15 May 2007

On stabs in the back and other assorted weaselitude

James Taranto puts out his nonsensical remarks daily. I've been mostly skipping them--too much real work--but I have a break in the drudgery today so, I thought, I'd give it a minute (I dutifully archive all the crap that ends up in my mailbox and I did have a reason to subscribe to Taranto's daily musings once upon a time). And I see that Taranto is still a lying weasel that he's always been.

Pretty Ugly
"Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is calling on his supporters to turn this year's Memorial Day into a day of antiwar activism, saying that the best way to honor the troops is to demand an end to the Iraq war," the Washington Post reports. Edwards, who voted for the war, has set up a Web site for his effort, supportthetroopsendthewar.com.

Andrew Sullivan has observed of Edwards, "He's pretty, he has flowing locks, he's young-looking." But as lovely as Edwards may be on the outside, it is ugly to try to turn a solemn day honoring those who died in the service of their country into a political stunt.

What'll he think of next, turning Christmas into a day of pro-abortion activism?

Note the strategic use of the hair comment, which had absolutely nothing to do with the story. It may be preaching to the choir, but he's still trying to reinforce the message. And, in case you missed it, it's about stabbing the troops in the back! (See here, here, here, here and here.) The reason I am particularly aware of the issue is because I have just spent nearly two hours researching it and sending some correspondence on it literally just before opening Taranto's screed. Of course, the other thing that Taranto does not tell you is that everything that the Bushies do is a political stunt. They've made the self-promoting abuse of the troops-as-backdrop into a ubiquitous routine. Any odds on Bush appearing before the troops just before or on Memorial Day?

Nice Going, Nancy
The Jerusalem Post reports on one Syrian who wasn't happy about Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to dictator Bashar Assad:

Mamoun Homsi is a courageous pro-democracy activist who had been one of the few independent members of Syria's puppet parliament. In March 2002 he was thrown out of the legislature and sentenced to five years in prison. As he was dragged off to jail, Homsi shouted, "This is a badge of honor to me and others like me. Long live the people!"

Released after four years in 2006, Homsi immediately left the country, saying there was no possibility of changing the regime by reform, and that any criticism would bring more imprisonment.

Homsi wrote Pelosi a letter urging her not to visit Syria as such a step would only strengthen the regime. Last week, the government seized all of his assets in the country, leaving his family destitute.

I wonder if Mr. Homsi made any comments on the visit by Rice. Did he write a letter to her as well?

That Explains It!
"A U.S. troop pullout from Iraq would leave the country as a potent launchpad for international terrorism and Washington would be forced to go back in within a couple of years, a leading al Qaeda expert said on Tuesday," Reuters reports:

Rohan Gunaratna told a security conference at Lloyd's of London insurance market that Iraq, like Afghanistan in the 1990s, would become a "terrorist Disneyland" where al Qaeda could build up its strength unchallenged.

And to think, that strange lady in L.A. thought Disney wanted to liberate Iraq.

Huh? And the point is...? Yeah, yeah--it's about the pottery barn rule again...

Speaking if which, I actually followed the link included in this piece. That lead to Taranto's clap-trap from April 30. In addition to the "strange lady" coverage, there was this:

Lynching Was Bad, but . . .
Speaking of the Los Angeles Times, on Friday the paper printed an exceptionally idiotic column by Rosa Brooks titled "9/11 Was Bad, but . . ." Brooks suggests that people who worry about terrorist attacks are "irrational wimps":

The 9/11 attacks were appalling and tragic, but they did not threaten the survival of the nation. . . .

Of course, 3,000 dead is 3,000 too many. But keep it in perspective. As a nation, we have survived far worse. We lost more than 100,000 Americans in World War I, more than 400,000 in World War II, 37,000 in Korea, 58,000 in Vietnam--all without allowing our national character to turn into quivering jelly.

Every year, we also lose millions of Americans to preventable accidents and disease. We're more likely to die on the road than as a result of Al Qaeda's machinations. Annually, we lose some 43,000 people to auto accidents. For the grieving families, that's 43,000 deaths too many. But, although we surely could reduce auto fatalities if we chose to make it our top national priority, the Bush administration has yet to announce a "War on Highway Deaths."

This is unoriginal as well as fatuous. It's not even original in the L.A. Times, which published essentially the same piece three months ago. But in the hope that our new friends at the Times won't make the same mistake a third time, let's repeat our analogy that shows why this is such a ridiculous argument.

According to this table, 4,742 people were lynched in America between 1882 and 1964. That's an average of but 57 people a year, and the number of annual lynchings peaked in 1892, at 230. By the standards Brooks applies to 9/11, lynching was not a big problem. It killed far fewer people than war, disease, accidents, etc.

Yet if someone were lynched tomorrow, would we shrug it off because the number of deaths is only 1/43,000th of the annual car-crash toll? Of course not. It takes a stunning degree of moral obtuseness to treat a murder in the furtherance of a hateful ideology--be it white supremacy or Islamic fundamentalism--as the equivalent of an accidental death.

A similar bit of foolishness comes from Ian Buruma, who won an award at the book festival. In yesterday's Times, he opines:

Just as Jews, during some traditional Passover feasts, ask God to bring down his wrath on the Gentiles who "don't know him," and many Christians believe that hell awaits those who don't subscribe to their faith, Muslims are led to believe that killing the enemies of Islam can be justified.

"Just as"? Surely there is a difference between believing or hoping that God will punish unbelievers and taking it upon oneself to do it. It doesn't speak well of the editors of the L.A. Times that they not only publish such nonsense but do so habitually.

I wonder what rock Taranto was hiding under when Derbyshire and the rest of the idiots were referring to the victims of the VaTech massacre as, for all practical purposes, "irrational wimps".

Good Point!
"Wouldn't it be weird if French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy turns out to be more pro-American than all the Democrats running for U.S. president?"--Jim Seay of Henrico, Va., quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch's "Your Two Cents" feature
Don't hold your breath, Jimbos!

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