Saturday, May 28, 2005

Let's keep this clear

Amir Taheri summed up "the angry dwarf" up rather nicely:

«"In his memoirs, Galloway says that the day the Soviet Union collapsed was 'the saddest day' of his life.

Galloway says the only terrorism in the world today comes from the United States, not from organizations such as al Qaeda or the remnants of the Iraqi Baath party.

The coalition was created in London in September 2001, at first as an exclusively leftist concoction bringing together the remnants of the Stalinist 'peace movement' of the 1950s, diehard 'no nukes' activists, and some fellow travellers.
The coalition has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its founders. For the first time ever it has brought together all radical leftist and anarchist groups. Under its umbrella march such traditional former archenemies as Stalinists and Trotskyites.

But the coalition's biggest success is the alliance that it has forged between the extreme Left and militant Islamist groups. This would have been unthinkable even a couple of years ago. The Left always regarded Islam as a 'relic of feudalism' and an instrument of reactionary Arab regimes. For their part, the Islamists regarded leftists as atheist enemies who had to be put to the sword."»

With equal affection for Ba'athists and Radical Islamists, this very group of people tries to tell us that those two groups of illiberal mass murderers are unrelated. Henh?

The Upshot for France

The upshot [of the EU constitution referendum] is that France faces a long political season of account-settling at home
writes Katrin Bennhold in the International Herald Tribune
in addition to the reckoning it faces with its European partners if voters reject the treaty on Sunday.

The Currency Lad: Where Is The Grown-Up Political Left?

One of Australia's finest bloggers, Currency Lad asks a very simple question: where is The sensical political left?

«Koran-flushingly disturbing was the fraternal instinct for pinpointing and callously using the sacred exhibited by Tim Dunlop. The header for his post: "Let's try it on his daughter." You want to humiliate an enemy? What better way to do so, while feeling powerful yourself, than to bring his little girl into your online discussion. He followed that up with 'Battered Wife Syndrome'. Violent language. Now it sometimes happens that academics - pro-infanticide left-wing darling Peter Singer being a good example - often propose outrageous things in scholarly papers.»

«For many left-wing writers like Tim Dunlop, however, the most important part of any debate on matters of morality, ethics and law is adolescent get-square politics of the familiar nyah-nyah variety: "Finally, an academic the rightwing apologists can embrace as one of their own." John Quiggan also published a very brief post on the torture story, mostly so he could take a gratuitous swipe at the political right: "I haven't seen any comment yet from pro-war bloggers, but I hope at least some of them will repudiate this terrible proposal." Considering pro-war bloggers had to work hard to convince the left that Saddam Hussein's torture apparatus was one of several good reasons for ousting him, that was shameless. The left was prepared to overlook chemical bombs being dropped on Kurdish villagers but not an obscure article in the University of San Francisco Law Review.

For many left-wing writers like Tim Dunlop, however, the most important part of any debate on matters of morality, ethics and law is adolescent get-square politics of the familiar nyah-nyah variety: "Finally, an academic the rightwing apologists can embrace as one of their own." John Quiggan also published a very brief post on the torture story, mostly so he could take a gratuitous swipe at the political right: "I haven't seen any comment yet from pro-war bloggers, but I hope at least some of them will repudiate this terrible proposal." Considering pro-war bloggers had to work hard to convince the left that Saddam Hussein's torture apparatus was one of several good reasons for ousting him, that was shameless. The left was prepared to overlook chemical bombs being dropped on Kurdish villagers but not an obscure article in the University of San Francisco Law Review.»

Where are they? In denial and constructing house-of-cards arguments to save themselves from embarrassment. Remember the DECADE it took before the left started to actually use phrases like the verymuch couched 'empowerment' or to reluctantly say the words "personal responsibility"? Only then to twist them into a PC from of concepts like the need to fund that empowerment, reinterpret personal responsibility and the need for a just society into a messy knot of "self-esteem" and "social justice".
What CL describes isn't much different - their immediate response seems to always start with some sort of personal abusiveness. The endless repetition of the "big meanie image versus the mom-in-tennis-shoes image", used to increasingly less effect on a public which is tired of being patronized.

As for the accusations of torture, well, that's more of a faith of convenience than anything else. The lack of concistency and dependability of the left has proved that over and over. It came after John Kerry's occasional exhortations that the US wasn't being tough enough in the War of Terror.

As for the climate we're in - after 30 years or 'activism' for any rebellion available, and their search for evil under every American flag or Star of David, but no-where else - what sort of treatment do you think they would end up with?
After the emotional exhaustion of dealing with someone weeping on your shoulder for their own affirmation and amusement, they shouldn't be surpriprised to ecounter a little bit of tough love.

ethics | esthetics | geneticséthique | esthétique | génétique
MercutioClub has gone bilingual.
MercutioClub est désormais bilingue.

The fascist and hireling "insurgents" are not rising up, they are stamping back down

The Bin Laden and Zarqawi organizations, and their co-thinkers in other countries, have gone to great pains to announce, on several occasions, that they will win because they love death, while their enemies are so soft and degenerate that they prefer life
writes Christopher Hitchens as he examines a typical article in the New York Times (emphasis mine, thanks to Don Miguel).
Are we supposed to think that they were just boasting when they said this? Their actions demonstrate it every day, and there are burned-out school buses and clinics and hospitals to prove it, as well as mosques (the incineration of which one might think to be a better subject for Islamic protest than a possibly desecrated Quran, in a prison where every inmate is automatically issued with one.)

Then we might find a little space for the small question of democracy. The Baath Party's opinion of this can be easily gauged, not just from its record in power but from the rancid prose of its founding fascist fathers. As for the Bin Ladenists, they have taken extraordinary pains to say, through the direct statements of Osama and of Zarqawi, that democracy is a vile heresy, a Greek fabrication, and a source of profanity. For the last several weeks, however, the Times has been opining every day that the latest hysterical murder campaign is a result of the time it has taken the newly elected Iraqi Assembly to come up with a representative government. The corollary of this mush-headed coverage must be that, if a more representative government were available in these terrible conditions (conditions supplied by the gangsters themselves), the homicide and sabotage would thereby decline. Is there a serious person in the known world who can be brought to believe such self-evident rubbish?

… why would the "secular" former Baathists join in such theocratic mayhem? Let me see if I can guess. Leaving aside the formation of another well-named group—the Fedayeen Saddam—to perform state-sponsored jihad before the intervention, how did the Baath Party actually rule? Yes, it's coming back to me. By putting every Iraqi citizen in daily fear of his or her life, by random and capricious torture and murder, and by cynical divide-and-rule among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. Does this remind you of anything?

