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I Love This Email



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From a CNN viewer upset with my poo-pooing of the anti-war demonstrators:

You do not belong in a democracy, nor are you a true American. If all voices are not heard and considered (something you are incapable of doing in your own smugness) unique solutions to difficult problems will never occur. You are of the sledgehammer variety that says might is right, not might for right. I will remember to turn off my TV the next time you sit on the round table. And by the way, tell CNN to get a more rounded round table. Thanks.

Bundy Mania



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It’s been a grim weekend, but all is not lost. There’s a Married With Children reunion on TV tonight. Walter Mosley pays tribute to the great Al Bundy in today’s New York Times.

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Pictures From a Demonstration



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Via blogger Asparagirl.

Web Briefing: December 21, 2014

Let Down by The Left



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A British leftist on how the Stop the War coalition is betraying Iraq’s democrats. Harold Pinter comes in for a dishonorable mention.

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Movie of The Moment



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Channel-surfing looking for a weather report a few minutes ago, I happened upon USA Network’s broadcast of The Siege, a film in which martial law is declared in New York City because of Islamic terrorist attacks. Of course now I’m hooked — the terrorists have just bombed to rubble One Federal Plaza, and the recovery scene looks exactly like the remains of the World Trade Center. When the movie came out, Arab-American groups went berserk, saying the film was stirring up racism by imagining a scenario in which Muslim villains destroyed New York landmarks. Now that it’s happened, in an event far worse than anything depicted in this movie, and it may happen again, I wonder what they would say if the film were re-released. Probably the same thing — except now that we have seen that Islamic extremists are in fact exactly what this film portrayed them to be, there’s little chance politically correct Hollywood will ever make them villains again.

One eerie thing: the Twin Towers are still there, in the film. Absolutely chilling to see.

Bruce Willis, playing a general in this film, stands near the Brooklyn Bridge (with the Twin Towers in the background!) saying that the military has sealed off Brooklyn and is “squeezing” the borough looking for the Arab terrorists. I remember thinking when I first saw that four years ago that that was laying it on pretty thick. It seems a lot more realistic sitting here in Brooklyn this cold afternoon in February, 2003.

Commercial’s over. Back to the film.

Pinter, Again



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Also available at the New York demonstration yesterday were copies of a recent speech by our old chum, British playwright Harold Pinter, a cheerleader, it sometimes seems, for any tyranny so long as it is opposed to the US. He recalls having emerged from a “private nightmare” (he has been very ill) into “an infinitely more pervasive public nightmare – the nightmare of American hysteria, ignorance, stupidity and belligerence; the most powerful nation the world has ever known effectively waging war against the rest of the world.”

To believe that requires either a remarkably low IQ or quite astonishing malevolence. Harold Pinter is not a stupid man.

Pinter is also interviewed in this weekend’s Financial Times. The interviewer writes, “It is not necessary to agree with [Pinter] to see that he speaks from the heart.”

From the heart?

I would choose another part of the body, but read this extract from the FT piece and judge for yourself:

“[Pinter] last visited the US in July 2001, for a festival of his work in New York. While there, he met an old friend from 30 years ago. “It was very nice to see her again. We had lunch. Then I came back, and my birthday was in October – and October follows September, right? – and she left me a message on my answering machine wishing me a happy birthday. I thought: “That’s very nice.” I rang her number in New York, to thank her, and she wasn’t there. So her answering machine came on and said: “I am out, I’ll be back at four o’clock” – or whatever it was – “God bless America.” When I heard those words, I looked at the receiver and put it very slowly down.” He didn’t call her again. “God, of course, is on the American side. And blessing America. I find it stultifying and pathetic.”

Simply put, here we see yet another example of an anti-Americanism that has tipped over into the pathological. It’s no surprise that Pinter was at yesterday’s protests in London. His comment?

The US is “a country run by a bunch of criminals…with Tony Blair as a hired Christian thug.”

Harold Pinter, clearly, is in no position to criticize anyone for “hysteria, ignorance and belligerence.”


Managing The Aftermath



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It seems, to put it mildly, a little premature to be fighting over the spoils of a war that has not yet been launched, and the politics at play are murky, to say the least. Nevertheless it’s worrying to read these claims by Kanan Makiya, an adviser to Iraq’s main opposition group. According to Makiya, the US has abandoned its plans to bring democracy to Iraq in favor of a continuation of Baathist rule (but without Saddam Hussein).

If that is indeed Washington’s longer term plan, it would be a mistake. An important element in the management of the war’s aftermath will be reconfirming the conflict’s moral legitimacy. That implies a thorough investigation of who did what in Saddam’s Iraq – a Baghdad Nuremberg, in effect.

And that’s something that would be impossible if Hussein’s cronies were left to run the show.

Why would the US act in this way? Well, according to Makiya (who has, doubtless, his own axe to grind) it’s the result of pressure from the Gulf States and, you guessed it, ‘Saudi’ Arabia.

Outposts



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There’s a disturbing story in today’s New York Times magazine on a new generation of ‘radical young Israelis’ intent on extending settlement still further on the West Bank.

Here’s an extract:

“When these young settlers claim a new hill, they also claim the land around it, which in some cases Palestinians have been farming for many years. The new settlers don’t seize the land in any official way; they simply uproot Palestinians’ trees or shoot in the air at any Palestinian who comes close. About 70 of these small encampments, known in Israel as outposts, have been built in the last two years; together they represent a movement that intends to transform the West Bank, and the conflict in the Middle East, from the ground up.”

Well, if this article is accurate, indeed it may – but, tragically, for the worse.


Gratitude Watch



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Taliban fighters were the storm troopers of a vicious ideology, gun-toting, torturing louts with no place in a civilized society. Or so you would think. In recent weeks there has (as previously mentioned on the Corner) been controversy in Britain over the decision to admit one of these thugs as an ‘asylum seeker’.

Well, that controversy can be expected to get worse. In a reminder of the stupidity that, along with cruelty, was one of the defining characteristics of the Taliban regime, Wali Khan Ahmadzai, has now chosen to speak to the British press. Amongst his pearls of wisdom:

“I live here but I still think America and Britain are enemies of the Afghanistan people and Muslim people,” he said. “But I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want the chance to live in peace and safety and to be a good Muslim.”

Ahmadzai’s presence in the UK, in that ‘enemy’ nation he so clearly despises for everything other than its welfare benefits and material comforts, is an insult to the British troops who fought in Afghanistan – he should be sent home.


Were The Demonstrations Racist?



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More from today’s Sunday Telegraph, this time from NR senior editor, David Pryce-Jones. The key argument is contained in the opening paragraphs:

“Ignorance, fear and lack of respect for Arabs – these were the most obvious traits on display in yesterday’s demonstration against a war in Iraq. Could so many people really think that it is better to leave Iraqis under Saddam Hussein’s vicious tyranny than to liberate them from it?

Their protests suggest that it is not worth risking anything at all to free Arabs. To risk spilling a single drop of blood to liberate Iraq would be futile – not merely because it would be “destabilising” or “kill children”, but because the Arabs have no capacity for “Western” freedom anyway. Behind the demonstrators’ slogans lies the assumption that Arabs should be left alone: they don’t mind being brutalised, tortured and murdered by a fascist thug like Saddam. Where they come from, it is the natural order of things.

That line of thought is nonsense. More than that – it is racist nonsense. No one knows better than the Arabs the horror of being oppressed. No one knows better than they that tyrannical oppression is all that they will get so long as Saddam and his family are in power. Saddam’s despotism is not a denial of “Western” freedom: it’s a denial of the freedom that every person needs to be able to live a worthwhile life. To imagine that the Iraqis don’t want to be freed, or are not entitled to it, is simply to suppose that they are less human than us. “


Stiff Upper Lip?



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One of the proudest boasts (albeit one that is a little tatty round the edges in the aftermath of Diana-wake) of the Brits is our stiff upper lip, that legendary sense of calm in the midst of crisis. Writing in today’s Sunday Telegraph, David Thomas takes a look at this phenomenon. His less than flattering conclusion:

“Maybe we are not so phlegmatic, after all. Maybe we are exhausted by the weight of our own history. Maybe, like our cheese-eating fellow-Europeans, we have become unwilling or unable to meet threats head-on, and defeat them. And that is where the advantage swings to America. You could say they panic – although it is only fair to point out that mockery of the Homeland Security department’s advice was at least as scathing in Middle America as it was in Middle England. But one could also say that Americans come from a culture which still believes in taking action.

