Monday, February 28, 2005

Egypt and Syria Play Ball -- No Thanks to the Left

Have you noticed the silence from the left since the Iraqi elections? Now it would appear that there has been a real impact in the Middle East since then. Syria is catching on that this was no one time situation and has finally smelled the coffee. Even Hosni Mubarak has begun to see the light, even if the leftists here have not. This is a very timely article by Ben Johnson. - Sailor

Egypt and Syria Play Ball -- No Thanks to the Left
By Ben Johnson February 28, 2005

From Hosni Mubarak’s opening up Egyptian elections for the first time, to Syria’s strong efforts to accommodate American demands for withdrawal from Lebanon and for cooperation in Iraq, the Middle East is changing in ways unforeseen even last fall. During the campaign, neither candidate discussed pressuring these two putative allies to create a stable and democratic Arab presence, yet today both are taking the first steps toward representative government. Lebanon’s Druze Patriarch Walid Jumblatt pinpointed the genesis of this metamorphosis in the pages of The Washington Post:

It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.

In other words, a sea-change is taking place in the Arab world: democracy is becoming reality for the first time in history – and all this progress came about because of the determination of President George W. Bush and over the most vicious objections of the American Left.

The most recent dividends of the Bush Doctrine became evident on Saturday, when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak demanded the 1971 (socialist) constitution be amended to allow multiparty elections for the first time. In a nationally televised speech delivered at the University of Menoufiya, Mubarak said, “The president will be elected through direct, secret balloting, opening the opportunity for political parties to run in the presidential elections and providing guarantees that allow more than one candidate for the people to choose from with their own will.” Upon hearing this, the crowd burst out into a chant of, “Long live Mubarak, mentor of freedom and democracy!”

Just a month ago, President Mubarak intended to hold his fifth national plebiscite and labeled such reforms “futile.” (The 76-year-old, who has ruled Egypt since 1981, won the previous four elections with more than 90 percent of the vote.) However, President Bush has been unwavering on the issue, saying in his State of the Union Address, “The great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.” This emboldened rallies in Egypt to criticize Mubarak and his son (and heretofore heir apparent), Gamal. Condoleeza Rice boldly cancelled her scheduled visit after Mubarak jailed political opponent Ayman Nour. The next day, Mubarak made a 180-degree policy shift.

Though they view his actions as only an opening salvo, Mubarak’s political opponents have embraced this constitutional reform as a turning point in their nation’s history. Nour called it “an important and courageous move.” Hisham Kassem of the Tomorrow Party and editor of the Masr al-Youm newspaper deemed the amendment “the most important thing he has done in 24 years in power.” National Progressive Unionist Party member Refat Said stated, “Mubarak has taken one boulder from the road to democracy. It's at least a change in mentality.” Rifaat el-Said of the Tagammu Party proved more ebullient: “We have moved a mountain,” he said. Even ruling party member Mohammed Kamal admitted, “This is a change in the whole system.”

Thankfully, Mubarak’s amendment will bar the fascist Muslim Brotherhood from standing for election.

The winds of democracy are blowing in Syria, as well. President Bush singled out Syria in his State of the Union Address as a state sponsor of terrorism, and recalled the American ambassador to Syria after the February 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Massive protests calling for Syrian withdrawal ensued. At one such rally in the village of Qana, peasants destroyed a statue of the late President Hafez al-Assad, and just yesterday Lebanese protestors defied a government ban to demand an end to Syrian occupation.

Rejecting Syrian backlash, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state David Satterfield echoed President Bush’s pro-freedom rhetoric. “It is not...interference for the world to talk of the need for Lebanese to live in freedom,” he said over the weekend.

Out of pressure from President Bush – and still feeling the impact of neighboring Iraq’s elections – Syria has claimed it will either withdraw troops from Lebanon or bring them into conformity with the ceasefire plan it adopted in 1989 but never enacted. Over the weekend, the Mideast’s other Ba’athist nation also turned over Saddam Hussein’s half-brother, a sought-after Iraqi “insurgent” leader, in order to curry favor with Washington. A confidence vote will be held today on the government of Prime Minister Omar Karami. This could be the beginning of the end of Syria’s brutal 30-year occupation of Lebanon.

As these historic events unfold, or rather are instigated by the Bush administration, the Left sits on the sidelines cheering for the wrong team. Ted Kennedy bitterly condemned American “occupation” on the eve of the Iraq elections. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid promptly seconded Kennedy’s call for Bush to publish an Iraqi exit strategy. Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson stumped for democracy…in Ohio, telling black audiences their votes had been discarded by Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the only black man to hold statewide office (and a strong candidate to become Ohio’s next governor).

After the world viewed the ocean of ink-stained fingers waving over Saddam’s former fiefdom, Sen. John Kerry said we should not to “overhype” the event. The man who nearly became president told Tim Russert that the elections that heralded a new era in Arab politics only possessed “a kind of legitimacy – I mean, it's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can’t vote and doesn’t vote.”

Indeed, one could easily construct a depressing alternate history of the past month by juxtaposing President Bush’s strong leadership with Sen. John Kerry’s world tour. Kerry took a 13-day tour of the Arab world in early January, meeting with officials in Syria, Egypt, and other nations of the Arab crescent. Rather than pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad to democratize or end its occupation of Lebanon as the Bush administration has, Kerry simply hoped to “improve our relationship” with Assad. (And guess who would have made the concessions?) “I think we found a great deal of areas of mutual interest, some common concerns and some possibilities for initiatives that could be taken in the future to strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Syria,” Kerry babbled. He repeated the same “good relations” routine after meeting the Egyptian foreign minister. Kerry also demoralized the troops in Baghdad by castigating the “enormous miscalculations,” horrendous judgments,” and “unbelievable blunders” of their commander in chief. Kerry proved his statesmanship by claiming black votes were being “suppressed” in the 2004 election immediately upon his return to the States.

Imagine Kerry standing in the Rose Garden thronged by Teddy and Jesse, and you begin to get a sense of what might have been – and what would never have been. They deemed the first election in the history of Afghanistan unworthy of notice and the Palestinian elections a non-event. The Iraqi election, they insisted, could never take place. Now as the ripple effects of their president’s policies move other nations closer to the currents of liberalization, they give to liberty no quarter. However reforms proceed in Egypt – and we pray they will usher in democratic, representative government respectful of the rights of all its citizens – none whatever would have taken place under the leadership of the Democratic Left. It makes any history buff weep to see the party of Jefferson and Jackson observe the next milestones in the history of human freedom in the making – and oppose them with all its misguided might.

Update: Since the time this story was filed early this morning, Lebanon's pro-Syrian government has resigned. This is the most hopeful sign yet that independence will soon return to the Land of Cedars. -- BJ

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and author of the book 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving.

American Liberals Have Lost Touch With Reality

This is nothing that the Sailor did not already know. I am sure there are others out there that already knew this as well. It does make for some good reading - Sailor

American Liberals Have Lost Touch With Reality
Steve Darnell, Arab News

Gen. George S. Patton once said, “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

Those on the left seem to be cynical about everything to do with the war on terrorism. I think if Patton were alive today he would say liberals lack the courage to fight the enemy and would slap a few of them around.

Liberals are also cynical about the way the military handles terrorist prisoners. I am sure Patton would tell liberals they lack the basic understanding of warfare and prisoner handling and challenge them to spend a few days on the front line to see how things are really done. Then he would slap a few of them around once again.

A soldier’s job is to kill the enemy, or as Patton also said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” The sooner liberals understand the true meaning of war, the sooner we can make the “other bastard” die for his country.

To prove how out of touch liberals are with reality these days look at the uproar that occurred because of comments made by Lt. Gen. James Mattis. Gen. Mattis, who has commanded troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, was recently speaking at a forum in San Diego about strategies for the war on terror.

Mattis said, “Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. ... It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” Gen. Mattis is the kind of general I want leading our troops into battle. Marines are there to kill the enemy, not coddle them. They need a leader like Gen. Mattis.

But, of course there was uproar by liberals. Jeff McCausland, director of the Leadership in Conflict Initiative at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa claimed that, “Clearly for an officer from any service to say that publicly is unprofessional and inappropriate and sends a terrible message to subordinates.” I disagree; I think the general’s troops loved the message sent and probably feel the same way.

What do liberals think Marines are doing in Iraq? Would liberals rather Gen. Mattis had said, “I hate to fight...I think war is much too bloody...I think we should stay home and polish our nails and listen to show tunes.”

Somehow, I think liberals would.

Liberals, especially young liberals seem to forget that war is a very nasty thing. It is not a panty raid on a women’s dormitory at a local college. In battle, the enemy has one thing in mind, he wants to kill. War is a contest of kill, or be killed and it is not nice.

The closest most leftists have come to battle is fighting police at various protests in the United States and around the world. Their idea of warfare is yelling obscenities at local police and hurling the occasional rock or bottle. A liberal’s badge of honor is spending a few hours in jail after being arrested at a protest in Seattle or Washington, DC and getting his or her mug shots taken.

Yet, even with their lack of experience in real warfare, liberals seem to think they have all the answers about how the military should treat captured terrorists and how best to fight the war on terrorism. Some liberals even claim that the US Constitution protects terrorists.

I think they have a lot to learn.

First, prisoners captured in Iraq are not leftist protestors staging a sit-in on the steps of a Federal Building singing “Give Peace a Chance”. Prisoners in Iraq have not studied “Activism 101”and have never heard of Martin Sheen, Janeane Garofalo or Al Franken.

They are terrorist thugs who behead captured men and women showing no remorse in the act. They are murderers trained by Al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations. They want to kill American men, women and children.