That's not to say that the paper doesn't have a long memory. Having once read in high school that violence is produced by underlying social conditions, the author of this appalling article refers in lenient terms to "the goal of ridding Iraq of an American presence, a goal that may find sympathy among Iraqis angry about poor electricity and water service and high unemployment." Bet you hadn't thought of that: The water and power are intermittent, so let's go and blow up the generating stations and the oil pipelines. No job? Shoot up the people waiting to register for employment. To the insult of flattering the psychopaths, [James] Bennet adds his condescension to the suffering of ordinary Iraqis, who are murdered every day while trying to keep essential services running. (Baathism, by the way, comes in very handy in crippling these, because the secret police of the old regime know how things operate, as well as where everybody lives. Or perhaps you think that the attacks are so "deadly" because the bombers get lucky seven days a week?)

This campaign of horror began before Baghdad fell, with the execution and mutilation of those who dared to greet American and British troops. It continued with the looting of the Baghdad museum and other sites, long before there could have been any complaint about the failure to restore power or security. It is an attempt to put Iraqi Arabs and Kurds, many of them still traumatized by decades of well-founded fear, back under the heel of the Baath Party or under a home-grown Taliban, or the combination of both that would also have been the Odai/Qusai final solution.

… In my ears, "insurgent" is a bit like "rebel" or even "revolutionary." There's nothing axiomatically pejorative about it, and some passages of history have made it a term of honor. At a minimum, though, it must mean "rising up." These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down. It's time for respectable outlets to drop the word, to call things by their right names (Baathist or Bin Ladenist or jihadist would all do in this case), and to stop inventing mysteries where none exist.

Equal justice under a rule of law, secure rights for minorities, a media that isn't phony, viable political parties, an independent judiciary, and…

…limits on executive power. All that is necessary to fulfill democracy's promise, writes Daniel Henninger.
As the Bolton nomination makes clear, these grave and mortal debates over foreign-policy prescriptions often take obscure turns, such as whether the nominee ever threw a manila envelope at an adversary. So it's helpful that V-E Day should connect us to past political behavior of real relevance, such as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 or the Yalta Agreement of 1945, both of which Mr. Bush criticized …

Diplomacy has its uses, as in negotiating free-trade agreements, but I think that an appraisal of the politics of the 20th century would not conclude that diplomacy would have proven better than overwhelming force, or its threat, at stopping several formerly civilized societies from becoming the homicidal hells Mr. Bush described in his Latvia speech. But is there a better way than mobilizing men at arms?

George Bush gave his answer to that question in Riga, and his answer--a political template for the future--deserves more attention than re-debating the road to ruin at Yalta.

Atop the Bush template sit the oft-repeated words "democracy and freedom." This is the D&F model. The standard criticism of Bushian D&F is that it is too idealistic. But the Bush speech explicitly admits that point, arguing that "it does not end" with independence and elections. Democracy's promise, he insists, is gained only by equal justice under a rule of law, secure rights for minorities (a 21st century sine qua non), a media that isn't phony, viable political parties, an independent judiciary and limits on executive power.

Too ambitious? As opposed to what alternative? The status quo? The status quo is called managing festering grievances, aka, the 20th century. Been there, died doing it.

Intolerance for the American Democracy, Tolerance for the Arab Tyrannies

Terrorist attacks on the United States, and then the campaign in Iraq, brought out into the open the anti-Americanism in much of European public opinion
writes David Pryce-Jones (merci à Gregory).
This came as a shock, but it should not have done so. For decades now, European leaders have been seeking ways to centralize and unite, with the aim of making their continent a power in the world to rival the U.S. Generally speaking, they have not tried to explain why this is a good idea, nor whether it is practical, but have simply proceeded on their chosen course with a strange mishmash of deception and self-deception.

The prejudices and assumptions feeding this anti-Americanism originate mostly in France, a country grievously suffering from a sense of political and cultural failure. …

By definition, representatives of European democracies have a different standing from representatives of Arab tyrannies, and ought to have different values. Instead, they are determined to give the Arabs whatever they demand. In the face of such surrender, the Arabs — skillful negotiators — naturally raise their demands, and so are incorporating Europe into imperial designs of their own. Arabs must be allowed to immigrate into Europe with full and guaranteed rights, and they must be shown a tolerance that they would never consider granting any Europeans who immigrated into their countries. The figures are uncertain, but something on the order of 20 million Arabs are now in Europe, and whether they will integrate or choose Islamist separatism is an urgent question.

Separatism is in effect jihad, that is to say a contemporary version of the traditional Muslim conquest by war of the infidel, with subsequent dhimmitude as the other side of the coin. A main ingredient of European anti-Americanism stems from the determination of the U.S. to resist jihad, indeed to break it by all available means. In Bat Ye'or's view, Europeans are being pressured by their leaders into dhimmitude; their continent is being remade as Eurabia. That is the real purpose of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. …

All the evidence is that Arabs are their own worst enemies, mired in tyranny, corruption, falsehood, and prejudice against women and infidels, but either as a cover or out of ignorance they insist that Israel is the sole obstacle to their peace and prosperity. Inspired by France, and by means of the European Union and offshoots of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, the Europeans have steadily promoted the Arab goal of delegitimizing Israel, and dismantling it …

Friday, May 27, 2005

Chiraq plotting.
Chirak magouille.

All That Troublesome and Inconvenient Pluralism.

Leftists are so quick to dispose of democracy and pluralism when it suits them, right after, of course, they lecture their ideological opponents that they’re “tearing up the constitution”…

This pearl of wisdom of wisdom is distilled from an item in Netherlands’ Algemeen Dagblad:


«On the other hand, there are also people in the ruling coalition who seem to think that the importance of voting as a cornerstone of democracy is overrated. Sophie In 't Veld, an MEP for junior coalition party D66, explains in the Algemeen Dagblad that in the case of the EU referendum she even thinks that voting could actually be undemocratic... at least if people are planning to vote 'no'.»
Indeed – DON’T ask the people. It’s none of their business after all, and voting is just a pretense to pacify the filthy peasants… Oh and Bush “stole” another election. The left in the US is already putting “Bush was re-re-defeated” stickers on their car bumpers. To which some say this, even if it falls on deaf ears.

«According to Ms In't Veld, the problem is that all 25 EU members need to ratify the EU constitution before it can come into force. So if the Netherlands turned out to be the only country voting 'no', then this tiny little blot on the map would single-handedly block the will of the others.
And that, Ms In 't Veld argues, would be undemocratic... so in order to be good democrats, people should either stay at home or vote 'yes' as the government wants.»
The power of the vote, indeed. The autor only proves that either the case for the EU Constitution has not been made, or that people don’t think it’s not good enough.
No wonder the most socialistic European states feel so much “solidarity” with dictators. Where are the lectures about ‘public consensus’, the ‘chain of trust’, and ‘inclusion’? It seems that they don’t recognize that words have meaning, beyond the usefulness that they have in badgering the public and pandering to them.

Congrats, lefty – you’ve lost your last link with reality.

