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THE USUAL LEFTY BULLSHIT: Nationwide response to violence in the Middle East: Anti-war protests reach Fountain Square.

A group of activists gathered at Fountain Square around noon on Saturday as part of a nationwide protest to rally against a new war in the Middle East.

Over 70 cities across the country are said to be a part of the protest, spearheaded by the Answer Coalition. According to their website, the day of action scheduled for Jan. 4 was in direct response to the killing of Iranian military leader general Qasem Soleimani.

So massacres by ISIS, or Iranian-backed militias attacking an American embassy aren’t “violence in the Middle East,” but the U.S. killing an avowed enemy is. No surprise given that A.N.S.W.E.R. is, as lefty David Corn reported, a communist front group.

This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro‘s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s ”socialist system,“ which, according to the party‘s newspaper, has kept North Korea ”from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.“ The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, ”Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.“

Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front.

Remember, they’re not “anti-war,” or “anti-violence.” They’re just on the other side. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Madeline Mitchell should have told us a little more about the organizers of this event — I doubt she would obscure the background of the Ku Klux Klan if it sponsored a rally.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, ANTISEMITISM EDITION: Israeli academic shouted down in lecture at University of Minnesota. “The protests were apparently organized by a group calling itself the ‘Anti-War Committee,’ which bragged on its Twitter feed about having disrupted the lecture and complained that the protesters’ ‘free speech’ rights were violated when a few were arrested.”

They’re not “anti-war,” they’re just on the other side. And they don’t care about free speech, or they wouldn’t be shouting down speakers. More evidence of the toxic environment on many campuses today.

THEY’RE NOT ANTI-WAR — THEY’RE JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE: Home from the war… and our troops are greeted by abuse from Muslim protesters.

BARRY RUBIN: The Gaza War: Is It Really So Hard to Understand? “When you are attacked, you fight back.”

But when you’re Israel, fighting back is immoral. It’s disproportionate — though that always struck me as the best way to fight back against an existential threat. More on morality from Phyllis Chesler, who asks, Who Are The “Peace Activists,” Anyway? My suspicion is that, once again, they’re not so much “anti-war” as just on the other side.

TIM BLAIR: “The International Solidarity Movement denied three years ago it had any connection to Tel Aviv suicide bombers. That denial might be a little harder to believe now that ISM activists have been photographed clowning around with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.”

They’re not anti-war. They’re just on the other side.

MARK STEYN:

But, while Charlie Sheen is undoubtedly a valiant leader, you couldn’t help noticing it was followers the anti-war crowd seemed to be short of on the third anniversary. The next weekend half a million illegal immigrants — whoops, sorry, half a million fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community– took to the streets, and you suddenly realized what a big-time demonstration is supposed to look like. These guys aren’t even meant to be in the country and they can organize a better public protest movement than an anti-war crowd that’s promoted 24/7 by the media and Hollywood.

Well, OK, half the anti-war crowd aren’t meant to be in the country either, if they’d kept their promise to move to Canada after the last election. But my point is there’s no mass anti-war movement. Some commentators claimed to be puzzled by the low turnout at a time when the polls show Iraq increasingly unpopular. But there are two kinds of persons objecting to the war: There’s a shriveled Sheehan-Sheen left that’s in effect urging on American failure in Iraq, and there’s a potentially far larger group to their right that’s increasingly wary of the official conception of the war. The latter don’t want America to lose, they want to win — decisively. And on the day’s headlines — on everything from the Danish cartoon jihad to the Afghan facing death for apostasy — the fainthearted response of “public diplomacy” is in danger of sounding only marginally less nutty than Charlie Sheen. . . .

To win a war, you don’t spin a war. Millions of ordinary citizens are not going to stick with a “long war” (as the administration now calls it) if they feel they’re being dissembled to about its nature. One reason we regard Churchill as a great man is that his speeches about the nature of the enemy don’t require unspinning or detriangulating.

Read the whole thing, especially the last paragraph. Bush’s problem on the war is that he’s losing the Jacksonian base, which is no longer confident that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, regardless of foreign or public opinion.

UPDATE: Reader Barry Dauphin emails:

It does sound like the Jacksonians might be bailing on the President, but then they aren’t able to live up to Jackson. This isn’t 1940s where dissemination of information was controlled through filters called “editors” and prior to the plethora of relativisms of contemporary times. If the Jacksonians have another candidate in mind, let them name him/her. The silence will be deafening. If the Jacksonians truly believe their rhetoric, it’s time to suck it up and carry some of the rhetorical weight that someone like Steyn have been carrying. Too many are sounding retreat or simply grousing. Is this a long, hard slog or not? If it is, then the tough Jacksonians should stop acting like whining, ninny wimps and instead be constructive. Dealing with the anti-war rhetoric or with policy that is not exactly to their liking is surely easier than actually crafting and implementing policy in these times.

This is a fair criticism up to a point. But nobody but the President can be President, and you can understand people who would support a full-hearted war being unwilling to support a half-hearted one. On the other hand, I remain unconvinced that now is the time to go all Duncan Black on the mideast, and am reluctant to second-guess too much on that account.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Harmon Dow thinks the GOP has earned a loss in 2006:

Speaking as a card-carrying Jacksonian (Southern boy, Scottish on mother’s side, both families in their 4th century as Americans, & a military brat to boot) let me tell you what I’ve been thinking lately. My problem isn’t with Bush. I can live with him – I tell my liberal friends here in Chicago that he’s really really a moderate, but they can’t seem to grasp that.

My problem is with the Republicans who don’t back Bush. They didn’t back him on Social Security, they don’t seem to be backing him on immigration, & I don’t think they are stepping up to the plate & backing him on the war.

So this Jacksonian is thinking “why bother with the Republicans?” After the fall, we’ll have two more years with Bush in the White House. He’s not going to budge on the war. I expect I’ll just sit this one out.

The Congressional Republicans don’t seem to have put themselves in a good position. Bush haters won’t vote for them. But Bush-lovers may not either. Meanwhile, reader Fred Butzen writes:

You write, “… you can understand people who would support a full-hearted war being unwilling to support a half-hearted one.”

That is half correct. Large numbers of paleo-conservatives (e.g., W. F. Buckley) would be much happier with a Kissingeresque put-in-a-strongman-and-nail-down-the-lid strategy for the Middle East. They want no war at all.

What the paleos don’t understand is that since 1989, the world has changed utterly. Societies that are in juxtaposition influence each other and, sooner or later, arrive at an equilibrium; with the advent of globalization and the Internet, all societies now are juxtaposed. Bush grasps what so many of his critics on the right miss: either we will make them more like us, or inevitably they will make us more like them.

Iraq is the first step on a long road to making them more like us. It may be too little, it may be too late; but it’s a strategy, which is more than the isolationists of the left or right are offering.

I’ve always felt that Kissinger’s reputation exceeded his accomplishments. And yes, the alternative is surrender, or megadeaths. Meanwhile, here’s more on how things are going and what that means for strategy.

UPDATE: More thoughts on what we ought to be doing — more aggressive combat in Iraq, basically — here, along with a worry that America doesn’t have the stomach for it. You can’t win a war if you’re not willing to fight; Bush can be blamed for not being aggressive enough, of course, but he hasn’t had a lot of support at home.

I’m no expert, and hence don’t offer a lot of military suggestions, but I wonder if a Pablo-Escobar style campaign against the Iranian mullahs — going after their business interests, vacation homes, etc. using irregular forces — might be more effective than air strikes or an invasion, with less risk. For that matter, such an approach might work against some of the Saudi supporters of terror.

WHAT IF THEY HELD ANTIWAR PROTESTS AND NOBODY CAME? Gateway Pundit says that’s pretty much what happened at events meant to protest the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion.

UPDATE: ATC says that those who showed up seemed less anti-war than anti-American and anti-Bush. You don’t say.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More photos here. They’re not so much “antiwar” as just on the other side.

Brian Dunn, meanwhile, is enjoying a different and larger set of protests.

THE NEW YORK TIMES’ PUBLIC EDITOR, Byron Calame, criticizes the Times’ handling of the NSA story. Jeff Jarvis calls Calame’s column “almost tough,” and points to this post by Jay Rosen.

The Times’ behavior on this story, and the Plame story, has undermined the unwritten “National Security Constitution” regarding leaks and classified information. Since the Pentagon Papers, at least, the rule has been that papers could publish classified information in a whistleblowing mode, but that they would be sensitive to national security concerns. In return, the federal government would tread lightly in investigating where the leaks came from. But the politicization of the coverage, and the outright partisanship of the Times, has put paid to that arrangement. It’s not clear to me that the country is better served by the new arrangement, but unwritten constitutions require a lot of self-discipline on the part of the various players, and that sort of discipline is no longer to be found in America’s leadership circles.

If the Times decided that its job was to tell its readers everything it knew, when it knew it, then it would have a good argument for publishing this sort of thing. But since the Times has made clear that it’s happy to keep its readers in the dark when doing so serves its institutional interests, it doesn’t have that defense for publishing stuff that’s bad for national security.

UPDATE: Rand Simberg joins others in wondering why the NYT didn’t release this story during the campaign, and opines:

At first glance, given their partisan behavior in general at least since the beginning of the Bush administration, one would have thought that it would be a slam-dunk decision, just as Dan Rather and Mary Mapes’ tilting at the AWOL windmill occurred a few weeks before the election.

But perhaps they had the political acumen to realize that it might backfire on them. Consider–the Democrats were trying (however pathetically), by nominating an anti-war (and anti-military) protestor who picked up some medals in Vietnam for three months, to indicate that they were finally serious about national security, an issue that has dogged them since the era of said protestor–1972. Did they really want, in wartime, to be seen as criticizing the president for intercepting enemy communications, warrantless or otherwise? Was there someone in charge then who was prescient as to the potential backfire of this story, who is no longer?

If so, he (or, of course, she) has certainly been shown to be right in retrospect, and if they had pulled this stunt during the campaign, given his recent surge in approval and the Dems corresponding drop, Bush’s victory margin would likely have been even larger.

Hmm. I’m not sure they’re that (successfully) calculating. Meanwhile, isn’t this exactly what critics were complaining that the government didn’t do before 9/11?

MORE: Bill Quick hopes for a broad and deep investigation.

And Joe Gandelman has a big roundup. Check it out.

STILL MORE: Andrew Sullivan seems to think that I’m blaming the NYT editors for everything. No. If, in fact, the Administration broke the law, then there’s a story here, though that remains a pretty big “if” at this point. But he goes on to ask the same question I did, and everyone else has: Why did they wait for a year if it was such a big deal? And if reporting the story a year ago would have been too damaging to national security, why isn’t it too damaging now?

And there’s another point: A few years ago, I’d have given the NYT the benefit of the doubt. Now — because of the paper’s bad behavior of the past few years, which Andrew played a major role in pointing out — I don’t. That absolutely is the fault of the Times’ editors.

BUSH SLAMS HISTORICAL REVISIONISTS ON THE WAR: About time. Jeff Goldstein has more.

And read earlier posts on this subject here and here. Also here.

[And if you’re coming in on a link from elsewhere, be sure to read this later post].

The White House needs to go on the offensive here in a big way — and Bush needs to be very plain that this is all about Democratic politicans pandering to the antiwar base, that it’s deeply dishonest, and that it hurts our troops abroad.

And yes, he should question their patriotism. Because they’re acting unpatriotically.