They have no rights. Prisoners captured in Iraq are not handled with kid gloves and gently placed in a paddy wagon like liberal protestors arrested in Seattle. They are trying to kill Americans when captured and would love nothing better than to kill their captor and escape to fight another day. Captured terrorists should be treated like a rabid dog waiting to bite its handler and thrown in a cage.

I really do not care how inhumanely we treat the captured terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib prison. They are murderers and thugs. I think terrorists should lose all human rights once they take the path of terrorism. A tough approach is the only deterrent these killers will understand.

If making a terrorist wear a pair of women’s panties on his head will help save one innocent life by gaining information on future terrorist acts, it is worth the effort. I think Victoria Secret and Fredrick’s of Hollywood should contribute panties to the war effort. Maybe we would get a few more confessions.

I think Gen. Mattis would agree. I know Gen. Patton would.

— Steve Darnell is a self-syndicated columnist and can be reached at

Does Canada stand for anything?

Here is a very interesting editorial from Actually, why should Canada expend any treasure or resources for their defense? It is not as if the US would stand by and watch Canada be invaded. As for the point the article makes on the missile defense system, I cannot see any circumstances where any US President would seek permission from Canada to shoot down an incoming missile. I really wonder what is in the water up in Ottawa that would make the Canadian PM think that would ever happen? - Sailor

Does Canada stand for anything?

National Post

Saturday, February 26, 2005

'Foreign policy, more than any other area of government activity, expresses the personality of a country," Pierre Pettigrew declared last year. "It is not just a matter of what we do -- it is, even more importantly, a matter of who we are."

Our Foreign Affairs Minister is right: Nothing does more to shape a nation's identity than the role it takes on the international stage. But for the most part, our recent role hardly does us proud. For all our talk of exporting "Canadian values," the reality is that long-term neglect of our international responsibilities has left Canada a bit player.

The recent deployment of our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to tsunami-stricken Southeast Asia was a telling example. Our deployment was tiny and came almost two weeks after the Americans and Australians sent in their own larger forces. The spectacle mocked the government's boast that "Canada is among the most generous international donors to respond to this disaster with humanitarian and early recovery assistance."

Why were we so late compared with other nations? Like the rest of our military, DART is underfunded. Lacking their own transport planes, the team's members had to wait while a deal was struck to rent Russian aircraft. As the chart below shows, we spend a smaller share of our national wealth on military obligations than any NATO nation except tiny Luxembourg and Iceland (which has no military at all).

Note: There was no chart provided in the on-line version. - Sailor

Indeed, if we are to apply Mr. Pettigrew's formulation that foreign policy "expresses the personality of a country," then Canada might well be described as a braggart who is all talk, no action. Consider this past week's grandiose promise by the Prime Minister to do "whatever is required" to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur -- as if Canada had the capacity to do even a small fraction of what is needed in war-torn Sudan. A similar boast from Hungary or Latvia would have been more credible.

While our military neglect is common knowledge, Canadians may also be in need of a reality check when it comes to foreign aid. As UN Millennium Project manager John W. McArthur noted in these pages yesterday, our official development assistance (ODA) did not even amount to 0.3% of GDP in 2004 -- less than half the 0.7% standard wealthy nations have embraced as a goal. Notwithstanding Bono's boosterism and the government's chest-thumping, the truth is that tiny European nations such as Norway are putting us to shame not only in military spending but also in aid.

The significant increase in our military budget and the smaller boost to foreign aid announced on Wednesday will go some way toward remedying matters. More is needed, however: While experts estimate that our forces require an additional $4-billion per year to be made effective, the amount of genuinely new spending announced this week averages out to less than half that. Likewise, the $3.4-billion in extra aid committed over the next five years will do little to move us to the 0.7% benchmark.

But as events this week show, money is only part of the solution. What is also needed is a more principled approach to foreign policy -- one that is less concerned with hectoring the United States and posturing as a multilateral champion, and focuses instead on fighting terror, confronting rogue states, stabilizing crisis zones and advancing democracy.

In recent years, it has fallen primarily to the United States, Britain and Australia to take the lead in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Kosovo, Bosnia and Haiti. In some operations -- Afghanistan and the Balkans, most notably -- we have played significant roles. Too often, however, we flex our moral muscles for the benefit of passers-by while our allies do the heavy lifting.

Our refusal to participate in the U.S. ballistic missile shield, a project that would protect Canadian and American cities alike from immolation, is perhaps the best example yet of how thoroughly fantasy and reality diverge in Ottawa. On Thursday, our government declared it would have nothing to do with the shield -- a foolish gesture meant to placate the pacifists in the Liberal caucus. But the next day, our PM advanced the conceit that the Americans would still have to consult with us before activating the system. One can practically hear the howls of laughter emanating from the few Washington officials who still bother to inform themselves of Ottawa's pronouncements: Can anyone seriously imagine that the President would ask our PM for permission to shoot down a missile heading for a U.S. target?

Should it ever see the light of day, Canada's much-delayed foreign policy review will be a chance for our government to see our country the way other nations see us, and respond accordingly. Nobody is suggesting a full u-turn in our foreign policy, or that we become a lapdog to the United States. Rather, what the federal government should do is consider how some of its previously touted principles could serve as the bedrock for a newly engaged nation.

At the core of both the "responsibility to protect" doctrine flirted with by Mr. Martin, and the "human security" agenda trumpeted by Chretien-era foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy, is the notion that Canada should be part of an international effort to bring a better life to those oppressed by war, dictatorship and human rights violations. For all our grousing about U.S. policy, how different are such principles from George W. Bush's declared aim to spread liberty? History shows that freedom and "human security" go hand-in-hand. How can we shy away from the U.S. effort to spread the former if we hope to make good on rhetoric concerning the latter?

We stand at a crossroads. Either we will continue to shrivel into our role as the world's impotent scold. Or we can begin to reclaim our status as a leader on the international stage. We urge the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to use the upcoming foreign-policy and military reviews to restore Canada's place in the world community and put an end to our unconscionable drift.

© National Post 2005

Carter up to no good in Venezuela

Once again Jimmy Carter is up to his usual meddling. As the author points out, Jimmah is way too vain to admit he screwd the pooch in Venezuela. So, instead, he will make a furhter mess of things. Some one needs to remind Carter that nothing he will do will ever make him look good. He was a failed president and now a failed has been as well. - Sailor

Carter up to no good in Venezuela
February 26th, 2005
A. M. Mora y Leon
American Thinker

It defies belief. Ex-President Jimmy Carter, who crystallized a fraudulent recall referendum for Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez, now says his Carter Center will return to Caracas "to help consolidate peace and democracy." He also says he's got a final report on the Venezuelan recall referendum. (There've been some other final reports but somehow he's got to issue a final final final report) He's up to no good.

No one has demoralized Venezuela's democracy more than America's worst-ever president. The only legitimate reason he has to go to Caracas is to beg Venezuelans for forgiveness after that sorry show he put on last August, endorsing an election that was clearly stolen with his complicity. The Carter Center's shoddy election monitoring and mendacious spin control in the aftermath turned a profound exercise in democracy into a miserable affair swept under the rug, while Carter prepared to move on to the next election.

But something happened along the way to the next election: The State Department declined to endorse Carter's recall referendum observational results, as it had announced it would, and nobody important wanted the Carter Center's business anymore. Carter was conspicuously absent from the dead-serious elections in Ukraine and Iraq recently. Ever the vindictive little man, Carter "participated" in those by sniping at these great human events from the sidelines. For that, President Bush didn't care to call on him to lead tsunami relief either, as he did all other able-bodied former presidents.

That's not all. The Carter Center seems to have fallen on other hard times since its name began to reek in the wake of the Venezuela fiasco. Carter's top lieutenant, Jennifer McCoy, is trying to sell a book and the lecture circuit on her Venezuelan experiences. That's hard to sell when no one believes you. But in Venezuela, as in the U.S., there are usually reasons when no one believes you.

The Carter Center brushed off studies by top economists like Ricardo Hausmann conclusively showing the extent of the fraud. And arrogantly, McCoy herself rebuffed a group of liberal-leaning Venezuelan bloggers in the Boston area, who painstakingly attempted to ask polite questions to claify how the Carterites came to their conclusions during the recall referendum. She didn't have the time of day for them, and added that there were "so many" bulletin boards. That certainly was convenient for her career purposes. But it came at the expense of the Venezuelans' legitimate interest in an explanation and their valid civic interests. Quite a tradeoff for someone who claims to be a peacemaker. But no surprise for someone affiliated with an insincere weakling and coward like Jimmy Carter.

Rightwing blogger Alek Boyd wasn't impressed with her e-mailed responses to his questions either. In short, the Carter Center's blown off every Venezuelan they've come in contact with.

From their own point of view, what purpose could there be for Jimmy Carter's discredited organization to show up in Caracas again? Blogger Miguel Octavio points out that it's an exercise in futility in itself, because there is nothing to make peace with in Venezuela anymore - the opposition has been completely destroyed. Power is now consolidated on one side, Chavez's side alone. The opposition can offer no deal to the ruling Chavistas because the Carter Center's endorsement of the recall referendum fraud has completely stripped them of any means of bargaining. But McCoy's got a book to sell so that might be one reason why this nauseating charade is taking place.