Hoping for a Mickey Mouse nation

The Economist calls for the NO vote

France, where publications have long been associated with causes and political parties

A hard line is not unexpected in France, where publications have long been associated with causes and political parties
writes Thomas Crampton in the International Herald Tribune.
But what many people perceive as a near unanimous pro-constitution bias across the French press has raised questions about whether publications are delivering unbiased information to readers.
"Raised questions"? Are you kidding!? The whole raison d'être of this blog, and of like-minded ones, is to (do little more than) point out the obvious bias that exists in the French media and society, notably against anything involving Uncle Sam.

After Schröder's Defeat and What Looks Like Chirac's, the World Will Face a Paradox…

The specters haunting the troubled French soul are many and varied as a critical vote on a wordy European constitution approaches
writes Roger Cohen in the International Herald Tribune:
Polish plumbers (determined to steal French jobs); Turkish hordes (with similar intent); unfettered "Anglo-Saxon" capitalism; a domineering United States; and, not least, Brussels bureaucrats.

If that seems a motley collection of menaces on which to base an important decision, so be it. The French economy, unlike the British, is sagging, and the search for scapegoats is on.

The word "non" resides somewhere deep in the French psyche, summoning images of bracing defiance from Astérix to De Gaulle.

… If the French president has been anything this past decade, he has been "Monsieur Counterweight," a leader determined to build the European Union into a force cohesive enough to offset, even challenge, the United States. A French rejection of a constitution designed to give Europe a foreign minister and a hint of federalist heft would bury that vision for the foreseeable future.

But perhaps it has already died. A strong EU was always unthinkable without a vibrant German-French core.

… "Look," [UMP deputy named Nicolas Dupont-Aignan] said, "I just spent over $1 million in my home town of Yerres on modernizing 16 traffic lights because there's some EU regulation saying the yellow light has to flash automatically when they break down. That's the price of a new school."

He went on to describe the constitution as "like the Soviet Union's in its attempt to lay down economic policy, an example we should not be emulating." While that claim is an exaggeration, it is true that the third part of the treaty goes into considerable detail on economic principles whose place in a document of this kind seems dubious.

… To see in it a Trojan Horse bent on the destruction of the European welfare state is merely to betray a deep anxiety about global economic forces.

… If [Chirac's] vision is defeated Sunday, after Schröder's defeat last weekend, the world will face this paradox: The lauded European leaders of resistance to an unpopular war in Iraq punished at the polls after that war's proponents — George Bush and Tony Blair — have been endorsed. That outcome is not inevitable, but it's likely — and worth pondering.

As noted earlier, it is not only Bush and Blair, but all the coalition allies in Iraq who have faced elections or weathered similar storms — Spain's Aznar, Australia's Howard, Denmark's Rasmussen, and Italy's Berlusconi — who have been expected to prevail, and who have survived (unless a bomb strategically placed three day before a given election upset the political order). Bruised and battered, perhaps, in some cases, but they still emerged the winners.

Linda Foley, complete Idiot

I guess it's true. Combatants are targeting journalists in Iraq... the holy people in the holy Wadi of, like, whatever...

«Two items jump out in this slide show. In one of the "7 Duties of a Sniper", the trainees are encouraged to target non-combatant military personnel, in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions:

Killing doctors and chaplains is suggested as a means of psychological warfare.»

The insurgents are targetting journalists. See slide 21 of the translation.

Another (Cultural) Calamity from Iraq Shows the Tragedy of America's Perverse Influence

The sadness of it all: It turns out that the burly Shiite hacking away at the marble plinth of Saddam's giant statue in Baghdad on April 9, 2003 (Kadhem Sharif), has had his mind inexorably polluted by America's decadent culture.

(Shookhran to Gregory)

If you think the world needs a united Europe led by a narrow group of politicians intent on challenging U.S. power, then support the EU constitution

In the political sphere, the constitution would generate a new impetus towards a single, unified European view in world affairs that would give considerable support to the Franco-German ambition to rebalance global power away from the United States — and it would limit the ability of individual European nations to support the United States
writes Gerard Baker (thanks to Gregory).
In short, if you think that what Europe needs is more regulation, more social protection, and less competition; if you think it needs to build up and strengthen the supranational state with political institutions accountable to almost no one; and if you think the world needs a united Europe led by a narrow group of politicians intent on challenging U.S. power, then you are definitely hoping the constitution beats the odds and clears all the popular hurdles that await it in the next year. If, on the other hand, you doubt the merits of that sort of Europe, you may be offering a silent prayer, perhaps for the first time in your life, that you are in solidarity with a majority of French opinion at least for one day this coming weekend.

"Since we went to Iraq," says German member of US military, "many things have turned out well"

Philipp Heinz meets a foreigner who is nervously awaiting his tour of duty in Iraq (danke zu Gregory).
"You can never really prepare yourself for a war," [a 23-year-old German serving in the U.S. National Guard] admits. "It will always be a little different from what you expect."

But unlike many of his countrymen, [Raymond] Ritzau says the war in Iraq was right:

"I think, since we [the US military] went to Iraq, many things have turned out well. I think that overall it was a good idea."

In unrelated matters:
More proof of unbridled generosity
from Europe's solidarity-minded citizens here

The Bush administration says, honest Injun, it does not want Europe's constitutional referendums to fail

European credulity can be challenged or even offended when the Americans insist a self-confident and united partner is preferable to a stumbling, negative, self-obsessed one
writes John Vinocur in the International Herald Tribune.
But officially, and in truth, there will be no flush of schadenfreude in Washington if the referendums in France on Sunday and then in the Netherlands on June 1 are voted down in demonstrations of democracy's eternal contrariness. (Although very private, off-message titters, perhaps 30 seconds' worth, may be tolerated in certain quarters here.)

… Indeed, there's just no desire, and no yield seen, in responding to the constant assertions from both the yes and no factions in France, spanning Marxists, proto-fascists and Jacques Chirac, that voting their way defends Europe from an American will to control it. The same goes for Gerhard Schröder's election-season linkage in Germany of anti-Americanism and anticapitalism.

The Bush administration very much wants to be seen as having healed itself of its rage over the French-German stance on Iraq, regardless of how that estrangement loops through daily European politics. Poking back directly in answer to the newest taunts from both sides of the Rhine seems limited to a comment by Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns on Europe's future: "Europe's challenge will be to reject the call of those who say Europe should be built in opposition to the U.S. and that the EU should be a strategic counterweight. That would be a colossal strategic error and would deny the foundation of 60 years of peace in Europe — its alliance with Europe."

This is the grainy other side of the best-friend-is-a-strong-friend talk: Europe shouldn't kid itself that George Bush or Dick Cheney regards the relationship in beatific terms. In fact, another administration official described the Europeans, a bit archly, as "fully capable of strategic irresponsibility."

