August 15, 2003


Vincent Ferrari links to a story about a policeman caught in polygamy. His defense: Lawrence lets him do it. And why doesn't it?

Of course, no one saw this coming. Well, okay, Rick Santorum did. And I did. And Stanley Kurtz, and Maggie Gallagher, and, well, lots of other people did too.

MORE: Virginia is the new frontier -- public restrooms may become constitutionally protected anonymous gay sex zones.

An attorney representing a man accused of soliciting sex in a public restroom at Sears in Pembroke Mall is trying to get the charge thrown out based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn sodomy laws in Texas.

If the motion is granted, it could eventually stop Virginia Beach police from setting up ``sting'' investigations in public locations frequented by homosexual males ``cruising'' for anonymous sex.

The motion, filed by Norfolk lawyer Jennifer T. Stanton, may be the first attempt to apply the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas to state sodomy laws, said Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Harvey L. Bryant III.

UPDATE: Virginia is still trying to find a way to enforce their laws:

Prosecutors plan to pursue sodomy charges against 26 men despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legal experts say invalidates Virginia's antisodomy law. The indictments issued July 21 followed a three-month investigation of public sodomy and solicitation to commit sodomy at an adult bookstore in Harrisonburg.

...Harrisonburg Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst said the men arrested in Harrisonburg were not targeted because they are homosexuals. The police would have cracked down on the activity just as strongly had heterosexuals been having sex in a public place such as a bookstore, she said.

But drawing the line between public and private sodomy in Virginia is complicated by the way the state's law is written, said Sam Garrison, a Roanoke lawyer and homosexual rights activist. Like most states, Virginia has a "savings clause" in its state code to allow for the preservation of the remainder of a law when part of it is struck down by a court ruling.

...University of Virginia Law School professor Anne Coughlin said, "Here, you don't know what to save."

Mr. Griffith, a lawyer, says he believes the law can be used as is and that the General Assembly doesn't have to tinker with it. "I think we're better off leaving the thing alone and letting the courts sort out some of it, and then us step in if there's a problem," he said. But Mr. Griffith said that when the General Assembly session starts in January, as many as 20 bills to rewrite the sodomy law could be introduced.

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August 14, 2003


SE Asia's most senior terrorist has been nabbed.

Hambali (search), whose full name is Riduan Bin Isomuddin, is also suspected of being the mastermind of the Aug. 5 bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people.

He was arrested in Ayutthaya, Thailand, in a joint CIA-Thai operation and was found to be carrying explosives and weapons, Fox News has learned.

Hambali allegedly confessed that the weapons and bomb materials were to be used for a terrorist attack during the upcoming October APEC summit (search) in Bangkok, a meeting that brings together the presidents, prime ministers and chief executives of 21 Asian and Pacific Rim countries.

Hambali was in custody of the U.S. government on Thursday, being held at an undisclosed location.

"He is no longer a problem for those of us who love freedom," President Bush said in a speech on Thursday, adding that Hambali was a close associate of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (search), the No. 3 man in Al Qaeda and likely planner of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, who was captured in Pakistan last fall.

I can only see two problems with this. First, the "he is no longer a problem" line is ripe for Dowdification. Second, it's likely to make Charlie Rangel mad. Other than that, it's fantastic news.

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A few days ago, I linked to a story about the congressional 9-11 report, centering on conclusions on the cause of Flight 93's crash. My interest in this centers on the hard left's attempt to pin the plane's crash on a military shootdown, followed by a Presidential coverup, in spite of the fact that not one scintilla of evidence supports such a charge. The coverup charge also flies in the face of common sense, since the public would have supported Flight 93's shootdown as a prudent act in the face of an ongoing terrorist assault on our country. But common sense has never been associated with the hard left; why should Flight 93 be any different?

The federal investigation found no evidence of a shootdown, instead suggesting that the plane crashed because the hijackers in the cockpit decided to crash it once it was clear that the rebelling passengers had overcome the hijackers in the cabin and were storming the cockpit. Whether the passengers actually overcame the cockpit hijackers isn't clear from anything I've read, and the cockpit voice recorder seems to have picked up one hijacker telling the other to crash the plane. Some family members aren't happy that the feds seem to believe that the hijackers, not the rebelling passengers, crashed the plane. Henry Hanks sends me this column that sums up the view, quoting a couple of those Flight 93 relatives who are upset about it, going as far as to call press reports on the investigation a "smear." They continue to believe that the passengers overcame the hijackers and then crashed the plane themselves.