UPDATE: InstaPunk looks at the origins of the big lie on Iraq. Meanwhile, Michael Ubaldi emails:

President Bush should revisit the media-distorted Duelfer report, which confirmed that Saddam Hussein changed his strategy in the latter 1990s and intended to rebuild his WMD capacity when the sanctions-regime-turned-bonanza was lifted.

Ending the Gulf War — and by democratizing, aiding the prosecution of the war on terror — was always about Iraq and the despotic government its authoritarian culture made possible.

Just read the items linked above.

UPDATE: Reader Kathleen Boerger emails: “Could you do me a favor and define ‘patriotism’ please?”

I think it starts with not uttering falsehoods that damage the country in time of war, simply because your donor base wants to hear them.

Patriotic people could — and did — oppose the war. But so did a lot of scoundrels. And some who supported the war were not patriotic, if they did it out of opportunism or political calculation rather than honest belief. Those who are now trying to recast their prior positions through dishonest rewriting of history are not patriotic now, nor were they when they supported the war, if they did so then out of opportunism –which today’s revisionist history suggests.

Judging from the lefty hatemail this post has created, I have to observe that it’s odd — people who have spent the past year saying that Bush took us to war to enrich Halliburton somehow now think it’s beyond the bounds of civilized discussion to question people’s motives on the war. That’s part of the big lie, too.

More on historical revisionism, here.

If Democrats were smart, meanwhile, they’d be taking Bob Krumm’s advice:

Instead of looking backward to question why we’re at war, Democrats should focus on winning by increasing the size of the military, portraying a positive message, supporting not just the troops, but also their mission, and showing the world a united homefront in the midst of war.

There’s precedent for this counterintuitive approach–1992. When Bushes win victories abroad, the focus returns quickly to their failures at home. And as far as many Republican voters are concerned, there are domestic deficiencies aplenty in this Bush administration. Just as there were in his father’s.

So, Democrats, stop running against the war. You serve only to unite an otherwise disenchanted Republican base. If you take the war off the front page by winning it, Republicans will have to depend on their domestic record for victory. And, unfortunately, there’s little there to rally the base.

The desire of so many on the left to relive the Vietnam era is Karl Rove’s secret weapon.

MORE: The full text of Bush’s speech is here. Excerpt:

While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community’s judgments related to Iraq’s weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.” That’s why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate — who had access to the same intelligence — voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.)

(Applause.) Er, and (about time).

And read this post by Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics, too. Excerpt: “In the end, the story of the run-up to the Iraq war is about intelligence, but not in the way most people think. Intelligence is always flawed and imprecise, even more so when you’re dealing with a closed, paranoid and authoritarian regime like Hussein’s. It’s foolish to suggest Bush should have bucked consensus estimates on Iraq WMD built from more than a decade of intel, and it’s even worse to suggest he lied for not doing so.”

STILL MORE: Don Surber says it was Bush’s Gettysburg Address.

A RATHER RUDE ANTIWAR READER challenges me to admit that the Iraq invasion has produced a quagmire. This seems like an odd time to be claiming that given the recent elections, but I’ll just endorse this statement from Kevin Drum:

In other words, democracy is nice — eventually — but the bigger issue is kicking over the status quo in the Middle East and forcing change. And the hawks would argue that this is happening. Slowly and fitfully, to be sure, but let’s count up the successes so far: Iraq and Afghanistan are better off than before, Libya has given up its nuke program, Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution is a sign of progress, Egypt has held a more open election than any before it, and the Syrian regime is under considerable pressure.

Did the invasion of Iraq precipitate these changes? I think the hawks considerably overstate their case, but at the same time they do have a case. Even if Iraq is a mess, it might all be worthwhile if it eventually produces progress toward a more open, more liberal Middle East. At the very least, it’s an argument that needs to be engaged.

I think the critics overstate their case, and rather consistently ignore the good news that Kevin notes. My anonymous emailer thinks that U.S. casualties are proof of a quagmire. That’s an odd formulation, since it means that any war in which troops are killed, which means pretty much any war generally, is a quagmire. There’s no question that some antiwar folks think that’s true, but pardon me if I’m unimpressed with that argument. (What I said here in 2003 about antiwar folks being disappointed that things had gone so well seems to remain true, as people keep making every effort to portray Iraq as Vietnam). Saddam’s on trial, Iraqis are counting ballots, and as noted above we seem to have shaken things up — though I’d argue not enough yet — throughout the mideast.

If Bush’s effort here fails, it won’t be because the antiwar critique of bloodthirstiness and warmongering is correct. It will be because Bush hasn’t been vigorous enough in toppling governments and invading countries in the region. What happens with Syria in the next little while may answer that question. (And don’t miss this).

In the meantime, this piece by Jim Bennett from 2003 is also worth reading again. It has certainly proved prescient — just read the last paragraph.

UPDATE: Reader Fernando Colina emails:

One of the indications that the war may be going much better than the MSM would want it to is the Miers controversy in the right. At critical points in the course of the war I suspect that most conservatives would have let the Miers thing go relatively unchallenged because of overriding national interest. Not any more.

For years, the left has been focusing on domestic issues and has wished the war to go away; well, maybe it’s about to and the right is now refocusing on spending, the border and the supremes. The game has changed.

I think that’s probably right.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Stuart Williamson emails:

Quagmire is one of those ominous-sounding words that negativists apply blindly to any minor reversal or static situation. A quagmire is like a quicksand, into which you are steadily sucked down to death. That is certainly not the situation in Iraq and the Middle East generally. The truth is the exact reverse. The Arab peoples are slowly, slowly being raised out of the bog of despotism. Iraq is not even a stalemate: the forces of democracy are gaining, painfully slowly, but steadily. The best parallel is a wrestling match, with
the coalition gradually pinning their weakening opponents to the mat. Anyone who uses “quagmire” in a critical sense can be immediately dismissed as blindly anti-war and beyond reasoned response.

Indeed. Plus, people were declaring a “quagmire” by this time in 2001, suggesting that they’re both unduly negative, and anxious to be so.

More here and here.

HERE’S AN ABC REPORT ON THE PR MACHINE BEHIND CINDY SHEEHAN:

ABC7 Looks At The Financing Of ‘Camp Casey’
By Mark Matthews
With the President back at his Crawford ranch, the anti-war protest right outside his ranch is getting a lot more media attention. ABC7 looks at who is financing the operation and who’s providing on-the-ground support.

The camp at Crawford is full of Cindy Sheehan supporters, people from all walks of life. But off to the side are a small group of professionals, skilled in politics and public relations who are marketing her message. . . .
Leading the group is Fenton Communications employee Michele Mulkey, based in San Francisco. Fenton specializes in public relations for liberal non profits.

Their bills are being paid by True Majority, a non-profit set up by Ben Cohen, of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream fame.

Ben Cohen: “People are willing to listen to her and we want to do as much as we can to make her voice heard.”

Cohen’s liberal group has teamed up with Berkeley-based moveon.org, an anti-Bush group co-founded by Joan Blades.

I can’t say I’m surprised: the “grassroots” antiwar movement keeps turning out to be MoveOn/A.N.S.W.E.R. astroturf. But I bet that if a GOP group were to send servicemen’s families to picket Democrats it would be getting more play. And more negative play.

UPDATE: Reader Don Fishback thinks this is just a smokescreen:

You have to wonder if Karl Rove is the one who is REALLY behind Cindy Sheehan. Look at what he has accomplished and hopes to accomplish with her help:

First, his name is completely off the radar screen. Valerie Plame? Who is she?

Second, liberal interest groups are getting their hopes up once again, as they have after every so-called Bush implosion. Hardcore Democrats feel liberated and are actively supporting Sheehan, who contemporaneously says things like “AFGHANISTAN was a mistake” and “Get Israel out of Palestine.” It’s as if the hardcore leftists are so emboldened that even Howard Dean isn’t enough for them!

But most of all, he’s set an awful sweet trap for some bigger catch. I am sure that he was hoping that some potential Democrat presidential candidates showed up in Crawford. Well, at least someone besides Sharpton. Alas, it looks like he’s going to have to wait until her entourage gets to Washington.

It’s as if Rove has set the Democrats up with a Kobayashi Maru. If a major Dem goes to Cindy’s side, they’re doomed as a national candidate. No one in Tennessee or Indiana is going to support someone who agrees with the policy that Afghanistan was a mistake. But if they don’t, as Kaus points out, they’ll never get nominated by the emboldened left-wing base.

Evil Genius indeed.

Hmm. Is Karl Rove that smart? Are Democratic activists that gullible?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Maybe so.

HATE-FILLED STUPIDITY FROM LEFT-LEANING ACADEMICS ISN’T NEWS anymore, which is why I haven’t been paying much attention to the story of Colorado professor Ward Churchill’s comparison of 9/11 victims to Eichmann. But go here and look at the picture.

Isn’t he exactly what you imagined? Shoulder-length hair, grimly self-righteous expression, black turtleneck, Abbie Hoffman sunglasses. A man whose look, like his rhetoric, is frozen in the amber of 1969.

The same kind of guys, looking the same way, were saying the same kinds of things when I was younger than my daughter is now. When will the Left catch up with the times?

UPDATE: Heh. Check out this picture. Let’s do the time warp, again!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Various lefty readers email to say that Ward Churchill is not the authentic face of the Left.

I wish I agreed with that. But, sadly, he is its very image today.

When Ted Kennedy can make an absurd and borderline-traitorous speech on the war, when Michael Moore shares a VIP box with the last Democratic President but one, when Barbara Boxer endorses a Democratic consultant/blogger whose view of American casualties in Iraq is “screw ’em,” well, this is the authentic face of the Left. Or what remains of it.

There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn’t a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone.

Don’t believe me? Listen to Naomi Klein:

The great error made during the electoral campaign was that the anti-war movement allowed itself to turn into an anti-Bush movement. So as the logic of anyone-but-Bush set in — and there wasn’t a candidate speaking on these issues — the war itself disappeared. What I mean by that is that the reality of war itself disappeared. The truth is that we were talking about Iraq in the past tense — not about what was happening on the ground during the campaign. And indeed, I believe that continues to be true to a scandalous degree, especially what we’ve just seen in recent months in Iraq. I’m worried that we haven’t learned from that mistake yet.

We also need to more clearly focus on policy demands. I have been arguing for a long time that the anti-war movement should turn itself into a pro-democracy movement, i.e., support the demands for democracy in Iraq. . . .

Quite frankly, there’s a lot of skepticism in Iraq — from what I saw — about the international anti-war movement. In part, it’s because anti-war forces were not critical enough of Saddam. But it’s also because we haven’t proposed this kind of practical solidarity that has to do with improving people’s lives, and not just absolving our conscience. Or saying “Not in our name,” and then going home. . . .

It’s very, very frustrating. What I keep coming across in the U.S. anti-war movement is the acceptance of this idea that Americans are incapable of caring about anyone but themselves. The progressives in the U.S. are fairly self-loathing

And in this, at least, they’re right. Greg Djerejian has more on Churchill:

The relativistic mish-mash and garbage contained above, the laughably simplistic narrative underpinning talk of some nefarious “global financial empire,”–all are shibboleths of 60’s group-think, prevalent among a significant number of baby boomer generation academics, taken to parodic extremes (American capitalism bad, the nefarious “military-industrial” complex a product thereto, anyone working in lower Manhattan near evil Wall Street therefore complicit (part of a nefarious “technocratic corps” with blood on their hands), and thus getting their just deserts (does Ward Churchill even know that the WTC was a ‘back-office’, of sorts, servicing the Gordon Gekko “Master of the Universe” players more likely to work on the 30th floor of 85 Broad or in office buildings lining Park in the high 40s and low 50s?)

