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WHAT NASA DOES NOW INSTEAD OF BUILDING MOON ROCKETS THAT WORK: NASA: ‘Certain Cosmic Nicknames’ Are ‘Actively Harmful,’ Will ‘Reexamine’ Their Use.

UPDATE (From Ed): America’s Newspaper of Record is already on the case:

I assume it’s only a matter of time before the increasingly “woke” NASA goes full O’Brien, and argues the stars don’t really exist.

(Updated and bumped.)

DISPATCHES FROM THE MEMORY HOLE. Mashable: 2010s = 1984: The decade we finally understood Orwell.

To be a totalitarian, he knew from his contemporary totalitarians, you had to seize control of truth itself. You had to redefine truth as “whatever we say it is.” You had to falsify memories and photos and rewrite documents. Your people could be aware that all this was going on, so long as they kept that awareness to themselves and carried on (which is what doublethink is all about).

The upshot is, Winston Smith is gaslit to hell and back. He spends the entire novel wondering exactly what the truth is. Is it even 1984? He isn’t sure. Does Big Brother actually physically exist somewhere in Oceania, or is he just a symbol? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Winston is what passes for well-educated in his world; he still remembers the name “Shakespeare.” He’s smart enough not to believe the obvious propaganda accepted by the vast majority, but it doesn’t matter. The novel is about him being worn down, metaphorically and physically, until he’s just too tired and jaded to hold back the tide of screaming nonsense.

Don’t call him Winston Smith. Call him Mr. 2019. Because it’s looking increasingly like we live in Oceania. That fictional state was basically the British Isles, North America, and South America. Now the leaders of the largest countries in each of those regions — Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro — are men who have learned to flood the zone with obvious lies, because their opponents simply don’t have the time or energy to deal them all.

As Tom Wolfe famously wrote about the far left versus the center-left LBJ administration in “The Intelligent Coed’s Guide to America,” as collated in his 1982 anthology of his nonfiction, The Purple Decades:

“For the past hour I have my eyes fixed on the doors here,” [Gunter Grass] said. “You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they come through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow.”

Grass was enjoying himself for the first time all evening. He was not simply saying, “You really don’t have so much to worry about.” He was indulging his sense of the absurd. He was saying: “You American intellectuals—you want so desperately to feel besieged and persecuted!”

He sounded like Jean-François Revel, a French socialist writer who talks about one of the great unexplained phenomena of modern astronomy: namely, that the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.

* * * * * * * *

By 1967 Lyndon Johnson may have been the very generalissimo of American imperialism in Southeast Asia—but back here in the U.S. the citizens were enjoying freedom of expression and freedom of dissent to a rather astonishing degree. For example, the only major Western country that allowed public showings of MacBird—a play that had Lyndon Johnson murdering John F. Kennedy in order to become President—was the United States (Lyndon Johnson, President). The citizens of this fascist bastion, the United States, unaccountably had, and exercised, the most extraordinary political freedom and civil rights in all history. In fact, the government, under the same Johnson, had begun the novel experiment of sending organizers into the slums—in the Community Action phase of the poverty program—to mobilize minority groups to rise up against the government and demand a bigger slice of the pie. (They obliged.)

And, speaking of community organizers, socialism, and Mashable’s aforementioned “obvious lies,” Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” for 2013 goes entirely unreferenced in their look back at the 2010s, which apparently started less than three years ago:

As Michael Barone noted in 2013, “More than all past presidents, Obama uses 1917 Espionage Act to go after reporters.” And yet, in Mashable’s article on the past decade, CTRL-F, “Obama” brings up zero returns.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Debate professor: Science is a projection of whiteness.

“Our argument will be that space is not real. It’s not real. Science, technology, it’s all fake. It’s a projection of white fantasies that has worked to control our interpretation of how the world works.” That’s the statement of a college debate professor talking with his class. He added, “None of us have had the privilege of going to f**king space to verify that there’s these stars and these galaxies and these planets.”