How this makes the passengers look more heroic, or how the hijacker-crash theory makes them look less heroic, is beyond me. Calling the hijacker-crash theory a "smear" makes no sense.

No matter who ultimately crashed the plane, some things are clear: On 9-11, passengers armed with nothing more than a grim determination kept Flight 93 from hitting the target that the hijackers intended. Those passengers fought with at least two very dangerous men, and may have killed them, en route to storming the cockpit, where they probably fought with two other very dangerous men. The passengers' actions on 9-11 undoubtedly saved lives on the ground, and may have even saved the White House from direct assault. Whether they caused the hijackers to decide to crash the plane, or whether they overcame the two flight-trained hijackers and crashed the plane themselves, is irrelevant. They were heroes either way, because they stood up to terrorists not in any abstract way, but in the reality of blood and sweat at 30,000 feet. The Flight 93 passengers were our first combat troops to directly engage the terrorists, and they performed magnificently.

As to the "smear," it's clear from multiple stories on the FBI report that the press isn't to blame. The FBI says its report isn't definitive, but does stand by the hijacker-crash conclusion. Family members counter that the cockpit voice recorder makes it sound like the passengers not only successfully stormed the cockpit, but took control of the plane. Here's one example:

Some family members indicated after hearing the tape that they were led to believe that passengers used a food cart as a shield and broke into the cockpit.

Hoglan said the hijackers inside the cockpit are heard yelling "No!" at the sound of breaking glass - presumably from the food cart - and that the final spoken words on the recorder seemed to be an inexplicably calm voice in English instructing, "Pull it up."

Who or what "led them to believe" the passengers crashed the plane? It's possible that the FBI initially thought that to be the case and told the families so, but later investigation caused the feds to adjust their thinking. As for the "Pull it up" command, to me this suggests that perhaps the passengers did get into the cockpit but didn't establish control of the plane. It's possible they overcame one hijacker, only to confront the last one as the plane was already in a death dive. If that was the case, the calm "Pull it up" command makes sense--the passenger would have calmed his voice to speak clearly to the Middle Eastern terrorist, both because he suspected that the terrorist spoke little or no English and because the terrorist might have had a weapon pointed back at the speaking passenger. And because the plane was already seconds from impact, as was obvious just from looking out the windshield. It's ambiguous, open to many interpretations.

But as I said, I can't see a "smear" in any of this. The FBI maintains that the passengers' actions changed the fate of Flight 93. No one, apart from some wacky far-left types who think 9-11 was a put-up job to get more power for President Bush, suggests that the passengers acted in anything less than a heroic manner.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


David Hoberg thinks so. George Will, famously, doesn't--and hopes it ruins everyone involved. Flies and honey, George...

As for me, I don't know whether it's conservative or not, but I'm mildly in favor of it for one simple reason: It makes the political class nervous. And to me, a nervous political class is a political class that understands its place in a representative democracy.

Here's my thinking. We've all heard that old saw about power and its tendency to corrupt, and how absolutely corrupting absolute power tends to be. A political class, left or right, that tends to believe in itself and its innate right to rule is a threat to liberty. Our political class is manifestly a threat to liberty, mostly but not entirely from the left nowadays. It lies to us with impunity. It uses irrelevant laws in backwater countries to justify its disregard for our own Constitution. Our political class toys with the Constitution, especially the first two amendments, as though it was actually in their power to rewrite it on the fly. It invents rights out of thin air, and abridges rights clearly spelled out in law. The political class is arrogant, and needs to be smacked around a bit.

The California recall does that. Ousting Gray Davis, an arrogant, corrupt career politico who has never earned a dime outside government, tells all the other political lifers that there are limits to what the public will tolerate. I'd say the public tolerates too much, but at least we seem to have found that it does have a limit, Davis has crossed it, and will pay the price. Good. Hopefully many in the political class are sleeping fitfully, and hopefully some supreme court justices in Nevada and elsewhere now understand that their tenure isn't a God-given right, but that they serve at the public's pleasure. Good. Let's draft a few new impeachment laws while we're at it, just to put a chill down their spines.

As for whether Ahnuld is another Reagan or a RINO and whether he'll help or hurt the GOP cause in California, eh, I think on balance he's a RINO but he'll probably be a decent governor if he wins. He's a smart guy who's done quite well with the odd gifts of physical transformation and glibness, and turned mediocre acting talent into a pile of wealth and influence. That alone makes him more qualified to be governor than a toad like Davis in my book--he's actually lived his life outside the halls of government and has some understanding of the real world. He'll probably be able to intimidate the legislature (composed mostly of career pols) to do what is necessary to fix California's problems. And if he can fix California or at least stop the bleeding, he'll help the national economy too, which helps Bush in 2004. Yes, Bush is part of the political class too, but he's better than most of his colleagues.

