Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tammy C-Span Speech Will Air Again on January 1st. Now also on DVD


From TammyBruce.com :

After receiving a number of requests, I'm pleased to tell you that C-Span is indeed making my presentation about my new book available on DVD. Here is the link for their store and the "New American Revolution" presentation DVD.

They also still have available my presentation at Florida State University, "Conservative Ideas and Minorities" from 2004. That page is here.

The other good news is
C-Span has scheduled my presentation to air again on January 1, 2006 at 8:05pm ET. What a lovely way to bring in the new year ;)

To see the post on her blog with the embedded links active, CLICK HERE.

I've recently finished reading Tammy's book "The New American Revolution", and hope to publish some excerpts from it on this blog in the comming new year.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Wonderful Christmas...


A Merry Christmas to all...

But to anyone who is offended by that, please read this legal disclaimer:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all...and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

"(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)"


Source: "Holiday Greeting (After the Lawyers are done...)."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Thank Any Soldier...

The following is from an email newsletter I receive from the Health Sciences Institute in Baltimore. This issue was about "Any Soldier, Inc." It was published around Thanksgiving, but if you wish to do something for our soldiers to boost their morale and spirits, this would be worth consideration, for the holidays and throughout the rest of the year, too.

Here is the email from Jenny Thompson of the Health Sciences Institute:

Thank Any Soldier

A friend of mine named Michelle lost an uncle in the invasion of Normandy.

She once showed me some of the letters her uncle Jim sent home when he was stationed in England. In one letter, Jim wrote about "Tuxedo Junction," which Benny Goodman had recorded just a couple years earlier. Jim had danced to the song with a British girl he'd met. And he was "wowed" by London, having grown up in Montpelier, Vermont.

Jim was only 20 years old and his writing style was boyish and upbeat. But at the end of each letter (most of them were written to Michelle's father; Jim's younger brother) his mood turned a little solemn when he asked his brother to give his love to "the folks" and say hello to mutual friends.

Change some of the wording and a few details here and there and any of those letters could have been written yesterday, postmarked Baghdad, Kabul, or other points around the world where U.S. soldiers are stationed.

As we prepare for our mad rush through the holiday season it's safe to say that this is the toughest time of year to be a soldier far from home. But there's an easy and very satisfying way you can help boost the morale of men and women who serve our country.

--------------------------------------------
Sharing support
--------------------------------------------

Last year around this time I first told you about Any Soldier, Inc. As I said then, don't let the "Inc." fool you - this is a grassroots organization started more than two years ago by Sgt. Brian Horn, along with his mother and father Marty and Sue, of LaPlata, Maryland.

Sgt. Horn is now stationed in Afghanistan, but in the summer of 2003 he was in northern Iraq with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. His parents often sent him care packages, and when they found out he was sharing items from the packages with other soldiers who weren't receiving anything from home, they had an idea.

The Horns contacted friends and relatives and asked them to donate items to send. Then, in addition to the packages for their son, they also included separate packages addressed to "Any Soldier." Brian distributed the additional packages, and as you can imagine they were gratefully received.

Marty (who served in the Army for 20 years) soon started a web site called Any Soldier (anysoldier.com). Two years later, the circle of donors has expanded far beyond the Horn family. And Brian isn't handling the distribution of packages all by himself anymore; he's getting plenty of help from more than 3,600 military contacts. At this point, Any Soldier has delivered supportive items to more than 100,000 soldiers in all branches of the military, both active duty and reservists.

--------------------------------------------
Here's where we come in
--------------------------------------------

What do soldiers like to receive? According to Marty's site, a letter is the most valued item - just a card or letter of support.

But so much more is needed. Many soldiers lack simple necessities that we take for granted back home. For instance, skin care products such as sun block, lib balm and moisturizers are highly valued items in the harsh climate of the Middle East. And apparently CDs and DVDs are welcome morale boosters.

For ideas about what to send - as well as specific instructions about how to send letters and items - just visit anysoldier.com.

This is a perfect way to remind our men and women in uniform just how grateful we are for the tremendous sacrifices they make. And I hope you'll help get the word out by forwarding this e-mail to friends and family members.

Happy Thanksgiving!

****************************************************

...and another thing

Time changes some things for the better, and other things...well, not so much.

Here's a funny list I received from a friend this week. Maybe you can get some laughs with it at the dinner table on Thursday.

This is titled "1975/2005 List." And as my friend noted, it's only for those whose level of maturity qualifies them to relate to it.

1975: Long hair
2005: Longing for hair

1975: Moving to California because it's cool
2005: Moving to Arizona because it's warm

1975: Keg
2005: EKG

1975: Going to a new hip joint
2005: Getting a new hip joint

1975: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2005: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1975: Acid rock
2005: Acid reflux

1975: Passing the driver's test
2005: Passing the vision test

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson



source: HSI: Any Soldier...

Link: http://www.anysoldier.com/

Thursday, December 22, 2005

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Those of you who enjoy this 1946 Christmas classic, and don't own a DVD or can't rent it at your local video store, might be interested to know that it will be shown by NBC, Saturday 8/7c, December 24. NBC has held the broadcast rights to this movie since 1994. It's one of my favorites.

source: http://www.nbc.com/Movies_Specials_More/

Judge Blasts ACLU; Upholds 10 Commandments Display

From Tammy Bruce:

In a ruling which helps to remind us that not all judges are mired in moral relativism, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blasted the ACLU in a ruling which upheld the display of the 10 Commandments in the Mercer County, KY Courthouse. In a decision in which he called the ACLU "tiresome," and the organization not representative of the "reasonable person," Judge Suhrheinrich should give you hope as we approach Christmas that common sense and reason can prevail, even in the judicial system...

Tammy's post has quite a bit more, including excerpts from the Louisville, Kentucky Courrier Journal, with the judges comments. And some interesting links, you can read the rest of it HERE .

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Intelligent Design & the myth of separation of church and state

From Tammy Bruce, regarding the recent decision by Judge Jones:

Federal Judge Bans Intelligent Design in Schools

One of two things are indicated here: either this particular judge completely lacks an understanding the separation of church and state, or he understands it fully and simply doesn't like it.

We cannot expect proper application of Constitutional principles if the citizen doesn't know when the judges are wrong. In this instance, the judge is wrong, and in fact, even the US Supreme Court decision banning the teaching of creationism is wrong...


You can read the entire blog post HERE.

Here is an excellent article detailing the origins of the myth about the separation of church and state, and what our Constitution actually says:

The Myth of
the Separation of Church and State


Anytime religion is mentioned within the confines of government today people cry, "Separation of Church and State". Many people think this statement appears in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and therefore must be strictly enforced. However, the words: "separation", "church", and "state" do not even appear in the first amendment. The first amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The statement about a wall of separation between church and state was made in a letter on January 1, 1802, by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. The congregation heard a widespread rumor that the Congregationalists, another denomination, were to become the national religion. This was very alarming to people who knew about religious persecution in England by the state established church. Jefferson made it clear in his letter to the Danbury Congregation that the separation was to be that government would not establish a national religion or dictate to men how to worship God...

The full article can be read HERE. Hat tip to Rudy Carrera for posting the link to this article on his blog.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

EC blog post re: Corporate Responsibility

Here is an interesting blog post by EC VICE president Margot Wallstroem. It seems she is accusing Microsoft, Yahoo and Google of having flexible morals when it comes to dealing with China:

"... I was very disappointed to learn that Microsoft has agreed to block Chinese blog entries that use words like “democracy“, “freedom“, “human rights“ and “demonstration.”

It seems like Microsoft is not alone in “bad company“. Google has agreed to exclude publications that the Chinese government finds objectionable. And Yahoo has even gone further. They collaborated with the Chinese government and gave up the name of a writer who sent an e-mail that commented on a party decision. Based on this information, the man received a ten-year prison sentence..."


There are some great comments left on her blog by visitors. You can read Margot's entire blog post here.

Thomas Sowell: "I beg to disagree"

Here is an article I saved a while back, on a subject I've been thinking about lately:

I beg to disagree

Jan 13, 2005
by Thomas Sowell

My assistant sorts the incoming mail into various categories, such as "critical mail," "fan mail," etc. But the so-called critical mail is seldom critical. It may be bombastic or vituperative or full of pop psychology, but it seldom presents a critical argument based on facts or logic.

Too many people today act as if no one can honestly disagree with them. If you have a difference of opinion with them, you are considered to be not merely in error but in sin. You are a racist, a homophobe or whatever the villain of the day happens to be.

Disagreements are inevitable whenever there are human beings but we seem to be in an era when the art of disagreeing is vanishing. That is a huge loss because out of disagreements have often come deeper understandings than either side had before confronting each other's arguments.