Venezuelan blogger Daniel Duquenal responds: "Leave us alone!" and urges Venezuela's opposition to protest against these fraud-endorsers in the strongest terms possible. This could happen - on his way out last August, Carter was beset by pot and pan bangers who followed him wherever he went, protesting his endorsement of Chavez's dictatorship after they had just voted him out. Miguel says the same thing. Since then, various parties have told him to buzz off and small street demonstrations telling Carter to leave have taken place. “The Carter Center has lost its ability to be a mediator, of being a facilitator, of being a bridge in this country because it simply acted to dispatch the Venezuelan issue and to wash its hands of the matter,” said one opposition politician in Caracas. And the news has spread like lightning through the blogosphere. You can read about here and here.

A leftwing pal told me that Jimmy Carter, at his last press conference in Caracas in August, seemed tired, irritable and uninterested. Her sense was Carter just wanted to get out of there, regardless of how the recall referendum's results went, and as a result, he bullied the Organization of American States as well as his own low-level staffers to take the easy way out and declare it all 'free and fair.' It was the cheapest, easiest, and most dishonest way to close the books on this sordid sorry affair.

But somehow that book is not closing. There are too many fraudulent ballots choking the pages. The onus is on Carter to make it right but Carter is too vain to admit errors. Instead, the Carterites shamelessly return, arrogant to the real injury of the Venezuelan people and certain they can get away with it again, too. Venezuelans have news for this gullible, dictator-endorsing old fool: not this time. If Carter and his minions have any common sense, they will stay out of Caracas.

A. M. Mora y Leon

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Soft Power, Hard Truths

Here is another timely article on the US-EU relationship. Mr. Hanson delves into the future of this relationship, as well as the current status of that relationship. It is important to note that Mr. Hanson highlights some of the same problems for the EU as Mark Steyn has in his excellent article, also posted here. - Sailor


Soft Power, Hard Truths
America cannot long be partners with a weak and self-righteous Europe.

Sunday, February 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

Recent books have raved that the European Union is the way of the future. In contrast, a supposedly exhausted, broke and postimperial United States chases the terrorist chimera, running up debts and deficits as it tilts at the autocratic windmills of the Arab World.

That caricature framed the visit of the president to Europe as trans-Atlantic pundits demanded a softer George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. Stop the childish bickering and the tiresome neocon preening, we are lectured ad nauseam by Euro and American elites. Don't divide Europe, we hear endlessly. Even though the European press, EU leaders, and their wild public have dealt out far more invective than they have received, American circumspection is the order of the day, the expected magnanimity from the more aggressive (and stronger) partner.

Europe is huffy, but strangely tentative in its new prickliness. Short-term positive indicators--trade surpluses, the strong euro, low inflation and expansion of the EU--are showcased to prove that its statism and pacifism are the preferable Western paradigm. But privately bureaucrats in Brussels are far more worried about different and scarier long-term concomitant signs: high unemployment, static rates of worker productivity, low birthrates, Islamicist minorities, looming unfunded entitlement obligations, and a high-sounding pacifism that is being increasingly seen world-wide as base appeasement by friend and enemy alike.

The adage goes that the European Union counts on a more sophisticated and nuanced "soft power." In reality, that translates to using transnational organizations and its own economic clout to soothe or buy off potential adversaries, while a formidable cultural engine dresses it all up in high sounding platitudes of internationalism and multilateralism. Everything from idly watching Milosevic and the Hutus butcher unchecked to unilateral intervention in the Ivory Coast or no action in Darfur usually finds either the proper humanitarian exegesis or the culpable American bogeyman. Yet contrary to the mythologies of Michael Moore and the high talk of Kyoto, most of the international sins of the recent age--selling a reactor to Saddam, setting up a new arms market in China, whitewashing Hezbollah, or subsidizing Hamas--were the work of European avatars of peace.
Such opportunism and its accompanying rhetoric were also predicated on the convenient specter of the bad-cop America. We all knew the fall-guy script: Try as they might, the more sober Europeans could still fail to restrain reckless Americans--or so they used to warn everyone from Saddam to the mullahs, especially more recently in the case of scary George, smoke-'em-out, Bush. Deal with, or buy from, a sane France or Germany now--or run for cover from the crazy Americans later. When the Europeans did occasionally intervene from Kosovo to the Ivory Coast, there was usually an American supply ship or C-130 somewhere to be found in the shadows.

After September 11 all that one-sided way of doing business is in jeopardy, well aside from eroding American public support for either bases in Western Europe or NATO itself. George Bush turned out to be not just a bombs-away Texan, but a visionary of the Woodrow Wilson and FDR stripe, who risked his re-election, the American economy, world oil markets, and his entire legislative agenda on spreading democracy throughout the Middle East, well beyond the wildest dreams of any European utopian.

If this idealism works, liberated Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians and others might see the U.S. as principled as Europe proved conniving in the days of Oil for Food and extracting oil concessions from Saddam. America, in other words, is learning far more about soft power than the still disarmed Europeans have about hard power. The USS Abraham Lincoln and its supporting flotilla, not the EU minifleet, did the heavy lifting after the tsunami.

The Europeans worry not just about American muscular idealism usurping their prized role as the backroom moral arbiters of globalized society. Berlin will soon be in range of Tehran's missiles. Jihadists went to Afghanistan, the West Bank or Iraq from Marseilles or Amsterdam, not from Detroit and the Bronx. Enemies of the U.S.--unlike Europe's--more likely have to get in rather than come from within. Suddenly the old American stereotypes--an integrated rabble at home, an up-armed society foolishly spending its borrowed money on exotic missile defense, and an intrusive fleet turning up everywhere--are not so silly after all.

What happens if a newly aroused United States takes seriously the anti-American rhetoric of the European masses and media rather than the triangulating reassurances of their diplomats? Our elites may lament being cold-shouldered on their hajj to European Oz; yet red-state America is no longer afraid of the suave wizard's booming voice and image on the big screen, but instead has spied out the tiny functionary with his ridiculous levers and dials behind the curtain at the side.

How, then, can Mr. Bush salvage the old relationship? After the Cold War, we only acerbated an already unwholesome parent-teenager relationship with the Europeans, who bragged of their new independence, snapped at their benefactors, but always counted on our subsidized protection. That simultaneous denial of and insistence on dependency was not healthy for a continent with a larger population and economy than the United States, as contemporary European insecurity always warred with past glories and unrealized potential capabilities.
Yet, if Europeans are ever going to enter into a full partnership with America, then we better let them move out, encourage them to rearm--or hope they find that the world works according to the refined protocols of The Hague. America must have the confidence that the European pan-democratic continent has evolved beyond warring against itself--and us as well. For all the diplomacy of Secretary Rice and President Bush, it is the Europeans' choice, not our call.

Such a rapprochement can work only with a candid United States willing to drop both the obsequious praise of Europe's vaunted Third Way and the bluster of Euro-trashing. Do the Europeans really wish to return to the old Rome/Athens model and disingenuousness when in all the key decisions--Pershing missile deployment, German unification, recognition of Soviet Republics, NATO expansion, the removal of Milosevic, and the liberation of Afghanistan--the U.S. took the lead in near unilateral fashion under the cover of acting soberly under paternal European guidance? Dishonest, yes; sustainable, hardly.

So we are in a dilemma. Until postmodern Europe rightly assumes a role commensurate with its moral rhetoric, population, and economic strength, out of envy or pride it will often seek to undercut and occasionally embarrass the U.S.--at least up to that fine, though ambiguous, point of not quite alienating its hyperpower patron. For our part, we cannot ridicule Europe's present military impotence only to oppose its nascent efforts at a unified defense establishment. So go to it, Europe--one voice, one army, one U.N. Security Council seat!

The United States should ignore all this ankle-biting, praise the EU to the skies, but not take very seriously their views on the world until we learn exactly what is going on inside Europe during these years of its uncertainty. America is watching enormous historical forces being unleashed on the continent from its own depopulation, new anti-Semitism, and rising Islamicism to Turkish demands for EU membership and further expansion of the EU into the backwaters of Eastern Europe that will bring it to the doorstep of Russia. Whether its politics and economy will evolve to embrace more personal freedom, its popular culture will integrate its minorities, and its military will step up to protect Western values and visions is unclear. But what is certain is that the U.S. cannot remain a true ally of a militarily weak but shrill Europe should its politics grow even more resentful and neutralist, always nursing old wounds and new conspiracies, amoral in its inability to act, quite ready to preach to those who do.

We keep assuming that Europeans are like Britain and Japan when in fact long ago they devolved more into a Switzerland and Sweden--friendly neutrals but no longer real allies. In the meantime, let us Americans keep much more quiet, wait, and watch--even as we carry a far bigger stick.

Mr. Hanson, a military historian and senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, is the author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other," to be published this autumn by Random House.

Hilary Meets the New Kid Dynamite

Rush over to Obnoxious Droppings, (you can get there from the Sailor's BlogRoll), and see the picture GOC in NC has posted. Be sure to have no food or liquid in your mouth! - Sailor

U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode

With their over extended socialist programs and less then mediocre economic growth, the EU is a collapse ready to happen. Mark Steyn looks at this and explains. - Sailor


U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode
February 27, 2005

A week ago, the conventional wisdom was that George W. Bush had seen the error of his unilateral cowboy ways and was setting off to Europe to mend fences with America's ''allies.''

I think not. Lester Pearson, the late Canadian prime minister, used to say that diplomacy is the art of letting the other fellow have your way. All week long President Bush offered a hilariously parodic reductio of Pearson's bon mot, wandering from one European Union gabfest to another insisting how much he loves his good buddy Jacques and his good buddy Gerhard and how Europe and America share -- what's the standard formulation? -- ''common values.'' Care to pin down an actual specific value or two that we share? Well, you know, ''freedom,'' that sort of thing, abstract nouns mostly. Love to list a few more common values, but gotta run.

