War & Peace

Instapundit points to a great piece by Jules Crittenden about how Hollywood has gone to ground and is producing 'War' movies driven by political agendas, rather than combat events/achievements. Perhaps all these new films should have the up-front disclaimer, "Based on a true war".

He also points out Andrew Sullivan's now-eons old statement that "War focuses issues in ways peace cannot" and calls it "over-optimistic".

Unfortunately, Sullivan is spot on. War did focus the issues for a few months after 9/11. We kicked ass, Afghanistan fell, kumbaya. But since then we have really been back to a state of peace, at least in the eyes of most of the American public.

Since that time we have continued our Global War on Terror, deposed a dictator, and attempted to mid-wife a free democracy. However during all that, it seems we were only in a war, not at war.

Being 'in a war' involves combat action in some far away land that we might catch on cable between celebrity/political scandals. In other words, the war is somewhere else, not in my backyard. That can lead to intellectual laziness, and lack of real commitment.

Being 'at war' is when thousands of people die on your own shores, and one is forced to deal with stark realities that they might otherwise downplay or ridicule.

So Sullivan is precisely right (not that Instapundit is wrong), the 'peace' we are in has failed to focused many like it should, and I hate to think what it would take to re-focus them.

If another 9/11 attack is what it would take, then I can handle Hollywood's intellectual laziness and its back-riding monkey.


Tonight the role of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be played by Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton is currently being interviewed on CNBC concerning his 'Clinton Global Initiative' and other issues.

When asked about his thoughts on Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia, Clinton stated that if he were Ahmadinejad, he would have looked to start a dialog, rather than agitate with his words. Clinton felt that this was a big missed opportunity for Ahmadinejad. Of course this is a classic Clinton emotive answer, squishy and feel-good, and essentially worthless to a serious problem.

It also reflects the failure of those on the left to fully comprehend the seriousness of this issue. It is another disheartening case of 'mirror imaging', where one transposes their own western values and logic onto a person who would never think/act that way. Many did it with the Soviets in the past, and many do it with China and different regions of the Middle East today.

Despite what Clinton might hope, Ahmadinejad would never think to initiate a dialog to bring the West and Iran closer together. This should not be a mystery to anyone. We know what Ahmadinejad thinks because he has told us so. He wants to 'wipe out' Israel, and the last time he spoke at the UN called for the return of the 12th Imam, which in his theology would:
"...usher in an era of Islamic justice and bring about the conversion of the heathen amidst flame and fire. The Mahdi will establish Islam as the global religion and will reign for seven years before bringing about the end of the world."
Does this sound like someone who cares if he missed an opportunity to start a dialog, Bill?


Stuck on 38

Week 1: Patriots 38 - Jets 17

Week 2: Patriots 38 - Chargers 17

Week 3: Patriots 38 - Bills 7

I am still not sure why we signed this Randy Moss guy. What being a malcontent and all....



Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts Part II

Hugh Hewitt spent his entire show today talking with Robert Kaplan about his book "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground".

I can't wait to listen to the whole show on the iPod....

You can listen here:

Robert Kaplan - Hour 1

Robert Kaplan - Hour 2

Robert Kaplan - Hour 3


Clueless Leftists

Thank goodness for clueless leftys, or else life would be so much less fun....

Since the definition of 'liberty' is 'freedom', if you sacrifice the former for the latter.....you end up right back where you started. Doh! Gotta love where the public schools are taking this country.... Maybe if he had paid more attention in American History class....if he was taught it that is...

Of course, as is pointed out by Mark Hemmingway (Hat Tip on the picture), the actual quote that this brainiac is trying to publicize is “Those who would sacrifice liberty for SECURITY deserve neither”, originally attributed to one of those arrogant dead white guys.

As Hemmingway's photo-essay demonstrates, attending a leftist rally can provide more humorous moments than most comedies coming out of Hollywood nowadays....


Is Iraq wasting a Generation??

Today I was reading my regular dose of a favorite sports writer, and his reflections on the stomping provided to the San Diego Chargers by my New England Patriots. He also discussed the ongoing imbroglio around the Patriots attempts to steal defensive signals from their opponent last week. He quoted an email that he had received from a reader, which made a good point, until it went way off the rails.....
"I can't believe how hysterical Peter King sounded on WEEI when talking about Belichick's indiscretion. Talk about getting his skirt up in a bunch. Does this guy realize sports is the toy department of life? Save the righteous indignation for the 9/11 anniversary or the waste of a generation in Iraq."
Wasting a generation? In what conceivable way???? Given that the emailer is from Massachusetts, it is probably a meme he hears repeated in the liberal echo-chamber up there.

While the loss of every life is devastating and regrettable, losing almost 3800 military members is hardly equivalent to wasting a generation.

For comparison, WWII claimed over 400,000 military lives which, even at that high level, was only 0.31% of the national population. In Vietnam, the loss of over 58,000 was only 0.027% of the population at the time. Today, the 3800 losses is but 0.0013% of our nation's population. We are hardly losing a generation. But then again, neither did we really in WWII.

It could be said that in Vietnam the United States lost a generation psychologically. A generation that was self absorbed, and did not choose to serve, internalized the images of death they were served up at 6pm, and moved on with a wounded, fragile, and tortured soul.

On the other hand, the WWII generation had a penchant to serve their country, persevered with a mental toughness, and moved on after the war to earn the label "The Greatest Generation".

If you ask me, there is a greater chance that this generation is serving in Iraq, and re-enlisting to return to Iraq because they believe in the mission, is more likely to emerge to resemble the "Greatest Generation", than the "Wasted Generation" of Vietnam.

"A new greatest generation is emerging -- in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in the other, less-publicized battlegrounds of the War on Terror.

Focused on the U.S. political cycle, America's press elites are missing the extraordinary story of the 19-through-35 year olds who are winning this war. The detailed history of this new cohort of American and Free World leaders -- the people who will shape the 21st century -- is being written by themselves, chiefly on the Internet, via email or web logs.

This is a battle-honed bunch with exceptional talent and motivation, young people with a mature balance of idealism and realism, youthful cool and professional competence...."


Celebrating Airpower

Another new resource that I really love, while not living history, certainly makes history seem to come alive. I speak of course about the History Channel's series 'Dogfights'.

This amazing series uses photo-realistic computer rendering to present famous air battles from pilots/god/fly-on-the-wall perspectives. It is truly something that needs to be seen to be believed. Not to overuse a phrase, but it is almost like being there. Below are some screen shots (not photos...):

In addition to the amazing visuals, the programs include interviews and descriptions from the pilots who actually fought the battles. I can think of no better way to present this valuable military history. As I said, the visuals are amazing, which is essential for presenting things to today's youth, and the video game appearance (but with even better resolution) will definitely catch their attention. Learning history never looked so good. My DVR is always set....

Here is a good video preview....(resolution greatly reduced by youtube)


Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts

New in the mail this weekend....

I greatly enjoyed Kaplan's last book, Imperial Grunts, about his travels with the U.S. Military to places such as Yemen, Colombia, and Mongolia, and which "..concentrated mainly on unconventional land forces..."

This 'second' edition of his travels, as the name "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground" implies, "...includes long interludes with the Navy and the Air Force, as well as with the conventional Army...."

I can't wait to read it....

One item did jump off the page at me, and I hadn't even reached the Table of Contents yet. It is a quote from an Army officer, whom I am sure we will meet more of in the following pages....
"I will fortify the moral high ground. People will attack me with stories about Abu Ghraib and the killing fields of Filipino civilians a hundred years ago by American troops, actions which I cannot defend. And I will respond that my troops can build a school, or fix a little girl's cleft palate at a MEDCAP, whereas all the guerrillas of Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah can offer is a suicide vest. I will build my fortress on deeds, because I know that the only force protection I have is the goodwill of civilians. All the guns in the world can't keep an IED from going off.
- COL Jim Linder, U.S. Army
Amen brother.....

Now let's read!

New Bin Laden Video

View the best translation here...


Blaming Israel....

Apparently the case of the disappearing Honey Bees has been solved....
"Today, Science is publishing a fascinating metagenomic study which strongly suggests that a new viral infection is killing off bees, specifically, Israeli acute paralysis virus. The researchers ground up bees and then screened all the DNA they found, including DNA from any disease organisms that might be infecting bees...."
C'mon.....is there nothing they won't blame on Israel nowadays?!?

Hat Tip: Instapundit


Pictures of the Day

Only a few years ago, would you have ever thought you would see Air Force One sitting in the middle of the western deserts of Iraq?

Criminalizing Health Care...again

Why is every time the Dems come forward with their version of great health care, it always involves punitive actions alongside the proposed healing?

This year's entry comes from John Edwards:
"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK."
So I guess the other shoe that has yet to drop is what Edwards' proposal would outline as repercussions for those who chose not to go to the Doctors. Jail? Fines? A stern talking to about personal responsibility?

I think this would be a great subject to discuss in one of the many upcoming 'Townhall' forums that the Dems love to stage. Someone should ask the question, "Mr Edwards, given your position on universal healthcare, would you have the federal government spend more time and effort hunting down American citizens who have not gone to the doctor, or people who have chosen to enter out country illegally?"

Additionally, given the record of socialized medicine "solutions" around the world, exactly how are we going to handle our annual appointments, when it takes 12 months just to the top of the list?

Hat Tip: Ann Althouse & Instapundit


Getting Richer

Instapundit links to an article from the Boston Globe about how my state of birth continues to earn its nickname of 'Taxachussetts" as Property Taxes continue to rise, and both property values and state services decline. Glenn Reynolds calls it "the inevitable result of a bloated and inefficient public sector".

I did like the hidden factoid in this paragraph, can you find it?
"Since 2000, property taxes have shot up nearly 50 percent, from $2,679, far outpacing gains in wages, which climbed 30 percent statewide over the same period, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the past seven years, the average annual property tax hikes for homeowners have ranged from about $150 to nearly $215."
What? Wages have increased?? By 30% since Bush took office????? I thought that wages were stagnant or falling. Isn't this the main premise of "The Two Americas"?

Somebody call John Edwards...

The Insufferable Katie Couric

Good ol' Katie Couric....on location in Iraq.
KATIE COURIC: Well I was surprised, you know, after I went to Eastern Baghad. I was taken to the al-Alawi market which is near Haifa street which was the scene of that very bloody gun battle back in January and you know this market seemed to be thriving and there were a lot of people out and about. A lot of family owned businesses and vegetable stalls and so you do see signs of life that seem to be normal. Of course that’s what the U.S. military wants me to see so you have to keep that in mind as well.
Since she seems obligated to point out dastardly Pentagon propaganda (Heck, that market was probably a set, just like in The Truman Show or Capricorn One) I guess it would be too much to ask that when CBS news reports bad news out of Iraq, that their talking heads be obligated to say "Of course that’s what Al Qaeda wants us to see so you have to keep that in mind as well". At least that would be more honest....

It just amazes me how much Couric's generation distrusts the military, such that they will take news events manufactured by our enemies without question or analysis, but cannot overcome their cynicism long enough to appreciate an honest attempt to point out actual good news.

The funny thing is, if you read Couric's own words on why she wanted to go to Iraq, she says:
"You can't help but get a very detached perspective when you're not there and you're not witnessing things firsthand," Couric told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I'm curious about very basic questions regarding living conditions, about how much fear there is in the street, about how the soldiers really are doing."
Hmm, so she went there to find out the truth about how things were on the street, but when she finds that the street is calm, "thriving", and "normal", she can't help to assume that it is somehow a Potemkin Village that the Pentagon "wanted her to see".

So cynical, and so sad......

UPDATE: It is also nice to see that she will be spending time in Syria as well. I can't imagine what her angle will be from there.... Think she will say "Of course that’s what the Syrian government wants me to see so you have to keep that in mind as well"?? Don't hold your breath....

UPDATE II: In my original reading I was not privy to the sentence "But I think there are definitely areas where the situation is improving" that immediately followed the egregious statement of distrust. It really doesn't help her cause in my eyes....