Even wacko ideas have led to progress, when dealt with critically, in terms of logic and evidence. Astrology led to astronomy. The medieval notion of turning lead into gold -- alchemy -- led to chemistry, from which have come everything from a wide range of industrial products and consumer goods to more productive agriculture and life-saving drugs.

Where an argument starts is far less important than where it finishes because the logic and evidence in between is crucial. Unfortunately, our educational system is not only failing to teach critical thinking, it is often itself a source of confused rhetoric and emotional venting in place of systematic reasoning.

It is hard to think of a stronger argument for teaching people to examine arguments critically than the tragic history of 20th century totalitarianism and its horrors in peace and war. Dictators often gained total power over a whole nation by their ability to arouse emotions and evade thought...


You can read the entire article HERE.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tammy Bruce: Bush ‘Doing the Right Thing’

From NewsMax.com, regarding Tammy Bruce on Fox News this morning:

Monday, Dec. 19, 2005 10:41 a.m. EST

Author and commentator Tammy Bruce said President Bush is "doing the right thing” in Iraq and his recent campaign of speeches and press conferences should help Americans realize the country is on the road to victory.

Appearing on Fox News Channel, Bruce said the Bush Administration is finally realizing that major media will not give him credit for any success – particularly the remarkable success of elections in Iraq. The White House, she says, has correctly gone on the offensive to get their stories out regardless of potential criticism in newspapers and broadcast media.

"The media blitz is working,” Bruce said. "Each time the president gives a speech on Iraq, his [poll] numbers increase. His arguments - his context of what’s going on in Iraq – is not being covered by mainstream media. Bush wants to be heard, and the only way to be heard is to make speeches and call press conferences, to lead the news cycle.”

Bruce said the recent elections in Iraq are a tremendous success and a testament to the bold and decisive allied effort to liberate that country from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. She said the White House should not hold its breath waiting to get credit for this success from the likes of the New York Times.

"[The White House] needs to look for credit with the American people, not with media,” she said. "No matter what this administration accomplishes, it’s not going to matter to mainstream media.

"Instead of trying to convince them [reporters and editors], he just needs to convince America that he’s doing the right thing.”


source: Newsmax (print version)

Also see: PRESIDENT BUSH TAKES CONTROL

And Hollywood Wonders Why They're Failing

From Tammy Bruce:

"Hollywood honchos continue to wring their hands over why you've stopped going to the movies. They blame ticket prices and DVD availability. They had better start considering the fact that filmmakers are so disconnected, so nihilistic, that the hopelessness and hostility they feel toward the world now permeates their work. Americans will no longer go see movies which are nothing more than the manifestation of the backwash of malignant narcissists. We're also sick and tired of listening to actors lecture us about how awful the US is, and more recently, why a cold-blooded mass murdering gang founder should have been given clemency. Enough is enough."

You can read the entire post HERE.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday Funnies, 12/18/05...

Humor from the Church

Here are 20 sentences that actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced during church services.

1. The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

2. The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."

3. Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands.

4. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

5. Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

6. Miss Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

7. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

8. Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

9. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons.

10. Irving and Jessie were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

11. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

12. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

13. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.



A New Teacher

A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses. She started her class by saying, "Everyone who thinks you are stupid, stand up!"

After a few seconds, little Johnny stood up. The teacher was surprised, but realized this was an opportune moment to help a child. "Do you think you're stupid, Johnny?" she asked.

"No, ma'am," Johnny replied, "but I hated to see you standing there all by yourself!"



>----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> " THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE"
>
> Living on Earth is expensive,
> but it does include a free trip
> around the sun every year.
>
> How long a minute is
> depends on what side of the
> bathroom door you're on.
>
> Birthdays are good for you;
> the more you have,
> the longer you live.
>
> Happiness comes through doors you
> didn't even know you left open.
>
> Ever notice that the people who are late
> are often much jollier
> than the people who have to wait for them?
>
> Most of us go to our grave
> with our music still inside of us.
>
> If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day,
> how come nothing is free yet?
>
> You may be only one person in the world,
> but you may also be the world to one person.
>
> Some mistakes are too much fun
> to only make once.
>
> Don't cry because it's over;
> smile because it happened.
>
> We could learn a lot from crayons:
> some are sharp, some are pretty,
> some are dull, some have weird names,
> and all are different colors....but
> they all exist very nicely in the same box.
>
> A truly happy person is one who
> can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
>
> Have an awesome day, and
> know that someone
> who thinks you're great
> has thought about you today!..
>
> "And that person was me.".....
> Please don't keep this message
> to yourself.....send it to those
> who mean so much to you.... "NOW"..
>
>


Compared with Gasoline

Think a gallon of gas is expensive?

This makes one think, and also
puts things in perspective.


Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ........ $10.32 per gallon

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ...........$9.52 per gallon

Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ..... $10.17 per gallon

Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 .......... $10.00 per gallon

Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 . $33.60 per gallon

Vick's Nyquil 6oz $8.35 .... $178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ...... $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ....... . $25.42 per gallon

Scope $1.5 oz 0.99 ........$84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...

Evian water 9 oz 1.49..........$21.19 per gallon! $21.19 for WATER - and the buyers don't even know the source.

So, the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on
water, Scope, or Whiteout, or God forbid Pepto Bismal or Nyquil.

Just a little humor to help ease the pain of your next trip to the pump...

***

A guy walks into the local welfare office, marches straight up to the
counter and says, "Hi . . . You know, I just HATE drawing welfare. I'd
really rather have a job."

The social worker behind the counter says, "Your timing is excellent.
We just got a job opening from a very wealthy old man who wants a
chauffeur/bodyguard for his nymphomaniac daughter.

You'll have to drive around in his Mercedes, but he'll supply all of
your clothes. Because of the long hours, meals will be provided. You'll be
expected to escort her on her overseas holiday trips. You'll have a
two-bedroom apartment above the garage. The starting salary is $200,000
a year."

The guy says, "You're bullsh.tting me!"

The social worker says, "Yeah, well, you started it."

***

Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven.

When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven: don't step on the ducks!"

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one.

Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw.

St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!"

The next day, the second woman steps accidentally on a duck and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps.

She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on .. very tall, long eyelashes, muscular, and thin.

St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The happy woman says, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?"

The guy says, "I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck!"





Female Prayer:
Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man, who's not a creep,
One who's handsome, smart and strong
One who loves to listen long,
One who thinks before he speaks,
One who'll call, not wait for weeks.
I pray he's gainfully employed,
When I spend his cash, won't be annoyed.
Pulls out my chair and opens my door,
Massages my back and begs to do more.
Oh! Send me a man who'll make love to my mind,
Knows what to answer to "how big is my behind?"
I pray that this man will love me to no end,
And always be my very best friend.
Amen.

Male Prayer:
I pray for a deaf-mute nymphomaniac with great boobs,
who owns a liquor store and a fishing boat.
This doesn't rhyme and I don't care.






Phone Shortcuts, Holiday Stress

This last part isn't a joke, but some tips that may help ease your way through the holidays, from Jenny Thompson of the Health Sciences Institute:

Sneaky Paul

Dear Member,

What would you rather do? Talk to a human, or listen to a recorded voice tell you which numbers to push?

I don't know about you, but I get more than a little stressed when I call a customer service number and then spend 10 minutes weeding my way thorough a maze of instructions before I finally get an actual human being on the line.

But I recently came across a blog page that can help. It's called "IVR Cheat Sheet to Find a Human." (IVR is an acronym for Interactive Voice Response.) A blogger named Paul English maintains this list of more than 100 companies in a wide variety of fields, such as finance, airlines, communications, shipping, retail, etc. Each entry on the list tells you inside secrets that let you hop over all the IVR prompts and go directly to a human.

Here's a link you can use to access Paul's IVR cheat sheet:
http://www.paulenglish.com/ivr

And if you're feeling stressed out this holiday season by IVRs, shopping crowds, etc., here's a link to an e-Alert about knocking out your stress (without ripping the phone out of the wall):

http://www.hsibaltimore.com/ealerts/ea200211/ea20021112.html


To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Environmentalism as a Cover for Collectivism

An excellent article by George Will, here are some excerpts:

For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society's politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.

The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality.

People are to be conscripted into one large cohort, everyone equal (although not equal in status or power to the governing class) in their status as wards of a self-aggrandizing government. Government says the constant enlargement of its supervising power is necessary for the equitable or efficient allocation of scarce resources.

Therefore, one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

He also makes some good points about the realities of drilling in ANWR. You can read the full article HERE.

Friday, December 16, 2005

LA Gov Blanco Cancels New Orleans Elections

Why aren't we hearing more about this in the MSM? I'm sure if a Republican governor cancelled elections indefinity, it would be front page news.

