May 25, 2002

MAJOR COMPUTER CRASH

while installing some innocent firewire software tonight. I have managed to get back online (obviously), but not before losing my Favorites, lots of data and most of the evening. It's a holiday weekend, so I probably wouldn't have posted a great deal anyway, but I hate crashes like this. What a pain.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2002

GOTCHA!!!

The Dems are knowingly and intentionally lying about GOP Social Security plans to scare seniors into opposing them. Let's see Carville et al spin this story away.

(I linked to the WashTimes story, but NewsMax actually had it a couple of days ago. I meant to link then, but forgot. And the Times story has a bit more detail. Just FYI)
Posted by B. Preston at 05:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IS IRAN'S MULLOCRACY ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE?

The place looks ripe for massive change:

Rumors are sweeping Tehran of a failed assassination attempt against Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supposedly plotted by four Republican Guard commanders. The rumors add the four men were captured, but their execution was stopped by guard colleagues who insisted their death sentences be commuted to exile in Afghanistan. The other popular rumor says the elected but powerless President Mohammed Khatami, dispirited and exhausted at the prolonged frustration of his reform plans by the Mullahs, has submitted his resignation to Khamenei. Certainly he threatened to resign, in a speech to teachers last week, but Khatami was in fighting form Thursday in a speech at Khorramshah, celebrating the port's recapture in the 1980s war.

"This revolution said that we want an Islamic republic; not an Islamic dictatorship and that all the components of the system should rely on the people's vote and then the constitution took shape," Khatami declared, and went on to issue his fiercest warning to the Ayatollahs. "When all the roads are blocked and the society sees itself under the siege of force and intrigues, it is drawn to use force in order to break the deadlock," he said.

-0-

Political tension has been rising ominously in Iran since last year's football riots, and is peaking after conservative cleric Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini's warning this week the regime was "on the verge of collapse." Ayatollah Khamenei delivered a message to all university students late Thursday saying, "Arrogant enemies are attempting to lay siege to the Islamic Republic" and calling on the students to "be alert and frustrate the plots of our enemies." But the ayatollah did not appear. The message was read out for him by Hojatoleslam Mohsen Qomi, his special envoy to the universities.


Failed assissinations, bluster about "enemies," ayatollahs that don't show up for speeches...not evidence of a healthy, popular regime. One little nudge here, a quick push there and I'm betting the mullocracy goes over the cliff.

(from UPI)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ONE SIGN THAT AN INDO-PAK WAR ISN'T IMMINENT

: Shares on both countries' stock exchanges were up today for the first time in more than a week. Locals won't buy stock, and non-locals won't invest, if nukes seem inevitable.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

STINKIN' KRAUTS

: Make fun of Texas, will you? We shall respond by blaring Hogan's Heroes reruns, 24 hours a day across your entire country, until you lay down your protest signs and take a bath.

These folks are a know-nothing bunch, that's for sure.

"Bush has declared war against half the world," said 27-year-old protester Kai Kroker.


Bush didn't even declare war on the Taliban, you moron. Congress declares wars, and didn't bother to declare this one.

"There's no counterweight to his power -- it's more dangerous than the Cold War."


There is a counterweight to Bush, and it's Senate Plurality Leader Tom Daschle. Tell me how a peace-loving, freedom defending democracy acting as the world's lone superpower and guarantor of liberty is more dangerous than having to stare down a swaggering Commie raging "We will bury you" while he aims his nukes at the entire free world.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

COOOOLLLL

: Jonah Golberg mentions yours truly in his column about blogs in The Washington Times. No link, but that's alright. Getting mentioned by one of my favorite writers is a great way to start the day.

He also finally admits that The Corner is really a blog. That wasn't too hard now was it, Jonah?

