June 21, 2005

Required reading

The first part won't be a surprise because it's from Mark Steyn. However, the fact that the second part resides at Ace's place might be a bit of an eye-opener. If you've been paying attention, though, it won't be. Excerpt:

Jonah Goldberg pointed out how liberal media bias hurts liberals: In a nutshell, they just don't see these shit-storms coming. Conservatives almost always see these shit-storms coming, because we know every false-footing (yeah, I know the French term, but fuck 'em) will be played up on page one of the New York Times. So we're naturally hesitant and paranoid and a little afraid of public reaction (or, rather, media attempts to drive public reaction).

Unless of course the conservative in question is a total tool like Trent Lott or Jerry Falwell.

But liberals get caught an awful lot with their little pink dinks poking out of their zippers, because the reinforcement from their cocooned liberal social circles and the New York Times editorial page tells them You're not only right and brave to do this, but you'll be rewarded handsomely in political terms.

They see little else but a very skewed sample of "American opinion." I'm sure Dick Durbin was mouthing off about this at a DC cocktail party a few weeks ago, and he got nothing but "Huzzah!'s" from his dopey liberal buddies. Someone should have the guts to say that on the Senate floor, someone told him, who, just guessing, was probably a cute 20-year-old intern at The Washington Prospect.

And so, partly to impress his little cocktail party chickadee, he decided he'd compare the very minor physical coercion at Gitmo to Pol Pot's killing fields and Hitler's industrialized genocide.

And then he found out something that should have been obvious had his mind not been clouded by bedding an intern: This was a colossally stupid, dangerous, anti-American, and politically disastrous thing to say.

Here I was searching for more dick and fart jokes. Instead, I'm treated to thoughtful political analysis. Well, there's always alt.tasteless.jokes.

As I've mentioned, I have many problems with the current Republican party. Being a libertarian-leaning conservative myself, I have to say that the Republican party is becoming less and less the party for conservatives if, in fact, it ever truly was. But the Democrat party's slide into dementia has left me of the firm opinion that this is not a group to be trusted with sharp objects.

Update: More from Steyn. Excerpt:

One measure of a civilized society is that words mean something: "Soviet" and "Nazi" and "Pol Pot" cannot equate to Guantanamo unless you've become utterly unmoored from reality. Spot the odd one out: 1) mass starvation; 2) gas chambers; 3) mountains of skulls; 4) lousy infidel pop music turned up to full volume. One of these is not the same as the others, and Durbin doesn't have the excuse that he's some airhead celeb or an Ivy League professor. He's the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Don't they have an insanity clause?

Now let us turn to the ranking Democrat, the big cheese on the committee, Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Leahy thinks Gitmo needs to be closed down and argues as follows:

"America was once very rightly viewed as a leader in human rights and the rule of law, but Guantanamo has drained our leadership, our credibility, and the world's good will for America at alarming rates."

So, until Guantanamo, America was "viewed as a leader in human rights"? Not in 2004, when Abu Ghraib was the atrocity du jour. Not in 2003, when every humanitarian organization on the planet was predicting the deaths of millions of Iraqis from cholera, dysentery and other diseases caused by America's "war for oil." Not in 2002, when the "human rights" lobby filled the streets of Vancouver and London and Rome and Sydney to protest the Bushitler's plans to end the benign reign of good King Saddam. Not the weekend before 9/11 when the human rights grandees of the U.N. "anti-racism" conference met in South Africa to demand America pay reparations for the Rwandan genocide and to cheer Robert Mugabe to the rafters for calling on Britain and America to "apologize unreservedly for their crimes against humanity." If you close Gitmo tomorrow, the world's anti-Americans will look around and within 48 hours alight on something else for Gulag of the Week.

And this is where it's time to question Durbin's patriotism. As Leahy implicitly acknowledges, Guantanamo is about "image" and "perception" -- about how others see America. If this one small camp of a few hundred people has "drained the world's good will," whose fault is that?

The senator from Illinois' comparisons are as tired as they're grotesque. They add nothing useful to the debate. But around the planet, folks naturally figure that, if only 100 people out of nearly 300 million get to be senators, the position must be a big deal. Hence, headlines in the Arab world like "U.S. Senator Stands By Nazi Remark." That's al-Jazeera, where the senator from al-Inois is now a big hero -- for slandering his own country, for confirming the lurid propaganda of his country's enemies. Yes, folks, American soldiers are Nazis and American prison camps are gulags: don't take our word for it, Senator Bigshot says so.

