"This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton. I think this is the end." - Uday Hussein, Saddam's son, in early April, according to an associate.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Monday, July 28, 2003
In the Sunday book pages of the Strib was an article about the women of Afghanistan. It was discussing the new-found freedoms of women in the post-Taliban society, about girls queuing for school after years of oppression. Quote: “No matter what one's political misgivings about the war might be, the sight of those girls was a thrilling shock.”
That sentence stuck in my head, and made me think back to October 01, to all the discontent over the Afghan campaign. We've forgotten what that was like - the marches in Europe, the predictions of mass casualties, the accusations of empire-building, how it was all about (cue Twilight Zone theme) an oil pipeline, how it would become a quagmire, how it was a quagmire, how we should have used international law to bring OBL to justice. It was the dress rehearsal for Iraq. The same blind sputtering fury; the same protests with Bush = Hitler posters and giant mocking puppets; the same inability to accept that a byproduct of the campaign would be a freer society for the very people the protesters supposedly cared about.
Any mass executions at the Kabul soccer stadium recently? No?
No thanks to the people who purport to care, that's for sure. Not in their name, no.
[An atheist, regarding the existance of God:] There ain't no such thing, any the amount of time you spend "worshipping" and praying and sending money to him is a complete waste of your time and effort.
On the contrary, even if there is no God then the effort, time and money spend in devotion to God or Gods is not wasted. It fulfills an important human need, and all people need to acknowledge and have some respect for that demonstrably universal and immutable aspect of human nature, including the need for spirituality in their own lives.
Why must this aspect of human nature be acknowledged? Because if one form of its expression is stamped out or suppressed then it will just surface in another way, perhaps in a way that is more irrational and counterproductive.
One example of this is that liberals who say that they are atheists usually have an irrational quasi-religious political idealism that makes dialogue and compromise impossible, rendering society and political life more unstable, more prone to extremes.
Friday, July 25, 2003
But this Vietnam analogy, recently taken up by the global media after months of bleating by the anti-war, anti-Bush Left, starts to fall apart very quickly under scrutiny. The news that Saddam Hussein's two sons, the much-loathed Uday and Qusay, were killed in a firefight yesterday with US forces only further shows the bankruptcy of this already shoddy argument. Indeed, with 34 of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis dead or in US custody, the US can be said to be slowly but surely winning the mop-up phase of the war in Iraq.
Those who continue to try to play the quagmire card should look at, and recall, the facts. US involvement in Vietnam lasted a decade and cost more than 50,000 US lives. So far, it has been barely four months since US troops first crossed into Iraq, and since the end of major combat on May 2, just 33 US soldiers have been killed by the so-called "Iraqi resistance".
While every soldier's death is tragic (and it is touching to see so many on the Left suddenly concerned about the welfare of American men and women in uniform), it doesn't take a Stephen Hawking to figure out that these losses are nothing like those inflicted by the Vietcong.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Just a little sample of how some leftists think these days:
Doesn't a part of you wish that Queasy and Duh-day [Hussein] were alive? I'll admit they're scum and rightfully so, but anything that lands as even more humiliation on W's grotesque shrivelled face is that much the better.
It's sad, really, that as despicable as they are, Saddam's family seems to be the lesser of two evils when you compare them to the wretched little bastard occupying the White House and destroying America in the process...
Treasonous? Perhaps Ann Coulter was right all along. What is the Democratic candidate for the nomination going to have to say to appeal to scum like this?
After years of defending Clinton, liberals love the piquant irony of calling Bush a liar. For 50 years liberals have called Republicans idiots, fascists, anti-Semites, racists, crooks, shredders of the Constitution and masterminds of Salvadoran death squads. Only recently have they added the epithet "liar." Even noted ethicist Al Franken has switched from calling conservatives "fat" to calling them "liars."
This is virgin territory for Democrats -- they never before viewed lying as a negative. Their last president was called "an unusually good liar" by a sitting Democratic senator. Their last vice president couldn't say "pass the salt" without claiming to have invented salt. Having only just discovered the intriguing new concept of being offended by lies, the Democrats are having a jolly old time calling Bush a liar. But they can't quite grasp the concept of a lie as connoting something that is -- at a minimum -- untrue.
No, there is no chaos in Iraq. Things are going very well there, in fact. Here is a summary of the situation currently:
The entire south and north are impressively stable, and the center is getting better day-by-day. The public food distribution is up and running. There is no food crisis. I might point out we planned for a food crisis; fortunately, there isn't one. Hospitals nationwide are open. Doctors and nurses are at work. Medical supply convoys are escorted to and from the warehouses. We planned for a health crisis; there isn't one. Oil production has passed the 1 million barrels per day mark. We planned for the possibility of massive destruction of this resource of the Iraqi people; we didn't have to do it.
The school year has been salvaged. Schools nationwide have reopened and final exams are complete. There are local town councils in most major cities and major districts of Baghdad, and they are functioning free from Ba'athist influence.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
It seems to take a certain willingness to engage in double-think, and a desire to put one's faith before evidence. "Faith" is just an elaborate form of wishing. If it helps people handle their spiritual lives I don't have a problem with it, but when it's used as a starting point for knowledge, or as a filter on what knowledge is true, right, or appropriate, I don't respect it at all.
You can't avoid the problem. All traditions of human knowledge start with pre-rational concepts, including science.
And before you go off on the "science is just another form of faith" argument: first, scientists who simply accept what they are told by the scientific community aren't scientists. Second, all science is founded on the principle of verification and prediction. If you can't verify somebody else's results, or predict the same results from past behavior, your theory is inadequate. Creationism supplies neither of those things, so what good is it?
Creationism is rapidly becoming the straw man of the atheists.
Let's consider a more relevant and important point. If you accept the idea that human beings have certain inalienable rights, then where did you get that concept? You can't get it from science, which is indifferent to the values behind such ideals. You can only get it from human traditions of knowledge that are not completely rational and which include an important element of faith.
No one doubts the importance of such things as engineering or the efficacy of science in systematizing them.
Neither does anyone doubt the importance of such things as ethics and morality, and science is of no use where they are concerned.