Learn all about it from this post by Tammy Bruce:
LA Gov Blanco Cancels New Orleans Elections

$100 Laptop Computer: A Brilliant Idea, or an Expensive Mistake?

I've read several articles about this computer so far. Many people have urged that the computer be made available for sale commercially, and at a slightly higher price, with the profits used to subsidise the non-profit portion of the program. In order to keep the price low, a large volume of the units would have to be produced, and making them available commecially would help achive that, as well as provide extra income for the project.

That sounds wise to me, but for whatever reasons, that advice is being ignored, apparently. I've also read some comments by people who actually manufacture computers for a living, who state that Mr. Negroponte's plan is too ambitious to be financially viable, that he should start with a much smaller test market first, then once he is sure the product is sound, then and only then, commit to mass production in large quantities.

The idea is interesting, but I fear if business people with practical manufacturing experience are not involved, the project could become a giant sinkhole for sucking up money. I suppose we shall see...



I read somewhere that they made the colors green and yellow, so that it would appeal to children, but look unattractive to theives! Here is a portion of the latest news article about this machine:

Taiwan's Quanta selected to build $100 Linux laptop

Dec. 15, 2005

Taiwan's Quanta Computer has been selected to produce $100 Linux laptops developed at MIT, for eventual distribution to children in developing countries. Between five and 15 million units are expected to be provided to children in China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, Thailand, and other countries, the Lab said.

Quanta reportedly outbid three other manufacturers for the project -- Compal Computer Inc., Inventec Co., and Wistron Corp.

Nicholas Negroponte, head of the MIT Media Laboratory and chairman of the lab's One Laptop Per Child program, made the announcement Wednesday night via the Lab's website.

The program aims to give children computers for "a window into the world and a tool with which to think. Any previous doubt that a very-low-cost laptop could be made for education in the developing world has just gone away," the announcement said.

The computers are expected to be available for distribution in the fourth quarter of 2006, the announcement said. Between 5 million and 15 million units are expected to be provided to children in China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand, and other countries.


To see the full article with a list of product features and more photos, click HERE.

Conservatives in Hollywood?!

Brian C. Anderson

It was hard to parody Hollywood’s loony limousine liberalism this summer. “I’m coming out,” trumpeted actress Jane Fonda about her plans for an anti-Iraq-war bus tour (thankfully later canceled). “I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam”—if “stand” is the right word for her 1972 lovefest with the enemy. Paramount announced that conspiracy-minded director Oliver Stone, who described the 9/11 terrorists’ “revolt” as a legitimate “fuck you, fuck your order” to culture-controlling American movie corporations (of all things), will helm Tinseltown’s first large-scale drama about the attacks. David Koepp, co-writer of Steven Spielberg’s remake of War of the Worlds, likened the movie’s ravaging aliens to the U.S. military in Iraq. And on the Huffington Post website, such celebrity lefties as Rob Reiner and Laurie David huffed daily about President Bush’s outrages against civil liberties, Mother Earth, and all that’s proper.

But guess what: ever more Americans are shunning Hollywood’s wares—and disgust with Left Coast politics, both on and off screen, clearly plays a part. In a time of declining moviegoing, what gets people out to the theaters, it turns out, are conservative movies—conservative not so much politically but culturally and morally, focusing on the battle between good and evil, the worth of heroism and self-sacrifice, the indispensability of family values and martial honor, and the existence of Truth. Hollywood used to turn out a steady supply of such movies—watch just about any film from its Golden Age of the thirties and forties—and it still makes them once in a while (sometimes thanks to off-screen lefties like Steven Spielberg). We may soon see a lot more of them.

There’s no question Hollywood is reeling. Film attendance is down a wrenching 12 percent from last year, and a May USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that nearly half of American adults go to movies less often than they did in 2000. Some pundits have blamed the rising price of tickets, but in constant dollars a ticket costs less than it did 25 years ago. Others believe that it’s all those DVDs that people are buying—except that DVD sales are slumping, too. The most likely explanation is the left-wing politics. “You can date the recent box-office decline from the end of the summer last year, with the intensification of the presidential campaign,” notes conservative film critic and talk-radio host Michael Medved. “It wasn’t just Hollywood’s hostility toward President Bush; it was the naked, raw partisanship”...

There is quite a bit more, you can read the entire article here:
http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_4_urbanities-conservatives.html

Hat tip to Tammy Bruce, who published the link to this article on her blog.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

BUSH COMES OUT SWINGING

From Boortz.com:

Finally it seems the president is getting some good political advice. In his fourth speech yesterday on Iraq, Bush laid it out the situation in Iraq. To summarize, he said:

1.) The intelligence turned out to be wrong, but who cares because removing Saddam Hussein was still necessary. Exactly right. Remember that Saddam Hussein defied the United Nations for 12 years and that it was the policy of the United States to change the regime in Iraq throughout both Democratic and Republican administrations. That WMD was the sole reason for taking out Saddam is a revisionist fantasy of the left.

2.) Saddam was a threat to the American people. That's right...Saddam Hussein was harboring terrorists, financing suicide bombers and had the capability and the means to produce and sell nuclear weapons. These are facts.

Immediately following Bush's speech, military bashing Congressman John Al-Murtha began his tirade: "We've got nation building by the U.S. military, and that's not a mission for the U.S. military. I've said this over and over again: They're not good at nation building. You've given them a mission which they cannot carry out. They do the best they can, but they can't do it." More music to Zarqawi's ears. He must be using Murtha's press conferences to recruit new Islamic terrorists by now.

I am sure our fighting men and women in Iraq appreciate the vote of confidence by the Democrats. But Bush is on the right track here. Put the left on the defensive as much as possible, and keep hammering the facts.

Source: http://boortz.com/nuze/200512/12152005.html#bush

The Truth On the Ground

By Ben Connable

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Page A29

When I told people that I was getting ready to head back to Iraq for my third tour, the usual response was a frown, a somber head shake and even the occasional "I'm sorry." When I told them that I was glad to be going back, the response was awkward disbelief, a fake smile and a change of subject. The common wisdom seems to be that Iraq is an unwinnable war and a quagmire and that the only thing left to decide is how quickly we withdraw. Depending on which poll you believe, about 60 percent of Americans think it's time to pull out of Iraq.

How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work? Why is there such a dramatic divergence between American public opinion and the upbeat assessment of the men and women doing the fighting?

Open optimism, whether or not it is warranted, is a necessary trait in senior officers and officials. Skeptics can be excused for discounting glowing reports on Iraq from the upper echelons of power. But it is not a simple thing to ignore genuine optimism from mid-grade, junior and noncommissioned officers who have spent much of the past three years in Iraq.

We know the streets, the people and the insurgents far better than any armchair academic or talking head. As military professionals, we are trained to gauge the chances of success and failure, to calculate risk and reward. We have little to gain from our optimism and quite a bit to lose as we leave our families over and over again to face danger and deprivation for an increasingly unpopular cause. We know that there are no guarantees in war, and that we may well fail in the long run. We also know that if we follow our current plan we can, over time, leave behind a stable and unified country that might help to anchor a better future for the Middle East.

It is difficult for most Americans to rationalize this optimism in the face of the horrific images and depressing stories that have come to symbolize the war in Iraq. Most of the violent news is true; the death and destruction are very real. But experienced military officers know that the horror stories, however dramatic, do not represent the broader conditions there or the chances for future success. For every vividly portrayed suicide bombing, there are hundreds of thousands of people living quiet, if often uncertain, lives. For every depressing story of unrest and instability there is an untold story of potential and hope. The impression of Iraq as an unfathomable quagmire is false and dangerously misleading.

It is this false impression that has led us to a moment of national truth. The proponents of the quagmire vision argue that the very presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the cause of the insurgency and that our withdrawal would give the Iraqis their only true chance for stability. Most military officers and NCOs with ground experience in Iraq know that this vision is patently false. Although the presence of U.S. forces certainly inflames sentiment and provides the insurgents with targets, the anti-coalition insurgency is mostly a symptom of the underlying conditions in Iraq. It may seem paradoxical, but only our presence can buffer the violence enough to allow for eventual stability.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops would almost certainly lead to a violent and destabilizing civil war. The Iraqi military is not ready to assume control and would not miraculously achieve competence in our absence. As we left, the insurgency would turn into internecine violence, and Iraq would collapse into a true failed state. The fires of the Iraqi civil war would spread, and terrorists would find a new safe haven from which to launch attacks against our homeland.

Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death.

Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will return to the dialogue on Iraq. Although we hate leaving our families behind, many of us would rather go back to Iraq a hundred times than abandon the Iraqi people.

A fellow Marine and close friend epitomizes this sentiment. Sean has served two tours in Iraq as a reserve officer. During his last tour, he was informed of the birth of his baby girl by e-mail, learned his father was dying of cancer, and was wounded in the same blast of an improvised explosive that killed his first sergeant on a dirt road in the middle of the western desert. Sean loves his family and his job, but he has made it clear that he would rather go back to Iraq than see us withdraw.