Read the whole thing, which is apparently based on up a recording a student made of Ryan Wash, an instructor at Utah’s Weber State University, who sounds like he’s unintentionally or otherwise, channeling a page from 1984, where O’Brien is interrogating Winston Smith:

‘Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness.’

‘But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals — mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which lived here long before man was ever heard of.’

‘Have you ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not. Nineteenth-century biologists invented them. Before man there was nothing. After man, if he could come to an end, there would be nothing. Outside man there is nothing.’

‘But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.’

‘What are the stars?’ said O’Brien indifferently. ‘They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.’

Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say anything. O’Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection:

‘For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?’

It’s apparently alive and well at Weber State.

QUESTION ASKED: Why Is the NBA in Xinjiang?

Operating in such a place seems antithetical to the public stance of a league that has recently gone out of its way to tout its progressive, social-justice bona fides. After the Trump travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority nations, prominent NBA figures took the side of the critics. League commissioner Adam Silver took the unusual step of criticizing the ban, saying “it goes against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA.” Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy compared the ban to Hitler registering the Jews.

NBA stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have condemned police violence and racism in the United States, while players and executives have protested the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents. According to his LinkedIn page, the NBA executive George Land oversees the Xinjiang training center. On Twitter, Land’s most recent activity is a retweet of the MSNBC host Chris Hayes condemning the U.S. separation of thousands of mothers from their children. But what about Xinjiang? Thousands of Uighur children are reportedly languishing in orphanages, awaiting their parents’ release from the concentration camps. The NBA didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. Nor did Land. Nor did China’s foreign ministry. (In a response to the recent United Nations report, a senior Chinese official denied the reports of torture and persecution of Uighurs and said that the camps were for “criminals involved only in minor offenses,” to teach them vocational skills.)

Exit quote: “Over the past few years, Xinjiang has become ground zero for a repressive revolution into a total control state. Think less George Orwell and more Michel Foucault, the philosopher of power who described a system of total control as a ‘cruel, ingenious cage.’”

Orwellian doublethink meets postmodernism also neatly sums up working at Disney-ABC-ESPN these days: Internal Memo: ESPN Forbids Discussion Of Chinese Politics When Discussing Daryl Morey’s Tweet About Chinese Politics.


“This isn’t an isolated incident,” Christian Toto writes in response:

A crush of stories shows how conservatives are treated like second-class citizens, or worse, in Hollywood today. That intensified following Trump’s election. They lose jobs and aren’t allowed to fully express themselves like their liberal peers.

Many right-leaning actors and crew members stay silent, both on the set and via social media. They fear risking key opportunities if they don’t toe the progressive line.

And while a select few actors, like Nick Searcy, are loud and proud of their conservative opinions, others think speaking up can have consequences.

You’d think the actor best known for a show about love and tolerance would understand that.

I’m sure Messing and McCormack justify their doublethink the same way that Ted Knight, playing Caddyshack’s smug Judge Elihu Smails character, said to Danny, the movie’s teenage golf caddy and chief protagonist, “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.”

“This ploy keeping Hollywood a liberal bastion is subtle, but extraordinarily effective – smoke out right-wingers and their sympathizers, spread the word of their apostasy, freeze them out, repeat. This process is seen in every crevice of Tinseltown, and it quietly teaches a lesson to all watching… The Deep Hollywood enforcers are everywhere, at every level…ejecting the deplorables while fortifying the liberal wall. It’s a process they’ve been employing and perfecting since the 1930s, with undeniable results,” conservative entrepreneur Patrick Courrielche wrote in “Tinseltown Travelogue – a deplorable’s adventures in la la land,” in 2017.

As Glenn added at the time, “You know the difference between a Republican and a pedophile? Hollywood will work with a pedophile.”

Basically, anyone working in Hollywood who attends a Trump fundraiser and is outed by the media will be “blacklisting himself,” to slightly modify the original title of Roger Simon’s autobiography. And just like that, an entire genre of Hollywood anti-blacklist movies are about to be cut up into guitar picks.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Vladimir Putin Is Responsible for Everything Bad in the World, Including This Blog Post.