As for the revolutionary aspects of blogging, I've flip-flopped on it, thinking at first it wasn't a revolution, then taking up arms to storm the Big Media along with the rest of the blograbble. We all know that we'll never replace Big Media, but we are learning that we can put a few dents and scratches in the bumper of Big Media's monster truck, and occassionally cause Big Media to pull over and ask for directions. To me, that's the revolutionary part of blogging--we're less at the mercy of Big Media than we once were.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2002

WAR PLANS

: There may not be any on President Bush's desk, but there seem to war plans on somebody's desk:

Thursday's attack on two Iraqi air-defense posts by U.S. warplanes is the latest phase in a high-stakes joust as U.S. and British pilots probe Iraq's restored air defense system, building a schematic of the targets they believe they will have to destroy on a massive scale before the end of this year. Defense intelligence sources indicate that Kuwait will play a central part in what looks increasingly like a U.S.-led attack on Iraq and advance units of five U.S. Army divisions are already in Kuwait to prepare the communications net and identify sites to quarter American troops. Other military moves are quietly taking place all over the map: The 101st Airborne Division, which would likely be used against Iraq, is quietly being withdrawn from Afghanistan while the 82nd Airborne, which would not be used, is taking its place. The XVIII Airborne Corps HQ, which is not to be used against Iraq, is also being assigned to Afghanistan. Senior Kuwaiti officials assure the Americans that in spite of all the hoopla surrounding the Beirut Arab League Summit, Kuwait and Iraq have not made up. There was no rapprochement. Iraq hasn't even returned all of Kuwait's prisoners, and resentment still runs very high. Kuwait believes that Iraq has not relented on designs to make Kuwait its 19th province. For these reasons Kuwait has agreed to be a major forward base, and along with the hugely expanded base in Qatar looks like replacing Saudi facilities. Intelligence sources say the U.S. attack on Iraq, if it indeed comes, is likely this fall, after the summer heat and before the heavy rains begin in late December.


Question is, how much of this is true, and how much is disinformation?

(source: UPI hears...)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I HAVEN'T WATCHED THE PEARL VIDEO

. And I don't intend to. Not because I'm too squeamish; that's not it at all. I'm not squeamish, and wouldn't have trouble sitting through it.

It's because I don't need any more reason to hate our enemies.

When news of Danny Pearl's kidnapping broke, like everyone of civilized conscience I was horrified and saddened. In pictures of him, and the video loops of his pregnant wife we all saw on the networks, I saw a decent family man using his God-given talents and intellectual curiosity to put food on the table and make his mark on the world. I also knew, as did most, that the likelihood of his surving captivity was negligible. Islamic terrorists don't release their captives--they kill them, often in front of a camera, and use the killing as propaganda.

But in Danny Pearl I also saw something else: myself.

I once had the ambition to do exactly what he did with his life, which was to be an intrepid foreign correspondent, chronicling the wars and events of our time. I imagined a sort of Indiana Jones life, full of danger and intrigue, close calls and banner headlines, that wouldn't make me rich but would probably make me happy. I would always be where the action was, where the world's attention was focused, and I would help everyone understand what was going on. But I ended up on another path, and never became Indiana Jones. My career choices never led me to become Danny Pearl.

That's why the fact of his death hit me personally, I guess, and is still with me. I never met him, didn't know him, and in all likelihood wouldn't have had much in common with him apart from a curiosity about the world and people around me. But his murder felt like the murder of a friend, and still does.

So I probably won't watch the hideous video of his senseless execution. I don't need to. When those animals killed him, they somehow killed a part of me, and that's reason enough to want them dead.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DOUG TURNBULL

has also weighed in on the possible Indo-Pak war. He doesn't think it'll go nuclear, and offers compelling reasons to believe him. But, I do think he's understating the latent hostility between India and Pakistan, and the difficulty India would have in holding Kashmir after taking it. First, India hasn't been able to take and hold Kashmir decisively, and neither has Pakistan, or there wouldn't be a problem there today. The difficult terrain, the fragmented populace, and the constant threat of border incursions pretty much render Kashmir near-impossible to take and hold by either side. If the Indians take it without crushing Pakistan, Pakistan's ISI and rogue elements will send in the terrorists and guerillas. If Pakistan takes it, the Indians will likely do the same.

Vajpayee's recent "decisive battle" bluster underscores the seething hatred between the two sides (and makes Vajpayee look like a fool). Neither side really wants a war in my view, but if one gets going both will want a decisive once-and-for-all victory. Countries just don't go to war for limited aims against hated enemies--they go to war to defeat and humiliate the other side. It's in pursuing the "decisive" victory that the nuclear threat is the greatest, but the nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan make an all-out war between them too grave and horrific for either side to abide, and therefore unlikely.