Basically, what I'd say, based on conversations last week, is that America doesn't see the probability of a shift in European strategic attitudes as a result of the referendums. Indeed, like the Europeans, the day after a negative vote the Bush administration would be faced with insisting that everything in Europe was fine, nothing had changed, and that the EU's trans-Atlantic relations were a brilliant example of mature continuity.

On Europe's notional place in the world, the fact is the administration, quite rightly, can't imagine a new, chastened tone emerging that would differ from Chirac or Schröder's current honk on their distance from the United States. Or find any sudden European interest in completely abandoning its still possible arms sales to China, or in telling North Korea to behave, or insisting to the Chinese that they push the North Koreans in the direction of reason. …

James Steinberg, a former National Security Council official under President Bill Clinton, said, "China and Russia are counting on the Europeans not to go for sanctions. They want the Europeans to hide. If they're put on the spot, though, they won't defend Iran."

So the American yes on the EU referendums is not only coherent good sense, but also an investment. An official, sitting in his office here, couldn't have been clearer on the European constitution: "If they think it would get them a few yes points, we've told the French we're ready to condemn the thing in minutes."

War Came to a Country with No Childhood

I was born an adult, because we Kurds didn't have a childhood
Iraqi filmmaker Hiner Saleem told the International Herald Tribune's Joan Dupont during the Cannes film festival.
War is unpopular, I understand that, but Saddam destroyed a country, provoked the death of millions — he brought in the Americans. He wanted us wiped off the map.

Living a country deep in Bolshevik regression

In France, the heart of the current debate is in some respects an appeal to the imaginary
explains John Vinocur in his contrast of the French and Dutch electorates, as they prepare to vote the EU constitution up or down.
Both the no and yes camps present the vote on the constitution in a missionary context. Its adoption either accelerates or prevents American control over Europe and the world; for the establishment that wants a yes, adoption keeps the Yanks off; for the diffuse web of no-voters, left and right, accepting the constitution rivets the United States to a place inside Europe.

Then there's the economic aspect, presented just as apocalyptically. For yes-people like Jacques Chirac, the constitution stops Europe from becoming a social wasteland under the thumb of Anglo-Saxon corporate raiders and capitalist locusts. But the French no-folks say the constitution enshrines exactly that world of horror. Block the constitution, and you block the pestilence.

This Franco-French prism placed in front of Europe — ludicrous for many Dutch and Europeans — is distorting to a point that a French Socialist politician, academic and yes-supporter, Olivier Duhamel, said last week that he felt was living a country deep in "Bolshevik regression" where Chirac sounded like Arlette Laguiller (a locally beloved Marxist hysteric), and where "liberal has become a pornographic word."

There is no raving, anticapitalist case to be made in a Netherlands of remarkably consensual relations between unions and management, where the Liberals (open-marketers) sit on the government benches and join the opposition Labor Party in calling for a yes.

Neither is there a save-us-from-America appeal, not so much because the Dutch like George W. Bush or the American-led war in Iraq, but because there's no emotional charge or rational goal for them in conjuring up a Europe with an identity defined in opposition to the United States. …

The head of the yes-campaign is Atzo Nicolai, secretary of state in the Foreign Ministry. His frankness startled just a little on a visit last week, but the Dutch have an edge on much of the world in the realization that their slightly abrupt candor creates more confidence than any amount of cleverness.

He said: "I'm afraid there's a negative idea out there among people that everything about Europe is decided above our heads by an elite. And indeed I agree. Over the past 20 years, we didn't have enough discussion about European integration. But there's a difference between complaints and voting about something serious."

The no side is equally nonshrill. The Dutch are big net contributors to the EU (putting in much more cash than they take out) and that is thought unjust. Alongside, there is a widespread idea, more so than in France, that the coming of the euro raised prices sneakily and unreasonably.

Check out the CA cartoon

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Those who alleged that a million civilians were dying from sanctions were eager to keep those same murderous sanctions if it meant preserving Saddam

…[The British MP] had dared to state under oath that he had not been a defender of the Saddam regime. This, from the man who visited Baghdad after the first Gulf war and, addressing Saddam, said: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." How's that for lickspittling?
Christopher Hitchens takes on prolier-than-thou George Galloway and his Clintonian defense, while Paul Mirengoff compares Gorgeous George to one of those hate-spewing villains in the World Wrestling Federation. Hitchens, again:
It was said during the time of sanctions on that long-suffering country that the embargo was killing, or had killed, as many as a million people, many of them infants. Give credit to the accusers here. Some of the gravamen of the charge must be true. Add the parasitic regime to the sanctions, over 12 years, and it is clear that the suffering of average Iraqis must have been inordinate.

There are only two ways this suffering could have been relieved. Either the sanctions could have been lifted, as Galloway and others demanded, or the regime could have been removed. The first policy, if followed without conditions, would have untied the hands of Saddam. The second policy would have had the dual effect of ending sanctions and terminating a hideous and lawless one-man rule. But when the second policy was proposed, the streets filled with people who absolutely opposed it. Saying farewell to the regime was, evidently, too high a price to pay for relief from sanctions.

Let me phrase this another way: Those who had alleged that a million civilians were dying from sanctions were willing, nay eager, to keep those same murderous sanctions if it meant preserving Saddam! This is repellent enough in itself. If the Saddam regime was cheating its terrified people of food and medicine in order to finance its own propaganda, that would perhaps be in character. But if it were to be discovered that any third parties had profited from the persistence of "sanctions plus regime," prolonging the agony and misery thanks to personal connections, then one would have to become quite judgmental.

The bad faith of a majority of the left is instanced by four things (apart, that is, from mass demonstrations in favor of prolonging the life of a fascist government). First, the antiwar forces never asked the Iraqi left what it wanted, because they would have heard very clearly that their comrades wanted the overthrow of Saddam. (President Jalal Talabani's party, for example, is a member in good standing of the Socialist International.) This is a betrayal of what used to be called internationalism. Second, the left decided to scab and blackleg on the Kurds, whose struggle is the oldest cause of the left in the Middle East. Third, many leftists and liberals stressed the cost of the Iraq intervention as against the cost of domestic expenditure, when if they had been looking for zero-sum comparisons they might have been expected to cite waste in certain military programs, or perhaps the cost of the "war on drugs." This, then, was mere cynicism. Fourth, and as mentioned, their humanitarian talk about the sanctions turned out to be the most inexpensive hypocrisy.

The Bush policy does not ban stem-cell research

The Bush policy doesn't ban stem-cell research; it merely says that taxpayers shouldn't have to finance the destruction of embryos that they consider to be human life.
Just when I thought I couldn't be more surprised at being misinformed by the mainstream media, the Wall Street Journal pops in to explain that the basic tenets of the stem cell controversy are vastly overblown.
The debate over stem-cell research is once again being portrayed as a kind of moral Armageddon: a choice between federal funding and none, between scientific progress and religious zealotry. We hate to spoil the political drama, but maybe the system has stumbled toward a compromise that is more sensible than the debate makes it appear.