And I do think fears that this recall will lead to government by recall for years to come are overwrought. This recall is tied to specific circumstances--Davis' incompetence, his lies about the size of the deficit, the illegal car tax and the fact that his administration is wholly owned by special interests. Besides that, the recall's novelty drives interest in it. That novelty will fade soon, and people who are talking about politics in bars today will soon find something else to talk about, like the war or football. Recalls won't turn California into tit-for-tat a parliamentary system.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:16 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


Check out Antioch Road.
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Ugh. When Christian churches are dead enough to turn their "image" over to marketing flacks, here's what you get:

Churches are being urged to drop the image of the Crucifixion and instead highlight the social benefits of filling the pews in an effort to boost Sunday attendance.

Traditional approaches such as showing Jesus on the cross and Bible quotations are a turn-off to non-churchgoers, according to one of two suggested advertising campaigns drawn up by agencies. the name of getting people in the pews, we should drop the purpose of getting people in the pews. Ooookay.

Instead, advertisers say churches should highlight their community life, the chance to have a good sing, hear a good sermon and have a heart-to-heart chat.

But since you had us drop the Bible quotes, what are we singing about? What's the sermon about? Why not just sleep in on Sunday?

Another separate campaign has advised that churches should target 30 to 40-somethings who have the trappings of success but feel there is something missing.

Yeah, that missing something might be a relationship with their Creator, but since you had us drop the Bible quotes....

Both campaigns were commissioned with a brief to reverse declining church attendance levels and are featured in September's issue of the evangelical magazine Christianity+Renewal.

In its proposals, Khameleon Advertising, based in Billingshurst, Sussex, said Christians should highlight the social event of going to church, including the chance to catch up with news and friends.

Worldwide, stats show that the only churches that are in death spirals are the ones that have abandoned their mission. Churches which stick to the basics tend to grow wherever they exist, from Texas to Tanzania. But the appropriately named (though not appropriately spelled) Khameleon ponytails suggest churches can actually prosper by abandoning their purpose. And apparently some churches (you know which ones, based on recent headlines) think the old time religion is outdated, in need up a makeover. It's a little like telling the Army "People will stop shooting at you if you'd just put down all those guns and stop, you know, defending the country."

Its ideas included the image of a lone goldfish in a bowl with the line "When did you last really need someone to talk to?" and a vicar with the words "When was the last time you saw some really good stand up...for free?"

Goldfish? Turning sermons into stand-up? Advertiser Fisks self.

Guy Lupton, managing director of Khameleon Advertising, said: "We don't think people want to be preached at, and we didn't want traditional images like pictures of Jesus on a cross. The key is to get people through the door of the church and let them make up their own minds."

But once they're in the door, we're not using those hoary old Bible quotes anymore, so what's the point? What do we have to offer that you can't get in a chatroom or a coffee shop?

Link ICA, based in Maidstone, Kent, opted for the slogan Get a Life - Go to Church, with a "medicine for the soul" message including pictures of ambulances, a doctor's bag and a plasma drip.

Spirtuality+Renewal editor John Buckeridge said: "So many people are interested in spirituality - there are literally millions of non-churchgoers who want to know God and have a spiritual experience - who currently are unaware of what is, literally, on their doorstep. Advertising to them makes sense."

This one's marginally better. At least is doesn't try to turn the local preacher into a hack commedian, or God into a goldfish. And of course it's perfectly acceptable to advertise to try and reach people who are otherwise unchurched. But these ad firms are doing more than creating an image--they're trying to gut the "product" they're pitching of its meaning. And some in the church, are just following along, letting the image replace the substance, and letting the means--getting people in the door--replace the ends, which is saving them.

I would whip out some quotes from Paul on the importance of the cross and Scripture to Christianity, but what's the point? Who am I, indeed who is Paul, to argue with marketing consultants?