Having said all this, it is a small irony that the presence of nuclear weapons may well prevent this war from ever starting. Nukes in responsible hands save lives. Let the non-proliferation scardey-cats make what they will of that. And let's hope that Musharraf and Vajpayee have responsible hands.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TERRORISM CANNOT BE APPEASED, AND IT CANNOT BE IGNORED

: President Bush's words to the German government as he delivered a speech pushing for a wider war against terror today. Now we'll see if the feckless EUnuchs will ante up and kick in their share to defend civilization. I'm not betting on it.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ALTERNATE NUCLEAR FIRST-STRIKE SCENARIO

: I've blogged a couple of times about the likelihood of nuclear weapon use in the Indo-Pak tensions. Here's another first-use scenario, in a different conflict.

During the Gulf War, the Bush (41) administration warned Saddam that any use by his forces of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) against coalition forces would be met with a much larger strike using WMDs against his forces. In other words, nuke us once and we'll nuke you more than twice. Understandably, he didn't use WMDs and was content to lose the war but survive in power.

In the coming war with Iraq, no such restraints will persuade him. He knows that when we come, we're coming for him, personally, to drive him from power and either capture or kill him. He knows we'll come with overwhelming force--he's seen that up close, and knows what we're capable of doing to his forces. He doesn't stand a chance in a conventional war, and he knows it.

If he has any WMDs on hand, I think he'll use them against our troops. I also think he'll use them against Israel, to try and draw them directly into the war. In nuking our troops, he'll be nuking Iraqi soil, or the soil of another Arab state aligned with us, but he'll do it all the same. For him it's a question of survival. Like most animals, Saddam is most dangerous when he's cornered, and in the coming war he'll definitely be cornered.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

INDIA'S FORMIDABLE TANK CORPS

: A reader asks what good is India's large tank corps in such a mountainous region? Well, once you get to the mountains, they're not much good, and would be vulnerable to guerilla warfare. But the mountains don't start at the Indo-Pak border. Pakistan's major mountain range rises several dozen miles from the border, depending on where you cross.

Check out this map of the region. The Indo-Pak border (borders are white, roads are red) is not mountainous--tanks would be very useful in crossing and holding terroritory and cutting off Pakistan's main railway line, which is key to supplying their troops. Holding the territory short of the mountains would also give India control of Pakistan's higways, such as they are. If you hold the flat border terroritory, you effectively hold the country, since that's the economic and presumably agricultural heartland. If you zoom all the way in, you'll also find that Islamabad, the capital, is on the steppes just at the foot of the moutains in the north, on the Indian side of them. It's vulnerable to seige there, as tanks and infantry could hold three sides while the mountains block organized retreat. Combine the tanks with India's fairly adequate air force, and you could by sheer numbers rout the Paki troops. Pakistan's other major city, Karachi, is on the coast and vulnerable to India's blue water-capable navy. This is no cakewalk for India by any means--Pakistan is the home team here, and some military experts rate Pakistan's military personnel as higher grade than India's. But India has more of everything, and a speedy, formidable tank corps could prove to be the difference.

Which makes a defensive use of nukes by Pakistan, on its own soil, plausible.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2002

TAPPED'S CHUTZPAH

: I'm not Jewish, but I love that word. Anyhow, in this post they accuse the right of creating fantasy charges of mental illness against political opponents, especially Clinton. But they leave out the chief practitioner of the "crazy offensive"--which is Clinton himself! Monica says she did things with him in the Oval Office--she's a crazy stalker! Kathleen Willey--crazy. Paula Jones--nutty trailer trash! Gary Aldrich, the Arkansas troopers, Rush Limbaugh and conservatives in general--crazy, greedy and crazy, wing-nut potential mass murderers! Oh yeah, Clinton's such a victim of the "crazy offensive."
Posted by B. Preston at 08:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SINCE I'M ALWAYS RIPPING DEMOCRATS

for various evils, I should praise one who does the right thing. Rep. Tom Lantos of California wants to investigate UNRWA. He's right--it should be investigated, and probably disbanded.