In six short years, they’ve all gone from “Hurr hurr, Romney is stuck in ’80s” to “OMG, my phone charger is missing, Putin stole it!” It’s just odd to me that they think Obama took care of this guy, and yet he stole an election right from under Obama’s nose. Doublethink is your best entertainment value.

Read the who thing, comrade. Citizen Treacher, Jim, 655321, is always doubleplus good.


On ESPN, Jemele Hill, co-host of “SC6,” grew excited. Her previous noteworthy excitements were tweets condemning President Trump as a “white supremacist” who contributes to the oppression of blacks, the second of which led to a brief suspension for defying ESPN’s instructions to cut it out.

Tuesday, Hill was excited for a different reason: ESPN had selected the halftime entertainment for the its broadcast of the national championship football game.

“The powers that be finally got something right — Kendrick Lamar!” she squealed, pumping her arms in delight. “Kendrick Lamar!”

Given Hill’s race-based activism, one logically wonders why she’d so openly favor Lamar, a rapper who has grown fabulously wealthy through lyrics that consistently refer to
black men as “N—-s”.

I’d be glad to provide Hill examples of his lyrical artistry so she can recite them on ESPN. She could start with “Money Trees.’’

That could never happen because ESPN would never allow such a thing, thus she’s spared from exposing her rank hypocrisy.

Or perhaps she can identify the proper context in which African-Americans should be called “N—-s,” and those logical instances when the vulgar degradation of women should be recorded, sold, performed, applauded.

Does Hill know that 12-year-old black kids now effortlessly, reflexively call one another “n—-s”? She’s good with that?

Odd, but not surprising, how it works. ESPN, a sports network, decries racism and sexism from within and beyond, yet eagerly seizes the cross-promotional (perceived) value in embracing such rappers. Still, not one ESPN exec would dare publicly repeat their lyrics.

Why, it’s as if the alt-right is the mirror image of the mainstream American left, or something. How mainstream is Lamar? Obama met with him in the oval office before his last State of the Union Speech, and he performed for Mr. Obama last Fourth of July, despite* Lamar’s lyrics, and the cover of his million-selling album:

A few hours before delivering that State of the Union, President Obama met with rapper Kendrick Lamar. Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. The song comes from the album To Pimp a Butterfly; the album cover shows a crowd of young African-American men massed in front of the White House. In celebratory fashion, all are gripping champagne bottles and hundred-dollar bills; in front of them lies the corpse of a white judge, with two Xs drawn over his closed eyes. So why wouldn’t the president’s advisors at least have advised him that such a gratuitous White House sanction might be incongruous with a visual message of racial hatred? Was Obama seeking cultural authenticity, of the sort he seeks by wearing a T-shirt, with his baseball cap on backwards and thumb up?

To play the old “what if” game that is necessary in the bewildering age of Obama: what if President George W. Bush had invited to the White House a controversial country Western singer, known for using the f- and n- words liberally in his music and celebrating attacks on Bureau of Land Management officers?

It takes an Inner Party level of self-imposed amnesia for the left to simultaneously declare Trump a uniquely racist vulgarian, while blocking out their near-total control of pop culture for decades, and the former president’s embrace of some of the worst of it. Perhaps someone should have asked, are we being the baddies here, before going too far.

* I know, I know, I just Fox Butterfield-ed myself there.


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Watch Leftist Students Say Science Is Racist and Should Be Abolished:

Essentially, these students believe that modern scientific understanding is too Eurocentric. One explained:

“I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana. They believe that through the magic’ you call it black magic’ they call it witchcraft’ you are able to send lightening to strike someone. Can you explain that scientifically because it’s something that happens?”

Many people laughed at this remark because, well, witchcraft is not something that happens. But according to the student, witchcraft is like Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity—it’s just one way of explaining the world, among many.

“Decolonising the science would mean doing away with it entirely and starting all over again to deal with how we respond to the environment and how we understand it,” the student continued.

Straight outta Oceania!

DAMN, IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A CLINTON: CNN Host Brooke Baldwin Stunned To Learn Hillary Aides Destroyed Phones With Hammers (video).

