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Monday, September 29, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

US-India Nuke deal news

At the Times of India: US House approves Indo-US nuke deal.

The best Iraq invasion analogy I may have ever seen

From Vodka pundit, the late Saddam Hussein as the guy with the second best hand in a game of Texa hold'em

Another classic Canadian Liberal moment

Dion pitches 9/11 conspiracy theorist candidate overboard
So the questions I have:
1. Would the Liberals have dumped a 9/11 conspiracy theory nutcase if they weren't losing?
2. Does that mean they want to show they don't believe 9/11 conspiracy theory nutcases, or they're just embarrassed to find out no one else does?

She accused the U. S. government and those sneaky Jews of complicity in the 9/11 attacks six fucking years ago. The Liberal Party of Canada just noticed?

From the Russian playbook?

At the Times Online:
Fears grow in Lebanon as 10,000 Syrian troops arrive on the border

Killer car bomb hits Damascus

Remind me again: Didn't Russians just happen to have massed an invasion force on the border of Georgia just before the Georgian government started allegedly picking on Russians?

What Caused the Crisis on Wall Street?

You Tube Video link via PowerLine (about 10 minutes long).

Authenticity, Intolerance, Faith, and Reason

I'm trying to continue the discussion of the "Religious Right" over at the Cafe.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The best bad movies

Now this is worth discussing.

My votes: Tremors, Army of Darkness, Big Trouble in Little China, and Ghosts of Mars.
(Your results may vary.)
(hat tip: Instapundit)

The Duke

John Wayne, the man inside the myth

Because I can't spent all my time making fun of Democrats, Canadians, communists, jihadis, and Palin haters (yeah, I know, one of those was redundant).

(hat tip: Instapundit)

More Religious Right

Glenn comments on my 'Religious Right' post below and his thoughts are worth reading in full. His summary:

"It is the combination of a set of religious beliefs and social teachings, with the attempt to implement those doctrines throughout the society by political means that characterizes the religious right."

Fair enough. What I take as the key is "attempt to implement those doctrines throughout the society".

On the other hand, any law is based on the concept of right vs. wrong, and that concept must have some underlying moral belief to it. Yeah, yeah, I get the whole utilitarian thing but the fact is that "greatest good" still requires that we define "good" and there you would be right back at Hume's Fork, having to make underlying moral decisions.

I think if members of religious groups insist that everyone in society should behave just as their religion demands people behave, then that's a problem. I personally feel however that if a religious group simply tries to influence the body politic with their views of right and wrong, they are doing no more than any other group, and no more than is their right and duty as citizens.

This being the case, if a person cannot stand these people, I don't see how it can be over their interest in influencing society to their way of thinking. Everyone does that. It seems to me at bottom, saying one "cannot stand" religious people of a certain political view pushing their agenda, can fairly be translated as "cannot stand religious people of a certain political view, period."

Now, I agree everyone has the right to not be able to stand the members of a group as a result of the group's views (though scripture admonishes Christians that this is a sin and Christians themselves should not fall into it). I think it's also important however to recognize this is no more than simple disdain for the group's views, and disdain for members of that group. The group doesn't have to do anything in particular to 'earn' this disdain other than, perhaps, advocate and vote according to their principles.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Religious Right

In a private email exchange my correspondent, someone I don't really know, wrote that he “cannot stand the religious right”. I'm not sure he meant that to be a personal insult at me - I don't know that he knows me any more than I know him.

I suppose I am the religious right. I’m a born-again Christian and politically I certainly fall under the conservative label as it is currently used. I consider myself a liberal (in the eighteenth century sense) but that’s not really useful in conversation. If you go down the list of positions currently called ‘conservative’ I probably support them.

“Cannot stand the religious right”? I wonder if, when people say this – and I imagine there are others that do – they would be able to stand a conservative that is not religious, or a religious person that is not conservative? That is, is it the religion, the politics, or what such people might consider the particular combination that they cannot stand?