And at the end what's changed?

Will the United States sign on to Kyoto?

Will the United States join the International Criminal Court?

Will the United States agree to accept whatever deal the Anglo-Franco-German negotiators cook up with Iran?

Even more remarkably, aside from sticking to his guns in the wider world, the president also found time to cast his eye upon Europe's internal affairs. As he told his audience in Brussels, in the first speech of his tour, ''We must reject anti-Semitism in all forms and we must condemn violence such as that seen in the Netherlands.''
The Euro-bigwigs shuffled their feet and stared coldly into their mistresses' decolletage. They knew Bush wasn't talking about anti-Semitism in Nebraska, but about France, where for three years there's been a sustained campaign of synagogue burning and cemetery desecration, and Germany, where the Berlin police advise Jewish residents not to go out in public wearing any identifying marks of their faith.

The ''violence in the Netherlands'' is a reference to Theo van Gogh, murdered by a Dutch Islamist for making a film critical of the Muslim treatment of women. Van Gogh's professional colleagues reacted to this assault on freedom of speech by canceling his movie from the Rotterdam Film Festival and scheduling some Islamist propaganda instead.

The president, in other words, understands that for Europe, unlike America, the war on terror is an internal affair, a matter of defusing large unassimilated radicalized Muslim immigrant populations before they provoke the inevitable resurgence of opportunist political movements feeding off old hatreds. Difficult trick to pull off, especially on a continent where the ruling elite feels it's in the people's best interest not to pay any attention to them.

The new EU ''constitution,'' for example, would be unrecognizable as such to any American. I had the opportunity to talk with former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing on a couple of occasions during his long labors as the self-declared and strictly single Founding Father. He called himself ''Europe's Jefferson,'' and I didn't like to quibble that, constitution-wise, Jefferson was Europe's Jefferson -- that's to say, at the time the U.S. Constitution was drawn up, Thomas Jefferson was living in France. Thus, for Giscard to be Europe's Jefferson, he'd have to be in Des Moines, where he'd be doing far less damage.

But, quibbles aside, President Giscard professed to be looking in the right direction. When I met him, he had an amiable riff on how he'd been in Washington and bought one of those compact copies of the U.S. Constitution on sale for a buck or two. Many Americans wander round with the constitution in their pocket so they can whip it out and chastise over-reaching congressmen and senators at a moment's notice. Try going round with the European Constitution in your pocket and you'll be walking with a limp after two hours: It's 511 pages, which is 500 longer than the U.S. version. It's full of stuff about European space policy, Slovakian nuclear plants, water resources, free expression for children, the right to housing assistance, preventive action on the environment, etc.
Most of the so-called constitution isn't in the least bit constitutional. That's to say, it's not content, as the U.S. Constitution is, to define the distribution and limitation of powers. Instead, it reads like a U.S. defense spending bill that's got porked up with a ton of miscellaneous expenditures for the ''mohair subsidy'' and other notorious Congressional boondoggles. President Ronald Reagan liked to say, ''We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around.'' If you want to know what it looks like the other way round, read Monsieur Giscard's constitution.

But the fact is it's going to be ratified, and Washington is hardly in a position to prevent it. Plus there's something to be said for the theory that, as the EU constitution is a disaster waiting to happen, you might as well cut down the waiting and let it happen. CIA analysts predict the collapse of the EU within 15 years. I'd say, as predictions of doom go, that's a little on the cautious side.

But either way the notion that it's a superpower in the making is preposterous. Most administration officials subscribe to one of two views: a) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater; or b) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater where the whole powder keg's about to go up.

For what it's worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.

Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.

Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere

Jack Kelly: All but won

The War in Iraq is just about won, no matter what the MSM reports. Jack Kelly wonders if the MSM will be held accountable for their shoddy, one sided reporting. It is only in the minds of the MSM "journalists" and certain leftist politicians that Iraq is a quagmire. - Sailor

Jack Kelly: All but won
The media can't see that Iraq is close to secure
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lt. Col. Jim Stockmoe, chief intelligence officer for the First Infantry Division, roared with laughter as he recalled the increasing missteps of the resistance in Iraq in an interview earlier this month with British journalist Toby Harnden, writing for The Spectator.

"There were three brothers down in Baghdad who had a mortar tube and were firing into the Green Zone," Stockmoe said. "They were storing the mortar rounds in the car engine compartment and the rounds got overheated. Two of these clowns dropped them in the tube and they exploded, blowing their legs off."
The surviving brother sought refuge in a nearby house, but the occupants "beat the crap out of him and turned him over to the Iraqi police," Stockmoe told Harnden, "It was like the movie 'Dumb and Dumber.' "
"The nine election day suicide bombers averaged about three victims each, a strike rate so bad that Allah might soon start rationing the virgins to show his displeasure," Harnden wrote.

Stockmoe has heard so many similar stories that he created an Iraqi version of the "Darwin Awards." Created in 1993 by a student at Stanford University, the Darwin awards commemorate those who "contribute to our gene pool by removing themselves from it in a really stupid way."

The number of insurgent attacks has fallen off significantly since the Fallujah offensive last November, and the attacks that are being made are less effective.

There are about 50-60 attacks a day on coalition forces, about half the pre-Fallujah level. Almost all are within the Sunni Triangle, and most are ineffective. "Most of these are ambush-style attacks that result in no casualties," noted

The news media report the attacks, but tend not to report, as StrategyPage does, that "dozens, sometimes over a hundred, of the attackers, or suspects, are arrested every day."

Unbalanced reporting has given Americans a false impression of how the war is going, said Austin Bay, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve who was called to active duty in Iraq last year.

"Collect relatively isolated events in a chronological list and presto: the impression of uninterrupted, widespread violence destroying Iraq," said Bay, who is also a syndicated columnist. "But that was a false impression. Every day coalition forces were moving thousands of 18-wheelers from Kuwait and Turkey into Iraq, and if the insurgents were lucky, they blew up one. However, flash the flames of that one diesel rig on CNN and 'Oh my God, America can't stop these guys' is the impression left in Boston, Boise and Beijing."

It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won. The situation is roughly analogous to the battle of Iwo Jima, which took place 60 years ago this month. It took 35 days before the island was declared secure, but the outcome was clear after day five, with the capture of Mt. Suribachi.

Proof of this was provided by Sen. Hillary Clinton. Iraq is functioning quite well, she said in a press conference in Baghdad Feb. 19. The recent rash of suicide attacks is a sign the insurgency is failing, she said.
"When politicians like [Clinton] start flocking to Iraq to bask in the light of its success, then you know that the corner has been turned," a reader of his blog wrote to Bay.

More substantive signs abound. The performance of Iraqi security forces is improving, as are their numbers. Nearly 10,000 men showed up at a southern Iraqi military base Feb. 14 to volunteer for 5,000 openings. Only 6,000 had been expected.

Sunni Arab politicians have admitted they made a big boo-boo in boycotting the Jan. 30 election, and are pleading to be included in the political process. Some ex-Baathists are seeking terms for laying down their arms.
Those who get their news from the "mainstream" media are surprised by developments in Iraq, as they were surprised by our swift victory in Afghanistan, the sudden fall of Saddam Hussein, the success of the Afghan election and the success of the Iraqi election.

Journalists demand accountability from political leaders for "quagmires" which exist chiefly in the imagination of journalists. But when will journalists be held to account for getting every major development in the war on terror wrong?

Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (, 412-263-1476).

Michael Moore Snubbed by Hollywood

Fat Mike's agent has fired him. Ask yourself, when was the last time an agent fired a client that was making money? - Sailor

Michael Moore Snubbed by Hollywood
Kathleen Antrim
Saturday, Feb 26, 2005

First, Michael Moore threw his creative weight and his celluloid into defeating President Bush's re-election. Then he made a big push for an Oscar nomination. He lost on both counts.

So, why didn't the former golden boy of Hollywood who championed the anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-America movement with his dishonest propaganda piece "Fahrenheit 9/11" garner an Oscar nod? Is the Hollywood crowd wising up, or has Moore worn out his welcome?

With characteristic zeal, Moore campaigned vigorously for a Best Picture nomination.

"He was at every Oscar party and screening," said Moore's former manager Douglas Urbanski, a critically acclaimed 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry most recently known for the movie "The Contender," starring Gary Oldman, Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges. "He took out full-page ads, cut his hair, bathed and even wore a suit. [Moore was] very present around town."

But the Hollywood elite turned their surgically sculpted noses up at Moore's flick. Urbanski explained that Hollywood has had it with Moore. Many blame him for John Kerry's defeat in the presidential election. He's become the No. 1 favorite target of leftists.

"In certain [Hollywood] circles he is a shutout," Urbanski said.

Why would Moore's former manager be so forthcoming in his criticism?

"Michael Moore makes a substantial living going into people's private lives, sneaking up on them," Urbanski said. So he feels no compunction in talking about the only client he ever fired. And he fired Moore with a ten-page letter.

"A more dishonest and demented person I have never met," Urbanski wrote me in an e-mail, "and I have known a few! And he is more money obsessed than any I have known, and that's saying a lot.

Urbanski believes that Moore hates America, hates capitalism, and hates any normal concept of freedom and democracy. This seems odd considering that if it weren't for America, freedom and capitalism, Moore's brand of expression and capitalistic success would be impossible, if not illegal. "Michael Moore could not withstand ‘Michael Moore's' scrutiny for more than fifteen seconds," Urbanski said.

Has Hollywood figured out what Moore is really about? Was that why he was snubbed?

