Michael J. Totten

Friday, January 24, 2003



Iraq is not Afghanistan

The conventional wisdom in some circles says Iraq cannot democratize. That Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union democratized doesn't seem to change the pessimist mind. Sure the Mideast is different. For one thing it's Islamic. But if the events on the ground in Iraqi Kurdistan mean anything, Iraq has a better shot at democracy than even some optimists may realize.

Andrew Apostolou at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies describes what the Kurds have accomplished.


Largely unnoticed, an experiment in liberalization and free expression has been taking place in the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq. The "Kurdish Spring", as some have called it, is the most impressive recent attempt to create a free society in the Middle East. Under the cover of British and American war planes, a free press has flourished. Ethnic minorities can publish and broadcast in their own languages, a right unheard of in most of the Middle East.

...

During the last ten years, the Kurds have managed to build schools and educate their young people to a historically unprecedented extent. According to the Kurds, the number of schools has been trebled from 804 in 1991 to over 2,700. There are now three universities where before there was just one. The Kurds claim that a remarkable 100,000 students have been educated in these universities. The number of doctors has also more than trebled, but at just 1,870 is pitifully low for a population of 4 million. While infant mortality has reportedly soared in areas under Saddam's control, it has fallen in the Kurdish areas. The Kurds are also rebuilding most of the villages that were destroyed in the genocidal Anfal campaign during which the Iraqi army murdered as many as 182,000 Kurds in 1988.

There are now scores of independent publications which dare to criticise the local leaders. Not only are there broadcasts in Kurdish, but Aramaic, the language of the Assyrian Christian minority, is also on the airwaves, as is Turkoman, a language closely related to Turkish. Those who manage to travel to northern Iraq from the area controlled by Saddam Hussein are taken aback by the contrast between the grinding repression of Baghdad and the free flowing conversations of Suleymaniyeh.

Kurdistan isn't perfect. It has a long way to go, and it took the Kurds ten years from the Gulf War to get where they are. But they did this without occupation, and with hardly any assistance from anyone. Like the Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the people of Northern Iraq are liberalizing and democratizing, in their own chaotic fashion, as if it's the natural thing to do once Saddam is no longer there.

It would be a tremendous mistake to go to war and walk away from the wreckage. We won't, but if we do, even that reckless action might lead to the outcome we hope for.





Friend or Foe?

Cafe Shops is selling t-shirts and coffee mugs that say "I Hate the French." If anyone tried to sell a shirt that said "I Hate the Dutch," who would buy it? Who could even understand it?

Today's Telegraph tells us of France's latest hateful behavior.


On Zimbabwe, Paris argues that its invitation to Robert Mugabe to attend a Franco-African summit on February 19 will lead to a dialogue, which is preferable to continued ostracism. The argument is nonsense. Mr Mugabe will simply use the occasion to cock a snook at Britain, which was the driving force behind the imposition last year of a European Union travel ban on him and his henchmen. And the plight of his opponents at home will improve not one jot.

France's actual motives are twofold, and both have their roots in its colonial past. First, it still considers itself a significant African player - it has 2,500 troops involved in the civil war in the Ivory Coast - and wants the fullest attendance at its conference.

By not inviting Mr Mugabe, it would have run the risk of being turned down, out of solidarity with Zimbabwe's president, by other African heads of state. Second, in that continent it is always looking to extend its influence in countries where Britain was once the metropolitan power: dire relations between Mr Mugabe and Tony Blair are an opportunity not to be missed.

So France deliberately undermines its friends in order to curry favor with dictators. Is this what they mean by "sophisticated?"

The time has come for America and the rest of the West to ask if France is our friend, or if it is really our enemy. Because right now our real enemies in the Middle East are being more helpful than Paris.





France Surrenders to Iraq

By MICHAEL J. TOTTEN

PARIS, Jan. 24 - French President Jacques Chirac issued an unconditional surrender to Baghdad today, and declared he was upholding the great tradition of French foreign policy. "Saddam Hussein, like Hitler before him and unlike the current American president, was elected by his people. We admire Iraq for standing against the unilateralist arrogance of the American cowboy regime, and we hereby swear eternal allegiance. Iraq’s interests are our interests and, besides, we need the oil."

Reaction in Washington was mixed.

“This dadburned move is remarkably unhelpful,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters at a press conference.

Secretary of State Colin Powell’s reaction was more oblique. “Saddam Hussein writes novels,” he said, “and the French like that sort of thing.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was reportedly enraged behind closed doors in his office, but kept it cool for a few brief questions outside the Pentagon. “I can understand why the French would want this,” he said. “It makes perfect sense. But it’s a shame we’ll have to go in there and liberate them again.”

Former President Bill Clinton was both amused and regretful. “It’s funny, you know,” he said to Totten Newscorp in a phone interview. “Two years ago they invited me to take French citizenship so I could run for the French presidency. They promised to leave me alone about Monica. I didn’t think they were really interested in foreign rule again, but now I see I’ve blown my chance. I should have taken it while the getting was good.”

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein moved two Republican Guard divisions and three security forces into Paris. One security force shut down Le Monde and a squad of Guardsmen razed the Elysses Palace. Another security force proceeded directly to the Latin Quarter and forced artists at gun-point to paint murals of their new leader. In one painting Saddam wore a beret, in another he sat outside a sidewalk café smoking cigarettes and reading Franz Fanon. A sculptor was ordered to begin a project titled “Saddam with Baguette.” Ten thousand Parisian leftists were machine-gunned, and another 2,000 dipped into acid baths.

There were no reports of peace activists volunteering to act as human shields.





Chemical War Without Chemical Weapons?

The Telegraph reports that Saddam Hussein is preparing for chemical warfare against the United States. Meanwhile, Saddam pretends to have no chemical weapons, and the UN pretends to believe him.

Human beings are remarkably susceptible to denial. Institutions (like the UN), even more so. But it can only go on for so long before even EU appeasement junkies won't be able to stand their own farce any longer.

Bush's State of the Union address on Monday is going to be a barn-burner.





America and Empire

Sean LaFreniere has some interesting observations about the ingrained notion of Empire among Americans.


Americans have been brought up on a Star Wars view of the universe. The Empire is always an evil power and the Rebels are always the good guys. Heck we even took this to the Wild West and made heroes out of horse thieves, bank robbers, kidnappers, rapists, and murders. There are more than a few Western movies where the bad guy is the Sheriff and the hero wears a mask.

I think some of this comes from our history as a nation. We were born out of a conflict between American rebels, dressed up in Indian costumes and vandalizing ships, versus the British Empire with its greedy king, its dismissive parliament, and its hated "redcoats". We then fought on the side of Texan rebels against the Mexican Empire and on behalf of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Philippine colonists against the Spanish Empire. The World Wars could both be seen as fighting the Second and Third German Empires. Then we defended Bosnians and Albanians against the Serb "empire". And in Afghanistan we line up with the bandits in the hills against the totalitarian powers in Kabul.

Indeed, anti-imperialism is hard-wired into the American psyche. And so it's awkward that we find ourselves the most powerful nation on Earth. No surprise that we torture ourselves and wonder if we're really the good guys.




Thursday, January 23, 2003



Irony Didn't Go Anywhere

"Irony is dead" said many on September 12, 2001. It certainly seemed so, but of course we knew it wasn't. Who, though, would have predicted this mother of all ironies, from Mark Steyn's column in The Spectator?


One of the peculiarities of this conflict is that we right-wing crazies are now the idealists and the Left are the realpolitik cynics. I mentioned the other week John Pilger’s pitiful performance on Australian TV, where he couldn’t seem to grapple with the idea that al-Qa’eda had blown up Bali in part because of the West’s support for East Timor. Last weekend’s marchers were effectively consigning another of their sometime pet causes, the Kurds, to the garbage can. Anti-Americanism trumps all. Tough luck, Kurds. John le Carré claims he would ‘love’ to see Saddam’s downfall, but he’s not prepared to do anything to make it happen, and so, if left to him, it never will.

I never thought in my life that I would see conservatives agitating for the downfall of right-wing dictators while the left worked tirelessly to stop them. It's the most bizarre political flip-flop I've ever seen, and it makes my head hurt.

I'm an old lefty who hasn't changed a bit, but the world is no longer what it was.





Samsung Fixes its Map (Sort of)

Yesterday I posted a link to a Samsung Corporation regional map of the Middle East that did not include Israel, but did include "Palastine" (sic). Lots of readers informed me that the map is now fixed. (Thanks folks). But the map still doesn't include Israel. They simply took "Palastine" off.





Just Telling it Like it is

Rod Dreher has a piece in the National Review today about Al Sharpton.


Republicans took a whipping over a gaffe made by Trent Lott, a mere senator, but now the Democrats have to deal with a bona fide black racial demagogue, a man in David Duke's league, blunder bussing onto the national stage as a candidate for his party's nomination. Democratic politicians are scared to death of offending Sharpton, because they don't want to be denounced as racist by a man who can command such media attention.

I may be a Democrat, but I'm no politician. And I am not afraid of that man.

I learned yesterday that you never know who's reading your blog. I excerpted an article by Australian Labor Party barrister Jim Nolan, said a good word or two about him, then got an email from him in my inbox. It never occurred to me that he might see it.

So I write this post aware than absolutely anyone might read it, including the person I'm writing about.

So, hey, Al Sharpton. Look at me. You're a lying racist bastard. You are an embarrassment to the overwhelming majority of people in the Democratic Party, and your showing in the presidential primary will be a well-deserved humiliation. It will free us from you. Just stick to your Jew-hating, anti-whitey shtick and leave my party the hell alone.

Got it? Or shall I repeat myself?





Oriana Fallaci Makes Ariel Sharon Cry

I never liked Ariel Sharon much. I have spoken most unkindly of him, but lately he has an earned an arms-length respect from me.

George Gurley interviewed Oriana Fallaci for the New York Observer. I'll think of Ariel Sharon a bit more kindly after reading this.


Last April, she said, Ariel Sharon phoned her to praise an article she had written in the weekly Italian publication Panorama about the problem of European and Arab anti-Semitism.

She said she answered the phone and said, "‘Hey, Sharon! How are you? Are you as fat?’ Because I know him. Sharon said, ‘Oriana, I called you to say, "Damn, you have guts; damn, you are courageous; damn, do I thank you."’ I said, ‘Ariel, you thank me—I apologize with you. I was too tough to you 20 years ago.’ And he was, as usual, a gentleman."

The night before the phone call, there had been an attack on a kibbutz.

"I said, ‘Listen, dear, I know what happened last night in that kibbutz. Will you please permit me to express to you and to your people my condolences?’ Sharon started crying. I don’t know, I didn’t see the tears. But the voice was of a crying man, and he started to shout: ‘Oriana! You are the only one who says the word condolences! Do you know, these bloody heads of states, I just spoke with the British and the Americans’—meaning Blair and Bush—‘they did not say that word to me.’ And then with broken voice he said, ‘Do you know who were the dead last night? One was the grandmother who was in Dachau and who still had the number on her arm. The second one was her daughter, who was seven months pregnant. And the third one was the child of the daughter, who was 5 years old. And they are all dead! All dead! All dead!’ He was crying."






War is not Optional

Today's cover story for Salon asks Can Tony Blair Stop the War?

Look: We are at war. It doesn't matter how you feel about it. On September 10th 2001 we were at war. We didn't know it, but we were. Osama bin Laden knew it. Mohammed Atta knew it. The rest of us didn't. The next morning...well, you know what happened. We didn't decide to go to war because we felt like it. War was declared in blood and fire.

If we chose September 12th that we did not want a war, we would still be at war. It would be a one-way war, with America a repeatedly pulverized victim that just sat there, cringing, taking it. No country on Earth behaves this way. Costa Rica institutionalized pacifism. It has no military at all. But Costa Rica swears that if attacked it will turn its ploughshares into swords. It is the way things are.

The question is not: Will there be a war? War is.

The question is this: Will there be a battle in Iraq?

War will end when there are winners and losers, or when all sides choose to stop it. Wars do not end in other ways.

The peace camp wants to take the ball and go home. If it were an option, believe me, we would take it.




Wednesday, January 22, 2003



The Opposite of Collateral Damage

The war against Saddam may push the democratic revolution in Iran into overdrive. It is yet one more reason to support regime-change in Baghdad.

Robert Kaplan recently predicted we will soon have embassies in Baghdad and Tehran, and not in Cairo or Riyadh. His predictions are frightfully accurate, and this one looks more plausible now than when he made it.





Anti-Semitism Goes Corporate

Samsung Corporation has decided that Israel does not, or should not, exist. They left it off the map and called it "Palastine" instead. Nice.





Serious Trouble Ahead

I hate to agree with Andrew Sullivan today. Not because he's Andrew Sullivan but because what he has to say is deeply disturbing and the aftershocks are going to be with us all for a very long time. I don't think many people have yet thought through what the following actually means for America, Europe, NATO, and the world.


Paris and Berlin know full well that the chances of the inspectors actually finding what Saddam has spent so much effort concealing is next to zero. And they also know that by delaying the potential war until the autumn, they will help keep the U.S. economy depressed (investment being crippled by uncertainty) and help the growing appeasement movement gain more strength. By then, war will become an even greater political risk for London and Washington, which is, of course, part of the Europeans' plan. Schroder and Chirac want regime change - in Washington and London, not Baghdad. And they are using every ounce of their diplomatic influence to achieve that. You see? They can get off their butts now and again, if they need to. The time is surely coming, alas, when the U.S. and the U.K. will have to acknowledge that these European powers are now de facto allies of Saddam. Because they sure as hell aren't ours.






Another Liberal Realist in Oz

Australian Labor Party barrister Jim Nolan signs up for regime-change in Iraq and shames his comrades who won't stand up for their own principles.


From the West's intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo to rescue European Muslims from ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Stalinist fascists to the liberation of East Timor from the Indonesian military rulers, the Australian Left has supported the great humanitarian interventions in recent years. The lesson? That a blanket principle of non-intervention cannot rationally be sustained.

Yet the Left's opposition to regime change in Iraq stands in stark contrast to these principled campaigns. But turning a blind eye to the Iraqi tyrant's regime will only lend aid and comfort to one of the most brutal and murderous regimes on earth. And opposing the Bush-Blair-Howard position of regime change in Iraq will only prolong the life of an ugly, brutal, fascist state.


Emphasis added by me. This is what the anti-war crowd is going to have to answer for if, by some long shot, their unintentionally but objectively pro-facsist campaign succeeds.




Tuesday, January 21, 2003



Our Friend Tony Blair

Tony Blair rattles Saddam. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd be up for making Tony Blair an honorary American if he wants to be one. He is one of my favorite people right now. Thank God for liberal realists with backbone.





Letter from a US Marine


Michael,

Good to see a mind at work; this is what the Web is for!

My interest was piqued by your discussion of why one is a liberal. I
am a Marine reservist (assigned stateside, so no chance of going to the
big sandbox; been there, done that, got the t-shirt in 1991) and I often
field the question of why I consider myself a liberal from my peers. I
typically reply that it was liberals who led the American Revolution,
liberals who wrote the Constitution, liberals who ensured popular
participation in politics, liberals who ended slavery, liberals who
saved capitalism (twice!-Progressives and New Dealers), liberals who
got the US into WW II, liberals who ensured that the Soviet Union
would be contained so that it would rot in its own failures, and liberals
who fought for Civil Rights. In short, I am a liberal because it is liberals
who get things done, change things.

Yet this does beg the question of what is a liberal? I follow the
definition in David Gress's "From Plato to Nato" where he holds to a
liberalism that arises from the "skeptical Enlightenment, that is, a
liberalism that does not reject history, religion, or human nature, but
seeks the conditions of possibility of liberty and prosperity within
those givens and not in abstract rights or visions of justice." 'Nuff
said. Keep up the good work!

Lance R. Blyth
Major USMCR
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of History
Northern Arizona University






Nuclear War

If you want to see truly a truly disturbing piece of Islamofascist propaganda, one that underscores why we are going to change Iraq's regime, click here and scroll down. (Thanks to LGF for the heads-up.)





What Appeasement Entails

Let's say the "peace movement" wins its argument for "Peace Now!" What would America have to do in order to appease its enemies? What would it take to stop this war at once?

William A. Whittle has analyzed the demands of Al Qaeda and other Islamofascists and compiled from them a list of steps we can take that will make them stop hating us and leave us alone. (Via Russell Wardlow.)


All they are asking is a little respect for their different – but equally valid! – cultural preferences. We can clear up this little misunderstanding by making a few small compromises. All we have to do is abandon the Bill of Rights, convert to Islam, adapt Sharia, or Islamic law, imprison our women in mobile tents, remove their clitoris without anesthesia so that they don’t get any ideas while we are out stoning rape victims, use our young male relatives for sexual domination since premarital sex with women is a mortal sin, kill anyone who writes anything disrespectful of our government or religion, throw away science, technology and modern medicine, murder all homosexuals and Jews, eliminate music, dancing, beer drinking, sports, television, movies and other vices, throw acid on our daughters if they are seen in public with a male non-relative, and swear unwavering loyalty to whatever the half-blind, one-armed raving lunatic spews at us during our five-times-a-day prayer sessions.

In exchange, they promise not to fly any more of our airplanes into our buildings.





Monday, January 20, 2003



A Sober Warning

Anyone who has been following my site knows that anti-Americanism in one of my principal targets. Before September 11 I didn't give it much thought one way or another. I've never been a flag-waver, and I'm still not. So it surprises me sometimes how white-hot angry a certain kind of anti-Americanism can make me when I'm not careful. I'm not talking about the Islamofascist variety, which is simply despicable and can be dismissed as enemy propaganda. What really gets me is the blood libels and conspiracy theories from supposed friends and allies. Like France. Even England. The only country that has none of it is Israel. Israelis may be our best friends on Earth right now.

I know a lot of my fellow Americans feel the same way. Polls show that the overall American approval-rating of Europe has disintegrated since September 11th. Europe has been a poor friend to us lately. The under-reported phenomenon is that anti-Europeanism is now greater in America (though expressed more politely) than anti-Americanism is in Europe.

John Derbyshire has a warning for us in The New Criterion. This is not a new article, but I want to link it now because it has stayed with me since I read it two months ago. It is not what anyone wants to hear, but I think it is important.


Probably anti-Americanism will be with us for a long time yet.

This is a shame, because the one thing everyone notices about us Americans is how much we want to be liked. That, at any rate, used to be the thing everyone noticed. I do not think the yearning to be liked has departed from the American psyche yet, but it now finds itself sharing that psyche with some other wishes: principally, the desire that if we cannot be liked, we shall at least be respected. If it should become clear that Americans are to be denied even respect, I think quite a lot of us will settle for being feared. We are not much given to Latin tags nowadays, but there is one that keeps popping up in American newspapers and web sites, and which just this last week I actually saw printed on a T-shirt. The tag is the one Seneca denounced as a “vile, detestable and deadly sentiment,” but which had a steady currency throughout the late-Republican, early-Imperial period of Roman rule: Oderint dum metuant—“Let them hate us, so long as they fear us.” I am with Seneca on this one; I hope things never come to that; but I am bound to say, from talking with and listening to my fellow Americans, that is the direction in which they are heading.






Quebec is Different

Someone once said that Canada isn't a real county; it is a government and a map. I'll let Canadians worry about how to define their own country, but I have been to Quebec, and it is quite different from English Canada. Many Quebecois live and think as though they aren't even part of North America. Some are unsure about which planet.

The Globe and Mail has the latest scoop on the Raelians, who claim to be the world's first cloners.


Montreal — A religious sect that believes aliens created humanity has offered a small Quebec provincial party $1-million to run candidates in the next election.

The president of the Parti démocrate du Québec said he would rather have "normal candidates" but that the party might take the money being offered by the Raelian movement, which wants to field 60 candidates.

"It's a little bit against my own beliefs," Olivier Chalifoux told CBC Radio.

Only a little, Mr. Chalifoux?





Old Wine and New Bottles

Many writers, myself among them, have loosely compared the 1990s with the Roaring 1920s. And the terrorized 00's are looking more and more like the 30s.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece issued a report on the sharp increase in violent anti-Semitism in that country, beginning with the start of the second intifada and increasingly sharply again after September 11th.

Ha'aretz describes the board's report:


The report documents incidents of assault or other anti-Semitic incidents, including anti-Semitic graffiti drawn on the memorial to the Holocaust in Eubea on March 30; distribution of written material in Corfu with anti-Semitic slogans ("Zionists=Murderers") on April 11; shattering of headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Ioannina on April 15; desecration of the Holocaust memorial site in Salonika on April 15; desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Macedonia on April 16; and vandalism of the Holocaust memorial site on Rhodes on July 2, one week after its opening to the public in an official ceremony.






Last Will and Testament

The New Yorker magazine sent a hard-boiled investigative reporter to Baghdad who escaped with Saddam's Surprisingly Sentimental Last Will. (Via Arts and Letters Daily.)


Codicil No. 3:

To my ever-loyal Chief of Personal Security, easily identified by the blowtorch scar on his face and by the AK-47 he carries, even in the tub, I leave my personal date-minder, marked "ESCAPE PLAN NO. 327," which is in the top left-hand drawer of my desk at the Palace of the Revolution.

...

Codicil No. 10:

It is my fond wish as I take leave of this life forever that the two-ton iron cannister marked "BUG SPRAY, DO NOT BREATHE," found in the back of the gardening shed at Palace 38, be rolled out of hiding and taken to any really high rooftop in Baghdad, from which its contents can be sprayed all over the city at the first sign of U.S. troops.






One More Thug Down

The Guardian reports that another Serbian war criminal is in the slammer. Thank the unilateralism of the Clinton Administration for paving the way.


The Hague war crimes tribunal netted one of its biggest fish yet yesterday when the former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic surrendered himself for trial.

Mr Milutinovic, charged with war crimes committed during the Serb crackdown in Kosovo in 1999, flew to the the Hague voluntarily and was taken to the special UN detention facility in Scheveningen before meeting tribunal officials.






Correction

Yesterday I posted a link to what I said was a Guardian editorial. The editorial was actually written by the Observer, which is a sister publication to the Guardian, owned by the same people and published on Sundays.




Sunday, January 19, 2003



Letter From a Canadian

Michael,

It saddens me you think that Canadians don't like America, it's simply not an accurate picture. I think some of that distortion comes from both your media and ours. Our media generally makes PBS look conservative, our chattering classes (John Raulston Saul et al) would be more at home in Vichy than Winnipeg, and will proudly boast that fact I might add. The people who actually live, work and think here are proud to call you friends.

I remember on Sept 12/01, I took the day off and went to the mall looking for an American Flag, I couldn't find one, small ones were still available but anything to hang in a window or from a flag pole were gone. I made my own, and taped it to the window, believe me, I wasn't alone.

Keep up the good work my friend.

Jeff Smith

Winnipeg, Canada






Mean Mister Mustard Checks in on the Revolution

Russell Wardlow went to the anti-war rally in San Francisco and filed an excellent report including photos. Here is an excerpt, but go read the whole thing.


When I got to the civic center, there was some woman who at least styled herself a poet at the loudspeaker, reading some freestyle poetry that would make Amiri Baraka jealous. She claimed the war in Iraq was a Zionist conspiracy to expand Israel until the Jews took over the entire region. She said that the US government wanted to install a new Saddam Hussein of their own choosing and that they were going to gobble up every country in the Middle East until it was one big American colony. She ranted about "indigenous peoples" rising up and expelling the illegal immigrant white-eyes. She proclaimed that they would take back "Palestine" (all of it) and that "the Intifada will continue!"

If I'm making it sound as if she was raving like a friggin' lunatic, that's because, well, she was raving like a friggin' lunatic.

All to the delirious applause of the audience, of course.






In Our Name

If you, like me, are annoyed by the "Not In Our Name" petition being circulated around the Internet, click here and sign Vincent M. Ferrari's In Our Name petition. You'll feel better.


We pledge allegiance with those whose tyrannical governments repress them.
We pledge alliance with those living in countries overrun by warlords and terrorists.
We pledge support for women who are treated as property and not as people.
We pledge to defend freedom in whatever way it is so manifested throughout all the nations of the world.






More Feminism, Please

Kay S. Hymowitz in City Journal asks why feminists have become so quiet lately.


Where are the demonstrations, the articles, the petitions, the resolutions, the vindications of the rights of Islamic women by American feminists? The weird fact is that, even after the excesses of the Taliban did more to forge an American consensus about women’s rights than 30 years of speeches by Gloria Steinem, feminists refused to touch this subject. They have averted their eyes from the harsh, blatant oppression of millions of women, even while they have continued to stare into the Western patriarchal abyss, indignant over female executives who cannot join an exclusive golf club and college women who do not have their own lacrosse teams.

There is a certain kind of feminist that is simply insufferable. They tend to be Baby Boomers, not Xers like me. But I'd be thrilled if even they would speak up now, at a time when their moral outrage is vital.

As we sink more deeply into what is likely to be a protracted struggle with radical Islam, American feminists have a moral responsibility to give up their resentments and speak up for women who actually need their support. Feminists have the moral authority to say that their call for the rights of women is a universal demand—that the rights of women are the Rights of Man.

Damn straight.





Think About What You Are Saying

Salon reports that most people are cautious and slow and conservative about getting Iraq a new government.


Most Americans want the United States to take more time seeking a peaceful solution in Iraq rather than moving quickly into a military confrontation, a new poll says.

By 60 percent to 35 percent, people in the Newsweek poll released Saturday they would prefer that the Bush administration allow more time to find an alternative to war.


Why? So Saddam Hussein can stay in power indefinitely? So he can then bequeath power to his even more deranged sons? Why would you want that? The people of Iraq don't want that. So why do you want it? Whose interests are served by keeping him there? The people of that country are poised to be freed from one of the world's worst tyrants. And 60 percent of Americans couldn't care less.

This question is asked, of course, based on the premise that Saddam Hussein can be disarmed peacefully. No one has yet to make a case that this is possible. But Clinton Administration official Kenneth Pollack makes an awfully strong case in The Threatening Storm that a peaceful disarmament ain't gonna happen.





Test Your Knowledge

Before you go to your next hate-America festival, take the Pop Quiz for Protesters. (Via Tim Blair.)





Sharon Wants Arafat, and Europe, Out

The Telegraph reports that Ariel Sharon wants Europe out of Israel.


The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, warned European countries yesterday to stay out of Middle East peace-making until they accepted his view that Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, should be removed from power.

I couldn't agree more. I am not a fan of Ariel Sharon. He is just a big fist. But he is not a fascist dictator, and he did not come from the planet Mars. He was elected after the most left-wing government in Israel's history offered a permanent peace deal to the Palestinians--including a sovereign Palestine--and the Palesinians responded with the most malevolent wave of genocidal terrorism in history.

Europe has got to stop propping up dictators. America has its own shabby history of this sort of thing, but no one matches the Europeans in such cynical contempt for democracy outside its borders. No one ever asked if the Palesinians wanted an exiled terror master as their dictator before he was imposed on them at Oslo. But no one should have to ask if they would rather have someone else. Someone who doesn't torture and execute dissidents and "collaborators." Someone who doesn't nurture a Charlie Manson style death cult in nursery schools.





Reprinted on the Left

A Liberal's Case for Bush's War was republished today at Suicide Girls. It is a liberal, alternative "adult" site. It's not Hustler, but if your workplace is PC or conservative, surf the site at home. The link to my piece is work-safe.





Refrigeration Manufacturing Relocates to Hell

So it turns out the Guardian is signing off on the war, after all. This is the lead editorial, written by the board.


Some will still argue that because the world contains other unpleasant dictators, it would be wrong to get rid of this one. We disagree. The recent past contains several examples of military intervention against sovereign states where the outcome, if not ideal, has certainly been much better in humanitarian terms than what went before: Vietnam's removal of Pol Pot from Cambodia; Nato's Kosovo campaign, with the subsequent indictment of Slobodan Milosevic; the removal of the Taliban from Afghanistan.

War with Iraq may yet not come, but, conscious of the potentially terrifying responsibility resting with the British Government, we find ourselves supporting the current commitment to a possible use of force. That is not because we have not agonised, as have so many of our readers and those who demonstrated across the country yesterday, about what is right. It is because we believe that, if Saddam does not yield, military action may eventually be the least awful necessity for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the world.

So what was the point, then, of all the anti-American conspiracy theories, the railing against Tony Blair as Bush's "poodle," the heckles and jeers about "cowboys," and all the rest of it? Why print that garbage day after day, month after month, if you're going to join Bush and Blair and the rest of us in the end? Does today's editorial mean they acknowledge their previous work was ridiculous?

Maybe Hell froze this morning. Perhaps the Guardian folks just couldn't stand their own asinine stance any more. Surely that kind of thing must get old after a while, especially in dark times like these.

I'm glad they snapped out of it, at least for one day. I'll read tomorrow's edition with a little more interest.

If The Nation can pull a similar reversal, I might renew my lapsed subscription.





Birds of a Feather

Anti-Americans, far-left activists, and fascists all had a great day of rage yesterday. I went to my office to get a file off the computer and was surrounded by a mob of thousands. I couldn't get my car out, and it's still there. This happened all over the world.

The Jerusalem Post reports:


In Washington, D.C., where 30,000 people marched through the streets of the US capital, "Free Palestine" was one of the other causes taken up by some of the demonstrators.

In Damascus, thousands marched with a message that was not all about peace. Many cried, "Our beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv," in celebration of Iraq's missile thrusts against Israel during the 1991 Gulf War and in hope Saddam would strike again.

In the Gaza Strip, thousands of Palestinians rallied in support of Saddam Hussein. In Lebanon, 4,000 demonstrators waved posters of Saddam. In Jordan, 300 protesters in the predominantly Palestinian district of Nuzha in the capital, Amman, burned U.S., British and Israeli flags and denounced Bush.






They Made Their Bed

Jim Hoagland writes in a op-ed today:


Paris and other capitals also worry that Washington and London will succeed in taking Iraq without them. They would be shut out of Iraq and possibly a subsequent Middle East settlement.

Shut them out. Please. They are no more relevant than Belize. No one who works so tirelessly to keep Saddam Hussein in power deserves a say in what the future of Iraq will look like.





The Impotent and Calcified Debate Club

The Washington Post reports:


As the Bush administration heads toward a crucial United Nations Security Council meeting at the end of this month, a strong council majority appears less willing than ever to agree that early military action against Iraq is justified.

Oh well. So, what else is new? The UN didn't sign off on the Afghanistan or Kosovo wars, either. And yet, the world turns.




Copyright 2003 Michael J. Totten

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