Update: For the love of God, I cannot believe that the Democrat base is actually standing by their man instead of telling him to STFU. Money quote:

Ye the left has rallied to Durbin's side--their biggest blogger, Markos Moulitsas, proclaimed, for example, "the Wingers are freakin' out about Durbin right now, trying to shut his efforts to speak the truth."

Even if you're daft enough to believe that Bush is Hitler(not reincarnated, but the shitty mustache-sporting Nazi himself), you have to be fucking "I'm coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs!" loony to make a statement like that one.

Know what's funny? A lot of my friends are Democrats, and certainly many of them would be called liberal by today's definition of that word. But I don't really know many that believe the tripe these nutjobs are spouting on daily basis. Maybe it's because a fair number of them actually have family members in the military. Calling little Johnny a war criminal probably subdues the holiday festivities a bit.

Update: From Lileks, of course:

In any case, I don’t expect what I say here will change minds; if chaining terrorists to the floor and messing with the thermostat is the Gulag, the new Auschwitz, then your head is protected by a thick cap of beliefs that can only be penetrated by, oh, a nail expelled by a suicide bomber’s dynamite belt. But we need to find some common ground, no? Perhaps we can agree that only 2000 Jews stayed away from the WTC on 9/11?
Anyway. Here’s the deal. We decide what constitutes torture, and identify it as the following: insufficient air conditioning, excess air conditioning, sleep deprivation, being chained to the floor, and other forms of psychological stress. The United States is free to use these techniques against hardened terrorists. Those who disagree with the techniques sign a register that records their complaints. When the terrorist finally spills the details of a forthcoming attack, on, say, Chicago, the people who signed the register and live in Chicago are required to report to the Disintegration Chamber. Very simple. Everyone’s happy.

Well, no, I imagine not. The standard response would be “I want the interrogators to get the information, but not if it makes prisoners crap in their pants or pull out their hair.” Agreed. I would like them to get the information without any sort of effort whatsoever. It’s a fair cop, guv. Here’s where we’ve stored the fertilizer and here are the names of my associates. Now if you’ll show me to my cell, I’d like to get started whiling away the time until most of the networks are compromised and the Iranian government has fallen, after which we can talk about letting me return home. Jolly good!” But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Conversely, I don’t want them to beat the hell out of these people until they spit names and teeth, in no particular order. But I don’t care if they make them stay awake most of the day for a month or two. I really don’t. I’m sorry. We’re talking about people who will not be satisfied until Israel is gone and the United States crippled. I’d like to know what they know, and if they wet themselves in the process, I do not regard this is as the equivalent of uprooting several million people to Alaska to build a canal dressed only in long johns.

Final update: John Cole has been getting hammered by people from both the right and the left. How he manages to keep his sanity while jackoffs (like me, maybe) froth at the mouth is beyond me. Anyway, excerpt:

Durbin's remarks were ill-conceived, poorly received, and just plain stupid. And, more tragically, it has once again queered the debate. Good folks like the Mudville Gazette, Black Five, and the Indepundit have a right to be pissed- I can completely understand it. They feel their honor and dignity and service to the country has been impugned, and, in a way, it has. There will be people in the Middle East, Berkely, and elsewhere who sieze upon this as confirmation of their lunatic fantasies about the evil United States. Likewise, I can understand why Democrats are up in arms in their defense of Durbin, because the overwrought reactions by the usual suspects smacks of rank political opportunism.

At any rate, with the calls for censure the entire episode has been elevated to the point of farce. If you feel pissed at Durbin- organize, raise money, write letters- counter his idiotic speech with more speech and defeat him in the election. But the censure bit is a tad much- if Democrats want to knock him out of his leadership position, that is their prerogative. A bunch of Republicans screaming for his head is just going to be seen, rightly, as more of the same political opportunism that there is already too much of in this country.

Durbin should have never said what he said the way he said it, and it is worth remembering that American troops are not Nazi SS or the Khmer Rouge, and America is not Hitler's Germany, Pol Pot's Cambodia, or, for that matter, Stalin's Russia, etc.

Posted by Physics Geek at June 21, 2005 12:32 PM StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!

Interesting position. Was he as hands-off when Trent Lott was under fire?

Posted by: Harvey at June 21, 2005 10:31 PM

I don't believe so, but I think some of the dingleberries in the Republican party have made him go off the deep end a bit. He reminds me a bit of Sullivan in that some of the Republican excesses have driven him bonkers more than that the drivel of the Democrats, probably because he expects better of the party that he ostensibly aligns himself with. However, unlike Andrew, John can't make that leap in the Donks because he recognizes that a large number of them are stark raving mad. I think he feels like a man without a political party. Sometimes, I feel that way too.

Posted by: physics geek at June 22, 2005 08:44 AM