Urbanski has given some thought to Moore's methods. "Moore has an interesting racket. A Jessie Jackson-like shakedown. He figured out he could shake down his own type of thinker, his own constituency, for his own enrichment."

Did Moore lose his golden boy status because of Kerry's defeat? The land of Hollywood is harsh, and it has been known to devour its young for lesser offenses. Or was it his nasty methods that did him in? Past history is known to be the best indicator of future behavior, so Hollywood should beware. Moore may turn his camera on them and call the film "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Narcissist Scorned."

Regardless, let's hope that the Democrats will be more discriminating about whom they seat next to a former president at their next convention. And hopefully we'll all wise up to snake-oil hucksters like Moore, who will say or do anything to make a buck.

Kathleen Antrim is a weekly columnist for The San Francisco Examiner and author of the political thriller "Capital Offense."

Saturday, February 26, 2005

"We Think You're Dirt"

"Hotel Rwanda" is a definite must see movie. This is another example of how inept the UN is and how corrupt France and China are. - Sailor

"We Think You're Dirt"

By James K. Glassman Published 02/25/2005
Tech Cebtral Station

I'm no movie critic, but the best film I've seen this year, without a doubt, is "Hotel Rwanda." It's so good, I saw it twice in a week, including once in the company of my 12- and 14-year-old nephews, who left the theater as edified, angry, uplifted and drained as I did.

The film, directed by Terry George, is the true story of a Europhile hotel manager who simply wants to raise his family without complication and to do his job with "style." Suddenly, thrust into a moral crisis, he rises to leadership and saves the lives of 1,268 adults and children during the genocidal slaughter of nearly one million minority Tutsis by Hutu militias and soldiers between April and July 1994, as the world sat on its collective hands.

Unfortunately, "Hotel Rwanda" is not nominated as best picture for this Sunday's Oscars (8 p.m. Eastern on ABC), eclipsed in the judgment of the Academy by such clunkers as "The Aviator." But Don Cheadle is up for best actor, Sophie Okonedo for best supporting actress, and George and Keir Pearson for original screenplay.

Cheadle, who was terrific in little movies like "Boogie Nights," is finally getting the break he deserves, but Okonedo, the daughter of an English mother and Nigerian father, is the star, in a performance that's frighteningly real.

I hope they win, but I'm just happy that the TV audience, few of whom have seen the movie, will be able to get a look at even a couple short clips.

Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of the Mille Collines, a luxury hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. He's a Hutu and his wife Tatiana, played by Okonedo, is a Tutsi. These racial distinctions are even more artificial than most. Through intermarriage over centuries, the races were largely merged -- only to be resurrected in opposition in 1863 by a loony English anthropological theorist named John Hanning Speke.

As Philip Gourevitch shows in his superb 1998 book on the genocide, "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families," Speke's ideas were exploited by the Belgians when they took over Rwanda after World War II, putting the Tutsis (who, according to Speke, were racially superior) in charge. The Hutus began their revenge on the ruling Tutsis in 1963, after the Belgians pulled out.

Massacres and expulsions of Tutsis by Hutus proceeded, on and off on a relatively small scale, for three decades, until April 6, 1994, when Hutu extremists engineered the death of the Hutu president in a plane crash and blamed it on Tutsi rebels. Then the butchering of civilians, including small children, began, with machetes as the weapon of choice.

The United Nations, which had a force in Rwanda to oversee a tentative peace agreement between the two sides (their role, says a Canadian colonel played by Nick Nolte, is to be "peacekeepers, not peacemakers"), pulled nearly all their troops out two weeks later. The Clinton Administration ignored the genocide and refused even to use the term, except as an adjective referring to isolated incidents. In the end, the U.N. helped a few Europeans escape but left Tutsis to die in horrific ways.

Michael J. Totten, writing on TechCentralStation last month, called the U.S. and European attitude toward Rwanda in 1994 a manifestation of the Genovese Syndrome, a reference to Kitty Genovese, who was knifed to death in New York in 1964 as neighbors looked on without trying to help her.

Now, the Syndrome is being played out in Sudan, whose Darfur region is the site of an "ethnic cleansing," or genocidal, campaign by militias with government support -- in a replay of Rwanda. The U.N. Security Council has passed resolutions threatening sanctions, but it hasn't issued sanctions or taken serious steps to restrain the attackers, who have killed an estimated 70,000 and created 800,000 refugees.

President Bush was among those moved by "Hotel Rwanda" and recently asked to meet with Paul and Tatiana Rusesabagina, who now live in Zambia. They got together in the Oval Office on Feb. 17, along with Mrs. Bush, Chief of Staff Andrew Card and National Security Advisor Steve Hadley.

Rusesabagina had recently returned from Darfur with a delegation that included five congressmen and Cheadle, and his message to the president was that "what is going on in Darfur is exactly what was going on in Rwanda….

"The rest of the world failed when the genocide was taking place in Rwanda. The [U.N.] soldiers ran away and left on our own. Today, there is no one who is intervening really in a good way in Darfur. Darfur is left on its own."

Unlike in Rwanda, the U.S. is pressing for action in Sudan, but America is being thwarted by France, which has rejected both sanctions and a proposed NATO role, and China, which has oil interests in the country. Europeans are cynically trying to create an uncomfortable situation for the U.S. by pushing for the prosecution of Darfur war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose permanent status the Administration correctly opposes for fear that innocent U.S. officials will be hauled to the dock by anti-war extremists.

In fact, the U.S. could support a special tribunal for war crimes in Darfar without backing a permanent ICC with broad powers.

But this story runs far deeper. The theme in Rwanda and Darfur can be seen throughout Africa. As Nolte's character, who is tormented by the U.N.'s neglect, says to Rusesabagina: "They're not going to stop the slaughter. You should spit in my face….. We think you're dirt, Paul…. You're not even a nigger. You're African."

Consider the treatment that Africans are receiving today at the hands of a U.N. agency, the World Health Organization, which has approved the use of rip-off Indian-made copies of American and European drugs to fight AIDS. The companies that make these drugs now admit they can't prove their medicines are "bio-equivalent" -- that is, composed of the same chemicals as the originals -- and many have been withdrawn from the WHO's list, but with no follow-up to find who has been taking them.

Sick Africans deserve the same drugs as sick Americans and Europeans -- especially when those drugs cost no more than the knock-offs, as research has shown.

Last summer at an AIDS conference in Bangkok, I heard Randall Tobais, who heads the Bush program to fight the disease, put the issue very well: "It is a moral imperative that families in programs funded by the United States in the developing world have the same assurances as American families that the drugs they use are safe and effective. America will not have one health standard for her own citizens and a lower standard of "good enough" for those suffering elsewhere."

Yes, there are well-meaning and hard-working relief workers making sacrifices, but too many officials of developed countries -- and of the U.N. -- still act as though Africans were dirt.

That's the message of "Hotel Rwanda," a movie the world should be watching.

James K. Glassman is host of TCS and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Didn't hear about the successful test over the Pacific last Thursday

As usual, the MSM failed to report another successful test of the missile defense system. Had it been a failure, you could have bet the ranch it would have been front page news. So there is no media bias, huh? - Sailor

Monday, February 28, 2005

While We Have Time
Investors Business Daily

Missile Defense: Didn't hear about the successful test over the Pacific last Thursday? Why not? China's Xinhua News Agency covered it.

But not NBC, ABC or CBS. At least, not that we could see. The New York Times had a wire story on its Web site, but not in its print edition. The Washington Post, along with the Chicago Tribune and several other big metro dailies, had neither.

Is a successful test of our missile defense now so common that the media give it post-lunar-landing treatment? After all, Thursday's knockout was the fifth successful interception in six tries.

No, it's simply another example of media bias. ABC and CBS made it a point to report the failure of a Feb. 14 test. So did the Christian Science Monitor. The Post devoted space on Page A4 for a staff-written story detailing the Valentine's Day flop.

Of course, a decision by Canada last week to opt out of the U.S. missile defense system got big play. And why not? It provided the ideal chance for a press opposed to a missile defense to imply Canada's decision indicates there's something inherently wrong with trying to protect ourselves from ICBMs.

Why any American would oppose a missile shield is beyond us. Yes, we know the excuses: It won't work ("can't hit a bullet with a bullet"), or it'll cost too much (a real "budget buster"), or other countries will counter a missile defense by increasing their nuclear weapon stockpiles (the old proliferation-stability argument).

But none persuades. Tests show a missile shield will work, and at a cost we can afford. Nor is there any evidence that other nations will boost their nuclear arsenals in response.

What is persuasive is the progress that rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran are making in the development of nuclear arms. Neither has the ability to hit the U.S. mainland now, but in time they will, unless they are stopped.

The smart policy is to perfect a missile shield while those nuclear programs are still in the development stage. For now, we have the time. One day, we won't.

Coffee Causes Cancer! Coffee Prevents Cancer!

We see it all the time, big, screaming headlines about how one thing or another causes cancer, heart disease, etc. Seems the media rarely takes any study in context, but prefers to sensationalize any bad news. - Sailor

Coffee Causes Cancer! Oops, This Just In! Coffee Prevents Cancer!

By Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan Published 02/25/2005
Tech Central Station

Recent headlines claimed that drinking coffee can reduce our risk of liver cancer. A study of some 90,000 Japanese found that people who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank coffee. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

As I pondered these headlines, I recalled a morning in 1981 when I turned on the Today show at 7 a.m. and was greeted with grim news: drinking coffee caused pancreatic cancer. The messenger delivering this news right at the top of the show was Dr. Brian MacMahon, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard (a former professor of mine) who had just published a study "Coffee and Cancer of the Pancreas" in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. MacMahon opined that drinking even three cups of coffee a day increased the risk of pancreatic cancer threefold -- and that coffee may have caused nearly half the pancreatic cancers in the United States.