(link via Instapundit, in his swank new pad)
Posted by B. Preston at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LEGOS ARE GROOVY

. Star Wars' Natalie Portman is a babe. What do you get when you combine the two? Weirdness.
Posted by B. Preston at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

POSSIBLE NUCLEAR WAR IN KASHMIR

: Lots of opinion about it flying around the blogosphere today. For what it's worth, USS Clueless' scenario seems most plausible to me. Pound-for-pound, India's military is superior to Pakistan's. It's bigger, better trained and better equipped. India has a substantial navy, and the largest tank corps in the world.

The scenario that Den Beste lays out--that India breaks through Pakistani lines after all-out war begins, and Pakistan sees that its only option to save Islamabad and its army from being destroyed piecemeal is to nuke the advancing Indian onslaught--is the one scenario that has bothered me for its plausibility since the last round of brinkmanship, last fall. Its plausibility rests in the notion that a first-use will almost assuredly be defensive, as neither Musharraf nor the Indian government wants to go nuclear in an offensive, first-strike mode. There is a level of mutually assured destruction here--if one side nukes first, it can be assured that some of the enemy's forces and nuclear weapons will survive, and will be launched in retaliation. And the defense scenario is also strengthened by the superiority in real numbers and in ability of the Indian forces over its Pakistani counterpart. As a means to survive, Pakistan might be driven to use the most powerful weapon at its disposal. If you shouldn't use nuclear weapons in the face of an advancing enemy on your own soil, and one that threatens your very existence, then when should you?

I don't think we're looking at all-out war here, though. Both sides still have too much to lose, and the United States as an ally of both should be able to calm things down again. But here's a theory--you don't suppose Al Qaida's remnants are stoking the flames of war here, do you? The survivors had to go somewhere, and we can't expect them to just lie quietly and wait for the next set of instructions from bin Laden. Kashmir is a tenderbox, and any unusual incident is seized immediately by both sides as justification for war. As an ally of the US in the Afghan war, Al Qaida has a motive to see Pakistan destroyed.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE BODY DISCOVERED IN ROCK CREEK PARK TODAY

is that of Chandra Levy. Other items, including clothing and pieces of a Walkman, were discovered along side.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BODY FOUND TODAY IN ROCK CREEK PARK, WASHINGTON DC

: police say it's likely female, and could be Chandra Levy.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SO DAN RATHER'S A "STAND-UP GUY?"

You may not think so when you read this.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE STRATEGERY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

: Prez Cuz John Ellis tells it like it is.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM REPORT

: it's hard to make much sense of this story, except to say that many in the State Department still don't get it. Arafat's a terrorist--duh!
Posted by B. Preston at 12:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THINK I'M TOO HARD ON THE DEMOCRATS

, or too partisan? I think maybe I'm not being mean enough, after reading this. When was the last time a Republican compared a Democrat president to a ruthless, murderous thug of a communist dictator? I don't know if it's ever happened, but the reverse has--Dem. Sen. Chris Dodd says that President Bush and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro are

"more alike than they are different" because both "refuse to listen to the voices of their citizens calling for change."


That's so extreme, so irresponsible and so stupid that it makes my blood boil just thinking about it. I have a suggestion--Mr. Dodd, why don't you go live in Cuba as a regular citizen (not a pampered foreign traveler) and see just how similar President Bush and Castro are. I bet the effects of one critical remark against Castro would disabuse you of your mistaken impressions of their similarity.

Add Dodd's idiocy to Jimmah Carter's apologism for Cuba's wonderful health care system, and the old rap on the Democrats is back: they're soft on communism.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2002

A STAR WARS: EPISODE III PREDICTION

: Boba Fett (played by aNew Zealander, not a Hispanic) figures prominently in the extermination of the Jedi.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NEW BLOGSNOB IN THE YARD

: What in the world is Blogsnob? It's the little text ad that appears beneath my Links section, advertising other blogs. They're generated randomly and link to other Blogsnob-enabled blogs. A warning--since I don't control the randomness of the links or the ads, I can't vouch for their contents. If you see something that offends you, email me and I'll take a look at it. The first time I turned the thing on, I got an ad that said "hello b*stards." I was nonplussed to say the least, but I think Blogsnob is, on the whole, a decent thing.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE TERRORISM AND CLINTON

post, and the follow-up by Martin Knight, have generated some cross-talk here at the JYBlog. So I'd like to clarify and expand on a few things.

First, in the initial post, I was speculating that Clinton may have buried anti-terror intelligence, never thinking such a huge attack as 9-11 could possibly succeed, and he buried it in an effort to knock the Bush administration off-balance. I repeat, I was speculating, based on Clinton's record and character as demonstrated in the arsenic ruse and last-minute pardons, his administration's use of well-timed leaks and misuse of FBI files, and generally lax attitude toward national security. Further, Clinton didn't care about the military, as demonstrated by the erosion of benefits to servicemembers under his tenure, the drop-off in available parts and supplies to units (including combat units) during his terms, his administration's elevation of bogus issues like sexual harassment via the DACOWITS group and other means. I was in the military from 1993-1997, and witnessed Clinton's anti-military administration with my own eyes. National security in the form of a strong defense was just something he never truly believed in.

Add to that the fact that Bill Clinton was an entirely poll-driven president. If an issue didn't poll well, he didn't care about it and couldn't be made to care about it. Specifically, on the issue of terrorism, Clinton never saw it as a top-tier issue. As responses to the two major domestic terror attacks that occurred on his watch, the 1993 WTC bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing, his administration merely saw the first as a legal case and the second as an opportunity to smear every conservative in the country as a potential mass murderer. He was reckless and brazen, and impugned his political opposition in a way that no president before would have dared. And it resurrected his presidency.

Give Clinton credit for one thing—he’s a swift student. He learned from the OK City bombing that it’s not always the substance or truth of a president’s response that matters, but often the effectiveness of the symbolism that counts. So he became a symbolic warrior. When the embassies in Africa blew up, he launched rockets at pill factories and empty tents. He would later claim, and largely proven to have been lying, that his Tomahawk attack just missed bin Laden. Of course, that’s the same bin Laden who’d been offered on a platter by Sudan, and the same bin Laden he’d set loose in Afghanistan. But it didn’t matter—the Tomahawk attacks looked significant and the nation didn’t know about the Sudanese offer at the time.

We know all this now, thanks to some enterprising reporting here and there by some fairly dogged journalists, and thanks to repentant Clintonistas like Dick Morris. So why am I rehashing all this? Because the press has been in a feeding frenzy lately over the Bush administration’s “failure” to connect all the dots and prevent 9-11. Worse still, the same Congressional Democrats who cared not one bit about terrorism, or national security, who cut funding to intelligence agencies and defended Clinton from any and all legitimate criticism—and who joined him in painting all conservatives as potential terrorists—have joined in the senseless attacks on the current White House. The price we may pay is a divided nation in a time of war, and mutual suspicion among the parties in Washington. I’m here to point out the past as a road map to the future. This attack has largely been a failure, but they’ll be back on the attack—against the president and the Republicans, not Al Qaida—in no time. This is an election year after all, and both houses of Congress are up for grabs.

Does any of this mean that Clinton actually buried intelligence relating to Al Qaida or Usama bin Laden? No, I was just idly thinking aloud about that, but his record speaks for itself. It's up to those enterprising reporters to track the Clinton-era intelligence memos and see where they ended up. But Clinton didn’t have to bury information to put the nation in danger. He’d been doing that for eight years just by being himself.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SO A BUNCH OF BONEHEADS OUT THERE

are saying that Attack of the Clones is racist because Jango Fett is Hispanic. Rather than quibbling with the definition of "Hispanic," or theorize about how one becomes Hispanic in the Galactic Republic, I'll just offer a mild defense of Lucas. Boba Fett, cloned son of Jango Fett, remains one of my favorite characters from the original Star Wars films. Yeah, he's a ruthless bounty hunter, but he's also a mysterious tough guy, slick and competent and cool. He wears the best armor of any character, and looks like he's been through hell, which makes him even cooler. Long after I'd tired of Luke and Leia and the rest, Boba Fett held his place among the pantheon of coolness to me. Making him Hispanic just makes one of Star Wars' most interesting characters Hispanic, if the Republic even has that false racial category on its census forms.

Besides, it's just a freakin' movie.

