-going Americans to see the Palestinian side to having a nail-packed teenager blow himself up in a supermarket. If you thought that was the stupid quote of the day, Ms. Baker outdoes herself with this:
Indeed, Baker said that her organization would never invite a representative of any Jewish group that is not opposed to Jewish settlements. Settlers, she said, "are causing the destruction of a future Palestine. Would you say it is okay for us to invite Hamas? We disagree with anyone who totally wants to destroy the other."
Looking at the progress that Islamic civilization has made in its not quite 1400 years, I am interested in this future Palestine which Ms. Baker envisions. They already benefit from the racial preferences: if Israel builds, it destroys. If Palestinians build, it's building.

See this satellite photo of Israeli destruction, if you can tell me why the border at Egypt is visible from space, I'll buy you a Maccabee.

:: michael Friday, June 06, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 5 ::

Finally, the end to one of the ghastliest procedures ever is imminent.

What Rep. Steve Chabot said was "truly a national tragedy" truly was. But those who claim that this "flies in the face of Roe v. Wade" are poised to go to court as soon as the President does what he said he was going to do. I am still fascinated by the people who cannot see when something goes too far, but it's really no wonder when someone like the infanticidal bioethicist Peter Singer can command large audiences.


The flag burning issue is back in the Congress. What a complete waste of time this is. For the record, I am totally against such a ban. The issue is used to pressure and manipulate others and brand them as unpatriotic; it stifles debate every bit as much as using the word "racist" to throw someone off focus and on the defensive.

oh - pardon me while I qualify myself... I think people should be allowed to demonstrate that they are stupid enough to bite the hand that feeds them by destroying the symbol of their freedom to do so. (These are the same idiots who hate capitalism but employ much of what capitalism has to offer in order to get their word out.)

And are we currently experiencing a rash of flag burnings? The last flag I saw getting torched was in the hands of Evergreen College alumnus and pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie, shortly before she stood in front of a moving bulldozer in the Gaza.

:: michael Thursday, June 05, 2003 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 4 ::

While watching a taped interview of Condoleeza Rice last night, birds were chirping loudly. I put my ear to my fireplace to determine if they had built a nest. No. They were chirping on TV, because Rice's interview was taped outside, and they chirped for the duration of her interview. At last I know why birds sing so gay.

Naturally, the subject of the interview was about the WMD that so much of the world is demanding be found while suggesting the Bush Administration falsified its evidence. ("It's obvious that the WMD program did not exist on the scale that the administration claimed. If it did, we would have seen it by now," said Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.)

"The Iraqis are not stupid," she retorted, explaining they had time and the motivation to hide the evidence. Exactly. Saddam knew when we were going to strike. On not yet finding Iraq's WMD, I just wish Rice had said "Let the inspections work."

Rice's remark that the Iraqis were not stupid brings to mind Victor Davis Hanson's contribution to the latest Commentary, "Lessons of the War," in which he makes the case that they, along with the rest of Arab military, were and are. This is the article you should read to sum up the war, its meaning, why we won, why they lost, and why Arab civilization as a whole is a loser.
There is, to begin with, very little status accorded to conscript soldiers, who are poorly paid, housed, and trained. Tribalism, not merit, is more likely to govern the promotion of officers. In an age of mechanized warfare and combined land-and-air operations, most commanders have little knowledge of flexible tactical doctrine. Instead, outdated Soviet ideas from the 1970’s—like stacking armor in successive rings for massive, set-piece assaults—still infect the thinking of the few generals who have studied military theory. When such rote practices prove suicidal in the face of a sophisticated opponent with mastery of the air, there is no mechanism for ad-hoc adjustment.

:: michael Wednesday, June 04, 2003 [+] ::