Years later, it became evident that other studies did not confirm a causal link between coffee and pancreatic cancer -- and by year 2000, the American Cancer Society formally dismissed any causal link here.

Was the MacMahon study poorly done, resulting in inaccurate and misleading results? Not necessarily.

What this example demonstrates is that one study does not a conclusion make. Science is a process of exploration, requiring examination, reassessment, and replication. Only when there exists a large, consistent body of evidence demonstrating that some factor is linked to disease -- whether it has a harmful or protective effect -- can a credible association be established. Is there now such a credible association established for coffee protecting us from liver cancer? Should we all step up our coffee consumption just in case?

Clearly the answer to both questions is "no." Consumers must be constantly skeptical of studies linking variable A with disease B, whether the news is potentially good (as was the coffee/liver cancer link) or just plain scary (many people in the early 1980s made a concerted effort to wean themselves from their coffee habit after the coffee/pancreatic cancer headlines appeared).

It may be unrealistic to ask the media to refrain from reporting isolated findings -- particularly when those findings appear in prestigious medical journals. But surely journalists could put such reports in context by adding a commentary noting that the findings reported are from one study, that they have yet to be confirmed in other research, and that there is no reason for consumers to modify their behavior based on one report -- no matter where it was published.

Without such a clarification, consumers will understandably become numb over the constant warnings and "new findings," confusing purely hypothetical disease causes with well-established ones.

Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan is president of the American Council on Science and Health (

The War on the War on Poverty

President Johnson delcared war on poverty way back in the 1960's. Yet, poverty is still with us. The notion that capitalism creates a permanent class of poor was the basis for this war. What it really is and was, is just old fashioned European style socialism and it has failed.

Myron Magnet looks into this. - Sailor


The War on the War on Poverty
Bush's theory of domestic policy is more profound than "compassionate conservatism."

Friday, February 25, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

What ever happened to compassionate conservatism? Despite the Bush administration's focus on the war against terror, the idea didn't disappear. But as White House thinking developed, it got incorporated into a larger, more profound domestic theory. Yes, we need a safety net, the current view seems to go; but we don't need a Europe-style welfare state. What's called for is the traditional American "opportunity society," as much a boon to the poor as to everyone else.

Implicit in compassionate conservatism was the epochal paradigm shift that is now all but explicit. Taken together, compassionate conservatism's elements added up to a sweeping rejection of liberal orthodoxy about how to help the poor, which a half century's worth of experience had discredited. If you want to help the poor, compassionate conservatives argued, liberate them from dependency through welfare reform; free their communities from criminal anarchy through activist policing; give them the education they need to succeed in a modern economy by holding their schools accountable; and let them enjoy the rewards of work by taxing their modest wages lightly--or not at all.

For the worst-off--those hampered by addiction or alcohol or faulty socialization--let the government pay private organizations, especially religious ones, to help. Such people need a change of heart to solve their problems, the president himself deeply believed; and while a clergyman or a therapist might help them, a bureaucrat couldn't.

In fact a welfare-department worker might do harm even beyond providing money to fuel self-destructive behavior. Rather than understand that an inner transformation is what such a person needs, the welfare worker might well try to persuade him that his plight stems from an unjust economy, which provides him insufficient opportunity, or even purposely keeps a fraction of the population unemployed, so as to hold down the wages of those who are working. His problem thus is the result of vast, impersonal forces, of which he is the victim (and doubly the victim if he is black in racist America). In other words, capitalism is inherently defective and unjust, and therefore we need a welfare state to mitigate its harshness.

President Bush entered the White House with no patience for such a view. What he understood was that the War on Poverty--an array of LBJ-era legislation that boosted welfare benefits and established other programs for the poor, including Medicaid--created its own form of depression, as women long dependent on welfare became so convinced of their own inferiority that they could hardly present themselves without trembling at a job interview. And, as a far worse psychological consequence, the sense of victimization and of entitlement to government support that the War on Poverty fostered created a corrosive self-pity and resentment among the children of its beneficiaries, and their children's children. The self-pity led to drink and drugs; the resentment to crime and violence; and both together to a perpetuation of irresponsibility, dysfunction, and failure over the generations. The first-line antidote, in Mr. Bush's view, would be the intervention of a counselor, preferably faith-based.

But if there was a permanent class of poor, the cause was not a failure of capitalism but of the War on Poverty, which reinforced such self-defeating attitudes. Clearly, as the administration understood, American capitalism was a dynamo of job creation and opportunity. President Bush's generation, after all, had seen the astonishing restructuring of U.S. industry in the 1980s, when, in response to foreign competition, companies slimmed down, boosted productivity and quality, and kept their markets and prosperity; while their laid-off workers didn't permanently succumb to paralyzing depression but instead found--or created--new jobs.

Moreover, as a Texan, Mr. Bush had seen waves of Mexican immigrants flooding in to take jobs no one previously knew existed--still more evidence that there was no crisis of opportunity--while in the cities, a new wave of immigrant-run greengroceries, nail salons, construction firms, even commercial fish farms in Bronx basements, gave the lie to the failure-of-capitalism theory.

And, on top of all that, the overwhelming success of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which became ever clearer during President Bush's first term, utterly exploded the idea that the hard-core poor were not working because of a lack of jobs. Welfare mothers crowded into the work force; the rolls dropped by roughly half. Not only were their children not freezing to death on the streets by the thousands, as even so wise an observer as the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan had predicted they would, but in fact child poverty reached its lowest point ever three years after welfare reform. Lack of opportunity? Hardly.

The War on Poverty rests on a false premise: that capitalism creates a permanent class of poor. And War on Poverty attitudes have a deeply harmful effect on those entrammeled in America's current welfare state. So the second Bush term is bringing the War on Poverty--demonstrably a cataclysmic mistake--to an end. A glance at the administration's recent budget shows the ongoing dismantling of antipoverty programs: a sharp reduction in the Community Development Block Grant, the main conduit for funneling federal money to cities; the reduction in HUD money for Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers, which abets the formation of dysfunctional single-parent families and destabilizes respectable working-class neighborhoods; and the shrinkage of ever-expanding Medicaid. Welfare is now temporary assistance in adversity, not a permanent way of life; and we can expect welfare reform's conditions to become even stricter when the 1996 Act finally gets reauthorized.
Supporters of the old paradigm are naturally apoplectic over such a transformation; and their outrage reveals just how sweeping a welfare state they really champion. As Georgetown law professor Peter Edelman, who resigned from the Clinton administration to protest the president's signing of the 1996 welfare reform, told columnist William Raspberry: "For virtually all of my adulthood, America has had a bipartisan agreement that we ought to provide some basic framework of programs and policies that provide a safety net, not just for the poor but for a large portion of the American people who need help to manage." How large a portion? Well, figures Mr. Raspberry, "the lower third of the economy." Think about that: nearly 100 million Americans as clients of the federal government. This is not temporary assistance but a European-style "social-democratic" (that is, socialist) welfare state. It is the political culture of America's old cities, with their hordes of government-supported clients, employees, and retirees--a culture that has produced slow or negative job and population growth. And this is exactly what the Bush administration does not want.

The failure of the European model, explicitly based on the belief that free-market capitalism is dangerous and needs to be tied down with a thousand trammels, like Gulliver, is one of the signal facts of our era, along with the failure of communism. In Europe, the idea that capitalism creates a permanently jobless class has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as strict regulation and the high taxes needed to pay lavish welfare and unemployment benefits have resulted in half the U.S. rate of job creation, twice the rate of unemployment, and thus little opportunity.

Meanwhile retirees, often young and vigorous, go off for government-funded visits to health spas at taxpayer expense. Even if this were morally sustainable, it is not economically so, as even Gerhard Schroeder has learned. But with so many voters on the dole, or employed by the government to administer the vast welfare-state apparatus, who knows whether reform or collapse will occur first?

It's in this context that we should understand President Bush's campaign for Social Security reform. It is part of the large and coherent world view that has evolved out of compassionate conservatism. What has always made America exceptional is limitless opportunity for everyone, at all levels--the ability to find a job, to advance up the ladder as you prove yourself, and to prosper. The poor especially have flocked to these shores for just this chance, and have proved the promise true. A giant welfare state--whether its clients are the poor, the "lower third of the economy," or a cohort of government-pensioned retirees who almost outnumber the taxpaying workers who support them--hampers the job creation that makes all this opportunity possible. President Bush is determined to keep the dynamism vibrant, and to encourage and empower the poor to take part in it, rather than to suggest they are unequal to the task.

The Europeans call this "cowboy capitalism." If so, then yee-haw!

Mr. Magnet is editor of City Journal. This is part of an occasional series.

Friday, February 25, 2005


Ward Churchill gets caught on tape advocating terrorism. You have to hear the tapes! - Sailor

War Blog
By FrontPage Magazine
February 25, 2005

By Michelle Malkin

In August 2003, loony professor Ward Churchill spoke in Seattle before a crowd of moonbats and advised them on how to conduct acts of terrorism. Churchill's voice is unmistakable on these tapes, obtained and released by Denver radio station hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman.

You must hear the the clips to believe them:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Hat tip: reader Anthony J.

Transcript for Part I:

Question from audience: You mentioned a little bit ago, ‘Why did it take a bunch of Arabs to do what you all should have done a long time ago,’ that’s my question.

