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Just When You Thought North Korea Couldn’t Get Any Nuttier


“All triplets in North Korea are being forcibly removed from parents after their birth and dumped in bleak orphanages. The policy is carried out on the orders of Stalinist dictator Kim Jong-il, who has an irrational belief that a triplet could one day topple his regime.

The number three is thought to be auspicious in North Korea and triplets are revered. It is believed they are likely to rise to positions of power, which accounts for Kim’s insistence that they are all raised in state-run orphanages, where their development can be controlled.”

Cnbc, Part Ii


Just got off the phone with the producer prepping me for tonight’s interview. I was indeed pushed to say something as critical as possible about Rumsfeld, but stuck to my guns that the troop issue was not a huge problem, has been blown out of proportion, but does contain a kernel of truth that gives us a lesson for the future. I’m more optimistic now about how it will go. The interview should air around 11:30PM, and will be with Forrest Sawyer.


Psychic Children Peace Prayer


Web Briefing: September 22, 2014



I’ve just been asked to appear on CNBC’s evening newscast with Brian Williams, between 11PM and midnight tonight. I’m to discuss today’s NRO piece, “Troop Dearth.” I suppose I should be happy, since I only rarely do network TV. But I can’t help but feel I’m being asked to appear because I’ve said something critical, however measured and qualified, about the administration. I’m going to work hard to make sure that the interview conveys my real position–which is that some relatively minor and correctable misjudgements about troop strength do not mean that this war is unsuccessful, or a quagmire. Whatever mistakes have been made are important, not as signs that the war is going badly, but as warning signs about our need for a larger military.


Amazing Win


United States Military Academy cadets attending the World Model United
Nations championship
in Heidelberg, Germany, not only took
the gold medal, but won more awards than any team from any school has ever
attended a World Model UN conference. Competing against 850 students from 86
universities in 35 countries, twelve of thirteen West Point team members won
the World Model United Nations Award for Diplomacy in their committees. This
result is even more astonishing considering that the Cadets were role
playing as French and German UN delegates, an incredible handicap to

Dear Leader in Hiding


Today’s New York Times reports that North Korean president, Kim Jong Il, has not been seen in public in 46 days. South Korean newspapers are speculating that Dear Leader is afraid of a decapitation attack of the type the United States launched against Saddam Hussein. Prior to our invasion of Iraq, there was some concern that the America had precipitously taken the military option off the table by saying that we had not intention of attacking North Korea. But actions speak louder than words. Without our having to make any direct statements, the North Koreans have gotten the message.

Wfb On Moynihan


“always said the right thing and always voted the wrong way.”

That’s Our Geraldo


Remember when Geraldo Rivera did this? It’s not even in the same galaxy as Peter Arnett’s ethical violation, but it does speak to why the self-aggrandizing Rivera’s reporting makes me queasy. I simply don’t trust the guy to tell it straight.

By The Way


There are like 19 pieces on National Review Online today. You might like SOMETHING.



I’ve gotten a few emails from readers upset that NRO praised Moynihan in several obits. I can understand why some — if not many — conservatives had problems with Moynihan as a Senator. He voted liberal in order to keep his New York seat even when his votes ran against the spirit, if not the text, of his work as an intellectual. That’s fair criticism. But Moynihan was also a brilliant intellectual and statesman and a thoroughly decent man. Regardless, if you think National Review Online is straying from conservative orthodoxy in some way by saluting this man upon the occassion of his death, I would simply note that we are hardly alone. See today’s column by Robert Novak, or last Friday’s columns by George Will and Michael Barone (in the WSJ).

From My Seeing-Through-Agendas Guy


“Advisors split as War Unfolds, One Faction Hopes Bush Notes ‘Bum Advice,’” reads a piece in today’s Washington Post. What’s going on, of course, is those opposed to President Bush’s policy in Iraq are doing their very best to undermine the president’s advisors working in the offices of Cheney and Rumsfeld and to pump up their status as seasoned foreign policy hands. One “former [Republican] party official” is quoted as saying that “Powell won’t pick up the fight and won’t represent State Department professionals who are appalled by what is about to happen.”

State Department “professionals” — Well, let’s take a look at the track record of these “professionals.” Saddam invades Kuwait after a State “professional” tells him that the US doesn’t really have much of an opinion on his dispute with Kuwait. Saddam invades and the “professionals” at State push sanctions over force to contain Saddam. Once war commences, State “professionals” support the limited war aim of kicking Iraq out of Kuwait and that’s it. Then, after the war, the US encourages a Shiite revolt against Saddam but the US, on advice of many “professionals” at State, does nothing and tens of thousands Shiites are slaughtered by Saddam’s henchmen. You see, State “professionals” wanted stability over freedom and to that end constructed a containment policy to box in Saddam after he crushed the revolt in the south. As part of this containment, large US forces were stationed on the Arabian peninsula, which, in turn, poured more and more fuel onto the fire of bin ladenism. You get the picture. Over the years, the “professionals” at State have made a huge mess in the Middle East by peddling out lots of bum advice to other US government officials. And, incidentally, we’re paying the price today because of the advice of State “professionals” in 1991. These quotes come from two pieces (Warily, Iraqis Get Acquainted With Marines,” “US Troops Meet Iraqis Peacefully”) in today’s New York Times.