Ahh, the power of doublethink — I’ll bet Baldwin was genuinely stunned and not just faking it, despite a quarter century of Clinton scandals being in the news — even at CNN.

(Classical reference in headline.)

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR: Salon tweets, “The gangster candidate: Trump & his supporters behave like the mafia, with veiled threats and acting above the law.” But as Twitchy notes, “That’s rich, coming from Salon. When radicals rioted in Ferguson and Baltimore in response to the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, this was their headline: ‘Violent protesters are right: Smashing police cars a legitimate political strategy.’”

And note this classic exercise in doublethink at the same link: “Watch this video from RebelPundit interviewing some of the protesters [at Trump’s Chicago rally]. Around the 2:43 mark, one woman responds to some ‘F*** Trump’ comments with ‘Yeah! That’s what I’m saying!’ Immediately after, she amazingly continues with, ‘I’m not here for like, hate.’”


The title of the article says it all: “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place.” The conceit of the piece by Rick Gladstone, one of the Times’ foreign editors, is that it is impossible to determine whether the enclosed plateau above the Western Wall is really where either of the biblical Holy Temples stood before their destruction, the first by the Babylonians and the second by the Romans.

* * * * * * * *

By treating lies denying the historical ties of Jews to Jerusalem as being deserving of a fair hearing, the Times is calling into question more than claims about who gets to pray on the Temple Mount. The reason why Palestinians say such things isn’t because they have a solid historical case, but because their goal is to treat Jews and Judaism as alien to the place where the Jewish history began. The stakes here are not about archeology but about the right of Israel to exist. The Times has a long history of journalism malpractice with regard to Israel and Jewish issues dating back to the Holocaust. But Gladstone’s atrocious effort to treat history as bunk is an act of intellectual dishonesty that will rank it beside the worst articles ever published by the newspaper.

But it does lend credence to this claim by Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the US:

[Oren] called the New York Times editorial-page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, after the paper published an op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas startlingly claimed the Arabs had accepted the UN Partition Plan of 1947. The conversation went thus:

“When I write for the Times, fact checkers examine every word I write,” I began. “Did anybody check that Abbas has his facts exactly backward?”

“That’s your opinion,” Rosenthal replied.

“I’m an historian, Andy, and there are opinions and there are facts. That the Arabs rejected partition and the Jews accepted it is an irrefutable fact.”

“In your view.”

“Tell me, on June 6, 1944, did Allied forces land or did they not land on Normandy Beach?”

Rosenthal…replied, “Some might say so.”

To place the Times’ doublethink into context, Liel Leibovitz of Tablet magazine writes, “The New York Times’ Goes Truther on the Temple Mount.” “Was the White House ever in Washington, D.C.? Can we ever really know for sure? Not unless we dig under the existing structure and find indisputable archaeological evidence of the original structure, which British general Robert Ross is said—by some sources—to have torched in August, 1814,” adding, “If you find everything about the previous paragraph patently ridiculous, you are clearly not a reporter or an editor for The New York Times.


THE EDUCATION OF TOM BROKAW CONTINUES APACE: Brokaw ‘Stunned’ by Clinton’s Answers on Her E-Mail Use.

But of course — Brokaw is always stunned or surprised by Democrat malfeasance and incompetence, to the point where he ridiculously claimed on the eve of the 2008 election to Charlie Rose that “We don’t know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy,” despite having two years to observe and interview the man, study up on him, his background and influences, and an entire news department available at his beck and call to research the issue. But then, you don’t rise to near the top of the Inner Party without being able to perform some serious doublethink when necessary to help advance the cause.

YEAH, I SPOTTED THAT TOO: The Doublethink Strategy of the Cultural Elitists. Remember that politics is downstream from culture.  This is a war we also must fight.

EVEN IN USING THE WORD DOUBLETHINK IT IS NECESSARY TO EXERCISE DOUBLETHINK. “For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth:”

I dunno — Chris seems like a reasonably intelligent guy. I know he “honestly does not understand” this topic, but he seems to have all of the cognitive skills necessary to find an answer, if only his ideology would permit it.