Posted by B. Preston at 09:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


Just take a look.
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August 13, 2003


We all know the score by now: Osama bin Laden, founder of al Qaeda and author or 9-11, was Saudi. Fifteen of the 19 9-11 killers were Saudi. Most of al Qaeda's leadership is Saudi, as are most of the "charities" that fund al Qaeda, and not incidentally, Palestinian terrorists. Looking around the globe, Saudi dollars spread Wahabbi doctrine and its poisons in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Indonesia, across Africa and Europe and even right here in America. And while Osama aimed his most spectacular stunts at the West, his goal was ultimately not just our own injury, but something more practical closer to home: He wanted to overthrow the Saudi royalty, whom he considered corrupt because it let us infidels protect it and and the holy cities in its jurisdiction from Saddam.

So, as some sage said not too long ago, the global war on terror is really a Saudi Arabian civil war that the House of Saud has exported to everyone else.

On May 12, the Saudi capital played host to its own war for the first time in a while, though the dead were still mostly Westerners. Now, gun battles rage in Saudi streets almost daily, as the police use traffic checks and lightning raids to pick out killers. And then there's today's news--15 raids across Saudi Arabia have netted scores of terrorists and uncovered a vast network that surprised the authorities. It was even bigger than they had planned, apparently.

Bully for the Saudis for raiding the networks and arresting the terrorists that their own money and ideology have created. Bully for them, let's hope they succeed and at least win their own civil war within their borders. But let's also not forget the Saudi role in 9-11 itself, and in countless other religious wars around the world. It's a safe bet that wherever you find Islamic extremists killing and enslaving Christians and other non-Muslims, wherever you find Muslim youths attacking synagogues and agitating against the infidels and declaring jihad in its least introspective sense, you will find Saudi money and ideals behind it. And all of the Saudi Arabia's "progress" and "cooperation" in the war on terror does little to change that. It's still their war that we're fighting.

Posted by B. Preston at 04:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


But you did manage to get your (probably lousy, pedantic, unreadable) book promoted for free by the country's most popular news channel. So, Al Franken, you're not quite the nimrod I thought you were. For a comedian, though, you're still amazingly unfunny.
Posted by B. Preston at 08:28 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 12, 2003


Ryan Booth says yes. I agree. They also hate him because he's a Texan, because he's a genuine leader, because he carries that (R) after his name and because they're just plain hateful. Hatred is their god--hatred of Bush, of Christians, of America, of anyone that opposes them. Ryan's post includes a link that will show you a sample of that hatred.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:29 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack


Tim Blair finds Michael Moore in the weirdest places.

Kevin has been following Ahnuld's stump speeches.

Henry has found the best Ahnuld-for-governator endorsement yet.

And what to make of Slate's new campaign. A couple of weeks ago they flipped their cart over the 16 words--now they just can't do enough to smear Schwarzenegger.

Kaus seems to be Slate's last honest man--he caught the AP in the following anti-Ahnuld spin:

What 7-letter word is missing from this hed? "Schwarzenegger Opposed Immigrant Services"--AP story reprinted in WaPo. ...

That missing word is "illegal," which changes everything. And while I realize that reporters don't often write their own headlines, it is interesting that the AP piece with the meaningful omission goes out of its way to remind readers that Prop 187 was unpopular with Hispanics, and the reporter's name is Sandra Marquez, who also helpfully reminds us that Gray Davis opposed that legislation. Just sayin'...

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That's what one resident says. Another says "everything is fine with me," and that his present conditions are "so good that no health resort in Russia can compare."

Who are these people, and where are they staying?

Gitmo. They're a group of Russians caught in Afghanistan and elsewhere fighting alongside terrorists, and their incarceration in Camp Delta is so comfy that their mothers are lobbying for us to keep them there. They argue that Russian prisons are too deadly and inhumane, and sending them to Russia to stand trial would put them in too much peril.

Bet you won't hear Amnesty International make that argument.

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Artie Wheeler, whose bail had been set at $2 million on charges of reckless endangerment, now can't post bail at all. The full story of Wheeler's arrest is here.

Since his arrest first hit the local news radar last week, Baltimore has been in an uproar about it. Most people (myself included) acknowledge that Wheeler is a white supremacist with a Nazi-like ideology and therefore isn't a nice guy, but that based on the fact that he had broken no laws at the time of his arrest and that he has never hurt anyone, and that thus far the state has produced no evidence that he's a threat in any way, the $2 million bail was excessive. If the state would show that Wheeler is either a threat or connected in some way to a threatening conspiracy, I and probably most others would conclude that his arrest was just, but thus far the state hasn't even tried to show that he remains a threat. Today the state took care of the excessive bail problem by rescinding bail altogether.