But let’s put all this aside. The reason I blogged this tonight, is because, truth be told, these views (if somewhat less extreme manifestations) are much more widespread than we might think. In New York, just a month after 9/11, a leftist female acquaintance of mine (an American!) admitted (with some shame, it should be said) that she felt a tinge of joy in her stomach when she digested the news. America had humiliated so many societies, her thinking went, here’s a comeuppance, of sorts.

Read the whole thing. And read this, from The Belmont Club, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Martin Shoemaker emails:

I keep hearing people saying “X is not the authentic face of the left.” Yet I don’t hear them repudiate all of the X’s out there. I don’t hear them stand up and announce that X is wrong. I don’t hear them explaining how they’re going to take the Democrat Party back from the X’s. And I DO hear them defending or excusing all of the X behavior.

If the left/Democrats mean what they say, they have it in their power to stop the decay of the Democrat power. Stand up, speak out, and take the Party back from all the X’s. If they do that, they might win back folks like me. I only reluctantly started calling myself a Republican in the 2004 election, and only then because I didn’t see any Democrats standing up against terror and the divisive folks who abet terror.

Yeah. There’s an endless supply of guys like Churchill. And I’d love to believe that they’re marginal figures. But then I see the embrace of Moore, and the behavior of major Democrats like Boxer and Kennedy, and it’s just hard to believe. There certainly are some well-meaning people on the Left who don’t like that, but I”m afraid that they are the marginal figures nowadays.

Ed Driscoll has further thoughts:

This is a crucial period for the left: they’ve lost two consecutive presidential elections, Congress for a decade, and the Senate for almost as long. They’ve also acted increasingly shabbily in reaction to 9/11, of which Churchill’s (what a paradoxical name for the guy) 3000 “little Eichmanns” quote is merely the latest manifestation. Is there room for a comeback? Only if Hillary runs a brilliant campaign (and even then, she’ll probably have to deal with a Republican Congress and Senate, unless she has very, very long coattails).

Or leftwing elites could try tacking closer to the center.

In the 1950s, Bill Buckley was able to create a new conservatism by casting out the John Birchers and their anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories. Now it’s the left’s turn to try to do much the same.

I wish I saw more evidence of that. On the other hand, this is pretty funny.

On the other hand, Dave Schuler thinks I’m wrong about the Left. I don’t think so, but you can read his post and make up your own mind.

But I suspect that it didn’t even occur to any of the lefties writing to complain about my post to write Prof. Churchill and complain about his remarks. But lefty reader Josh Kinniard writes:

Your largely right on the state of many Americans that supported the Left Wing in the last elections. A large majority of Americans are, simply put, shallow and uninformed. Many people see the faults in George W. Bush, such as his sometimes inability to–as he himself will admit–think on his feet in front of a crowd. They mix these personal attributes they have observed and mix them with unrationally drawn conclusions that are presented to them from other sources without using proper methods of reason–largely because they do not have the resources easily at hand to do anything else.

I voted for John Kerry after proper rationalization. Those of us who did got caught in an election storm where we saw these shallow uninformed joining the
Kerry bandwagon, and we knew their rationalization was wrong, but we were limited to what we could do to stop the tide and educate them. That tide may have cost Kerry the election.

My point: please dont forget those of us that are still active citizens who truly want to participate in the betterment of society.

I haven’t forgotten. But I’m waiting for you to take a more active role in confronting the Ward Churchills — and Michael Moores, and Barbara Boxers — who are doing harm to the country, and even more harm to the Left.

MORE: Dr. Evil is quoted here.

And this review of Steve Earle’s concert in Knoxville — in which he performed before a hammer and sickle — observes:

The Soviet imagery might have seemed corny five years ago, but in the current right-leaning climate, a left-wing backlash is inevitable. Expect to see more of it.

If Kerry had won, would it be understandable for Republican artists to perform in front of swastikas? And how seriously should we take people who wish we had lost the Cold War, and who want us to lose this one?

Still more on Churchill here. And perhaps the best take comes from reader Harvey Schneider:

The irony of the Churchill episode is that Colorado University gets federal money. You would think with his radical Anti-American outlook, The money he makes as an instructor would burn in his hands like Holy Water in a demons hands. He seems to be guilty of the same crime as many in the WTC that day. Being a part of the system.

Heh. And for those who email saying “what about Falwell on the right,” well, it’s worth remembering that the term “idiotarian” was coined with Falwell in mind. It’s just that the right has done a better job of muzzling and marginalizing its idiots, while the Left has embraced them. And if the “backlash” theory set out above is true, it will only get worse, which is bad for the Left, and bad for America.

Oliver Willis emails that my pointing this out is “vitriol.” But in fact, following my advice would be likely to help the Left, and the Democrats, do better in elections. Baby-boomer posturing didn’t even help the Democrats 30 years ago (remember who won by a landslide in 1972). It’s not likely to help much now.

I keep hearing that there’s a silent majority on the Left that doesn’t agree with these things. I keep waiting for it to stop being silent. Perhaps they should listen to this Iraqi reaction to Ted Kennedy’s speech:

I think that AlZarqawy could not have rallied his troops with a better speech. What is he doing giving speeches like this so close to the elections in Iraq? Iraqis will brave threats to their lives to vote in hope that we will stay with them till they are ready. Now a U.S. senator tells them we must pull out quickly and leave the Iraqis with no help.

Shameful.

ARMOR: Various snarky antiwar readers seem to think that this story, in which Rumsfeld was challenged (by a member of my local National Guard outfit, actually) regarding armor, is somehow a devastating indictment of the Bush Administration and the war in toto. Actually, I’d say it’s rather a lot less than that.

Armor’s nice, of course, when people are shooting at you, and soldiers tend to want more of it. They’ve traditionally added sandbags, etc., to vehicles regardless of weight penalties that result. But as Jeff Taylor — no fan of Rumsfeld — notes over at Reason, it’s not as simple as more armor = better:

Truth is most U.S. military vehicles have required some kind of armor upgrade to withstand the volleys of RPGs and large-munition roadside bombs the Iraq conflict has produced. The Stryker units have what looks like steel grating around them to throw up an anti-RPG “fence,” photos of Bradleys show what looks like reactive armor kits in place, and even the mighty Abrams appear to have been modified with extra plating.

So it is just not a case of the bloodless Pentagon stiffing the Guard and Reserves with thin-skinned Humvees, as some of the comments today seem to suggest. Rummy was right, if typically tone-deaf, by telling Wilson he could get blown up in a tank too.

Further, more armor is not a magical solution, never has been. It is represents a trade-off between protection and mobility, just as in the age of knights when if the peasants managed to violently unhorse an up-armored foe, they could go off and have lunch and leave the knight flailing face down in the mud. If he didn’t drown, you could always stab him in the eye-slits later.

The preference for less armor can be seen today with at least some Marines in Fallujah. They point out that up-armoring their Humvees reduces the ability to see threats coming. Oh, but they bitch that the regular Army gets all the good stuff anyway, so at least that’s square.

Finally, was it a disgrace or outrage that American tankers in Normandy had to cut up German steel obstacles to make hedge-cutting teeth for their tanks? No, it was an inspired response to the insanity of war. Rummy being nuts has very little to do with this sad and eternal fact.

I think it’s nice that Rumsfeld heard criticisms from the troops — though not, in this case, troops that had actually gotten to Iraq yet — but to try to turn this into some sort of claim of generalized incompetence on the part of the Administration is to show, yet again, the ignorance of so many of the critics.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Morris emails: “I think it’s interesting that everyone seems to be missing the real point – the Secretary of Defense, essentially second only to the President in the civilian portion of the chain of command, was called to account by an enlisted solider, and a low ranking one at that, and he stood there and took it because that’s his job.”

It’s certainly an interesting contrast to the way that, say, Dan Rather receives criticism.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This post, from another soldier who was present when the questions were asked, is a must-read:

I was very surprised when we were told there would be the opportunity to ask questions without first having them screened. I would have assumed there would have been some process where those who had questions submitted them prior to asking the Secretary, and had them approved. Instead, everyone in the room was given the option to stand, motion for one of the soldiers holding a microphone, and ask anything they desired. There was no particular order of what kind of questions were asked and the soldiers who asked questions ranged in rank from Specialists to Lieutenant Colonels. When I say I was surprised that this part of the event was not micromanaged, I want to ensure you that I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion, it shows the attitude that this Secretary has towards the soldiers he is sworn to represent. It shows those in uniform that he does not see us or our concerns as “below his level,” but instead sends a signal that we are his concern, and ensuring we can accomplish the mission is his highest priority.

One more thing I would like to add is this, not one soldier present asked questions about why we were here, or expressed the sort of anti-war sentiment that Michael Moore led some to believe was prevalent in the military. Rather, the concern was about ensuring we would be supplied with all necessary equipment to accomplish the mission and return home safely. Let there be no doubt, this was not a hostile crowd eager to catch the Secretary of Defense off guard by grilling him with questions he has never had to answer.

More here, too. And here’s the bottom line, from Short Final:

Here’s what will come of this: Democrats will make political hay, and Rumsfield will get burned for having had the nads to stand up in front of the troops and field difficult questions. Who suffers the most from the Secretary of Defense not being able to have candid discussions with our troops for fear of being vilified by the press? Well, the only people that suffer from that are the troops that our press and Democrats pretend to support.

Indeed. And reader Walter Wallis emails:

I am amused that the MSM media has failed to note that the criticism of the failure to get armor kits to the troops comes primarily from members of the party whose leaders voted against appropriations to fund the war. They can’t have it both ways – or can they?

They’re doing their best, with a little help from the press. And they voted for the appropriations before they voted against them. Or was it the other way around? — I can’t remember.

MORE: Lance Frizzell — who I know because he used to play guitar for Audra and the Antidote, but who I didn’t know was on active duty now — sends this email from the scene:

I’m over here (Iraq) w/ the 278th but I was at Beuhring when the Rumsfeld appearance occurred. I have 2 thoughts:

1) What’s left out here is what happens if we hang out in Kuwait waiting for the official armor kits to arrive: the current rotation gets extended yet again. Most folks I know want these guys to get home ASAP. They’ve done their time and they should get to go home.

If I’m delayed next xmas b/c somebody was too good to find an alternate solution to a problem I’ll be highly pissed. After all, this is the US Army.

2) Your soldier-reader is right about unstaged, direct access to the SecDef. It would have been very easy to select soldiers who would have made sure no embarrassing questions were asked. I for one would have been happy to ask something along the lines of “given John Kerry’s appalling lack of respect for all things military, just how much of a disaster would he have been as President?”

Of course, it turns out that although the access was direct, it wasn’t quite unstaged. Drudge has reprinted an email from a reporter who says he planted the questions with the soldiers.

Should we have more armor? Beats me. Are people who are using this issue as a way of unfairly portraying Rumsfeld as a heartless murderer of American troops way off-base? Yes. Absolutely.

Meanwhile, DefenseTech notes that “Even so-called up-armored Humvees will shred if hit by a well-placed RPG shot,” and points out that the Pentagon is working on something better.

MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!!! One by one, the undecided voters in my family have fallen, two to Bush and one to none of the above. I’ve lingered, though. I know that few people believed this, but this wasn’t some stunt; I’ve honestly been undecided. A couple of times I came {imagine two fingers pressed together} this close to deciding for Kerry, on the grounds that Bush is a pigheaded incompetent; one time I decided I was going Bush, because Kerry is a rank opportunist and a multilateralist naif. But then something has always pulled me back into the battleground of indecision. I’ve been here before; I voted for Gore in 2000 at the last minute, and then switched my allegiance during the Florida Ballot Wars. What can I say? I’m a flip-flopper nuanced.

But now I’ve decided. You can read the endorsement at my blog (where you can comment), or click for an extended entry. As you can see, I was up into the wee-sma hours writing this, so be kind on any grammatical errors or typos you may find.

One more thing: though I’ve decided who to vote for, it wasn’t an easy choice, and I won’t be too jubilant if he wins, nor downcast if his opponent comes in. Like all Americans (I hope), I’ll be wishing whoever wins the best of luck in Iraq and a rising economic tide to lift all boats.

Continue reading ‘MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!!! One by one, the undecided voters in my family have fallen, two to Bush…’ »

THIS IS A RECONSTRUCTED POST: My open-comment thread letting people liveblog the speech vanished — the server was overloaded and was having problems before they restarted, and that may have something to do with it. Anyway, some of the comments were saved by readers, and here’s a good chunk. Click “more” to read the post and comments.

Continue reading ‘THIS IS A RECONSTRUCTED POST: My open-comment thread letting people liveblog the speech vanished –…’ »

JAMES LILEKS ON MADRID:

I’m somewhat annoyed by the assertion that this act was “sophisticated,” and hence the work of those brilliant strategerists of Al Qaeda. My definition of sophistication is somewhat different: it’s an unmanned drone flying over Pakistan, piloted by a guy in Florida, dropping a laser-guided bomb into the passenger cab of a truck full of Taliban. That’s sophistication. Synchronizing watches on detonators is not exactly all that tough.

Nope. He also observes:

To some, the act of “resistance” has such a romantic pull they cannot possibly renounce the use of flamboyant violence – until they find themselves in a train station on an average weekday morning, ears ringing, eyes clouded, looking down at their shirt, wondering why it’s so red all of a sudden.

I wonder if either of the women dressed as suicide bombers in this photo from Madrid last year was within earshot of yesterday’s blasts. As Wagner James Au writes in the email reminding me of the photo:

What was striking to me then was not how morally depraved these women were (though they are certainly that. What disturbed me so much is how their little bit of performance art didn’t provoke the slightest reaction, from their fellow Spaniards.

Look at the photo. They must be surrounded by thousands of people, but no one is shouting at them; no one is rudely gesturing at them; no one, in other words, seems enraged at this open glorification of terrorism. If anything, they’re *blase* about it. And this seems to be reflective of a common assumption, that *of course* bombing innocent civilians in Israel is a legitimate means of protest. So what are they to make of this equally savage violence yesterday, now that it’s directed at them? And what implicit message were the Spanish anti-war protesters sending to terrorist groups of all stripes, when they essentially announced that they approved of these methods as an acceptable means of pursuing grievances?

This is not a shoe-on-the-other foot observation; I’m not asking them, like many of them asked us after 9/11, to wonder, “Why do they hate us?” Rather, as we sympathize with the victims and demand justice for their perpetrators, I think we should also ask, as should they, “Why did so many of you support horrific actions like this so recently?”

The answer is simple: Those two women, like some of the other protesters, weren’t antiwar. They were on the other side. I wonder if they still are?

UPDATE: Barbara Skolaut emails: “Be interesting if some enterprising reporter found them and asked them. But I’m not holding my breath.”

It would be interesting.

NOT ANTI-WAR, JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE:

TONY JONES: John Pilger, do you still maintain that the world depends on what you call “the Iraqi resistance” to inflict a military defeat on the coalition forces?

JOHN PILGER: Well, certainly, historically, we’ve always depended on resistances to get rid of occupiers, to get rid of invaders. And what we have in Iraq now is I suppose the equivalent of a kind of Vichy Government being set up. And a resistance is always atrocious, it’s always bloody. It always involves terrorism. . . . Now, I think the situation in Iraq is so dire that unless the United States is defeated there that we’re likely to see an attack on Iran, we’re likely to see an attack on North Korea and all the way down the road it could be even an attack on China within a decade, so I think what happens in Iraq now is incredibly important.

TONY JONES: Can you approve in that context the killing of American, British or Australian troops who are in the occupying forces?

JOHN PILGER: Well yes, they’re legitimate targets. They’re illegally occupying a country. And I would have thought from an Iraqi’s point of view they are legitimate targets, they’d have to be, sure.

TONY JONES: So Australian troops you would regard in Iraq as legitimate targets?

JOHN PILGER: Excuse me but, really, that’s an unbecoming question.

With some revealing answers.

UPDATE: Lovely observation:

Perhaps the most telling comment from Pilger was that the only countries he feared the US might go after were all fascist dictatorships.

That’s today’s Left. Go figure.

THE BLOGOSPHERE KNEW THIS, but it’s nice to see the mainstream press noting that the “furor” over Bush’s 9/11 ads was entirely manufactured:

We have no doubt that the use of the images is appropriate – given that the president’s leadership in the wake of 9/11, and his conduct of the War on Terror, are under drumbeat assault by John Kerry and the Democrats.

But now it turns out that this whole furor is driven by a tiny group that’s motivated by a far-left agenda and a festering hatred of the president – and has some quite dubious financial ties.

Leading the rhetorical charge has been an outfit called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows – which, the group admits, has only a few dozen members and represents relatives of no more than 1 percent of the 9/11 victims.

More to the point, the group was formed specifically to oppose the entire War on Terror: Not just the campaign against Saddam Hussein, but also the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Indeed, the group’s leaders traveled to Afghanistan, drawing a detestable moral equivalence between the 9/11 attacks and U.S. bombing of the Taliban and opposing “violent responses to terrorism.” . . .

And back in January 2003, the group said had it had gotten a “verbal commitment” to the fund proposal from the junior senator from Massachusetts – John F. Kerry.

Little surprise there – because Peaceful Tomorrows’ parent group, the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation, has received millions from foundations controlled by Kerry’s heiress wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Tides gets much of its funds from philanthropists like Mrs. Kerry and billionaire George Soros – who has made defeating President Bush his top personal priority.

As Richard Berman, director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, told Congress in 2002: “The Tides Foundation distributes other foundations’ money, while shielding the identity of the actual donors.”

Call it charitable money-laundering.

Could this be a campaign-finance law violation? I don’t know enough to tell, but it’s certainly an end-run, legal or otherwise. But it’s yet another reason to wonder why the finances of nonprofits don’t get more scrutiny — and why the press is so ready to take these sorts of groups at face value, instead of looking into where their money comes from.

And, once again, it looks as if another “peace” group isn’t really for peace, but simply on the other side. And, apparently, on Kerry’s side as well.

That should bother him, and at least some of his supporters. Shouldn’t it?

UPDATE: Well, here’s someone who’s looking into the question of whether Theresa Heinz is covertly aiding the Kerry campaign.

Meanwhile a pseudonymous reader says that the Tides accusations are bunk:

To summarize–The Heinz Endowments, of which Teresa is chair (there’s also a board that approves grants), gives money for local, mostly small-bore initiatives
here in SWPA, sometimes through the Tides Center (PA).

What Tides does is process Form 990, handle HR payroll and benefits, and provide a vehicle for grant applications and monies. It’s simply a way for the
local foundation community to avoid setting up new 501(c)(3)’s merely for ad hoc projects, that they will then feel obligated to support.

That’s not what the article quoted above says, but OK. (And here’s a link to a generally favorable article by Dennis Roddy on the Tides Foundation and Teresa Heinz.)

Whether or not there’s financial chicanery, however, doesn’t account for the many other anti-Bush connections of the “spokespeople” criticizing the ads, which were ignored in mainstream press reports, but noticed by bloggers with Google. (More of that here, here, and here.)

Don’t journalists, like, find out stuff about people for a living? Or have they outsourced that to the blogosphere?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jay Rosen writes that the “find out stuff” job description is woefully out of date.

More here.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more on the press’s abject failure on this subject.

MORE: Hmm. It does sound suspicious when you put it this way:

It also turns out that those anti-Bush “9/11 families” number only about 120 out of 3,000 victim families–and that they’re all part of an organized anti-Bush, anti-war organization, “September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.” And it further turns out that this group, just coincidentally, also happens to be a project of an organization that gets major funding from the Heinz foundations.

Hmm. Call me crazy, but if these were Scaife-funded folks denouncing Kerry I think the media would note the connection. And Jay Caruso emails: “There’s no way these reporters didn’t know who these people were. Yet they deliberately left out this information, knowing it would cause controversy.”

STILL MORE: Reader Erik Fortune emails:

Notice the last line of the Associated Press article about the retired
national guardsman who reported seeing President Bush on base in Alabama
(Link):

“Calhoun has not made any donations to Bush this election season or during the 2000 season, according to campaign finance records.”

See? The (associated) press _does_ go look for conflicts of interest … when the person in question supports Bush.

I’ll give them credit for reporting that they didn’t find anything in this case, but the fact that they looked is telling. If the press were half as, um, diligent wrt the 9-11 families, the whole incident would have had a hugely different spin.

Yes, it would have.

MORE: Still more on this subject here, from the Arizona Republic website. And Tom Perry has a long and link-filled post on the subject.

I AGREE THAT THIS IS “UNUSUAL AND TROUBLING:”

A federal judge has ordered Drake University to hand over information related to an antiwar meeting held in November on the campus, a move that representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild have described as extremely unusual and troubling.

In addition, four people who attended the meeting, held in the student-union building of the private institution, in Des Moines, have been ordered to appear before a federal grand jury on Tuesday.

Based on this report, it’s hard to imagine what the inquiry would be about. Do they think these guys were getting money from Saddam or Osama? Seems doubtful.

On the other hand, where were these guys when the 1994 and 1996 crime and terrorism bills were passed:

“Any organization that’s operating within the law and is a political organization, the government has no business taking records relating to their internal meetings or their officers or members,” he said. “It’s very scary to me that the federal officials in Iowa think they’re entitled to do something like this.”

I’m always astounded when people say things like this, because it indicates that they have no idea how much power the federal government has, and has had for a long time.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh notes that there is more to this story, including allegations of criminal activity, and observes:

Political meetings are not safe harbors in which people can freely organize conspiracies to commit crimes, free from any risk of investigation (including coercive investigation using subpoenas). That’s true if it’s a KKK meeting used to organize racial terrorism, an Operation Rescue meeting used to organize trespass or vandalism at an abortion clinic, or an anti-war group’s meeting used to organize criminal trespass or possible misdemeanor assault. The government doesn’t have carte blanche to just demand the entire membership list of a group (see NAACP v. Alabama); but it has considerable latitude to ask people about any possibly criminal conduct that they’ve witnessed, and even about information that may simply be relevant to determining whether such conduct took place.

Read his whole post on this subject.

THEY’RE NOT ANTI-WAR — they’re just on the other side:

Just when you thought the German “peace” movement couldn’t get much more hypocritical they take things to a whole new level. Last week the unbelievable lack of protest at the German government’s plutonium and arms deal with Communist China made it seem as the peace freaks had all rolled up into a big ball for a long winter hibernation.