ORWELLIAN DOUBLETHINK, RAPE EDITION: “Inspired by the recent performance of The Vagina Monologues” on the Claremont-McKenna College campus, student Jordan Bosiljevac has penned an exegesis of the progressive view of sexual relationships, titled, “Why Yes Can Mean No.”  Ms. Bosiljevac explains:

In discussing this experience with friends, we coined the term “raped by rape culture” to describe what it was like to say yes, coerced by the culture that had raised us and the systems of power that worked on us, and to still want ‘no.’ Sometimes, for me, there was obligation from already having gone back to someone’s room, not wanting to ruin a good friendship, loneliness, worry that no one else would ever be interested, a fear that if I did say no, they might not stop, the influence of alcohol, and an understanding that hookups are “supposed” to be fun.

For me, and many others like me, consent isn’t easy. Yes doesn’t always mean yes, and we misplaced ‘no’ several years ago. This experience isn’t random, but disproportionately affects oppressed communities. Consent is a privilege, and it was built for wealthy, heterosexual, cis, white, western, able-bodied masculinity. When society has taught some of us to take up as little space as possible, to take all attention as flattery, and to be truly grateful that anyone at all could want our bodies or love, it isn’t always our choice to say yes.

. . . . When you’re poor, disabled, queer, non-white, trans, or feminine, ‘no’ isn’t for you. I don’t mean to insist that every person oppressed in these systems of power can’t have empowering consensual experiences, and I know many who do. What I do mean to say is that for me, finding ‘no’ is a process, consent is elusive, and sometimes, even when people don’t mean to—they hurt me.

It should be sufficient to point out that consent is the basis of much of law, and if “yes” doesn’t mean “yes,” then there will be no objectively fair principles upon which to judge human interactions, whether one is “wealthy, cis, white, wester, able-bodied” or otherwise.  Ms. Bosiljevac may not yet understand it, but the presumption that individuals– other than minors or those non compos mentis— are capable of giving consent to transactions evinces a deep respect for individualism, and indeed is the embodiment of equal treatment under law that progressives such as she purport to support.  It is also a fundamental basis for the legitimacy of any government–progressive or otherwise. In the words of the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed 

Perhaps Ms. Bosiljevac should brush up on her liberal political theory.  She should have a lot of time, since I rather suspect she won’t be getting any dates anytime soon.

FINALLY, A CHAMPION FOR ORDINARY FOLK AND A CRUSADER AGAINST POLITICAL CORRUPTION!:   . . . which is (more than ironically) what Hillary Clinton is billing herself as.  In her recent Iowa appearance, Clinton revealed these two themes as the basis upon which she’s shaping 2016 presidential bid.

She complained that chief executives make too much money, and of the horror that has befallen politics after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United–which stands for the unremarkable position that groups of people organized in a business (e.g., corporations)  or association (e.g., unions or neighborhood associations) form still have a First Amendment right to free speech.

All of this is coming from a woman whose persona is defined by whose massive political fundraising, multiple ethical lapses, and laughable claims of poverty.  I would call Clinton a hypocrite, but somehow this word fails to capture fully the Orwellian nature of her behavior.  How do Democrat voters let her get away with such obvious doublethink? In the Words of Orwell, in the novel 1984:

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

Ignorance is strength, I guess.

RELATED:  Liberal/progressive groups are urging President Obama to issue an executive order to require government contractors to disclose their donor lists, in direct contravention to the Supreme Court’s decision in NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held that compelled disclosure of the NAACP’s membership lists was unconstitutional because it created a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to free association.  And we know what liberals/progressives like to do when they find out the names of conservative donors, and it ain’t pretty.

This is all part of the liberal/progressive campaign against so-called “dark money,” which is an incredibly misleading phrase (there’s Orwell again) that refers to political spending by outside groups (i.e., not the political parties or candidates themselves).  An FEC rule requiring broader disclosure was tossed out of court in November, with the federal judge calling the FEC’s attempt “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.”