If Americans think they are going to be gassed, they buy gas-masks. If they think they might go thirsty, they buy water. And if they think their country has deadly enemies, they expect their President – whoever he is – to find the person and blow that sucker away.

British phlegm is the response of a nation that has lost the capacity to mould events, and decides, instead, to endure them. Americans may not have so much phlegm. But they do have stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, and the 101st Airborne Division. And who needs phlegm when you’ve got all that on your side?”


Happy Birthday



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Today is the Heritage Foundation’s 30th birthday.

Old Media Miss The Story, Again



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My latest media analysis column for the Rocky Mountain News examines how newspapers overlooked two stories which have been well-reported by Internet media: the Franco-German cover-up of their role in helping Saddam acquire illegal WMDs, and the celebrations of some Arabs about the Columbia tragedy. I also examine polling about gay rights, and whether it’s “McCarthyism” to call a Communist a “Communist.” Finally, I retract my earlier statement that ANSWER/WWP are “Stalinist.” Hardline revolutionary Communist, yes; Stalinist, no.

I Don’t Understand The Parisians



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And One More Thing



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Every time I shovel the driveway, I think about what the global-warming worrywarts were telling us not long ago: This is supposed to be the hottest year on record.

My Suv Problem -- and Ours



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Just returned from Mass, which is usually standing-room only but today was close to empty because of all the snow. The only reason we made it was because of our SUV’s 4-wheel drive. In fact, the only vehicles in the parking lot were SUVs and pick-ups. It made me think of all the people who say SUVs are pointless, and how wrong they are. The snow’s still coming down and we’re not going out again unless it’s really important, like a kid with a gash in the head (as happened a couple of months ago). If we do venture forth, we’ll need our SUV once more, and we’ll get where we need to go. Thank goodness for these great vehicles.

Shame



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Tariq Aziz, the valet for mass-murderer Saddam Hussein, continues to play the Catholic Church for fools. He’s now gone to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi to pray for peace. This is shameful beyond words. One is reminded of the immortal line sung by the late Joe Strummer: “If Adolf Hitler flew in today/They’d send a limousine anyway.”

The Anti-War Streets



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So I had to be on the streets around Grand Central late this afternoon, as the demonstration was breaking up. Now, I grant that there are morally serious people against the war. I just didn’t see any of them today. This is what I saw: a child whose parents hung a poster around her neck that read: MORE CANDY AND ICE CREAM/LESS WAR AND BIGOTRY. I’m not making that up. I also saw this slogan on a poster: THE IRAQI PEOPLE NEED OUR LOVE, NOT OUR BOMBS. Ooh yeah, and mean people suck.

I also saw a woman carrying a poster that had an image of President Bush with a Hitler mustache drawn on. I nearly lost it over that. What kind of decent person would have anything to do with a movement that likened the President of the United States to a genocidal mass murderer? Just to see them walking the street is to put oneself in touch with one’s inner Teamster.

By the way, one of four lesbians I stood with as they tried to cross the street said, “It didn’t snow today. Goddess was with us!” It was that kind of day in New York.

Talleyrand Translated



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OK, OK. Numerous people have written in to complain about my failure to provide a translation of those words by Talleyrand. Je m’excuse. I was lulled into linguistic insensitivity by the virtuosity of all the Corner readers who tackled the translation challenge posed by those cheese-eating surrender monkeys (recent efforts have included Greek, Hawaiian, Esperanto, Hebrew, Persian and a blatantly faked ur-language).

Anyway, Talleyrand’s phrase (“Ils n’ont rien appris, ni rien oublié.”) translates as “they have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing”, appropriate words to read in conjunction with de Villepin’s remarks about “an old country that does not forget”.

Talleyrand’s original comments, of course, referred to aristocrats forced to flee France in the early years of the French revolution. They are a reminder that while France may be an “old country”, the structure of its government is relatively novel. Despite a tricky patch in the early 1860s the US has operated under the same system since 1788, a time when France was still a monarchy. As a reader points out, since then, France has restored its monarchy once, been an empire twice, and a republic five times.


“Peace” Protesters



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On the local news tonight, the police commissioner of New York reported a one police officer and horse both beated and kicked in the head by protesters. And so that’s just peace for dictators?

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