Other curious facts about the case include the sealed warrant that led to his arrest, the fact that he has been in solitary confinement for a month and a half, and the fact that his wife hasn't been able to visit him during his incarceration, leading to speculation that his arrest was at least in part politically motivated. Excepting the governor whose gun rights stance squares well with the 2nd Amendment, Maryland is one of the most anti-gun states in the Union. The state attorney general has openly vowed to confiscate all handguns in the state, and Maryland's gun laws are quite restrictive. Wheeler was apparently well-known in his neighborhood for two things prior to his arrest--ties to the National Alliance (a white supremacist group that admires Hitler, among other noxious things), and making guns in his home. As bad as the National Alliance is, it's legal to be a member, and making guns is perfectly legal. It's possible that Wheeler is in jail because his politics are foul and because he makes guns--those aren't good enough reasons to hold him in jail. Reckless endangerment isn't generally thought of as a more heinous crime than murder, but his bail (and now lack of bail) would indicate that the state believes he is more dangerous than drug dealers and murderers. Why? If the state has sound reasons to hold him, it should produce evidence of such reasoning soon.

MORE: Reader Kyle B. sends in this story, about an innocent man who got one of those late-night door knocks from the FBI on suspicion that he's a terrorist. He isn't and they let him go, but not before terrorizing him and damaging his home/business. The Patriot Act has its down sides, it seems, in that it's too easy to get warrants against innocent people.

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August 11, 2003


The AP's Charles J. Hanley says that Colin Powell's Feb. 5 presentation to the UNSC--the US's most detailed outline of the case for war with Iraq prior to invasion--has fallen apart. When I saw the byline, something in my mind tickled a bit. No, I didn't recognize the name--I just thought "Google this guy." That's what I always think nowadays when I see some "blockbuster" report that someone is hailing as a "devastating" indictment of the case for war. Search and ye shall find: Charles J. Hanley is one biased reporter and not to be trusted on the Iraq war in particular. Silflay Hraka had the goods on him back in March. After running a series of quotes from Hanley's stories leading up to the war--stories in which Hanley predicted a burgeoning humanitarian crisis and used the harvest cycle of all things to agitate against the war--Bigwig observes:

In the last three days, according to his story locations, Charles J. Hanley, AP Special Correspondent, has been in Washington, Amman, Umm Qasr, Basra, and Juweideh, Jordan. It's the ability to travel through a war zone at will that separates the AP Special Correspondent from your run of the mill regular AP correspondents, you see. He reports with the speed of ten, because his heart is pure. If you see a meek and mild mannered reporter jump into a phone booth, and a man in blue tights emerge, with the letters APSC flowing across his broad, rippling chest, odds are it's Charles J. Hanley, AP Special Correspondent, off to a distant land to report on another humanitarian crisis story.

It is that purity that gives him his innate objectivity, the objectivity that allows him to compare human shields and American soldiers with the phrase "Unlike those camouflaged troops, the group is traveling light". The objective journalism of the AP Special Correspondent finds that human shields are not only braver than American combat troops, but also less materialistic.

Fascinating, no, that Hanley managed to travel from Washington to and through a war zone in three days, and that he had time to work on, write, and file several stories at the same time? Is Charles J. Hanley a superjournalist, or just the AP's Jayson Blair?

As for the substance of Hanley's present case against the Feb. 5 presentation, I've only skimmed it but a couple of things jump out. First, Hanley implies that he watched Powell's presentation from Baghdad. Not terribly newsworthy in itself, Hanley quotes a couple of people who were unimpressed by the presentation, and they are newsworthy. He quotes Saddam's science advisor, Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi describing the presentation as "stunts" designed to persuade the uninformed, and then a Danish member of the European parliament, Ulla Sanbaek, as having watched the presentation and said "War can be avoided. Colin Powell came up with absolutely nothing." As for al-Saadi, he's one of Saddam's henchmen--what would you expect him to say? Sandbaek, though, requires a little research.

Back to Google. In February it seems that Sandbaek was in Baghdad on a trip to visit NGOs and UN workers according to this story about the trip. Sandbaek had some interesting things to say about the war to come:

Ms Sandbaek, who will be joining the unofficial visit next week, said the group would be visiting NGOs and UN workers. She said the MEPs wanted to take the message that "there are people in Europe who are opposed to war and want to do everything possible to avoid it." If there is a war then it will be important afterwards for the Middle East that this view has been expressed, she added.(my emphasis)

So...would someone willing to do everything possible to avoid the war have been impressed by Powell's pro-war presentation? Not likely, but Hanley doesn't provide any background for his readers to assess her credibility or stance. He simply asserts that she was unimpressed. Remember, he is insinuating that he watched the presentation with her--he likely knew why she was there or could have found out had "reporting" been his motive. Instead, he just uses her to imply that knowledgeable people didn't like Powell's presentation.