And as a white man standing here in your midst from a fairly liberal/conservative/middle of the road background—and I tell people I’m so far left I’m coming up on the rigt—and I’d like you to respond to, why shouldn’t we do something and how could we move so they don’t see us coming?

Churchill: I’m gonna repeat that, tell me if I got that right: Why shouldn’t we do something and how do you you move so they don’t see you coming.

As to the first part, not a reason in the world that I could see. I can’t find a single reason that you shouldn’t in a principled way—there may be some practical considerations, such as do you know how (laughter from audience)—you know, often these things are processes. It’s not just an impulse. And certainly it’s not just an event. And the simple answer, although it probably should be more complicated, but I’m not being flip and giving the simple answer, is: You carry the weapon. That’s how they don’t see it coming.

You’re the one…They talk about ‘color blind or blind to your color.’ You said it yourself.

You don’t send the Black Liberation Army into Wall Street to conduct an action.You don’t send the American Indian Movement into downtown Seattle to conduct an action. Who do you send? You. Your beard shaved, your hair cut close, and wearing a banker’s suit.

There’s probably a whole lot more to it, you know that. But there’s where you start.

Transcript for Part II:

If you are Arab, for example, you are automatically profiled as a potential terrorist. Period. And you can be asked to leave a plane because some Nordic-looking woman two rows down tells the stewardess she’s not comfortable with you being there—her presence makes her uncomfortable—why? Because it was Arabs who flew planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. See. And that fact—she’s on an airplane and there’s an Arab and somehow psychologically it makes her uncomfortable so it’s very understandable that she not be asked to leave since she’s made it clear that she’s not going to be a very big risk to the flight, but rather the individuals sitting there doing nothing have to leave.

And why by the way did it take Arabs to do what people here should have done a long time ago?

Transcript for Part III:

Question from audience:

I’m backing up a step to the Twin Towers falling down, um, there’s been implications about how…well, the first thing I thought about when it down was ‘Oh [expletive], that plays right into what they want to do to us.’ Maybe you can follow up on that. [applause]

Churchill: Your first thought was, well, yeah, you put it pretty well, I’ll accept you at your word, your first thought was ‘Oh [expletive], that plays right into what they want to do to us.’

Well, then, welcome to the club! Welcome to the club along with 565,000 Iraqi children who were systemically starved and denied medical attention to death in less than 10 years while Madeline Albright goes on television on 60 Minutes no less, receives the number, and says yes, ‘I’ve heard it, we’ve decided it’s worth the cost.’

Welcome to the club with the rest of the world. A little bit. I don’t care if it plays into the hands of what they had in mind for you unless you’re doing something tangible to make it stop, what’s already being done to those people on the receiving end.

Why should you be exempt and immune?So instead of ‘Oh [expletive],’ right on. Right on.

And I’m trying to elicit some response. I want someone to take this up, because I know you all aren’t agreeing with me on this.

Transcript for Part IV:

Churchill on getting revenge for speeding tickets: …And I’m not really comfortable with, since I’m presenting no public hazard ever when I’m ticketed, can attest to that, we can take that further at some point tonight if you’d like to, if you’d like to challenge it, but I’m presenting no public hazard, I’m simply being asked to ante up to pay for my own repression.

Not being comfortable with that, I have a rule of thumb: I smile very politely to the cop, take the ticket, look to see how much the fine is going to be, and before I leave that state, I make sure I cause at least that much property damage in state material before I go, so it’s a wash, boys and girls (laughter and applause).

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Michelle Malkin's blog can be accessed from the Sailor's BlogRoll

Syria: The Axis of Evil's Junior Partner

Lt. Col.Cucullu looks into the Syrian situation and the Syrian links with the "Axis of Evil". For far too long, Syria's Assad Jr. has flwon under the radar. The recent Hariri assasination has brought some of Assad's doings into the light. Of course, the MSM, as usual has been AWOL on Syria's connections to Iraq, Iran, North Korea and terrorism. Lt. Col. Cucullu explains. - Sailor

Syria: The Axis of Evil's Junior Partner

By Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu
February 25, 2005

For months many of us have said Syria deserves a place within the “Axis of Evil.” You will recall that President Bush listed North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as charter members. Why stop there, some wondered, since Syria is every bit as oppressive as Iraq and has long been a state sponsor of terrorism like Iran. Syria has deep ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terror groups; has controlled portions of Lebanon like a malicious puppet master for decades; and continues to occupy the Bekka Valley, where it runs terrorist training camps. Any one of these activities ought to have been enough to earn Assad’s regime a place on the list; the combination makes it a lock.

Significantly, Syria has played a key role both in the lead-up activity to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the terrorism we’ve seen in its aftermath. That Syria's machinations are underreported makes them no less influential. Syria has been a reflection of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist Iraq for decades. Under the leadership of Basher Assad, Syria molded itself into a fascist, dictatorial state. One of Assad’s heroes was Adolf Hitler. His counterpart was Saddam Hussein. Both were secular-minded, hedonistic Sunni Arabs. They dreamed of unbounded power and the wealth it would bring. They ruled their fiefdoms through intimidation, terror, and profligate corruption, each using ruthless internal intelligence agencies (similar to the Gestapo and KGB) to force hapless citizens to their will. Each surrounded himself with toadies and sycophants, frequently purged those close to him as ruthlessly as known enemies, and dreamed of being the leader of a regional Arab resurgence.

Saddam intended to turn power over to one of his now deceased sons, Uday or Qusay. The elder Assad, Hafez, lived long enough to turn power over to his son, Basher, an optometrist, and precocious dictator-in-training. Despite initial myopically self-deceptive hopes that he would be a reformer, the younger Assad has followed in the footsteps of his father. He has increased power by widespread use of the thugs in his intelligence agency, and he is ratcheting up Syria's support for terrorist organizations. Several of the most heinous are openly headquartered in Damascus. Most disturbingly, there are credible reports that Syria has become a welcoming home to Iraqi Ba’athist most-wanted criminals who fled just before Saddam’s statue fell in the square. It is reliably reported that as many as 54 top Iraqi leaders are running the insurgency in Iraq from Damascus. This is the reason many analysts say that while the body of the insurgency is in Iraq, the head hides in Syria.

It is well known that huge sums of stolen money – mostly U.S. dollars – were smuggled across the border into Syria around the time of Iraq’s collapse. Even before the war began billions of dollars were electronically transferred into Syrian-controlled banks for safe keeping by Saddam’s regime. Given the generous funding for the insurgents, it is clear that some of those Iraqi criminals from the old regime had access to these funds. US Marines and soldiers searching terrorist bodies during and after the Battle of Fallujah report that each one had $200-$300 in crisp $100 bills in his possession. Their paymaster in Syria had sent them funds to pay them off.

A lot of this money came from the Oil-For-Food kickbacks that are already documented to be in the billions of dollars. Plenty of money was on hand to satisfy Saddam’s insatiable appetite for direct and indirect power. These were the funds that were allocated to pay for homicide bombers in Israel and fund al Qaeda training facilities inside Iraq like Ansar al-Islam camps and many other terror-related activities. To this day, the former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic testifies that an Iraqi intelligence agent passed a large sum of money to 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta, but that story has been inexplicably left untouched by our CIA.

More menacingly, in the many months of fruitless negotiation and intentional obstruction in the UN Security Council by France, Russia, and China, Syria was a convenient repository for weapons that Saddam needed to hide. There was ample time, and there are many corroborating stories that long convoys of loaded vehicles moved into Syria and returned empty. Iraq has a tradition of hiding things. A squadron of modern, fully functional MiG-29 aircraft was found buried in the desert by inspection teams. Photos of these huge fighter aircraft being dug out of the sand were sensational, but most people seemed to overlook the obvious: if aircraft were hidden in the sands, is it likely that other weapon systems were hidden also? If not buried then relocated?

Liberated Iraqi intelligence sources – in cooperation with other international agencies - have quietly identified two sites within Syria and a third in the Bekka Valley that they report have been used to store WMDs coming out of pre-war Iraq. It would have been cheap insurance for Saddam to move his valuable supplies despite the reassurances he received from France and Russia that the US was a paper tiger and would not attack. The simultaneous terrorist attacks on the Jordanian Ministry of Defense and the American Embassy in Amman were designed around classic al-Qaeda truck bombs (ammonium nitrate kicked off by a plastic explosive detonator) with a kicker: the attacking vehicles were going to include poison gas shells placed on top of the explosives. Jordanian investigators who discovered the plot and arrested the terrorists confirm the poison gas. They also confirm that Syria was the origin of the plotters. If Syria did not have its own stockpiles of poison gas, then is it not reasonable to connect the dots to an Iraqi source?

Syria has not remained neutral in the war in Iraq. Assad’s ruling coterie is fully complicit with the terrorist training camps located near the Iraq border inside Syria. These camps – also funded by escaped Iraqi Ba’athists with Saddam’s ill-gotten gains – are functioning in a manner similar to how al-Qaeda operated in Afghanistan and pre-war Iraq. Terrorists are brought in from all over the region and trained in Islamist, jihadist ideology. They learn basic military skills and commit themselves to the fight. They are dying in droves in Iraq thanks to the skill of US and Coalition troops and the rapidly emerging Iraqi security forces. Still they have inflicted many casualties on hundreds of innocent Iraqis and have wounded and killed many Americans. We need to take a hard look and ask how long Syria is going to be allowed to continue this illegal interference and provide sanctuary for the terrorists.

Syrian fingerprints are all over the assassination of the anti-Syrian former Lebanese president. Now announcements are released that Syria has formed an alliance with Iran. Desperate times breed desperate measures and both the Basher Assad regime and the Mullahs in Teheran fear the next move by America and our allies. Under the radar, both Iran and Syria have extensive technological and weapons ties with Kim Jong-il’s regime in North Korea. Missile and warhead technology, uranium products, and chemical warfare expertise and products have been transferred between and among this nefarious trio. All three rogue regimes oppress their people and are egregious violators of human rights as well as being state sponsors of terrorism.

These rogue states have watched America over the past year, wondering what the outcome of our election would be. Now that they know they are scrambling to scratch together a defense against the attacks – economic, psychological, and military – that they know will be forthcoming. The decadent, dictatorial Syrian regime has sealed its fate and will drag its fellow dictators in Iran and North Korea down with it. Freedom is marching unstoppable across the world, sweeping tin-pot tyrants out of the path.

Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu has been an Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel, as well as a writer, popular speaker, business executive and farmer. His most recent book is Separated at Birth, about North and South Korea.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Feminists Get Hysterical

Has Susan Estrich finally lost it? Her rantings and ravings, along with those of some other feminists is the subject of this article by Heather Mac Donald. This Sailor thinks Susan should really seek some professional help. First her boy kerry gets beat and now Susan goes off on fellow leftist Michael Kinsley. - Sailor

Feminists Get Hysterical
First it was Harvard vs. Summers—and now Estrich vs. Kinsley.
Heather Mac Donald
City Journal
24 February 2005

Gee thanks, Susan. Political pundit Susan Estrich has launched a venomous campaign (links here and here and here) against the Los Angeles Times’s op-ed editor, Michael Kinsley, for alleged discrimination against female writers. As it happens, I have published in the Los Angeles Times op-ed pages over the years, without worrying too much about whether I was merely filling a gender quota. Now, however, if I appear in the Times again, I will assume that my sex characteristics, rather than my ideas, got me accepted.

Estrich’s insane ravings against the Times cap a month that left one wondering whether the entry of women into the intellectual and political arena has been an unqualified boon. In January, nearly the entire female professoriate at Harvard (and many of their feminized male colleagues) rose up in outrage at the mere suggestion of an open discussion about a scientific hypothesis concerning the possibly unequal distribution of cognitive skills across the male and female populations. Harvard President Larry Summers had had the temerity to suggest that the continuing preponderance of men in scientific fields, despite decades of vigorous gender equity initiatives in schools and universities, may reflect something other than sexism. It might reflect the fact, Summers hypothesized, that the male population has a higher percentage of mathematical geniuses (and mathematical dolts) than the female population, in which mathematical reasoning skills may be more evenly distributed.
A feminist gadfly in the audience, MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, infamously reported that she avoided fainting or vomiting at Summers’s remarks only by running from the room. And with that remarkable expression of science-phobia, a great feminist vendetta was launched. It has reduced Summers to a toadying appeaser who has promised to atone for his sins with ever more unforgiving diversity initiatives (read: gender quotas) in the sciences. But the damage will not be limited to Harvard. Summers’s scourging means that, from now on, no one in power will stray from official propaganda to explain why women are not proportionally represented in every profession.

The Harvard rationality rout was a mere warm-up, however, to the spectacle unfolding in Los Angeles, brought to light by the upstart newspaper, the D.C. Examiner. USC law professor, Fox News commentator, and former Dukakis presidential campaign chairman Susan Estrich has come out as a snarling bitch in response to L.A. Times’s editor Michael Kinsley’s unwillingness to be blackmailed. Estrich had demanded that Kinsley run a manifesto signed by several dozen women preposterously accusing him of refusing to publish females. When Kinsley declined, while offering Estrich the opportunity to write a critique of the Times in a few weeks, Estrich sunk to the lowest rung imaginable: playing Kinsley’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease against him. Said Estrich: Your refusal to bend to my demands “underscores the question I've been asked repeatedly in recent days, and that does worry me, and should worry you: people are beginning to think that your illness may have affected your brain, your judgment, and your ability to do this job.”

It is curious how feminists, when crossed, turn into shrill, hysterical harpies—or, in the case of MIT’s Nancy Hopkins, delicate flowers who collapse at the slightest provocation—precisely the images of women that they claim patriarchal sexists have fabricated to keep them down. Actually, Estrich’s hissy fit is more histrionic than anything the most bitter misogynist could come up with on his own. Witness her faux remorse at engaging in blackmail: “I really do hate to be doing this. I counted e-mail after e-mail that I sent and was totally ignored. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to help quietly. If this is what it takes, so be it.” Witness too her self-pitying amour propre: “You owe me an apology. NO one tried harder to educate you about Los Angeles, introduce you to key players in the city, bring to your attention, quietly, the issues of gender inequality than I did—and you have the arrogance and audacity to say that you couldn’t be bothered reading my emails.” Add to that her petty insults: “if you prefer me to conduct this discussion outside your pages . . . that makes you look even more afraid and more foolish.” And finally, mix in shameless self-promotion: “I hope [this current crusade is] a lesson in how you can make change happen if you’re willing to stand up to people who call you names, and reach out to other women, and not get scared and back down. If you recall, I wrote a book about that, called Sex and Power. It’s what I have spent my whole life doing.”

Selective quotation cannot do justice to Estrich’s rants. But their underlying substance is as irrational as their tone. Estrich lodges the standard charge in all fake discrimination charges: the absence of proportional representation in any field is conclusive proof of bias. Determining the supply of qualified candidates is wholly unnecessary.

For the last three years, Estrich’s female law students at USC have been counting the number of female writers on the Los Angeles Times op-ed pages (and she complains that there aren’t more female policy writers? Suggestion to Estrich: how about having your students master a subject rather than count beans.). She provides only selective tallies of the results: “TWENTY FOUR MEN AND ONE WOMAN IN A THREE DAY PERIOD [caps in original]” (she does not explain how she chose that three-day period or whether it was representative); “THIRTEEN MEN AND NO WOMEN” as authors of pieces on Iraq.

Several questions present themselves: how many pieces by women that met the Times’s standards were offered during these periods? What is the ratio of men to women among experts on Iraq? Estrich never bothers to ask these questions, because for the radical feminist, being a woman is qualification enough for any topic. Any female is qualified to write on Iraq, for example, because in so doing, she is providing THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE. (This belief in the essential difference between male and female “voices,” of course, utterly contradicts the premise of the anti-Larry Summers crusade.) Thus, to buttress her claim that Kinsley “refuses” to publish women, Estrich merely provides a few examples of women whose offerings have been rejected: “Carla Sanger . . . tells me she can't get a piece in; I have women writing to me who have submitted four piece [sic] and not gotten the courtesy of a call—and they teach gender studies at UCLA. . . .” It goes without saying, without further examination, that each of those writers deserved to be published—especially, for heaven’s sakes, the gender studies professors!

Self-centered? Thin-skinned? Takes things personally? Misogynist tropes that sum up Estrich to a T. It is the fate of probably 98 percent of all op-ed hopefuls to have their work silently rejected, without the “courtesy of a call.” But when a woman experiences the silent treatment, it’s because of sexism. Similarly, it is the fate of most e-mail correspondence to editors to be ignored. But when Estrich’s e-mails are ignored (“I sent e-mails to my old friends at the Times. Neither time did they even bother to respond.”), it’s because the editor is a chauvinist pig.
The assumption that being female obviates the need for any further examination into one’s qualifications allows Estrich to sidestep the most fundamental question raised by her crusade: Why should anyone care what the proportion of female writers is on an op-ed page? If an analysis is strong, it should make no difference what its author’s sex is. But for Estrich, it is an article of faith that female representation matters: “What could be more important—or easier for that matter—than ensuring that women's voices are heard in public discourse in our community?” Her embedded question—“or easier for that matter?”— is quickly answered. She is right: Nothing is easier than ensuring that “women’s voices” are heard; simply set up a quota and publish whatever comes across your desk. But as for why it is of paramount importance to get the “women’s” perspective on farm subsidies or OPEC price manipulations, Estrich does not say.

She provides a clue to her thinking, however. For Estrich, apparently, having a “woman’s voice” means being left-wing. She blasts the Times for publishing an article by Charlotte Allen on the decline of female public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag. Allen had argued that too many women writers today specialize in being female, rather than addressing the broader range of issues covered by their male counterparts. For Estrich, this argument performs a magical sex change on Allen, turning her into a male. After sneering at Allen’s article and her affiliation with the “Independent Women's Forum which is a group of right-wing women who exist to get on TV,” Estrich concludes: “the voices of women . . . are [not] found within a thousand miles” of the Los Angeles Times.

In other words, Allen’s is not a “voice of a woman” because she criticizes radical feminism. Estrich does not disclose if she conducted this sex change operation on all conservative women when compiling her phony statistics on the proportion of female writers on the op-ed page.

“Women’s liberation,” for the radical feminists, means liberation to think like a robot, mindlessly following the dictates of the victimologists. But if all bona fide women think alike, then publishing one female writer every year or so should suffice, since we know in advance what she will say.

Depressingly, Estrich’s crusade, no matter how bogus, will undoubtedly bear fruit. Anyone in a position of power today, facing accusations of bias and the knowledge that people are using crude numerical measures to prove his bias, will inevitably start counting beans himself, whether consciously or not. Michael Kinsley could reassure every female writer out there that Estrich has not cowed him by publishing only men for the next six months. It would be an impressive rebuff to Estrich’s blackmail. I’ll happily forgo the opportunity to appear in the Times for a while in order to get my pride back.