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Shock and Awe, Defined


A general on Fox says “S&A” marked by “ten bombs a minute, all over Iraq.”

Palestinians Choosing Sides Poorly, Again


Death to Bush, burning American flags, etc. Yes, yes, I know not all Palestinians.


Not Shock and Awe-Ing, Just Shellacking


Pentagon says this is merely more opportunistic target-whacking not the full tilt boogie for freedom and justice.

Web Briefing: October 22, 2014

The Surrendering Begins


Fox and wires reporting that intelligence officials say senior Republican Guard officers interested in surrendering.


The Story The World Is Ignoring


Major Bombing in Baghdad: Looks Like Shocking and Awing


John Derbyshire’s Poor Choice


Glenmorangie is the Villepin of whiskies, too smooth and more than a little deceptive. Laphroaig is the one to go for.

Operation Iraqi Freedom


Look, I am totally on board with this war, okay? I support the President
without reservation, okay? BUT… who the heck thought up “Operation Iraqi
Freedom” as the name for this campaign? Whatever happened to all those
in-your-face, aggressive names for military ops–the ones with words like
“storm,” “sword,” “lightning,” and so on? “Operation Iraqi Freedom”? It
reminds me of nothing so much as that lame joke Al Gore schlepped round with
him in the 2000 campaign, about him being so boring his Secret Service code
name was “Al Gore.” I mean, really. “Operation Iraqi Freedom”? Why not
“Operation Disarm the Saddam Hussein Regime in Accordance with U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1441″?

Brown Liquors


Mine’s Glenmorangie, please. (With the stress on the second syllable.)



And I’m not describing the apparatus around Louie Farrakhan’s head. A reader informs me:

The suits have rigged the system to prevent you from getting the credit you deserve. I tried to subscribe as you urged (JamesCosmo) and was instantly defeated. The first name field on the subscription app won’t allow more than JamesCos. Bummer!

I guess it’s Jameson’s direct.

But I assume, like James Kirk besting the Kobayashi Maru war game, you people will figure something out if you really try!

Grumble, Mutter, Frumpher, Grumble


I am reminded that subscribers have another option besides sending me fine brown liquors as a sign of their appreciation for National Review Online or for me (I love Balvenie by the way). They can also donate directly to our efforts by clicking here. Okay, “clicking” alone won’t do the trick. You also have to follow through with the shmundo. But you get the point.

A Vexing Question


A reader asks: Would you rather a bottle of Jameson’s or for me to subscribe to National Review?

This is a tough, tough question. I’m very tempted to borrow a page from the New Democrats and say that I believe this is a “false choice.” There’s no reason you cannot do both. But, I suppose if push came to shove (and I don’t mean the suits shoving me instead of just pushing me), I would prefer you subscribed to National Review. The success of this site, this magazine, and most of all, my career depends heavily on the support of people like you (yeah you the guy in the cubicle pretending to be cleaning his mouse pad).

In fact, since tomorrow is my birthday, I would be mightily pleased if you bought a subscription based upon my pleading. This would send the suits the proper message (and maybe even get them to buy me some Jameson’s). You could even send them a signal by adding “Cosmo” to your first name when you fill-in the subscription info (i.e. JohnCosmo Smith…). And, of course, those of you eager to get me a birthday present but already subscribe, there’s really no choice at all. I like the twelve-year olds — but not in a Michael Jackson kind of way.

Dallas, Here I Come


I have news. I’m leaving NR to join the Dallas Morning News as an editorial-writer and columnist. My last day at NR is April 2, and I’ll start at the News on April 10.

I’m excited to be going to Dallas, moving closer to family, and putting down roots. When I wrote this a couple of years ago, I knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before we left our beloved New York. Osama helped push us out the door. My three-year-old, Matthew, thinks Texas is paradise, and is so excited to be moving to the same state that President Bush calls home). There are very good things happening on the News’ editorial page, which recently came under the leadership of a dynamic new editor who identifies herself as a crunchy-con! Besides, how can a conservative (and conservative Catholic) not be excited by living among people who do things like this and this? Verily, verily, thou shalt not mess with Texas.

But I will miss National Review and New York City more than I can express (and maybe I will express it on NRO before I take off for Texas in a couple of weeks). I’ve never had a better job, never been prouder to be associated with a group of journalists, and never lived in as great a city. I can’t do anything about holding on to NYC, but Rich has graciously agreed to allow me to continue contributing to the whole NR/NRO world. So I’ll still be in touch, because I can’t stand to think about losing contact with the most loyal readers in the world.

Man, It’s Only 8:10 Pm in Baghdad


It’s going to be a very long night over there — and extremely difficult to pay attention to the hilarious variety show “Super-Terrific-Happy-Saddam-Hour.”

50 Howitzers Engaged in This Attack


According to Fox News correspondent at the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border as the battle commences.



John, yes that’s quite true about Sweden, although often it is pennants that they choose to fly, not flags. The Danes are partial to pennants too. Be careful what you display, however. Some Swedish friends of mine flew a Swedish pennant from the flagpole that stood outside their holiday home in Jutland (Denmark). Bad move. Overnight the flagpost was cut down by unknown, but affronted and presumably Danish, assailants.

Self-Congratulation Dept


From a reader:

I am in the “Corner” every few minutes because you are the fastest way for me to get information here at work. Thanks a million.

Is He Live or Memorex?


From an American reader working in the Gulf (exact nation withheld at his request):

Dear Mr. Goldberg:

I’m an American living in one of the Gulf states. One of the nicest benefits of being here is receiving the Iraqi satellite TV station. It’s a treat.

I write to report one fact and one opinion.

Fact: Iraqi satellite TV stopped broadcasting from sometime mid-morning until late this afternoon. ’Twas unscheduledly off the air. It’s back on now, showing the same old stuff. It would take many, many thousands of words to describe Iraqi satellite TV. Again, it’s a treat.

Opinion: As we don’t get CBS, I didn’t see Dan Rather’s interview with Mr. Hussein. That’s a heartbreaker, I know. However, for some months now, I’ve made a point of checking the Iraqi station several times each evening to see what might be playing. The Saddam Show. The Saddam Quote Show. Saddam-Is-Great Music Television. Same shocking Saddam-Is Great karaoke shows. The Death-to-Bush and Saddam-is-Great Show. Reruns of the aforementioned. And so on.

Anyway, though I didn’t see Mr. Rather’s recent interview, I do get to see quite a lot of Mr. Hussein and hear his voice by regularly looking at Iraqi satellite TV. It is my opinion that the tape shown this morning was indeed Mr. Hussein.

The face was right. The voice was right. He’s an old man, and new footage isn’t all that common. Most of the images seen of him these days are from some years back. The newer footage shows the same man seen this morning.

My wife and I have seen at least one fake Saddam on Iraqi television, and I assure you, you’ll know the fake Saddam when you see the fake Saddam. The effort was slapdash and amateurish and weak. It was pitiable. It was hilarious. We laughed uproariously.

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin


Woops. I need to correct myself. A reader reminds me that the phrase “numbered days” harkens back to the phrase “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.” Which of course was the original “writing on the wall,” written by the finger of God, and seen by Belshazzar. The story is chronicled in the Book of Daniel. Translations differ slightly but it means essentially: “God has numbered your days. You have been weighed in the eyes of God and been found wanting. Your kingdom has been divided.” Please, no emails with different translations.

The scene is captured in my absolute favorite painting, “Belshezzar’s Feast” by Rembrandt. I’ve had a framed copy of that painting on my wall for years.

So, I’ve got to say, in this case the use of the phrase for Saddam is perfectly appropriate.

Hostage Situation


Since apparently SH & Co. intend to hang tough, what we really have here is
what police call a hostage situation. The hostages, of course, are the
Iraqi people. Did not SH wonder aloud the other day how many Iraqis we are
prepared to kill? Seen from this point of view, those “leadership strikes”
are the equivalent of a police sharpshooter trying for a headshot. May they
succeed, and soon!


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