If I try to think of positions particular to the religious right, I’m not sure what they are. Creationism taught in schools? Do most Christian conservatives want that? I don’t know. I don’t want it. On the other hand I certainly would be quite upset to hear that any teacher might be out there telling students that the theories of the big bang and evolution have somehow proven that there is no God. But I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to do that and if they do it, I imagine they try to keep people from finding out. Certainly if teachers were to denigrate Christianity in particular by word or implication I would consider that beyond their mandate and would demand they be reined in. Does holding such a view cause otherwise rational people to not be able to stand you?

Abortion? Are only Christians opposed to abortion? Is opposition to abortion considered “right”? That is, are you not allowed to call yourself a liberal if you believe in every single liberal cause other than abortion? What if you’re a devout protestant socialist, yet you oppose abortion? Does that make you part of the religious right? If not, does that make you easier to stand than a devout protestant free-marketer that opposes abortion?

Is it so-called gay marriage? There are certainly solid non-religious arguments to make against a fundamental re-definition of marriage. If you’re an atheist against so-called gay marriage does that make you as hard to stand as someone in the religious right?

Just rambling here. I don’t know where I’m going with this but the statement “I cannot stand the religious right” just kind of struck me in a new way today. I wanted to get a couple thoughts down before I forget the incident.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I didn't care for Roger Moore as James Bond but...

Roger Moore: I'm the worst Bond, apparently

You gotta like a guy like this.

The hazards of working in India...

CEO murdered by mob of sacked Indian workers
(hat tip: Drudge Report)

But hey, costs are low here and everybody speaks English!

Investment advice for troubled times

From one of those emails that circulates around:

If you had purchased £1000 of Northern Rock shares one year
ago it would now be worth £4.95, with HBOS, earlier this week
your £1000 would have been worth £16.50, £1000 invested in XL
Leisure would now be worth less than £5, but if you bought £1000
worth of Tennents Lager one year ago, drank it all, then took
the empty cans to an aluminium re-cycling plant, you would get
£214. So based on the above statistics the best current
investment advice is to drink heavily and re-cycle.

Hey, the numbers are what they are.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Donald Rumsfeld made Condoleezza Rice cry in the White House

At the Telegraph
I haven't decided whether I'm even going to read the article. The headline is just so - well - goofballishly intriguing that I can't resist linking to it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Palin Post at Knight's Castle

Over at Knight's Castle, Glenn has a new post on Sarah Palin and the, uh, excitement surrounding her nomination.

Glenn's views and my own have diverged significantly since our early days at the old Great Books of Western Civilization Cafe. (Hosted in Canada, that fine site was an early victim of the chilling effect of the Great North's increasingly totalitarian behavior towards speech that didn't bow to multi-culti nonsense.) While Glenn and I have trouble agreeing these days, I owe him (and other Cafe alumni) a lot for helping me be more careful with my thinking, my organization of ideas, and my tone. Any shortcomings in these areas are, of course, still completely my own.

UPDATE: I read Glenn's post and commented. Glenn is as always a good read. In shameless self-promotion here is part of my comment on Glenn's Palin post:

The current feminist movement has been selling a "Sex in the City" archetype as its brand and suddenly here is Sarah Palin re-branding the archetype as a cross between Ellen Ripley in "Aliens" ("Nuke 'em. Only way to be sure.") and June Cleaver. This is some visceral stuff brother. I'm trying to picture a future NOW convention with a break-out session titled: "How to turn on and satisfy your man when you have a cabinet meeting in an hour and the kids are screaming for dinner."

The attacks on Palin are guerre a mort and make no mistake.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wow, maybe Canadians really ARE froggy.

An article at the National Post quotes Liberal Leader Stephane Dion:
"We cannot win against the Americans, we cannot win against the Russians and . . . we are too civilized to shoot the Danes(.)"

Of course, being the Liberal leader, he was speaking of surrendering a cause, not fighting for it, and while the Canadian fighting man is no one to trifle with, there are good reasons other than being civilized to think twice before shooting at the Danes. Last I heard they're nobody's bitches.

The Dangers of Socialism - Example 123 x 10 35th

After the Revolution there will be no more product safety issues!
Yeah, just kidding. Latest non-Wall Street related example of government/business incest.

From the Wall Street Journal On-Line: Chinese Red Alert

Acts 11:17 - Bible Quote of the Day

"So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"

Okay so there's not a Roman centurion in sight, and this election isn't a Jews vs Gentiles thing, but the words of Simon Peter are worth keeping in mind during another hot and nasty presidential election.

Lest we risk the blasphemy of declaring our candidates are His standard-bearers (and our support of them is God's work), we need to simply pray for guidance, behave like Christians should, and use the power of reason He gave us to decide whom to vote for and how best to help our team get elected.

His will be done either way. He never said we were always gonna like it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maybe there's hope for Canada yet

At the National Post: Human rights' vs. basic freedoms
Apparently Canadian doctors have a pair and don't mind waving them at Canada's execrable and Orwellianly named "Human Rights" commissions.

From the "yeah, right" archives: NATO considers mutual defense

At TimesOnline:
Nato plan for rapid-reaction force to counter Russian agression

Abortion vs Torture

I’ve been at a site called Vox Nova. One of the site’s common threads – not surprising among Catholics – is that most of the contributors espouse a pro-life position. So far, so good. On the other hand a number of contributors see themselves as ‘radical’ and the definition of ‘radical’ appears to be the usual one: sexy talk for ‘communist’. A result of this interesting confluence of views is an entertaining level of debate over this year’s presidential election.

In a post titled “A Deeply Disturbing Story” one contributor, Radical Catholic Mom (really, I didn’t make that up) felt compelled to share her reaction to an NPR story about a Syrian-born Canadian citizen. The story is that some years ago, agents of the U.S. government seized one Mr. Arar in a US airport (he was in transit) and shipped him to Syria against his will. It is alleged he was thereafter tortured in Syria. I remember this news story but hadn’t heard much about it lately. It seems Mr. Arar survived whatever unpleasantness he experienced and is now, as is traditional, suing the U.S. government, and eliciting urgently sympathetic airtime from whoever is working at NPR these days.

I don’t know the real deal about Arar. The story is at the same time shameful and fishy-sounding. A government snafu resulting from over-reaction to 9/11? Malice aforethought by parties in the U.S. government? Multi-threaded international intrigue that we will never completely unravel? Beats me. Mr. Arar and his interesting (or scandalously vicious, depending on facts not as yet made public) case isn’t really the point.

The point is Ms. Radical Catholic Mom was so “disturbed” she felt the need to announce that the unlucky fate of Mr. Arar (as portrayed by NPR) will affect her vote for president this year. Did she mean by that she would vote for the staunchly pro-life candidate that had defied his party, the mood of the country at the time, and stood up to his own president to oppose what he considered torture? Not exactly. No, she’s voting for Barrack Obama, the man that opposed laws requiring humane care for infants born alive as a result of attempted abortions, and whose views on torture, whatever he may have so far expressed, have never been put to any sort of test.

Others at the site? Well many seem sensible enough but a few appear to agree that Mr. McCain is somehow personally responsible for torture he publicly opposed, while at the same time he is not adequately, truly, really, deeply, sincerely, anti-abortion enough to trust. Obama conversely gets a pass on his objectively extreme pro-abortion position, and credit for opposing torture as if he has somehow done anything in his life to stop it in any place at any time.

So now that the Fed sponsors Manchester United...

...what will their new uniforms look like?

The Internet is truly amazing, n'cest pas? (hat tip: Iain Murray of NRO's The Corner)

Palinphobia: The New Yorker being, well, the New Yorker

You gotta love a good Lileks fisking.

"Dementia sufferers may have a 'duty to die' "

Article in the Telegraph.

Apparently the old crone that says so has "influence on ethical matters" in the UK. How chilling is the idea that even saying something this vile isn't universally acknowledged as automatically stripping the speaker of any further influence - ever and in any case - on any sort of ethical issue?

(hat tip: Jonah Goldberg at NRO's The Corner)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anti-Palin Humor


Really. Trust me. These people don't seem to like her. (hat tip: Jonah Goldberg at NRO's The Corner)

Another Two Terrorists Killed

Article in Times of India.

At a rate of two at a time it's gonna take a while but, hey, bit by bit...

UK sends more troops to Afghanistan

The rest of NATO, not so much.

Story here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pakistan finally picks a side in the war on terror

From AP: Pakistan orders troops to open fire if US raids...

A. Bad idea boys.

B. If they'd been opening fire on al Qaeda for the last seven years they wouldn't have to consider such suicidal stupidity.

Palinphobia - Too new to be honest yet, but maybe getting wittier

In response to the PolarPalin video game post below, Glenn Knight links to an article at Slate by Dahlia Lithwick. Ms. Lithwick is apparently both talented and dedicated to the increasingly incoherent laundry list of positions known today as “liberal” or “progressive”. Accordingly her polemic is as finely-crafted and witty a piece of drivel as one could hope to find in the bring-down-Palin-at-any-cost camp that seems to be growing - despite all historical predictions to the contrary – ever larger as it becomes more desperate.

There are a couple things in it that are probably true, some that are obviously false, and then there are most of them: horribly spun and not bloody likely unless the writer can see into the soul of another (and find nefarious intent where there is no evidence of it) in a way that might cause a sinfully superstitious Christian to step away for fear of an impending lightning strike.

Enjoy the article. As stated, Lithwick is witty if not, uh, shall we say, fastidious with the facts.

Monday, September 15, 2008

News From India 15 September 2008

The Times of India: US killed Afghan civilians after false tip
Well this completely sucks, especially if true.

The Hindu: Prayer halls attacked in Karnataka
Everyone else can attack Christians these days. Why shouldn't Hindus have some of the fun?

The Deccan Chronicle: Teacher held for blast role
A university lecturer involved in jihadist bombings that kill innocent people? No! It can't be true!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The DNC War Room

On YouTube: If you're an Obama fan in a lousy mood (or with no sense of humor) this may not make snot shoot out of your nose.

Or it might anyway. (hat tip: "Godzilla from the comments thread at one of Roger Simon's blog posts.

Bomb blasts in Delhi

This article reports 18 dead but the numbers tend to change over time for this sort of thing.

John Le Carre "thought about" defecting to the Soviets?

Really? Who woulda guessed? Story at Times (London) On-Line.

Seems to me he served the Reds much better by staying and working to convince the West that Commies were just like us only not as bad.

What is it all of a sudden about long-time Commies (or useful idiots) coming clean (or, in Le Carre's case, sort of coming clean) as they get older? Do they think no one will hold it against them anymore? Is it some weird pride at being an early convert to the statist-universalist worldview that is so fashionable in elite circles right now?

Or is it simply the natural tendency, as one gets older, to realize one is moving inexorably closer to judgement, and the need to confess becomes harder to resist?

"Thought about" leaving? Jeesh, Mr. Le Carre, you left a long time ago. If you didn't notice you were one of the few.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Old Man and the Sea

Just read Ernest Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea'. I'd read it before but it was many years ago. One of my ex-pat colleagues here in India is a Hemingway fan and I borrowed it so I'd have a book to discuss with someone. I can see why this earned Hemingway great accolades but I guess I do wonder about it being worth a Nobel Prize. I'll have to think about it some but if anyone has any thoughts they want to share about it please let me know.

Polar bears target Palin in game

Hey, funny is funny:

Players of PolarPalin must help a polar bear to navigate its way across Alaska to blow up oil wells, all the while avoiding Palin, the governor of the state, in her campaign tank.

It occurs to me McCain/Palin opponents would be well-advised to use lighter touches like this rather than the current humorless, shrill, and flat-out lunatic alarmism. (Though explicitly tying "environmentalism" to the bombing of energy systems doesn't strike me as a way to win hearts and minds of voters whose heating bills are rising during the election season. The more I think about it, the stupider it gets.)

Regardless my money's on Mrs. Palin but I guess it all depends on the game's coding.

Article here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

International Herald Tribune defends Charles Gibson's ignorance.

Apparently Charles Gibson of ABC asked Sarah Palin a question about the Bush Doctrine. When she asked him to explain what he meant when he used one of the most over-used and misunderstood terms in modern media, the International Herald Tribune approvingly "reports" that "Gibson made a point of explaining exactly what it means — pre-emptive self-defense — and demanded that she tell him whether she agreed with it." (emphasis added)

The problem (or one of them anyway) is that Gibson is wrong; that is not the "Bush Doctrine" and the Governor Mrs. Palin was correct to demand he explain himself. All nations always have reserved the right to "pre-emptive self-defense". Like, for thousands of years. Like, since there have been nations (and likely before that as well). What the Bush Doctrine declared was that a nation that harbored non-state actors (jihadi terrorists in the current case) would be considered hostile and subject to attack if those non-state actors attacked the United States. Further, the United States reserved the right to consider a nation hostile (and subject to our attack) if that state actively supported non-state actors that attacked the United States.

The right to pre-emption was already there. The Bush Doctrine tries to spell out how a nation might foolishly, uh, qualify for such pre-emption.

UPDATE: Seems I'm wrong too but not as wrong as Gibson and the IHT. (At least I got one of the meanings correct.)

Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post:

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

Palin Interview: The Times vs. The Telegraph

How well you rate Sarah Palin's ABC interview may depend on whether you are part of the traditional liberal media establishment. Who would have thought?

The Telegraph: Sarah Palin 'ready to lead'

The Times of London: Sarah Palin stumbles in first TV interview

Same old big government socialism is "change"?

Can you make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recent Reading

The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens. - (Round trip flights from Hyderabad to Newark give you plenty of time) Fantastic. The only thing that mitigates the feeling I should have read this masterpiece years ago is the suspicion it wouldn't have meant nearly as much had I been a lot younger. The deft touch of the author (only in his early twenties when he wrote it) is hard to over-praise. It's understandable how he became a sensation as an immediate (indeed, simultaneous) result.

Empire of Dragons, Velerio Massimo Manfredi. - Not great but enjoyed it. The premise is a group of Roman legionaries end up in China after the capture of the Emperor Licinius by Shapur I of Persia in the Third Century AD. It suffers somewhat from a failing Glenn Knight once mentioned in a comparison of the Napoleonic era Royal Navy novels of Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester. Manfredi wasn't as successful as one might hope in avoiding writing the novel from the point of view of a twenty-first century man. Disconcerting at times but, what the heck, we are after all twenty-first century men.

The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth. - Mercenaries, robber-barons, hidden treasure, sex, modern small-unit combat, Soviet apparatchiks, psychotic African dictators, intrigue, and a tight, believably written how-to-finance-and-prepare-for-an-invasion section that leads up to a very satisfying ending that tries hard to be cynically nihilistic but simply ends up reinforcing the immortal concepts of right, wrong, and the hero often required to effect the difference. What's not to love?

Democrats continue to ignore the rule of holes.

Rule: When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.

Via DrudgeReport:

The Governor of New York accuses Republicans of racism, and Obama's press secretary questions McCain's honor.

Jeesh. Suggested DNC Campaign Email: Dear independents and undecided voters: If we have not yet figured out how to offend you personally in our attempts to cheapshot McCain/Palin, please rest assured we are striving to get it done before election day.

Day by Day

In case you don't have a daily cartoon to check out, one of my

In fact, I'll add it to the list of blogs on the left (the "Blogs of Interest" column on the left side of this page, not that other kind of left).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Have I not made fun of "global warming" lately?

I've been busy. I'll let Elizabeth Scalia do it (she seems to be wittier than I am anyway).

via Instapundit (link at left).

India: Land on the March

Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation on his trip to India:

"...I did hear from private bankers, business leaders, educators and government officials. Their universal commitment to pushing reforms and investing further in the Indian economic miracle impressed me."

"(I)f India continues on its reform path, it will become a very important player on the international scene, and a vital advocate for freedom around the globe."

I think it's a big "if" whether India's reforms are a "path" at all (e.g., they are anything other than ad hoc and there is any intention to reform more than the most basic things required to be able to grow export revenue). As an American in India, my impression (and the impression of some of my local friends) is that most of the roadblocks in India's way are completely self-inflicted: lack of infrastructure, over-regulation, lack of transparency in the enforcement of regulations, oligarchic government/business relationships; the list goes on.

India lives in a tough neighborhood (Pakistan and China, for instance) but as far as economic and liberal progress goes, it may well be it's own most dangerous enemy.

(As an aside, the India military is pretty sharp although I understand the senior officer corps can be seen as quite, ah, political.)

The article is in Townhall.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Serious Palin Facts/Fiction

At Charlie Martin.

Words that mark you as overly-influenced by the left

If you use these words (or have used them more than twice in the last week) you may be overly-influenced (wittingly or un-wittingly) by the American political left:

- vetted

- Alaska Independence Party (okay, that's more a term than a single word)

- Troopergate

- Down Syndrome (okay, forget "word" and think "term")

- Beauty Queen (yeah, I know)

Why it can be tough to argue about political candidates

Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy:

"There are many acceptable criteria for evaluating candidates and no real agreement as to which criteria are more important than the others. As a result, it's easy for commentary to focus on what many will perceive as minor points while ignoring what many perceive as bigger ones, and it's easy for commentary to speak to a very small slice of the ideological pie while ignoring or even alienating the rest. The result is that a lot of blogging about candidates ends up just running in circles."

This makes a lot of sense to me. Even if two people are arguing in good faith (harder than it looks, especially in today's somewhat toxic, caged-death-match campaign climate) bad feelings can develop as people continue to talk around each other, everyone sure that everyone else is purposefully trying to "spin" his own candidate (which of course we often all are).

The entire post here.

The BBC, Border Patrol, and Indian man-on-the-street

Being driven to our office this morning in India, our driver mentioned he saw a BBC report on the dangers faced by illegal Mexican immigrants crossing into the U.S. He understood Mexicans ran the risk of being shot by the U.S. Border Patrol. We explained the Border Patrol does not have a policy of shooting people trying to get across the border and in fact a couple officers had been sent to prison (wrongly, in my view) for even shooting an illegal Mexican alien drug smuggler.

I don't think the driver was convinced we knew better than the BBC.

Thanks, you anti-American British commie putzes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Obama wanted to join the military?

Who knew about this?

In the unlikely event that it's true, maybe in January John McCain can pull some strings to help him get in.

UPDATE: Glenn (the only reader of my blog as far as I can tell) rightly points out that Obama is too old to join up.

Which is of course why Obama would need the help of the commander-in-chief. In January 2009, the commander-in-chief might very well be ...

"Two kinds of feminists"

George Jonas in Canada's National Post:

"Let’s fine-tune this. There are two kinds of feminists: Those who want to see the presidency available to women, and those who want to see the presidency available to card-carrying, licensed and agenda-certified female feminists. No accidental, willy-nilly women need apply. Sen. McCain’s choice made the second kind livid."

Here's the link.

More on the Track Palin deployment

Glenn Knight comments that the British had a similar issue with Prince Harry, when the prince's unit deployed to Afghanistan. If I remember correctly the British publicly announced the prince would not go but they then sent him anyway. They apparently got an agreement from some in the press to keep the secret until Harry returned to Britain. That deal unravelled, and it was the Drudge Report that "broke" the news that Harry was in Afghanistan. (I think I remember Drudge claiming he only posted on the matter because the news was about to come out in some other publication.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Track Palin, the Next Palin Family “Controversy”

The world heard that on September 11, 2008, Track Palin, the son of Todd and Sarah Palin, will deploy to Iraq as an infantryman. While idiotic manufactured controversies about the Palin family have sucked the oxygen away from discussion of more important matters of state, the question of young Mr. Palin’s deployment doesn’t seem to have yet excited any discussion in the media. This is despite the fact that his deployment will certainly be a legitimate question of some importance to the nation and to our military in Iraq. I wonder if Track Palin’s deployment actually will occur. I wonder further what the arguments – and there will be arguments public and private – will reveal about us as a society, and about some of us as people.

Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States. Iraq is still rightly considered a war zone and in five days (as of this writing) our nation will send within shooting range of vicious, propaganda-hungry, implacable and still capable enemies, a target of enormous propaganda value. Do we really want to do this?

Let me re-phrase that. Of course we want to do this, by which I mean we are the kind of country in which the elite should share the risks of combat when there is combat to be done. The man enlisted, his unit is being deployed, and he is required to stand his place in the ranks. Everything I have read so far about the man’s family leads me to imagine he would not be left behind if he could help it. I will be surprised if he doesn’t fight vigorously for his ‘right’ to be with his unit when that unit steps off an airplane into the heat of Iraq.

But his needs, wishes, and determination are one thing, and the good of the nation perhaps something else. Let’s take as given he wants to go. Let’s take as given that it is in the nation’s interest that the sons of politicians get no special treatment and that keeping Track Palin from going to Iraq would certainly be seen – by some - as special treatment of the worst sort.

But would it be? Would it be special treatment for Track Palin to avoid making his unit the preferred target of every terrorist jihadist in Mesopotamia? I don’t know the man, or his buddies, or his sergeant, his lieutenant, his captain, major, or colonel. I don’t have any reason to think they feel anything but pride at the idea that their team includes Track Palin, son of the remarkable Governor of Alaska. I do strongly suspect however that all those men are flying into far greater danger than they otherwise would be, were they not in the company of the son of the Republican Vice Presidential candidate two months leading up to an election that is still, in part, a referendum on the war in Iraq.

How many jihadist fighters, bomb-makers, assassins, and suicide bombers would the enemy be willing to sacrifice in exchange for a shot at this young soldier? What measures will the army have to take to mitigate the special risk caused by his presence?

Because we are in an election during very partisan times this will likely be presented as another “controversy” about the family of Sarah Palin but it is not. It is a question about military decisions that ultimately have to be based on political and military reality. I do not look forward to seeing Track Palin excoriated in public for no fault of his own (or of his mother’s) but due only to opportunistic and mean-spirited attacks of rabid partisans. If the first week of Sarah Palin’s national life is any preview, such ugly attacks will come as surely as al Quaeda attacks will rain down upon Track Palin and his unit if he is patrolling Baghdad. I think the United States Army needs to consider, for both the convenience of the government, and for basic military prudence, cutting Track Palin a new set of orders.

I think he should not be deployed to Iraq next week.

UPDATE: There was an article yesterday in, I think, the Telegraph On-Line, discussing Palin's deployment with details on unit, general location, and his duties. (Ed: Jeesh! Why not give out his frick'n barracks location too!) Also I guess I hadn't realized that Joe Biden's son, Beau, is also going to Iraq as a JAG lawyer. God bless him as well.

Palin Norris Fact

Who would win a fight between Sarah Palin and Chuck Norris?

Nobody. Chuck Norris knows better than to show up.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

1815 all over again?

...and might that be a good thing?

Christopher Meyer in the Times (London) Online:

"We can foolishly downgrade national interest within the armoury of British diplomacy, if we wish. But we had better not underestimate its driving force in the international behaviour of others. That is the road to dangerous miscalculation"

More here.

This is not the first time (by a long shot) that I've seen this opinion, but it seemed worth linking to during a presidential election.