“‘If the Americans want to get rid of Saddam, that’s O.K. with me,’ he [Khalid Juwad] said. ‘The only thing that would bother me is if they don’t finish the job. Then Saddam will come back, like he did in 1991.’”

“‘Don’t make the mistake of 1991,’ said a man in the crowd named Hussein, sidling up to an American. ‘People blame the USA because they prevent the uprising of 1991 and let Saddam kill people. There are 60 people gone from this town, and until today their families do not know whether they are in jail or not.’”

The Truth Is Out There


A reader writes:

In a two-part episode called “Dreamland” in the sixth season of the
X-Files, a gentleman who worked at Area 51 revealed (?) that Saddam
Hussein WAS in fact an American agent. He was supposedly a guy from New
Jersey, though I forget the name they gave him.

Trenton makes, Iraq takes.



A car just crashed into the British embassy in Tehran.



Mea Culpa Meltdown


Man, did y’all see Peter Arnett’s mea maxima culpa on the Today Show this morning? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it. He basically said he was a spent sack of journalistic offal who betrayed the trust of his employer and his American viewers. He groveled like nobody’s business. It was one of the most humiliating things I’ve ever seen on TV. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving journalist. He’s radioactive now, and will be lucky to get work as a weekend anchor on the UPN affiliate in Bugtussle, Arkansas.

By the way, anybody know if Geraldo really has been booted? Boy, that’d be a daisy-cutter to his ego. He’s been such a grandstander (as usual). He’s so full of himself. I can’t stand to watch him.

This Is Why I Do It


An e-mail that just came in:

But your umpteenth hundred entreaty to subscribe to NRODT just succeeded.
Don’t ask me why? I don’t know. But then again, I don’t know why I didn’t
subscribe years ago. Just wanted to let you know.

Go for it!

Interesting Criticism


From a reader:

good article online today. usually, i read NRO just to rile myself up at the sight of conservative warmongering. but this article was very thoughtful, if obviously arrogant and insulting in tone. i mean, you’re right on almost all counts. but i suppose if an arab were to read it, he or she would get really, really pissed off. and they would get rightfully angry…and that leads me to my only serious critique of the piece:

If you acknowledge that money, power, and security are not, in fact, the goals of Arab polity or society, then calling them stupid for ignoring your warnings is mistaken. That is, they’re stupid only if we apply our beliefs about what their goals *should* be. But like you said, they aren’t acting or thinking on the basis of even a comparable rationale. What they’re doing does not appear inconsistent with their goals, which, though i can hardly tell, do not appear to be economic growth or security. the intelligence of this choice *is* a matter for debate, but it is a much larger debate than you have introduced here. although i try to keep my american ego in check, it seems to me that it’s a region of the world with a really bad case of sour grapes, and they’ve sworn off the ‘western’ goals of money, power, etc. in an attempt to seem as though it’s not what they’re really after in the first place. i think it might be, but their assertion of power comes in different forms, e.g. spiritual conquest in the case of fundamentalists. nietzsche had a lot to say about this, in conjunction largely with a theory about how judeo-christian morality took root…i think it applies just as powerfully in the arab world.

take care, and please try not to be so insulting in your articles. people like me would be more likely to agree with you. but good reasoning seldom compensates for grating style. this was a rare case,
[name withheld]

Geraldo Confusion


What’s Syria Hiding?


Conspiracy Theory


Jonah, Daniel Pipes wrote a book about the role paranoia and conspiracy theory plays in Arab political thinking. I’ve not read it, but I’m eager to. I’ve told this story before, but every time I hear Arabs in the Middle East ranting like loons on TV. Three years ago, walking the road to Bethlehem, I met a Catholic priest from America. He had been serving in an Arab church for a decade. He told me he loved his people, but he didn’t understand them. He couldn’t believe how emotional they were, and how they allowed themselves to be ruled by conspiracy theory. The priest said that recently, Yassir Arafat had done something of which they didn’t approve, and the whole parish was buzzing with the news that Arafat was a closet Jew. As far as his people were concerned, the priest said, this was established fact.

“Next week, they’ll believe something completely the opposite, and won’t even notice the contradiction,” the priest said. He went on to explain how he’s seen cynical Arab political leaders use this to exploit people. He told me how Arafat and his top people were robbing the people blind, but they get away with it by playing on people’s willingness to believe a Jewish conspiracy is behind everything bad that ever happens to them. I could tell it really bothered this cleric, who obviously cared about his parishioners, but had no idea how to help people so willing to believe in superstition.

Last week, I read an account of an Iraqi soldier who had been captured in fighting, and was quoted saying that given all the misery and defeat Saddam has brought on Iraq, Saddam must surely be an American agent. It sounds like a sarcastic joke, but I bet the poor bastard meant it.


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