Not so! The German TV news program “Panorama” uncovered some of the wonderful activities that particularly dedicated cadres of the German peace movement are currently engaged in. In the spirit of peace, a number of groups have started a fund-raising campaign entitled “10 Euros for the Iraqi Resistance”. The money will be provided to the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) a group dedicated to carrying out attacks against US soldiers in Iraq in collaboration with Saddam loyalists. The common goal is to “liberate” the Iraqi people from the evil imperialist American occupiers. On their website these groups gush with enthusiasm about turning Iraq into another Vietnam for the USA.

I think that one reason so many lefties have gone crazy regarding the war is that it is exposing their hypocrisy — and even more damaging to their self-image, their lack of moral stature — so clearly.

UPDATE: Bill Herbert has more on this.

ROGER SIMON:

I don’t want to think that Noah Oppenheim is correct in writing that many in the media quite seriously don’t want us to win, but tonight of all nights it seems more likely that could be so. As I type these words at ten p. m. PDT… maybe I missed something… maybe I didn’t click far enough… but I see no reports of the large pro-democracy/anti-terror march of Iraqis in Baghdad today in tomorrow’s New York Times or Washington Post or in the Los Angeles Times(at least on their websites). Or on the CNN site. Or on MSNBC…. Do you think for one moment that if thousands had been marching for Saddam… for the fascists… excuse me “insurgents”… it wouldn’t have been front page news? I don’t. What’s going on?

(Emphasis in original.) I just searched “Iraq” on the NYT website. Not only did I find absolutely no reference to the anti-terror protests in Iraq, the search results brought home to me just how relentlessly negative the spin is on the stories that they do report. This is an absolute embarrassment to the American media — even Reuters and Al Jazeera are doing a better job! — but I don’t know if they’ll even notice.

But we’re noticing. And while the story hasn’t quite been blacked out, it’s close. Readers report that CNN did run clips of the marches, as did Fox (see above). But the biggest story in the NYT on Iraq is that two GIs were killed during a robbery. Roger’s basic point holds: Had these demonstrators been marching on the other side, this would have been a big story instead of the closest thing to a non-story. So why isn’t it a big story when it’s good news? Because they want us to lose? Or at least, because they are, as Noah Oppenheim suggests, consciously or unconsciously seeking “vindication” of their anti-war views?

When you compare what they do report with what they don’t, it seems to me that they’re either glorying in the bad news and ignoring the good for the reasons Oppenheim suggests, or just lousy at their jobs. Or, I suppose, both. Your call.

UPDATE: One of Roger’s commenters points out that the Times did cover the march — as a single paragraph buried in the story about the 2 GIs:

In contrast, a heavily policed march in central Baghdad on Wednesday, organized peacefully by the country’s major political parties, drew thousands of Iraqis to protest attacks by guerrilla fighters, which have injured and killed Iraqi civilians as well as occupiers.

This kind of ass-covering (“See! We covered it!”) is almost worse than not covering it at all. Pathetic.

AS I’VE SAID BEFORE, they aren’t anti-war, they’re just on the other side:

Tamsin Smith
BBC reporter in Rome

A group of Italian anti-war militants is raising funds to support the armed Iraqi resistance, the BBC has learned.

The discovery comes as Italy mourns 19 men killed in a suicide attack in Iraq last week.

The “Antiimperialista” organisation’s internet campaign asks people to send “10 Euros to the Iraqi resistance”.

Absolutely shameful. I love this: “They are currently organising an anti-war demonstration in Italy next month, and it remains to be seen whether news of the fund-raising activities will deter more moderate anti-war activists from attending.”

Any bets? You know, someone will probably accuse me of “blurring the line” between anti-war protesters and, well, traitors. But it’s the BBC that’s doing the blurring here. If they called them “terrorist sympathizers” or “Italians who support those who are killing their countrymen” that would be different. But they’re not willing to do that. Why not?

UPDATE: Reader Raymond Sauer emails: “How can a BBC reporter say ‘anti-war militants’ with a straight face?”

I think they have classes for that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, in Iraq, Healing Iraq reports:

Huge anti-terrorism demonstrations were held in Nassiriyah yesterday by students association condemning the attacks on the Italian force carrying signs such as ‘No to terrorism. Yes to freedom and peace’, and ‘This cowardly act will unify us’. I have to add that there were similar demonstrations in Baghdad more than a week ago also by students against the bombings of police stations early this Ramadan. I hope the demonstrations advocates that bugged me are satisfied now. There are also preparations for anti-terror demonstrations before Id (end of Ramadan holidays).

You’ll have to scroll, as his permalinks are bloggered. It’s in the 11/16 8:15pm post. Hmm. The Italians call themselves anti-imperialists, but they seem to be supporting the small group that wants to rule Iraq in opposition to its people, don’t they?

As another reader writes: “Funny you don’t hear about this sort of thing in the news.” Yeah, it is. Maybe some of those guys need to get away from their newly-hired Baathist minders.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s more information about the “anti-Imperialistas” and their fundraising efforts.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS FOUND — at American University in Washington, DC!

Over the next few years, however, various types of historical documentation, including the aerial photos, suggested that the Army Corps had failed to search several areas of Spring Valley for pits where canisters of mustard, lewisite, and other poisonous agents might still be buried. Erik Olson, a senior attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, found another key piece of evidence. After reading in the newspaper about the discovery of World War I chemical munitions in Spring Valley, he recalled hearing that his maternal grandfather, Sgt. C. W. Maurer, had buried chemical weapons when he was stationed at Camp AU in 1918.

In 1996, officials at the District of Columbia Department of Health expressed concern about the army’s investigation, noting that the aerial images and Sergeant Maurer’s photograph suggested that Spring Valley contained additional burial sites. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected most of the city’s arguments, but finally admitted in September 1997 that it had looked in the wrong place for the mustard burial pit. Although the 1927 aerial photograph had shown a ground scar in the vicinity of Glenbrook Road, the Corps’ 1993–1995 investigation had found no evidence of a disposal pit in the area. On reviewing the evidence, army engineers realized that because of a mapping error, they had missed the suspected pit by about 150 feet. The newly identified site was just across the American University property line, in the backyard of South Korean Amb. Hong-Koo Lee’s residence, an expanse of green lawn and ornamental gardens. . . .

Identifying potential chemical weapon burial sites involves an extensive review of historical documents, interviews with people who may have relevant information, and soil sampling. Currently, army officials estimate that the United States has 101 known or suspected chemical weapon burial sites in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and two territories (Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

And that’s here. Sheesh. Thanks to reader Ryan Fitzpatrick for the pointer. Fitzpatrick adds:

The area that we’re talking about isn’t huge, AU is not a sprawling campus, and even with the residential areas that used to be part of the campus, we’re only talking about maybe 1 to 1.5 square miles. But the chemical warheads had been sitting in the ground all that time, and they’re still uncovering more of
them last I heard.

1.5 square miles, in the middle of the DC metro area, and we’re just now recovering chemical weapons from World War I that we buried? And now everyone expects that we can waltz into Iraq and inside three months comb through the entire place with God-knows-how many square miles of empty, uninhabited ground these things could be buried in? I think I’ll give the administration a little bit more time before coming to any conclusions.

Not me — I’m putting them on a strict timetable, and giving them only half as much time as it took above!

UPDATE: Reader Gerald Hanner emails:

Yeah. A smallish project on my last active duty assignment at Offutt AFB NE involved trying to find where some toxic gunk from the manufacture of bombs (during WW II) was buried in the vicinity of Hastings NE. Seems that there was a big munitions plant at Hastings durin’ the wah. When the place went out of business after WW II residue, by-products, and chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives were simply dumped into pits and covered.

Forty years later I was on a team that was supposed to figure out where the stuff was so that it could be dug up and properly disposed of. During the time I was working on the problem we failed to find where the stuff was actually buried — even though we knew the general vicinity of its location. I even tried to get an SR-71 to scan the area with its sensors (I knew that some of their stuff could “see” stuff that was not completely on the surface.). When I retired it hadn’t been done.

Obviously, someone lied about the stuff having been there!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Josh Heit points to the official website on the American University excavation. He also observes: “The McKinley Building has a plaque at its entrance describing the testing done at AU during WWI for chemical weaponry. It was grafffited with anti-war slogans this spring.”

RON ROSENBAUM has a nice piece on the growing tide of European antisemitism.

There is a horrid but obvious dynamic going on here: At some deep level, Europeans, European politicians, European culture is aware that almost without exception every European nation was deeply complicit in Hitler’s genocide. Some manned the death camps, others stamped the orders for the transport of the Jews to the death camps, everyone knew what was going on—and yet the Nazis didn’t have to use much if any force to make them accomplices. For the most part, Europeans volunteered. That is why “European civilization” will always be a kind of oxymoron for anyone who looks too closely at things, beginning with the foolish and unnecessary slaughters of World War I, Holocaust-scale slaughter that paved the way for Hitler’s more focused effort.

And so, at some deep level, there is a need to blame someone else for the shame of “European civilization.” To blame the victim. To blame the Jews.

Yep. This piece first appeared last year, but it seems even more appropriate today, as this sort of behavior becomes steadily more obvious. But they’re not fooling anybody — except the willingly fooled, and those disappointed that things didn’t work out as Hitler planned, of whom there are still plenty in Europe and elsewhere. And as Rosenbaum notes:

Isn’t it interesting that you didn’t see any “European peace activists” volunteering to “put their bodies on the line” by announcing that they would place themselves in real danger—in the Tel Aviv cafés and pizza parlors, favorite targets of the suicide bombers. Why no “European peace activists” at the Seders of Netanya or the streets of Jerusalem? Instead, “European peace activists” do their best to protect the brave sponsors of the suicide bombers in Ramallah.

We know why. The Euros, meanwhile, might take a cautionary note from Ken MacLeod.

UPDATE: A reader who prefers to remain anonymous emails:

Glenn, I’ve been reading Instapundit for a long time — I’m a writer and editor based in London now (in fact, I can see the massive BBC towers from my back window).

Hitchens’s piece on the British obsession with Wolfowitz is right on the money: for some reason, his name always comes up first in the list of “neocons” who “control” the Bush administration. Half the time they either misidentify or fail to identify his position. Most frequently he “works in the Defense Department,” which has a nice shadowy sound to it — much more effective than “he works for Donald Rumsfeld,” because these Wolfowitzian neocons only “work” for their own kind, right? Naturally, when this is pointed out, they immediately go on the defensive, about how they’re against racism and could never be anti-semitic and not all criticism of Israel is anti-semitic (by the way, have you ever met or heard from anyone who said it was?).

But this leads to a point about anti-Semitism that many — particularly those among my fellow lefties — fail to understand: Nazism does not define anti-Semitism. That is: one can hold anti-Semitic attitudes, and one can even hold them un- or semi-consciously, without believing that all Jews should be gassed. Not being a Nazi doesn’t mean one cannot under any circumstances be an anti-Semite. For some reason, this distinction is perfectly clear to anti-war lefties when talking about racism — witness how frequently they accused Republicans or even war supporters of unconscious or institutional racism — but when it comes to examining the anti-Semitic content of their own beliefs, it just doesn’t get through.

Not much does. BTW, here’s the Hitchens post. I added this update here because of the Nazi point. I think that we’re seeing two different, but related things: (1) a rebirth of the old (and non-genocidal) species of Continental antisemitism, which was suppressed by anti-Nazi talk for a while; and (2) a desire, as Rosenbaum describes above, to overcome the Nazi-era guilt, and also the constraints imposed by that guilt. This is also driven, I think, by foreign policy concerns. It’s much harder to posture morally, suck up to the Arabs, and oppose Israel when confronting the facts that (1) Europeans did largely support the Holocaust; and (2) Arabs largely still do. So the impulse is to explain it away by saying (1) the Holocaust wasn’t that bad; (2) Israel is just as bad; and (3) see, Europeans aren’t any worse than anyone else. (This is much the way Stalin-era Soviets responded to comments on genocide by saying “what about you Americans and your Red Indians?”) As with the Stalinists, it’s a dodge in defense of the indefensible.

IT’S BEEN VERY DIFFICULT for me to take the various “where are the weapons of mass destruction — Bush lied!” conspiracy theories seriously. The desperation with which they’re offered is indication enough of their bogosity. But in any event, Robert Kagan points out just how absurd it is to argue that Bush swindled the world into believing in nonexistent weapons:

The absurdity of these accusations is mind-boggling. Start with this: The Iraqi government in the 1990s admitted to U.N. weapons inspectors that it had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax, as well as a few tons of the nerve agent VX. Where are they? U.N. weapons inspectors have been trying to answer that question for a decade. Because Hussein’s regime refused to answer, the logical presumption was that they had to be somewhere still in Iraq.

That, at least, has been the presumption of Hans Blix. Go back and take a look at the report Blix delivered to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27. On the question of Iraq’s stocks of anthrax, Blix reported there existed “no convincing evidence” they had ever been destroyed. On the contrary, he said, there was “strong evidence” that Iraq had produced even more anthrax than it had declared “and that at least some of this was retained.” Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of “bacterial growth media,” enough “to produce . . . 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax.”

On the question of VX, Blix reported that his inspection team had “information that conflicts” with Iraqi accounts. The Iraqi government claimed that it had produced VX only as part of a pilot program but that the quality was poor and therefore the agent was never “weaponized.” But according to Blix, the inspection team discovered that the Iraqi government had lied. The Iraqi government’s own documents showed that the quality and purity of the VX were better than declared and, according to the inspection team, there were “indications that the agent” had indeed been “weaponized.”

Blix reported as well that 6,500 “chemical bombs” that Iraq admitted producing still remained unaccounted for. Blix’s team calculated the amount of chemical agent in those bombs at 1,000 tons. As Blix reported to the U.N. Security Council, “in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for.”

Today they are unaccounted for. But the answer to the continuing conundrum is not that Bush and Blair are lying. The weapons were there. Someday we’ll find them, or we’ll find out what happened to them.

Unless, of course, you like your conspiracies to be as broad and all-pervasive as possible.

Well, it’s better than admitting that if you’d had your way, Saddam Hussein would still be shoveling children into mass graves, I suppose. And that’s what this is really all about. Having lost the argument about the war, and having had Saddam’s brutality proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the anti-war folks have to do something to regain the moral high ground — because, to them, the moral high ground is theirs by right, regardless of the nature or consequences of their actions.

But as Kagan notes, if Bush is lying, so are a lot of other people:

One would have to assume as well that the German intelligence service was lying when it reported in 2001 that Hussein was three years away from being able to build three nuclear weapons and that by 2005 Iraq would have a missile with sufficient range to reach Europe.

Maybe French President Jacques Chirac was lying when he declared this past February that there were probably weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that “we have to find and destroy them.”

And then there’s Al Gore, who declared last September, presumably based on what he had learned as vice president, that Hussein had “stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”

Finally, we get to Bill Clinton. In a speech delivered at the Pentagon in February 1998, Clinton described what he called Iraq’s “offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs.” Clinton accurately reported the view of U.N. weapons inspectors at the time “that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons.”

People are changing their tune now — but it’s about ass-covering, and nothing more.

UPDATE: Read this Mark Steyn column too:

If I understand correctly, the British, having won the war, are now demanding a recount. Across the length and breadth of the realm, the people are as one: now that the war’s out of the way we can go back to bitching and whining that Blair hasn’t made the case for it.

This is all very odd. In Kirkuk the other day, they found another mass grave, this time with the bodies of 200 children who had been buried alive. Yawn. Doesn’t count. Wake me if they find a toxic warhead among the teeny skulls. The naysayers were wrong on so much – millions of refugees, Vietnam quagmire, Stalingrad, etc – you can’t blame them for clinging to the one little straw that hasn’t shrivelled up and slipped between their fingers: Come on, Tony, where’s the WMD?

Or as Iain Duncan Smith put it in the House of Commons: “The truth is nobody believes a word you say now.” Well, I do. Because what Mr Blair said is not only in line with what American officials told me, it is in line with what Continental officials told me – as recently as two weeks ago, when a big-time Euro paused midway through his harangue about the illegality of the war to assure me that “of course” Saddam had been up to WMD monkey business.

That’s why, if you notice, the axis of weasels (France, Germany, Russia) and its short-pants league (Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada), while undoubtedly enjoying Mr Blair’s discomfort, have nevertheless declined to join in the show-us-the-sarin taunts. They know what their intelligence services say (assuming, for the purposes of argument, Luxembourg has an intelligence service), and it’s the same as the British and Americans.

You might also want to read Colin Powell’s speech to the UN, which makes clear what the war was about, and that exposes the “it was all about WMD being about to be used” spin that we’re hearing now. Excerpt:

I asked for this session today for two purposes. First, to support the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. As Dr. Blix reported to this Council on January 27, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it.” . . .

My colleagues, Operative Paragraph 4 of UN Resolution 1441, which we lingered over so long last fall, clearly states that false statements and omissions in the declaration and a failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution shall constitute — the facts speak for themselves — shall constitute a further material breach of its obligation.

We wrote it this way to give Iraq an early test, to give Iraq an early test. Would they give an honest declaration and would they, early on, indicate a willingness to cooperate with the inspectors? It was designed to be an early test. They failed that test.

By this standard, the standard of this Operative Paragraph, I believe that Iraq is now in further material breach of its obligations. I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable.

Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences called for in UN Resolution 1441.

Iraq was required by the U.N. resolutions in force to prove its innocence, something that it did not do. This, in my opinion, is irrelevant. The UN is a body of no moral or — really — legal standing in such matters. But if you’re going to play that game, then it’s important to recognize that the question isn’t whether we find WMD. It was whether Saddam produced adequate evidence that they were destroyed. As Steyn notes:

The moment [Blair] prevailed upon Bush to go the extra mile with the UN, it was inevitable that there would be a fair amount of what I believe the British call “total bollocks”. That is, by definition, the official language of multilateralism, and one reason why I have little time for it. For 18 months, my position on Iraq was consistent: I was in favour of whacking Saddam because the price of leaving him non-whacked was too high for America’s broader interests. But once you get into auditioning justifications in front of a panel comprising France, China and Guinea, you’re in for quite a tap dance. In the end, Britain officially went to war on a technicality, and given that that technicality – Saddam’s technical non-compliance with Resolution 1441 – still holds, the WMD song and dance is irrelevant, both de facto and de jure. And as politics, two months after victory, it’s pathetically immature.

“Pathetically immature?” It’s worse than that, actually, but that will do. As Dean Esmay notes:

Now the spin is that we had an “intelligence failure?” It was the UN that said Saddam wasn’t cooperating, and the UN that said Saddam probably still had Weapons of Mass Destruction. . . .

The responsibility for proving that there were or were not Weapons of Mass Destruction fell to the United Nations and Saddam Hussein. They failed to prove his innocence. We had our reasons, some of which we gave the UN and some of which we didn’t.

Arguments finished, allies secured, we then went and freed the Iraqi people from a monster.

That’s what happened. It’s what the history books will record. I just wonder where some of you were during that whole thing. I really do.

Indeed. Probably here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Howard Owens has an excellent roundup of arguments on the WMD topic. It’s far more balanced than my coverage above, and more in line with what I planned to write before I got terminally irritated with the nasty emails I’ve gotten on the subject. That’s either because Howard doesn’t get those emails, or because he’s a better man than I am. Or both. Anyway, read it. Read this, too, and follow the links.

STILL MORE:

I don’t have complete research facilities here in the Kuwaiti desert (nor unlimited Google time), but I’m pretty sure that the original reasons for the French and British Armies to fight in WWII was because of entanglements in treaties that required declarations of war for infractions. The reasons the US entered WWII were many and varied, but I would not be out of line to say they included the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Anglophilism (is that a word?), and fear of a resurgent Germany. At the time we joined in, there were many patriotic Americans who believed that Europe was only getting itself into another one of it’s wars, for which it had a long inglorious history, and that the US had no reason to choose sides. Given what we knew at the time, they had every reason to believe they were right. I am pretty sure that there were only a few people, if any at all, who said that Hitler represented an evil that should be destroyed.

Now, in retrospect, the clearest most recognized reason for celebrating the Allied victory over Nazi Germany was because, in fact, Hitler was evil and he was bringing his nation to ruin because of his psychotic, unrestrained capacity to inflict harm on Germans and people of other nations. ALL of the original reasons for defeating Nazi Germany, ALL of the reasons that people understood at the beginning of the war, ALL of the reasons that the soldiers who fought the war knew of as they boarded the transports to cross the English Channel, or as they lay shivering in their foxhole in the cold Ardennes winter night, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE REASONS, pales in comparison to what we now accept as the real reason we should celebrate that great victory. Our world is better because Hitler is dead, the evil he was, is gone.

Now we, as a nation, are faced with the same dilemma. Will the Second Gulf War be viewed as an unnecessary conquest of a benign nation, as some of the pro-Saddam morons would have us believe? I say that one only needs to look into a mass grave, filled with the bones of children scattered among dolls and toys, to know that this war was necessary. Time will show that we did the right thing, and those who opposed it, fervently, completely and eternally, were wrong.

We may never find WMDs in Iraq, and I don’t give a shit if we ever do. My world, my children’s world, my grandchildren’s world (when it comes) will be better because we fought this fight and won.

I will never change my mind on this, I have seen the graves.

Major Diggs Cleveland
US Army
Camp Doha, Kuwait

Indeed. Read this, too. As Dean Esmay says in another post (not the one linked above), “There are good questions to be raised by this affair, but they can’t be asked until the ‘Bush lied’ people get over themselves.”

Yes. In a way, of course, the “Bush lied” stuff serves the Administration’s interests, by muddying the waters so that less dramatic, but more pointed, questions are hard to ask. It’s Karl Rove’s useful idiots, all over again.

Also, check out this cartoon.

THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT CRACKS UP: So far, it’s been such a bust that — as Clayton Cramer notes — even “progressive papers” like the L.A. Weekly are declaring it a failure:

Maybe someone in the peace movement should figure out that not only Bush could stop this war. So could Saddam — by resigning his unelected post and saving his people any further sacrifice. Yet I’ve yet to see one anti-war placard allude to Saddam’s responsibilities in securing the peace.

But talk about quagmires. The peace movement, which promises so much in its scope and energy, itself remains bogged down in a minimalist program of simply and only opposing U.S. military action. That’s hardly enough. . . .

Blocking traffic when 74 percent of the American people support the war, or endlessly whining about CNN’s coverage, or grandstanding as Michael Moore did at the Oscars telling America that a president who currently enjoys (for all the sordid reasons we know) stratospheric popularity ratings is “fictitious,” has much more to do with personal therapy than with effective politics. Continue on that tack and you can pretty much count on another four years of Bush, no matter how ugly the war turns. . . .

Protecting the Iraqi people, as the peace movement rightfully desires, is one helluva lot more complicated than merely shielding them from the collateral damage caused by U.S. bombs. (That is, unless you really believe that America is the “greatest terrorist state in the world,” as is so often repeated on KPFK’s drive-time shows. If your world-view is that facile, then indeed we have little more to discuss.)

Those who chant “U.S. out of Iraq” ought to be prepared, then, to offer themselves as human shields to protect the Kurds against threatening Turkish troops (a task currently in the hands of U.S. special forces). Or as shields to protect the southern marsh Arabs against occupation by the theocratic armed forces of Iran.

That seems about right, as this Christian Science Monitor story on the Antiwar movement’s PR problems notes:

“I just wonder how much Saddam is paying them,” says Charlie Lore, a businessman and former Vietnam protester who got stuck in a crowd of demonstrators in Manhattan last Thursday.

Even those in the mainstream who oppose the war often argue that protests are inappropriate with the conflict under way.

Others wonder if the demonstrators understand the issues driving US military action. Watching a Boston rally that drew an estimated 25,000 protesters last Saturday, Jim Cavan says he supports the war – and questions the critics’ motivations. “I feel like they’re doing it for fashion, and that it’s a throwback to the 60s and that no one understands what’s really going on,” he says. “If you’re going to protest, offer a solution. Don’t just protest for the sake of protesting.”

Meanwhile, speaking of, you know, solutions, Jackson Diehl pointed out last week — in a column that a lot of people, including me, missed at the time:

The Bush administration’s embrace of a democratization strategy for the postwar Middle East has triggered a torrent of scorn from the region’s traditional political and intellectual elites, not to mention regional experts at the State Department and CIA. Less noticed is the fact that it has also produced a flurry of political reforms, quasi-reforms and grass-roots initiatives in countries across the region.

Two days before the war began last week, the Palestinian legislative council dealt a major blow to the autocracy of Yasser Arafat, rejecting his attempt to limit the powers of a new prime minister. This happened by a democratic vote after a noisy democratic debate — which in turn came a few days after President Bush called for a strong prime minister in a Palestinian democracy.

The next day an Egyptian court finally ended the prosecution of the country’s leading pro-democracy activist, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who had twice been sentenced to prison on trumped-up charges — and whose last conviction prompted the Bush administration to freeze aid to Egypt. Two weeks earlier, Gamal Mubarak, would-be heir to his father, Hosni, as president, announced a plan to end trials of civilians in the security courts in which Ibrahim was sentenced, and proposed an independent national council to monitor human rights.

A week before Mubarak spoke, King Abdullah of Jordan, who has not allowed an election since taking office four years ago and who dissolved parliament in 2001, set a date for parliamentary elections. He chose June 17, thereby ensuring that as the postwar political discussion gets underway, Jordan will be able to point to its own democratic exercise.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has been urging Western journalists to take note of an “Arab Charter” floated by ruling Crown Prince Abdullah, which calls for “internal reform and enhanced political participation in the Arab states,” and a related petition by 104 intellectuals calling for the direct election in Saudi Arabia of a consultative council, an independent judiciary and freedom of speech and assembly. In January, on Abdullah’s order, a host of senior Saudi officials met with a visiting delegation from Human Rights Watch — the first time a Western human rights group had been allowed to visit the country.

These aren’t huge accomplishments, it’s true. But they’re more than the antiwar movement has managed. Meanwhile I agree with Bill Quick’s suggestion:

Wouldn’t it be nice if the first act of the new Iraqi government would be to invite Dr. Ibrahim to emigrate to a place where he could speak, write, and think freely?

You get more freedom with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone.

THAT’LL BE ALL FOR ME FOR A WHILE: In the meantime, check out The Command Post, SgtStryker.com, The Agonist, StrategyPage, Steven Den Beste, and the many other fine weblogs linked to the left and below.

The CNN thing is supposed to air about 12:15. Like all TV, that’s subject to change at the last minute.

UDPATE: Read this piece, too. I agree that the biggest danger is an artificial timetable, and I’m happy to see that Bush and Blair seem determined to avoid one.

And read this account of aid and comfort from Columbia:

“The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military,” Nicholas De Genova, assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University told the audience at Low Library Wednesday night. “I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus.”

That kind of thing is an embarassment and a disgrace to the academic profession. Columbia should be ashamed. Even Eric Foner was embarrassed. And the people who said that Andrew Sullivan was being hysterical when he warned of a “Fifth Column” of academics and journalists who would actively root for America’s defeat owe Andrew an apology. Another one.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Read this piece by Eugene Volokh, which seems to expose De Genova as a Holocaust-denier, more or less. Why am I not surprised? Like a lot of people who say they’re “anti-war,” he’s really just on the other side. And lest anyone accuse me of “McCarthyism” for pointing that out, let me note that he says so himself.

HERE’S AN INTERESTING ARTICLE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE on French and German state television and its efforts — often unsuccessful — to match government positions:

Whatever the ephemeral nature of being right for a moment or two in a war of continuous and instant changes – the Allies’ problems were misunderstandings “not misinformation or disinformation” said BBC’s man in Doha, Nick Gowing – the French studios seemed committed to a wish or a will to assert that most everything on the American side was going awry.

This version of the French Touch meant at least one comic collision between a field reporter’s version of events and the editorial line in Paris, and one occasion when another station explained away a rival’s images of Iraqi civilian misery.

On the main midday news on Saturday, the private broadcaster TF1, after reporting that the Americans falsely announced they held the port at Umm Qasr, Claire Chazal, a news presenter, called in a report from Jean-Claude Ferey, who was there. Uhh, he said, no doubt about it, they’re in Umm Qasr. But it’s the British not the Americans. And, Ferey explained, he had just talked to the commander, who said they’re going to avoid engaging in Basra, and let it fall when it was time.

TF1 viewers also got a closeup shot of a child with a bandaged head screaming with fear in Baghdad hospital. At virtually the same moment, France 2’s audience saw a much wider angle showing the child in a hospital room filled with newsmen, lights, and microphones and the station’s reporter – beware of reporters actually on the scene – saying that the child was screaming in terror at the commotion in what was an Iraqi propaganda set up.

The Iraqis’ report of only three dead after the first night of bombing almost seemed to enrage a man called Patrick Hesters commenting early Saturday evening from the set of France 3, another state-run network which began its noon to 2 p.m. segment on Friday, after the first American raid, with footage of anti-war demonstrations.

Read the whole thing. I wonder how much anti-American sentiment worldwide is the product of slant at state-controlled or -subsidized media operations?

(Via Judicious Asininity).

THEY’RE NOT PEACE PROTESTERS:

Two Jewish youths were hospitalized Saturday afternoon after being stabbed in Paris by individuals who had taken part in an anti-war demonstration. . . .

One young man was stabbed and lightly wounded after a group of men noticed his yarmulke. He was taken to the hospital for treatment. The attackers are believed to have been immigrants from North Africa.

They’re just the enemy.

UPDATE: Reader Khalid Yukub emails from Britain and sends this link, with the suggestion that it somehow parallels the story above. I can’t read the Arabic, but it has a picture of what I assume is supposed to be a dead Iraqi civilian killed by Americans. After the Baby Milk Factory episode in the last war, I can hardly swear to its accuracy — and, statistically, a dead Iraqi civilian is far more likely to have been killed by Saddam than by Americans. But assume it’s what it purports to be, a dead Iraqi civilian.

War is hell. Civilians get killed. The United States is trying hard — far, far harder than any Arab nation ever has — to avoid killing civilians in the course of war. Nonetheless, it still happens. To suggest that somehow that sort of thing is the same as deliberately targeting someone for stabbing because of his religion is — well, it’s typical, is what it is.

UPDATE: Khalid emails:

I’m not suggesting that there is a direct parallel between the attack on the Jewish youth and the killing of the Iraqi civilian, although both attacks are on innocent people and are indeed illegal and immoral. I’m suggesting that your coverage, in general, focuses more on the suffering (or jubilation) of some people more than others. Violence you agree with is downplayed and/or justified, while violence you (often rightly) disagree with is highlighted to bolster your black-and-white view of the world.

Uh, no. “Both attacks” are not illegal and immoral. Collateral damage in a war is neither, though it is unfortunate and the United States has made unprecedented efforts to avoid it — far more than against Germany in World War II despite lame claims that this is a “racist” war. It’s not remotely comparable to deliberately stabbing someone because he’s wearing a Yarmulke. (And the original email sure seemed to suggest that to me).

As to whether my presentation reflect my beliefs — you bet it does. I also go out of my way to offset the biases of mainstream media, who swallow Iraqi propaganda rather uncritically (as with the “Baby Milk Factory” episode).

What I find interesting is that any act of violence by the United States seems always to be condemned, while almost any act of violence by third world thugocracies is excused. If recognizing that is a “black and white view” then so be it.

If Saddam, or Osama, had the power that the United States enjoys, how would they be exercising it? And yet that difference is seldom recognized.

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish thinks I’m giving Khalid too much credit here:

It’s Jew-hatred, plain and simple, Glenn. Don’t let him distract you with trying to get you into moral arguments. These two young Jewish men did nothing. “Immigrants from North Africa” stabbed one, tried to break into a Jewish building to stab more, and instead beat the hell out of the next Jew to exit the building.

She goes on to say that Khalid’s guilty of the same kind of sentiments. Well, I don’t know Khalid. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt here. The war has everyone on edge, and his comments may reflect that. I don’t want to see innocent people killed, and I don’t see any evidence that Khalid does, either. I think it’s worth making clear, however, that although some Muslims seem determined to see this as a war against Islam, it’s not. I don’t want it to be, and I don’t think anyone much in America does. Certainly Bush has gone out of his way to make that clear, as he did with his visit to a mosque right after 9/11. And those Muslims who want to turn it into one don’t have the best interests of Muslims, or anyone else besides themselves, at heart.

Anyway, for more on civilian casualties, etc., read this lengthy and thorough post by Jacob Levy.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Another email from Khalid makes clear that he condemns the stabbing above, as I thought. Unlike rather a lot of my anti-war emailers, he has managed to be quite civil, too, which I appreciate. The email from the “peace” movement has never been especially pacific, and it’s gotten a lot worse lately.

ANOTHER REASON TO MOVE YOUR BUSINESS OUT OF SAN FRANCISCO:

11:00 PST — Waves of anti-war protesters made good on their promise to disrupt downtown San Francisco this morning, as they occupied intersections throughout the Financial District, South of Market and Civic Center, preventing buses and cars from navigating the streets.

Demonstrations began with sunrise and heated up rapidly after 7 a.m., as groups of protesters fanned out to locations they had selected over the previous several weeks.

By late morning, demonstrators were still moving from intersection to intersection, and large portions of Market Street, Van Ness Avenue and other thoroughfares were blocked off.

“We don’t want to alienate people. I hope people realize that political murder merits action that inconveniences them,” said Quinn Miller, 32, who took the day off from his job for a banking company and said he expected to be arrested for the first time in his life.

Of course, maybe these guys are more of Karl Rove’s agents provocateurs:

Outside the Transamerica Pyramid, more than 100 demonstrators shouted anti-war slogans, shutting down the intersection of Clay and Montgomery and angering motorists.

“You suck. Why don’t you all go to North Korea and do this,” yelled Larry Chu, who had driven into the city from San Rafael and had been stuck for several minutes in his car.

Go see Evan Coyne Maloney’s video and ask yourself: are these people for real? Or actors hired to discredit the opposition? And is it even possible to tell the difference, these days?

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll has more thoughts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Christopher Baker emails from San Francisco:

I think your recent post overstates the protests.