… Recall what the President's August 2001 decision actually did. It allowed federal funding for research on existing stem-cell lines where, he said, "the life and death decision has already been made." But it forbade funding for research into new lines, which entailed both the creation and destruction of human embryos.

Critically, Mr. Bush's decision applied only to federal funding; it did not impinge on the rights of individual researchers, universities, hospitals, private labs, public corporations or states to conduct embryonic research. In other words, the President did not "ban" anything. He simply refused to allow taxpayer money to be spent on a practice millions of Americans consider morally offensive.

Voting with their feet

Like the area of experimental economics, simple observations aren’t just revealing, they have a kind of quantifiable value. One that’s impossible to deny or shade.

Currency: people running for like mad before the referenda

Property: people taking shelter

France : No 55%, Holland : No 60+%France : Non 55%, Pays-bas : Non 60+%
A suspected accomplice in the murder of Theo Van Gogh has been arrested in France.
Un suspect de l'affaire Theo Van Gogh arrêté en France.

Europeans couldn't organize a piss-up in a breweryLes européens ne pouvaient même pas faire fonctionner un pissoir dans une brasserie
The European federal project is dying. Let the rot begin.
Le projet zéropéen se meurt. La désagrégation peut commencer.

Zeropa : world capital of playa haterzLa Zéropa : jalouse, envieuse, aigrie
While geopolitical Europe explodes in a cloud of vaporware, geopolitical USA is takin' care of bidniz'.
Pendant que l'Europe politique joue l'arlésienne, l'Amérique politique vaque à ses affaires.

40% more! FREE!

I think this item speaks for itself.

France stands by 2005 GDP growth forecast:

PARIS, May 25 (AFP) - France on Wednesday stood by its prediction of between 2.0 and 2.5 percent economic growth for this year, a day after the OECD said growth in French gross domestic product would be just 1.4 percent in 2005.

'As regards the forecasts the government will make for 2005, we remain on the range of 2.0 and 2.5 percent,' said budget minister and government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.

Do they think people have memories THAT SHORT?

French make top news on Drudge

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Unintentional comedy by diplomats

"Europe Day: bringing Europe closer to its citizens"

From The Daily Star, the english language daily in Beirut we find this unitentionally funny effort at winning "hearts and minds" among Beirutis whom they don't really need to win over - the sort with summer houses in the south of France, Monaco, etal. anyway.

The irony is that they are, in fact bringing europeans closer together.

Like Erik's point about the WTO: why do they still have 25 missions ANYWHERE? Isn't that
ballot box stuffing?

As for a sign of successful outreach...

Have a nice day.

Politique américaine

Published three times a year, Politique Américaine is a French language journal dedicated to contemporary issues in the United States of America.

It is published by the Institut Choiseul, one of the 10 most important think tanks in France.

Dedicated to the analysis of regional and international affairs, Choiseul éditions also publishes the following scholarly journals: Géoéconomie, Maghreb-Machrek, Problèmes d'Amérique latine, Nordiques, and Monde chinois.

(Merci à e-Nough)

EU Constitution stuck in a Turkish toiletConstitution zéropéenne coincée dans des chiottes turques
Time to flush.
Tirez la chasse.

Urine peein' ConstitutionLa Constitution de l'Urinoire zéropéen
Time to flush.
Tirez la chasse.

Be a nice pussyChirak sortira-t-il la trique pour la sale chatte?
Chiraq is going to get on the tube tomorrow and plead with the French to crawl back into their litter box and stop making a mess.
Chirak va causer dans le poste télé demain et supplier les franchouilles de grimper dans la caisse qu'ils utilisent pour faire leurs besoins et arrêter de foutre leurs crottes partout.

The French evolved from trufflesLes franchouilles ont évolué à partir des trufles
French kids are showing up in their classrooms with information on Intelligent Design taken off the Internet. French secular ayatollahs are not happy.
Les chères têtes blondes franchouilles se pointent à l'école avec des infos relevant du 'dessein intelligent' chopées sur l'Internet. Les intégristes de la laïcité fwançaise ne sont pas contents.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

EU: US is one of 155 "rogue states"

Delusional EU climate Nazis prove to be liars when comes to goading the US on CO2 emmissions. The do no better on output, even if it DID make any difference to sea levels and global temperature.

«The public deserves some candor about Kyoto's, and Europe's, actual failure and the radical changes necessary if Europe sincerely believes that American involvement is "critical" in any next steps. What we are witnessing instead is a growing European Union effort for a U.S. bailout from the political corner into which its leaders have painted themselves.

In repeating the fable of a low-cost Kyoto, Mr. Dimas peddled a claim that has already proven spectacularly false back home. The specifics should surprise those familiar with Europe's righteous claims of a United States grossly out of step with the Kyoto-compliant world. In fact, Europe is not complying with Kyoto, and this failure will soon create significant internal political tension in the European Union to match that with the United States. Almost to a nation, those few covered countries aren't complying. Under Kyoto, the EU-15 committed to collectively reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels. Internally, however, a deal was struck under which many EU countries were permitted emission increases. These would presumably be covered by over-complying states Great Britain and Germany, due to the respective "one-off" political developments of shifting from coal to gas and shutting inefficient eastern production. This is Brussels's vaunted "burden sharing agreement."»
«As such, 12 of the EU-15 project egregious violation (by between 20 and 77 percent) of a treaty invoked by many in the European Union to demonstrate U.S. irresponsibility. Consider the following projections for 2010 by member countries, as reported to Brussels, in relation to their now-operative Kyoto "Article 4" commitment of 8 percent below 1990: Portugal, over its promise by 77 percent, Spain by 61 percent, Greece by 51 percent, Ireland by 41 percent, Luxembourg by 31 percent, Finland by 27 percent, Denmark 26 percent, Italy by anywhere from 13 to 23 percent (following Italy's submission, the numbers discussed suddenly got worse), France by 19 percent, Austria by 18 percent, Belgium by 16 percent and the Netherlands by 10 percent. Brussels masks these reported figures with clever rhetoric that does not withstand scrutiny nor crunching of the numbers that member states publicly submit, if with little fanfare. In early May, Spain became only the second EU country to (grudgingly) admit it will not comply.
These are not mere technicalities, but the reality behind the European Union's anti-U.S. rhetoric, and the stuff of political problems as talks presumptuously turn to a "second phase" of cuts. This is also why Italy has refused to consider the inane, operative EU posture of "Now that we have broken one promise, it is time to break an even bigger one!"