Everyone in uniform does not share this sentiment. Thirty-six percent of military officers are less confident in the mission. But these officers will continue to work as hard as the rest of us toward success because they, too, are professionals. With men and women such as this, the United States has an excellent chance of success in Iraq. We can fail only if the false imagery of quagmire takes hold and our national political will is broken. In that event, both the Iraqi people and the American troops will pay a long-term price for our shortsighted delusion.

The writer is a major in the Marine Corps.

source:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/13/AR2005121301502.html

Time for a Republican Reformation

Dec 14, 2005
by Jonah Goldberg

American conservatism is overdue for a reformation. And we may just have the equivalent of our 95 theses to nail to the church door, or in this case the think tank door.

Our would-be Martin Luther is Christopher DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), who would be a long overdue candidate for People magazine's "Smartest Man Alive" cover if they did that sort of thing. In the January-February issue of the American Enterprise, DeMuth asks, "What ever happened to small government?" (Full disclosure: I once worked at AEI, and was once the American Enterprise's media critic. Also, I sometimes wear sweat socks two days in a row.)

In fairness this is not a new question on the right. Many of us have been asking it with the same frequency and urgency of a man very late for work who asks, "Where did I put my car keys?" But several things are notable about DeMuth's essay.

First, it offers a brilliant argument that large government itself is unconstitutional. Jefferson believed that "no man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session," so he wisely insisted that the capital be built in malarial swampland. Consequently, the seat of the government remained empty for nearly half the year. Today, thanks in part to the unintended consequences of air-conditioning, we have permanent government of career politicians, a thing the founders never intended and which sees no natural boundary to its authority.

One thing the founders sought to limit was the power of taxation, which, they understood, was the most powerful and most politically divisive tool at government's disposal, short of war. That's why the Constitution insists that revenue increases originate in the House of Representatives so as to ensure the most political legitimacy possible. (A point DeMuth doesn't mention is that the founders intended the House to be vastly more representative, numerically speaking, than it is today. George Washington spoke up only once at the Constitutional Convention - to insist that size of Congressional districts be dropped from 40,000 to 30,000, to make them more representative.)

Today, some taxation involves no representation at all. Agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission simply decide how much money they need and then tax to get it. For example, the FCC taxes long distance phone calls and spends the money on library and school computers, spreading the Internet to rural communities, and other nice things. Nice is nice, but nice doesn't trump constitutional responsibilities.

But abdication of constitutional responsibilities is the order of the day. State attorneys general, led by New York's Elliot Spitzer, form unconstitutional compacts between the states without the required consent of Congress. Congress passes laws without a moment's concern about their constitutionality, on the novel but deeply held popular conviction that if the Supreme Court doesn't object, it must be OK. Once upon a time, whole bills were thrown out because some senator or congressmen objected that the proposed legislation, however well-intentioned, simply exceeded constitutional authority. Today we legislate by curveball, write whatever laws we like in the hope that the squinty-eyed umpires of the court don't call a strike.

Presidents have been just as bad, including George W. Bush. He campaigned against the proposed McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform" in the 2000 election. At the time Bush argued, rightly, that the legislation violated numerous constitutional principles. When the bill wound up his desk, however, in a more egregious form than the earlier versions, Bush signed it. If his erstwhile "serious constitutional concerns" had been justified, the president explained, then, heck, "the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions." But when the law went before the Supreme Court, Bush's Justice Department defended it and the justices in turn upheld it, out of deference to the "government." It's all so tawdry.

There's a great deal more worth reading in DeMuth's blessedly nonpartisan primer on unlimited government, including the observation that today's heated partisanship probably has a lot to do with the fact that the government tries to do everything. This creates the sense that all that's wrong in the country is due to the other side's obstruction, and it makes both sides feel like the stakes in every election are enormous - which, increasingly, is true.

But the importance of DeMuth's message for conservatives cannot be overlooked. In recent years AEI has garnered the reputation as the president's Brain Trust. In conservative circles these days, that's not an unmitigated compliment. Too many in the GOP have felt the rush that comes with giving out other people's money, and as a result the party has become "worldly," as Martin Luther might put it, selling favors like indulgences of yore. We have confused "low taxes" - which we all like - with limited government, which we don't have. We expect Democrats to want the government to do everything, but at least they have the consistency to raise taxes in order to pay for it. Republicans lack similar convictions. Which is why they need to be born again.

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

Source:
http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/jonahgoldberg/2005/12/14/179004.html

Nuclear Iran, Hanoi Jane...

From Boortz.com:

TIME TO LET IRAN HAVE IT

The U.S. needs to do something about this fanatical Muslim crazy that's running things in Iran. First it was him saying Israel needs to be wiped off the map. Then he's refusing to stop the production of nuclear weapons. At one point he called for the destruction of the United States. Well, he's at it again...

More here:
http://boortz.com/nuze/200512/12142005.html#iran


HANOI JANE WEIGHS IN

We haven't heard from Jane Fonda in awhile, but all that has changed. She has apparently adopted the tactics of The Poodle. Fonda came out recently and slandered U.S. troops by calling them all "killing machines." Merry Christmas to you too, Ms. Fonda...

More here:
http://boortz.com/nuze/200512/12142005.html#fonda

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Media's War

December 13, 2005

By Thomas Sowell

The media seem to have come up with a formula that would make any war in history unwinnable and unbearable: They simply emphasize the enemy's victories and our losses.

Losses suffered by the enemy are not news, no matter how large, how persistent, or how clearly they indicate the enemy's declining strength.

What are the enemy's victories in Iraq? The killing of Americans and the killing of Iraqi civilians. Both are big news in the mainstream media, day in and day out, around the clock.

Has anyone ever believed that any war could be fought without deaths on both sides? Every death is a tragedy to the individual killed and to his loved ones. But is there anything about American casualty rates in Iraq that makes them more severe than casualty rates in any other war we have fought?

On the contrary, the American deaths in Iraqi are a fraction of what they have been in other wars in our history. The media have made a big production about the cumulative fatalities in Iraq, hyping the thousandth death with multiple full-page features in the New York Times and comparable coverage on TV.

The two-thousandth death was similarly anticipated almost impatiently in the media and then made another big splash. But does media hype make 2,000 wartime fatalities in more than two years unusual?

The Marines lost more than 5,000 men taking one island in the Pacific during a three-month period in World War II. In the Civil War, the Confederates lost 5,000 men in one battle in one day.

Yet there was Jim Lehrer on the "News Hour" last week earnestly asking Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the ten Americans killed that day. It is hard to imagine anybody in any previous war asking any such question of anyone responsible for fighting a war.

We have lost more men than that in our most overwhelming and one-sided victories in previous wars. During an aerial battle over the Mariannas islands in World War II, Americans shot down hundreds of Japanese planes while losing about 30 of their own.

If the media of that era had been reporting the way the media report today, all we would have heard about would have been that more than two dozen Americans were killed that day.

Neither our troops nor the terrorists are in Iraq just to be killed. Both have objectives. But any objectives we achieve get short shrift in the mainstream media, if they are mentioned at all.

Our troops can kill ten times as many of the enemy as they kill and it just isn't news worth featuring, if it is mentioned at all, in much of the media. No matter how many towns are wrested from the control of the terrorists by American or Iraqi troops, it just isn't front-page news like the casualty reports or even the doom-saying of some politicians.

The fact that these doom-saying politicians have been proved wrong, again and again, does not keep their latest outcries from overshadowing the hard-won victories of American troops on the ground in Iraq.

The doom-sayers claimed that terrorist attacks would make it impossible to hold the elections last January because so many Iraqis would be afraid to go vote. The doom-sayers urged that the elections be postponed.

But a higher percentage of Iraqis voted in that election -- and in a subsequent election -- than the percentage of Americans who voted in last year's Presidential elections.

Utter ignorance of history enables any war with any casualties to be depicted in the media as an unmitigated disaster.

Even after Nazi Germany surrendered at the end of World War II, die-hard Nazi guerrilla units terrorized and assassinated both German officials and German civilians who cooperated with Allied occupation authorities.

But nobody suggested that we abandon the country. Nobody was foolish enough to think that you could say in advance when you would pull out or that you should encourage your enemies by announcing a timetable.

There has never been the slightest doubt that we would begin pulling troops out of Iraq when it was feasible. Only time and circumstances can tell when that will be. And only irresponsible politicians and the media think otherwise.

source: http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-12_13_05_TS.html

The Truth About Army Recruiting...