I did have a few roblems getting to work today. A few people (not a lot) blocked some city streets to protest the war. Just a few minutes ago, the whole group of protesters (maybe one hundred and fifty) walked down the middle of Second Street trying to put up barricades by rolling garbage bins and dragging newspaper boxes into the street. They spilled a lot of “Bay Guardians” – a far left free daily — in the process. The police followed behind, cleaning up after them, but not really arresting anyone. Really, what would be the point?

I watched the proceedings from my office window with a co-worker. He’s a strong Democrat and he opposes the war. Looking down at the pathetic-looking group and their shenanigans, he shook his head and said “It makes me want to support Bush.”

Someone needs to tell the protesters that trying to shut down San Francisco, the city that loves France, is not going to have any effect on America’s foreign policy. All they’re doing is pissing off their choir.

More support for the Rove theory. Let’s call them “Karl Rove’s useful idiots!”

Then there’s this reaction: “Yawn.”

SOME READERS HAVE CHALLENGED my statement below about increasing anti-semitism from the Vatican. But the Vatican has consistently taken the side of Palestinians, and Arab Muslims generally, against Israel and Jews, to the point where I can’t really believe any excuses that it’s not about antisemitism. (I think that there have been a few minor condemnations of the increasing anti-semitism in Europe, though I looked and couldn’t find any.) Then there’s this damning picture. (Yeah, he’s French, but he’s also a Cardinal.)

Sorry — readers can defend this sort of thing if they like. But to me it’s just another sign that the Vatican — whose retreat from antisemitism was at any rate recent and shallow — has no moral ground to stand on.

UPDATE: For those seeking context, the original Yahoo story has died, but here is a Guardian story on the meeting, and here’s Craig Schamp’s blog entry. Here’s my original post on the topic.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers have emailed. Reader Peter Hanna emails from New York:

Hey Glenn, long time reader, law student in NYC. I’ll be brief – I’m a Coptic Christian (Egyptian), and I can readily attest to the existence of virulent anti-semitism not just among Arab Muslims, but Christians as well. It’s very bizarre, but an unnaturally high number of Christians are complete bigots- the things I’ve heard at my church (of all places) would make your head spin. I’ve been trying to explain this to myself for a while, and I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of it, or at least one facet of it. The Coptic Pope (Pope Shenouda, aka the Patriarch of Alexandria) has adopted a very, very hardline pro-Palestine stance. Needless to say, this stance has trickled down to the lesser clergy and been adopted by the Coptic community en masse. Furthermore, the way it’s trickled down – without debate, discussion, etc – has obviated the possibility of any real dialogue on the ‘question of Israel’ entirely.

It’s really quite striking (and to me, annoying) hearing my fellow Christians go to such extraordinary lengths to defend not just Palestinians, but any Islamic endeavor at all (e.g., Saddam in Iraq, Taliban in Afghanistan). A number of family members (still in Egypt) have contacted my immediate family (over here) specifically to berate us as if we were responsible for the “American Crusade.” It’s funny (but sad), cuz there’s a well-known saying in Arabic: “In aharda il Yahoud, bokra il Massihian” -which means “Today the Jews, tomorrow the Christians” – and it’s just oddly amusing seeing Christians side with, almost adopt, an ideology bent on their destruction as well as the Jews.

Indeed. Reader John Cross emails:

Being a good Catholic, I have tried to reason the Church’s anti-war stance, but I am afraid that the similarity between its stance now, and the stand it took having to do with the Nazis and Fascists, is too strong to ignore. I won’t renounce my Catholic beliefs, but I renounce the stand the Catholic Church has taken on this matter. If that breaks me with the Church, or I am under excommunication (official or not) then fine. Me and St. Peter can discuss it later.

Reader Joel Merriam adds this:

I am a Roman Catholic and have been for all of my 45 years.I am very active in my church and belong to a lay ministry that takes communion to hospitals and shut ins.

Last year our parish priest came out very strongly against the pedophile priests and received a standing ovation in the church. Recently he has been giving anti war sermons and several of us walked out during a recent service. I have not been back in the last couple of months. Our diocese got into bed with ANSWER for the protests. Now the Vatican is saying the war is unjust and allows the murderer Aziz to visit with the pope. This is the equivalent of Gobbels having a papal visit in mid 1939.

25 years ago a much younger pope helped liberate eastern Europe. Today he wants to keep another area of the world enslaved while lecturing the democracies around the world while my church is repeating the same antisemitic behavior the pope apologized for a couple of years ago.

I am seriously considering a complete break from my church and that pains me a great deal.

Yes, I can imagine that it would. But the Church has disgraced itself immensely over the past year, on a number of fronts, so I sympathize.

Justin Katz, meanwhile, sends this:

I, for one, had only written to see if you had come across something

more recent than that picture with Arafat from last spring. You’re

right, though, that picture is shameful and caused many an angry word among Catholics. As I’ve noted (link), that grinning bishop is the very same Etchegaray who recently met with Hussein (that link also suggests that some French bishops are acting more French than Catholic).

To offset the implication of “readers [who might] defend this sort of

thing,” I thought I’d point out that many Catholics are agonizing over

the issue: Link.

As the tone of that link will convey, it’s a painful situation for Catholics, and I’ve found that many in the blogosphere, big names and small, seem more than willing assume the worst of the Vatican and to condemn the Church and all its followers for the quotations of a few.

At any rate, I found this picture from a couple of weeks ago that might be relevant to questions of the Vatican and hatred of Jews: Link.

Well, I thought that my comments were pretty clearly aimed at the Vatican, not at catholics in general, and I am — obviously — aware that it’s causing a lot of people pain. I’m sorry about the pain, but I am not its author. The Vatican has, in fact, been consistently supportive of Arab tyrants, for reasons best known to itself, as they mystify me. The final photo, of the Pope meeting with a rabbi, is not, to me, enough to offset the photo shown above, or the rest of the Vatican’s shameful record in this area.

Finally, to the one guy who emailed with the old “Arabs can’t be anti-semitic because they’re semites themselves,” — grow up and get a clue.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Took down the big picture — some people with dialup connections were complaining it was slowing the page down too much — but you can still see it by following the link.

PRO-WAR RALLIES

Thousands rallied Saturday in support of President Bush and U.S. troops in a possible war against Iraq, turning their criticism to anti-war protesters and France’s opposition to military force.

About 2,000 people turned out at an Orlando rally that featured a reading of the Gettysburg Address, while another 1,000 prayed and marched in Pensacola.

“I was so saddened to see so many in our nation not supporting our troops and our country,” said Naval Warrant Officer David Wolff, a Desert Storm veteran who arrived at the Pensacola rally in uniform. “This is very uplifting.”

Rallies were also held in Indianapolis and Washington state, where more than 2,000 people gathered for a pro-war rally in Bremerton, home to a naval station where the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson departed last month.

And somehow they managed to organize them without enlisting A.N.S.W.E.R.

UPDATE: Here’s more:

The Pensacola rally was a grass-roots effort coordinated by Milton resident Sam Mullins, while the Orlando event was put on by the talk-radio station WFLA-AM.

“There’s a silent majority out there that really hasn’t had a vehicle yet to get their voices heard, and that’s what this is all about,” radio host Shannon Burke said. “These are people who love their country, and they’re just here to share that.”

No reports of any stilts or giant puppets, though. Don’t these people know how to run a protest?

MORE REPORTS that Saddam’s inner circle is defecting. I don’t know how reliable they are, but their simple existence makes defections more likely in the future.

Then there’s this report of a recent assassination attempt aimed at Saddam. I don’t vouch for these stories being true. But I hope they are.

UPDATE: Reader Gary Haubold writes:

The Instapundit just observes that:

MORE REPORTS that Saddam’s inner circle is defecting. I don’t know how reliable they are, but their simple existence makes defections more likely in the future . . . . . . .

. . . . . but that’s only half the story. In terms of game theory: (1) it’s certain that IF the United States goes after Saddam that he’s finished, but (2) given the problems with the United Nations and anti-war Democrats, it’s not certain that the United States will go after Saddam full-bore. If (2) did not exist and everyone knew for certain the United States was going after Saddam full-bore, then odds are WE WOULDN’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO ANYTHING because it would be so much likelier that either Saddam would run for his life or else one of his closest friends would kill him.

I’m all for open debate and intellectual honesty and I wouldn’t question the patriotism of anyone opposing the war – but I do think that we should all recognize the damage that war protestors are doing to the war effort simply by protesting – they’re not operating in a vacuum, and the more that the Iraqi government appreciates and fears our seriousness of purpose, the less likely we are to have to actually have to engage in hard-core fighting.

That’s my thought for the day.

Yes, it’s this sort of calculation that adds irony to Vegetius’ statement that “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Or maybe it’s not irony at all.

UPDATE: Reader Matt Sitar disagrees:

I think the war effort has actually benefitted from much of the balking from Congress and the UN. Had the US been given free rein from the outset, there still would have been a period of time where the US and its allies would have prepared for the war. This would have given Saddam a similar amount of time, during which he could move whatever biological and chemical (and perhaps even nuclear) weaponry he has to strategic locations.

As it is, though, with the possibility of resumed inspections, any biological or chemical weapons need to stay hidden. Meanwhile, the US is free to continue preparations for war. So when the time comes, the US will be ready.

The outcome of all the debating, in the UN, in Congress, in the US, is uncertain. This can be a good thing. If Saddam knows he is a dead man, he will try to inflict as much damage as possible, both to the US and to Iraq (he strikes me as the “if I can’t have it, no one can” sort of person). Uncertainty forces him to consider many other options and many other outcomes.

This is an interesting theory, and I’d like to believe it, not least because it meshes with a theory I’ve written on, that the unpredictability of democratic decision-making is inherently advantageous. But I’m not sure I’m convinced. Since Vietnam, every adversary of the United States has felt that it could neutralize American military power so long as it could get people marching against the war in America. That has led them to do things they wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Austin Bay agrees with Gary Haubold’s approach, more or less. So, pretty much, does Tom Friedman, though his final paragraph proves that he doesn’t understand his own argument fully.

HESIOD THEOGENY is admirably forthright about his views on the war — and I actually share his fears about the dangers of empire, as I’ve mentioned here from time to time. I wish that, say, Tom Daschle would be as straightforward as Hesiod.

Unless, of course, Hesiod really is Tom Daschle, blogging so as to get things off his chest that he doesn’t feel he can say in public. With these pseudonymous bloggers, you never know. . . .

Seriously, though, it’s a good post. And I think a lot of so-called warbloggers share his concerns. You don’t go to war because it’s inherently desirable. You go to war because you see no other reasonable alternatives. Reasonable people can agree on exactly when that becomes the case. I wish that it weren’t the case now, though I think it is. If something could magically sweep away our problems without a war, I’d be very happy. I don’t think it’s going to happen though.

UPDATE: Justin Katz thinks I’m being too generous to Hesiod. So do a lot of people who have emailed me.

Well, I think the Bush-bashing is pretty over-the-top (FDR was rather disingenuous about leading us into war, too, but that’s considered sign of his craftiness in looking after the national interest, not of moral turpitude). But Hesiod was, I think, honest about his motivations and clear about his positions, and made clear that his reluctance to invade Iraq was based on affection for America and American principles, not on hostility thereto. That puts him head and shoulders above most of the anti-war critics. And most of the anti-war Democrats in Congress.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Boy, they’re slamming me in the comments over at Bill Quick’s page. That’s okay, guys — I can take it!