Europe's flagrant lack of adherence to Kyoto is wildly belied by the remarkable rhetoric aimed by official Europe at the United States. The EU claims the mantle of "leadership" on Kyoto while finding no apparent shame in the fact that the "rogue" United States, using the same baseline, would be tied with Ireland only for fourth-worst in Europe, at 41 percent over. Canada projects violation by 54 percent. These facts should roil a debate dominated by scolding the United States for being so grossly out of step with the rest of the world, acting alone — with 155 others — by refusing to make an unrealistic promise. »

By the by - the arctic ice sheet is growing and the water level is DROPPING in some places and RISING in others in spite of the Kyoto kooks' failure to arrest human development which amounts to treating colon cancer with bloodletting and leeches.

Ice sheet confounds climate theoryBy Roger Highfield, Science Editor (Filed: 20/05/2005)
«The world's largest ice sheet is growing due to increased snowfall caused by climate change, scientists announce today.

"This thickening correlated very well with the snowfall modelling, showing that the increased snowfall is causing the ice sheet to grow in mass. We estimate that the ice sheet is holding an extra 45 billion tons of water each year, the equivalent of a sea level drop of 0.12mm a year.

"At the same time, the thinning of the Greenland ice sheet is contributing to a sea level rise of 0.2mm a year. This is being offset to some extent by the sea level drop caused by the thickening of the east Antarctic ice sheet.»
I feel cheated. We’ve all been robbed. I want my 0,08 mm of ocean rise. I suppose that those predictions that Vanuatu would be under the sea by 1985 were wrong too!

No media bias in France

And Chaucescu really did always get 100 percent of the vote.

The BBC reports on media bias outside of the BBC, which makes it more palatable to the editors than looking within. They turn their lens on goings on in France, where there are journalists who are beginning to see through the Oui and Non campaigns:

«A group of journalists from French state TV and radio are so angered by what they see as one-sided propaganda campaign being broadcast on the airwaves on behalf of the government and the Yes campaign that they have set up an online petition, signed by more than 15,000 people since 1 May.

"This is a grotesque situation," says Jacques Cotta, a well-known TV correspondent for France 2 who is one of the leaders of the campaign for fair coverage in the lead-up to the referendum.

"Publicly-owned media in France are broadcasting sheer propaganda to the public, and this absence of any pluralism or any attempt to represent and discuss the point of view of those who want to vote No to the Treaty is profoundly undemocratic"»

«However, it is the role of publicly-funded and publicly-accountable state broadcasters which angers them most.

"These are broadcasters paid for by the public, and they should be reflecting both sides of the debate fairly," Jean-Marc Surcin tells me.

They were granted a lengthy meeting with Mr Baudis, in which the journalists pointed out that according to their figures, French TV and radio had given 71% of its time to the Yes campaigners, and devoted a mere 29% to the No campaign between 1 January and 31 March.»
The extremely serious issue is that of bias, not really of 'Oui ou Non'. Persistant, entranched, permanent bias was made evident in this case becuase there were enough in the Non camp to notice. For a perid, perhaps this will temper the public's view of their own media's reporting on world affairs, the War on Terror, and other grave issues of the day.

Oh the humanity ...Quand je vois ça, j'ai le coeur qui saigne à gauche ...
Images of unspeakable barbaric horror by allied forces in Iraq.
Des images qui dévoilent une barbarie indicible perpétrée par les forces alliées en Irak.

Leftist social policy stifle human development

Star Parker, commenting on the New York Times editoral expose on income and "class" mobility has a lesson for society - and especially as "social Europe" numerically overwhelms the functioning of European Government(s):

«... let's keep history in perspective. The period of time during which class mobility in the United States has become increasingly sluggish has also been a time of unprecedented social legislation.

During the last half-century, in which we've had a war on poverty, affirmative action and minimum-wage laws, income gaps have grown and the class into which one has been born has become an increasingly reliable predictor of the class in which one will die.»

In other words is makes ones' circumstances more likely to be permanent, especially for those with the least. It isn't just the prospects for the next generation that are stifled, but also hope.

The Orleans Chainsaw Massacre

Crime-filled America, as everone knows (as they shake their heads and sigh with a sad expression on their faces), is the land of violence, with crazed individuals and mentally-deficient nutcases committing heinous acts at every turn of the road.

Think how peaceful America could become if only Americans had a state-supported society to lean on, with generosity and solidarity, like in France

Leaving the Left: I Can No Longer Abide the Simpering Voices of Self-Styled Progressives

I'm leaving the left — more precisely, the American cultural left and what it has become during our time together
writes Keith Thompson in the San Francisco Chronicle (thanks to Fred).
I choose this day for my departure because I can no longer abide the simpering voices of self-styled progressives -- people who once championed solidarity with oppressed populations everywhere -- reciting all the ways Iraq's democratic experiment might yet implode.

My estrangement hasn't happened overnight. Out of the corner of my eye I watched what was coming for more than three decades, yet refused to truly see. Now it's all too obvious. Leading voices in America's "peace" movement are actually cheering against self-determination for a long-suffering Third World country because they hate George W. Bush more than they love freedom.

… A turning point came at a dinner party on the day Ronald Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the pre-eminent source of evil in the modern world. The general tenor of the evening was that Reagan's use of the word "evil" had moved the world closer to annihilation. There was a palpable sense that we might not make it to dessert.

When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find "evil'" too strong a word, the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation for sport.

My progressive companions had a point. It was rude to bring a word like "gulag" to the dinner table. …

Merchants of death

European Parliament President: Fighting "Moral Discrimination" against homosexuals is an E.U. "Duty"

«The remarks made fly in the face of reality since the EU, and many of its members, are actively engaged in denying individuals the basic rights such as life and freedom of religion, for example: abortion, euthanasia, rights to religious dress in France, etc.

Most worrisome are the comments that seemingly indicate a dictatorial and totalitarian mindset. The EU president concluded his statement saying the EU had a duty to continue to struggle against discrimination and violence related to sexual orientation, in all countries, by all means."»
One's morality is a guide to making decisions. Naturally it's discriminating between one thing and another. That is what a choice actually IS. What lefty is trying to tap-dance around is his OWN discrimination against others' morality, and promotes it's own: namely non-propagation of the species. On one front, by promoting a way of living. In this case an inherently sterile one.

To support that on another front, daily and in a thousand places, the choice is made to shun any sort of healty normalcy. Inflate beyond any plausible scale any problem that they can link to people who aren't members of the trans-national death cult. All the while ignoring the problem that decades of leftist social propaganda itself creates... Adults projecting their problems on the young isn't just arrogant and self-indulgant, it's doing them a great disservice.

Raising children requires people to leave their selfishness behind. It's almost as though this chasm in public view is caused by natural selection. One between those that create life and raise their children, and those that just try to manipulate society to make themselves feel more comfortable with the choices that they made for themselves.

Monday, May 23, 2005

No mention of fascist torture

The Talibs tortured this man becuase he taught English

Nattering criticism of the US government about torture from a
Fake western religionist who makes no mention of Syrian, Egyptian, PA, Taliban, Hizballah, Ba'athist torture at all. Hell, what about torture 'Mugabe style', lady? Just some of the usual blather from someone who acts like she majored in Self-Esteem with a minor in Invented Class Hatred.

«"We do not need women to work. What positive roles can they play in the society? What is the impact of their roles? We do not need women. They should stay in their houses"»
- Mullah Manon Niazi. Taliban leader, and appointed Governor of Mazar-e Sharif

Maybe she should read a little more before lecturing the Department of Defence. Normally women can't wait to shred a mysogenist.

Rodger's Majestic Second Volume on Britain's Naval History

My book review on N.A.M. Rodger's The Command of the Ocean has been published in the June issue of Naval History.

The same network that assured us Arab opinion uniformly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq also apparently served as a paid shill for Saddam's regime

Iraq tried to compensate former French interior minister Charles Pasqua in the late 1990s with millions of barrels of oil for his helpful attitude toward Baghdad
writes the AFP.

But not only Western leaders, VIPs, and other bigwigs were targeted as recipients for Saddam's largesse, Messieurs Galloway and Pasqua will be happy to learn.

On January 6, 2005, the U.S.-funded Arabic satellite network Al Hurra broadcast an explosive exposé detailing the financial links between Saddam Hussein's regime and the Arab press. Al Hurra’s documentary—so far overlooked in the West—aired previously unseen video footage, recorded by Saddam Hussein’s regime during its murderous heyday, of Saddam’s son Uday meeting with several Arab media figures and referring to the bribes they had received
writes Daveed Gartenstein-Ross.
Al Hurra alleges that Saddam’s regime would hand out two types of oil coupons to Arab media figures: silver coupons that entitled their holders to a maximum of 9 million barrels of oil, and gold coupons that were good for even more. … What had been pro-Saddam reporting before the U.S. invasion soon became pro-insurgency. Notes Walid Phares, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and one of Al Hurra’s “review experts” for the January documentary, “Al Jazeera cooperated with the regime, which was the target of the international coalition. Even after the regime was gone, they continued to support the jihadists.”

Given the continuing anti-U.S. slant to Al Jazeera’s coverage, Phares believes the exposure of the kind of backroom dealings in which the network has been engaged ought to mark a “watershed” in understanding behind-the-scenes corruption at the network. The tapes might also prompt reflection on the representations of the “Arab street” seen on Al Jazeera and other media in the region. We now know that the same network that assured us Arab opinion uniformly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq also apparently served as a paid shill for Saddam's regime.

Moreover, Phares intimates that the dealings captured by the Al Hurra tapes may be only the tip of the iceberg. “How many other regimes have been paying these media?” he asks. [Mouafac Harb, Al Hurra’s director of network news and executive vice president,] agrees, noting that it is a “widespread practice” for Arab leaders to intimidate or bribe leaders of media outlets, or even individual journalists.

So when America-bashers, citing Saddam's news outlets and other Arab media, make a huff and a puff about, say, the embargo that produced all those millions of dead babies, they leave out all the oil money paid to the America-bashers in question that perhaps, just perhaps, could have gone towards buying food and medicine (assuming, of course, that the aforementioned media were not using inflated figures and bogus statistics), had the principled America-bashers not been on the take.

But subjects such as this were not those that George Galloway touched upon during his Senate "testimony". Were they, Mr Galloway?

Update: as a professional observer of Washington politics, [I] want to thank the Hon. George Galloway, the offbeat member of Parliament, for traveling all the way to Washington from London to provide us with a comic interlude

Gee, I hope that Jesus' face on underwear doesn't, you know, start any riots or anything Oh la la! J'espère sincèrement que la tête à Jésus sur un slip ne provoque pas d'émeutes, quoi!

Saddam photographed in his underwear. A screw-up in infraction of the Geneva Convention...! There's only one way to calm the Muslim world.

We'll show ourselves in our underwear too!

French voters ask "where's the beef?"Les électeurs franchouilles ne voient pas un effet de boeuf

What comes around, goes aroundRetour de manivelle dans la tronche
As long as José Bové was tearing down McDonalds franchises, there were always corporate directors ready to play upscale-neighborhood-guerilla-combattant who thought that Bové was great. As long as ATTAC aimed to cripple business and put a damper on international finance with the Tobin tax, there were CEO's spawned by 1968 who heartily applauded. As long as the European extreme left was shitting on Israel and the United States while singing the praises of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the foreign fighters in Iraq, pantywaist ad-men got off in their PR firms. But now that this nihilistic crew has taken to attacking the European Union, the well-to-do pantywaists are not laughing nearly so much (Bové, ATTAC, and their henchmen are having much more success with this enterprise than with the previous ones. Proof that the EU edifice was never very solid to begin with.)
Tant que José Bové démontait les McDo, il y avait toujours des cadres d'entreprise qui s'agitaient en combattants-subversifs-des-beaux-quartiers pour trouver ça génial. Tant qu'ATTAC visait à bousiller le commerce et plomber les finances internationales à coup de Taxe Tobin, il y avait des soixante-huitards recyclés en PDG pour applaudir. Tant que l'extrême gôche zéropéenne chiait sur l'Israël et les Etats-unis tout en chantant les louanges de Hamas, de Hezbollah, et des insurgés en Irak, il y avait des pubards pédérastes qui éjaculaient dans leurs boîtes de com'. Mais maintenant que tout ce joli monde nihiliste se prend à la construction européenne, il y a des pédés nantis qui rigolent beaucoup moins (faut dire aussi qu'avec leur nouvelle cible, Bové, ATTAC, et consorts ont beaucoup plus de réussite que par le passé. Comme quoi, l'édifice de l'UE était déjà passablement affaibli).

Missing the Bigger Picture: a swath of the Islamic world in which anger is a chronic feature of life — seeking to acquire a target

With Newsweek's retraction of its story about Koran abuse at Guantanomo Bay, we are now deep into yet another bout of soul-searching by the U.S. media. The pity would be if, in all the parsing of media methods and pondering of the mysteries of anonymous sources, we missed the bigger picture--which is all about why Muslims offended by an item in a U.S. magazine, true or false, would react with riots that end in the maiming and killing of their own
writes Claudia Rosett (echoing Jeff Jacoby (shookhran to Gregory), Robert Spencer, Mona Charen, Ali Al-Ahmed), and Caroline B Glick, who refers to many European examples, including ones in both France and Denmark).
What's really going on here is two stories. One involves Newsweek and the ups and downs of U.S. journalism. The other involves a swath of the Islamic world in which anger, fueled by years of gross political misrule, is a chronic feature of life--seeking to acquire a target. What produced these particular riots was the intersection of Islamic-world furies and that brand of U.S. self-absorption in which no subject is more fascinating to the American media than any possible misdeeds of the U.S. itself. …

The tragedy in all this is that while the entire world is by now acquainted with tales--true and false--about Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo Bay, the information pretty much ends there. When it comes to the Islamic world's most despotic states, almost no one outside their borders can reel off the names of the prisons they run, let alone tales of what happens within. Afghanistan is still recovering from the Taliban blackout of the human soul--which at the time received almost no coverage. Saudi Arabia--whence the Arab News, in its disquisition on Newsweek's story, denounces the U.S. as "ignorant and insensitive"--provides no accounting to the world of its dungeons. Can anyone name a prison in Yemen?