Army Continues To Exceed Recruiting Goals
Posted by: Glen Dean at 12:59 AM

Remember when they told us that Iraq was causing Army recruiting to drop off and that is was some sort of crisis. Remember when the Army did not meet it's recruiting goals for a couple of months and how much coverage the media gave that story. Remember how happy the liberal blogs were about that news. Well it turns out all of that nonsense was just another manufactured crisis created to undermine the mission in Iraq...

You can read the full article at:
Nashville Truth - Army Continues To Exceed Recruiting Goals

Preserve the Patriot Act

Dec 12, 2005
by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

Article Excerpt:

All the Patriot Act did was make business records (including those maintained by libraries) available on roughly the same terms in national security cases as they have long been in criminal cases.

The reason for this should be obvious: It makes no sense to enshrine libraries as safe havens for terrorist planning.

In fact, as we now know, many of the September 11 hijackers used American and European libraries for preparation in the run-up to the attacks. Relevant literature (such as bomb manuals and jihadist materials) has been a staple of terrorism prosecutions for more than a decade. Privacy extremists of organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have nonetheless reacted to the Patriot Act’s much-needed business records law as if the Gestapo had seized office in the United States.

Similarly, the Patriot Act did not – as its critics would have us believe – create new and unsavory “sneak-and-peek” warrants. It does, however, allow agents to search premises but delay notification of the search to subjects of a terrorism investigation.

The Patriot Act’s notification provision is no different in principle from the legal notice that was previously required to be given to persons intercepted in a court-ordered wiretap. In such situations, notification of the target has routinely been delayed for weeks or months after the eavesdropping ends.

Doing so can be absolutely critical to the arrest and prosecution of suspected perpetrators: Delayed notification allows the government to complete its investigation without giving the subjects the sort of heads-up that would certainly cause them to flee or destroy evidence.

What the Patriot Act did, in the so-called “sneak-and-peek” arena, was to establish consistent standards that the federal courts must follow in determining whether to permit delayed notification. Previously, a hodge-podge of different rules were applied in various jurisdictions. This is precisely the sort of fairness and equal protection Congress should provide – yet, it has been criticized sharply for doing it in the Patriot Act.

You can read the full article HERE

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Christmas quiz

Dec 12, 2005
by John Leo

The “winter program” at Ridgeway Elementary School In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, changed the lyrics of the Christmas carol “Silent Night” to the more inclusive “Cold in the Night.” (“Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite.” ) After this success, the program’s next step will obviously be:


a) Changing “O Holy Night” to “Uh-oh! Wholly night!” a song about a lunar eclipse
b) Singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.”
c) A song celebrating the comeback of the American auto industry, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Ford.”
d) A ditty about hoping for snow at the Panama Canal, “I’m dreaming of a white isthmus.”

The modern name for Christmas trees is now:

a) Giving trees
b) Trees of color
c) Seasonal conifers
d) Inclusion bushes
e) Tall lit-up flora
f) Those pointy green things with needles and lights

Some schools have ruled that red and green cookies cannot be brought into class in December because the color combination strongly suggests the divisive sectarian feast day of Christmas. Therefore"

a) Red cookies may be brought to school. Green ones too. But, please, not on the same day
b) A fruit bowl containing just pears and cherries is a serious constitutional matter and should be reported immediately to the ACLU, care of the Christmas erasure desk. c) In December, the San Francisco 49er may not be shown playing the New York Jets, except on black-and-white TV sets.
d) All traffic lights must be turned off until January 1.

The three wise men in the Nativity scene are objectionable because

a) They fail the multicultural test--though one is black, neither of the other two is a disabled lesbian, wiccan or vegan.

b) “Wise Men” should be “Persons of Wisdom”
c) Describing the first people to come to see Jesus as “wise” implies that idiots can’t become Christians, which experience tells us is just not so.

Christians believe Jesus came down to earth and made himself human in order to encourage

a) Consumer confidence
b) Season’s greetings
c) A festive period between bowl games
d) His birth scene to be surrounded by plastic reindeer, elves and court-pleasing woodland creatures
e) Frenzied end-of-year gift giving
f) Religious songs that are easily converted into weather songs in Wisconsin
g) The ACLU Christmas-erasure desk

It’s beginning to look a lot like:

a) Christmas
b) Hanukah
c) Kwanzaa
d) Indianapolis is a lock to win the Superbowl

Before backing down and permitting a full Nativity scene, a public library in Memphis agreed to allow the scene, but only if the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary and the wise men were removed This left a shepherd boy and some farm animals. Next year the library will accept a Nativity scene only if it consists of:

a) A shepherd boy and some chickens
b) A shepherd boy and some ferrets
c) A shepherd boy explaining that the head librarian in Memphis thinks with a brain that may or may not be the result of Intelligent Design.

John Leo is a columnist and editor for U.S. News & World Report and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.

source: http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/johnleo/2005/12/12/178651.html

The Panic Over Iraq

What they're really afraid of is American success.

BY NORMAN PODHORETZ
Monday, December 12, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

Like, I am sure, many other believers in what this country has been trying to do in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, I have found my thoughts returning in the past year to something that Tom Paine, writing at an especially dark moment of the American Revolution, said about such times. They are, he memorably wrote, "the times that try men's souls," the times in which "the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot" become so disheartened that they "shrink from the service of [their] country."

But Paine did not limit his anguished derision to former supporters of the American War of Independence whose courage was failing because things had not been going as well on the battlefield as they had expected or hoped. In a less famous passage, he also let loose on another group:

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses . . . Their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered.

Thus, he explained, "Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head," emboldened by the circumstances of the moment to reveal an opposition to the break with Britain that it had previously seemed prudent to conceal.

The similarities to our situation today are uncanny. We, too, are in the midst of a rapidly spreading panic. We, too, have our sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, in the form of people who initially supported the invasion of Iraq--and the Bush Doctrine from which it followed--but who are now abandoning what they have decided is a sinking ship. And we, too, are seeing formerly disguised opponents of the war coming more and more out into the open, and in ever greater numbers.

Yet in spite of these similarities, there is also a very curious difference between the American panic of 1776-77 and the American panic of 2005-06. To put it in the simplest and starkest terms: In that early stage of the Revolutionary War, there was sound reason to fear that the British would succeed in routing Washington's forces. In Iraq today, however, and in the Middle East as a whole, a successful outcome is staring us in the face. Clearly, then, the panic over Iraq--which expresses itself in increasingly frenzied calls for the withdrawal of our forces--cannot have been caused by the prospect of defeat. On the contrary, my twofold guess is that the real fear behind it is not that we are losing but that we are winning, and that what has catalyzed this fear into a genuine panic is the realization that the chances of pulling off the proverbial feat of snatching an American defeat from the jaws of victory are rapidly running out.

Of course, to anyone who relies entirely or largely on the mainstream media for information, it will come as a great surprise to hear that we are winning in Iraq. Winning? Militarily? How can we be winning militarily when, day after day, the only thing of any importance going on in that country is suicide bombings and car bombings? When neither our own troops nor the Iraqi forces we have been training are able to stop the "insurgents" from scoring higher and higher body counts? When every serious military move we make against the strongholds of these dedicated and ruthless adversaries is met with "fierce resistance"? When, for every one of them we manage to kill, two more seem to pop up?

Winning? Politically? How can we be winning politically when the very purpose for which we allegedly invaded Iraq has been unmasked as a chimera? When every step we force the Iraqis to take toward democratization is accompanied by angry sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis and between Arabs and Kurds? When our clumsy efforts to bring the Sunnis into the political process have hardly made a dent in their support for the insurgency? When the end result is less likely to be the stable democratic regime we supposedly went there to establish than a civil war followed by the breakup of Iraq into three separate countries?

There has been one great exception to this relentless drumbeat of bad news. It occurred in January 2005, in the coverage of the first election in liberated Iraq. To the astonishment of practically everyone in the world, more than eight million Iraqis came out to vote on election day even though the Islamofascist terrorists had threatened to slaughter them if they did. This very astonishment was a measure of how false an impression had been created of the state of affairs in Iraq. No one fed by the mainstream media could have had the slightest inkling that these eight million people were actually there, so invisible had they been to reporters who spent all their time interviewing the discontented Iraqi man-in-the-street and to cameras seemingly incapable of focusing on anything but carnage and rubble.

But the mainstream media soon recovered from the shock. By October, on the morning after a second ballot in which the new Iraqi constitution was ratified by fully 79% of the electorate, the Washington Post ran its announcement of these inspiring results on page 13. As for the paper's front page, the columnist Jeff Jacoby would note that it

was dominated by a photograph, stretched across four columns, of three daughters at the funeral of their father, . . . who had died from injuries suffered during a Sept. 26 bombing in Baghdad. Two accompanying stories, both above the fold, were headlined "Military Has Lost 2,000 in Iraq" and "Bigger, Stronger, Homemade Bombs Now to Blame for Half of U.S. Deaths." A nearby graphic--"The Toll"--divided the 2,000 deaths by type of military service.