The second thing that jumps out at me is Hanley's assertion that:

In postwar interviews, with Saddam no longer in power, no Iraqi scientist is known to have confirmed any revived weapons program.

Revived seems to be Hanley's key word here, else what should we make of the scientist who turned over a buried centrifuge along with plans to rebuild Iraq's nuclear weapons program? Technically, it is true that that program hadn't been "revived" prior to the war, but it's equally true that Saddam, according to that scientist, had every intent to revive that program once the heat was off. Hanley fails to mention the scientist, the centrifuge, the plans--all of it.

For the rest, Hanley pits one intelligence service against another in the dodgy world of interpreting and analyzing conflicting data as evidence that Powell's report is itself suspect. Hanley either doesn't know or just doesn't acknowledge that such disputes are common in intelligence circles. Either way, he jumps to unjustified conclusions to make his case against Powell.

For more on the anti-American spin that Charles J. Hanley puts on reality, check out Orrin Judd's review of Hanley's book, The Bridge at No Gun Ri : A Hidden Chapter from the Korean War. Judd catches Hanley's political bias on display there, too.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


It's here. It was created by DoD, and describes the Foxbat B as "the fastest combat aircraft today." Chris, and you others who have been debating whether the buried Iraqi Foxbats are modern or antigue, this essay contains the NewsMax shots plus a few new ones too.

Add the buried air force discovery to this IP post about the discovery of buried WWII-era Japanese chemical weapons in China, and the Nazi airframes recently found under a German runway, and you can easily make the case that UN weapons inspectors would never have found all of Saddam's weapons on their own. You can also make a good case that it will take longer than 100 days for our own inspectors to find them.

To all this, I'll add one more. Most of the bases we use in Japan today were Imperial bases before and during the war. Yokota Air Base, where I was stationed, had been a base for experimental aircraft testing during the war. Early in US attacks on the Japanese home islands, Yokota had been bombed a few times, eventually irritating its commanders to the point that they started camouflaging it. They painted its buildings and airstrip to look like we had already bombed Yokota out of usefulness, a trick which worked to the point that our fliers eventually stopped bombing it. But apparently we bombed it enough--while I was stationed there, on two or three occassions people out mowing their yards or work crews digging holes stumbled across unexploded bombs that our fliers had dropped on the base. That was more than fifty years after the war had ended, fifty years during which American forces had continuously occupied the base and built scores of buildings above and below ground. These were good size air dropped bombs, not little mines or grenades, and had been undiscovered all that time. If Saddam could hide his air force under the sand, and if the Nazis could hide theirs under a runway, and if weapons can remain undiscovered for decades even when we occupy the territory, Saddam could have hidden his weapons in places and ways that will take us years to uncover.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Kevin McGehee has an important, disturbing post on teen prostitutes and the pimps who recruit them--at the mall, and other places parents consider "safe." Check it out, since it's not the kind of post that tends to make it up to the higher echelons of the blogosphere's linkage gene pool. It runs counter to the "if it feels good, do it" school of blogging because it suggests there may be negative consequences for just doing whatever feels good.

To Kevin's post I'll also add that Japan has seen a similar problem in recent years. School girls are increasingly likely to sell themselves for a few thousand yen so they can buy the latest cell phone gizmo or whatever. A couple of things seem to be feeding the problem over there. First, sex has been largely disconnected from marriage for a long time. Pornography is everywhere, "love hotels" (or what we'd call no-tell motels) dot the roadsides every few kilometers and advertise their "rest" and "stay" rates openly, and virginity just isn't something most of Japan's young seem to value. Second, materialism seems to be feeding the problem. As materialistic as Americans tend to be, the Japanese have us beat hands down. They may not have the space to own as much stuff as we do, but they do tend to fill every inch of space in their control with some kind of gadget. Those gadgets cost money; Japan's economy has been in the tank for 10 years, making money scarce. When you have a largely values-free culture lacking in any serious form of religiosity to define and strengthen values, coupled with a lousy economy and a strong materialistic drive, well, you get young girls selling themselves to buy a few trinkets. Add to the above a tendency to infantilize pop culture and entertainment, and you're just defining sexuality down (in terms of age).

Posted by B. Preston at 08:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack