7:29 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Both stupid AND wrong

Source: Washington Times


Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are rallying around military successes in Iraq and supporting the troops, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it was still right to oppose granting the president the authority to use force to disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"I have absolutely no regret about my vote on this war," she told reporters at her weekly briefing yesterday, saying the same questions still remain: "The cost in human lives. The cost to our budget, probably $100 billion. We could have probably brought down that statue for a lot less. The cost to our economy. But the most important question at this time, now that we're toward the end of it, is what is the cost to the war on terrorism?"

If she really believes this, she is criminally stupid. If she really thinks this will save her party in the eyes of anyone but the out-of-touch-with-reality hard left, she is just plain stupid. Never once did she offer any sort of alternative plan to actually bring about the result we have in Iraq right now. And as more and more of Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti's crimes are exposed, her statements begin to seem farcical.

And wrong:
As Mrs. Pelosi praised the troops, she also said their success was owed "in large measure" to former President Bill Clinton.
"This best-trained, best-equipped, best-led force for peace in the history of the world was not invented in the last two years. This had a strong influence and strong support during the Clinton years," she said.

Clinton gutted the military. He slashed the budget for the military in both real dollars and as a percentage of GDP. We have tankers and bombers that are literally fifty years old flying missions over Baghdad as we speak. We do have a well-trained force, but ex-Pres. Clinton forced military leaders to choose between fixing military infrastructure or training, a choice we should never have had to make. As soldiers placed their lives on the line for two nations (both Iraq and the security of the United States), some family members are living in crumbling and condemned buildings. Thanks, ex- Mr. President.

I'll say it out loud: Nancy Pelosi is a fool.

|W|P|92463577|W|P||W|P|7:28 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Wit and Wisdom

Source: Slate's Steven E. Landsburg

When you sat down at your computer this afternoon, you had
a choice of roughly 10 billion Web pages to look at, and this is the
one you chose. You thought this was the best of 10 billion options; what
are the odds that you were right? That's why I'm pretty confident this
column isn't as good as you expected it to be.

This is from an essay on why the war (and nearly everything in life)
turns out to be less than expected. It's a good addition to a personal
philosophical paradigm, it's funny, it's informative, and I couldn't
help but link it.
|W|P|92463534|W|P||W|P|5:31 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Gotta quote this


I love this quote:

So, now, am I crushing dissent by not watching it? Or am I dissenting by not watching it, and anyone accusing me of trying to crush dissent by not economically supporting dissent is trying to crush my dissent causing me to be sad and kick puppies? This grown-up world of poutiness is so confusing sometimes.

Go read the whole thing (it's not long) to see what he's talking about.
|W|P|92394377|W|P||W|P|5:18 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

A Question of Loyalty

If you make a habit of going to my favorite sites and reading the comments I leave (and who doesn't?), then you will have seen me mention a few times that I am beginning to consider our Freedom of Loyalty as our greatest and also most underestimated freedom.

Why underestimated? Because I haven't seen it stated anywhere in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, or Bill of Rights. But we most definitely have developed it.

Why greatest? We take it for granted how liberating it is to have freedom of loyalty. I never even noticed this freedom until I spent some time studying Arab culture. One speaker mentioned that Arab's have a very narrow range of loyalties. I understood what he meant, but later I began to think it would be more correct to say they have a very rigid set of loyalties.

An Arab must by loyal first to the family, then to the clan, then to the race, then to the religion (if they are Muslim). There is no choice in this. Loyalty to friends is also significant, but I'm not totally sure exactly where it falls in the hierarchy. From my understanding, it is about the level of clan. It certainly makes life simple: you do what your family tells you, period. If there is a conflict between what you should do as a Arab or what you should do as a member of your clan, you side with your clan. This is one reason why friendship is given so grudgingly in the Middle East. When you become someone's friends, there is a very real set of responsibilities you are accepting. Americans are often shocked at how "normal channels" are subverted in the Middle East by connections to some uncle or friend with power...but we fail to realize that those ARE the normal channels there. The trappings and bureaucracy of nations are only loosely imprinted over the top of traditional family and clan power structures.

But in the United States, we can choose our loyalties. You can be loyal to your parents, or your church, or you alma mater, or your political party, or your favorite sports team. No loyalty is automatic, not even that toward your parents or friends. And there is always an underlying assumption that if someone asks too much of you, you can cut the ties off sharply. If my best friend asks me to bring some old computer equipment from work for him, I'm well within my rights to tell him to take a flying leap. Not so in Arab cultures. I might not actually have to steal the equipment, but I at least have to tell him I'll do my best to get it, because the assumption is that he wouldn't ask me to do it unless his need were truly desperate...and if I come through for him, he will owe me big for any request I might have.

I think this came about in the US because we are a melting pot of races and cultures. Some people come here feeling their ethnicity is the most important loyalty. Some of the earliest settlers came because their faith demanded their complete loyalty in defiance of royal demands. Some cultures give ultimate loyalty completely and no further than parents. Some insist any elder family member deserves your loyalty. Some extend the loyalty to the whole clan. Other early settlers came because their loyalty to profit was greater than any other pull. All these thoughts of what loyalty should be have gotten mixed up and processed and developed in our minds, to the point when it is no longer even automatically assumed that you must be loyal to the nation of The United States first. We do generally demand that you are not actively DISloyal...although even that has been weakened by some of the "dissent is patriotic" logic pretzels thrown about lately.

So why is this our greatest freedom? The greatest evils in our time have been carried out in the name of non-voluntary loyalties. It was loyalty to Der Furher (did I spell that right?) as well as to the Aryan race that resulted in the Holocaust. It was loyalty to Communism that resulted in the deaths of even more peasants in Russia under Stalin. I've been told that in the Balkans, one day people were friends, going to each other's weddings and dinners...and the next, the same neighbors and friends were killing each other because their loyalty to their identities as Bosnians or Serbians or Catholics or Muslims demanded that the outsider/infidel/enemy must die, regardless of such trifling matters as friendship or marriage.

Non-negotiable loyalties are the true death-knell for freedom. Beware of anyone who tries to impose actions on you on the basis of a loyalty you've chosen. Remember that in America, you can always choose another person, thing, or concept in which to place your loyalty. And take a moment to reflect on this vital freedom you possess, that most of the world doesn't enjoy.
|W|P|92393754|W|P||W|P|5:17 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Nice Switch

My wife pointed out yesterday that before the war, the news kept showing scenes around the world depicting people holding signs with pictures of Saddam Hussein and burning US flags, but as of yesterday, they were broadcasting images of people holding American flags and burning pictures of Saddam Hussein.