In sum, in the words of the Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff:

Death, violence, terrorism, precarious political situation, problems with reconstruction, and public frustration (both in Iraq and America) dominate, if not overwhelm, the mainstream media coverage and commentary on Iraq.

About a year ago, concerned that he might have been exaggerating when he made this assertion on the basis of his "gut feeling," Mr. Chrenkoff decided to check it out more scientifically. So he did "a little tally" of the stories published or broadcast all over the world on a single average day (which happened to be Jan. 21, 2005). Here are some of the numbers that, with the help of the Google News Index, he was able to report from that one day:

* 2,642 stories about Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearings, in the context of grilling she has received over the administration's Iraq policy.


* 1,992 stories about suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks.


* 887 stories about prisoner abuse by British soldiers.


* 216 stories about hostages currently being held in Iraq.


* 761 stories reporting on activities and public statements of insurgents.


* 357 stories about the antiwar movement and the dropping public support for involvement in Iraq.


* 182 stories about American servicemen killed and wounded in operations.


* 217 stories about concerns for fairness and validity of Iraqi election (low security, low turnout, etc.).


* 107 stories about civilian deaths in Iraq.


* 123 stories noting Vice President Cheney's admission that he had underestimated the task of reconstruction.


* 118 stories about complicated and strained relations between the U.S. and Europe.


* 121 stories discussing the possibility of an American pullout.


* 27 stories about sabotage of Iraqi oil infrastructure.

As against all this, the good news made a pathetic showing:

* 16 stories about security successes in the fight against insurgents.


* 7 stories about positive developments relating to elections.


* 73 stories about the return to Iraq of stolen antiquities.

Obviously, then, the reporters and their editors in the mainstream media have been working overtime to show how badly things have been going for us in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the op-ed pundits, the academic theorists and the armchair generals have chimed in with analyses blaming it all on the incompetence of the president and his appointees. By now, the proposition that the aftermath of the invasion has been marked by one disastrous blunder after another is accepted without question or qualification by just about everyone: open opponents of the Bush Doctrine eager to prove that they were right to denounce the invasion; Democrats whose main objective is to discredit the Bush administration; and erstwhile supporters who have lost heart and are looking for a way to justify their desertion.

But the charge of incompetence has also been hurled by strong supporters of the Bush Doctrine in general and of the invasion of Iraq in particular, whose purpose is to prod the people running the operation into doing a better job. The most authoritative such supporter, Eliot A. Cohen of Johns Hopkins, has expressed a

desire--barely controlled--to slap the highly educated fool who, having no soldier friends or family, once explained to me that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties are not really all that high, and that I really shouldn't get exercised about them.

Now, this person may well have deserved a slap for being presumptuous toward a distinguished military historian, or for insensitivity in downplaying casualties when speaking to the father of an infantry officer on his way to Iraq. But at the risk of exposing myself as another highly educated fool, I must confess that I too think we need to be reminded that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties in this one are very low by any historical standard.

Before measuring Iraq in these two respects, I want to look more closely at some of the actions taken by the Bush administration that are universally accepted as mistakes, and to begin by pointing out that the main one is based on an outright falsification of the facts. This is the accusation that no thought was given to what would happen once we got to Baghdad and no plans were therefore made for dealing with the aftermath of the combat phase. Yet the plain truth is that much thought was given to, and many plans were made for dealing with, horrors that everyone expected to happen and then, mercifully, did not. Among these: house-to-house fighting to take Baghdad, the flight of a million or more refugees, the setting of the oil fields afire, and the outbreak of a major civil war.

As for the insurgency, even if its dimensions had accurately been foreseen, it would still have been impossible to eliminate it in short order. To cite Mr. Cohen himself:

If the insurgencies in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka, and Kashmir continue, what reason do we have to expect this one to end so soon?

A related group of alleged "mistakes" turn out on closer inspection to be judgment calls, concerning which it is possible for reasonable men to differ. The most widely circulated of these--especially among supporters of the war on the right--is that there were too few American "boots on the ground" to mount an effective campaign against the insurgency. Perhaps. And yet the key factor in fighting a terrorist insurgency is not the number of troops deployed against it but rather the amount and quality of the intelligence that can be obtained from infiltrating its ranks and from questioning prisoners (a task made all the more difficult for us by the campaign here at home to define torture down to the point where it would become illegal to subject even a captured terrorist to generally accepted methods of interrogation).

Finally, there are "mistakes" that were actually choices between two evils--choices that had to be made when it was by no means obvious which was the lesser of the two. The best example here is the policy of "de-Baathification." This led to a disbanding of the Iraqi army, whose embittered Sunni members were then putatively left with nothing to do but volunteer their services to the insurgency. Yet allowing Saddam Hussein's thugs to continue controlling the army would have embittered the Shiites and the Kurds instead, both of whom had suffered greatly at the hands of the Sunni minority. Is it self-evident that this would have been better for us or for Iraq?

However, even if I were to concede for the sake of argument that every one of these accusations was justified, I would still contend that they amounted to chump change when stacked up against the mistakes that were made in World War II--a war conducted by acknowledged giants like Roosevelt and Churchill. Tim Cavanaugh, in a posting on the website of Reason magazine, has offered a partial list of such blunders and the lives that were lost because of them: "American Marines were slaughtered at Tarawa because the pre-invasion bombardment of the island was woefully deficient. Hundreds of American paratroopers were killed by American anti-aircraft fire during landings in Italy--for that matter the entire campaign up the Italian boot was an obvious waste of time, resources, and lives that prevented the western Allies from getting seriously into the war until the middle of 1944. . . . In late 1944, Allied commanders failed to anticipate that the Germans would attack through Belgium despite their having done so in 1914 and 1940." In brief, Cavanaugh concludes, "On any given week, World War II offered more [foul-ups] and catastrophes than anything that has been seen in postwar Iraq."

And I would also still say, as I have said before, that the number of American casualties in Iraq is minimal as compared with the losses suffered in past wars: in World War II, 405,399; in Korea, 36,574; in Vietnam, 58,209. Similarly, the mistakes--again assuming they were mistakes rather than debatable judgment calls--committed in the first year after the fall of Saddam were relatively inconsequential when measured against those made in the aftermath of the Allied victories over Germany and Japan.

Several Iraqi bloggers, and many letters written by American soldiers in the field that have found their way onto the Internet, paint a very different picture. Like Arthur Chrenkoff, these close-range observers do not overlook the persistence of major problems, and they do not deny that we still have a long way to go before Iraq becomes secure, stable and democratic. But they document with great detail the amazing progress that has been made, even under the gun of Islamofascist terrorism, in building--from scratch--the political morale of a country ravaged by "posttotalitarian stress disorder," in setting up the institutional foundations of a federal republic, in getting the economy moving, and in reconstructing the physical infrastructure.

The columnist Max Boot, who has himself been free with charges of incompetence, and who takes the position that we should have put more troops into Iraq, can (like Eliot Cohen) see clearly through his own reservations to provide a good summary of the situation as it now stands:

For starters, one can point to two successful elections . . ., on Jan. 30 and Oct. 15, in which the majority of Iraqis braved insurgent threats to vote. The constitutional referendum in October was particularly significant because it marked the first wholesale engagement of Sunnis in the political process. . . . This is big news. The most disaffected group in Iraq is starting to realize that it must achieve its objectives through ballots, not bullets.

Moving on to the economy, Mr. Boot (relying on a Brookings Institution report) tells us that "for all the insurgents' attempts to sabotage the Iraqi economy," per capita income has doubled since 2003 and is now 30% higher than it was before the war; that the Iraqi economy is projected to grow at a whopping 16.8% in 2006; and that there are five times as many cars on the streets than in Saddam Hussein's day, five as many more telephone subscribers, and 32 times as many Internet users.

Finally, Mr. Boot points out that whereas not a single independent media outlet existed in Iraq before 2003, there are now 44 commercial TV stations, 72 radio stations, and more than 100 newspapers.

To all of this we can add the 3,404 public schools, 304 water and sewage projects, 257 fire and police stations, and 149 public-health facilities that had been built as of September 2005, with another 921 such projects currently under construction.

As for the military front, a November 2005 report by the Committee on the Present Danger cites an example of what is being accomplished by American troops:

In the recent Operation Steel Curtain on the Syrian border, our troops detained more than 1,000 suspected insurgents. One hundred weapons caches were found and cleared. Since January, 116 of Zarqawi's lieutenants have been killed or captured.

The CPD report also notes the steady strengthening of the Iraqi armed forces, and the increasing degree of responsibility they are assuming in the fight against the insurgency:

[Since July] Iraq's armed forces . . . have added 22 new battalions, and 5,500 police-service personnel have been trained and equipped (as have some 2,000 special-police commanders). Coalition senior officers report that 80 Iraqi battalions now are able to fight alongside our troops and 36 are "generally able to conduct independent operations." More than 20 of the coalition's forward-operating bases have been turned over to the Iraqi army.

The CPD supports the campaign in Iraq. Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies is (to put it mildly) unfriendly to the Bush Doctrine and all its works. But Mr. Cordesman concurs with the CPD assessment. Citing slightly different statistics, he notes

continued increase in the number of Iraqi units able to take the lead in combat operations against the insurgency . . . progress of Iraqi units in assuming responsibility for the battle space . . . [and] continued increase in the number of units and individuals trained, equipped, and formed into operational status.

What this means in concrete terms is laid out by Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, also no great admirer of how the Bush administration has conducted the Iraq campaign:

For two years, when reporters would ask how it was possible that the mightiest military in history could not secure a five-kilometer stretch of road, the military responded with long, jargon-filled lectures. . . . Then one day this summer the military was ordered to secure the road. . . . Presto. Using Iraqi forces, the road was secured. Similar strategies have made cities like Najaf, Mosul, Tal Afar and even Falluja much safer today than they were a year ago.

Why is there so little public awareness of these things? One young reporter, who proudly proclaims his membership in the mainstream media, has been only too happy to provide an explanation:

As long as American soldiers are getting killed nearly every day, we're not going to be giving much coverage to the opening of multimillion dollar sewage projects. American lives are worth more than Iraqi shit.

Observe, in this clever and brutal formulation, the professed concern with American casualties. From it, one might imagine that the statement is worlds away from the hostility to American military power--and to America in general--that pervaded the radical left in the 1960s and that in a milder liberal mutation came to be known as the "post-Vietnam syndrome." And it is certainly true that the antiwar movement spawned by Vietnam rarely had a tear to shed for the American lives that were being lost there. But the newfound tenderness toward our troops in Iraq does not in the least reflect a change in attitude toward the use of force by the United States. To the contrary, the relentless harping on American casualties by the mainstream media is part of an increasingly desperate effort to portray Iraq as another Vietnam: a foolish and futile (if not immoral and illegal) resort to military power in pursuit of a worthless (if not unworthy) goal.

Mark Twain once famously said that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. So it was, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with the post-Vietnam syndrome. During those early weeks, a number of commentators were quick to proclaim the birth of an entirely new era in American history. What Dec. 7, 1941 had done to the isolationism of old, they announced, Sept. 11, 2001 had done to the Vietnam syndrome. Politically speaking, it was dead, and the fallout from the Vietnam War--namely, the hostility to America and especially to American military power--would follow it into the grave.

As is evident from the coverage of Iraq in the mainstream media, such pronouncements were more than a little premature: the Vietnam syndrome is still alive and well. But equally apparent is that the reporters and editors to whom it is a veritable religion understand very clearly that success in Iraq could deal the Vietnam syndrome a mortal blow. Little wonder, then, that they have so resolutely tried to ignore any and all signs of progress--or, when that becomes impossible, to dismiss them as so much "shit."

This, however, is at least a kind of tribute to our progress, if a perverse one. The same cannot be said of the opponents of the Bush Doctrine in the universities and think tanks, who are unwilling even to acknowledge that more and better things are happening in Iraq and the broader Middle East than are dreamed of in their philosophy.

Take Zbigniew Brzezinski, who left the academy to serve as Jimmy Carter's national security adviser and is now a professor again. In a recently published piece entitled "American Debacle," Mr. Brzezinski began by accusing George W. Bush of "suicidal statecraft," went on to pronounce the intervention in Iraq (along with everything else this president has done) a total disaster, and ended by urging that we withdraw from that country "perhaps even as early as next year." Unlike the late Sen. George Aiken of Vermont, who once proposed that we declare victory in Vietnam and then get out, Mr. Brzezinski wants to declare defeat in Iraq and then get out. This, he mysteriously assures us, will help restore "the legitimacy of America's global role."

Now I have to admit that I find it a little rich that George W. Bush should be accused of "suicidal statecraft" by, of all people, the man who in the late 1970s helped shape a foreign policy that emboldened the Iranians to seize and hold American hostages while his boss in the Oval Office stood impotently by for almost six months before finally authorizing a rescue operation so inept that it only compounded our national humiliation.

And where was Mr. Brzezinski--famed at the time for his anticommunism--when the President he served congratulated us on having overcome our "inordinate fear of communism"? Where was Mr. Brzezinski--known far and wide for his hard-line determination to resist Soviet expansionism--when Cyrus Vance, the then secretary of state, declared that the Soviet Union and the United States had "similar dreams and aspirations," and when Mr. Carter himself complacently informed us that containment was no longer necessary? And how was it that, despite daily meetings with Mr. Brzezinski, Mr. Carter remained so blind to the nature of the Soviet regime that the invasion of Afghanistan, as he himself would admit, taught him more in a week about the nature of that regime than he had managed to learn in an entire lifetime? Had the cat gotten Mr. Brzezinski's tongue in the three years leading up to that invasion--the same tongue he now wags with such confidence at George W. Bush?

But even if Mr. Brzezinski's record over the past 30 years did not disqualify him from dispensing advice on how to conduct American foreign policy, this diatribe against Mr. Bush would by itself be enough. For here he looks over the Middle East, and what does he see? He sees the United States being "stamped as the imperialistic successor to Britain and as a partner of Israel in the military repression of the Arabs." This may not be fair, he covers himself by adding; but not a single word does he say to indicate that the British created the very despotisms the United States is now trying to replace with democratic regimes, or that George W. Bush is the first American president to have come out openly for a Palestinian state.

Again Mr. Brzezinski looks over the Middle East, and what does he see? He sees the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and by extension Guantanamo, causing the loss of America's "moral standing" as a "country that has stood tall" against "political repression, torture, and other violations of human rights." And that is all he sees--quite as though we never liberated Afghanistan from the theocratic tyranny of the Taliban, or Iraq from the fascist despotism of Saddam Hussein. But how, after all, when it comes to standing tall against "political repression, torture, and other violations of human rights," can such achievements compare with a sanctimonious lecture by Jimmy Carter followed by the embrace of one Third World dictator after another?

Then for a third time Mr. Brzezinski looks over the Middle East, and what does he see? He sees more and more sympathy for terrorism, and more and more hatred of America, being generated throughout the region by our actions in Iraq; and in this context, too, that is all he sees. About the momentous encouragement that our actions have given to the forces of reform that never dared act or even speak up before, he is completely silent--though it is a phenomenon that even so inveterate a hater of America as the Lebanese dissident Walid Jumblatt has found himself compelled to recognize. Thus, only a few months after declaring that "the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory," Mr. Jumblatt suddenly woke up to what those U.S. soldiers had actually been doing for the world in which he lived:

It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting [in January 2005], eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.

The columnist Michael Barone has listed some of the developments that bear out Jumblatt's judgment:

[The] progress toward democracy in Iraq is leading Middle Easterners to concentrate on the question of how to build decent governments and decent societies. We can see the results--the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the first seriously contested elections in Egypt, Libya's giving up WMD's, the Jordanian protests against Abu Musab Zarqawi's recent suicide attacks, and even a bit of reform in Saudi Arabia.

Even in Syria, reports the Washington Post's David Ignatius:

People talk politics . . . with a passion I haven't heard since the 1980s in Eastern Europe. They're writing manifestos, dreaming of new political parties, trying to rehabilitate old ones from the 1950s.

And not only in Syria. As the democratic activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who, like Mr. Jumblatt, originally opposed the invasion of Iraq, told Mr. Ignatius's colleague Jim Hoagland:

Those [in the Middle East] who believe in democracy and civil society are finally actors . . . [because the invasion of Iraq] has unfrozen the Middle East, just as Napoleon's 1798 expedition did. Elections in Iraq force the theocrats and autocrats to put democracy on the agenda, even if only to fight against us. Look, neither Napoleon nor President Bush could impregnate the region with political change. But they were able to be midwives.

Nor are such changes confined to the political sphere alone. According to a report in The Economist, a revulsion against terrorism has begun to spread among Muslim clerics, including some who, like the secular Mr. Jumblatt, were only recently applauding its use against Americans:

Moderate Muslim clerics have grown increasingly concerned at the abuse of religion to justify killing. In Saudi Arabia, numerous preachers once famed for their fighting words now advise tolerance and restraint. Even so rigid a defender of suicide attacks against Israel . . . as Yusuf Qaradawi, the star preacher of the popular al-Jazeera satellite channel, denounces bombings elsewhere and calls on the perpetrators to repent.

Zbigniew Brzezinski may be wrongheaded, but he is neither blind nor stupid. Why, then, his willful silence in the face of all these signs of progress? I can only interpret it as the product of a rising panic. No less than the denizens of the mainstream media, he is desperately struggling to salvage a worldview that, like theirs, should have been but was not killed off by 9/11 and that, like theirs, may well suffer a truly mortal blow if the Bush Doctrine passes through the great test of fire it is undergoing in Iraq.

Mr. Brzezinski's worldview is a syncretistic mix of foreign-policy realism (with its emphasis on stability and the sanctity of national borders) and liberal internationalism (with its unshakable faith in compromise, consensus and international institutions). In this he differs somewhat from another former national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, a Republican who occupied the office under George W. Bush's father and whose own commitment to the realist perspective is pure and unadulterated.

In spite of this difference, the two men are at one in regarding the war in Iraq as a disastrous distraction from the really important business to which we should be attending in the Middle East--namely, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In an article published some months before the invasion and entitled "Don't Attack Saddam," Mr. Scowcroft wrote:

Possibly the most dire consequence [of attacking Saddam] would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict, there would be an explosion of outrage against us.

Evidently he still holds to this view. So does Mr. Brzezinski, who attacks "the Bush team" for having transformed "a manageable, though serious, challenge of largely regional origin into an international debacle," and who urges us to get out of Iraq, the sooner the better, so that we can shift our focus back to where it really belongs--"the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."

Well, whether the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is truly "the obsession of the region" or, rather, a screen for other things, it certainly is the obsession of Messrs. Brzezinski and Scowcroft, as it is of almost everyone else who looks at the Middle East from the so-called realist perspective and to whom stability is the great desideratum. Even from that perspective, however, the nonstop preoccupation with Israel would seem to be warranted only if the conflict with the Palestinians were the main cause of instability throughout the region.

This is indeed what Messrs. Brzezinski, Scowcroft, and most other members of the realist school believe. (But not Henry Kissinger, the leading realist of them all. Even though he is skeptical about the possibility of democratizing the Middle East, Mr. Kissinger favored the invasion of Iraq and thinks that victory there is essential. Nor does he believe that the war between the Palestinians and Israel is the most important problem in the world, or even in the Middle East.)

Yet the realities to which the realists are so deferential in the abstract make utter nonsense of this idea. Since the birth of Israel in 1948, there have been something like two dozen wars in the Middle East (variously involving Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Iraq) that have had nothing whatever to do with the Jewish state, or with the Palestinians. In one of these alone--the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88--more lives were lost than in all the wars involving Israel put together.

The obsessive animus against Israel goes hand in hand with the overall strategy for dealing with the Middle East that prevailed before 9/11, and to which Messrs. Brzezinski and Scowcroft are still married, heart and soul and mind. The best and most succinct description of that strategy was given by President Bush himself in explaining why 9/11 had driven him to reject it in favor of a radically different approach:

For decades free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy.

And again:

In the past, . . . longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.

We learn from Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker that, when Condoleezza Rice quoted these words to Scowcroft (her former mentor), he responded that the policy Bush was rejecting had actually brought us "50 years of peace." (What, asked James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, "do you call someone" who can describe the many wars that have been fought in the Middle East in the past five decades as "50 years of peace"? Mr. Taranto's sardonic answer: "A 'realist.' ")

In addition to remaining convinced that the old way of doing things was right, Mr. Scowcroft is utterly disdainful of the new approach being followed by George W. Bush, which (as I like to describe it) is to make the Middle East safe for America by making it safe for democracy. "I believe," he told Jeffrey Goldberg, "that you cannot with one sweep of the hand or the mind cast off thousands of years of history." But the despotisms in the Middle East are not thousands of years old, and they were not created by Allah or the Prophet Muhammad. All of them were established after World War I--that is, less than a century ago--by the British and the French.

This being the case, there is nothing "utopian" about the idea that such regimes--planted with shallow roots by two Western powers--could be uprooted with the help of a third Western power, and that a better political system could be put in their place. And, in fact, this is exactly what has been happening before our very eyes in Iraq. In the span of three short years, Iraq, liberated by the United States from the totalitarian tyranny of Saddam Hussein, has taken one giant step after another toward democratization. Yet Mr. Scowcroft can still assure us that "you're not going to democratize Iraq," and certainly not "in any reasonable time frame."

As with Mr. Brzezinski, so again it seems that nothing else but panic can explain so astonishing a degree of denial.

Like the mainstream media and the theorists in the academy and the think tanks, the Democratic Party--fearing that it might be frozen out of power for a very long time to come--is also in a panic over the signs that George W. Bush's new approach to the greater Middle East is on the verge of passing the test of Iraq. Hence the veritable hysteria with which the Democrats have recently tried to delegitimize the war: first by claiming (three years after the fact!) that it had begun with a lie, and then by declaring that it was ending in a defeat. Leaning heavily on the turn in public opinion largely brought about by reports in the mainstream media and the lucubrations of the theorists, the Democrats--with the notably honorable exception of Sen. Joseph Lieberman--now joined in by clamoring openly for a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

A goodly number of these Democrats (party chairman Howard Dean and Rep. Cynthia McKinney, to name only two) are the "Tories" of today, in the sense of having from the very beginning stood openly and unambiguously against the revolution in foreign policy represented by the Bush Doctrine and now being put to the test in Iraq. But a much larger number of Democrats fit more smoothly into Tom Paine's category of "disguised" Tories. These are the congressmen and senators who in their heart of hearts were against the resolution authorizing the president to use force against Saddam Hussein, but who--given the state of public opinion at the time--feared being punished at the polls unless they voted for it. Now, however, with public opinion moving in the other direction, they have been emboldened to "show their heads."

Finally, we have a certain number of Democrats who correspond to "the summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots" of the American Revolution. One of them is Rep. John Murtha, who backed the invasion of Iraq because (to give him the benefit of the doubt) he really thought it was the right thing to do, but who has now bought entirely into the view that all is lost and that the only sensible course is to turn tail:

The war in Iraq is . . . a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. . . . Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people, or the Persian Gulf region. . . . Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists, and foreign jihadists. . . . Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.

It seems never to have occurred to Mr. Murtha that talk of this kind could only confuse and demoralize the troops for whose welfare, and for whose sufferings, he expresses such concern. By all accounts, those troops are very proud of what they are accomplishing in Iraq. How then could they not be confounded when a respected congressman--a former Marine, no less--declares that they have been fighting for nothing, nothing whatsoever, and when for saying so he gets a standing ovation from his fellow Democrats? How could they not be demoralized to be told that there is no point in going on because their very presence in Iraq is making things worse for everyone concerned?

And how, by the same token, could talk of this kind fail to give new heart to the Islamofascist terrorists--just when they are on the run? How could they not be delighted to see the elected representatives of the American people carrying on a heated debate in which the only questions at issue are how quickly to bug out of Iraq, and whether to fix a timetable and a deadline? How could they not feel vindicated when, after being surprised by the fierce reaction of the Americans to 9/11, they now behold fresh evidence for believing that Osama bin Laden was right after all when he called us a paper tiger?

On the other hand, if (as the president intended all along, as he reiterated in his great speech of Nov. 30 at Annapolis, and as is prescribed in the recently declassified "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq") American forces are drawn down only at the rate and to the extent that they can be replaced with similar numbers of Iraqi soldiers and policemen fully capable of taking over, the joy now being felt by the Islamofascists will commensurately be replaced by dread. For no one knows better than they that, once up to snuff and on their own, the new Iraqi forces will be less inhibited than the Americans by moral considerations and accordingly much more ruthless in the way they fight.

Tom Paine grew so disgusted with "the mean principles that are held by the Tories," with the hypocrisy of the disguised Tories, and with the shrinking from hardship of the summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots of 1776-77 that he finally gave up trying to persuade them:

I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world to either their folly or their baseness.

And so, "quitting this class of men . . . who see not the full extent of the evil that threatens them," Paine turned "to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out," and rested his hopes on them.

These hopes, we know and thank God for it, were not disappointed. And neither will be the hopes of those today who likewise see "the full extent of the evil that threatens" us; who understand the necessity of the war that our country has been waging against it; who recognize the moral, political, and intellectual boldness of how George W. Bush has chosen to fight this war; and who take pride in the nobility of what the United States, at whose birth Tom Paine assisted, is now, more than 200 years later, battling to achieve in Iraq and, in the fullness of time, in the entire region of which Iraq is so crucial a part.

Mr. Podhoretz is editor-at-large of Commentary and author of 10 books, most recently "The Norman Podhoretz Reader," edited by Thomas L. Jeffers (Free Press, 2004). This article will appear in Commentary's January issue.

source: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007661