Monday, June 20, 2005

Acton, Froggy, NR, Dennis, and Steyn

Last week, I was at a conference hosted by the Acton Institute. The topic was globalization and the talks and discussion were all quite good. More on this another day. In the meantime, if you are a "future religious leader" or are in studies of religion, politics, economics, or philosophy and are interested in the promotion of liberty and religious values, then you might want to check out their introductory conference, "Towards a Free and Virtuous Society."

That said, a lot has been going on in the past week.

Froggy Ruminations has had some must-read posts:

The Left’s War on the Armed Services

It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of effort to notice the abject hatred for the Armed Forces by the Democrats, the MSM, and the international moonbat society (Amnesty Intl., ACLU, ANSWER, etc.). The problem in my view is that no one outside the right side of the blogosphere has lifted a finger to refute the lies or to defend the honor of our troops. This “movement” has been infecting the country since the invasion of Afghanistan. It started by throwing down the quagmire card before Christmas of 2001 and claiming that US forces were impotent against the mighty mujahideen in the snow capped mountain graves of thousands of Russians. Well, we were pretty much mopping up by the Spring of 2002, and since then the people have held elections, built roads and infrastructure, and are training up a viable Afghan Army to maintain peace for the first time in decades.


I would like to see some pushback starting here and now. The President and GOP leaders in Congress need to seize the moment, and rhetorically challenge these anti-American dirtbags. It’s time to haul out the grainy Auschwitz footage, the mass graves, the ovens, the starving gulag inmates and shove it down these Lefty’s throats in public. If GOP leaders are not willing to do this, we have two choices.

Actually start fighting dirty like we’ve been accused, or pack it in. If we are not going to do what it takes to win, then maybe we shouldn’t keep fighting at all.

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson writing for NRO:

A war that cannot be won entirely on the battlefield most certainly can be lost entirely off it — especially when an ailing Western liberal society is harder on its own democratic culture than it is on fascist Islamic fundamentalism...

Do yourself a favor and read this entire essay.

Then there is also

Why NOT Just Give Them a Trial?

This is something that liberals and RINOs like John McCain have been complaining about for some time now. The Left has skillfully used current events regarding Guantanamo to move this issue forward to the point where even squishy GOP members and pundits have glommed onto certain elements of the meme. Bill Kristol called for the closure of Gitmo on Fox News Sunday two weeks ago, McCain asked for trials for terrorist enemy combatants on Meet the Cuomo Aid yesterday. This round of sympathetic terrorist coverage started with Tom Friedman’s psychotic rantings in his NYT Column of May 27. This was quickly followed by the NEWSWEAK pack of lies about Koran abuse, the Amnesty International “gulag of our times” charge, and apparently Durbin was batting cleanup with his Nazi/Gulag/Pol Pot blast on the US military. Well, it’s a good thing that he struck out, and better still that he continues to swing wildly as of this writing refusing to even apologize or retract his DIRECT comparison between US troops and the SS. The political momentum that had been accelerating has for the moment been stopped so let’s look at why AQ detainees CANNOT ever be tried.


Durbin May Have Embellished FBI Memo

Via Myopic Zeal is the allegation that Durbin may have fabricated parts of his 'torture' example drawn from a confidential FBI memo. The charge is buried at the bottom of a Friday story on

"One knowledgeable official familiar with the memo cited by Durbin as well as other memos said the FBI agent made no such allegation and that the memo described only someone chained to the floor. Anything beyond that is simply an interpretation, the official said."

If true this means that the charges made by Durbin that US officials at Guantanamo Bay treated detainees in a manner commensurate with that of Nazis, Soviet gulags, and the genocide in Cambodia are not only obscene but also FALSE.

Just like Major K., Froggy Ruminations has become a daily must-read.

In an editorial led by the claim, "There is a case for optimism in Iraq," National Review concludes:

Thursday's Shiite-Sunni deal on the make-up of the constitutional committee is another sign that politics in Iraq is marching on, despite the insurgency and despite the weak leadership of Prime Minister Jaafari. The more Sunnis that are brought into the legitimate political process, the further isolated and weakened the insurgency should become. But this will take time and involve maddening fits and starts and unsatisfactory compromises. The training of Iraqi forces will take time as well. Have the numbers of trained Iraqis forces been exaggerated? Have those forces sometimes been disappointing in the field? Yes and yes. But we are making incremental progress every day toward more self-sufficient Iraqi forces.

At this point, President Bush doesn't need the gung-ho enthusiasm of the American public, but he does need its patience. He has to explain how victory in Iraq protects Americans’ security, and how defeat would endanger it. If we succeed in creating a decent, stable government in Iraq, it could shift the geo-political balance in the region against radicalism, ending its status as a caldron of murderous anti-Americanism. If we fail, Iraq might well break up and a rump Sunni-stan become a haven for terrorists that we will, sooner or later, have to try to clean out again.

The spring of '04 was a trough before a turnaround. The last few months may yet prove to be the same.

Let's hope. Real hope, that is.

Dennis has written another gem:

Our Father Is No 'It' or Gal God

Father's Day provides a fine opportunity to talk about our Father in Heaven. Why do Judeo-Christian religions insist on God being a father and not a mother? Is it still important to use masculine images and vocabulary to describe God? Or is that all a vestige of sexist religion?

That is the charge of "progressives" within Christianity and Judaism. Because men and women are equal, their argument goes, describing God, the highest being, in male terms is pure sexism. It simply discriminates against women and places men in a superior position. These arguments have great appeal in an age that confuses equality with sameness. So it is worth briefly sketching some of the arguments for preserving male depictions of God.

First, God is the source of moral rules.

Second, every civilization must check and then channel the male propensity to violence. ...

Third, God must be completely desexualized.

Fourth, humans need to feel that God is their protector. ...

Fifth, it is far more palatable for women to bow down to a male God than for men to bow down to a female god. ...

And closes with:

The current trend toward gender-neutral Bible translations and prayers ("Our parent who art in heaven") is not theologically serious — it emanates from secular feminism, not from the book that gave us the Judeo-Christian God. Indeed, that book expended great efforts to liberate the human mind and soul from goddesses. Returning to a female god is therefore the antithesis of progressive.

Lastly, for now, Mark Steyn has his typically unique take on Durbin's irresponsible and disgusting statements:

Durbin slanders his own country

Throughout the last campaign season, senior Democrats had a standard line in their speeches, usually delivered with righteous anger, about how "nobody has a right to question my patriotism!" Given that nobody was questioning their patriotism, it seemed an odd thing to harp on about. But, aware of their touchiness on the subject, I hasten to add that in what follows I am not questioning Dick Durbin's patriotism, at least not for the first couple of paragraphs. Instead, I'll begin by questioning his sanity.

Last Tuesday, Senator Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, quoted a report of U.S. "atrocities" at Guantanamo and then added:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

Er, well, your average low-wattage senator might. But I wouldn't. The "atrocities" he enumerated -- "Not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room" -- are not characteristic of the Nazis, the Soviets or Pol Pot, and, at the end, the body count in Gitmo was a lot lower. That's to say, it was zero, which would have been counted a poor day's work in Auschwitz or Siberia or the killing fields of Cambodia.


Just for the record, some 15 million to 30 million Soviets died in the gulag; some 6 million Jews died in the Nazi camps; some 2 million Cambodians -- one third of the population -- died in the killing fields. Nobody's died in Gitmo, not even from having Christina Aguilera played to them excessively loudly. The comparison is deranged, and deeply insulting not just to the U.S. military but to the millions of relatives of those dead Russians, Jews and Cambodians, who, unlike Durbin, know what real atrocities are. Had Durbin said, "Why, these atrocities are so terrible you would almost believe it was an account of the activities of my distinguished colleague Robert C. Byrd's fellow Klansmen," that would have been a little closer to the ballpark but still way out.

One measure of a civilized society is that words mean something: "Soviet" and "Nazi" and "Pol Pot" cannot equate to Guantanamo unless you've become utterly unmoored from reality. Spot the odd one out: 1) mass starvation; 2) gas chambers; 3) mountains of skulls; 4) lousy infidel pop music turned up to full volume. One of these is not the same as the others, and Durbin doesn't have the excuse that he's some airhead celeb or an Ivy League professor. He's the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Don't they have an insanity clause?


And this is where it's time to question Durbin's patriotism. ...

The senator from Illinois' comparisons are as tired as they're grotesque. They add nothing useful to the debate. But around the planet, folks naturally figure that, if only 100 people out of nearly 300 million get to be senators, the position must be a big deal. Hence, headlines in the Arab world like "U.S. Senator Stands By Nazi Remark." That's al-Jazeera, where the senator from al-Inois is now a big hero -- for slandering his own country, for confirming the lurid propaganda of his country's enemies. Yes, folks, American soldiers are Nazis and American prison camps are gulags: don't take our word for it, Senator Bigshot says so.

This isn't a Republican vs Democrat thing; it's about senior Democrats who are so over-invested in their hatred of a passing administration that they've signed on to the nuttiest slurs of the lunatic fringe. It would be heartening to think that Durbin will himself now be subjected to some serious torture. Not real torture, of course; I don't mean using Pol Pot techniques and playing the Celine Dion Christmas album really loud to him. But he should at least be made a little uncomfortable over what he's done -- in a time of war, make an inflammatory libel against his country's military that has no value whatsoever except to America's enemies. Shame on him, and shame on those fellow senators and Democrats who by their refusal to condemn him endorse his slander.

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