So much for liberals/progressives belief in “privacy” or “free speech”– that stuff doesn’t apply to other people.

ROGER KIMBALL: The Assault On Truth Continues. “If you take certain positions, you will be cast into outer darkness. Whether your statements are empirically accurate is irrelevant. . . . Even worse is the metastasis of this freedom- and truth-blighting habit of mendacity. Increasingly, this sort of craven doublethink has oozed out of the academy and into the corridors of business, the media, and culture at large. Where will it end?”

ED DRISCOLL: Why Is Richard Cohen Upset By Bipartisan Support For the President’s Agenda? Heh.

Plus this: “Incidentally, nice bit of Orwellian doublethink to call the grass-roots, libertarian-oriented Tea Party ‘Totalitarian.’ This has to be the first ‘Totalitarian’ movement in the history of mankind that, if it gets everything it wants…will leave you the hell alone.”

REASON TV: Obama’s Doublethink Doubletalk. To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.

LAST WEEK I WROTE ON DOUBLE STANDARDS in the treatment of Baghdad’s looting incidents. (That was before I knew that journalists were among the looters, or it would have been triple standards!) But now Andrea Harris identifies more doublethink:

I am intrigued by the idea that the column’s author, one Philip Hensher, apparently thinks that 1) it is possible to fight a “caring” war (how? Drop sympathy cards and flowers along with bombs?) and 2) that the best way to show “caring” would have been to shoot more civilians. The ways in which the minds of anti-Americans work never cease to cause amazement.

Yeah. And that’s why it’s been hard for me to take the looting complaints all that seriously, even before it started to seem likely that at least some of the media types doing the complaining were also pocketing Saddam’s silverware. As I wrote in my earlier piece, if it can be shown that the United States was in a position to stop the looting, and deliberately or callously let it happen, then that should be a big embarrassment and those responsible should be punished.

But, really, the complaints just seem so much like desperate efforts to find something to complain about that it’s hard to take them seriously, even though perhaps we should. (Jay Manifold calls this the bitter fruit of incompetent criticism, noting that the antiwar folks blew their credibility earlier, and now people aren’t listening even to valid complaints.)

A reader wrote me to say that it was worth risking American (and Iraqi) lives to protect the National Museum, even if it meant diverting resources from elsewhere. Well, maybe to some people, but not to me. Mickey Kaus says that the United States should be held to a “strict liability” standard here, with us responsible for anything that happens regardless of whether we actually did anything wrong.

I’d disagree with that. I think a lot of these criticisms underestimate the “fog of war” and the (rather high) likelihood that the Museum was looted before American troops even arrived. To make out a case that goes beyond carping, you have to show (1) that the Museum was un-looted before Baghdad fell; (2) that it would have been comparatively safe and practical for the United States to prevent looting; and (3) that the United States knew all of this, but just refused to act.

There is some evidence that Jay Garner sent a memo on this before Baghdad fell, but that doesn’t really answer the question. I’d have to call the case for negligence here “not proven.” Or as Roger Simon puts it: “It was only a teeny tiny bit our fault.”

Of course, as a mystery writer, he’s a beneficiary of the looting, which will provide MacGuffins aplenty for future works. . . .

UPDATE: Reader Rajat Datta emails:

I wonder how many of those who blame the coalition troops, and Bush and Rumsfeld in particular, for the looting would have held Clinton responsible for the mass expulsions of Muslims from Kosovo by Milosevic and the Servs when we liberated Kosovo. The Serbs were at fault then, and the looters are at fault now, despite the fact that they obviously took advantage of an oportunity that opened up because of our military operations.

Art historian David Nishimura, meanwhile has posts here, here, here, and here. His latest sum-up:

Points to note: the robbers have been heavily armed, quick to shoot, and not easily deterred; there has been extensive insider involvement; and finally, the most secure vaults have successfully defied all break-in attempts. This emerging picture (along with the report noted here that armed intruders had been firing at US forces from the national museum) poses a further challenge to the assumption that the looting of Baghdad’s museums and libraries could easily have been prevented, and was thus the direct result of American negligence.

Stay tuned.