The point is not to engage in a tit-for-tat recitation of prison management, or invite a reprise of those absurd old Soviet debates, in which Moscow's reply to charges of millions dead in the gulag was that America had street crime.

But to whatever extent the press is engaged in the business of trying to report the truth, or contribute to the making of a better world, it would be a service not only to U.S. journalism, but to the wider world--including Muslims--to spend less effort dredging Guantanomo Bay, and more time wielding the huge resources at our disposal to report on the prisons of the Islamic world. It is in such places that the recent riots had their true origins.

No "Honest Mistake" on Newsweek's Part

Why was Newsweek so ready to believe the story was true?

asks the Wall Street Journal.

Our own answer is that this is part of a basic media mistrust of the military that goes back to Vietnam and has shown itself with a vengeance during the Iraq conflict and the war on terror. Long gone are the days when AP's Ernie Pyle--an ace reporter by the standards of any era--could use the pronoun "we" in describing the Allied struggle against the Axis. In its place is a kind of permanent adversary media culture that goes beyond reporting the war news--good or bad as it should--and tends to suspect the worst about the military and American purposes.

The best example of this mentality has been the coverage of Abu Ghraib, which quickly morphed from one disgusting episode into media suspicion of the motives and morals of the entire military chain of command. Certainly the photos of sick behavior on the nightshift by a unit from the Maryland Army Reserve were news. But they were first exposed by the Army itself, through the Taguba investigation that was commissioned months before the photos were leaked.

The press corps nonetheless spent weeks developing a "torture narrative" that has since been thoroughly discredited, both by the independent panel headed by former Defense Secretary Jim Schlesinger and by every court martial to look at the matter. But rather than acknowledge that perhaps the coverage had been wrong, the media reaction has been to declare the many probes to be part of a wildly improbable cover-up.

As we say, much of this media pose goes back to Vietnam, and the betrayal that the press corps felt about body counts and the "five o'clock follies." Reporters like Neil Sheehan and David Halberstam made their careers by turning into the war's fiercest critics and creating a culture of suspicion that the government always lies. Mr. Sheehan's Vietnam memoir is titled, "A Bright Shining Lie." And for many of today's young reporters it is a kind of moral template.

We aren't saying that reporters shouldn't be skeptical, and they certainly have a duty to report when a war is going badly. Where the press corps goes wrong is in always assuming the worst about military and government motives. Thus U.S. intelligence wasn't merely wrong about Saddam Hussein's WMD, it intentionally "lied" about it to sell an illegitimate war. Thus, too, an antiwar partisan named Joe Wilson with a basically unimportant story about uranium and Niger is hailed as a truth-telling whistle-blower. And reports from Seymour Hersh in late 2001 that the U.S was losing in Afghanistan set off a "quagmire" theme only days before the fall of the Taliban. The readiness of Newsweek to believe a thinly sourced allegation about the Koran at Guantanamo is part of the same mindset.

As for myself, I call that mindset, simply, double standards. (Read L. Brent Bozell, III's list of "eerie" parallels with CBS's National Guard story.)

More double standards here.

In an article about liberal predictions, meanwhile, Ann Coulter (who also has this double standards tale) writes:

When [liberals] weren't claiming the Iraq elections would not take place at all—and, even if they did, the people wouldn't participate—liberals were telling us that if we let those crazy Arabs vote, the Iraqi people would elect extremist Islamic mullahs hostile to the United States.
Read how one critic's
feeble litany of harebrained predictions reads like a haiku of bum steers
and Ann's response to the Nation's female editor:
Hey!  Wait a minute!  How can rogue terrorists in Iraq detonate bombs?  They're all too busy flying kites with their children!  Hasn't she seen Fahrenheit 9/11?

The Masters of Instant Amnesia

Europeans are masters of instant amnesia
writes Ralph Peters in the New York Post.
When they find themselves shamed by history, they simply move on. That's what they're doing now.

[Peters recently spent a] week in Europe watching acrobats perform. There were no high-wires or circus tents — just left-wing intellectuals contorting themselves into bizarre shapes as they "explained" the changing Middle East.

A few Euro-papers raised the possibility that Bush might have been right about some things — only to knock down that notion with excuses so convoluted even the writers and editors couldn't begin to believe them. They were trying, desperately, to save face.

The commonly agreed alibi runs that the Middle East was changing on its own, that Anglo-American actions had little or no effect, that the outbreak of democracy has been on the way for years, that the Arabs did it themselves.

Oh, really? Guess our troops overlooked the warehouses full of multi-party ballots when they took Baghdad.

EU Priorities and Cuba: Knowing When and Whom to Engage in Dialog With

Since Spain's left of centre government took power in March 2004, Madrid has been most active in lobbying to revise the EU's common position to the Cuban opposition, Andrew Beatty writes in the EU Observer.
Diplomats said on Tuesday that they would continue to engage with Cuba's opposition but were looking to do so in a more productive way, leaving the path open for talks with government officials.
In real terms, this means that the EU would put an end to the largely symbolic move of inviting dissidents to national festivities at EU embassies, a move that has seen Havana restrict European diplomats' access to top Cuban officials.

The Spanish leaders (Zapatero, etc) wanting to break off with Cuban opposition figures for the sake of relations with Fidel Castro are the same humanists who haughtily state that they shouldn't have to kowtow to Washington and who refuse to stand for the American flag. Isn't it good to know to what extent Europeans — contrary to those oafish Americanos — have their priorities straight?

Strangely enough, "the move has not gone down well with Cuban pro-democracy campaigners." Said Oswaldo Paya, a 2002 laureate of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize:

[The EU governments] can act according to their interests and abandon this ethical position, for reasons of their interests. But what no-one can say, without insulting our intelligence, is that to abandon this position and destroy these acts and symbols is in the interests of Cuba and peaceful change.

(Gracias para GS)

LD Update (gracias para RV): Mariano Rajoy pidió al presidente del Gobierno que en lugar de "compadrear" y de reducir su política exterior a hacerse "amigo de dos dictadores bananeros, un tirano como Castro y un desequilibrado como Chávez", se dedique a defender los intereses de los españoles. El presidente del PP se preguntó "qué tiene que decir ahora" Zapatero tras la última ofensa de la dictadura castrista con la expulsión de varios políticos europeos, entre ellos dos ex senadoras populares.