UPDATE: From reader Martin Knight:

The guy who acted as Jango Fett, Temuera Morrison, is actually a Maori from New Zealand. When someone actually pointed this out to those Detroit News "reviewers" they said that it doesn't matter since he looks Hispanic. I wonder how Maoris are supposed to feel? I hear they're as pleased as punch. Morrison is now a celebrity.


Martin adds that a racial shakedown is probably in Lucas' immediate future, which is ironic considering how PC the guy is. I think some people tried that last time around, arguing that Jar Jar and Watto are racially stereotypical characters. Never mind that neither is even human.

Funny thing is, I was going to add in my original post that Jango Fett may not even be Hispanic at all, since there are an awful lot of folks around the globe with the same superficial appearance as some Hispanics (Hispanics can be just about any color, so long as they have some Spanish or Portugese roots somewhere) but are not Hispanic at all. Some Polynesian groups come to mind, as do lighter-skinned folks from the Indian subcontinent and Arabia. I decided not to add that, because I hadn't researched who played Jango Fett and didn't want to look stupid. But if looking stupid were a real fear, I probably wouldn't post half the stuff I do...

All this racial gobbledegook makes me laugh, when it isn't making me shout at the teevee. When my two-year-old, who's a cross between my Anglo-Cherokee roots and my wife's Japanese looks, grows up he's going to give the racial pigeon-holers fits. I can't wait.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ENCOURAGING SIGNS FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

: John Derbyshire writes, convincingly, that we won't be going to war with Iraq--not this year, not next year, not ever. He may be right, but I suspect not, and there are portents that such a war is in the offing. We'll find out when the president travels to Europe.

I will quibble with one of Derb's evidences for a nation going to war. He cites the feeling of London in 1982, as the UK prepared for war with Argentina. Dock workers were working round-the-clock to refit ships, the general mood was tense and electric. Having lived through the Gulf War, I don't remember such goings-on here during the run-up to it. Sure, we on college campuses were wondering whether things would get hot enough to re-start the draft, and there was talk everywhere about the build-up, and the coalition, and all that. But our military is always ready for war. For the US buildup to the Gulf War, we didn't need the dockworkers working round-the-clock--we just needed the airlines to help ferry our half a million troops to the desert while our already-built ships moved the materiel. Once the pieces were in place, we whipped Saddam and came home. No muss, no fuss. If and when Desert Storm Round 2 starts off, I suspect it will look much like 1990. We'll move vast amounts of troops and supplies across the earth, breaking all the previous records for airlift, we'll win, establish some semblance of order in Baghdad, make sure Saddam will never menace anyone again, and we'll come home.

And there are other signs that war is coming to Saddam's doorstep. What else could possibly be the purpose to this story, in which the Secretary of Defense lays out the horrible future if maniacs like Saddam get the bomb? It's to lay out our case for war to the world--either we take the war to the bad guys, or they'll bring it back to us. That's the choice we face, and I think the administration has understood that since 9-11, and maybe before then.

I think in all these events, we bloggers and blog devotees (and online journalists) need to keep something in mind. Just because we don't see signs of imminent actions doesn't mean that action isn't coming. This administration is understandably reticent to air its war plans in public, and may in fact intentionally give the appearance of no serious planning while things are brewing behind the scenes. I believe that Pentagon planners are far along in drafting the strategy for an Iraqi conquest. Keeping that planning below the news radar is not rope-a-dope, it's classic OPSEC, or "operations security." We in the blogosphere write daily and get into the habit of needing to see daily signs of reassurance from the administration, or we start carping, get blah and write off the administration as being unserious about the war on terror. It's a mistake--we should keep in mind that the Gulf War took six months to plan and execute, and that was with an enemy that the entire world saw as a problem. The world is less eager for Desert Storm II--and the Bush administration is less eager to publicly push for that war until it is imminent. As we closer to that war, watch for the administration to ratchet up the rhetoric, and watch for squadrons of airliners and cargo planes, and flotillas of cargo ships, to head out for the Middle East.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FEATHERLESS CHICKENS

: One cool use for genetic engineering. Predictably, the animal rights/anti-progress crowd is in a tizzy:

Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth said: "This is scientists tampering with our food again just to make it even cheaper. (And the problem with cheap food is....? That more people can afford it? That there will be fewer starving people? What?) I think it will have a traumatic effect on animals and the public will be horrified."


I'll only be horrified when geneticists come up with a boneless chicken, ala Gary Larson. But I'll get over it when I fire up the bbq.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DUMB MOVE

: No guns in cockpits. The next hijacking will likely prove how short-sighted this decision is.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

WILLIAM QUICK

takes on the SF stripper mom vs the Christian school case. What's it like to be such a reasonable person living in such an unreasonable place, Bill?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Title

 
Posted by B. Preston at 09:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2002

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST

STEPHEN JAY GOULD is dead at 60.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MADELINE ALBRIGHT

blasted the Bush administration's foreign policy as suffering from "untreated bipolar disorder" for the "mixed messages" it has been sending during the MidEast conflict. She did this during a commencement at Tufts University, and I'm sure the graduating seniors will always carry this overtly political and topical message as a treasure throughout their lives, which will undoubtedly be better for having heard her pearls of timeless wisdom.

What Ms. Albright should've added, but for some reason failed to, was that the administration she served sent what amounted to an unmistakable message to terrorists--it's open season on Americans and American interests around the world. That's the message she and her old boss sent when our troops were bombed in Saudi Arabia and America didn't respond, and when the African embassies blew up and America launched a few rockets at empty tents and pill factories, and when the USS Cole was nearly sunk and American again did nothing.

There was a time when partisan disputes stopped at the water's edge, and America showed a united face to the world. Like so many things that were good about our country, that spirit ended with the rise of the Clintons. I wonder if we'll ever get it back.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SINCE SEVERAL OTHER BLOG WATCH

services seem to have died recently, I'm thinking of running one of my own for a while. Email me if you want your blog watched by this blog. If I get enough affirmative answers, I'll start blogwatching.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2002

THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE SACRED AND THE SECULAR

in America has long worried me. We are the most free society on earth, and among the most religious. We're possibly the most materialistic culture in history, yet probably the most generous. Yet intolerance for religious belief expressed publicly has been growing over the past few decades, to the point where a legitimate philosophical wing of a major political party is regularly described as "Taliban" and "Puritanical" and so forth by its opposition. As a member of one of the most conservative Christian denominations, I've wondered how long it will take before attacks mounted in courts start to chip away at my church's closely held purely religious beliefs and practices.

For instance, the Southern Baptist Convention holds to the Blibical standard when choosing laypersons to act as leaders, called deacons. That standard comes from 1 Timothy 3:12-13:

12. Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13. For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.


There are a few stumbling blocks for the post-modern in that brief passage. Deacons must be men, and "husbands of one wife," which means they cannot have been married more than once. Their children must also be of good repute, which means the deacon must be an active father participating in their upbringing. I've often wondered what it will take for a disgruntled divorced man, or a Baptist feminist, to see these limits as somehow violating their civil rights, and contest them in court. It will happen eventually, and if the plaintiff chooses his or her court well, the judge's ruling will effectively end the separation of church and state.

I'm not the only one worrying about this, it seems. The Catholic sex scandal may create the battleground for ending real religious freedom in America, if it isn't handled in a truly Christlike manner. It might be appropriate at this point to ask that cliched question--what would Jesus do? In the cases of priests clearly abusing the children under their care, we do have a precedent of sort for Christ's possible response. The Gospels are filled with confrontations between Jesus and the religious leaders of the day, whom He described as "vipers" and whose legalism He constantly decried. We also have the story of His visit to the temple in Jerusalem. There, He was confronted with unholy behaviour--traders buying and selling, within the temple itself. It was a desecration, and Jesus was stirred to righteous wrath. He threw the money-changers out of the temple, chasing them with a whip. I think He would do the same to the abusing priests, and He would "render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar"--the abusing priests have broken secular criminal law and deserve punishment under same. I could be wrong, but that's what I think He would do.

Susanna Cornett has written a much more thoughtful piece than mine on the subject, and it's here. The Vatican has more than an internal crisis on its hands--the fate of its own structure and of religious freedom in America is also in play. I've said before that a schism with the Catholic church may well be the end result of this crisis. As it spreads and turns increasingly violent, and the Vatican's responses seem ever more at odds with secular law, the implications will grow to encompass every other Christian church in the nation.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack