May 18, 2005

SANCTUARY (part 2)

How in the Sam Hill have we gotten this stupid?

And why is it that during my four days in the crowded streets of Aspen, Colorado, during this Leftfest, at a time when the town was so blue as to be ultraviolet and visible only to bees, did I see one – one! – black person, and him driving a cab? How long are we going to let these celebrity millionaires, these limousine liberals, these champagne socialists, tell us they are the party of the people, of working people, of the middle class? How many times are we going to let someone who makes 25 million dollars for two months of standing around making faces tell us we need our taxes raised and that they’d be willing to give up a million or two to show what good sports they are? How long are we going to tolerate being called racists by professional race baiters and how many Uncle Tom / House Nigger insults will Colin Powell and Condi Rice have to endure from these self-appointed champions of African Americans? How many times is a suspender-wearing gasbag going to wish me “Courage!” before he realizes that he and the rest of his defeatist ilk are doing their level best to destroy every last semblance of courage in this country and are in point of fact the exact last place we look to for encouragement? How many times are we going to hear from famous high school dropouts how stupid the President of the United States is? And how, dear God, how immeasurably far is the fall from Winston to Ward Churchill?

I, for one, have had enough of it, as Ponytail discovered in LAX a few weeks ago. I’m done. I’ve had it. Even at my most liberal, I was enthusiastically pro-capitalism and pro-military, and even so it just floors me when I think about how many opinions I had assembled on top of a foundation of near-total ignorance.

The kind of willful corrosive rot eating at the foundations of our Sanctuary cannot be explained away by mere stupidity – much as I had hoped these past few years. So we’ll have to take a close look at this world of ours, and a deep look at the kind of creatures that have built it.

Not too long ago, I was watching a documentary concerning large numbers of adolescent bottlenose dolphins that were washing up on shore. The cause of death was unlike anything seen before. Each had suffered a severe blunt trauma injury to the midsection, like they had been rammed with a broomstick. Similar deaths were occurring among harbor porpoises across the Atlantic.

Naturally the first thought was to blame ourselves. Perhaps the Navy was responsible. US sonars are astonishingly powerful when they need be – they boil the seawater surrounding the emitter with just the strength of the sound they can generate.

But that would have resulted in the compression and damage of the air-filled areas of the baby dolphins – the lungs, mostly – and this was not the case. This was a sharp, pointed impact. They tried to string this out into an hour-long mystery, but I knew from the first few minutes who the real culprits were.

I grew up on Flipper. As a kid I completely freaked out at the end of the movie when the blood trail in the water led to Flipper dying on the beach. I have written science shows on dolphins, swam with dolphins, worked with dolphin researchers. And so I knew, almost immediately, what was killing these dolphins. I’d seen Flipper ram that same damned drugged tiger shark right in the gills something like fifty thousand times. I knew what was going on.

It wasn’t humans. It was other dolphins. Males were killing the children that they had not sired. This is common in the animal kingdom. It is a survival trait among mammals, ensuring that the strongest, most dominant bloodlines survive.

I mention this because while I love and admire dolphins, I don’t fetishize them. They are highly intelligent, very social creatures, but I do not think we will find them at the edge of the galaxy as astral travelers propelled by advanced spiritual auras.

Some people do. Some people think dolphins are the most advanced life form on the planet – far beyond we filthy killer apes and our evil, planet-spoiling technology. To many people, being a dolphin is as good as it gets: the pinnacle of gentleness and insight and playfulness and non-violence.

So it’s a little hard to watch the video of grown dolphins ramming these sleek little infants hard enough to send them flying across twenty feet of open sea. And make no mistake about it, these killers are indeed playing with their prey: tossing them, chasing them, and bashing their little perfect bodies again and again, long after they are dead. We know that female dolphins that lose infants in captivity become morose, depressed – practically suicidal. What were these female dolphins feeling as I watched this video in horror? Who could they call for help? What price would these young males pay for this act of torture and murder? How could they be sure that these killers don’t kill again?

The Simulated Progressive I keep in a little mental cage for moments just like this wanted to know: who taught these young killers the cycle of violence? What part of dolphin society was responsible? How do we break this cycle of violence? What are the root causes of this aggression? What governmental agency can we form to prevent such deaths in the future? And most importantly, how was Karl Rove able to issue instructions to these killer dolphins so that I could use them to advance the Right Wing Agenda?

Of course, this wasn’t really murder. This is nature. These are animals. This aggression is instinctual; dolphins share it with all other mammals. We don’t think twice when we see a male lion murder a rival’s cubs, or when two mountain goats battle for dominance, or two elephant seals, or two gazelles. It’s nature. Mnnnnn…nature….

I have seen footage of the gentle chimpanzee, Man’s closest relative, with whom we share 98% of our DNA, nuzzling their parents lovingly, eating fruit and playing tag with their siblings. I have seen a chimp die of a broken heart after the loss of his mother. I have also seen a platoon of chimps split up into teams and herd a terrified, screaming monkey into a kill zone, and then watched as these playful, gentle cousins tore that shrieking animal literally limb from limb and gorged themselves on bloody little hands and arms.

What’s the difference between a Chimp digging a small twig into a termite’s nest, and a scientist firing a high-energy proton to split an atom?

Practice. Nothing more.

Like humans, chimps are intelligent, social, warm-blooded mammals, just like bottlenose dolphins, just like the Killer Whales that likewise torture and play with sea lion cubs and often leave them floating, uneaten: murdered for sport.

This is what intelligent, social, warm-blooded mammals do: they kill things. Sometimes they kill their own. Wolves do it. Lions do it. Chimps do it. Even the gentle dolphin does it.

But when we do it, it’s murder.

Progressives will see me using this argument to defend murder and killing as natural and unavoidable. They will, as has become routine for them, be precisely, 180 degrees wrong.

Murder and aggression are indeed a natural, inborn quality that often manifests itself among the young males of social mammals. It lurks there in the R-complex of each of our big brains, just waiting to be cut off in traffic. You could make a case that humans deserve the same break that chimps and dolphins and all the others get: that killing is part of nature, and that underneath all the Old Navy lurks what is essentially an animal – an animal of a species at least one million years old, wearing around it the thinnest veneer of civilization for about one-half of one percent of its existence. I’m not going to make that case at all. THAT is where the road to Nazism lies.

Why have so many people become so ashamed of themselves? Murder and rape are universal in the animal kingdom: only one species even tries to prevent such things and punish the perpetrators, and that species is us. We are not the only animals that kill. We are not the only ones that hunt terrified prey, we are not the only ones that murder our own kind (freaking dolphins, people!), and we are certainly not the only ones that destroy ecosystems – far from it.

We are, however, the only ones that try to do something about it. We should be taking the energy we use to beat ourselves up and spend it patting ourselves on the back, for human history is nothing but the upward, halting, tentative progression out of the world of death and misery and into a world of law and decency.

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes wrote of such a natural state in Leviathan:

…No place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.

All Hobbes could imagine to remedy such an existence was an absolute monarchy. I believe if he could have read Jefferson and Paine he would have amended his solution.

The world Hobbes describes may still be found in a few places in the world, places like the rain forests of the Amazon and New Guinea. Progressives speak of such places as Nirvana. As Nirvanas go, the rents are very reasonable, and the people who speak of such primitive cultures as such could pocket some serious change should they sell their houses in Connecticut or the Marina District or the Hollywood Hills, and do what any sensible person would do upon discovering Nirvana: move. They certainly have the means to go. And yet they do not. Why? If our society is so poisonous, and their primitive one so authentic, then why do they not go? Could it be that deep down they understand that the only thing truly authentic about hunting dinner and gathering firewood and carrying water and wearing leaves is that such authenticities are an authentic pain in the ass? But if such people are seen wearing cotton, or wishing for indoor plumbing, then somehow their lives are judged to be ruined by these same avatars who would no sooner live like that than do any other species of hard, relentless, grueling work.

We are related to nature – we carry those killer genes, and they have brought us a long way. But we are more than genes. Laws and Justice and Freedom and Sanctuary are inventions like fire and the wheel, and like fire and the wheel we have been improving them steadily with each generation. Science and art and literature – medicine! -- human inventions, unique to us.

Why then, do so many people – most of them on the far left – so fundamentally hate humanity?

I think it must be the constant frictions between what they hope people are and what they really are. The French Revolution produced the New Man, free of religion, and fully decimal. The streets ran red with blood for a decade – then came Napoleon, and then back to the Bourbon kings that they rebelled against in the first place. If I shared that history, I’d be a cynical, defeatist, Frenchman too. The New Soviet man was to be different: communal humanity Mark II with all the latest improvements. 50 million died, shot in the back of the head in basements and forests, or starved in frozen camps and coal mines, followed by collapse, ecological ruin and endless misery. And still these leftists push the same ideas. Poor bastards. No wonder they are so damn cynical and depressed.

Here they sit, surrounded by laws and medicine and art and culture: despising themselves. Remarkable, isn’t it? These people, who pride themselves on nuance, see no difference between a naked human pyramid of ten prisoners lasting two minutes and piles of corpses six million deep. Both shameful, therefore, both equal in their eyes. And we are the ones who only see things in black and white?

I believe that in general, humans are good and kind. But some of us are beyond the laws and civility we have created inside our Sanctuary, hidden from the brutality of nature and lawless men. If there are killers spawned anew each generation among the gentle dolphins, then there are killer humans, too – and this will not change no matter how deeply we may wish it. And that is why I continue to argue for what to so many of us is plain to see: no people are perfect, but some societies behave better than others. It is one thing to kill to oppress people and make them do your bidding, and something else again to kill those oppressors and expand the bubbles of safety and security that are so pervasive in the West that many cannot possibly imagine what the natural state of man is like.

I wrote, “can’t imagine,” but can’t remember is much more on target. Our parents knew more about the reality of human nature than people my age: they saw what the Japanese did in Nanking and what the Germans did in Poland. My grandmother grew up in an America without electricity, running water, or an indoor bathroom. Depriving a convicted murderer of these things today would be considered a human rights violation. The whole idea of “Human Rights” is an invention that we basically gentle and kind apes have made to protect us from the horrors and savagery of our ancestors’ existence. Our parent’s grandparents knew death and pain up close and personal; they slaughtered animals with their own hands, lost half or more of their children before they became teenagers, and lived in a very hard world where stealing generally meant that someone would die as a result of what was stolen from them. These people had no problem discerning victim and perpetrator, and determining where the blame and the responsibility lay.

Such a world becomes ever more distant and fantastic. We will have hell to pay if we don’t remember such times, and many that were much worse, as a measure of how far we have come. The hell we will have to pay is that we will have to go back there, as a species – again. And again. And again. Until we remember what we have built for ourselves, and what it has cost, and what it continues to cost us to maintain.

So why -- someone? anyone? – why do otherwise intelligent and educated people so despise American society, which has achieved more in the way of individual rights, science, arts, medicine, diversity, cooperation and prosperity than any other in history? Why would they oppose such a society when it is trying to bring these blessings to people who have spent thirty years cowering in dark places, fearful of letting the slightest word slip, or betraying their entire family with an askew glance or unguarded moment? Why would someone so viciously oppose freeing a People who have lived for a generation in total, abject fear?

It’s because they have never lived it. That is what I mean when I say reality has left their building. How many people would be opposing the war in Iraq if they had to watch, actually witness, three or four hundred thousand people being shot in the head in front of their families? At the rate of one life taken every single second, with one unique and irreplaceable person being extinguished every tick of the 60 Minutes stopwatch, going without sleep or rest, you would be at it for three and a half days. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Every face unique, every one someone’s son or mother or precious grandchild. Bang. Bang. Bang. All night and all day, every second for three and a half days. How long to wipe out your entire family? Four seconds? Eight? Thirteen? We have found that many in Iraq, more will follow, believe me.

How many children – four or five year old boys and girls – do you need to see raped in front of you before you change your mind about Iraq? Fifty? Fifty thousand? Will that make a dent in your stainless steel belief system? How many cries for mercy in the muffled corridors of prison basements? Ten thousand? Ten times ten thousand? They were there. They happened.

They just didn’t happen to you. Not in Berkeley. Not in Manhattan. Not in Santa Monica, or at Columbia University. Not in your Sanctuary. If they did we wouldn’t be having this discussion, would we? You’d be dead, and it would be your relatives begging for good and powerful people to come to their rescue to stop this horror.

There’s nothing “progressive” about what these people believe. It is refined selfishness and moral cowardice. I can understand not wanting to go overseas and lose blood and treasure to solve other people’s problems. I can at least understand that. But these “progressives” should be thanking whatever they take to be sacred – which is nothing – and hit their knees in gratitude that better, braver people have built them the kind of Sanctuary where torture and state-sponsored murder are so far from their closed eyes that even the act of imagining such horrors is beyond them.

How far from the reality of human nature do you have to be to see our culture as a curse on the Earth, rather than being the only ones willing to roll up our sleeves, shoot the wolves that are eating our kids, go out into the blizzard to collect some firewood and then paint the goddam house?

So what can we do? We can stop, in little ways, taking so damned much for granted.

As an exercise in perspective, let’s briefly compare our civilization to another. Let’s compare our supposedly soulless, banal, hum-drum society to the splendors of ancient Egypt.

And let’s tie both hands behind our backs while we do so. Let’s not compare the Great Pyramid to one of our skyscrapers, or airports, or hospitals, or even our shopping malls. Let’s take a moment to compare the Great Pyramid of Cheops with the most common and drab and ordinary structure on the block: The Great Pyramid vs. the 7-11.

Assume that we could transplant a corner 7-11 to the Egyptian desert, with all of the support systems that make it what it is. It is a tiny speck compared to the gleaming white marble sides of the pyramid. It looks small and poorly made. From afar.

Pharaoh comes by barge and litter to inspect the competition, laughing at the mismatch. He and his princes and a retinue of servants approach the plain, unadorned metal doors and step inside.

By the Gods! It is cool inside! As cool as the desert night, here, in the middle of the relentless day! Outside the servants sweat and minor officials fan themselves, but Pharaoh is, for the first time perhaps, comfortable in the middle of the desert sun. He turns to exclaim this wonder to his underlings, and -- By the Ghost of Osiris!! The walls! You can see right through them!

Ten seconds into the contest, and already Pharaoh has been rendered mute by miracles.

He commands endless lines of bucket-laden servants to throw water upon this transparent wall, flinching and then laughing endlessly with his children as the water stops in mid-air and slides to the ground. It is called, glass, Great King. It’s cost? No, hardly a years harvest. It is a trifle, the cost a nuisance should it need replacing.

After an hour or so of pressing hands and faces against the glass, of running inside and out, of feeling the smoothest surface they have ever experienced, Pharaoh reluctantly moves on to the magazine rack. Glancing at one, he recoils in horror, making a sign of protection against evil. There, like a tiny row of jail cells, sits face after face of imprisoned souls, bound into small rectangles. What else can they be? We have all seen Egyptian hieroglyphics: they are entrancing, but photorealistic they are not. How many monuments, how many man-years of backbreaking labor, how many deaths could be averted for a man obsessed with being remembered, if only Pharaoh had been able to be photographed? Immortalized! Captured with a precision and nuance greater than that of all of his artisans working together for a thousand years?

And there, on the rack beside the magazines: newspapers, pictures and text detailing the most significant events across the entire globe, covering an area that makes the Egyptian empire look puny and insignificant. How to explain to a king who must wait weeks or months or even years for critical information, that each bundle of paper contains news no later than a day old from every remote corner of the Earth, and sells for about a tenth of what our most poorly paid laborer makes in a single hour? Now he begins to think we are mocking him. Yet there is much more to vex and amaze Cheops.

Toilet paper. Draw your own picture of what the highest-born Egyptian must do in those circumstances. Down the aisle to the back – wonders on either side. And then: Ice.

Likely Pharaoh has never seen ice, let alone touched it. At first he recoils, thinking he has been burned. You grab a handful, and gesture for him to put a cube in his mouth. Pharaoh grows enraged – you are trying to kill him! You do so first, sucking on an ice cube. Tentatively, he tries, for the first time in his life, something cold – a diamond that turns to perfectly pure water in his hand.

Think, for a moment, that you have drunk river water for your entire life. Think what a taste of cool, clear water would taste like. Just imagine that one, garden-variety wonder. Then beers and wines, refined and brewed and filtered, not the murky swill he will have known. And as Pharaoh hesitates with each can and bag and box of food he opens, you will have to reassure him, time and time again, that even though you have no idea where the food was made, or when, or by whom, you know it absolutely to be safe to eat. Corn flakes and potato chips – how many lives would a bag of Ruffles be worth to this man, he who has never seen, let alone tasted a potato? How many men would Pharaoh send to die to obtain another box of Oreo cookies for his sons? An army? An entire fleet? Cans of ravioli. Peanut butter. Eggs and milk, of course, but of a quality and size unheard of.

Grab a frozen lasagna and hand it to the Great King. Frozen, like a brick, and like a brick he gnaws on it. Delicious! Then across the room to a small black box, which opens with the same magic lantern that lights this palace of wonder day and night. A moment of conversation passes, and Ding! What was frozen is now steaming hot! Without fire, and in an instant!

The Princes have been exploring every nook and cranny, reporting back to their father: In back, water which flows endlessly, purer than any they have ever tasted, and some of it is hot! It flows from the walls, father! A stream unending! Behind the counter, scores of small, beautifully-colored cylinders which make fire! Made of – what? Not wood or metal – something smooth and hard and perfect! Soaps, of wondrous scents and soft as pillows! Father! Come and see this!

But Pharaoh hardly notices. He is staring up at a box mounted in the corner of the wall, and there, for the first time in his magnificent life, Pharaoh can see…Pharaoh!

Cheops raises his arm, and the small shwabti Cheops raises his! Pharaoh advances, makes a face! The imprisoned Pharaoh does the same! And there, in one of the four corners! The back of the slave Pharaoh’s head! And in another small square, the Crown Prince! He is not in the room, and yet Pharaoh sees him plainly! When he emerges from the storeroom Pharaoh hugs him as if he had returned from the dead.

Yes King, we can on such boxes see any event of significance around the entire world, as it happens. And we can see singers and minstrels and performers – not only those alive today, but those who may have died many years ago! Yes, as real as any other! Preserved forever in language and form!

What would that be worth to such a man?

Over there, in a corner, another magic tablet that communicates back to you, and upon following a set of instructions you give it, disperses money at your command, a seemingly bottomless pot of gold (although, it must be said, the only flash of disappointment Pharaoh has shown was for the quality of money – gold coins would have made a much better impression.)

The sun is setting, and yet the magic of the palace grows ever stronger. Light does not fade. Having read by candlelight his entire life, the idea of day during night is powerful magic indeed. The princes have fallen silent. They have discovered the Slurpee machine and mortgaged their birthrights, entire kingdoms to the clerk for another refill.

There, behind the counter: a machine that will do mathematical calculations to eight decimal places, flawlessly. Instantly. There sits a machine that can do in five seconds what it would take an entire court of astronomers and scribes five years to calculate. The eyes of the underlings, the Egyptian bureaucrats who must count and account for everything in the kingdom – by hand – begin to glaze over. What they could do in a single day with such a wonder! But Pharaoh now is transfixed by the metal of the countertop. Hard. Very hard. On impulse, he removes his short bronze sword and hacks at the steel. Impervious. Cheops’ prized sword is dented and useless. What a sword and shield such material would make – and it’s everywhere: in the doors, the cabinets…common as sand.

But Pharaoh is no longer happy. Like many of that era, he suffers from terrible toothaches. There is so much sand that even the grinding of flour produces bread that erodes the tooth enamel. Pain is a constant companion for him, and like many of his age – like many of every age, before our own – he suffers in silence. That is his life. This, the most powerful man on the planet, suffers just like the poorest. But here, in this bland, ubiquitous convenience store, there is mercy for rich and poor alike. Cold medicine. Medicines to reduce fever. Medicines for toothache, too. And medicine for pain.

In fifteen minutes, this Great Pharaoh will know a few moments free of pain. His children, whom he loves as we love our own – also free of pain.

What would the most powerful man in the world give for such a thing? How much gold? How much land? How many lives?

The pain subsides. And although perhaps not a good or a wise send off for a man with a toothache, the transcendental look of joy on Pharaoh’s face when he first encounters a Coke and a Snickers bar is a sight that his children will never forget. Even after he is long dead, they will always remember him thus, as they ride toward the river on the dark night of the new moon, the little palace glowing in the dark like a beacon visible for fifty miles and more.

Now, on the other hand, the Great Pyramid of Cheops is a massive, beautifully decorated and cunningly designed pile of stones.

We live in an age of miracles, and we just don’t see it. All of the magicians who stand on generations of other magicians – engineers, technicians, architects – go unnamed and unsung, while common actors, tradesmen whose art form has barely advanced since the days of Babylon and Egypt, are deified and rewarded as no living gods in history.

We, in our Sanctuary, who sleep in warm, dry, safe places without a second thought of the men and women who shiver in the cold to keep us free and secure, are getting very far away from the forces that have threatened us for millennia and threaten us still, as potent as the black rage of an incensed mob of religious lunatics killing people in response to some real or imagined slight.

And yet our elites – bored, pampered and without a glimmer of perspective – search the inside of our walls by night, looking for cracks to enlarge.

I can’t pretend to understand this. It is simply beyond my ability to grasp. Nor can I understand why so many rich people who so resent and revile this land do not simply move somewhere else.

Unless, of course, this is a giant game for them: a chess match of rhetoric to gain a little temporary political advantage, and the sullen petulance of someone deciding that if my candidate can’t be the one doing the liberating then entire nations can remain in darkness. This little thing for the price of destruction of all we have worked for. How can such selfishness face itself in the morning?

I don’t know why so many people can miss so many wonders and miracles that are laid right before their eyes. But I do know that their poison has cut deep in to the foundations of a country I love because I owe it my happy and comfortable life and all the opportunities – not guarantees, but opportunities – it has provided me and my family.

So we will fight this amnesia and ingratitude, you and I will, right here on these pages in the days to come. And I will do my best to fight the battle in the one place, the only place it can be won: inside of my own heart.

Recently, I was very frustrated at my job. I felt I was not being treated well. Well, actually, I felt I was being screwed, and hard. I was angry and sullen. I had been wronged, you see? Me! Taken advantage of! By the system!

Among my many complaints, I was upset that I did not receive as much extra pay as I felt I deserved for all the extra work. Life was bad and everything sucked. It just sucked to be me.

And then, on the way to my stunning girlfriend’s apartment to bitch about how unfair life was treating me, I saw a fairly common sight in Los Angeles. I saw a group of young Mexican men gathered on a street corner, waiting for any kind of work.

And there, through some act of grace that occasionally opens my eyes and reveals to me a better person in my reflection, I suddenly realized that these men are waiting – fighting -- to work long, backbreaking hours for next to no pay. They sleep in small, cheap apartments, hot-bunking it, working sometimes two or even three jobs and keeping nothing for themselves. They never eat out, never go to movies, and planning for a future is not an easy thing when every penny you make above what you absolutely need goes back home to Mexico to feed your family.

And I stopped at that light, and looked at these men. And I realized right there that I should spend an hour a day prostrate and thanking God I was born an American. How many struggle and die for this privilege?

But there is hope for us. We can change. I can change, and I am as stubborn a cuss as they come. And there is hope here, on these pages. Not my pages -- I’m but a speck of flotsam in an electronic ocean. But these pages, these ghostly pages pulled from the ether down highways of colored light. These pages may be able to save us.

Because now, for the first time in human history, a small person can talk to millions. The defeatism and cynicism of our betters is no longer the only voice we hear. Now, for the first time, we common people, we citizens, can speak directly to each other about life within the Sanctuary, and those unseen people, those builders and maintainers of decency and civilization have at their command a tool with which to make their voices heard. We can patrol and repair these crumbling walls from within and man the gates ourselves.

There are millions of us. Millions. And we do not have to go gently into that good night.

(If you would like to support essays like this one, you can purchase SILENT AMERICA: Essays from a Democracy at War, right here.)

Posted by Proteus at May 18, 2005 8:00 PM

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Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!


Sorry this took so long to write. It's actually Frank J.'s fault -- he was the one who gave me the idea of writing one monster essay every six months. Bastard. Curse you, Frank J!

I CAN ASSURE YOU there will never be a gap anything like this ever again.

Bill, take all the time you need. Each essay is like a mastercrafted weapon we can use in the good fight. We don't mind waiting a bit to get a finely honed razor edge.

many on the left who want nothing more than to see our side lose.

Nothing more? Or nothing less?

Great work again, Bill. I love the "exercise in perspective." From my first read-through (and there will be repeats) that seems to be pretty much the whole point.

As usual, it's been well worth the wait (not that I enjoy waiting, but... er... well, I'm sure you've heard every possible variation on that theme.)

Concerning the people from Mexico, from another Californian...

What is wrong with America was that we thought that our young AMERICANS under 16, or over 65, or those who hadn't gone through high school, would not want to do the jobs that Mexicans would do. Or we didn't want to see them do it. Or we were too cheap to pay them well for it. Or were afraid-we can't expect these people not to TALK about their experience in a language we can understand.

What's wrong with America is that we've hired people from a slave culture, lest we be forced to teach responsibility to our young kids. Far better for them to hang out at the 7-11.

What's wrong with America is that we've put the bill for the medical care of the most recalcitrant of those immigrants on the shoulders of our kids-expecting them to compete with the recent arrivals by adopting the same culture of the mother country-'Work like a dog! You can sleep when you're 60!' Useful philosophy for an employee to have? Yes indeed! Want your kids to live by that maxim? Lemme think a minute...

What's wrong with America is the same thing that was wrong with the British who colonized Africa-rather than insisting on teaching the natives English (with which they could have asked for the know-how that built the roads, cleared the land, organized the politics, and brought the trappings of civilization) they taught their own expats Swahili. Instead of striving to make sure that everybody can communicate the ideas of freedom effectively, we defer to the 'cultural values' of the new arrivals. Let them set up entire parallel cultures in their own language. Remove them from the mainstream. We don't like talking with the people who do those jobs anyway, much easier if they don't speak our language.

What's wrong with America is that we're EXPLOITING the vast sea of disaffected humanity out there rather than EDUCATING it in the ideals that made us a sanctuary in the first place.

America shouldn't be hiring illegals. If the job isn't being taken by a qualified American, then increase the pay or build a robot to do the job. I sure as hell know that there's enough technical know-how for a good robotics industry in CALIFORNIA, of all places. At least the robot won't have to have the rest of the American taxpayers pay its Medicaid. Start an entirely new line of robots, and a new set of jobs for people to maintain them...heck, if advances in artificial intelligence don't keep pace with the advances in fine robotic motor skill, build a virtual reality plant in Mexico where people can operate them remotely.

Does all of this sound too hard on the illegal immigrants? I submit to you that every one of those Californians of Mexican descent who came here, worked hard, learned English, and started a family away from the failed state in Mexico would not only agree with everything I wrote, but jump on the chance to operate that robotics factory.

Yes, yes, YES. You have once more written powerful words, but they are only so powerful because of the truth that propels them.

I live and work in an institution of higher learning, and I see the disease in its acute form pretty much every day. Ivory towers are perfect Sanctuaries; and there is no place on Earth where it is possible to believe nonsense for longer.

This was well worth trading an hour's sleep for; indeed, with this essay ringing in my head I feel wide awake indeed. Thank you.

W00T! Now to read the thing...

"For these highly nuanced deep-thinkers like Ward Churchill and Kos and Howard Dean and all the others, the world is divided into Progressive People Who Naturally Agree With Me on one hand and Jesusland on the other."

Bingo. As another who lives in a Very Blue State, I can tell you that most liberals are so sure of their superior intellect simply because they pass their ideology amongst each other and base their entire philosophy on these stereotypes. The fact is that most of them unknowingly live in the one-sided Sanctuary of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS, NPR, and the Daily Show and couldn't even give you an accurate representation of a conservative viewpoint. Exposure to icky Republikkkan hatemongering might infect their delicate sensibilities and therefore must be avoided at all costs. That is an advantage that we have: we know all their slogans (we can't avoid them), while they only have vague ideas of ours.

I used to silently laugh at the BUSH=HITLER people, and thought they might quiet down after the election, but it seems their voices are only becoming more shrill. Like Bill, I have had enough and I now regularly engage them in a duel of fact and logic. It doesn't take long before they encounter ideas they have never even considered (many of which I gleaned from this website), and their closing statement is usually something along the lines of "Well, that's just my opinion and you're not going to change it." So much for liberal open-mindedness.

And the reason they want us to lose? Because Bush is in charge. It's that simple.

This essay's strength & scope seem beyond my poor power to add or detract: One of the best I've ever read on the Web. Bravo.

The perspective to understand the greatness of the riches we enjoy in this country is not easy to get. And not much fun in the getting, either (if it were fun, no true perspective would be ingrained).

When I was young, my parents took their six children hiking or back-packing for entertainment. It was all they could afford. At the time there were no (or very small) National Park fees, and the only other expense involved in this particular form of entertainment was food, which was necessary anyway.

Being a mosquito magnet, I was not always a willing participant. Especially on hot days, going uphill, on a dusty trail... or on cold, rainy days, going uphill, on a muddy trail ...

But it brought a perspective to life not enjoyed by some. Later in college, I was pressed for a list of life's luxuries by a professor. It took very little thought to come up with three:

Fresh fruit when you haven't had any for a week; cool, clean water on a hot day; and a warm flat rock to lie on when you are tired.

The professor thought I was strange. The professor had most likely never spent two weeks on trails in the pre-backpacking-as-a-yuppie-sport age, when most packs were wood and canvass, dried food was ... dried food, carrying a stove meant hatchet+sharp knife+waterproof matches, a tent was a piece of plastic tarp draped over a rope, and the only waterproof clothing available was a plastic poncho and waxed boots.

That's perspective.

These days my back-packing equipment is a little more sophisticated - I have an old Kelty, a nifty little stove, a reeeeeally light-weight tent, I use freeze-dried food, and I never, ever, ever leave without Jungle Juice 100 (100% DEET).

I still use a poncho.

My list of luxuries is a little more frivolous these days too. It still runs to some relatively common foods (OK, OK! CANDY!), cool water or cold milk (or a diet soda if I'm really flush), and warmth on command.

And *still* I have to remind myself every single day to be thankful. Perspective must not only be gained, it must be maintained.

Thanks for a great essay, Bill!

That is all.

I like it! It covers a lot of my "I've had it" issues. Lucid logical thinking seems to be hard to come by in America these days. Your "Sactuary" is right on. Thanks!

Beyond "Wonderful" essay! Forget all the standardized tests kids are supposed to pass to get a high school diploma, make them read this essay and write a commentary on it. Maybe then they will have a true perspective on reality from the get go, rather than after 10 to 20 years of failure trying to achieve the Hollyweird version of the American Dream.

Thanks Bill.

Your ability to crystalize exactly what many of us have been thinking continues to amaze me. Kudos on another outstanding effort. I eagerly await your next effort.

One of the things that I believe most deeply, is the blessing of having been born in the United States.

Thanks Bill, for sharing your genious with us once again.

Oh, and Bravo for your verbal smackdown on the Ponytail dude! LOL

Nice essay though you seem to choose pretty easy targets. Your ponytail guy is hardly representative of the left that I know. In years of good humoured debate which I have enjoyed with right wing associates I have never resorted to that other 'N' slur. (Perhaps because I am a knowledge worker and know Zawinski's Law well!)

You are a bit hard on the Russians. You should know that the ordinary Soviet bore the brunt of the Nazi peril - as did the Chinese. Can you blame them for reacting against that? Sure the US came in at the end but who did the grunt work? Anyone who knows knows the Russians and Chinese sacrificed around 50 million in total which make them have a very different perspective to the anti Soviet invective of western boy's comics.

Still it is as interesting as ever to try and get a glimpse of that obscure and oxymoronic beast the American Consevrative Intelligence through your writing. Whilst I mock gently I am sure we could probably get along well.

This is an exemplary exposition of applied reason as I think I have seen anywhere on the web.

Ave! Ave, magnus magister!

Keep up the good work.

EDK said: It covers a lot of my "I've had it" issues.

Mine too. I REALLY needed to see this today; I've had a whole lot of "I've had it" spells lately.

THANK YOU, Bill. It goes without saying that it's well worth the wait.

As I have long time monitored these pages I have to ask:

Why do you accept the rapacious greed of your corporations in ripping off Iraq and your taxpayer? There is at least $8.8 billion missing of Iraq oil. Could we have an essay on the effect of this on American Life? Surely this is counter libertarian.

Your essays are well written but taken from an essential standpoint of the war being justified. Presupposing that, everything else follows. Without that being the case it is baloney. The war is not and was not justified. Like Vietnam.

point of pride rumpled. He’s wearing the kind of expression that allows you to see what he’s watching in that private screening room inside his head. It’s the same expression he’d wear if he were that Chinese Tiananmen Square guy holding up that line of tanks. The Standing Up To The Death Machine expression. (Of course, Ponytail knows in advance that the tanks will stop, which is a lot more, and an awful lot less, than that brave Chinese student had to work with.)

Holy crap! You where that close to greatness?


Ward that is....

/please if your a lefty lookin' for the sarc tag- @%$%@$#

Ahhh, how I thirsted for that.

Thanks Bill, we can always count on you to put our thoughts into a fine form.

Wow. ....just wow.

Sensational, Bill. Many, many thanks.

I was also pleased to see numerous hints, throughout SANCTUARY, that this was intended to be the first essay (introduction??) to a new book. I'm delighted, and I look forward to future efforts in that direction.

Juan Kerr: no doubt Bill Whittle could respond far, far more eloquently than I could. So I'll let him do the talking. Go pick up a copy of Silent America and read it. If you prefer, you can read the whole thing for free (minus the intro and closing notes) right here, on Bill's website. Then come back and tell us why you believe "the war is not and was not justified".

Go ahead; we'll wait.

Daniel in Brookline

Brilliance. Sheer unadulterated brilliance.

The Master has returned. And the libs better hold onto their butts.

They've already lost. They just don't know it yet.

Let Janeane Garofalo sputter and spew. One Bill Whittle is worth a hundred--nay, a thousand--Janeane Garofalos.

Bill, you're the only person whose writings I will point EMinders to with the message, "Drop what you're doing and read this now." Your essays are like 100-car trains full of Grade A Clues. Thanks for putting all the skull sweat into this one; believe me, it shows.

Another one out of the park, Bill. Well done. I've recently come to many of the conclusions you put down so well in Sanctuary, especially about how some people would rather see our entire enterprise come down in flames than admit they were wrong.

Another way to look at it: one of the greatest strengths of our Democracy is that each is free to pursue their own life according to their own morals. None can force another to live their life any other way. Thus, if you want the nation to change, you are left with one tool: persuasion. Regardless of how right you think you are, if you cannot persuade the majority, you will fail. Yet some apparently are unable to accept that failing to persuade the majority to accept their views means that they could, just maybe, be wrong, or at least unappealing. Better to wish hellfire and damnation on the "Nazi" majority than take a serious look at one's beliefs and how one explains them.

And Juan, just because a war may not have been prosecuted 100 percent efficiently does not make it unjustified. Maybe some corporations have taken it as an opportunity to shaft the American taxpayer. I wouldn't be surprised. But that is a completely seperate moral issue from whether or not to fight in the first place. I can accept that the war was justified while still castigating those who have been proven to have profiteered by it, if there is proof.

Of course the essays don't make sense unless you accept that the war is justified. THAT IS THE ONE OF THE POINTS BILL IS TRYING TO PROVE! Reread a few of the other essays and you'll see what I mean. Vietnam was a completely seperate entity in a completely seperate time. If you wish to argue the justification of the war, fine. But please present your case with better arguments than tired Vietnam comparisons.

Holy Smokes!

Such prose! Such insight!

Awe inspiring to this Marine... And it calls to me. It answers, or, at least addresses some of the reasons I wonder why I endured all the mundane garbage that comes with being a Marine Grunt for a bunch of folks who don't seem to apprciate the gift that my brothers and sisters and I are giving to them.

Well, maybe it's not for them... Maybe it's so that, if this country falls like the Roman Empire, I will not only have the skills and the contacts to survive the resulting chaos, but I will also have a memory of how to rebuild, like some Pheonix...

Thanks for penning this!

Juan Kerr, your presence here is beyond repugnant. Crawl back into your "leftist, progressive" hole, read Bill's profound words over and over, supplement them with the Classics and a healthy smattering of history, mix it with some introspection, and don't come back until you're ready to acknowledge the wisdom of Bill's words. Take your smug condescension and go. And I'll say what the security personnel wouldn't say to your ponytailed compadre. Go...PLEASE!

Great work, Bill.

Just war

A just war describes a war that satisfies a set of moral or legal rules. Though in origin a Christian doctrine, Francisco de Vitoria based his arguments on reason and so put the tradition on a more universal basis. [1]

( The rules applied may be ethical, religious, or formal (such as international law). The rules classically cover the justification for the war (Jus ad Bellum) and the conduct of the participants in the war (Jus in Bello).

Just war theory has ancient roots. Cicero discussed this idea and its applications. Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas later codified a set of rules for a just war, which today still encompass the points commonly debated, with some modifications.

In modern language, these rules hold that to be just, a war must meet the following criteria before the use of force:

(Jus ad Bellum)

War can only be waged for a just cause, such as self-defense against an armed attack.

War can only be waged under legitimate authority. Usually the constitution and the laws of a nation state specify the institutions and personnel authorized to make war decisions. The U.N Charter authorizes the Security Council to make the international community's war decisions. Citizens at their own will cannot attack another country without the permission of the legitimate authority. Conversely, in a democratic nation state, statesmen with legitimate authority will need to convince citizens that their course of action is legal and proper.

War can only be waged with the right intention. Correcting a suffered wrong is considered a right intention, while material gain is not. Thus a war that would normally be just for all other reasons would be made unjust by a bad intention. Right intention requires that democratic statesmen accept the decision of their nations' courts and electorates on the legitimacy and the justice of their action.
War can only be waged with a reasonable chance of success. It is considered unjust to meaninglessly waste human life and economic resources if defeat is unavoidable.

War must be waged with proportionality in mind. The suffering which existed pre-war should not be overshadowed by the suffering the war may cause.[2] (

War can only be waged as a last resort. War is not just until all realistic options which were likely to right the wrong have been pursued.

I'm not going to overstress Kellog-Briand or anything but the US of old did vote for that. In many ways I can admire Eisenhower's way, even as a liberal. But nothing justifies the use of war from these previously accepted tenets.

Oh, Mister "Knowledge Worker"...

It seems that you are either forgetting some key facts or you actually work in the Revisionist History department.


Has it ever crossed your "reality based" mind that perhaps the "ordinary Soviet bore the brunt of the Nazi peril" would have not had to if Stalin hadn't crawled into bed with the Nazis and instead told them to "f" off? And I find it always rather humorous that "reality based intellectuals" such as yourself seem to forget that Stalin was not exactly Mr. Rogers-he managed to kill just as many "ordinary Soviets" as Hitler did. Of course, he was a Communist and "reality based" people such as yourself seem to think it is perfectly fine that they kill people.

Has it hever crossed your "reality based" mind that perhaps the Nazis would have never done what they did if appeasers like Chamberlain and his political ilk and their mouthpiece "the press" (the modern leftist/MSM/Democrats ideologial grandfathers)had not kneeled down before Hitler-giving him everything he wanted on a silver platter?

You also seem to forget that it was your ideological grandfathers who tied the US governments hands before Pearl Harbor, too. I am sure you forget that we kept our army by ONE vote at that time for instance. Your ideological grandfathers were the "peace at any price" crowd. Of course some of them came to the harsh realization that peace DOES have a price and freedom is NOT free. I suggest you review what Orwell thought of "pacifists" in his 1945 work "Notes on Nationalism".

Has it ever crossed your "reality based" mind that perhaps if the MSM of the day would have been truthful with people instead of trying to push a political agenda then perhaps the average person would have understood what was coming and demanded their governments to quit kissing Hitler's ass and do something about him?

Instead of being truthful they praised Hitler and the Nazi movement, calling the German people "poor but honourable people who got screwed by the imperialists and have a right to there rage" or using the "we should ask ourselves why the Germans hate us so much" blame game and calling people who were warning about the coming storm "drunken imperialistic warmongers" (like the BBC called Churchill) or WORSE.

Has it ever crossed your "reality based" mind that perhaps IF the government of France had not been full of brain dead appeasers who thought that if they buried their heads in the sand long enough Hitler would just go away and maybe take those "arrogant, imperialistic British" with them (exactly as they are now, btw). IF they had stood up to Hitler when he sent troops into the Rhineland (which by a treaty the Germans had signed they were not allowed to do)that it might have stopped all the rest that followed? I know you will not agree, but your opinion doesn't count. The German generals and other officials at the time thought so.

Of course people of your ilk are working very hard in the "knowledge industry" to erase pesky little facts such as these in your attempts to revise history to suit your politics. Unfortunately for you, people of your ilk are no longer the gatekeepers of "knowledge". The Internet is the modern day version of the Guttenburg printing press. It may do you well to review that time in history. You won't like it. For you will find that the ordinary people finally obtained access to information and made their own minds up, much to the distress of the "intellectuals". People found out the truth and how they had been lied to and manipulated by the "intellectuals" and some got rather angry about it. People like you love revolutions and revolutionaries and you WILL get your revolution. I doubt it will be to your liking, though.

Now to China....

It seems you forget that they were invaded by Japan, not Germany. You referred to them as "Nazis" in your original post, Imperial Japan may have signed a treaty with Germany but they were not National Socialists. In fact the second Sino-Japanese war started in 1931. What happened in China bears little resemblence to what happened in the rest of the world outside of the fact that it took place at roughly the same point in time. It was in actuality an ongoing war within a newer, larger scale war.

I am also sure that it has never crossed your "reality based" mind that if Mao and the Communists had spent a bit more time fighting the Japanese in an alliance with other Chinese political factions for the greater good instead of trying to set themselves up to take over after the Japanese were gone things may have turned out just a tad different.

      You think these people are out of touch with reality, having had it so easy.

      I disagree.  They are perfectly in touch with the reality that matters to them: they lust to rule, but have no power.

      Otherwise, I agree with you. Show the swine no respect at all.  Batter their nonsensicle ideology at every opportunity.  In the end, there's nothing to it, or them, but their hunger for power.


Jabber, you do your more considered conservative colleagues great disservice.

I can assure you I am nothing to do with your straw men leftist progressive stereotypes described. And I am sure Bill is able to tolerate my presence here. He at least recongises the value and need for measured dissent.

I am not condescending. That is what you have been by:
a) assuming I have not read classics, Bill or history
b) am not able to be introspective
c) discussing me in stereotyped terms

I appreciate Bill's argument and would love to actually talk to him. I accept your rights to be and think how you do. Can you look into your hearts and say the same to me?

I am in awe. A great essay.


Pretty cogent strike back dude!

Yes Japanese were not Nazis, this was an implication not intended - sorry. In many ways they were seriously nastier to the Chinese (for anyone who has not done so do read up on the rape of Nanking if you do not believe me).

I am only a database programmer BTW - not a spin doctor - easy tiger! I am not even particularly leftist and I really do not grasp this reality based thing you seem to carp on about. Please do me a favour and accept me as a real person and do not stereotype me.

If anything I am on the libertarian side, which is something I feel I have in common with Bill. To me this is directly opposed to the polcies of GWB and Stalin who I would class as authoritarian. This is why I am a bit puzzled as to why you might think I am in league or have any approval of Mao or indeed Stalin.

Most governemnts at the time did not handle Hitler well. I hesitate to bring up Prescott Bush but seeing as we are getting personal here...

Oh, and I am certainly not an intellectual. Prett much a 'jock' by most standards.

Oh Mister "Knowledge Worker"...

Why don't you ask Jaques Chirac, George Galloway, Jean Chretien, Total/Elf/Fina/Power corporation, Kofi & Kojo Annan and various officials at your sacred cow the U.N. where all the money went?

For someone who claims to be an "intellectual" you are rather clueless. I am not surprised.

I have been waiting for this essay for quite some time (and have tried in small, humble ways to add to the conversation). Even if we survive the MSM/elites conscious and unconscious attempts to undermine our war efforts, we have a long, bitter struggle in front of us. So much of what our elites do plays into the hands of bin Laden and his ilk. You have addressed their tactics in Part 1, I hope to post an article addressing their strategy later today. This war is complicated and it is indeed a battle between civilization and the Hobbesian world of our not so distant past; our guilt ridden, narcissistic elites forget and/or ignore this at our peril.

Bill Whittle,

Because now, for the first time in human history, a small person can talk to millions. The defeatism and cynicism of our betters is no longer the only voice we hear. Now, for the first time, we common people, we citizens, can speak directly to each other about life within the Sanctuary, and those unseen people, those builders and maintainers of decency and civilization have at their command a tool with which to make their voices heard. We can patrol and repair these crumbling walls from within and man the gates ourselves.

There are millions of us. Millions. And we do not have to go gently into that good night.

There are tens of millions of us, and a bunch more join us every day. And that's just in this country.

Thanks for the perspective check, sir!

QUOTE: I hesitate to bring up Prescott Bush but seeing as we are getting personal here...

That is nice.

Because you know I would just have to bring up your hero Teddy Kennedy's daddy Joe. And you KNOW you don't want to go there.

Great essay, Mr. Whittle. Thanks much for it,
One little niggle. . paragraph #6. . perhaps "first" instead of "fist"?

Juan, did I stereotype you? Yup, sure did. But if the stereotype fits, use it I always say. Anyone that can seriously say that the war wasn't justified, despite all that has been discovered (mass graves, oil-for-food, et al), falls squarely into the middle of the leftist camp, regardless of what one calls him or herself.

As for assuming that you haven't read the Classics or history, again, guilty as charged. What I SHOULD have said was "reread them and COMPREHEND them this time."

And, as for suggesting that you are not introspective, I plead NOT guilty because it's clear that your obliviousness to history and human nature is, indeed, NOT introspective.

Now, for a real apology: I'm sorry. Have I been hard, perhaps too hard, on you? Probably. Consider it my correlary to Bill's "pony-tailed guy in the airport." I get so sick of hearing these leftist platitudes that sometimes, well, I just want to scream...

Thanks, Bill! I am a proud owner and re-reader of "Silent America".

Kerr, how do you live with yourself? How do you sleep at night? OIF was unjustified? How can you justify the negligence of allowing Saddam's mass murdering and torture, when you have the chance, the means, and much reason to end his brutal reign? You are the appeaser, the Chamberlain. You have blood on your hands, by your words and actions, of Saddam's hundreds of thousands (and counting) of raped and murdered innocents. You are the vichy french, allowing your neighbors to be taken to the gas chambers, and helping their depraved murderers to do it.

Read a little history, get a little education before attempting to spout your illogical, non-factually-based religion (for what else can support such a non-sensical belief system) here.

I, too, have had enough.


At the core of Elitist America Hating lies an increasing detachment from the struggle and sacrifice that build HONOR and CHARACTER, appreciation for OPPORTUNITY, and the manifestation of a projection of their own SELF-LOATHING. Not to mention the closed-minded GROUPTHINK that extremists at both ends of the spectrum are susceptible to.

What I find particularly despicable is the degree to which this mindset is currently being harnessed and exploited out of political desperation by the Left. Their SANCTUARIES are crumbling, from the elected executive and legislative branches, to the mainstream media that has advanced their agenda for decades.

Their final strongholds are the judiciary and indoctrination, college campuses. But the cracks in those foundations are widening as well.

They know they are losing the battleground of ideas (and subsequent power), hence their shrieks are increasing in both Volume and Virulence. I hope this doesn't culminate in Violence, but history tells us that it very well may.

Take nothing for granted - not a single breath.

Any talented writer doesn't need praise to know that his work is true and good, from all angles. It just does the rest of us good to tell him/her so, that there is someone who can put into words the thoughts and feelings we have that elude being put into writing by our hands. Yup, it is that simple, so congrats on a most excellant essay that rings right and true. The import of this essay echoes down through time and another voice has taken over at this particular junction of our collective history.


Unjustified war? You need to reread UN Resolution 1441. Here, this shoud refresh your memory:

Does the phrase "material breach of its [Iraq's] obligations under relevant resolutions" ring a bell?

How about "The Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations"?

What do you think "Serious Consequences" means? Another resolution? Yep, that would have gotten Saddam to cooperate after he'd ignored 11 prior years' worth of resolutions!

BTW, reading about "just wars" isn't the same thing as understanding the concept. The Iraq War was certainly just and, as you've conveniently forgotten, sanctioned by the very UN that your breatheren face when you get out your liberal prayer rugs every morning. What could possibly be more just?

I like Miller's take on this kind of decay:

From A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller (1959):

... children of Merlin, chasing a gleam. Children, too, of Eve, forever building Edens--and kicking them apart in berserk fury because somehow it isn't the same.


The closer men came to perfecting themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle's eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.

Thanks, Bill. You rock better than anything that has rocked before! As for Frank J., I'll keel him dead! for postponing this essay.

dude, not one person is arguing that saddam was a bad mofo. it's a better planet with him and cronies not running the berg. but the world was lied to by the government about the reasons for going to war. that's the objectionable bit.

Brillant. I am going to have my children read this and then discuss with them the importance of understanding the world as it is, not as some would have us believe.

Magnificent as always, Bill... you do indeed have a way with putting my thoughts down into electrons.

and to c.a... you can scream the "BUSH LIED!!!" crap as much as you want, but just because you have the freedom to say it doesn't make it true.

The USA did not start this war. But we will take it wherever we need to and we're gonna see it through to the end.

Great article Bill and welcome back. You were missed.

Mr. Whittle:

A co-worker of mine sent me your website, and I felt compelled to write. You are absolutely correct with how far we have sunk as a society that hails philanderous presidents yet condemns brave leaders who make unpopular, yet ethical, decisions.

I am a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and have been engaged in several direct fire, IED (Improvised Explosive Device), rocket and mortar attacks. It is an insult beyond reproach when self-righteous, hypocritical and morally weak individuals hurl insults and judgements at the brave Americans who put their lives on the line every day, not only for their fellow Americans, but also for Iraqi citizens who simply want a better life. Innumerable "experts" in America incessantly spout how unwanted Americans are in the Middle East, and that we are mirrors of Victorian Imperialist powers--from the safety of their barcaloungers, nonetheless. I wonder, how many of them have had an Iraqi man approach them during a roadblock, offering his oranges and thankfully shanking hands, telling us he loves Americans because now his daughters are safe? Yes, you are right, you have to live it to understand it.

It is laughable how out of touch and hypocritical the liberal left really is. A perfect example is a former girlfriend's family--they wouldn't waste a second to criticize how horrible our social programs are, how we have no business enforcing our American democracy overseas, and illustrate the greed of upper class America. Yet, this family wouldn't think of giving up their 6 horses (at $10,000 apiece), their twin Mercedes or 6,000 square foot house (with 1,400 square foot barn). There is an old expression in the Cavalry, which I am a proud officer of--"whoever sounds the charge leads it." Funny, I don't see this family or the John Kerry's of the world donating their estates to help feed the homeless. We may be vile, greedy and selfish in wanting to provide more for our family, but at least we don't admit it and don't try to hide behind a facade of nobility while raising the middle class taxes for pet programs.

Hypocracy and lack of responsibility is the bane of America. I find it insulting that Michael Moore, who so vehemently attacks the glamorization of guns and violence in American society with "Bowling For Columbine" was the Second Set Director for "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Insulting, yes, but surprised, no.

I ramble on, but I wanted you to know that from the American soldiers, we've got your six, Mr. Whittle.

John Kelly
Executive Officer,
HHC/1-252d Armor

Excellent, Bill.

I can't give any higher praise than to say that this essay is up to your usual standard. How high is that?

Well, how high is the sky?

More, please. Soon, please.

Oh no, like a tattered alley cat, Capt. America drags the dusty, dead WMD canard in to smell up the room. Captain, you obviously never bothered to read all the EU and CIA intel reports. Some of them may have been wrong as to quantity but events proved them accurate as to intent. As a result, we know a lot more about what A.Q. Kahn, Libya, Iraq, and Iran were/are planning for us. Recall the truth that Billy told your namesake in the last five minutes, "We blew it."

Bill Whittle - If you haven't, read "The Windhover." Your prose style often circles like the falcon and then, from prosaic clay, "gash gold vermillion."

''This is what intelligent, social, warm-blooded mammals do: they kill things.''

Intelligent, social carnivores and omnivores.

I believe it was Larry Niven who said, "How smart do you have to be to sneak up on a blade of grass?"

Great essay, Bill.

Forwarding it to everyone on my list.

-N. O'Brain, Imperial Minister for Useless Information to Emperor Misha I

Bravo! Well worth the wait, although I'll have to work an hour later than planned (many) thanks to you.

Thank you once again for a wonderful essay. Like you, I have experiences of noticing those less fortunate but consequentially, I do not have delusions about the "healing powers" of expanding social programs. Instead, thank God for the gifts you have and continue to do good things for others and yourself.

You've done a good thing Bill.

Well worth the wait. Your clearness of thought and ability to transfer same to written word is a talent sorely lacking, in both the MSM, and amongst those who use the information highway to speak their piece (myself included). Bravo Zulu!

What fantastically wonderful surprise to come home to today!

As usual... AWESOME stuff Bill. Look forward to the next one.

Dear Juan,

You and I can sit here and argue in the depths of the chart room for days and days, comparing maps and getting nowhere.

While I am, as always, floored by every comment in support of my writing, the letter from Lt. Kelly, above, has justified every hour I spent thinking on this subject.

He is not down in the chart room -- he is on the bridge. He sees the landscape as it really is, not as it is reported to you and me. He has been there. You and I have not. His letter carries more weight than anything you and I can write, and it is upon accounts like his that I base my opinions.

It is an honor and a privilege to help spread the word of what men and women like Lt. Kelley are risking their lives to do. I hear from men and women like this all the time, and it has given my entire life meaning.

I would remind you that at the time of the Vietnam war, there were thousands of people like you claiming the only reason we were in VIETNAM was to steal -- wait for it! -- their OIL.

Get some new ideas, Juan. Watergate and Vietnam are SO 20th century.

Bless you!

Once again an essay that is worth the wait. It is always a bright spot in my day when I find out a new essay is available here. Thanks.

Just war.

Ending Saddams rape rooms.

Just authority - because we can.

Giving Iraqis their own government: because we want to.

Just do it.

My sincere respects for the enormous amount of time and effort it must have taken to write this essay. I especially appreciate the clarity and inventiveness of your writing style.

Two questions that come to mind:

Do you ever engage in any conversation at various websites amenable to discussion such as Belmont Club, Tacitus, or Left2Right?

I have often depaired of the mess the educational system has become in this country, especially as it pertains to the abandonment of teaching history. Do you have any thoughts on what steps might be taken to rescue our children from the "educational establishment" which controls, and in my view is destroying, the schools from kindergarten to the university?

Thanks again for a very stimulating read.

Lt. Kelly,

Thank you for your service and the service of all who serve. I can't help but think, every day of that night in December when, at a Naval Acedemy Men's Glee Club Concert, I suffered nausea, chills, and a wet streak on my cheek , as they sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" ..." he died to make men Holy let us die to make me free..." ...the realization that ....THEY, THOSE MEN on that stage, were willing to die to make ME free. Thank you.

oooops, this is what I meant to write

Lt. Kelly,

Thank you for your service and the service of all who serve. I can't help but think, every day of that night in December when, at a Naval Acedemy Men's Glee Club Concert, I suffered nausea, chills, and a wet streak on my cheek , as they sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" ..." he died to make men Holy let us die to make me free..." ...the realization that ....THEY, THOSE MEN on that stage, were willing to die to make ME free. Thank you.

Bill, thanks for what you do to support them, as the mere words of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" have doen much to sustain the spirit and soul of America and Americans, so your words do the same and provide us with much perspective.


PS Bill, any idea why I had a tough time posting, this said I'd been blacklisted

Captain America,

For me the was was always about shaking up the autocracies of the Middle East.

Sorry that your goals were so much narrower.

In any case it was up to Saddam to show what he had done with all the stuff we know he used to have. He was not behaving in any way like South Africa did in similar circumstances.

BTW what was the purpose of all that yellow cake Saddam had? Coloring glass?

And what about those explosives very useful for building nukes doing in Quaqua?

No WMDs? In my book that makes the war a success.

Bill, thanks for saying the things I feel and think, better than I can myself. As a rule, I don't send out links to "go read this" very often. For your writting, I break that rule.

This was a fine bit of prose. It took me most of the day, off and on... Keep up the good work. And there is nothing wrong with posting longer articles further apart.

Bill –

Lovely essay as usual. I always enjoy your perspective, probably because I share it.

Juan Kerr –

You are correct in that no one has yet addressed your arguments in your comment with another comment. Others have been dismissive towards you, but I believe this is because they feel your comments have been addressed adequately elsewhere and through Bill’s previous essays. Some were a trifle snotty toward you, which I feel is inappropriate.

You are clearly wishing to engage in intelligent debate, which is truly refreshing. Thank you for that. Though I am certainly not as well read as you seem to be, perhaps I can address one or two of your points with respect to Bill’s essay.

Bill does seem to address a very common stereotype when discussing the “left”. However, you must understand that this is what Bill deals with on a daily basis when working with Hollywood, which may be overly represented with people like his ponytail guy. So perhaps he can be forgiven of this trespass.

Bill’s vignette didn’t seem all that crucial to his argument though – he used it to put a personal spin on his overall point, rather than let it be the point itself. Bill has a concern with moral equivalence. He cites Michael Moore’s comparison of Iraqi terrorists to the minutemen. He references Ward Churchill’s comparison of 9/11 victims to Nazi bureaucrat Eichmann. Are these the strawmen to which you refer?

If so, I would agree. Their arguments are ineffective and poorly contrived. However, they are also well known, and have surprisingly loud voices for such strawmen. So perhaps Bill can be forgiven for lighting fire to them.

Yes, Bill was hard on the Russians. But Stalin was harder. I don’t think Bill is discounting the importance of Soviet Russia in defeating Hitler; I think he is acutely aware of the blood sacrifice that the Soviet Union made during World War II. I also know Bill is acutely aware of the blood cost by the US turning a blind eye to our former ally’s brutality to its own people and Eastern Europe. Fifty million of Stalin’s own people lie dead from his policies of brutality, state control, and starvation. So perhaps Bill can be forgiven for discouraging the use Soviet Russia as a model for a humane government.

Your further comments indicate that Bill’s premise falls apart unless we assume that the Iraq war was not a just war. In other words, one cannot hold an enemy combatant responsible for his actions in war if one cannot justify the war.

An interesting comment. Certainly a worthwhile debate topic, but as Bill’s essay points out, a topic that is moot outside of US and Coalition rules of engagement, or if you will allow me the term, Western rules of engagement. Certainly we’ve seen civilians targeted in war, and most developed nations now strive to resist the practice. It is difficult, however, to grant the benefit of doubt to nations that have targeted their own citizens, such as China and the Soviet Union. I daresay that Germans would rather take their own lives than pursue the ideals of the Nazi party against their own citizens again, but I worry that the German people are too anxious to sweep their history under the rug instead of ensuring that such mistakes never happen again.

Those who would pervert Islam purport the belief that it is justified to lie, to cheat, to murder, to target civilians and children, so long as the action is against an unbeliever. Should we assume the best of these people as well? Should we assume that they will abide by Western ideals of engagement, and share our value system?

Of course not, to do so would be an act of arrogance on our part. But isn’t that what we’re doing when we say, “we shouldn’t meddle in their affairs”? How arrogant of us to assume that our help is unwelcome, or is unnecessary.

However, you are right to demand that we hold ourselves to the highest ideals. Americans are imperfect, but there’s no reason for us to hold ourselves to a lower standard just because our enemies do not hold themselves to the same standard. Bill’s essay does a much better job on this issue than I ever could.

So let us assume for a moment that this issue is accepted: an enemy combatant cannot be held responsible for his actions in an unjust war. You provided a measure for determination of justice – approval by an accepted Authority based on moral, ethical, or legal grounds.

You provide the example of such Authority – the Security Council of the U.N. As pointed out, the UN passed 16 resolutions since 1991 regarding Saddam’s former regime that provided the legal basis for war.

When asked, the Security Council would not grant specific authority for the Iraq war, nor would it prohibit it. The request was withdrawn by the US. Although the Security Council refused to grant specific permission for war, I would argue that the council was an inappropriate Authority to grant such permission, as three member nations – France, Russia, and Germany had economic ties with Saddam’s regime that would constitute a conflict of interest. Russia was the largest provider of weaponry to the Iraqi regime, despite international bans on such sales to Iraq. France and Germany have been shown to have had numerous oil contracts with Saddam, some done through the UN’s corrupt Oil for Food program, and some through under the table arrangements which would have violated economic sanctions that should have been enforced by the UN.

So the President sought and obtained US congressional approval for war on Saddam’s regime. He used the moral basis of freeing the Iraqi’s from an oppressive regime, and the legal basis of violation of UN resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction. Though such weapons were not found, the resolutions passed by the UN were specific in regard to compliance with inspections. Saddam never complied with the inspections. He was to produce records showing the disposition of all known weapons of mass destruction held or formerly held by his regime. He did not, and could not to the satisfaction of any inspector, including Hans Blix. Both legal and moral basis were satisfied as a cause for war.

So it would appear that under your rules for a just war, the Iraqi war met such tests.

So perhaps Bill’s points regarding the abuse of Sanctuary are sound after all.

Great as always.

Wish I knew what the bible verses were about hypocrisy, it was the people who were certain they were right who killed Christ.

I was simply blown away by your essay. Your insight and writing skill has me just awed. Thank you for an intriguing read well worth the length.

Well said, Bill.

My attitude towards membership in any organization where membership is voluntary (whether a law firm, church, household, or nation) is that as long as you remain a member and accept its benefits, you owe a duty of loyalty. That isn't to say you can't criticize or work for change; sometimes loyal opposition is the highest service. But you do owe a duty, at the very least, to consider whether the means by which you express your opposition will ultimately do more harm than good.

While there are many loyal members of the opposition, there are plainly many more who believe that American civilization is uniquely corrupt and destructive (though they're happy to accept its benefits) and take absolutely no thought for how their expressed opposition may affect that civilization's welfare. (Newsweek's Quran-flushing story is merely the most recent example.) They strike me very much like the teenage kid who informs his parents that they're conventional greedy bigoted fools, and by the way can I score a twenty for gas money?

Another gripe I have about That Certain Breed Of Leftist is the way they tend to paint universal human flaws as if they're specifically American in nature. A fairer, more historically informed approach might lead them to recognize that are sins are sins of human nature, while the virtues of the American experiment in liberty contain something new and special, not to be lightly dismissed. That something special has allowed American civilization, notwithstanding the flawed nature of its human constituents, to play a leading role in doing away with an astonishing number of social evils that had persisted for all of human history.

For thousands of years, slavery was something that civilization accepted. The first jurisdictions to abolish it were American -- the newly-independent northern states. Less than a century later, after the sacrifice of some of the best blood of the nineteenth century, it was gone entirely from American soil. A hundred years after that, even making an ethnic joke is in bad taste. What historic civilization ever accomplished anything like that?

Well, I saw the mindnight showing of the last Star Wars movie of all time. It was good. REALLY good. My favorite of the new movies, and even better than Return of the Jedi. Not as good as Empire, but there is some debate in my head on weather it's better than New Hope. It starts out ok, but once the second half starts and Anakin goes all angst-man on us, I was on the edge of my seat for the rest of the movie. I definitly recomend you go see it.

So I just saw that and now a new Bill essay. Life is sweet.

You always make me cry.
And it's always worth it.
Thanks, Bill Whittle. ;)

Dude, this is the first time I've read an entire essay of yours, but don't change a thing. This is great.

Magnificent! Worth the wait!

wow...all my incomplete thoughts, lost ideas, and brief epiphanies in one essay.

Welcome back, Bill. Worth the wait, as always.

As much as I enjoyed this, it doesn't seem quite as 'tight' as some of your other essays. I don't mean that I disagree with it...Because I don't. I just mean that it muddles a bit towards the middle and end in ways that, for example, 'History' and 'Courage' do not. In those essays you get from Point A to Point B without ever losing a fundamental tension that keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat. The discussion of the concepts of Sanctuary has good energy. The confrontation with the idiot maintains this energy...And then it seems to me that you fall into a muddle with Cheops and a Seven-11. I appreciate what you are trying to do with it, and it does sustain your arguement, but I feel it loses the impetus and energy you've built up.

When trying to conduct similar arguements I've been known to get into discussions of how much money we spend on making as certain as possible that even 'nondiscriminating' weapons like gravity bombs hit military targets only and not civilians. How many of our young men and women die because we aren't willing to shoot first indiscriminately. No other country in history has ever gone so far out of its way to try and minimize the impact of war's most horrible effects upon an enemy population. No other country in history has worked so hard to build up defeated enemy nations and turn them into friends rather than satellite slaves of empire. If you're ever tempted to revisit this essay (and given the choice between having you do so, and having you writing new ones, I'd be in favor of seeing more new ones) that element is the one I'd point you at first.

Your essays invariably make their arguements with good points and chains of reasoning, but part of what I believe makes them so compelling is that you invoke the reader into the moment of description. You don't say 'Lots of people dream of being a pilot or an astronaut.' at the beginning of 'Courage', instead you draw us into your childhood views and call upon the childhood memories and imaginings of us all. Even the statement that 'No one can imagine street-to-street fighting.' is an evocation of how extreme it must be. Possibly what I feel breaks the mold with the Cheops arguement is the banality of forced ignorance created by using such a fantastic figure, so removed from the realities you usually write in. It's easy to point at such a legendary figure and call 'Straw man!' because surely he is specifically chosen to be ignorant of the wonders you extoll, and he is chosen not from 'our world' but from a fantastic, much-hyped era redolent with misinformation and Hollywood imaginings. But more importantly I feel he breaks the ability of the reader to identify or sympathize with him. His ignorance becomes comedy rather than tragedy. There are nearer and more modern examples that I feel would be just as legitimate in making your point without this disruption. Consider a current-day Afghani shepherd and what he would see in a Seven-11. It's more appropriate and more applicable.

All of this is just my opinion...And that's an opinion that is certainly humbled by the prodigious amount of great writing you turn out. I just figure that one more 'Great job!' pat on the back won't do as much for you as a well-intentioned flag raised about your writing. You get 'Great job!' all the time...And with good reason, too...And most people who are critical of your writing at least here seem to be critical about your content/facts rather than your structure.

As always, I look forward to seeing more from you. Please do keep up the wonderful work!


well worth the wait Bill....thank you.

BRILLIANT! Thank you!

After I read this, I feel a new sense of hope.

Bill has named our monsters, and they are beasts of our own making who inhabit the Sanctuary and attempt to destroy it. They are the pampered and useless offspring of a nation unwilling to expose them to reality. As they achieve adult status, they try to impose their unreality on the world at large. When enough of them appear at one time, the civilization they infest begins to disintegrate.

Re-education may take a while, but we still have time, and we have the blogosphere to work with..

Well done, Bill.

You know, the past few days, after watching all the US Flag burning over the Newsweek piece, I have been hankering to take a Quran to the public square and light it up. At my age, I can't do much, but I can do that. Enough is enough. If I were younger, I would reenlist and dip all my bullets in pig's blood or bacon grease.

Thanks for the suggestion that we don't have to take it any longer. Shame on the next Sanctuary disturbing ponytail that gets in my way.

Well THAT was definitely worth the wait.

How the hell do you do that?

Well said, Bill. I've been thinking of many of the same things, but in regard to the second-guessing I've been seeing about WWII. We've forgotten how hard of a fight we fought, and what the stakes were. Instead, many are guilty about firebombing civilians and dropping atom bombs. We're doomed to repeat it all if we don't remember it all.

Juan Kerr:

You are battling against intransigent ignorance. Go to Bill's essay "History" and read the comments I left on this site March 30, 2003. In my comments, written just 11 days into the ground war, I noted that the decision to invade Iraq was made before 9/11 and that there were no WMDs to justify it.

No WMDs also meant that UN SCR 1441 wasn't being violated because Saddam Hussein was cooperating with UNMOVIC -- and that's according to UNMOVIC.

Back then, I suffered the derisive arrogance of Bill's fans. You'd think now that the American casualties are mounting, no WMDs have been found and there is mounting proof that Bush & Co. lied to put us in Iraq, there would be some humility or contrition. Instead, we see the a see finger pointing at familiar right-wing straw men. Mr. Whittle's writing is excellent, which makes it all the more depressing that his content offers little that hasn't been said by bullying ideologues like "Nahanni," and the rest of the "101st Keyboardist Brigade."

With regards to the heartfelt opinions of 1LT Kelly, I can't speak to the experience of a combat veteran, but I know who can: the men and women who have joined Operation Truth. They are all OIF vets. No military-haters there, and, in fact, almost no "peaceniks." Just soldiers and vets calling it like they see it, and they don't see it in Thomas-Kinkadian gloss.



As usual, I was brought to tears by joy and pain while reading your essay. Thank you for reminding me that there is more wonder in a convenience store than all the ancient world.

Well. That was certainly worth the wait.

Lately I've been in a pretty black state of mind, and mostly feeling like beheading people and stake their skulls in my front yard as a warning to others. But now I feel like maybe the best use of my weekend would be to grab my dog, have a leisurely stroll in the mountains, and then maybe hit the Bradbury museum and look through Los Alamos's history again and touch the model of Fat Man. (And page through the comment book over at the "We're so sorry!" "No we're not!" discussion corner, which is always good for a laugh or several.)

Maybe later I'll come back with my dueling sabre. But not now.

Winston (whom Orwell would disown in a minute):

For some of us, like the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and the millions of people who voted for them, it wasn't all about WMDs.

That's all that mattered to the United Nations, because to them national governments are inviolable, and the people are irrelevant.

To us, it was about a people enslaved; imprisoned, murdered, tortured and raped at the whim of a vile dictator. It's about the mass graves, about the Kurdish villages wiped out by poison gas.

It's also about bloody money paid to the families of Paelstinian terrorists, and about a brutal power structure that would brook no dissidence, and stop at nothing to perpetuate itself.

It's about redressing a stain on the world's conscience.

And if you try to draw moral parallels between the Taliban and the Ba'athists on one hand, and one the other hand the men and women who helped remove those vile regimes, then you are truly lost.

Well. Considering The (stupid) Daou Report for whatever reason chose to link to my post (that said basically nothing but "GO READ") linking to this, I had to come see if the trolls actually attempted trolling here. Either they chickened out or you (Bill) did a much better cleanup job than I did in my measly comments. I thought I was going to owe you an apology for the angry trolls I thought I'd see here. It's kinda funny how they crap all over the rug in a link dump post! Idiots. Hopefully they did make it over here and get some education from the essay, because I didn't have the patience to play their pointless little game.

Anyway, again, thank you for brightening up the blogosphere for all of us again with your work. I think it's just what the doctor ordered for a whole lot of us bloggers. ;-)

Excellent. Well worth the wait. I'm humbled by the eloquence of some of these comments and only wish to add my appreciation as well.

I do think you were too kind to Kerr. In my imagination he is a dandy who, while looking down his powdered nose, ruffles his perfectly stitched chamois gloves in your face and then runs to the sanctuary of his mother's skirts in order to measure his courage for another fey, sanctimonious foray or for a less dangerous further retreat. Kudos to JABBER, Nahanni, Lt. Kelly, et. al.

Winnie pooh...

Considering the fact that the UN was being bought off by Saddam Hussein I would not place too much trust into any "report" issued by them on this subject. Of course idiotarians such as yourself will believe any of the flatulance issuing forth from your sacred cow U.N.

I am sure you are aware that thanks to idiot LLL's such as yourself insisting on "more time" for inspections you gave Saddam the opprotunity to move his WMD's out of the country. I am sure you are aware of the fact that Russian and Chinese "observers" were sent to Iraq under U.N. aegis about 60 days before the start of the war. Why were they there, you might ask? They were there to dismantle and remove as much illegally purchased equipment as they could before the invasion. Now why would the U.N. want these items removed or destroyed? Well, follow the money honey. The countries who screeched the loudest in opposition to the Iraq war were also the ones who were making the most money off of selling items banned under the U.N. sanctions. To refresh your memory those countries are Canada, France, Germany, China, Russia and Syria. Now it would prove HIGHLY embarrassing to them to have the Americans find those items there. Would not good P.R. for them to have that stuff pasted across the media 24/7. Would sort of undermine their "holier then thou" stance, wouldn't it? Unfortunately for them they sorta counted on Saddam to destroy the paper trail. He didn't.

As for the weapons themselves they were removed by the Hussein government with the assistance of the Syrian government for storage in Syria. There was so MUCH of it that Syria shipped some to Sudan for storage and Sudan told Assad to either get it OUT of Sudan or they were going to give it to the Americans. I am sure you heard about this in the MSM
about a year ago. No, I guess you wouldn't because they were (and still are ) in full anti-American propaganda mode.


Sometimes one has to hit idiotarians such as you and your buddy "Knowledge Worker" repeatedly over the head with the clue bat in hopes that you might get a clue. If you consider that "bullying" then TFB! If you are going to come in here and spew forth your old, tired and totally discredited Mooronic screeds then you should expect and be prepared to beaten with the cluebat like a red headed step child. If you don't like it, tough. Go back to that abyss known as the DU and Kos messageboards if you can't handle it.

PS-Trust me when I tell you that I am being nice to you. You do not want me to bust out the Clue Hammer(TM) on you. By the time I get done with you you will be cowering in the corner, sobbing like a 7 year old girl and begging not to be beaten again.


You claim that Saddam didn't have WMDs? Then what the hell did he use in the 80's against Iran? What did he use against the Kurds? Why did we find chemical suits in Iraq?

He had plenty of time to get rid of the WMDs before the war started.

Secondly, even if there were no WMDs isn't it enough that Saddam had to be removed because he is a murderous tyrant? Was WWII justified because Hitler was developing nukes or because he murdered 6 million Jews and non-essentials?

Pixy Misa:

    And if you try to draw moral parallels between the Taliban and the Ba'athists on one hand, and one the other hand the men and women who helped remove those vile regimes, then you are truly lost.
Indeed! I would never draw such parallels, and, in fact, this is example of the "straw men" I mentioned earlier. A "straw man" is a easy-to-topple argument erected on an opponents behalf and dutifully dispatched. In fact, I wouldn't lump the Ba'thists (even Iraqi Ba'thists) in with the Taliban, but that's another discussion.

Any person with a heart and a brain supports the agenda you enumerate, and I still hold out hope that it comes to fruition, but history — during this operation and during Iraq's existence — is against this. The fact is that despite Saddam Hussein's brutality, the majority of Iraqis have a much lower quality of life now that they did under Saddam Hussein. Many dedicated people from many countries are working to change this, and, again, I hope they succeed. But actions speak louder than words, and while the actions of individual Americans speaks highly of us all, the actions of those who sent them there, and who still set the agenda, doesn't read like the playbook of anyone cares at all about people. Politicians of all stripes lie, but numbers don't lie, and the numbers tell a story of arrogance and indifference.

leftbasher: (There's someone dedicated to raising the level of debate!)

    You claim that Saddam didn't have WMDs? Then what the hell did he use in the 80's against Iran? What did he use against the Kurds? Why did we find chemical suits in Iraq?
These comments are supposed to be about Mr. Wittle's essays, so I don't want to clutter up the page rehashing this. Please read my comments beneath the "History" essay. Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons in great quantity, and he used them. By March, 2003, however, they had been destroyed and Iraq was no longer a WMD threat. This has been established unequivocably by Charles Duelfer and the Iraq Survey Group. The chemical suits were not on anyone because there were no chemical agents to deploy.
    Secondly, even if there were no WMDs isn't it enough that Saddam had to be removed because he is a murderous tyrant?

Go read up on Darfur and Uzbekistan and then try to promote this facile argument with a straight face.

    Was WWII justified because Hitler was developing nukes or because he murdered 6 million Jews and non-essentials?
WWII was not justified by anything; it was started by Hitler, and was ended by an allied coalition of England, France, Germany, and the USSR. Hitler had been killing Jews for years before we got involved, and we got involved for a very clear-cut reason: Germany declared war on the United States. A lot of lives (not just Jewish) were saved because the Allies defeated Hitler, and that's great, but don't revise history.


    Winnie pooh...
Grow up.

Trying to stay vaguely topical: I read Bill Wittle's essays because they are thoughtful and eloquent. I respond to them — and I try to be polite — because his essays express a desire to understand opposing views and I think it's worth expressing them. I don't expect him to agree, but I hope I help him understand.

There are a lot of problems in the world, and in this country. Some are immeditate and some long-term. Our country is large and diverse, and this gives us strength. Those of us dedicated to keeping America strong and free need to work on the basis of that shared interests. Do some people want America to fail? Sure, but none of the people I know, liberal or conservative (or whatever).

After Saddam Hussein dropped nerve gas on Halabja, two Senators crafted a bill calling for immediate reprisals. Within 24 hours of its completion, it had passed unanimously in the Senate and by huge majorities in the House. That bill was written by Al Gore and Jesse Helms. I've had the privilege to meet both of these men, and they are both great Americans who loved and served their country. They has widely differing views, save one: America should stand for freedom. This is all that mattered when they came together to draft that bill.

President Reagan vetoed it.

Hello again friends!

Jerry (Falwell I assume!?) you certainly have a vivd imagination! I have read a lot, yes, but I also play a lot of sport, have short hair (no pony tail if you can believe it!) and am actually quite agressive believe it or not. I just reserve my aggression for the football field or kickboxing. No fop or dandy me, I would happily take on any of you mano a mano. In a nice but competitive refereed way :-)

Anyhow I can see how things take shape here. There is clearly a majority who want only backslapping cosiness with no challenge at all. That is something I regard as sad believe it or not. I am happy for your existence. Could you not find it in yourselves to return that sentiment? Really, I look to build whatever bridges I can. I am troubled that the clear eloquence of Bill finds favour on such obdurate ground.

For instance in one place I am berated for being an intellectual. Sure many poeple might feel i think to much but is being intellectual really a sin? Others berate me for not checking enough classics or Bill. Well, you clearly do not take the trouble to know me as I have always been a voracious reader and searcher for truth. I know too that the truths I knew yesterday are less sure today.

I am heartened however that B. takes the trouble to consider my views seriously at least, and may respond in due course. Bill says 'lefties', who you may regard me as, hate people. Well, you should know I have a love, a love for everyone I know. Even Jabber ;-) though he or she may not seek it.

Who are the haters these exchanges have revealed? I hope I can touch the Juan Kerr in all of you.


You have put my thoughts to the page as if you knew them. Excellent and measured response. Thanks for being here too. Hard work on your own ;-)

Not to mention the obvious fact that Kerry, Kennedy, Blair, Both Clintons, Daschle, McCain, Lieberman, and so on, and so on, and so on -- everybody -- came to the same conclusion as the president regarding WMD's and went on the record as saying so.

There were many reasons to go into Iraq. "Winston Smith" knows this, and he fixates on this tired WMD issue it because it gives him the most traction to cling to his skewered and antiquated Vietnam era world view.

Saddam had them and used them. No question about that. Ask Hussein Camel about his nuclear program -- oh, wait, you can't do that, can you, your moral Pygmy? He's been murdered for revealing the extent of it to the world.

Remember all the lather you defeatist idiots worked up over "premtive war?" Well, that's what it was: premptive. The problem with finding a smoking gun is that IT HAS ALREADY BEEN FIRED. Moron.

And don't wave 1441 around people that can read. This is not your Freshman Poli-sci crowd. The onus was on Saddam to prove what he did with the WMD's HE ADMITTED he had. All of these sanctions were due to him violating -- as the mudering scumbags you adore always do -- the generous and humane terms given to him after the Coalition handed him his ass in Gulf I. HIS responsibility. R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y. Have someone look it up and explain it to you.

The fact is two nations are free, and the entire region is being transformed before our eyes, and it was most emphatically Not In Your Name, nor in the name of the rest of the miserable, smug, well-fed racist scumbags like yourself who enjoy every freedom and yet are not only not willing to fight for someone elses, or to even countenance the very IDEA. Rather you will emit whatever gases you can to be sure that no such thing ever happens.

You, Smith, are a Pharisee. You look for any rhetorical crag you can dig your roots into in order to avoid doing the right thing.

The people here speak a language you cannot understand. They see colors not visible to your blinkered eyes.

I really wish you would go away. Everytime you write something I feel a little ill, and your presence on this planet no only lowers the average IQ, but it makes the world just a little bit greyer and less interesting.

And if you think I'm going to let you hijack this thread and use my bandwidth to preach what you lack the guts, the talent and the intellect to say on your own dime, then you have another think or two coming.

As far as Lt Kelly goes I cannot say I have served or tell him that he served wrongly. However you cannot simply trump facts with patriotism.

My antecedents fought in the Battle of Britain and were decorated for such, though they never discuss it. To a man and woman they, and the Naval side of my family are vocal in their condemnation of this war - far more vocal than I have ever been here. They are certainly not lily livered lefties or whatever.

I admire good deeds and heroic actions in whatever context. I would condemn venality equally from wherever it sprang. Russia, France or the US. The Bush fortune was built on Nazi war profiteering and that tendency of the dynasty does not appear to yet have been checked.

GOD ALMIGHTY, there is nothing in the world more dangerous, disgusting and vile than hearing people like Juan Kerr and Winsoton Smith trying to use reason the defend the murderers of the world!

I AM NOT INTERESTED in hearing defenses of Saddam, Hitler, Castro, Stalin or any of these human plagues!


Will you STOP? Will you for the love of human decency stop using arguments like "Saddam is okay now BECAUSE HE ALREADY USED HIS CHEMICAL WEAPONS?"

Are you so completely blind that you cannot see how this sophistry and repartee and rhetoric is nothing less than the major force of evil in the world? How can two intelligent people spend so much energy defending such horror and depravity.

I am telling you now: I will ban you both. Not because I am afraid of your arguents, or that I don't understand them. I will do it because you sicken me. THIS. RHETORIC. SICKENS ME.

Stop it. Go away. Walk away. Right now. There is nothing in this world more revolting than a person holding a man's coat while he rapes their child.

You are apologists for murder and torture and I want you off my property.

And Kerr. of all the people in this dicussion thread, Lt. Kelly is the only one -- myself included -- in complete possession of the facts on the ground.

I call your antecedents with my grandfather's Royal Navy OBE, and my Royal Marine uncle -- strong supporters. No go away. And take that smarmy creature that sees this world through 1984 eyes with you.


I thought more of you Bill. Why this hatred and shouting and unfounded personal abuse? I have never ever in my life defended Saddam or any other authoritarian dictator. I resent your saying so. I protested at the Iraqi embassy when Rumsfeld sold Saddam the weapons in question and only ask for a more circumspect and less venal policy when dealing with others like him - Indonesia and Uzbekistan currently.

Where is the love for humanity you profess, that I discussed earlier? I have still had no answer.

But if you reallly desire a cosy hegemony you've got it.

Yes, I get this "AW-fully disappointed in you, old chap" stuff every now and then. You have never in your life defended Saddam? Your posts are an orchestra of defense for Saddam, as are Winson Smith's, the man who "put my thoughts to the page as if you knew them."

Your last post is the classic, textbook definition of Passive-Aggressive behavior. I do not engage people like you. I am not interested in having conversations with people with this particular neurosis.

To say you are not defending Saddam is sophistry of the highest order. It enrages me.

I have to work in four hours. Any further posts from either of you will be deleted. The idea of people coming to this website and hearing all the many reasons you two assemble to keep people in torture cells just makes my skin CRAWL.

Oh, and by the way, this is not "hatred." This is Anger. This is the sound of white-hot anger. This is Moral Outrage -- it's what people who know the difference between right and wrong experience when they encounter people who do not. I have dedicated my life to the eradication of the use of intellectual sophistry to destroy morality. Someday -- unlikely, but you never know -- you may reach a point where you realize that all of this language and debate boils down to a simple matter of right and wrong. Which way are the rafts going: to Cuba or away from it? My position has resulted in the cessation of cold-blooded murder in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no matter what you claim your motives to be, YOUR POSITION WOULD HAVE CONTINUED IT.

And I will not invite the supporters of murder and torture to my dinner table no matter how erudite and cultured and well-spoken they are.

The longer the wait grew, the more I feared the expectations. I knew it would be great. But I feared that it wouldn't live up to the delay.

I was wrong. I'm sorry for doubting you.

And yes, I would still sell my soul to write this well.


Bill, excellent essay... and it is about time more people got angry at the idiots who cannot tell right from wrong. Its richly ironic that the person in your comments whose writing strives to confuse good from bad ultimately names themself *WANKER* (Juan Kerr).

I was trying to read all the other comments before posting, but I read something unconscionable.
Curmudgeon, how dare you? After reading that American troops died because of an untruthful account of an American soldier defacing a Koran, you threaten to deface a Koran, and then you say that if you were a soldier you would dip your bullets in pig blood? How many American troops do you want to kill? I grant that the people who riot and kill Americans are responsible for their actions, and should take full responsibility, but so should those who incite such a riot. Curmudgeon, you just did the exact same thing Newsweek is being lambasted for!
Anyway, I had some more intelligent points, but first, so people know where I am coming from... I was working at a CPA firm when I figured that the US was going to war with Iraq, I didn't agree with the war, but I feel it is a citizen’s duty to enlist when a war is starting, so I did. Unfortunately I didn't realize it would take a !@#$% year and a half from walking into the recruiter to walking into OCS. By the time I finished there and supply school, the official war was over, but now I am in the gulf, and we just lost two good men to this war.
I vote Democrat, when I vote, out of bad habit, but I prefer to vote initiatives rather than candidates, I feel that is true democracy. Lately I have been experimenting with voting against any candidate I recognize, on the basis that this will fight the advantage of the incumbent. I know this shows that I am too lazy to properly exercise my right to vote, sorry. Family background is just like the song, 21st century miracle boy. My Mother died of cancer from cigarettes 10 years ago this November, they were her Valium, and I will always hate Phillip Morris for this. My father is a lazy middle class intellectual, who is currently working part time as a freelance writer for the Associated Press. He is pretty liberal, but one thing I am proud of him for is how many times he has been fired for writing the truth about politicians and getting them into trouble (generally for stealing taxpayer money).
Some other points?: "Unjust war," should we have gone in for the reasons we did? No, should we have gone in for the people of Iraq? Yes. Should we have gone into Ethiopia and other areas for those people, only they don't have oil? Yes.
"Modern nazis," hell no, one thing I am pretty proud of America for is that in the recent past we have no mass graves, but I would postulate that the higher a standard we hold ourselves to, the better we will do on the world stage, whereas every time we compromise our values for expediency we seem to lose. A few examples: sponsoring a small organization to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan called Al Quida. Sponsoring a dictator in the Middle East to counter the threat of Iran, guy called Saddam. Not backing up a revolt against the guy a few years ago by Kurds and Sunnis. Few other historical mistakes: In my opinion, World War 2 was started by us before world war one started, by a US Admiral named Perry. If he hadn't forced a backwards agrarian country to accept western trade, they wouldn’t have had to attack us for oil. Did we realize that the Shogun would be dishonored, and the emperor forced to act? Did we realize that Japan would decide to become "more western than the west," and set up colonies of their own? Probably not, but did we have the right to send gunboats into Japan to force them to trade? Probably not.
Wilson was an idiot, if he had stuck to his 17 points, and given up the League of Nations to prevent the sanctions against Germany, maybe Hitler wouldn't have happened. Also, if Wilson had responded to a guy named Ho Chi Min who sent him 17 points on Vietnam and asked for US help ending colonial status, we might not have had a communist state there.
I digress, my point is that when we uphold the highest standards, our enemies are forced into the low ground, and while holding the low ground allows them to use the horrible tactics you described (I'm not saying they have the right to, but the bad guys don't do what is right), but as Ghandi and Martin Luther King proved, will is stronger than any terror tactic. And IMHO we didn't go into Iraq for any of the official reasons, we went in to piss off Osama, cause while he and Saddam hated each other, he attacked America for having troops in Kuwait, and by putting 135,000 troops in Iraq we are saying "fuck you very much," to him and those like him. Why are Syria and Lebanon and Libya cooperating with us (to an extent) against Osama, because they know that is why we are in Iraq, and they know who the logical next targets would be if we needed to occupy more middle east real estate to screw Osama some more.
Now for the home front, this filibuster thing scares me, the patriot act scares me, not on my own behalf, or on my future kids' behalf, but on behalf of their kids. As administrations and bureaucracies get stronger, and as constitutional checks get weaker, the government gets more powerful. I agree with Jefferson and Hamilton, not Reagan and Roosevelt. I fear my government, not because they will try to do evil, but because the government is the sort of organization that, while it does large things badly, does small things badly too. I don't want the government in my bedroom, controlling my TV or newspaper, going into my apartment when I am at work, keeping me from buying reasonable guns (not anything I could start a revolt with, but a pistol, shotgun, or non-automatic rifle). I don't want the government spending one penny more of my money than they absolutely have to. I believe stupidity is a crime, but not one the government should legislate against, whether it is wearing a seat belt or snorting cocaine, let the idiots die, and the rest of us are smarter and stronger for it. For that matter, I believe in workfare, but not welfare, I don't care if the folks on public assistance are moving a pile of rocks from one side of the yard to the other on Tuesday, and back again on Thursday, it will give them a reason to get a job. Anyone who won't shovel rocks for a welfare check can starve too. And like most wacko radicals (which I am sure everyone now realizes I am), I even have a manifesto; at least of laws and constitutional amendments I would like to see:
1. The government cannot declare any action to be a crime without showing that it harms someone other than the person committing the action the government wishes to criminalize. If the only argument the government can come up with is "we will have to provide medical care for them when they hurt themselves," then folks should be able to avoid the law by a preexisting legal statement that they accept that they won't get medical care if they hurt themselves.
2. If you are committing a felony, you forfeit your civil rights (i.e., right to sue, right to protection by the government, etc.) for the duration of the felony, and any misdemeanors immediately prior to and after the felony. E.g., if you come on my property (trespassing misdemeanor), break in, rob me with a gun (felony), and leave, until you leave my property (stop trespassing) I can shoot you dead, and not get charged with murder, nor can your family sue me, or I can blow your balls off, and you can't sue me for the pain. If I wait till later, it is too late, but while you are breaking the law, it doesn't protect you.
The big one, aka the real balanced budget amendment: If 200 representatives (members of the lower house) sign a petition to remove funding from a bill, law, or administrative use of funds, those funds shall be redirected towards debt reduction or saved for future reduction of taxes. Yes, this is less than a majority, and yes, this is one house, no checks on their power, but how many checks do you need on the power of a branch of the government to reduce the power of the government? Write it in a way that prohibits any agreement not to sign such a petition from being binding, and no one can horse trade away their right to use this power. And frankly, why should any dollar be spent just because a bare majority wants to spend it, a supermajority should be required, but experience has shown that if you require 60% to spend a dollar, it just means more representatives have to be bribed with public funds, and more funds are spent. I don't know of an idea like this being used anywhere in the US, but here are the effects I foresee: 1. Less divisive debate, right now our government is based on an us vs. them split, whichever us you are a part of, the other side are the evil, stupid sob's, and you are the intelligent enlightened paragons of justice. Bullshit, the guy on the other side of the aisle is every bit as intelligent and concerned for the welfare of the people as you, but in a zero sum game, compromise and cooperation are impossible. So you have people all but backed into opposing a measure just because the other side supports it. 2. Less money spent by the government, leading to a stronger economy and better life for everyone down the road. 3. Weaker government, meaning that my grandkids have less worry about some modern day Caesar or Pompeii becoming emperor of the US.
On your discussion of approaching perfection: as laws become more perfect, the need for legislatures declines, however, the need of legislators to justify their jobs and time increases, thus increasingly virulent debates on increasingly unimportant ideas (Gay marriage, why does anyone care if Bob and George marry, I'm not marrying either of them, it doesn't affect my tax bill more than $0.00000000001, I don't care). Also, the further into the government people get, the more they see the government as the way to "fix problems," thus while the democrats controlled the government, republicans said the government was getting too invasive, now that the republicans control the government it is a really cool way to fix all of society's problems.
And by the way, to all the so called christians out there who think christianity should be part of the US government, you are part of the reason American boys are getting killed by Muslims who are not completely sure we mean religious freedom when we say it (Koran burners take heed). It wasn't that many years ago that my grandfather was beaten daily by "good christian boys," because he was Jewish and left the classroom when the christian prayer was said in school. That is what I think of when people talk about christian values, the christian coalition, etc.
Sorry for the rant,
Tommy the Paine aka Ensign Burner aka Anon Y. Mouse (real name ENS Aaron Yale Baker, SC, USN, but I am not in any way speaking in an official capacity, this is just a pissed off JO in the Persian Gulf blowing off a lot of steam)

ARGH! I hate you, you **** **** ****. I had to sit and read your essay and I couldn't stop reading it because it makes so much sense, puts things to clearly, and says what I've wanted to say to all of the anti-war bast****.

And now I just missed my bus to work because of you. I HOPE YOU FEEL GUILTY!

Great essay, as usual. However, I think in one sense Ponytail was correct. Not in his ridiculous comparison to Nazis, of course, but in his expectation of common courtesy from the TSA employees.

As a free people we have a right to expect courtesy from our employees. Granted, after a hard day dealing with thousands of irate travelers it would require a superhuman to stay pleasant. However, we should expect at least mechanical courtesy from the airport screeners. Too often at the airport one is treated at a level somewhere between a child and a criminal.

Crap, forgot what I originally wanted to post, and I need to put in one apology/retraction.
Mr. Whittle, I loved your essays, and wanted to express my appreciation for them, I also liked the part about the Pharoh, and felt that it was a good way to show the reader the advantages we take for granted. Yes, it slowed the essay's pace, and caused the reader to laugh, but sometimes that is a good thing, pacing and humor to better convey ideas are writing skills that should be appreciated.
Curmudgeon, I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it (with apologies to Jefferson). Or, to tie it to the essay, we live in a world where the only way for me to try to convince you to edit your comments, even when they put the lives of American soldiers and sailors at risk, is by persuasion, and that is a wonderful thing (the fact that I have to use persuasion is a wonderful thing, not the fact that folks in the US endanger the troops lives by talking about burning the Koran).
Thank you Mr. Whittle,

Thanks, Bill. Moistened eyes by the time I got to the bottom, over what you said and how you said it. I've given away copies of "Silent America" and passed around the one I kept for myself -- it's little enough to support the fine work you do.

Well done, Bill, another great essay.

To Lt. Kelly: thanks for your service to the United States.


Don't sweat the Kerr's & Smith's of the world...they are the "anklebiters along the path of history" that have always been with us.

Your essays have resonated with so many because of their straightforward logic, coupled with your unique ability to pen the American Spirit. It is clear to all that you love your country, and you do so for good reason.

This wrankles the pathetic, self-loathing, logic-twisting post-modernist morally-equivocating orientalist-apologist elitist wretches, which means you have done your job well!

Wrankle on!

Dear Mr. Whittle -

Without going into a lot of detail and taking up your bandwidth, suffice to say that the problem is not a new one, but rather a very, very old one: sophistry.

These are the people who would be more than willing to deny their very own existence if it served a rhetorical purpose and are fundamentally incapable of seeing that they are no longer capable of recognizing the truth if it came up to them and pounded on their heads like an eskimo to baby seals.

And yet they are the ones who claim to be reality-based. But that's just part of the ploy.

I think you'd like Plato's The Sophist: it ends with:

He, then, who traces the pedigree of his art as follows-who, belonging to the conscious or dissembling section of the art of causing self-contradiction, is an imitator of appearance, and is separated from the class of phantastic which is a branch of image-making into that further division of creation, the juggling of words, a creation human, and not divine-any one who affirms the real Sophist to be of this blood and lineage will say the very truth.


That was wonderful...Thank you.


As others have said, thanks for using your words to express my thoughts and feelings. And for giving me a little hope that, maybe, through this medium, people like me may be able to make a difference, to keep this country headed in the right direction. I'd hate to think that the sacrifices I, my family, my brothers-in-arms, most especially my fallen comrades, have made will be wasted if the Idiotarians succeed in running this great country right into the ground, as they seem to be bent on doing.
BTW, while Lt Kelly and his tank jocks guard your six, the Seabees will be on point.

Great essay. Of course!

The miracles of a 7-11 should be taught to school children everywhere. (The Princes have fallen silent, having discovered the Slurpee machine...)

One of the joys of reading the comments section is watching Bill step out of the darkness, seize some liberal blowhard by the neck, and disembowel him so neatly he still walks and talks for a few steps before falling into pieces.

As in the best Tex Avery cartoons, I imagine the lips still talking from the floor: Nazi! Prescott Bush! Come back here so we can fight some more!

Welcome back, Bill.

Oh my, I am terrified of the risble parroting of Bills words by the people here. I sure don't see much signs of this professed love of humanity. This love of humanity clearly stretches as far as your own good selves.

Apologies to a couple who do seem to think for themselves (Aaror and B. and a couple others mayhap) but the general theme is clearly 'not one of us not welcome', use strange shibboleths like idiotarian (as if there were not enough words for idiot or whatever already) and generally resort to idioms involving violence. Just like you have been lead to do, sheep.

Very very sad. Your decline is detected in the air, like wet farts in an elevator. Shame to think you once had such noble aspirations.


(ahem) Okay, all warmed up now.

To Juan Kerr, I gotta' say, I for one was not angered by what you said. I was a little disappointed to see some of the same old tired "leftier" claims being dragged back out of the dust, but that in itself doesn't anger me. However, I do understand why it would anger others, not the least of whom would be the host of this site. It's not necessarily because they think you are the end-all-be-all icon of all things evil in this world, or the ultimate poster-child for anti-American defeatism, but because unfortunately, you just happened to chime in right at that point in time when "we've" finally decided we're just not going to put up with it any more. In other words, the last anti-Bush/anti-war guy BEFORE YOU, was the official last straw.

Like Mr. Ponytail... he might have been a "pretty easy target," as you said, and "hardly representative of the left that [you] know," but the whole point of that little vignette was to show that people like that, with that kind of insulated, intentionally clueless, utter blindness, are no longer going to be ignored or politely debated. They're not listening, they're not paying attention, and they're not saying anything new. So, ENOUGH.

And since you started right off with a classic pot-calling-the-kettle-black cliche', you started with your own self-inflicted wound. You said, "Your essays are well written but taken from an essential standpoint of the war being justified. Presupposing that, everything else follows. Without that being the case it is baloney. The war is not and was not justified. Like Vietnam."

You made not only a faulty comparison, but also, after belittling Bill's "presupposition" about the war being justified, you then handed us YOUR presupposition about it NOT being justified (as if that was a "fact" just because you said so), and dusted off your hands with a "case closed" attitude. And that IS a "Mr. Ponytail" thing.

In a later posting, you went on to the definitions of a "Just War," as if they were the Ten Commandments or something, and as if -- without actually citing any examples -- you believed they'd all been violated by us.

I mean, you said, "A just war describes a war that satisfies a set of moral or legal rules..." [WHOSE morals? WHOSE legal rules? You mean like the Geneva Accords, that most of the world's nations did not sign? Or like the Kellogg-Briand Pact that you cited later, which was an historical laughingstock of legislation, since it basically tried to make war "illegal," and was signed by every one of the later combatants of World War II?] Further, you said, "War can only be waged for a just cause, such as self-defense against an armed attack..." [9/11 aside, if someone threatens you with a knife -- someone with a history and a reputation for using knives on innocent people, who outwardly loathes you, and clearly has no regard for the sanctity of human life -- do you have to wait until they've actually sunk that knife into your chest before you start to defend yourself? Isn't it self-defense to PREVENT them from doing that? Maybe not in the perfect PC-world -- which is just exactly what "SANCTUARY" is railing against -- in which no one is "assailable" unless they're actively beating, stabbing or shooting you at the time (you're even expected to STOP defending yourself once your assailant has momentarily stopped the beating, stabbing and shooting), but by my definition of common sense, pre-emptive self-defense IS self-defense. Historians and military experts alike all lament the lost opportunity that was missed when the French -- or ANYBODY -- failed to intercede when Hitler marched the Wehrmacht into the Rhineland in blatant violation of the Treaty of Versailles. One platoon could have stopped them, discredited and ousted Hitler for his recklessness (as professed by Hitler himself), and he would never have gotten the chance to instigate the global conflict that followed. If only. Now, when that same opportunity has raised its ugly head again, somebody actually acted on it this time, and thankfully, we'll never know what far greater conflagration was forestalled by that action]

Continuing, you said, "War can only be waged under legitimate authority..." [as in "the Congressional approval that Bush had?" As in "in accordance with the terms of UN 1441," which it was?] Then you added, "War can only be waged for a just cause, such as self-defense against an armed attack..." [already addressed]... "War can only be waged under legitimate authority..." [already addressed]... "War can only be waged with a reasonable chance of success. It is considered unjust to meaninglessly waste human life and economic resources if defeat is unavoidable..." [Well, if it is "considered unjust," then, WHOA! But WAS "defeat unavoidable?" Did defeat even occur? To ANY degree? Was ANY military objective not achieved? Were the casualties or the collateral damage disproportionate? Were they even comparable to any other wars in history? The answer to all these is a resounding, "No!"]

You said, "War must be waged with proportionality in mind." [says who?] "The suffering which existed pre-war should not be overshadowed by the suffering the war may cause..." [so, does having electricity and running water in places that never had it before count as post-war suffering? Does the cessation of state-sponsored torture, rape and executions count? What about the establishment of a popularly elected democratic government? What about the outside effects and influences of this victory, like Saudi and Syrian back-pedaling on their support of terrorism, Libya's curtailment of its nuclear program, and the recent granting of a woman's right to vote in Kuwait? Are these all symptoms of greater post-war suffering?]

"War can only be waged as a last resort. War is not just until all realistic options which were likely to right the wrong have been pursued..." [you mean like, say, 12 YEARS of failed negotiations, ineffective (to Saddam) but brutal (to his people) sanctions and embargoes, violated treaty terms, and baldfaced threats (from the U.S. and the UN both) of invasion? What other options did we miss? Bribery? Did that. Under-the-table deals? The UN did that. A visit from Jessie Jackson? Did that too.]

And finally, you said, "... nothing justifies the use of war from these previously accepted tenets."

Sounds to me like every friggin' count was satisfied, despite the fact that this list of someone else's "rules" is meaningless when you're dealing with an opponent that recognizes nothing that stems from compassion. If you don't speak someone's "language," they don't hear a word you're saying. And Saddam wasn't listening.

That long-promised invasion (and the U.S. was only one voice in the UN's ongoing impotent threats) could have been forestalled at any time by Saddam Hussein, as could the sanctions. Think about that. He could still be in power right now. His army could still be intact. He could still be secretly working toward a flourishing WMD program. All he had to do was follow the rules he'd already agreed, in writing, to follow. And we would have, AGAIN, backed off, let him be, and be paying for it heavily in less than five years (if the UN inspectors' assessment about him having a fully operational nuclear weapons system within 4 years proved to be true).

Yeh, we've heard all this before. We've heard it previously, from people like old "Winston Smith," who's STILL saying stuff like...

"The fact [there's that idly wielded word again] is that despite Saddam Hussein's brutality, the majority of Iraqis have a much lower quality of life now that they did under Saddam Hussein..." [ignoring all the improvements already accomplished and those still ongoing -- some of which I already mentioned above -- this assertion is still based on post-WAR conditions, which, just like my neighborhood here in Orlando, post-HURRICANE, has still got a lot of clean-up to go yet. By that kind of logic, Orlando will never recover, and our lives have now all gone permanently to hell, because, for the moment, we're suffering more now, post-hurricane season, than we were before it. "It's not PERFECT yet! Therefore our world will never be the same again!"]

And then this little gem: "... Hitler had been killing Jews for years before we got involved, and we got involved for a very clear-cut reason: Germany declared war on the United States."

No, that's just what finally gave FDR the formal justification and Congressional approval that he'd been itching for for 3 years. Hitler's declaration of war on America (and Mussolini's, which begrudgingly followed it) was just an empty show of "solidarity" with Japan (upon whom the U.S. had just declared war, for well documented reasons), in accordance with the terms of their Tri-Partite Pact (which created the so-called "Axis"). And FDR knew it. The Germans weren't about to invade us -- they were already fighting a two-front war with Britain and Russia -- and though they fully intended to step up their U-boat activity in the Atlantic, they were already sinking U.S. ships before that point, and we were already countering that with improved sub-chasers, and a torrent of Liberty Ships pouring out of American shipyards faster than the Krauts could sink 'em. So we didn't NEED to go to war with Germany right then, not for our own sake anyway (at least not immediately). It would actually have been a far more effective effort if we could have focused exclusively in the Pacific against the Japanese. But we chose to go after Germany as well because our allies needed us. Period. A war on the other side of the Atlantic (which could have been avoided if, as Bill suggested in his essay "POWER," FDR had taken the unilaterally unpopular action of stepping into the Rhineland, where the French would not, and turned back the Germans then, BEFORE the bloodbath could begin -- you know, like Bush just did in Iraq) -- that theater of the war was fought by us, when it was, because it just plain needed to be fought. Our closest friends were cornered, beleaguered, and nearly fought out, and we had the means to help them and reverse that tide. So we did.

And even then, it was very nearly too late.

You'd almost think we learned something from that.

Well, SOME of us did anyway.


Dear Joe,

You know, I never got the Juan Kerr / Wanker thing until you mentioned it.

There is a PhD thesis in a study of screen nicknames and what that says about the person who choses them. Wanker -- that is the name you chose when you try to convince people of your position? Winston Smith -- the poor everyman beaten down by the ever-present police state? What does that say about the man's view of the world?

(Although I am awfully fond of my friend, Emperor Misha I, the Hammer of Idiotarians! Sounds a lot more impressive than "Mike.")

Oh, hey Steve!

Well, at least you can type.

Now to "Aaror," who posted while I was lumbering through my last epic comment (apologies to all for that), you made some interesting points (some), and even had a few "ideas" that I agreed with, but I think some of your biases have twisted some of your historical "facts."

Like this one... "In my opinion, World War 2 was started by us before world war one started, by a US Admiral named Perry. If he hadn't forced a backwards agrarian country to accept western trade, they wouldn’t have had to attack us for oil."

Huh? Talk about a huge leap between two unrelated points. When Japan attacked us -- and they only attacked with that ONE act of aggression planned (they had no plans for an ongoing war or an invasion of U.S. soil) -- it was solely to neuter our Pacific fleet, which was the only thing that could thwart their plans for Imperialist expansion among the islands and coastlines of the Pacific. Period. Granted, one of the reasons they WANTED all those islands and coastal countries was for their oil -- and rubber, and iron, and a slew of other resources that we had effectively cut off with our embargoes -- but those embargoes were actions we'd taken (impotent actions, as far as I'm concerned) to persuade them to back out of Manchuria, and stop the infamous Rape of Nanking (you know, sorta' like those sanctions that everyone thinks we should have perpetuated over in Iraq). The Japanese were a proud, violent, feudalistic society, packed onto an overcrowded island, with a massive superiority complex, which, once it was exposed to the global stage, wanted a bigger piece of the pie (yes, I realize there's more to it than that). So Admiral Perry did not instigate them to invade Manchuria and attack Russia -- they did that all on their own. And our feeble gestures at thwarting their aggressions (by embargoing some critical resources from their shores) would SEEM to have been a kinder gentler way of getting them to back the hell down, in lieu of outright war. Unfortunately, all it did was compel them to strike out even further and more aggressively, hoping to snatch all the rich territory they could before the rest of the world moved to stop them. And as part of that, that kick in the nuts they gave us was only intended to grant them the time they needed to do that, while we sank to our knees and whimpered in a funny high voice.

You asked, "Should we have gone into Ethiopia and other areas for those people, only they don't have oil? Yes." You mean like Mogadishu, Somalia? Or Bosnia? Or maybe Grenada? Or Panama?

You said, "Wilson was an idiot, if he had stuck to his 17 points, and given up the League of Nations to prevent the sanctions against Germany, maybe Hitler wouldn't have happened."

First of all, NOTHING that he did would have prevented the sanctions against Germany. Nothing. Great Britain and France and even Italy wanted blood, and they were going to have it. Period. Wilson was just an interloper to them, an annoying starry-eyed outsider, who they put up with solely because of his popularity among the beleaguered citizens of Europe. He'd thought about walking out on the treaty talks altogether at one point, but (1) knew that, without his tiresome calls for mercy, that would only guarantee an even more unrestrained vengeance on the part of the European leaders, and (2) would doom his beloved League of Nations, which he believed was all-important in the long run. So he compromised, horribly, and ultimately without effect... but not because he was an idiot.

You said, "... but as Ghandi and Martin Luther King proved, will is stronger than any terror tactic."

Only if your enemy is willing to tolerate your strong will. If Ghandi had tried his tactics against a less enlightened state (like say, modern Iraq), he would have been quickly hauled off and either imprisoned or executed, and you would never have heard of him. The same for Martin Luther King. Both great GREAT men, whose contributions were critical to moving the world forward, even if only a little bit, but neither of whom would have lasted a month in a repressive totalitarian regime. Know thine enemy.

And this one... "And IMHO we didn't go into Iraq for any of the official reasons, we went in to piss off Osama [huh?], cause while he and Saddam hated each other, he attacked America for having troops in Kuwait [what? you mean, Saudi Arabia? I'll let Bonnie tell you all about Osama's deep moral callings], and by putting 135,000 troops in Iraq we are saying "fuck you very much," to him and those like him."

I think the key phrase in that whole confused statement was "IMHO," because it sure wasn't based on anything else.

And finally, on the home front, you said, "I believe stupidity is a crime, but not one the government should legislate against, whether it is wearing a seat belt or snorting cocaine, let the idiots die, and the rest of us are smarter and stronger for it."

If only the cocaine-snorters would be content to practice their self-destructive addictions in the privacy of their own homes. But they, like drunk drivers, tend to lose that deeply ingrained sense of self-restraint once their inhibitions have been smothered by whatever mind-altering substances they're into that day... and then they go out into public, where I live, and drive wasted, rob and steal to support their habits, and take others with them to their deaths. Not always, not all the time, and certainly not always the worst case scenarios, but frequently and indiscriminantly and unpredictably enough that legislation is most definitely called for... to protect others from them.

Anyhoo, enough. We all got the point.

And I talk too much.


This reminds me of the gift Jefferson had for putting fundamental principles into simple context for all to understand regardless of agreement or disagreement. You are awsome.

Absolutely magnificent. It brought a few tears to this nasty old SOB.

And a quickie back to Mr. Kerr again... I'm always glad to hear a reasoned contrary opinion. Really, I prefer it. Just don't expect a one-line blanket assertion about the war being a failure, or Abu Ghraib bringing the ruin of Western civilization, or Bush being an incompetent liar, to go unchallenged -- and pretty vehemently, I expect -- without some FACTS to back that up. I know those weren't all your statements... I'm generalizing here.

But, in answer to one of your last comments -- "... no-one can seriously compare Hitler and Saddam as a threat..." -- to that I must say, "Oh, but I can." In fact, Saddam had the potential to be far worse.

Ignoring all the historical similarities for now -- their parallel rises to power through brutality and violent coercion, Adolph's Jews vs. Saddam's Kurds, the Treaty of Versailles vs. UN 1441, their pursuit and use of WMDS (V2s vs. Scuds, gas chambers vs. gas attacks, and aspirations toward atomic/nuclear capabilities), their shared disdain for their neighbors and their complete disregard for the value of diplomacy, etc., etc., etc. -- Saddam came with the added threats of a track record of outright invasion, deep and far-reaching connections into the realms of global terrorism (a rising tide that needed to be stemmed regardless of any other considerations), a huge friggin' budget (supported by the underhanded dealings of our European betters), and access to weaponry vastly more destructive than anything Hitler could have dreamed of back in the 1940s. Worse yet, the longer he remained in power, undaunted by the pressures of the outside world, he grew stronger and stronger in the eyes of the Arab and fundamentalist Islamic world, which is a lot bigger and a lot nastier monster to have to beat back once it's been unleashed. Throw in that one wishful-thinking moment that was missed back then in the Rhineland, but which arose again here and now in the Middle East, and to ignore all these warnings and growing threats and this one big hairy opportunity to stamp out this fire while it's still but a spark, would have made us even more negligent and stupid than the last time around.

That's what I mean.


Damn... gimme' a day off, and jeez...

Well, between reading Bill's essay and every-single-comment my day is half over. But I'm so glad I did. This allows me to blow off a little steam at a couple people. I will try not to be overly rude.

At first I thought I would simply ignore Mr. Kerr, but I've changed my mind.

I will address Mr. Kerr directly by simply answering one question he has asked. "I appreciate Bill's argument and would love to actually talk to him. I accept your rights to be and think how you do. Can you look into your hearts and say the same to me?"

Yes, Mr. Kerr. I accept your rights to be and think how you do. That is what we are fighting for. But it is NOT, in any way, an acceptance of your ideals. And that, Sir, is what you seek.

Grey Matter is correct in his response to you. One does not throw out the whole barrel because one apple is spoiled. That too appears to be what you seek. If not, you are doing a very poor job of expressing yourself. You neglect to accept openly that these are issues separate from what is being articulated here. And being the smart humans we are, we are quite capable of multi-tasking. We can preserve what is good while on a different front, tackle other problems. I suppose there are threads out there which address the very issues you bring up. I suggest you go there and have a nice chat with someone there.

There is nothing surprising in your unsuccessful attempt to undermine so much of what Bill has said by claiming the high ground and attempting to "educate" we poor, uninformed patrons of this website with tales of deceit and thievery by corporations of which we apparently had no clue. Please. You insult me.

I found it amusing how you rolled over and showed Nahanni your belly so quickly. Your portrayal of yourself as "knowledge worker" turned "programmer" sent me into fits of giggling. Is that the new PC term for programmer? Your efforts to find common ground with Bill by claiming to be "on the libertarian side" left my jaw hanging, agape. Dear Sir, if you are a true libertarian then you are at odds with the bulk of what Bill has said here and in the past.

Has it occurred to you that many of us here simply reject your ideas and those ideas of the UN, which were constructed in another time and place? The UN is mired in a set of ideals bastardized by the mouthpieces of some truly despicable people. It is corrupt through and through and no longer acting in the best interests of the people it claims to represent. And we are to blame. But, we are just awakening from a nap and have something to say about it.

How you can look at what good is coming from this war, freeing a people from total tyranny, even with the hiccups along the way and still condemn it with your dictionary version of what constitutes a just war? And if you use the word sovereignty one time, you're out.

"Obdurate ground", eh? If we bend to your integrity and sense of justice will you stop using such adjectives on us? After all, all you want one to do is see the world your way. You already have one gentleman in your camp. Do you want us all? I'm sorry. It doesn't work that way.

I spent ten years of my life living with someone so clever that I could not make an argument for myself because his ways with the common word and warped logic could cut like a knife and reduce me to a shambles. Even though I knew in my heart he was wrong and manipulative and used these tactics for his purposes. I've gotten very good at detecting this type of person who would use a verbal sleight of hand to further their agenda. And I've found another here in you and Winston.

And my final word to you: "I can cope with you thinking you are right - you seem to have a severe inability to deal." No Sir, you cannot cope or you wouldn't be here using your thesaurus to smooth your way in. Like vaseline.

I, like many here, agree with Bill. Not you. Get over it.

And to Winston,

"...Iraqis have a much lower quality of life now that they did under Saddam Hussein." You are incorrect, sir. These are merely material things which we are, and many others are, pouring blood, sweat and tears into restoring. For once these things are restored they will have a MUCH better quality of life in that they will hopefully never again fear that midnight knock on their door.....

Instead, you would redirect attention, again as Mr. Kerr attempted to do, to anything that may not be working perfectly among a large group of imperfect humans. Can you not see the big picture? No, I don't believe you're capable because you're too busy finding fault with Eden.

Darfur and Uzbekistan have never had the capability nor the desire to do us harm. However, for whatever reason you refuse to admit, Saddam did and wanted to.

Al Gore and Jesse Helms have forgotten then? It doesn't matter any more? Your thinly veiled condemnation of Reagan does not consider the climate between America and the USSR at the time. Let's not be "selective" about our arguments on history.


I hope and pray if, God forbid, we fall at the hands of those who would focus on unrealistic and petty arguments, there will be enough of us left as brave as the Iraqis to reclaim our country, our dignity and our freedom.

And thank you, Bill, for fighting the good fight.

And to all of our soldiers writing here, nay, to ALL soldiers, I salute you. You have my undying gratitude.

GHS: I, for one, am glad you took the day off to play with us here. Sometimes it takes the presence of a huge, feakin' gorilla to get the attention of the unruly brats in the romper-room. You are magnificent!

Wuanker and W. Smith,

Sept. 11, 2001: islamo-fascist terrorists declare war on us in a murderous, dramatic attack.

We invite Taliban to surrender, they decline, and we topple Taliban.

For various strategic reasons, we pick Iraq as the handle we grab to fix things in the Middle East.

Our staunch ally, Great Britain, talks us into going to U.N..

The Security Council unanimously votes us authorization, but punts on giving us actual approval.

We topple Saddam in less time than it took Hitler to get France to surrender.

Libya decides its WMD's have become to hot too handle.

In less than three years, an internationally recognized democratic government is up and running in Iraq.

Democracy is now poking up through the tundra all over the region, most notably in Lebanon.

If you two fellows are debating in good faith, then good be on you. But very little of your argument makes sense to me.

If you are not arguing in good faith, then please consider that your views matter. If you contribute to undermining the political will in the U.S. to do the right thing, then you are lending aid and comfort to our enemies.


It is curious that my frustration with our civilizations refusal to identify our enemy, and use effective psy-ops against them, would spawn such a rant. We are supposed to understand and ignore their need to repeatedly desecrate our venerable symbols, yet never contemplate trashing theirs – hogwash. Good grief, it might piss them off and an American troop might die – if such mentality prevails, we might as well surrender now and start studying the Quran instead of burning it, for they will win in the end.

As for the treated ammo, suicidal attacks would cease if these vermin realized they would be applying for martyrdom with bodies in the “unclean state” of having imbedded essence of pig. Given your heritage, you may find the thought as horrifying as they would, but I suspect that if our troops were (even unofficially) to pass the word that they are lubricating their rounds with bacon grease, the rules of engagement would change among the Islamofacists. Imagine how effective simple squirt guns filled with diluted pig’s blood could be for defending the cockpit of an airliner from these fanatics. Once squirted, they would do everything possible to assure a safe landing so they could cleanse themselves before they die. As Bill has so eloquently elucidated, these miscreants take advantage of our weaknesses and violate every sanctuary of our civilization, why on earth should we ignore the foibles of theirs? This is not a game.

What an incredibly long wank for such a weak point.

People kill, dolphins kill. Human world is polluted by powerful corporations that take time and effort to control. The dolphin world is polluted by humans they can't control at all.

If someone kept pumping polllution through my window, I'd sure get a bit cranky too.

By the way, the Nazi similarities are obvious. The Reichstag fire/911. Blaming the enemy, invoking draconian security measures. Calling non-supporters unpatriotic. It's a classic, it's been done, and no fault for people remembering history and trying not to be doomed to repeat it.

Look here: it's all the proof you need that this is all wag the dog stuff.

I call bullshit on you Curmudgeon.

"Imagine how effective simple squirt guns filled with diluted pig’s blood could be for defending the cockpit of an airliner from these fanatics. Once squirted, they would do everything possible to assure a safe landing so they could cleanse themselves before they die"

Really effective in my imagination, especially considering that the (mostly Saudi) purported hijackers were documented many times in non Muslim behaviour. Drinking alcohol, visiting strip joints, etc..

I'm glad you believe the story though. The country needs some morons like you at least to fight for unjust made up wars.

"Really effective in my imagination, especially considering that the (mostly Saudi) purported hijackers were documented many times in non Muslim behaviour. Drinking alcohol, visiting strip joints, etc.."

... and then went through a careful ritualistic cleansing to prepare for their martyrdom mission. Ask a Muslim how effective it would be.

Awww, skeptic is upset because you dissed his dolphin friends.

I'm trying to think of an appropriate response but I'm laughing too hard.

Wow. A veritable cornucopia of passion, opinion and even a few facts! I note the discourse to be generally well hewn and meaningful.

I had the rare privilege to live and work among one of the monarchist, Islamist regimes. Bahrain is not a happy place and it is rife for reform. But far more grim was Iraq (albeit the southern portion). I was able to gaze upon once thriving ports in the Shaat-al-Aryab, still smoldering from their war with Iran.

It was a nation which had been plundered and abused by a few. It was used as a tool to finance a desire by its mad leader to consolidate all power under a new Arab Caliphate, although a secular leader vice the theocrat espoused by UBL.

I was very moved by your essay. It sums up many of the reasons why I and my brothers and sisters have chosen to serve (and by the way those who serve are not always limited to the armed services, although I am).

My own history was as a child of not insignificant privilege. Well educated, solidly middle class and of a healthy mix of Anglo-European ancestry. By any stretch, the picture of "American aristocracy". But in fact, I am an average Joe.

Your words, sir, point to the very reason I went to Southwest Asia, voluntarily. My grandfather fought in the first and second world wars, even working hard with allied powers to restore some stability to a decimated Italy and ruined Germany. My father fought in the Korean War in an action to stem communist aggression. Thanksfully, both returned home.

Now it is my turn. And this I do for the preservation of our Sanctuary buut also so that my own sons will not have to make that choice. But should the need arise, then I hope they have the courage, conviction and understanding of the need to preserve what we have built here in this nation. I suspect LT Kelley would agree.

Winston -

Any person with a heart and a brain supports the agenda you enumerate

Well and good.

Do you?

Do you support the wars that liberated Afghanistan and Iraq, the soldiers that carried them out, the countries those soldiers call home, the governments that had the moral strength to do what needed to be done?

If you do, why the incessent bleating about WMDs, when they were only ever one of the many reasons given for the war in Iraq?

and I still hold out hope that it comes to fruition, but history — during this operation and during Iraq's existence — is against this.

Well, you'd better get a new history book, because yours only seems to go up to the 19th century.

Ever heard of a country called Germany? Or Japan? Or for that matter, Italy?

The fact is that despite Saddam Hussein's brutality, the majority of Iraqis have a much lower quality of life now that they did under Saddam Hussein.

No, that is not a fact.

Many dedicated people from many countries are working to change this, and, again, I hope they succeed.

Yes. Most of them from the U.S. military.

But actions speak louder than words

They do. And as you just pointed out,

Many dedicated people from many countries are working to change this, and, again, I hope they succeed.

That's action. What else do you want?

and while the actions of individual Americans speaks highly of us all, the actions of those who sent them there, and who still set the agenda, doesn't read like the playbook of anyone cares at all about people.


They said they were going to remove the brutal regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

They did.

Politicians of all stripes lie, but numbers don't lie, and the numbers tell a story of arrogance and indifference.

What numbers might those be, Winston?

We have done the right thing. We are still there, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, doing the right thing. This is largely due to one man, President George W. Bush, who has set a new agenda of supporting democracy and freedom rather than expedience.


It was NEVER just about WMDs. NEVER. Read what was actually said before, during and after the war.

We did the right thing, for the right reasons. We did what we said we would do, for the reasons we said. And yet you continue to whine about it. WHY?

By the way, whilst on my poor berated matey Winston and 1984, do you not find the parallels between Osama and Emmanuel Goldstein just a wee bit scary?


I know what you are referring to, but only because I have been exposed to so much leftist insanity over the years.

The parallels are false. Bill Whittle called your posts sophistry, and he was exactly right.

In the real world, there are no such parallels. They exist only in your fevered imaginings.

I echo all the others, but this is absolutely brilliant.

As a professor said in class the other day, "you've got to be a democrat when you're young so you can be a republican when you're old." I'm so thankful I've always been "right!"


Over the years I've really enjoyed the anticipation that waiting for the Eject page to load has offered me. I was always quite eager to see what Mr Whittle would post next and quite honestly I have never been disappointed.

I've read every essay front to back and even then.....had to have the book. Bought it within 7 days of notification actually. Once it was received I dove through it like a man condemned....almost as if I'd never read a word that Bill had posted! I even offered my feeble promotional skills to try to get my little circle of influence to "see the light". Some did....some didn't.

Lately though, besides the obvious, I return to Eject (nearly daily mind you....)to read up on "our community" through the comment section and to see how others interpret our reality.

Without question the most entertaining reading that I've found on the internet is provided by those.....let's call them "objectors to the reality of life on Earth"....who would post here of all places and expect that their statements would be accepted as reality based on the fact that their opinion is their own, without basis in fact, truth or reasonable understanding of the situation.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion....this is true in this hemisphere at least. Can't say the same for other parts of this planet. As was so eloquently put during the last few days of posted even have the right to persuade others to your side. You do not however have the right to organize and overthrow the people because you didn't win a race.

I have to give the individuals who post opposing views credit for one thing though.........their courage is obvious. It would be better served if that courage was used to a better end than to win a pointless argument though.

Mr. Whittle: Thanks for the courage to help verbalize our stance. As a veteran of naval aviation (avionics technician) I can add that we've got your air cover along with the six provided by XO Kelly and our bro's Ernie and the Seabee's.

To the gentlemen who post "differing opinions"....I truly hope that you continue to make your arguments here...Bill's desire that you vacate the premises notwithstanding.....Mr Whittle's fans (including myself), while sometimes rabid in their defense of an issue have always proven to be fair and open. In my experience anyway. It's not about WMD's, or lies, or motives, or oil, or money, or ______ (fill in the blank). It's about education based on fact. Bill has taken up the flags beacons of educating those who care and listen to reason in an effort to add to a groundswell of momentum created by the actions of our President.

This can truly change the world.

Scary, huh Juan?


First, I can't believe I'm even responding to someone capable of making that "dolphins kill baby dolphins 'cause they're mad about pollution" comment. It sounds like one of those things that only a deeply stoned person would find profound.

To the main question: Can a person's opposition to the course chosen by his nation ever result in his patriotism legitimately being called into question?

Was Ezra Pound unpatriotic? Clement Vallandigham? How about Benedict Arnold?

I don't think anyone who actually believes half the stuff the Noam Chomsky/Howard Zinn crowd puts out could possibly be patriotic. Heck, if a person honestly thought America were as monstrously evil as many hard-core leftists seem to think, and still characterized himself as an American patriot, I'd think him terminally vicious. An evil country does not deserve people's patriotism; a patriot of an evil country is an evil person.

If the comment regarding dolphins killing baby dolphins due to stress over human factors was seriously meant, it's an excellent illustration of the profound chauvinism inherent in the disturbingly common position that when terrorists/terror states commit atrocities, it's our fault because we did or didn't do X or Y. A dolphin holds no moral responsibility because it's an animal. Absolving people of responsibility by essentially framing them as helpless reactors is putting them on the same moral level as animals. It's America-centrism of the deepest sort, because even as it castigates America, it also frames it as the only culture capable of moral responsibility.

I believe I've said this before but I think I should say it again. Thank you, Bill.

"The Nazi similarities are obvious," Skeptic?

You compare the Reichstag fire -- that Goering himself blatantly staged to turn the German population against the Communists -- with 9/11? Time to back down your dosages, son. And your other "comparisons?" -- "blaming the enemy" [WHAT? Blaming "the enemy" for something "the enemy" did? What Nazis we are!]... "invoking draconian security measures?" [like what? having to take your shoes off before getting on a plane? you think that compares to riots and mass-murders in the streets of Germany?]... and Gawd, WORST OF ALL, "calling non-supporters unpatriotic!" Man, thank God the Nazis didn't call their non-supporters "idiots," like I'm about to call you, 'cause then I'D be a Nazi.


Time to warm up my delete button, I guess.


I want to ask you Bill, where do you get the passion for this, i feel many of the things you do but could never see myself sitting down and devoting hundreds of hours to rant. Is there a catalyst for you, is the years of being someone you now loath fuel your need to do the afformentioned. Secondly, growing up in a culture like we have up here in 'bananada' I find myself to be conflicted for when do you determine when morality is a crutch as in when it causes one to become a communist and force ideals on others, and when is morality nessisary to civilization, wheres that line drawn?

I used to be infactuated with philosophers like Neiztche etc. but i now, just now, realise that they use clever oratory to confuse and be little the reader to the point that one forgets reality and slips into that shawdowy realm of immorality.

Help straighten out this confused canuck.

p.s. i too especially found meaning in the shakespearian revue of the 711 traveling back in time. Although im sure they had some kick ass orgys back then, something that modern morality frowns upon :( for shameeeee.

Thanks Bill.
I agree with your thesis.
Now onto some thoughts of mine own. We here in the states will always stand up for democracy and human rights. You do it and don’t think twice about the sacrifice it will cost. We have a obligation to the world to spread freedom. The Juan Kerr’s and Winstons of the world just don’t understand the obligation the U.S. has. We are the symbol of freedom in the world and yes the rest of the world is jealous for what we have done in 200 odd years or so. We are in a fight for the civilized world: Europe, Nippon, ect. The enemy does not want what we have they want to destroy our form of government and our ideal of what is just and true. The just and true is freedom and equality of the Enlightenment. The only way to deal with our enemies is to use force this is power politics at its finest. Might is Right.
Thanks for the time and space to put my thoughts out there CODA

A historical point -- it was routine, not occasional but routine, for U.S. and allied soldiers to execute captured Germans and Japanese in WWII. Ditto captured NVA in Vietnam, and especially captured Viet Cong. A generation of war movies have blinded us to this fact, but it's true. We're nice to the Iraqi regulars because we can afford to be, because in the conventional war we kicked the shit out of them with one hand tied behind our backs. It's just worth remembering that, when our backs are really to the wall, we can be as nasty as anyone else.

That being said, you're absolutely right condemning the flak Americans are taking for trying to protect themselves from ununiformed irregulars and guerilla fighters. Frankly you can take it a step further -- the insurgents WANT us to kill their civilians, because every one we kill is another dozen converts for them. Their strategy is to put us in a no-win situation -- either we sit in Iraq, blasting civilians while the population gets madder and madder, or we go home and they rebuild their dictatorship.

Here's the thing -- I hear a lot of boos from the left about how mean we're being to the poor Iraqis (which misses the point) and a lot of crap from the right about how things will get better if we just stay the course. These are both false. It's wrong to condemn a Marine for doing what he had to do in a combat situation, but it's equally wrong to pretend that what we're doing is getting the job done. What I have yet to see either side do is propose a viable solution instead of blaming one another.

To Juan and Winston,

If those are the criteria you put forward for a "Justifiable war", then I'll rest at ease. Seems to me the U.S. met all those requirements. Oh, and one small point. The U.S. does not require the permission of the "International Community" to declare war. That is a power delegated to the President with the approval of Congress in that quaint old document, the Constitution. While I'm sure you'd prefer that the U.S. did have to ask permission, we get back to that small "reality" thing that Bill talked about.

And if you feel that Saddam had no WMD, then perhaps you might wonder why the UN saw a pressing need to have continual checks on Iraqi facilities for a decade. Perhaps they just liked wasting money?


Your latest work reminds me of something the great Robert Ingersoll once said.

"We have already compared the benefits of theology and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few. To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins -- they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological times. But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average man of today -- of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago. These blessings did not fall from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars -- neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience -- and for them all, man is indebted to man."

Fantastic dead-on-balls-accurate piece of work!

Deserving of a standing ovation. Fantastic essay. This is the first time I've visited the blog. I will now make it regular reading.

I do believe I have a new favorite essay, superb job as always Bill. Still can't wait for the hardcover Silent America to be ready!

m-ehrhardt at northwestern dot edu

Originally posted by Juan Kerr:

"You are a bit hard on the Russians. You should know that the ordinary Soviet bore the brunt of the Nazi peril - as did the Chinese. Can you blame them for reacting against that? Sure the US came in at the end but who did the grunt work? Anyone who knows knows the Russians and Chinese sacrificed around 50 million in total which make them have a very different perspective to the anti Soviet invective of western boy's comics."

Well, let's see. The USSR entered WWII on June 22, 1941. The USA entered WWII on December 7th, 1941. That is a difference of around 5 and a half months by my off the cuff calculation.

Since the VE and VJ dates were the same for both combatants, tell me again how the US "came in at the end" as you so quaintly put it...



You are not a skeptic of any sort, but a credulous loon.

I am a skeptic. I can be reasonably certain of this, since I host three popular web forums for skeptics and am well known on two others.

Your assertions regarding dolphins are risible. Your assertions relating the Reichstag fire to the September 11 attacks are the vilest sort of historical revisionism.

At best, you are ignorant and deluded; at worst you are insane. Whichever may be the case, your views do not represent the world in which you physically reside, but rather some strange sad shadow-play you have constructed in your head.

Read all of Bill's works, read Little Green Footballs and Instapundit and Tim Blair every day and maybe, maybe there will be hope for you.

Once in a while a piece of truly great writing comes along, a piece of writing which reminds us of eternal truths. This essay is just such a masterpiece. Bravo.

Having said that, I hesitate to join in the pointless discussion about "just war." It seems as if the "anti-" crowd has cemented their beliefs. Nevertheless...

Violation of the terms of a duly negotiated and affirmed cease fire agreement is a valid and just causus belli, under all "international law" and the laws and usages of war. Upon such action, the aggrieved party can resume war immediately, without any other requirements or obligations to meet.

Did Saddam Hussein have such an agreement with the U.S. government? Yes.

This agreement stipulated that he destroy his WMD's under international oversight (among other stipulations and requirements). Did he do so? No. Thus, he violated the agreement.

There was a cease fire agreement, it was breached, and the U.S. is fully justified in resuming armed operations. QED.

Any other argument about WMD's and American motives is utterly irrelevant. In fact, the absence of Iraqi WMD's constitutes material proof of Hussen having violated the cease fire agreement.

There is no possible objection to these facts. They are clear, simple, and utterly true.

The Iraq War was a just war.

And, as an afterthought, it is impossible to argue that the U.S. and Iraq were at peace between 1992 and 2002. How many Iraqi missile sites (and other targets) did we bomb? How many U.S. jets did they shoot at? How many deaths on both sides? Does anyone remember "Operation Desert Fox?"

We may not have been pursuing a full-fledged war, but only a fool could argue that the U.S. and Iraq were at peace. That decade was but an interregenum between two different phases of the same war (much as 1917-1939 were).

Terrific essay. I listened to about one hour and thiry minutes so far in my car in the ipod. I used the mac speech engine, with a shareware program called Ispeakit to read the program into an AIFF file. Even with the computer voice of Victoria, female, 35, American, the sentiment came through loud and clear and I found myself laughing out loud many times and nodding in agreement.

A masterpiece, bravo.

Aren't we lucky to have the internet and Mr. Whittle.

Didn't see anyone moaning about uniforms when the American's fought for Independence, seem to remember them hiding amongst the populace just like modern jihadists, hiding arms in churches. Same for the French resistance in WWII. If your fighting the biggest military behemoth that ever existed you're hardly gonna meet them toe to toe.

The continental army, 50/50, were the BLUECOATS. The British army were the REDCOATS. And the militias that took place in the early part of the war went out into the field, and did not use human shields, or blow up Americans where the British might be gathered, or slit the throats of the tories that supported King George, or commit a million other acts of barbarism.

Aside from these few hundred thousand points of difference, your comment is spot-on.

For Winston Smith and Juan Kerr:

I am not going to debate you since you don't listen to anybody that doesn't agree with you. Like Mr. Whittle, I have had all I am going to take from your type.

We now have two branches of government and soon will have the third. We have made a start on the press and education. Even PBS and NPR are being reformed to reflect the real America. And, although impressive things have been done to reduce the power of the left, you haven't seen anything yet.

When we are done, you and your fellow travelers will have no power or influence in this country.

Why are we doing this? Why does someone like me, who has never been politically active, take to the streets and open our wallets? Because we are in a war that may destroy all that America and the West stands for and you are on the wrong side! You have chosen to stand with the enemies of civilization and I, and the millions that agree with me, will oppose you with all that we have.

President Bush chose the humane way to respond to the attacks of Islam. He has the power to destroy them completely, but has chosen the much harder way. He made a very American decision; a decision that no other country would have made. However, there is a different part of America that appears when we have been pushed too hard:

“In the last five months of World War II, American bombing raids claimed the lives of more than 900,000 Japanese civilians—not counting the casualties from the atomic strikes against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is more than twice the total number of combat deaths that the United States has suffered in all its foreign wars combined.

"On one night, that of March 9-10, 1945, 234 Superfortresses dropped 1,167 tons of incendiary bombs over downtown Tokyo; 83,793 Japanese bodies were found in the charred remains—a number greater than the 80,942 combat fatalities that the United States sustained in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.”

The Jacksonian Tradition by Walter Russell Mead

Don't misunderstand me. I am not proposing all-out war on Islam. I am just making the point that we are going to win this war; humanely if we can, but we will win.

Sam Hall

In Part 1 you have brought the Gettysburg Address into the 21st century and invoked the spirit of the founders "...we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

In Part 2 you have presented an apologetic for the superiority of western civilization and philosophy, the direct descendants of Judeo-Christian thought and belief.

Thank you, Bill Whittle.

Wow.Simply, wow. Great work, Bill!

It's nice to see that other people notice how fucked up and pampered our society has become. Reading the one part about the cork in his mouth made me think about all the times you see the kids in the store and how you would like to slap their parents for raise kids like that. It would be nice if just writing and article could change the way people act, but at lease it shows their are other who think this world is full of babies who really should learn what hardship is.

Mr. Whittle,

Billiant essay. I've come to expect nothing less.


With all due respect, I'm not so sure the problem is that we as a society are pampered. I, for one, say to any new comforts, luxuries, or conveniences coming down the pike: "Bring 'em on...". The problem seems to me to be one of a desire for the one thing that the Pharoe in Bill's essay had that we can't get at our local 7-11 - power over others. After all, what was it that ponytail guy demanded of the airport screeners, their subservience ("Say please...")? Why do you think that third rate celebrities feel that the rest of us should take their views as particularly significant? Why do trolls like Winston Smith or Juan the Curr post unsolicited, undefended, and unrelated pronouncements on Mr Whittle's comments. In all of these cases we see induhviduals unsatisfied with the miraculous well-being that our civilization offers them, instead wishing that others should submit to their wishes and judgement unquestioningly.

Bill D., while I don't have any problems with what you wrote, writ large, I do have a problem with saying that we're not a pampered society. I'll be the first to admit that I am. I have no idea what it means to scrap for everything I have, to be under the thumb of a Saddam. What I do have, and what many on the far left do not, is a sense and appreciation for history and basic human nature, which, as you say, is all about power. I would also suggest that ANY pampered society will produce "Juan Kerrs" and
"Winston Smiths" who denigrate the very society that gives them the freedom to do the denigrating. At bottom, theirs is idiocy, but, alas, that is also part of the human condition.

My bad, Bill D., you didn't say we weren't a pampered society...I misread you, sorry.

First time to this site and... wow! I intend to return and see what I've been missing in your archives.

Comments on FR here:

People recognized the quality of it instantly.

btw, those who enjoyed this might enjoy this essay, by a liberal in favor of the Iraq war.
'A friendly drink in a time of war' by Paul Berman:

I send this to liberals opposing the war frequently.

Thank you Bill for a penetrating and insightful essay.

For all those concerned about our war being a just war, please read the Koran, the Hadith of Bukhari and al-Muslim (available on the web, just google) and the Life of Mohammed by Ibn Isaq. These books form a seamless story of motivation for war, tactics of war and examples to follow for warriors. Islam is a political ideology covered by a veil of religion that seeks have the world submit to its constitution and laws(sharia),
its customs (arabic becomes the preferred language veiling, multiple marriage, and the denigration of women).

We are so arrogant, all of us, leftist, liberal and conservative, that we will not believe what the jihadis and imams tell us over and over again. Jihad (WAR) has been declared on us all, a war where the enemy has sacred sanction to lie, cheat, steal and disregard any treaty made by unbelievers.


Once again you blow me away. Your passion and willingness to direct it to writing your essays is wondrous to behold. Thank you from one who is in awe of your abilities.


Bill, thank you and God bless. If Kim & Connie had not linked to your essay, I might not have discovered your site for awhile. Your writing has touched my heart. It covers so many emotions, and is one of the best examples of a constructive expression of anger and indignation I've personally read or witnessed. Because it is steeped in truth, it is at turns humbling, painful, compassion-stiring, encouraging, and ultimately spirit-lifting. I cannot wait to read your next essay! But judging from the other comments, learn patience I must. I will definitely be sharing this one, with the same caveat that they first grab a cup or two 'o joe, cuz they'll be parked here for awhile ;-)


An impressive piece of work. Pity the people who most need to read it are the ones who will only read it with an eye for tearing up the rhetoric instead of grasping the underlying ideas.

And it looks like you need to install a comment spam protector. Sigh.

"Politicians of all stripes lie, but numbers don't lie, and the numbers tell a story of arrogance and indifference." Winston Smith

"There are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Mark Twain, IIRC. Correct attribution?

I highly recommend the 1632 stories, by Eric Flint and co-authors, to anyone who enjoys science fiction - or any other kind of good adventure story. The premise is that a far-future society had a major accident with one of their time machines, as a result of which an entire West Virginia mining town, population about 3000, was transported back in time to the year 1631 and dropped into central Germany, in the middle of the 30 Years War. The year 1632 is when things began to get interesting; so far the stories have reached a year 1634 that is rather unlike the one in our history books. In order to survive, these few outtime Americans have had to find the other Americans in Germany, the ones with foreign passports who were not lucky enough to be born in our time and place, and recruit them into launching the American and French revolutions about 150 years early.

Whenever I read one of these stories, I think about the material wealth I enjoy as an ordinary American. Just yesterday I took several containers made from lightweight, flexible material, with screw-on lids that could seal the contents completely safe from dirt, decay, and disease organisms. I put these into a bag made from film so thin that it takes four or five layers to add up to the thickness of one sheet of ordinary typewriter paper; and yet this thin film is absolutely leakproof and would make a fantastic lining for the water barrels of a seagoing sailing ship, vintage 1632. I bought that marvelous bag to be thrown out, and I used it to hold those lightweight, flexible screw-lid bottles en route to the recyclers. The people in the 1632 stories had no money that was acceptable back then, but they had plenty of similar plastic doodads that they could sell. And the natives of that time and place judged them to be extremely rich.

And of course those Americans were wealthy, not in cash but in attitude and knowledge. The can-do American spirit quickly led a group of teenagers to attack a major problem: no more snack foods. The first one that they reinvented was potato chips.

Those Americans in 1632 had lost their sanctuary, and have to fight hard to reestablish it. We in 2005 have not, but we still need to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic. Bill's essays are an important part of that battle. So thank you, Bill.

I applaud you. Couldn't have said it better. Thank you for writing this.

It's sad that the people you're trying to reach are the least open to the idea. The left loons who have commented here so far, and will no doubt continue to comment, are all the proof we need of what intellectual midgets they are. They've got nothing to refute your words with, so instead they post insults and ad hominem arguments. How typical. People who claim to be for love, peace and tolerance are the very people who have the least of all three (if any at all) in their hearts.

on May 20, 2005 02:20 AM juan kerr said,

"I hope I can touch the Juan Kerr in all of you."

Try it and you'll pull back a bloody stump.

To Juan Kerr:

The war was legally legitimate: authorized by Congress and the UN resolutions (not that we need the latter, since we aren't RULED by the untied nations), as well as being a continuation of the first Gulf War. Saddam never stopped shooting at our fighters.

The war is strategically legitimate: Saddam had given material support to the jihadis, all sorts, and was capable of aiding them in a catastrophic strike against our nation.

Tactically legitimate: Iraq was the lowest-hanging fruit, the despotic Arab regime easiest to pick off. Our gov't. drove a wedge in the islamic wall with this hammer blow.

Justified by the threat: for the MILLIONTH TIME (God, you people are exhausting), Every Single Major Intel Agency On the Planet, Including France and Russia, said there WERE weapons of mass destruction in Hussein's arsenal.

Why didn't we find them? because they had enough time, because of leftist hand-wringing about going to the cesspit of the UN, to smuggle them into Syria, their fellow Ba'athist dictatorship.

War profiteering? A LIE. Halliburton is the ONLY AMERICAN COMPANY that is capable of handling the logistical needs of the American military in theater. You are suggesting that we use a FOREIGN firm in a WAR?

Over 70 of their employees have died. Their subsidiary, KBR, that handles the Iraq operation, LOST so much money on the deal that Halliburton tried to sell it off.

Finally, they are the same firm, under the same contract arrangement, that CLINTON used in the Bosnian war. But that was OK, because Clinton is a Democrat! right.

As far as the contract with Halliburton goes, the war dept. has many such contracts: they are settled in advance of the need, so you won't have to go through the protracted bidding process with umpteen suppliers before you go to war. Got that?

You people have cement between your ears, and no amount of argument and logic can crack it.

I'm going sailing.

Sometime ago it seemed to me that one of the problems consistently on going, is the fact that despite being in the majority in Congress; both houses and having the Executive office as well; we continually get out foxed.

That is is we (conservatives) play by the rules, ethics, the right and wrong of issues, Christian principles: while our fellow members play a no holds barred kind of fight. And fight it is. We honor situations where in truth it is the right thing to do.
The left uses every possible attack, twisting the facts, lieing straight out and using threats (FBI reports) (IRS audits) etc., outright falsehoods; all the while claiming the higher ground. "It is all for the poor, the disenfranchised, the needy homeless, our childrens education, our abused childrens welfare" .... It is a litany without end and unfortunately it still "sells" to the citizens that believe them; and do not take the time to check the facts for themselves.

I've been listening to ACLJ [American Center for Law and Justice] radio call in program. Many of the calls are concerning the Judical Fillibuster rules in the Senate. The calls reveal a shocking lack of knowledge as to the facts. Not understanding the issue. Often it is misunderstood as changing the Constitution. Just one example of how effective the media and their presentation of the liberal view or side of the issue. The truth that it is unprecendented, and unconstitutional is rarely brought clearly in their understanding.

The Democrats have used these same old tired issues for 40 years without end. Almost half of the nation now either works for the government or receives welfare checks; and now new houses , so they can own a home of their own. It is a primary concern for them and it seems anything else just flies over their heads.

When we bring to bear the reality of current happenings, it is discouraging. True, we are surrounded by miracles and have the best life ever attained by men. To see it (our country and way of life) threatened by sudden downfall, is not far fetched. We are too distracted by the obvious mis-direction to see the undermining of the foundation of our house. THE FALL OF WHICH WILL BE GREAT.

Bill, thank you, for an insightful, interesting essay. I have sent it to several friends. I agree with you and like your analogies.

To get people to think is difficult as evidenced by some on this thread. Keep up pouring out your way with words. They are effective, making ever widening ripples in the fabric of thought.

B.'s point bears repeating:

"...the [UN Security] council was an inappropriate Authority to grant such permission, as three member nations – France, Russia, and Germany had economic ties with Saddam’s regime that would constitute a CONFLICT of INTEREST. Russia was the largest provider of weaponry to the Iraqi regime, despite international bans on such sales to Iraq. France and Germany have been shown to have had numerous oil contracts with Saddam, some done through the UN’s corrupt Oil for Food program, and some through under the table arrangements which would have violated economic sanctions that should have been enforced by the UN." [emphasis mine]

Also, the canard that we supplied Saddam with his WMD is just that: a canard. America sold him just one percent of his armaments, even when we were backing him against the evil Khomeini.

Good source on the pros and cons of the war: David Horowitz's pamphlet, "Why We ARe In Iraq: And Why Some Americans Want Us to Lose the War", available at .

Footnote: the Democrats who are incensed at Bush have managed to forget that, though Bush sought and obtained consent from both Congress and (partial) from the UN, Clinton didn't bother with either in his war on Kosovo. But that was OK with them, because he was their man.

Logic, logic, logic.

Wow!! Thank you for writing this.

Superb, and a real service to us all. Thanks! I've linked to you on my little blog.

You mention that one of the wonderful things Pharaoh will find in the 7-11 will be medicine against pain, allowing him and his children a few moments free of pain. But in Pharaoh's own time the most potent analgesiac known to man, opium, was readily available - and to this day man hasn't invented anything better. The effectiveness of the pain medicines available at a 7-11 doesn't come anywhere near that.

Thanks Bill, it was well worth the wait.

I know this is for comments about the essay and website, but I hope you will permit me this one indulgence:

I just want to say thank you to all of you active duty/retired military, who are/were willing to be the sanctuary for people you have never and may never meet. I salute you!

I'm 72 and believe this to be one of the greatest essays, if not the greatest, that I have ever read. It should be required reading in all high schools and by the fools we elect to public office. I'm looking forward to more of your work.

Like commenter Lowell Brown, I am going to link this on my blog. I feel privileged to have read this.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! All Americans need to read this!!!

Henry Sturman, my friend, opium is highly addictive and very harmful. Go check out a heroin clinic and enjoy the emaciated junkies if you don't believe me.

Aspirin and derivatives (ibuprofen and acetominophen) are not addictive, they don't bond with endorphin sites in the brain and they stop pain beautifully.

Pain relief in our civilized 7-11 is refined, safe, measured and clean. Opium is none of those.

I have no words.

Luckily, I don't have to - Bill has all we need.

The only thing I have to say that I am sure Bill would never say is:

Thank you, Bill. Our lives are more complete for having had the honor to read your essays.

You are a national treasure.

Someone on another thread (FR) had an idea to get this in the Congressional record. I'm not sure how to go about this, but I bet some of you do. [I know Senator Wellstone was able to stick a whole host of editorials opposing Welfare Reform in there.. blech...]
Let's make it happen!

btw Bill, I linked to this loud and clear on my site.

Bill Whittle: you've probably heard it a million times. But I've gotta say it once more: brilliant!

I’m definitely buying your book.

Although I can't say I agreed with all of your premises initially, by the end I was both, completely convinced of, and inspired by all of your points.

I’ve been visiting your site and other weblogs for a couple years now, so I’m certainly not new to the blogosphere. But I’ve decided to start my own blog. And whatchaknow! A link to your essay is actually the first post of my new-born blog,

Once again, terrific work. Thank you Bill, and I can’t wait until your next essay!

Drat, once again interrupting the attempt to read all comments because disgust has overcome sense:
Posted by Asma on May 21, 2005 08:55 AM:
Thank you Bill for a penetrating and insightful essay.

For all those concerned about our war being a just war, please read the Koran, the Hadith of Bukhari and al-Muslim (available on the web, just google) and the Life of Mohammed by Ibn Isaq. These books form a seamless story of motivation for war, tactics of war and examples to follow for warriors. Islam is a political ideology covered by a veil of religion that seeks have the world submit to its constitution and laws(sharia),
its customs (arabic becomes the preferred language veiling, multiple marriage, and the denigration of women).

We are so arrogant, all of us, leftist, liberal and conservative, that we will not believe what the jihadis and imams tell us over and over again. Jihad (WAR) has been declared on us all, a war where the enemy has sacred sanction to lie, cheat, steal and disregard any treaty made by unbelievers.

You know, while the US military is briefing us on the difference between Wahibists and real Muslims, folks like you are perpetrating the stereotypes that make peace so hard to achieve. e.g. According to the Koran, christians and Jews are the Brothers of Muslims, and therefore you CANNOT declare a Jihad against them. You can only declare a Jihad against witches and other unbelievers, not just folks who don't, by the Muslim point of view "know the whole truth." Wahibists believe that christians, Jews, and any Muslims who disagree with them are unbelievers, and therefore can legitimately be the targets of a Jihad. Over 90% of the Muslim population are not Wahibists, and while some of them don't like us, and might even go to war with us, know that they cannot declare a Jihad against us. The Wahibists want us to lump all Muslims together, so that more Muslims will be forced into the Wahibist mindset. Religious tolerance on the part of the US is the biggest threat to Wahibists.
Curmudgeon, I still find your callous disregard for the way many in the Islamic world would react to your comments, and for the lives of the American Soldiers: "Good grief, it might piss them off and an American troop might die," deeply disturbing. Maybe as an American troop, I care more about this than you do...
Great Hairy Silverback, in some cases you were right, when I write to quickly (aka rant) I tend to lose focus, but a few responses: Wanted to make sure you knew the admiral Perry I was referring to was the one who forced Japan to open trade with the us back in the late 1800's, not the one enforcing the blockade. My opinion is that if we had not muscled our way in, Japan might not have industrialized (not saying they wouldn't have, France or Great Britain could have gone into Japan if we hadn't), if Japan had not industrialized, and sought to emulate western colonies, they would not have invaded China, needed oil, or launched a strike against the American Pacific Fleet in Hawaii.
Point taken on Somalia, Bosnia, etc. but why didn't we support the Sunni revolt in Iraq when Clinton was pres?
Wilson still didn't help Vietnam, and I still think the league was less important than lower sanctions against Germany.
I still say that the American troops in Iraq are a slap in the face to Osama, his declared purpose in 911 was to protest American troops in Saudi Arabia (not Kuwait, you are correct), and by putting troops in Iraq we are stating unequivocally that we will not only not back down in the face of terrorism, but will spit in your face too if you are a terrorist.
As for drugs, yes, people steal to support drug habits, which is because drugs are so expensive, which is because of the costs of risk taken by drug smugglers. Why don't we hear about Great Britain's drug problem? Could it be that they had a program where addicts could get a legal, supervised fix of certain drugs, in exchange for turning in their dealers and signing up for a treatment plan? Of course talking about that makes you "weak on the war on drugs..." Most of the points made about drug users being a threat to society are based on things they are forced to do by the war on drugs...some simple economics, if you get 2 years for drugs, and 15 years for murder, you are not likely to kill someone to avoid a drug charge, if there is a mandatory 10 year sentence for drug pushing, and this makes the prisons so full that you let murderers out in 6, it makes sense to kill anyone who might send you to prison for a drug charge. Has drug related violence gone up or down since we started cracking down on drugs (note, I am asking about violence, not convictions, not people put in prison, but how many people die because dealers kill them?) In truth I don't know, nor do I have the statistical background or time (gotta do payroll for sailors) to look it up.
I will tell you about Andy though. Andy was an acquaintance of mine up in Alaska (not a friend, I didn't know him that well, but I would say hi to him when we passed on the trail from the dorms to the college). Andy was murdered by someone who had been put in prison for murder once before. After the murderers conviction, but before Andy's death, Alaska made Marijuana illegal, and there wasn't enough prison space, so a few folks convicted of other crimes were let out on parole. One of them was a man who had been sent to prison for murder 6 years earlier, who killed again less than a year after his release. A lot of people who know Andy wonder if jailing a marijuana grower was worth letting his murderer go free? This is ancedotal evidence, and not statistical, it proves nothing, but I would hope the purpose of this forum is to raise questions, raise the level of thought of the American electorate...
Which leads to my next rant, 50% of the population doesn't vote, 90% of the remainder vote for a political party and don't know their candidates from Adam, and of the remaining 10% of 50%, most will vote based on the last 30 second sound bite they heard. What happened to the ideal of the American Renaissance man? There was a time when Jefferson and Hamilton exchanged long, heartfelt letters expressing their views, remember Clay and Calhoun and Webster? Why can't we drag the politicians back into the political debates of old? And why can't the American voter pay attention to more than a sound bite or the color of a campaign banner? I can't claim to be part of the solution, but at least I see the problem. Maybe the problem is the two party system... countries with three or more parties seem to have more interesting debates, and a higher voting rate, but those countries have a parlement...

"My opinion is that if we had not muscled our way in, Japan might not have industrialized (not saying they wouldn't have, France or Great Britain could have gone into Japan if we hadn't), if Japan had not industrialized, and sought to emulate western colonies, they would not have invaded China, needed oil, or launched a strike against the American Pacific Fleet in Hawaii."


If Japan had not industrialized, they would be a country of subsistence farming peasants instead of a major contributor to global economic and technological advancement. Nobody forced them to invade China, they did so of their own proud, imperialist volition and paid the price for it. They clearly function as a first-world, industrialized society without the need for imperialist conquests today, and would have done just fine if they hadn't tried it before WW2. To the Japanese today, Admiral Perry did them a great service by driving them toward industrialization. It was their own mistake to invade China, NOT Admiral Perry's or America's.

LT Kelly,

You shocked me with the comment about Michael Moore being Second Unit Director on Raiders of the Lost Ark, so I looked it up at

IT'S True!,, Except that it's a different guy. Michael D. Moore, born 1914 (not 1954 as was Mr. Moron)

The REAL Michael D. Moore starting acting as a child, in 1919, began as an assistant/2nd unit director in 1951 and began directing with an episode of 'Bonanza' in 1959. He's been involved in nearly 100 movie projects including many classics.

Mickey Moron, on the other hand, can't spell classic.

I still really enjoy 'Raiders' you nearly gave me heart failure.

No worries, though, I only pick 'cause it's fun....

Thanks for your service. I hope you hang around the Guard for a long time; we need folks like you.


“Maybe as an American troop, I care more about this than you do...”

Wrong. I have personally had to kill terrorists armed with AK47s, up close and personal, probably before you were born. My concern and affection for our troops is boundless. If I had a button that could eradicate every single Jihadi and his entire family, I would push it in a heartbeat to prevent a single additional casualty on our side. That said, I don’t have that button, and we must win this war between civilizations – decisively. Tiptoeing around Muslim sensibilities sure isn’t keeping the vermin from beheading our civilians is it? They only understand strength, and see our rules of engagement as signs of weakness. Eventually, we are going to have to take the gloves off. BECAUSE I care for our troops, I vote for sooner rather than later. Read the chapter on Hama Rules in Thomas Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem.” I suspect most American Warriors are less than intimidated at the sight of savages screaming, burning flags, and killing each other in the “Arab Street.” As our CINC famously said, our troops are well trained and up to the task, so “Bring them on.”

Why are people citing the Koran and the Bible as justification for war tactics?

The truly sad thing about this war is that we're unwilling to admit -- objectively -- that it was launched in a false premise.

Had Bush and others used the reasoning in this article to go to war, and convinced Congress that way, then they'd have a legitimate effort on their hands (albeit, one I disagree with because you cannot "force" democracy on a population who don't want it badly enough to rise up and demand it).

Sadly, though, they didn't.

And while the loony left and neocon right clash with their absolutist rhetoric over the fundamental evil imperalist nature of the USA versus her utter benevolence, light and professionalism, the rest of us who opposed this war on practical grounds continue to see our worst fears realized. While you guys blame the other guys in the domestic political scene and vice versa.


Simply awesome reading and time well spent by me this morning. Thank you Bill and thanks also to all our men and women in uniform protecting my family and me.


As an Israeli I had my wake-up call one year earlier. I also would like to tell you, take courage. Ordinary people have the courage, the strenght and the resilience to overcome the menace of radical Islam.

G'mornin' Bri. Interesting comment. I didn't agree with a lot of it, but it got me thinking, and that's arguably the single greatest benefit of this medium.

For starters, you said, "The truly sad thing about this war is that we're unwilling to admit -- objectively -- that it was launched in a false premise."

Not only do I disagree with that, but the way it was phrased implies that in order to have reached the conclusions I've reached, I had to consciously refuse to face the "facts." Which I cannot help but resent -- which, in turn, as the regulars all-too-well know, then leads to me respond with longwinded retaliations. And all because of the tone of your statement. Not pretty. So for the sake of maintaining good relations, I'll presume that you didn't mean it that way, and will instead respond thusly...

(1) If you came to this site looking for a non-committal discussion between "practical objectors" like yourself -- maybe a soft-spoken debate over the economic merits of the war, or its moral relevance, or its long-term diplomatic impact -- you missed your mark. The whole point of this particular blog is to give an erudite and intelligent citizen of the United States a forum for expressing his points of view on numerous issues that have, over time, outraged him -- a place where, on his own dime, he can have a voice to counter the rising tide of outrageous lies and slanders and uninformed insanity that have been flowing, unchecked, from "The Other Side" -- from the EXTREME END of The Other Side -- and from The Other Side of the other side of the oceans as well. Bill chose to do battle with the most virulent and reprehensible of that ilk, and as such, to be even remotely effective, he has to use oratorical weapons of at least equal vehemence. To do anything less would have been to waste the effort (as well as the money he spends every month to keep this bandwidth open).

So, if you want to hear the worst lies -- the broadest off-target generalizations, the most radically rewritten histories, the unfounded conspiracy theories, the most self-destructive criticisms, and the most rabid uninformed charges -- challenged (and, IMO, defeated), with facts, reasoning, verifiable historical data, and a little refreshing wit, you've come to the right place. This is where "Their" nastiest attacks are met with "Our" biggest and most accurate guns (so to speak). But if you don't like the loudness or the intensity of the counter-barrage, you might want to go elsewhere for your rhetorical battles.

(2) Though it can be argued that President Bush did a lousy job of "selling" this war to the American people (and Bill addresses that at length in his earlier essay "WAR"), that is still a far cry from a "false premise." Somehow, despite these supposed misrepresentations, people on "this side" of the debates understood just exactly what was going on right from the beginnning. In fact, Bill's first 5 or 6 essays (before "HISTORY" and "VICTORY") were written months before combat was initiated. In "DETERRENCE," Bill quoted from President Bush's 9/12 speech some pretty danged clear guidelines for the prosecution of the upcoming "War on Terror." The members of Congress had access to the same intelligence as the President with regards to the threat imposed by Iraq, and many -- pre-9/11 -- delivered their own little grand "pillar-of-strength" speeches about the forcible actions that were going to be required soon if Saddam didn't start acting like a responsible head of state.

There were no mysteries here. Maybe some shock that, for once, it looked like we were actually going to go where we SAID we were going to go -- actually backing up the bluster with some long-promised action -- but no surprises. The WMD assessment was not a "LIE" -- in the long run, I don't even think it will prove to have been exaggerated (hell, we still haven't found Jimmy Hoffa, and I'm pretty sure HE existed)-- it might have been incorrect or misinformed, but that's still NOT A LIE -- Saddam, for all the reasons repeatedly expounded upon here, was most definitely every bit the imminent threat to us that he was portrayed as, and the establishment of a democratic beachhead over there was done, first and foremost, for OUR benefit... for OUR security, and to finally start the necessary clean-up of that cesspool over there. The benefits that the Iraqi people will ultimately garner from this change is a bonus, a glorious one to be sure, but secondary to the securing of our own safety and freedom.

And I don't see how any of this conflicts with the President's earliest statements. It goes further perhaps, and into a lot more detail, but I wouldn't expect -- hell, I wouldn't WANT -- my President to broadcast all his strategic objectives over CNN.

And finally, (3) about not "force[ing] democracy on a population who [doesn't] want it badly enough to rise up and demand it...", that's very easily said by someone sitting behind the walls of this Sanctuary. I try to imagine how far a rebellion could grow in a country where every unsupportive word or gesture is met with secret police in the night, where there is no freedom to assemble, no place to amass or train a sufficiently formidable "army," and where the oppressive regime is so deeply entrenched and widespread that even assassination would only bump up the next potential despot waiting in line. None of this makes it impossible, but it damned sure makes it terminally dangerous, and virtually guaranteed to fail. The people could be aching for a release from that kind of cultural bondage, but be incapable of it themselves without outside help. You could argue that that wasn't the case here, but I would argue that the overwhelming surge to the Iraqi ballot boxes implies that it was.

So my understandings here have nothing to do with any "unwillingness to admit" anything, and the "absolutist rhetoric" here is serving a very conscious purpose, and is, as such, directed at the most extreme elements on the other side of the fence.

And if that's not what you want to hear, then don't torture yourself any further by coming back.


Mr. Whittle: I have been running around frantically trying to put words to a concept. I am both delighted and dismayed that you have done this for me. The idea that we (Americans), and especially the post-veitnam generation, have never experienced the hardship required to gain perspective. We have been so far removed from the realities of the human condition that we do not have the scope of thinking required to appreciate our current culture. We think this is NORMAL. It isn't. Humans have lived in conditions that we would consider misery for all of human history. Would any of us go back 100 years? 200? 500? And yet, with such things so close to us historically, we still don't remember how close we are to it, how fragile our reality is. I have been attempting to congeal those random thoughts into a coherant thesis for awhile. Thanks for doing the work for me.
Mark in Missouri

Posted by Curmudgeon on May 22, 2005 01:11 AM:

“Maybe as an American troop, I care more about this than you do...”

Wrong. I have personally had to kill terrorists armed with AK47s, up close and personal, probably before you were born. My concern and affection for our troops is boundless. If I had a button that could eradicate every single Jihadi and his entire family, I would push it in a heartbeat to prevent a single additional casualty on our side. That said, I don’t have that button, and we must win this war between civilizations – decisively. Tiptoeing around Muslim sensibilities sure isn’t keeping the vermin from beheading our civilians is it? They only understand strength, and see our rules of engagement as signs of weakness. Eventually, we are going to have to take the gloves off. BECAUSE I care for our troops, I vote for sooner rather than later. Read the chapter on Hama Rules in Thomas Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem.” I suspect most American Warriors are less than intimidated at the sight of savages screaming, burning flags, and killing each other in the “Arab Street.” As our CINC famously said, our troops are well trained and up to the task, so “Bring them on.”


Sorry about the long quote, but having read it a few times for editing/quoting purposes, I couldn't find anything to trim.

Like you, curmudgeon, I have faced shots fired in anger, and I agree with you 1000%. Some of these kids(and sadly, adults) have no idea.

They (whoever "they" are. Probably some beancounter/statistician somewhere) wouldn't let me go back for various health reasons, but I would go in a heartbeat.

When are they going to learn? When buildings start falling again? When we have to watch an assault on OUR land, again?

When I was a boy, and the proud son of an Army CSM, I would listen as my dad and some friends would pontificate far into the night about some opposing arguments about Viet Nam(actually, the terms were limp d***ed, pantywaisted, pinko Commiesymp, etc.)

These conversations were few and far between, because they all served, and WERE serving at various times while all these conversations were going on.

Then came my time.

I have to admit, as I got on the bus, and showed up for what was going to turn into Basic, AIT, and Airborne training,(followed a few years later by Ranger School) I had some reservations. (tiny understatement, there.)

On the other hand, I had the faith of those that had gone before. This is AMERICA. We ARE the shining light, the liberators of the world. If I had to go there(wherever) and do that,(whatever) then I would go forth in the surety that what I did was Right.

OK, that was melodramatic, but that's how a great many of us felt.

Then during the Reagan years, they sent me.

Uh oh.

Central America. Fighting the drug wars.(as if anyone cares now.) Apparently aiding and abetting LTC. North and the rest on stuff that CNN and all media would condemn us for.(but still needed to be done.)

I wouldn't take a minute of it back. (of course, there are some minutes that I wouldn't want to do again, having gotten older and fatter in the meantime.)

Having said all that, and gone off on an unintentional rant, I'd just like to say that the young men and women that we send out are there because they wanted to go. Did they have last minute doubts? Sure they did. Did they regret it. Sure. When lead is flying, and blood is in the air, I'll bet they did.(I did!)
It is easy to sit here, behind the anonymity of a computer and pontificate about what we "shoulda, woulda, coulda" done.

We are doing the right thing in Iraq.

Is it easy? No.

It it quick? No.

Will we regret it? I'm no Nostradumas, but I don't think so. When the smoke has cleared, and all the second guessing has been done, I truly beleive that history will show us to have been in the Right.

Ok, I'm done. Sorry to have wasted so much bandwidth, but some stuff had to be said.

Keep our young men and women in your prayers as they serve.

Oh yeah, the reason for all this was:


'Nuf said.

I hurried over to the site as soon as I heard that it was updated, and I must say that it made my day.

Reading your essays almost always helps me clarify my more inarticulate thoughts and this essay was no exception.

Wonderful work. Welcome back, Bill!

Thanks okcvck,

Well said and thanks for your service. A contemporary of your father, I am sure you made him proud. And for:

“When the smoke has cleared, and all the second guessing has been done, I truly beleive that history will show us to have been in the Right.”

Here is an enormous dose of encouragement from today’s Wall Street Journal that even references the Hama Rules of which I spoke:

Bush Country
The Middle East embraces democracy--and the American president.



Bravo. Thank you.


"I'm not going to overstress Kellog-Briand or anything but the US of old did vote for that."

Seriously, how do people say this crap with a straight face? Kellog-Briand? You mean where they "outlawed" war?

You can almost see Mussolini smiling while his foreign minister put his signature to a piece of paper he never had any intention of actually fulfilling.

That isn't the real world, it is nothing but illusionary BS from someone who's doesn't understand that our feel good platitudes are meaningless to the unjust and vicious.

Dear ol Juan, do you read what you write? For a get on with everyone type of person do you realise how much your writing drips with agression. For once take a good look at what you wrote:

"Where I come from we just get on with people,..."

That is a plain old backhanded insult designed to annoy... It trys to instill the idea that Bill Whittle and co., are bad guys who can't get on with people, based solely on the wisdom that you say so..

..." without regarding them as someone with bizzarre ulterior motives,"

Then you go on to make a statement that has no setting in reality.. what is "bizarre"? - what are the "ulterior motives"... who knows? You obviously don't because you are either unable are unwilling to define precisely what you mean (because you know it won't stand up to scrutiny!).... and then you go on to show this even more by continuing...

.."or 'reality based' (whatever that means) or sophists. ""

If you don't know what "reality based" means in truth, or in liberal double speak, then wouldn't it be wise to find out.. but of course you do know - you are just trying unsubtly to be insulting once again... which is rather sad when you start off claiming that you really do want to debate...(because of course you don't - you are afraid of what you might learn in a real debate!) ... but the next bit is a real clincher...

..."Which I honestly am not - I assure you I am a straightforward person brought up to root for the underdog."...

To claim honesty and to being straightforward after writing unsubtle insults and dubiously twisted argumentative statements (as especially expressed in this post of yours)... well how could we fail to believe what you write...

"I shall leave you in peace now - I think I get the picture as to the extreme nature of this site!"

That last sentence of yours really sums up your philosophy.... *If you can't win the argument then be derogatory and try to bring everyone down to your own level*.

You have obvious intelligence... pity you put it to such sour and vain use...every word you write in that insult driven style of yours forces you further and further into your own Juan K mode.

What a waste.

Thank you, Mr. Whittle.

I ordered 'Silent America' today, to truly demonstrate my gratitude.

And to everyone else: Think for yourself, or someone else will.

“. . . brought up to root for the underdog.”

There is a wealth of understanding to be had in pondering that pronouncement. He makes it proudly, as if it were a badge of honor. Rubbish. I suggest those of his ilk check their premise. Would that I could banish the very idea of Robin Hood and the anti-Darwinian, victim-worshiping, self-loathing, success-hating, claptrap that has evolved from it. I honor the initiative of the earners and winners and loathe the whining looters and losers.

Has anyone here ever read "Small Gods"? It's a novel by Terry Pratchett set in his Discworld universe. On the Disc, gods exist, but they are sustained and grow or wane in power by belief. "Small Gods" is about a theocratic nation where the power of the church has become so all-encompassing that it pervades every aspect of society and daily life. The problem, from the perspective of the god sitting at the heart of all this, is that now everyone believes in the church most sincerely, but he finds he's left with only one actual believer.

And for some reason I find myself thinking of that book when I watch people argue over current or outdated international rulebooks as though everything turned upon them while people are slaughtered by maniacs. Soveriegn doesn't mean anything when we're discussing a rogue state with sham "elections" run by a group that took most of its political cues from the exact same European vicious facist societies we all seem to agree it was necessary to obliterate. Never mind value of human life or freedom, did we follow the rules? Do the right organizations (who are made up of humans who are just as stupid, apathetic, and corrupt as the rest of us are who aren't in the club) call the play good?

The structure of civilization was built upon abstract concepts of morality and justice, and now we fetishize that structure while what inspired them withers and dies.

Oh, and Wanker (screw the cutesy spelling): I think you will find your world filled with far fewer unreasonable "extremists" when you stop talking out of both sides of your mouth. If you want to insult, insult. If you want to compliment, compliment. Never include both in the same missive, let alone the same sentence. When you drop your self-satisified passive-aggressive behavior, otherwise calm and cheerful people will stop wanting to break your nose.

"You also seem to forget that it was your ideological grandfathers who tied the US governments hands before Pearl Harbor, too. I am sure you forget that we kept our army by ONE vote at that time for instance. "

Actually, we kept the #&*$^&*#@& draft by one vote. Had that vote gone the other way, you'd still see lines out the door to sign up after Pearl Harbor, victory would still have been ours, and life would have gone on as usual. (Until we stayed the course in Vietnam and eventually achieved victory with an all-volunteer army)

I don't really care whether we went to war in Iraq under false pretenses or no pretenses at all. We had so many good reasons to choose from that the unexpected unimportance of one of the lesser ones is completely irrelevant - we had every justification we needed to resume active hostilities when Saddam fired missiles at the planes whose presence was expressly provided for by the cease-fire.

Tyrants have no rights to their thrones. The United States is perfectly justified in knocking them over any time it suits our purposes. And a military presence in Iraq definitely suits our purposes - it puts us in an excellent position to use force to prevent the wackos running Iran from getting their filthy paws on nuclear weapons, although if you ask me we'd already be at least six months into "botching the occupation" of Iran if we had any sense.

Whoa there buddy...... as an African American I am really offended by the "Uncle Tom / House Nigger" references. While I do agree with a lot of your points, that does offend me.
There are a lot of Right oriented African Americans out here too and I don't believe we take too kindly to that kind of rhetoric. Slavery was not abolished that long ago so those references don't really sit too well with us, which also has me wondering why we did not go into Darfur as well( I know Powell tried doing something there) but that is another discussion all together. But still a very good article.

“How long are we going to tolerate being called racists by professional race baiters and how many Uncle Tom / House Nigger insults will Colin Powell and Condi Rice have to endure from these self-appointed champions of African Americans?”

Whom offends you? The race baiting poverty pimps like Jackson & Sharpton who regularly issue the referenced insults, or Bill for having the temerity to call them on it?

This essay started with great promise but it has fallen into the quagmire that is the 'merian politik, at least when observed from abroad.

The greatest threat to the "American Sanctuary" is from within the borders of a proud land. The 'reds' and the 'blues' have begun to so demonize each other with the helping hands of both Partsianship and Media Ringleaders that the phrase "them there is fighting words" really looks a prediction. Something rotten has entered the discourse of American life and it is eating itself alive. It would be easy to say both sides are to blame, but maybe the real answer is for the American public to realize that there are more the two sides.

This essay, this shot at evenhandeness, fails on so many counts but it is the last sentence that is the most chilling to me because it is directed at your fellow Americans.

There are millions of us. Millions. And we do not have to go gently into that good night.

It won't surprise you I am from Canada, and if you think me crazy for this view, try and recall the last time the Media Ringleaders or Partisans viewed your largest trading partner, largest supplier of oil and gas, longest undefeneded border, joint signatory to the most free trade agreements in the world in a positive light?

Peace be with you all, and I pray each night that I am wrong.

Please excuse the 'merian politik' it is of course 'merican politik'. I hope no offence was taken, to the spelling mistake at least.

". . .try and recall the last time the Media Ringleaders or Partisans viewed [Canada] in a positive light?"

Try to recall the last time YOUR media and partisan elites gave ours a reason to.

OK Curmudgeon, I think we are on the same side so I will put it to you another way..

“How long are we going to tolerate being called racists by professional race baiters and how many Redneck / Cracker insults will George Bush and Dick Cheyney have to endure from these self-appointed champions of White People ?”

Now do you get my point? I don't care what party you belong to when you make comments like that I am offended. I don't care for Jackson/Sharpton either but I don't go around saying it's because they are black Democrats.

Please let's leave the race thing out of this.... I get enough shit from members of my own race on why I voted for Bush so don't get me started.

Are our brothers and sisters not fighting and dying in Afghanistan looking for the perpetrators of 911, along side your's?

Is 100% lock step your only answer? Does you brother not drink a different brand? He is still your brother though. We have far more in common than we have in difference but somewhere this has been lost and it is truly scary.

again peace.

Actually, no John, I don’t get your point. I have never heard a white call another white a “cracker.” Surely, you can understand that the epithets “Uncle Tom” and “House Nigger” are only ever used by blacks against blacks, and connote a much uglier thing than a common racial slur. Unless one is a defender of Jessie Jackson, et al, it is simply wrong to be offended by what Bill said. Think about it.

I'll be happy to drop the subject of race, I didn't bring it up.

Yours may be seeking perpetrators, Les; ours are on a wider mission, at war in several theaters, and understand that “peace” will not come in their lifetimes – if ever. Hey, I have no beef with the people of Canada, just little respect for your dominant media and politicians. Thanks for the help in Afghanistan; now how about tightening up your immigration policy . . .


You can't "force democracy on a population who don't want it badly enough to rise up and demand it," eh?

And which population would that be, the Afghanis, who turned out in droves to vote, including their women, one of whom was the first to cast a ballot? Or perhaps the Iraqis, who not only turned out in droves, but risked their lives to do so, and still effected a larger turnout than in any American election in at least a generation? No, that doesn't sound like "rising up and demanding it" to me. Or perhaps you think rising up and demanding only counts when you would be butchered wholesale by the regime? Dismantling Saddam was a necessary condition for the Iraqi people to rise up and demand anything, if they were to live to receive it.

"Liberal is a compliment here and roughly means generally tolerant or open minded - rather than 'wet' or 'libertine' as you seem to interpret it."


Well sonny-boy, liberal HERE means lying/cheating/marriage-destroying/race-baiting/environazi/Moore-fellatin America-hating/G-d-hating/treasonous/self-interested/weak/girlieman/feminazi/commie shitweasel.

Guess you are just flattering yourself to call yourself a liberal. Because here's a clue-by-four:

Liberal = loser.
Heh. Go home to mommy.

Meanwhile let the grown ups talk.

America is the best hope you or your socialist buddies have of saving the world form dhimmitude. So, how do you say? - 'Get with the program'.

Clue = with us or against us.

We have seen the enemy of civilization, and WE are civilization, and lefties and Islams are the enemy.

Got it?

Good. Passive-aggressive dhimmi tinfoil wearing asshelmet.

"For this I get paid in two to three weeks what these men will have to work an entire year of backbreaking, hopeless labor to achieve.

And there I am: bitching and complaining and wondering why things are not better for me. Boo-freaking-hoo.

This is the poison that will eventually kill us all. I should spend an hour a day prostrate and thanking God I was born an American. How many struggle and die for this privilege?"-Bill W.

Now there is enlightenment.
I believe a Fulcrum point to reverse world poverty. As well as opprotunity for large scale exporting.
But, only if the people who give lip service Jesus would put thier money where thier mouth' (soul)' is.

Great take-off sir !

OK Juan, I'll definitely give you points for taking a look at yourself.

However: If you aren't "dissembling or employing sophistry" then why does your writing read that way? As you say "...does not compute!"

And why always with the backhanded insults?
If you're going to use insults for fun then you need to do better than being snide at other peoples expense. Start again, grab another handle and end the Juan K, and if you really do disagree with what Bill wrote, lets see what you really have to offer :)

What a load of crap! This is definitely NOT what the promise of the Internet should be used for. Being forwarded this drivel and the gaggle of bobble-heads that nod along after is just as offensive to my sensibilities as those individuals who choose to remain skeptical and question authority are to the curmudgeonly on the right such as yourselves.

I have been going back and reading some of your prior essays and I have been consistently impressed that they are all up to this fine level of quality: clear, intelligent, entertaining, and often moving. I was disappointed that I could no longer comment on some of the old stuff. I don't know if that is an error or because comments on articles from 2003 are no longer deemed relevant. For example, my two cents about the Iraq war justifications are a moot point since it has already happened, and are arguably silly since no one is commenting there now and I don't know how many others are crazy enough to read all the way down the comments of your old essays now. So it is a fair possiblity that they were deliberately closed off. But since I've been getting a strange error-type message rather than a statement to that effect it is also possible that that was an oversight, and so I thought it would be a courtsey to let you know that the old comments sections aren't working in case you weren't aware. If you are, a note at the top indicating Open Comments/Closed Comments might be a nice touch for first-time vistors like me.

Sorry Juan K, you lose... the only person you let down is yourself. What you have written is so contrived its boring. Second hand pre-formed plastic style with no substance.

Juan Kerr -

Nice redneck insult. Very smart.

Figures. Maybe when you've finished insulting Americans (yawn) you can find it in yourself to slime along to

and get a clue-by-four about real Americans, something yo know NOTHING of apart from the liberals favourite 'redneck' slur. There are more of us than you and your dhimmitude. Just saying is all. We are friendly if you don't act like an idiot.

"Juan Kerr" -

Maybe he did bankroll Hamas to certain extent - through US companies sidestepping sanctions. He was never ever known to fund international militant Islam - from my knowledge of Islam that is a paradox anyhow.

He paid blood money to the families of Palestinian terrorists. US companies had nothing to do with it. And your knowledge of Islam is less than zero, from your own statements.

True believers know Jihad to be an internal battle with yourself.

Their own actions belie this claim.

Whatever Saddam intentions were - and I agree on his intense malovalence - he had absloutely no resource to knock the skin off a rice pudding - let alone threaten anyone after years of being contained. Effectively - thanks US forces etc.

Right. So would could have just patrolled the borders and the no-fly zones for all eternity while he got on with murdering people. Terrific.

I am not dissembling or employing sophistry.

Well, then you are completely ignorant on every point you have discussed, or insane. You don't leave many options.

Maybe I am a bit cheeky or whatever but that is the fun of life for me. I guess I do not get that across so well in this medium as in person - for which I can but apologise.

Being cheeky has nothing to do with it. Being a smug, smarmy, insufferable idiot who is promoting brazen lies in support of fascists and theocrats; that is the problem.

Should have been "So we could have patrolled the borders..."

Preview was not my friend this time.

Wanker grossly oversimplified Jihad when he wrote:

"True believers know Jihad to be an internal battle with yourself. The lesser Jihad is the battle to take Islam to others - once you have won the internal struggle. Saying 'Jihad = war' shows a risible lack of comprehension of anything at all."


Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.

JIHAD = JAHADA (verb). To struggle, strive, fight for the faith.

1) Fighting is prescribed for you (2:216)
2) Slay them wherever you find them (4:89)
3) Fight the idolaters utterly (9:36)

Encyclopaedia of Islam, page 89, [7]:
DJIHAD, holy war. The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general. It narrowly escaped being a sixth "rukn", or fundamental duty, and is indeed still so regarded by the descendants of the Kharidjis. The position was reached gradually but quickly. In the Meccan Suras of the Kur’an patience under attack is taught; no other attitude was possible. But at Madina the right to repel attack appears, and gradually it became a prescribed duty to fight against and subdue the hostile Meccans. Whether Muhammad himself recognized that his position implied steady and unprovoked war against the unbelieving world until it was subdued to Islam may be in doubt. Traditions are explicit on the point; but the Kuranic passages speak always of the unbelievers who are to be subdued as dangerous or faithless. Still, the story of his writing to the powers around him shows that such a universal position was implicit in his mind, and it certainly developed immediately after his death, when the Muslim armies advanced out of Arabia. It is now a "fard ‘ala ‘l-kifaya, a duty in general on all male, free, adult Muslims, sane in mind and body and having means enough to reach the Muslim army, yet not a duty necessarily incumbent on every individual but sufficiently performed when done by a certain number. So it must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam.

Your semantic sophistry notwithstanding, Islam is divided into two houses, the House of Islam, and the House of War, the latter intended to advance the Global Caliphate. We are, in the Mujahadeens’own terms, currently embroiled in the Third Great Jihad.

As to your continuing ignorance on the subject re:

"Maybe he did bankroll Hamas to certain extent - through US companies sidestepping sanctions. He was never ever known to fund international militant Islam - from my knowledge of Islam that is a paradox anyhow."

Jihad is a communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others (O: the evidence for which is the Prophet’s saying (Allah bless him and give him peace).

“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad,”

And Allah Most High having said:

Those of the believers who are unhurt but sit behind are not equal to those who fight in Allah’s path with their property and lives. Allah has preferred those who fight with their property and lives a whole degree above those who sit behind. And to each Allah has promised great good" (Koran 4:95).

How much the Wahabbis paying you for your disinformation? Or are you just a dhummi?

Thank you so much for this. You are really a gift of a writer.

I'm currently in the process of looking for a new house to rent in Silicon Valley and getting so seriously depressed about it. ;) It's so easy to see what you don't have when it's slapping you in the face. It's the first place I've looked for since my son was born, and having a child just makes you crazy with wanting to provide THE absolute best of everything.

But he already has the best. He's a citizen of the US, and he has food, clothes, a family, more toys than he can shake a stick at, and millions of people he doesn't know who will fight for his freedom.

Thank you for reminding me!

Fine quotes from true Americans about the Islams:

"They have no respect for us. They don't even respect their own kind. They love death; they love martyrdom. Well, then let's respect them by giving them what they love."

" I support this war against terror aka islam. But we should have called it a crusade from the beginning, called a spade a spade and forced those genetically deficient savages to eat their own shit while we burned copies of the quran in pig grease."

The Dhummi/Juan Kerr response? - Oh but Christians bla bla. Oh but they don't mean it they are a religion of peace.

Juan Kerr - BWAHAHAHAH. You are a EUrabian it is written all over your snide comments.


Simply a superb bit of writing, and very much in line with my own thoughts on the topic. I particularly liked the visit of Cheops to the 7-11.

A religious friend of mine was wondering why Adam, surrounded in paradise with abundance, gifted with eternal life, and with Eve, loveliest of her own daughter, for his mate, would prefer to pluck and eat the apple which must poison him, and with him, all his world.

There is something in the nature of man that long for self-destruction. You can see it in modern sculpture that looks like rubbish, modern art that looks like fingerpainting, you can hear it in modern music and poetry, which lacks form, content, sanity. It is something that will gladly see oneself and one's own loved ones perish, if only the envied, happy, better people can be wounded.

Hate is the name of this self-destructive beast. Why the leftists hate, and why they hate so much the paradise which shelters them, I cannot fathom.

But your essay gives me a clue.

Keep up the good work.
John C. Wright, author of THE GOLDEN AGE, and other novels.


Thanks for the chuckles regarding the genesis of your moniker ( “Juan King” Nigerians looks like great sport. :) I suspect you come here for similar sport. I’ll not likely take anything further you say seriously.

"Juan" -

You are both on the same side essentially!


Just from a different direction.

That contradicts your previous statement.

That is the kind of people running the country.

Prescott Bush is dead, you clown. Nor was he ever president.

And you accuse me of supporting fascists and theocrats?


You've been called on your sophistry, and you are backtracking as fast as you can, but there is no question as to what you are doing.

First and formost "Ohhrah Marine" Outstanding Essay.

Now I must say to those who have posted thier comments here. Chill out just a little guys.
Yes there actually are SOME liberals that are well aware of reality, and yes there are SOME conservatives who are not. Both Sides have those who don't care what reality is. Both Side have those who will push outright lies to try to change public opinion.
Debate (or argue) all you wish about wether this war was justified or legal. My Personal opinion is it is just and legal if for no other reason than to have Saddam in jail (Should have happened in 1991, but we wont go there). But the point is We are there now fighting against cowards to give 25 million people the right to choose thier own destiny in life. I have no problem with American companies making a profit on the re-building effort (though and proven theft should be deal with in the courts). I DO have problems with companies from countries who did not help us making a profit on the re-building efforts (Yes, I mean France and Germany).
on the topic of celeberties (I'll use the term from Team America on this) the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.) has no right trying to tell those of us in what they call "Fly over territory" how stupid we are for voting for bush... TWICE. Most members of F.A.G. have never lifted a finger to do any real work in thier lives. Those of use who live in-between California and New York are very different from the vast majority of Californians, We don't take what F.A.G.'s say as absolute truth, or MSM for that matter.
anyway... That's my two cents.

OH and by the way.

Liberals are always saying that we conservitaves are hypocritical. Well I for one do not want to let known terrorists out of jail and kill an un-born child.

Dear Bill,
Thank you so much for your latest essay! I'm always thoughtful and uplifted after reading your well-chosen words. I especially needed it after a day like today, where I was greeted at work with an email from a co-worker who has decided to chuck his gender: he announced that he had legally changed his name and wished to be addressed by female pronouns. This is the stuff of comedy (with perhaps a bit of pathos) in movies, but in real life it is only creepy, bizarre, and outrageous. Does my workplace urge this sad sick excuse of a human to get psychiatric counseling? No, we are informed that we are not to say anything, do anything, or in any way make this man uncomfortable with his awful choice. I live in California (the San Francisco Bay Area) and there is no free speech here, thanks to "PC" regulation (amongst other sorts of repressive legislation) and people wonder why I and my husband want to leave the moment we retire, despite the fact that we were both born here. So I can certainly empathize with the "it's not worth it" cork because I've had it stuck in my mouth all day. Not worth getting written up by HR ("Human Resources" and what a crock that is), not worth possibly losing my job over a balding freak in his sixties who wants to wear dresses, make-up, girlie shoes, purse, and a wig to work and be called Lucymarie, of all things. Just. Not. Worth. It. To stand up and shout, "What the freakin' HELL is wrong with you, that you so hate yourself? Get therapy, for crying out loud, before you become so insane you'll have parts cut off yourself, you crazy idiot!" Nope, the Emperor is going to wear his New Clothes. But my thoughts are free...and I just had to get this out of my system. Thanks.

My dissection of your article is perhaps a bit lenghty for a comment page. Have a read. That is if you indeed respect differing opinions. Most of your readers obviously can't.


I've taken the time to read this and all of your essays. I enjoy the quality and effort of your work, and have forwarded your blog to others. You present a compelling point of view. Your logic and pursuasion give you a bit of power--and with that should come responsibility.

Your tone and complete dismissal of other points of view--and of the large number of people who hold them--can be chilling. There are very educated and very bright people who make equally compelling arguments from the "liberal" (I hate that word) side of the house.

I wonder: just how long is that dotted line that I keep drawing in my mind that goes from this post to the Hutu DJ on on the radio in Rwanda?

Les Smith,

I can understand how dismaying this whole thing can seem to an outsider, and I'm sorry that the current state of affairs is a bit frightening.

It is, however, what it is, and denying it is unproductive.

What you've got to understand is that this isn't something that appeared de novo since the 2000, 2004 election cycle. It's a confrontation that's been brewing for at least 70 years. It is a backlash, a balancing of a spring wound taut for decades.

You mention that Bill "failed" in evenhandedness, but I don't think that "evenhandedness" for it's own trivial sake was his goal. You also seem to credit the current state of affairs to a failure to "just get along".

That "Just getting along" is a ship that sailed, and that many of us are simply Finished With All of That is in fact the POINT of the essay.

While there is no black and white, there are in fact two sides. On one side of the coin are people who have done their homework, despite what our detractors might say.

Having done our homework, we're not blind to the flaws and blemishes of our American scene, not deaf to the actual (as opposed to claimed) injustices of our society, but we've concluded that America's flaws do not make us fundamentally bad.

We have concluded that America is, at its core essence, Good, the last, greatest hope of humanity, and we proceed from that basis.

On the other side of the line are those who grasp at any straw they can to support their conclusion that America is Bad, and they have proceeded from that basis.

There is a world of difference between one who would correct flaws to make a great thing better, and one who works to destroy a good thing, thinking it to be evil because it did not measure up to his misguided idea of perfection.

My America is a big, broad place, a mansion with many rooms and wide open fields to accommodate people of every stripe, pursuasion, race, color, creed and ideation save one: Those who work to destroy it.

And there is no ideology more insidiously destructive than that which has systematically emanated from the collectivist Left.

Varmouth Said:
"Well sonny-boy, liberal HERE means lying/cheating/marriage-destroying/race-baiting/environazi/Moore-fellatin America-hating/G-d-hating/treasonous/self-interested/weak/girlieman/feminazi/commie shitweasel."

You listed to too much talk radio, Varmouth. I would imagine it would imagine, given your disposition, that it wouldn't take too much to convince you that liberals are a scourge that deserves to be gassed.

I'm frightened for our great democracy.


Read your response, every single condescending word.

You offer no thought or rebuttal beyond ad-hominem and insult, and the observation that different cultures get a pass on civilized behavior because they're...different cultures, and that the true defining characteristic of humanity is that we know better than to engage in warfare, er, excuse me, atrocity.

Of course, we're the barbarians, for insisting that there IS such a thing as civilized behavior.

Summary: Wasn't worth the time.

Bill says

"I can’t pretend to understand this. It is simply beyond my ability to grasp. Nor can I understand why so many rich people who so hate and despise this land do not simply move somewhere else."

Victor Hanson explains

"Thus we now expect that the New York Times, Harper's, Le Monde, U.N. functionaries who call us "stingy," French diplomats, American writers and actors will all (1) live a pretty privileged life; (2) in recompense "feel" pretty worried and guilty about it; (3) somehow connect their unease over their comfort with a pathology of the world's hyperpower, the United States; and (4) thus be willing to risk their elite status, power, or wealth by very brave acts such as writing anguished essays, giving pained interviews, issuing apologetic communiqués, braving the rails to Davos, and barking off-the-cuff furious remarks about their angst over themes (1) through (3) above. What a sad contrast they make with far better Iraqis dancing in the street to celebrate their voting."

Good job, Bill.

The "b-list" wouldn't allow me to say anything else.

marchand chronicles dot blogspot dot com

Outstanding essay. I'll be sending the link to friends who need to read it.

The left simply cannot accept that a wolf is a wolf. They insist that the wolf only begins ceasing to act wolfish once we lay down our guns, dismiss our sheepdogs, and pull down our sanctuary walls. Theirs is the ever-present assetion that no one has REALLY tried hard enough yet...that only if we REALLY put every effort into no guns/sheepdogs/walls will we suddenly see how correct, wise, and (dare I say) progressive this philosophy has been all along. Since that pressure valve and excuse for 'not yet having REALLY tried' is so convenient to them, some will choose to stand in its shadow forever. Why? Fear - of practically everything about the universe.

"that it wouldn't take too much to convince you that liberals are a scourge that deserves to be gassed."

Way to put thoughts into my head Gram. Well done. More liberal lies.

All I'm saying is to call a spade a spade. You got your politically Correct thought police, while me and Bill and millions of others of us have our cork in our mouth.

Case in point, the freak girlieman mentioned above...

how many of us want to say "You are a freak and you are destroying America!!" but have to listen to leftie assnuggets telling us that we will lose our job if we call a fag a fag or a freak a freak or a puppet-bearing feminazi a nazi.

Liberals are disgusting and live to destroy America and what made a America great. As someone said - it's not about just 'getting along' anymore. It's us vs them, make no mistake.

We used to hang traitors, we lost our cojones. Now watch the PC police go to work defending girlieboys and defending traitors.

You are by far my favorite essayist. I always enjoy your stuff. It makes me feel so happy and enlightened and supported and filled with energy and hope....

and then i get sucked into reading the comments section and i want to run back into a world of poop jokes and ignoring things a whole bunch more.

what can you do about this?

I really honestly think that the comments section leaves a big poo smudge on some otherwise sparkling essays.

i never thought i'd say this --- but since you have moved away from the title of blogger and into the more appropriate title of essayist, maybe it might not be such a bad idea to let your pieces stand as they are. the immediate debates and high fivery seem to destroy that opportunity i think might be left a little more intact by letting your readers ruminate, ponder and take the debate somewhere else.

i'm just gursh durned glad there wasn't a comments section at the end of the lorax. i love that book. you know comments would have killed that one.

keep up the good work buddy.

Wanker - don't choke on your ponytail as you flounce out the door.

You wanna see pyschotic? Go to a 'peace' protest. (commie freak circus) or read your beloved *spit* quran.

You hate America and we aren't taking it anymore.

"'George W. Bush has unleashed a tsunami on this region,'" "a shrewd Kuwaiti merchant who knows the way of his world said to me. The man had no patience with the standard refrain that Arab reform had to come from within, that a foreign power cannot alter the age-old ways of the Arabs." "'Everything here--the borders of these states, the oil explorations that remade the life of this world, the political outcomes that favored the elites now in the saddle--came from the outside. This moment of possibility for the Arabs is no exception.'"

Interesting little essay in the WSJ by FOUAD AJAMI.

Would this thought have articulated without Operation Iraqi Freedom?

Nah, didn't think so.

Golly, we were TOLD we were attacked? 3000 dead is just an illusion, along with the collapse of the WTC and the attack on the Pentagon. I know, because I was TOLD these things. Didn't see them happen with my own eyes.

>>Way to put thoughts into my head Gram. Well done. More liberal lies.

So, you would not support violence against "America hatin' liberals?" Answer the question.

>>All I'm saying is to call a spade a spade. You got your politically Correct thought police, while me and Bill and millions of others of us have our cork in our mouth.

Nay, you have your voice. Some of the loudest and most absolute voices are coming from the right, starting with the likes of Coulter and Limbaugh. The fact that you believe you have no voice is laughable, because I don't believe your rhetoric is your own--it probably comes from a radio broadcast no less, heard by millions. Hardly sounds "corked" to me.

>>Case in point, the freak girlieman mentioned above...

Love the stereotypes.

>>how many of us want to say "You are a freak and you are destroying America!!" but have to listen to leftie assnuggets telling us that we will lose our job if we call a fag a fag or a freak a freak or a puppet-bearing feminazi a nazi.

No way you got that (feminazi) from Limbaugh. He's corked too, huh?

>>Liberals are disgusting and live to destroy America and what made a America great. As someone said - it's not about just 'getting along' anymore. It's us vs them, make no mistake.

So, do you plan to use machetes?

How ironic that this party is spoiled by a 'ponytail' caling us Nazis?

Listen Wan Ker, this is on Bill's dime, it's HIS property. Go and hassle some airport security with your liberal scum, I mean 'friends'.

You hate humanity. You are full of hate and will try and destroy America with your Hollyweird freak show and appeasement of terrorists/protestors/same-sex-marriage/race-baiting/pandering to pedophiles, and anti-Christian spreading of socialism.

Your kind make me sick, you are the rot in our world. You and Islam.

>>How ironic that this party is spoiled by a 'ponytail' caling us Nazis?

Nothing like diversity of opinion to ruin a good "Party" party.

>>Listen Wan Ker, this is on Bill's dime, it's HIS property.

Right. Is your name Bill?

>>You hate humanity. You are full of hate and will try and destroy America with your Hollyweird freak show and appeasement of terrorists/protestors/same-sex-marriage/race-baiting/pandering to pedophiles, and anti-Christian spreading of socialism.

Go to a white supremacist or anti-semitic site--your language is a mirror image.

>>Your kind make me sick, you are the rot in our world. You and Islam.

Would someone please keep tabs on bulk machete sales, please?

Another liberal shows and trots out the racist card. (Yawn)

Another liberal shows and denies that liberals are the anti-semitites.

Ok, so it's just in my IMAGINATION that we (not you and your kind) donate pizza to the brave Israeli soldiers to show our gratitude and respect for poppping palis?

And finally ( we hope but don't hold our breaths) ponytail trot(skis) out the old:

"Humanity is about diversity - something I celebrate all the time, with a joy I am sad that you will never experience."

Loser. Here's a suggestion:

Go buy a T Shirt if you care so much about 'diversity.' You'll find the Right one at this link:

You might also demonstrate how much you hate anti-semitism by joining us and donating:

Now off you go. Or do you want to call us racists or anti-semites again? Is your addled leftie brain trying to work around the fact that you appease the destruction of America and Israel while you call US anti-semitists?

Move On, there's nothing to see here but another blathering long-hair.

"I know that were your society attacked by foreign invaders who mindlessly killed hundreds of thousands of civilians you might well be liable to fight back."

If the foreign invaders were bringing tyranny and slavery, Hell Yes. If they were bringing liberty greater than that offered by the present government, then Hell No.

I'm well aware that many people are eager to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the cause of slavery and tyranny. That doesn't make them the good guys.

After 21 comments from Juan Kerr,, I have decided that I have had enough. I am not obligated to provide a forum for the advancement of torture and state-sanctioned rape.

He can say whatever he wants to; he just can't say it here.

I have yet to write an essay where some shithead looking for a platform has not stepped in and poked everyone in the eye in a desperate attempt for the attention he does not seem to be getting elsewhere.

I take some pride in the fact that I publish my opinions under my own name, and put a picture of myself on the website. I am sorry, but I am no longer willing to let some anonymous bastard -- whose opinion of his own opinions is quite accurately summed up in the sophistry of his screen name (Juan Kerr = wanker; British slang for a self-satisfied idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about) use this place to advance his transnational agenda of tolerance for murder.

He can get his own weblog; his days of jerking off here are over.

He won't get his own blog, of course -- that would require some courage and something to say of his own. I have had enough of this parasitical infection.

Final Wanker Propaganda Tally (Tallywanker?):

1. Misrepresented the concept of “Just War”.
2. Misrepresented the concept of “Jihad”.
3. Unjustifiably diminished the contribution of America in WWII.
4. Unjustifiably extrapolated that our current administration is corrupt based on the questionable business dealings of a long-dead ancestor.
5. Equivocated the foreign policy paradigm shift away from realpolitik and to the liberation of 50 million Afghanis and Iraqis from murderous tyrannies (and subsequently catalyzing democratic reforms in the entire region) with Nazi fear-mongering and war profiteering.

This is what we are up against. Distortions and outright lies, packaged in self-righteousness, pseudo-intellectualism, and arrogance.

Remember, their final Sanctuaries are the Judiciary and Academia, where appointment, rather than election, is the norm. They will fight dearly to hold these.

Bill Said:

>>After 21 comments from Juan Kerr,, I have decided that I have had enough. I am not obligated to provide a forum for the advancement of torture and state-sanctioned rape.

Nice. Between the demagogy, and your dismissal of one poster in favor of another (who says things like: "terrorists/protestors/same-sex-marriage/race-baiting/pandering to pedophiles, and anti-Christian spreading of socialism"), I think I can finally close the book on "eject cubed."

I'm simultaneously disappointed and alarmed.

Gram, I must with trepidation agree with a portion of what you said (trepidation because I do not wish to be confused with a “liberal,” even by agreeing with a portion of something said by one)... with an explanation. I feel Varmouth’s brand of idiocy is readily transparent to even the most casual observer, while JuanKerr’s might be misconstrued as intelligent by someone not paying attention. Both are idiots, and its Bill’s call as to who gets to spout.

FWIW, although I immensely enjoy the intelligent commentary (the above two posters are exempt from that characterization, of course) which inevitably pop up after one of Bill’s phenomenal essays, I tend to agree with what someone above said... I think the essays, due to their strength, might stand better on their own. However, were that the case I would miss out on a lot if things said and posters I have come to enjoy (for example, I would not have discovered and bookmarked Pixy Mesa were it not for the comments to this essay). Again... not up to me, and I was hesitant to even make my opinion known on subjects other than the essays themselves. But what the hell...

Hindmost said:

>>Gram, I must with trepidation agree with a portion of what you said (trepidation because I do not wish to be confused with a “liberal,” even by agreeing with a portion of something said by one)... with an explanation

Who said I was liberal? If I don't agree with *everything* Bill Whittle says or does, that makes me a "liberal?" It's with the absolutist lines in the sand that are being drawn that I take issue.

I hear what you're saying, though, and I appreciate it. It's nice to know there are folks who are doing more than simply rooting for their favorite political team.

Read the essay and agreed with a fair amount of it.
Pity about the folks like Varmouth who attach themselves to you and turn folks like myself away from what was otherwise a good, well thought out and well written essay. Fanaticism is bad, in ANY form.

Gram, go be alarmed SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Blogs are FREE on Blogspot. Take your crushing of dissent arguement there and have at it.

You will earn a shred of respect by advancing your own ideas on your own forum, instead of using my hard work to advance your ideas. It's parasitical and repugnant. Wrap yourself in your faux martyrdom and vacate the premises along with the rest of the riff-raff.

>> Who said I was liberal

Ah, my fault... I took the comment...

>> There are very educated and very bright people who make equally compelling arguments from the "liberal" (I hate that word) side of the house.

To mean just that. Assumptions, assumptions.

Also, I am by no means someone who merely roots for their team (although admittedly “my” team is the one sitting in the head seat these days). I probably vehemently disagree with this President on more issues than I agree with him on... thing is, the one issue I strongly support him on (the Islamist war) trumps everything else.

Doesn’t mean I can’t be pissed at him for the other things, though.

I've been fascinated by the comments playing out over the past few days.

It amazes me that both sides continue to ramble on about the relative merits of one side versus the other.


I feel a certain kindred spirit with the posters here at eject but I do agree with the individual who is responsible for the forum to which we've all made contributions....

Comments are for comments.......not soapbox derby political ideology distribution....

Remember as a kid how it felt to be the last picked for basketball or dodge ball? (God Forbid....not dodge ball!....someone could be hit so hard it would make all his friends double over with laughter)......I imagine that the LLL are feeling a little left out on the playground these days.

"We're taking our ideology and going home"


Bill.......keep it up.....and do your best to keep your blood pressure in check when "different people" voice their diatribes.

Everybody!! Let's all go to Frank J's and exhort him to continue to bring the best out in Mr Whittle! ;-)

Gram on May 24, 2005 06:46 AM said,

"Would someone please keep tabs on bulk machete sales, please?"

Well that would be my job. You see, I am sales manager. We are moving them out by the car load.

Your encounter with the hate-filled lefty (apologies to Frank J.) reminded me of Hank's dad (from King of the Hill) and his reaction to being called a nazi. he just yelled back "WHO ARE YOU CALLIN' A NAZI!" and socked him one. Good to have you back Bill.


No one is required to read the comments, and I suspect most don’t – time enough is invested in reading the essay. I too would be much the poorer without them, and I suspect so would Bill. Gems like James’ quote of Robert Ingersoll regarding religion, science, and the mind of man (truly profound); or Sam (Engineer) Hall’s sharing of Walter Russell Meade’s “The Jacksonian Tradition” (if you haven’t read it Bill, take the time); are just the sort of food for thought a writer needs to pursue Bill’s stated goal. I’ll wade through a lot of muck for the privilege of mining the minds of Bill’s more erudite readers. Even the wankers, to a point, serve the useful purpose of eliciting more cogent comments and references from thinkers. Bill may need to quash the occasional troll, but he is unlikely to eschew the positive feedback his work so richly deserves, or the occasional insightful nugget they provide.

Hey Bill, just wanted to thank you for spending the time and energy to write this piece for our general consumption. And what fine consumption it was! Burp!

It's funny becuase I've been thinking a lot about exactly what you've opined about here today. How is it that we can win the War Against Terror (or war against militant Islam) if we are judging our fighting men and women by this arm-chair quaterback standard (and being careful not to drop Qurans in toilets) while the forces of insurgency in Iraq behead and blow apart innocents on a regular basis.

I am reminded of Kurtz in Apocalypse Now:

"I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God... the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us."

I too am living here in the Bluest of the Blue states, City of the Angels, and have also toiled in "the Industry" out here. I cringe whenever I'm invited to any Entertainment functions because I'm decidedly a Red State kinda guy, (despite having been born in Santa Monica) and usually end up popping off to the Inevitable BushHitlerChimpyRoveHalliburton diatribe I'm trapped into listening to.

Anyhow, please know that your words steel me against the forces of obfuscation and moral equivalence that rush to defend the indefensible, and enslave those wishing to be free. I'm doubley pleased that you listened to your instincts and punted Wanker/Kerr/Winston off the field.

I offer my sincerest thanks for writing this. Now I need to read it again.


I got all the way down to the post by "James" (Posted by James on May 20, 2005 09:02 PM: ) and had several thoughts and made several replies - all in my head – along the way. But James’ use of the quote by "the great Robert Ingersoll" motivated me to write quicker than anything else I had read to that point. I plan on going back and reading the rest (I am supposed to be working, but being self-employed, I am not stealing from anyone but myself) and I agree with most people here that these essays are some of the most succinct, insightful ramblings ever assembled (I am a great fan of C.S. Lewis who - to me - concentrated the most information - read "truth" - into the fewest words of any author I have ever read and that is what I see reflected in the skill that Bill has with the written word) but I find I must react to what I perceive to be James’ point (although I may have misread him) before I make any other comment on the what is being said here. It would appear that Robert Ingersoll – James by extension – has made the point that all of the benefits we enjoy as a modern, civilized nation or even as a Western culture were accomplished AFTER the evil control of the theologian (read person with a faith-based world perspective and motivation) was usurped by the Technocratic Scientist with his selfless pursuit of Truth, Justice and the Atheistic (or at minimum, Agnostic) WAY. Nothing could be more historically incorrect or more revisionist inspired, self-deluding than such a view that leaves out the very fact that the invention of science itself (yes, it was an invention) was done from a profoundly Christian world view and - almost to a man – the greatest scientific minds of the past were themselves Christian. I know I just opened a Pandora’s box and I will not attempt to defend what I just said – I don’t have time. I just wanted James to know he is as wrong as he can be. That is, of course, unless I completely misunderstood his and Roberts statements. Hey, I know this has nothing to do with the main thread, but neither did the post I am responding to.

What V-man said. (2nd post.)

We must be careful with saying, "Oh we're doing better than the ancient Egyptians, so let's be happy with what we've got."
The founding fathers knew that they were better off than the ancients but they also strove constantly for improvement of their current situation.

We must do the same. Western Civilisation, and at times Eastern Civilisation, has constantly striven to improve quality of life.

While we do so, we must remember where we've come from, which is amply detailed in the second part of this essay.

I still think this one essay could be two.

The first part, "Sanctuary" detailing the broken rules of war in the "War on Terror".

and the second part, "Perspective" detailing how we've come to take for granted all that we've achieved and how that poisonous line of thinking will lead to losing all that we have achieved.

Great work Bill!

PS - I do kinda agree with one of the hundreds of commentors, that the comments section is unwieldy and abused by trolls. It is certinly rife with high-fiver, extremist points of view and detracts from the elegance of the essay.


PS - I do kinda agree with one of the hundreds of commentors, that the comments section is unwieldy and abused by trolls. It is certainly rife with high-fiver ism, extremist points of view and soap boxing. It detracts from the elegance of the essay.

Alrightythen, that's about enough adulation, don'tja think? How am I supposed to fly with that man if his head won't fit in the plane?!

Let's start asking Bill about that hard-cover version of Silent America and holding his feet to the fire on that long-promised publication. Less talk, more action, please ;^)

To reiterate,

It's like going to an art opening of a great artist and seeing him standing next to his great painting explaining everything that painting that he took hundreds of hours to create already explains only much more eloquently with all the detail and finesse of a master craftsman.

add to this a few hecklers and devout well meaning fans getting into yelling matches and fist fights and it leaves one wishing that one could see this magnificent painting in a nice quiet room with maybe a loved one or two -- just to bathe in the hours and decades of work invested to make such a thing come to life.

i know i know -- all i have to do is fixate on the painting and ignore the circus -- but crap -- it's right there. even the best of us rubberneck.

I like most of these commenters -- but i'd prefer it if they took their own reviews -- good and bad -- back to their own blogs. maybe everyone would be more deliberate then and the sanctuary of your beautiful gallery can escape the pollution of the squabble.

basically -- there are many liberals that i'd loooovvvee to send here -- but there ain't a chance in hell any of them could pull themselves away from the comments. hell I agree with you on almost everything and even i am repelled by the spectacle in this comments section.

maybe i'll just copy and paste and leave it up to them to find your site.

THEY NEED TO READ THIS AND PONDER! -- and not jump into a den of rabid wolves right after. what a turn off.

seriously think about it.

that's all -- i swear.

almost to a man – the greatest scientific minds of the past were themselves Christian.

Or Jewish. But I think you were referring to the Judaeo-Christian worldview in general rather than to a specific subset.

Science as we know it is a product of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, so certainly the Judaeo-Christian worldview is one of its foundations. Still, Darwin fell out with religion and Einstein was not religious in the conventional sense. And many (perhaps a majority?) scientists over the past century have been agnostic or atheist.

Which is to say: Aspects of the Judaeo-Christian worldview do indeed inform Science, and this explains why the Ancient Greeks, the Chinese, and Islam did not develop Science even though in some repects they were better suited to do so than 16th-century Europe.

This does not, however, include faith. Faith is perfectly acceptable in a scientist, but it plays no role at all in Science. Science is not a belief, it is a question. (Well, a process of questioning, but that's not as elegant a comparison.)

Stephen E. Birch said:

“Nothing could be more historically incorrect or more revisionist inspired, self-deluding than such a view that leaves out the very fact that the invention of science itself (yes, it was an invention) was done from a profoundly Christian world view and - almost to a man – the greatest scientific minds of the past were themselves Christian.”

Oh, my . . . how . . . uninformed. One of the more thought provoking things I have read in the past couple of years (I wish I could remember where) was that man had all the knowledge necessary to put a man on the moon within 50 years back during the time of Socrates. He quaffed the hemlock 400 years before your Christ was born. The Library of Alexandria held over half a million documents from all over the world, had over 100 fulltime resident researchers, and was founded 283 years before your Christ was born. They are still arguing over whether it was destroyed by the early Christians around 390 AD or the Muslims around 640 AD. In either case, about a thousand years of Dark Ages followed.

By my lights, Ingersoll had it exactly right, even though he wrote those words 115 years ago, before terms like “faith-based,” or “Technocratic,” or probably even “revisionist,” ever entered our lexicon. Since you bring up the subject, I suggest you read the whole essay entitled “God in the Constitution,” and ponder his wisdom carefully – if your prejudices permit. It can be found at:


Speaking of comments....

I was curious whether you get some of your grand ideas while airborne? Or at least do you organize your thoughts and gain inspiration from flight?

One of the things that attracted me to you (does this mean I should move to SFO?) in the first place was your enthusiasm for aviation. My brother-in-law and I both share a love of airplanes and he was the first to link me to you via email oh, I don't remember now, perhaps during the Johnson administration?

Seriously though......I'm not a certificated pilot (yet) but I find that inspiration strikes me when aloft...even if it's just to change a lightbulb when I return home.

I wondered if perhaps this had happened to you as well?

And another thing of heavier import perhaps.......

and this is for all posters on the comment section....not just Bill...

Fast forward 20 years.

Who wins? Does anyone? Is it still status quo? Business as usual with all the griping and snide bickering intact?

Fast forward 50?

Do the youngest among us change the world? Or do they emulate what they've seen?

I wanted to get some other chain of thought going here other than to have everyone just pile on in a great, smothering love fest.

Not that love fest's are wrong mind you.

Just because.


By the way....

How's that zippy little number with the propeller in the back coming along?

It's been a little over a 'bout an update?


"Juan Kerr" wrote...
You are a bit hard on the Russians. You should know that the ordinary Soviet bore the brunt of the Nazi peril - as did the Chinese. Can you blame them for reacting against that? Sure the US came in at the end but who did the grunt work? Anyone who knows knows the Russians and Chinese sacrificed around 50 million in total which make them have a very different perspective to the anti Soviet invective of western boy's comics.

This would be the Nazi peril that Russia was supplying with iron and coal as it invaded France and began savaging Britain with bombing raids.

This would be the Nazi peril that Russia had met as allies in Poland, only to find itself fleeing behind the breadbasket of the Ukraine and turning its starving masses into conscripts to hold not strategic ground, but a city renamed after the dictator?

This would be the Nazi peril that Britain, a tiny island nation under siege itself, sent food to the starving Russians to help fight?

That would be the Russian "brunt-bearing forces" fighting the Nazi and Japanese Axis while dining on food shipped to them through hostile airspace and war-torn seas from a nations (America and Britain) than not only maintained their sustenance throughout the this conflict, but also sent men who fought on 3 continents to roll back this existential threat?

I'm sorry. Hooray for Russia for holding Stalingrad, but "bearing the brunt of the Nazi peril?" Puh-lease.

They OWE their very existence to us. They could not advance towards defeating Nazi Germany, hell they couldn't even reclaim THEIR OWN lost territories, until America had crossed the Atlantic and evicted the Nazis from North Africa and Western Europe. Mind you, while we were fighting this Nazi peril AND feeding our allies half a world away, we were also fighting an equally determined peril on the other side of the planet across another hostile ocean!

Brunt-bearing Russians, my hairy ass.


Those that bore the brunt of the Nazi peril were Jews, not Russians.

Just so we're clear, okay?


People of Arab descent living in the United States are doing far better than the average American. That is the surprising conclusion drawn from data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000 and released last March. The census found that U.S. residents who report having Arab ancestors are better educated and wealthier than average Americans.

Whereas 24 percent of Americans hold college degrees, 41 percent of Arab Americans are college graduates. The median income for an Arab family living in the United States is $52,300—4.6 percent higher than other American families—and more than half of all Arab Americans own their home. Forty-two percent of people of Arab descent in the United States work as managers or professionals, while the same is true for only 34 percent of the general U.S. population. For many, this success has come on quickly: Although about 50 percent of Arab Americans were born in the United States, nearly half of those born abroad did not arrive until the 1990s.

Yes, have to add to the praise as this blog was one of the best I've ever read.

I personally liked the attack on entertainment media and awards ceremonies and wish you had of gone further in roasting overbearing Hollywood styled news-reader/anchormen personalities- oh well, there's always the future :)??


Food for thought...
You are very lucky to be able to blog such posts from the U.S. as it's a right not shared by the majority of humans on this planet.

I'm not able to blog from this country- The Republic of Korea (yes that's South Korea, the supposed `ally' to the U.S. that was created by U.S.,British and Turkish forces etc some 53 years ago) because this Government has a policy of appeasement towards North Korea.
Censorship, or to put it another way `the lack of the most basic of human rights (freedom of thought)' is such a forgotten concept here now
that the South Korean Government wont allow defectors from the North to speak on TV and radio in the South for fear their accounts will upset North Koreas `Dear Leader'!? Whatsmore, South Korea's super efficient cybercops wont allow blogs that criticise the liberal South Korean Government.
The South Korean cyber thought police actually go so far as to prevent Koreans accessing posts that are posted on sites outside of Korea!
All this from South Korea's President (a `Human Rights' lawyer!)

I just wish conservative American bloggers would start to question what the U.S. is actually doing in the South Korean dictatorship as the arguments for being here don't add up anymore.

# North Korea wont attack South Korea because China is reliant on South Korean corporations
or chaebol, for manufacturing nowadays and there's no way the Nth would dare offend the Chinese. There's already a considerable Chinese build up of forces along the Yalu river seperating Nth Kor from China.
# South Korea only pays 600$ million to the U.S. for its presence in South Korea of 32,000 troops while Japan pays 5 billion$ annually for the U.S. stationing 50,000 troops there. Why does South Korea get off so cheaply when it now has the 9th biggest economy in the world?(Oh, yes...South Korea gets off because young and middle aged South Koreans hate America and jump on the opportunity to throw molotof cocktails at U.S. bases whenever Korean TV runs more anti-American rhetoric~ thats why!?!?)

#########'ve got two ongoing wars/fronts raging and you're letting 30,000 troops stay here when most South Koreans actually blame the U.S. for splitting the peninsula 50 years ago!!
Time for the bloggers to write about the Koreas because your Hollywood focused news media deems this un-newsworthy in light of the Michael Jackson trial.
You know every winter reports filter over the border from Nth Korea into China of cannibalism. You'd think that would be enough to warrant some kind of coverage but there arent any pictures and Western media demand pictures. You'd think real testimony from defectors giving detailed accounts of torture and chem weapons testing on humans in Nth Korea would be enough to warrant some attention but no, it seems South Korea's President Noh has sufficiently silenced Nth Korean defectors.

Now that I've written this the K' cybercops will prevent Koreans from accessing your blog- sorry bout that...but hey, maybe some of you American thinkers will question who the U.S. allies really are and why the U.S. bothers with
free-speech hating and dictatorship-loving modern day South Korea.

There's a humantitarian crisis going on now, and
it's called North Korea. No ammount of censorship by President Noh of South Korea will prevent that human sufering, nor for that matter will the Hyundai Group pumping over 200 million dollars into Nth Korea to prop up the regime to
keep it alive (don't know about you but I wont buy a H_____ no matter how cheap it may be!)

Aussie Alex in Seoul
{probably about to go jail for daring to challenge good bloggers to dig even further)
Writing from Ewha University - the only South Korean university that has dared to hold human rights rallies for Nth Koreans regardless of President Nohs attempt to silence the truth.

Okay... a quickie here.

The following is an excerpt from a posting of mine dated October 16th, 2004, that is, unfortunately, once again pertinent to the moment.

"Let us not forget that this is not the Official Republican Viewpoint Website, nor the Official George W. Bush for President site, nor any other formal private, corporate, or government organization's site. This is Bill Whittle's PERSONAL web blog, a site that he pays for out of his own pocket in order to express his own personal OPINIONS publicly -- in other words, it is his PROPERTY. And much like your own front yard, the extent to which he allows others to play on his property is entirely up to him.

He is under no compulsion, and certainly no obligation, to even allow counterpoints to be expressed on his bandwidth, just as any home owner would not be compelled or obligated to allow rowdy neighborhood kids to play in their yard or climb their trees all day. In fact, to achieve this blog's original objectives requires no comment streams at all -- just Bill's essays. Which is one of the main reasons that Bill does not participate much in the comments once the essay's been out for a couple of days. The comment sections are FOR US far more than for him -- agree or disagree intelligently, that's fine, as long as you're not tearing up the lawn or keeping the home owner up all night with juvenile noise -- but turn this into a food fight, and access to Bill's yard gets closed down for everybody. It'd be no skin off HIS nose to just shut the comments off completely -- it would save him time, aggravation AND money, AND it wouldn't slow down his essay-writing one iota -- but he'd rather not. He, along with most of US, enjoys the debate, learns something from the varied perspectives, and can use that to further clarify his own beliefs. But, preferable as that is, if all it leads to is a flame-war on his dime, why bother?

And I would think this would concern the dissenters moreso than Bill's supporters, since his supporters can appreciate and take heart from his writings with or without an opportunity to tell him so, but those who DISagree would lose the opportunity to rebut.

So how 'bout we all just "try and get along" here folks. Discussion can be heated and passionate and still be adult. And I'd THINK that everyone would want to keep Bill's yard open to play in."


I'm posting this here, again, because Bill has once again expressed to me, in rather blunt terms, his frustration and disgust with the recent vitriol being exchanged here.

I, for one, would like to see this comment section remain open, as much for the dissenting opinions as those in agreement, but if Bill feels compelled to shut off the comments, I could live just fine with reading only his words here.


Waitasec, I'm confused, as is often the case.

Y'all thought that the posting of an essay that condescendingly attacks the other side of the aisle wouldn't generate some vitriol?

Pixy Misa:
“Or Jewish. But I think you were referring to the Judaeo-Christian worldview in general rather than to a specific subset.”
Exactly! I even thought about the fact that I wrote “to a man” and left out the whole class of women scientists, but I had already posted it. And you are right as well in that Science is a system of inquiry, not the information or beliefs it may produce. The “faith” part comes in to play when a scientists produces a particular point of view that must be taken on faith because it has no real scientific basis – Darwin comes to mind. I’m glad you got my meaning and didn’t take my head off for not stating it very well.
“Oh, my . . . how . . . uninformed” . . . “before your Christ was born” . . . “and ponder his wisdom carefully – if your prejudices permit”
Your lack of information AND your prejudice are amazing . . . so quick to make assumptions and pronounce a complete stranger’s ability to reason without pre-judging. I wish I was so endowed with instant wisdom as you seem to feel you are. Are you psychic? Do you place your hands on someone’s post to determine how well informed they are or what type or prejudices they may possess? Or did the word “Christ” (by the way, is “my “ Christ any different than anyone else’s?) give me away? I stand in awe . . .

Stephen Birch,

Your comment isn't all that off-topic.

One of the best parts of Bill's essay is his riff on the Pharaoh in the 7-11.

And the Robert Ingersoll quote from James addresses the same point: political, economic, and intellectual freedom has produced "miracles" of technology and prosperity that would stagger the imagination of the ancients.

Ingersoll wrote:

We have already compared the benefits of theology and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few.

So far so good.

To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins -- they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones.

That's all right too.

The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological times.

This is something of an over-simplification. The new sciences were just one new movement among several in the affairs of men. But it's important to remember what Ingersoll was talking about: he was drawing a distinction between the age of religion and the age of science. That was a fair distinction for Ingersoll to make, and he spent just as much time talking about religion as he did talking about science and naturalism.

But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average man of today -- of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago.

This is certainly an arguable point. But I understand what he is saying, and I would be more inclined to agree with him than disagree.

These blessings did not fall from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars -- neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience -- and for them all, man is indebted to man.

This account leaves out some important details. The same Church that persecuted Galileo was also a very important patron of scientists and science. The same Christian traditions that encouraged superstition and submission to the old order, also encouraged the ideas of individual rights and the rule of law.

The astronomical insights of Copernicus and Newton were one step removed from astrology, and the new techniques of experimental science owed quite a bit to alchemy.

But although Ingersoll is guilty of oversimplification, his critique of religion is otherwise spot-on. Religion did try to stifle science, and it was still actively doing so during Ingersoll's nineteenth century career as free-thinker's orator.

Even today, some orthodox Christians still resent the teaching of evolution in public schools, and try to inject religious views into science classes.

Reading Ingersoll today, one is struck by his passion and his sense of urgency in trying to debunk the myths of religion. If someone were to make the same points today, it would seem like overkill, because science and rationality are held in such high regard, even by most of the religious groups that Ingersoll was crusading against over a hundred years ago.

We don't need the polemics of an Ingersoll today, largely because people like Ingersoll himself were so effective. However, Arabia and the Islamic world in general could use all the Ingersoll's they can get.


John Stuart Mill comes to mind, a quote we had to memorize the first week of Basic Cadet Training at USAFA:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriot feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men that himself."

He said this sometime in the 1800s. The more things change...

P.S. Bill, it's amazing how you can put into words so eloquently what most of us only dream of being able to say. As painful as the wait was, I do have to say it was well worth it. (I know people who know people, etc, who will come beat you up if you ever take this long again to post a new essay.)

Also, everyone knows dolphins are only the second most intelligent life form on Earth. And humans are the third. ;)

comments really dont work on non left wing sites. isnt that interesting...


Once again, Thank You and your Mind Candy. TNX!

I was not aware of male Dolphins killing competitor's offspring. I was aware of Lions and Tigers exhibiting this behavior. Until I read your latest essay I did not understand why a Female Lion would Mate with a male that had just killed her offspring. It is Rape at it's brutal worst. It is Natural. Should it be tolerated? Humanity and Civilization does not think so. A Human Female would not tolerate the same(thank GOD, and or Humanity.)

Ideas are weapons, and I encourage you to continue to fire YOURS!

As far as the rabble squabblings that I have observed since you last fired. It is insignificant compared to your logic. And I am not kissing your ass. What gain would I have? Throw that at the squabbles.

Looking forward to reading your next.

Steve Kartchner
Salt Lake City,

Hi Bill,

This is a thoughtful post but I have a couples of points I think you threwed away too quickly:

-"Guantanamo/Abu-Graib/torture" topic: Eventhough prisonners as a whole are relatively well treated in US jails ( in comparison to any russian, chinese or colombian detention centers to name a few), some recent documents have proven several deaths occuring while detained. Some undeclared prisoner transfers to torture-lover countries have been made also. This is not all about keeping the lights on all-day or playing death-metal 150%. Reducing the whole issue to a bunch of pictures taken by a dozen boyz -that weren't even clever enough to keep it undercover at least!- is limitative as it seems to have been occuring in several other places like guantanamo and afghanistan for example. The "Coran down the toilet" episode may not be a systematic procedure but I believe such a thing has already happened since the book is one of the only thing a detainee is allowed to have and is culturally (particularly islamo-nerds) attached to it. These are two good reasons why at least a few good american army officer after 9/11 would love to use this book as a mean of pressuring a terrorist.

I like the way you feel about these miserable failures, but I doubt these 10 persons are the only group that should be responsible for all the..."wrong doing".

-"uniform sanctuary" topic: Don't you think that judging your ennemy by his tactic is not as telling as you may feel: french partisans didn't wore any uniform in WWII. Weren't they right to do so -as it was their ONLY possible way of action- against the NAZIS??? Of course they weren't killing civilians deliberately. But neither are the terrorists who uselly target military forces and policemen in Iraq. The civilians killed in Iraq are probably just "collateral damages" on terrorist's "surgical strikes" scales! Well, the US are not exempt of criticism on that point as many childrens around the world know too well (thinking about vietnamiese "orange children" in particular...).

To conclude, I would like to say how much you are right in your thoughts and convictions, but I personaly believe that the politicians you are supporting do not have the same interests as they're telling they share with you. I am all for democracy all around the planet but don't forget that democracies can also produce "hitlers". I am of course NOT comparing Bush to Hitler, this is just a reminder of an important historical fact.


I have reservations about Bill's essay that are similar to yours.

The world is not a 100% black-and-white place, and not everything we do is pure. Everything we do should be examined closely and criticized so that we can do the best job possible.

That said, we need to have the same passion and devotion to America's mission in the world that Bill has. And we need to counter-act the lame-brain propagada that flows from the lefties, and the biased dis-information of the mainstream media.

Thanks again for articulating my reservations.

I'm inclined to agree that not everything we do is pure and untainted.

The question becomes largely what one makes of the taint: does one conclude that we are hopelessly corrupt and evil, or that we're primarily good but flawed?

Your subsquent thoughts and actions will be based in the premise of the answer to that question.

No one should put blinders on, but stains on rug means you need a new rug, not a new house.

Outstanding, another hole-in-one.

Already put the book on my wishlist, maybe when I get a new laptop in the next 6-8 weeks ;)

Keep up the great work!

I would hate to see the comments dissapear from Bill's site. I am guilty of commenting before reading the whole essay, forgive me for being passionate, but sometimes I even make typos and lose grammar {grammer?) As I read Sanctuary, it occurred to me that Bill was offering HIS home to us all, open to discuss, open to debate, open to think. Mi Casa, su Casa, is an open invitation, one a decent person respects. I did not invite you to steal from me, or take all I own, I offered my house for you to live in, all mine is yours. If I have nothing, you can steal nothing, you can harm me not, but it also can be dangerous for the ruthless. I care not to fight with others that are so sure of what they believe in that they never listen, that is just a waste of our time. I do enjoy, however, reading, or talking about what matters to humans. Bill has a gift in that he can probe the depths of reality, explore his own mind, as well as my own, and present a "thesis" or essay that ties up many loose ends. Is it possible that someone can be always right, or know everything? Bill gives us a place we can examine the truth, together. I hope we can understand how important that is, but if not, I might suggest one make their own site. I am very patient waiting for Bill's essays, they are worth the wait, let the comments keep us thinking in between.


PS Bill is also excellent at teaching, if one takes the time to read and understand.

If you contribute to undermining the political will in the U.S. to do the right thing, then you are lending aid and comfort to our enemies.

I very rarely c&p what another types, but this is exactly what the enemy hopes for, to break our will. If we lose, I go back to nature, where I exist best, where will you go? A Tsunami is my nature, a volcano a relaxing vacation, earthquakes make me giggle profusely. Enjoy what you create, for nature is not for you, but for it's own. Don't get me talking about Social Ideas lost, or the validity for humans. I really do not mind taking care of the downtrodden, those unable to care for themselves, and I have read way too much Newton and Darwin to really change. In my opinion, this is why Bill opened a blog for US, not for himself. I really doubt he needs us.

He calls it, Sanctuary. Learn well.


PS Or not, life is a choice, is it not?

Nice read, Bill; puts things in perspective.

I am really depressed today, nobody is calling me an idiot, or vitriolic, and I even tried a bit to antagonize those cute smiley faces. I always seem to join the discussion when everyone is bored, and gone, could it be I am boring? I am thinking Marsh and Bill got together to silence all those that would converse with me, it appears they fear my knowledge. That must be it, I am smart, dammit. I did enjoy reading the exchanges, Lab as always was on top of the game, and GHS just never misses a chance to make sense. As I read the comments, I often want to respond, only to see those much more capable and learned than myself, I have no more time to read, so I tend to leave it to the pro's. One last comment, I saw someone play a pratical joke online once, and the response was telling, believe who you know, trust what you feel, and know what you believe. Nothing is sure, and what appears to be fact, may be just clever manuevers. Thanks for sharing your home, Bill.


Is everyone online on meds? I have never taken an aspirin myself, but I am not debating meds as essential to life.


Incredible essay, Bill. I hope to one day achieve your mastery of the written word. And Rik, you aren't getting flamed because you are making sense, at least to intelligent people. And if you think about it, why would an ignorant individual frequent a site that is centered around essays?

Well done, Bill. You are the man.

Among many, many good points, your early point about the un-uniformed enemy struck home with me. I see a similar problem with our un-uniformed soldiers. Being stationed overseas, we are encouraged to "leave our uniforms at work" and travel to and from the base in civilian clothes. The intent of this policy is to have us "blend in", "increase our force protection", and "present a reduced target". I have never liked this policy for it says to the world: WE ARE AFRAID. This is not the case. When I chose to enlist and put on the uniform, I did so knowing I would now be a target. But, of my many thoughts, I thought it is better to be a protected target than an unprotected civilian! Back to my point, I think by telling us not to wear our uniforms, we are telling our troops and the world that we wish to blend in and remain under the proverbial RADAR. Not me. I am proud to be an American. I am also proud to be a military member and I have no problem debating the various pros and cons of our way of life versus others. I may even change my mind if presented with a logical counterargument to one or more of my points.

Waiting patiently for the hard cover Silent America (first edition, signed if possible!!). I want to hand it down to my descendents.

There's a whole lot of us out here to help you save civilization, Bill! Corks out! Bring it on!

Here's a wrinkle you might want to work into the sanctuary concept: the fact that our enemies are given sanctuary (inadvertently) in our own societies because of the freedoms inherent in our way of life. Kind of a take off on the "we sow the seeds of our own destruction by our openness" critiques of liberal and capitalistic empires. Just a thought.

Been waiting a long time for this one, Bill. There is something deep and gutteral in your writing that appeals to me, and you are dead on. On everything. Loved the 7-11 analogy. Spot on.

For Juan and the rest of the site pests, especially the cheese dick Cannuck - BULLSHIT.

For the folks in the green and blue suits who are protecting us, day and night - "Git 'er dun"!

For my 17 year old son who can't wait to join the Marine Corps, you are a heart breaker son, be one excellent life taker.

This is what happens when threads run 300 plus comments long, rednecks like me come out to play.
There are 1 billion plus Muslims in the World. 100 million of them are the problem. The quicker we kill the 100 million, the better things will be.

And for the Cannuck complaining about the "right" and the "left" in America eating our own, etc. , etc. You don't know SHIT about us so STFU. Is that insensitive of me? Tough Darts.

Live free or die!

Bill Whittle,

Congratulations on a fine essay, and don't let pettifogging creeps upset you. Their concern for "legalities" vanishes at the drop of a hat where their heroes like Castro and Guevara are concerned.

Speaking of leftists, here's a site I think that you'd find interesting:

Nine Red Herrings: How the Western 'Left' has Misread Iraq

Pixy Misa,

Check out THE DAWN OF MODERN SCIENCE by Thomas Goldstein to see what he's talking about.

Here's a sample from the website above:

"But how is it possible for us to call ourselves Marxists and support a war waged by a coalition of rich western liberal democracies against the government of a poor “Third World” country? We would turn the question round: how it is possible that Marxism has been so corrupted and distorted that “Marxists” prefer to see thousands more Iraqis die in the torture chambers of the Ba’ath, and millions more suffer under the iniquities excused (not caused) by the UN sanctions, rather than admit that socialists not only can but must support even the worst bourgeois democracy against even the least bad tyranny? For the beginnings of an answer, let us consider just some of the transparent and disgusting lies generated and spread by the western “left” before and during the war.

(1) The Ba’ath regime was in some sense “progressive”: It is very revealing that few western “leftists” ever went beyond ritualised, purely verbal opposition to the “excesses” of the regime, even in the midst of their efforts to hijack the leadership of the anti-war movements from the pacifists, Muslim fundamentalists, “Not in My Name” solipsists and other malcontents with whom they made such opportunistic alliances. Meanwhile, a horrifyingly large number of “leftists” actually praised the regime – for its “secularism”, disregarding the Ba’athists’ praise for Islam as the “soul of the Arab nation”, Saddam’s fictional claim of descent from the Prophet and the addition of “Allah is great” to the national flag; its “socialism”, disregarding the whole sorry history of tyrannies deploying empty leftist rhetoric; and its sporadic defiance of the western powers, disregarding the fact that it happily cooperated with those powers whenever it suited it and them to do so. The western “left” has evidently become so habituated to denouncing the hypocrisy and cynicism of western governments – which we also denounce, though more consistently – that it is now incapable of discerning the hypocrisy and cynicism of nonwestern governments. Any organisation that can call, as the Socialist Workers Party did, for “Victory to the Resistance”, as if the Ba’ath regime’s last remaining loyalists, and those it imported from other Arab countries, resembled the French Resistance rather than the Vichy regime’s Milice and their Nazi friends, has not just deserted Marxism, it has taken off into a world of fantasy from which it looks unlikely to return."

"Rising from DEEP Submergence"

Could not agree more with your comments on playing in Bill's yard.

I do not agree with everything Bill says yet, I await every new essay with bated breath. Why? Because the man makes sense!!

Why do we not just let our modern day Mark Twain entertain us with some truely fine writing and quit crapping on the lawn over every little comma and quote mark.

"Right Wing wackos disown me, Left Wing wackos disown me. I can not be doing every thing wrong."

"Dive Dive"

"I should spend an hour a day prostrate and thanking God I was born an American."-Bill

I seem to remember GHS saying that you were an athiest.

Wonderful news Bill!!!

P.S. And you found 'Him' without any stupid religion, too.


Before you get too excited there, plenty of atheists, especially myself, use the word "God" all the time because there are so many figures of speech that use it. One of these days I should keep track, I bet I say "God" 20 or 30 times a day for one reason or another.

Trust me on this one, Dougman -- that was purely a figure of speech, intended solely to convey the "magnitude of his gratitude." Similarly, when he uses equally impassioned language to convey his disgust or frustration with someone, he's not actually calling upon a divine figure to condemn that person to eternal damnation. And that should come as good news, even if the first part of this message does not.

Have a good one anyway.


Another great one Bill. Now I'm more sanguine about the prospect of Silent America II.

I had a long post addressing ankle-bitters like Juan Kerr but then I decided just a little invective is much better. Mostly becauseI know that little Wanker and Winston Smith have seen all the counter arguments before, and have left with their tails between their legs over and over again but yet they come back. Why? Because their petty little lives suck so much that they just have to attempt to ruin other people's lives to make themselves feel better.
Bitter little losers on the wrong side of history is all you'll ever be. Comparisons of Bush to Hitler because his grandfather supposedly had dealings with Hitler is extra amusing coming from people who are defending the latest rendition of fascism. And the irony gets that much more sweet as the aforementioned ankle-bitters don't even see the irony.

Whoa, Earnest Brown!

I am still experiencing cognitive dissonance over that article ( I have more respect for these British Marxists than the entire left wing of the Demopublican Party here in America.

For what it might be worth, I am currently consuming the many works of Robert Ingersoll as eagerly as I did Bill Whittle’s when I first found them here. ( It still distresses me that I attained this advanced age before discovering this incredibly erudite, passionate, and prolific author / orator who was much influenced by Thomas Paine. Thanks James.

This one is OT for this comment stream, actually a side comment on History. But of course the comments on that one have long been closed.

I am on the email list at Border's, and an interesting new book has just been announced for publication this summer. For the purpose of their book, the authors have thrown one of the switches in the great railyard of fate and sent the train of history exploring down a different track. I know that Bill likes this type of story; he said so several times in History. I'd bet that many of his readers must like these stories too.

This new book begins after the Confederate victory at Gettysburg. Lee lays siege to Washington. Lincoln remains defiant, and he appoints Grant as CinC of the Union armies. The defenders of Washington might not be capable of meeting the Army of Northern Virginia on even terms in open battle, but they have the protection of the extensive ring of fortifications around the city. Grant Comes East (That's the title of the book), bringing the army that just won the Battle of Vicksburg with him. Can he redeploy in time, before Washington falls?

The authors are both Ph.D. professors of history. One of them has thrown a few real switches in the rail yard of fate in his day; it's Newt Gingrich. The other is named Forstchen.

It should be a good book.

ShivaArchon, GHS
I understand what you are saying, but this one stands out as . . .well . . .just different than anything else i've read here. But, you know Bill much better than i ever will, so i will nod my head in acknowledgement.

I percieve 'God' as being truth and knowledge (both realized & waiting to be uncovered) not the big daddy in the sky god that was shoved down my throat for the first fourteen years of my life.


So to speak.


Bill, this is fine stuff. You are a great writer--passionate and articulate. It also helps that I agree with you (smile).

Having said that, though two points that you might want to think about if this is to go in a book. First, the point that someone raised about uniforms...that the French Resistance didn't wear uniforms. Does this mean that they were morally bad in some way? I'm not saying for a second that there's any comparison between the French Resistance and Iraqi terrorists, but maybe you should address the point, because I suspect your opponents will attack you on it.

Second, the business about the Pharaoh and 7-11. I know the point you are trying to make: the humblest member of our civilization has material advantages that a Pharaoh would envy. But I'm not convinced. Maybe Pharaoh wouldn't like air can get used to really hot dry climates, and going into an air conditioned building makes you shiver and gives you colds. Maybe Pharaoh had some sort of pain you know that he didn't? These kinds of historial analogies aren't very convincing, I think...would the Mohicans have preferred to hail a cab rather than running through the woods in moccasins? You see how silly it can be.

You may say that this is irrelevant, but if you venture into areas you don't know much about, you may weaken your argument, and I'd hate that to happen, cause I think your writing is terrific. Just give it a thought.

Keep up the good work

I didn't wade through all the comments, and I don't know if this has been covered already, but anyone taking "Juan Kerr" seriously may want to say his name a few times fairly fast.

Anyone who argues under the self given name "wanker" may have ulterior motives. Trolling, like.

Excellent essay Mr. Whittle! I remember reading your wonderful comments on Rachel's old blog, and am ever so happy that she talked you into blogging yourself.

Another reason to like Rachel! Hooray!

Special Ed

I wish I could articulate my thoughts half as well. My compliments on a very well-written piece.

I live in Southern California too, not all that many miles away from you, but in some ways, maybe a very long distance from Santa Monica.

Last Monday, Memorial Day, I attended a Memorial Day Service in our community park. There were citizens of all ages and all nationalities. The local high school band was there, as were teenagers sitting in the audience. There were the local City Council members, the Mayor, our California Senator, and our U.S. Congressional Representative. But best of all, on the stage were all the Veterans from our community. They were there to be recognized and to be honored for what they have given to us. They each stepped forward and identified themselves and where and when they served. Every one of them was applauded. There were speeches from some of the dignitaries, and by some of the Vets. And there were lots of tears . . . tears of gratitude and appreciation for all the sacrifices that have been made for us to have the freedom to stand there waving our flags and saying our prayers. The names of all the veterans from our community that have given their lives in duty were read. More tears. But the community was united in its appreciation and reverence for the sacrifices that have been made for us and for our country.

Following the service we had a parade down the main street (Foothill Boulevard). The sides of the street were lined with people, people proud to wear red, white and blue. They stood as the Boy Scouts carried the flags at the beginning of the parade. They cheered for the firemen and the law enforcement officers. They clapped for all the dignitaries passed by in various antique and new cars. As is the tradition in our community, all the pre-schools and youth groups have the children walk down the parade route with their parents. They are honored for the strong family values that are the backbone of our community, and our country. And we stood and cheered for all the veterans that were in the parade. We thanked them. And we shared more tears.

This has become an event that I look forward to each year. I shared this each year with my children when they were still at home. They are grown up now, and have their own lives. But their love of our country has gone with them to be expressed in their own ways.

Now, not just on Memorial day, or Veterans’ Day, I find myself taking the time every day to thank those in our community that serve us to protect our precious freedoms. We all must honor and celebrate the sacrifices and dedication of the so many living and deceased that have given us so much.

I generally go to Madness of King George for a comparison between what the lowest of us in America take for granted and what the most powerful men of their generation could expect. George III would've seen ice, to be sure, but probably not ice made on on command. Make it "comfortably worm without a big fire in a drafty, dreary English winter" instead of "cool in the hot Egyptian sun" and you'd get the same thing.

And it's amazing to think that, for the invention of gunpowder and great sailing ships, George's world is closer in feel to Cheops' and far far closer in time to ours.

To BillBC:

I see where you're going with your two main points, and insofar as they go, I'm not going to argue with them. They are true enough. However...

You said, "...the French Resistance didn't wear uniforms. Does this mean that they were morally bad in some way?"

I don't think it's an issue of moral rectitude or greater or lesser "rightness." I think it's a matter of what kind of treatment you can expect when you "cheat" (to coin a phrase) at war. And I don't think the Resistance fighters harbored many illusions about what kind of treatment they could expect from the Nazis if they were caught.

Anyone, on any side of any conflict in recent history, who fought dressed as either a civilian, or worse, disguised as a member of the opposing force, did so knowing that they could expect no quarter from their enemy. They would be treated as spies, and even the Geneva Accords don't care what you do with spies.

Quoting Bill, from "SANCTUARY:"

"Do those protesters ever wonder why prisoners of war in World War II movies – soldiers -- trying to escape in civilian clothes would be shot as spies? A soldier out of uniform, a soldier trying to hide in the civilian population is gaining a one-time personal advantage, but that not the real sin. The real sin is that he is endangering the non-combatants. He is using civilians as cover. He is breaking down the barrier between the armed and the unarmed, the threat and the non-threat. He is trying to have it both ways."

And as nobly as we may regard the Resistance now, with the clarity of 60 years of hindsight, the fact was that their activities did make life very difficult for the civilian population in the areas in which they were most active.

One HUMONGOUS difference though, between the French Resistance and the modern-day "lethal weasels" that Bill was specifically addressing in this essay, is HOW they chose to blend into the civilian population at large -- hiding AMONG them, versus hiding BEHIND them -- disappearing into anonymity, versus placing women and children in FRONT of themselves, or intentionally blowing up their own fellow citizens as part of their tactics.

And one HUMONGOUS difference between how the Nazis dealt with the French Resistance, versus how WE'RE dealing with these "Islamist freedom fighters," is that the Nazis would happily execute, cart off in the night, and generally mow down anyone and anything that they even suspected might be a threat, whereas WE are painfully, oftentimes detrimentally discriminating in our efforts to keep the collateral damage to a minimum.

Then, regarding the comparisons of 7-11 miracles versus the Pyramids of Cheops, you said, "These kinds of historial analogies aren't very convincing, I think...would the Mohicans have preferred to hail a cab rather than running through the woods in moccasins? You see how silly it can be."

The intention here, I believe, was not to show how much better we've got it over our millenially distant predecessors -- I think that's pretty much a given from anybody's point of view -- but just to point out all the insignificant little luxuries that we've come to take SO MUCH FOR GRANTED, to REMIND everyone of how UNNATURALLY COMFORTABLE, safe and secure their lives are now in this day and age (and in this country in particular), thanks to all these little "givens" that are so much a part of everyday life that they are all but forgotten.

It's not that air conditioning was necessarily something that Cheops always fantasized about in his time, but that, for you and me, it's such a "given" that it almost seems like a part of the natural order of things. And it's NOT. Just like novacaine, transoceanic flight, cellphones, and weblogs, almost NOTHING that we take for granted in this day and age even existed as little as a hundred years ago. But they're so much a part of our safe, free, comfortable, modern way of life, that people act like it's a universal norm, a "given." It makes our very abnormal "sanctuary" seem normal, it makes people forget (or at least ignore) that they're even IN a "sanctuary," and worse, it means that it becomes too easy to lose all grasp with the reality that still exists OUTSIDE our sanctuary -- the REAL cruelty, REAL barbarism, real suffering, real lack, and the very real loss that so many of us can't even imagine any more.

THAT'S what the comparison was all about, I think. When someone can live entirely within the protected borders of this society, with no exposure in their lives to anything like the kind of privation that so much of the rest of the world deals with on a daily basis -- when, surrounded by virtually unlimited opportunity, broad and nearly unrivaled freedoms, and almost absurd levels of personal opulence (relatively speaking), they can compare this nation and its motives to the absolute worst predators in history, compare our actions with those of the most brutal and oppressive mongrel hordes of all time, and worse, compare their own personal "plights" to those of the most beleaguered and tormented souls of the past -- when someone from the inside of this miraculous "sanctuary" can say such things, they have been too long separated FROM and immune TO the REAL suffering and brutality and oppression to have a clue what they're saying, or to realize how offensive such claims are to people who HAVE had to face and live with such things.

So sometimes, you just have to show them the utter miracles hidden in the most mundane aspects of their everyday lives -- sometimes you just have to compare a 7-11 to one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

I think.



Why don't you Blog?

You make pretty good sense too.

The two of you would make a pretty good tag team out in the 'sphere.

Still love ya Bill.....

I am altogether delighted to have found this site and Mr. Whittle's compelling essays. Seems like there should be a PhD or something attached to that name and "Mr." somehow seems inappropriate. Already I've emailed many friends and disseminated this site's url to many I've engaged with online for years. Can't believe it's so far under the radar in my humble circles. I ran across a thread at FreeRepublic glowingly featuring Sanctuary. I know nothing about you, Mr. Whittle, outside of what I've read in your essays, but the cogency with which your words penetrate today's troubling world suggests much about you. The caliber of so may of the comment posts following your essay are likewise impressive.

For the longest time I've wanted to put into words (almost) exactly what you've written in Sanctuary (the only of your essays I've as yet found time to read in its entirety having just discovered them today), and I'm breathing a big sigh of relief right now, knowing someone else has done the job far more comprehensively and eloquently than I likely could have.

Thank you for your efforts. They're sure to re-energize many conservatives, as they just have me. Trust as well that they'll get through to quite a few very difficult-to-sway liberals as your site evidently exists to do. Also, rest assured that I will purchase whatever's available of your works. They're available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon I believe.

Warm Regards,


Welcome, Sean. You are in for a treat; find a comfortable chair and prepare to feel like Neo in the Matrix downloading kung fu into your frontal lobe. Bill's arguments are very persuasive simply because they get to the heart of the matter so elegantly. Even the most stubborn liberals I know at least consider his ideas and concede a few points. A few.


Thank you very much.

Awesome...Thank you Bill!

A new reader.

Color me fashionably late. Ok, I'm way later than that.

Once again Bill, Nicely Writ!

Oh lord. I printed the whole thing out and now you've re-written it! Back to the printer...

This was so good even our home-from-college kid read it...

Hey GreatHairySilverback...just came back to see if anyone spoke to my points. You make really good arguments, and to some extent you convince me...I didn't think that ever happened in blogs, so you must be pretty

I don't think arguments given above can be improved upon but this tidbit might be added to the myriad eloquently written ripostes to Kerr and Winston's "unjust war" and disproportionality claims:

The elimination of the threat posted by Saddam's (secular) regime made possible the removal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia whose presence in the Kingdom (the home of Islam's holiest city) was given by Al Qaeda as the principle reason for the 9/11 attacks.

Not that Al Qaeda's any happier with us installing democracies in the Middle East, but you can be sure references to this consequence of Saddam's ouster would be all over the MSM and would lace liberal talking points in a parallel universe in which the shoe was on the other foot.


As mentioned before, this simply gives great perspective to those who do not understand what happens in war. As a US Army soldier currently preparing for a deployment to the mideast your words are particularly poignant for me. I've emailed this to a bunch of my comrades and I'm awaiting their responses.

Thanks again for the beautiful exercises in logic and historical perspective.

Okay, it's June 16, 2005. I mark this day down as the day I read the best piece of writing EVER on this heartwrenching conflagration called the Iraqi war. I am sitting bolt upright in my chair, electrified--a smile of wonder on my face. God bless you, Bill Whipple--you are a man after God's own heart! No doubt in my mind.

With these few words the writer proves the fallacy of his arguments - as Posted by Bill Whittle

"I believe that in general, humans are good and kind."

The hurtful TRUTH is that Humans are quite the opposite...

If he were right, centuries of wars would not have occurred... Man's inhumanity to man is nothing new nor surprising... It's simply "man's" nature...

somebody... anybody, please respond to GWiz. I've neither the time nor the desire to deal with someone who just doesn't get it... I'm sure I'd end up insulting someone, and I don't want to do that....

I had linked and then forgotten about this essay. I just finally set aside some time to read it and I would like to thank you once again for the invigoration I feel everytime after readin one of your essays.

First of all, GWiz, let's delineate between "TRUTH" and "your opinion." You're certainly entitled to one, but that doesn't make it the same as the other.

Secondly, one of Bill's primary points was NOT that humans are immaculate, pure and noble by design or definition, but that they ARE the only species on the planet that even TRIES to rise above their animal nature. Hence the dolphin story. So your point that "it's simply "man's" nature..." doesn't change the fact that DESPITE that nature, we are capable -- and do regularly accomplish -- great things, even if nothing more grandiose than holding doors open for strangers, letting strangers onto the freeway in front of us, or praying for peace.

And as for "If [Bill] were right, centuries of wars would not have occurred," well, how about looking at it this way: "If Bill is WRONG, then why haven't we completely obliterated ourselves yet? What's to stop us? Why haven't we just spontaneously combusted as a species?" We've certainly got the firepower. If we are nothing but hyper-aggressive warmongering savages, without any of the redeeming qualities that Bill put so much effort into pointing out here, then how can you dare to stand alone and unarmed in a movie line, surrounded by all manner of barbarians, coiled and twitching carnivores, and natural born killers?

Me personally? I think it's because, as Bill said (and you quoted), " general, humans are good and kind," if not by nature, then by forced socialization. And those that are not, can usually still see the wisdom in just trying to get along, even if only some of the time.

And finally, as for the "centuries of wars:" just how many of those wars were just for sport? How many of those were just because "that's what we DO?" Not many. And NONE in recent history. Conversely, how many of those actually had larger-scale objectives that either could ONLY be achieved through combat, or were perhaps more quickly or efficiently achieved through war, regardless of how noble or ig- those objectives might have been?

That's a big difference there, between unbridled senseless savagery, and organized (albeit violent) resolutions to large-scale issues.

It's also the difference between the front and the back ends of the food chain.

That's just my opinion, of course -- I'd never be so bold as to label that the official "TRUTH."


Thank you GHS, that was just what I would have said, if I were in possession of a fraction of your writing abilities. In my OPINION, GWiz should put what you just wrote in his or her pipe and smoke it. Fantastic retort. Thanks again.

...And shame on Frank J. for taking so long to read the essay. Him and his podcasts.... grrr... (just kidding I like his podcasts)

Erosion of popular support for Iraq has nothing to do with how prisoners are treated. Please see more below.

I think the first reason is financial. In April 2003, Wolfowitz said that containing Saddam over the previous 12 years cost 30 billion. The cost of the last 2 has been roughly 300 billion with no end in sight. While the hope of installing a democracy is the stated intention of the administration, hope for a more stable mid-east with oil prices to match was hoped for. Clearly this has not come about. We seem to have neither control over Iraqs supply of oil, much less control of the over all market price. We're payin' more at the pump.
And we're also payin' for Iraqs reconstruction. Unfortuantely, without security needed to stabilize those sections of Iraq where oil goes through, or even to guarentee the supply of electricity, reconstrunction is moving at an uncertain pace.

I think the second is the way Bush "sold" the war. No doubt to hard core adherents who foresaw all this or who believe how the war was sold simply doesn't matter, this is not a concern. For tens of millions of others, it obviously is.
While the WMD issue didn't matter in the first stages of the conflict, when victory, however you define that, was still in sight. Now that we are still stuck there for who knows how long, the question of why we went in there in the first place becomes more and more pressing. The PR problem also comes into play. You don't hear or see any Bush people talking about or refering to the "Mission Accomplished" speech on board the aircraft carrier anymore.
Bush these days is trying to reassure families that their kins sacrifice was not in vain. Victory is still out there. But it is becoming harder and harder to define. But the clearest of definitions, when our troops will come home, isn't even being discussed in the Bush white house.
It is being discussed in congress, by republicans who want the president to set a date for returning the troops. A resolution sponsored by the House member responsible for the PR campaign to turn French Fries into freedom fries asks Bush to do just that.
Had Bush "sold" the war as a mammoth task requiring long term united sacrifice on the part of all Americans that would, however long it took, and however much it cost, eventually lead to a more secure world for all Americans, I think support for the war would be much more solid.
As it is, having told vast majority of Americans to go shop, while leaving the sacrifice to a small minority willing to do the work, has left the vast majority wondering what he's doing, and the small minority getting smaller and smaller every month.

What is gained from Americans holding the prisoners, in whatever fashion they are held in? Can't the processing of prisoners be handled by Iraqis themselves? These are the questions that must be asked in reguards to their detention.
If there is some result that comes from their detention that is helpful to our troops or the Iraqis then I don't think the American public would mind a "Dirty Harry" type interogation. Certainly, a search for WMD's would warrant such a step or some info on the whereabouts of Bin Laden or Al Zarchouwi or a hostage.
Too often, however, where people turned out to be was found out by locals tipping off the right authorities rather than information gathered from prisoners. Nor can Bush claim that gathering these detainees has slowed the insurgency a bit. This being the case, what is the result of Americans holding these prisoners?
The answer leads to the second question?
Why aren't the Iraqis holding these prisoners themselves, or, at least, processing them into custody? Shouldn't the first, and simplest task for Iraqis seeking to help stop the insurgents, is to learn how to process them into safe custody. Let them take the chances with the suicidal maniacs. Let them get their hands dirty handling their countrymen. Let their medics handle their wounded.
With the problems at Abu Gharib, and the videotaped shootings, wouldn't it be better for the Iraqis to handle their own? While the world might see these people as US stooges, no particular soldier would end court up martialed as a consequence.
That, of course, begs a third question: Do the Coalition forces over there feel the Iraqis can be trusted with such a task? If they don't, exactly what tasks can the Iraqis be trusted with?

JAT, Bush has NEVER said it would be over short and sweet. His words to Congress on September 20, 2001:

"The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.

It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

Now, this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

Suggesting our leaders tack up an exit date and stick to it is foolishness and shows a complete ignorance of history. If we say we will be out of Iraq in 6 months, I will tell you exactly what we will see: an immediate decrease in terrorist attacks, followed by an immediate increase in attacks as our troops withdraw (ie-retreat), and the animals take over again.

The only exit strategy is victory and victory will only come when we have convinced the enemy that fighting us is futile, and we have shown them a better way to live their lives. Telling them to lay low for a certain period of time until we go away tells them our hearts were never really in it to begin with. It gives the enemy a countdown until summer vacation.

I can think of a certain political party who would say their hearts were never really in this war ("Not in our name!"), and I can even see why they don't want us to actually win this war (because it might actually make Bush look good in the history books). But to see them want to abandon so many who are depending on us, to make all our sacrifices until now go for nothing, for petty political reasons, is beyond sad.

First of all, my apologies, to JAT and Hudson21. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, your most recent postings have gotten caught in the site's blacklist filters. I "approved" them immediately when I found them, but they still didn't show up in this comment stream for most of another 18 hours after that. I'm not sure what's going on with that.

Secondly, to JAT, the points that I agreed with: (1) popular support (or the lack thereof) for the "war" (or perhaps more accurately, "the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq," since the "war" itself ended 2 years ago) is NOT based on our treatment of enemy prisoners. On that we are in agreement. That's just another emotional over-reaction in a long and growing list of over-reactions. Personally, I think the LACK of support is based on many things, not the least of which are short attention spans, the aforementioned emotional knee-jerk reactions, and worst of all, way WAY too much public access to the day-to-day minutia of the progress of this operation.

Lordy, if the Civil War had been this hamstrung by this same kind of constant ill-informed civilian second-guessing, armchair quarterbacking, and emotional involvement, it would either still be going on (as our leaders "felt out" the popular sentiment before trying anything), or it would have ended after the first major engagement at Manassas, and we'd still be a gaggle of squabbling little "nation-states," with slavery still a part of everyday life. Good gravy, we lost almost as many Americans in ONE DAY at the Battle of Antietam as we did in the entire Vietnam War, and if the public had been as excruciatingly over-informed and "involved" as they are now, would the war have been allowed to go on even one more day after that? But in the end -- in the long run -- in the BIG PICTURE -- were those lives truly wasted? All painful and tragic losses, no question, but was not something far greater ultimately achieved with those sacrifices?

I know I'm diverging from your points a tad here, but what I'm trying to say is that ill-informed emotionally-based citizen-critiques are neither helpful nor, in my opinion, should they be relevant to the prosecution of any military operation (and by "ill-informed," I don't mean "not up on current events," I mean "unfamiliar with military history, tactics or strategy, and most of all, ignorant of all the facts and data available to their president and military commanders"). People should absolutely voice their general disapproval, if that is their belief -- absolutely -- in this country, that's their right, and IMO, their duty -- and a majority (a MAJORITY) consensus should be honored by their leaders. But individual dissections of each and every minuscule activity in a large scale war effort, by people who just plain don't know what the hell they're talking about, only dilutes, compromises, and ultimately cripples that effort, and in the end -- particularly in a far-reaching program like this one -- everyone BUT THE ENEMY loses.

In that regard then, public "issues" over our treatment of prisoners are just another symptom of that malaise, IMO. No more helpful, and no more relevant. Hopefully the modern military has been able to adapt to the crushing attention being paid by the modern citizen-dabbler, and is still able to trudge forward with all that squawling weight on its shoulders. If not, we're in trouble.

And (2) President Bush did do a lousy job of selling this war to the American public. Even Bill would agree with that, and in fact opened his essay "WAR" (which was written a month or two before the invasion even began) with that very point. But, as Hudson21 pointed out, it wasn't because he "misinformed" us, or underestimated the time it would take, or underplayed the risk, cost, or effort required. He did forewarn us of all of that. Unfortunately, what he also did, IMO, was play to the modern media's standard of gearing their "reporting" to a nationwide 12-year-old audience, and he dumbed his message down to a few stirring-but-general soundbytes about smiting evildoers and defending our freedom, etc., etc. That was the overall gist anyway. It was a satisfying message, especially in the light of our fired up national ardor at the time, but it didn't do all that it should to fully justify the effort. I kept expecting him to come back in a later speech, as we neared D-Day, to further elaborate on all the damned good reasons and justifications there were for going to war, but he never did. And that, moreso than his earlier vague but "inspiring" speeches, was his biggest mistake.

In my opinion.

And finally, the places where I disagreed with you the most, well, thankfully, Hudson21 covered those bases pretty well already.

You can thank my sputtering and unreliable internet server for the delays getting this response out.

Thanks for the perspective though.


From Just Another Taxpayer to Hudson21,

Thank you for taking the time to read, and respond to my four postings which were a heck of alot longer than I thought they would be. Especially since they sit at the end of comment section. Having said that, however, you confirmed everything I said about hard core adherents of Bushs' approach to Iraq. Right down to the speech you cited.
As a Bush supporter, you can't very well cite his "Mission Accomplished" speech because "at the end of major combat operations" only 138 were dead, and 30 billion had been expended. Now we stand at ten times both the number of dead, and the number of Billions we've paid thus far, and there's no end in sight for either.
The party members you refer to that wants to set a date for return of troops is Bushs' own. Outside the White House, there is little acknowldgement of any of the problems with Iraq.
As far as the treatment of prisoners goes, it was a central thesis of all my previous postings, that as an issue, it has little traction with popular American opinion. Further, I, like most Americans, wouldn't mind a "Dirty Harry" type of interogation of prisoners if it made a demononstrable dent in the insurgency.
Thus far, however, American detention of prisoners has done nothing but cause problems for us in the Muslim world. So let the Iraqis have at their own. Let them apply their own standards of justice to their own.(Ever see "The English Patient". Even if they're seen as american stooges, no individual US servicemen can be called into question for their conduct.
Let them at process and guard their own prisoners. And here's the central question:
If the coalition authorities in Iraq don't trust the Iraqis to handle their own prisoners, what honestly can they be trusted with?

To GHS from JAT

Thank you for your honesty, as well as your reference to Mr. Whittles earlier writings. I will look it up. And please forgive my reference to "Hard Core Adherents", I hope it will not be taken as insulting.
However, having sold the war the way he did, and given the short attention spans, and whatever other problems policy maskers confront on Iraq, how do you backtrack? Telling someone a war isn't going quite the way you want it to
is a pretty hard sell. Even members of Bushs' own party aren't buying it.
What do you see as the defintion of victory?
Why can't Iraqis guard their own, so we get that particular monkey off our backs?

Well, JAT, when you say "how do you backtrack?', if you mean how would *I* -- i.e; Steve, a.k.a. the GreatHairySilverback -- backtrack, I would say, "I WOULDN'T." And personally, I would hope that neither my President nor his administration would backtrack either. I would hope that a simple public reminder that war, and oftentimes the clean-up and rebuilding that follows it, is a highly fluid and constantly influenced endeavor -- I'd like to think that that would be understood and sufficient. I'd LIKE to think that... but I don't.

The lame sales pitch (at the beginning) cannot be buffed up and re-issued now, and any attempt now to elaborate on the broader issues of the war that did justify it would just come across as so much stuttering and excuse-making now. Similarly, "backtracking" -- to where? -- wouldn't accomplish anything either: it wouldn't further our objectives, aid in their achievement, build public support, or even satisfy the president's dissenters. So that's out too. And finally, why even TRY to sell something that's already been "bought?" We're in Iraq now. We took that step. "Not going" is no longer an option. Looking back now is like looking down from a high height -- it won't get you any closer to the top, and it'll likely only serve to unnerve you.

So, in my opinion, we shouldn't be TRYING to sell, or RE-sell this effort. For one thing, the war's already over -- this is all reconstruction and maintaining the peace in a temporarily occupied territory now. We should be trying solely to keep everyone's eye on the bigger prize -- and by "bigger prize," I don't just mean the release of the Iraqi people from their decades of bondage, or the elimination of a virulent national threat, or even the eventual return of our troops (and they've ALWAYS returned, from wherever they were sent, so coming home, sooner or later, is a given) -- no, I mean the stabilization of the region. The LONG TERM stabilization of the region. And that's worth staying a while longer for, if necessary, IMO. The pay-off is just too big, and the finish line so much closer than it's ever been, for us to back out now just because we've already spent so much money, or lost so many lives (which would all be for nothing if we left the task unfinished).

We're too close now. Doing anything less than seeing this thing through to its conclusion would be not only staggeringly wasteful and politically debilitating, it would be downright criminal. The step that the objectors object to the most -- going to war AT ALL -- has already been taken. It's a done deal, a moot point. It's history. All the niggling and bitching now is just people looking for more ammunition to fire at a president and a policy they don't like, that had the unmitigated gall to win an extended term despite their ardent objections. None of these sniping criticisms will accomplish anything though, not for the war effort, for their poor beleaguered apple-cheeked boys and girls in uniform, for the Iraqis (in Iraq or Guantanamo), or for their own cause for that matter. They're just distractions.

IMO, it comes down to this -- we either see this all the way through, or we throw up our hands, we "backtrack," retreat, and prepare for a long dark age of defensiveness. Neither friend nor foe will ever take us seriously again, our military will have simply been abused for nothing, and the vacuum left in the Middle East by our lack of fortitude will be filled by the worst of the worst.

So what do I see as the "definition of victory?" Iraqi independence. It's that simple. Not Iraqi "freedom:" they've got that now, with us hanging around doing all the dirty work and footing the astronomical bills. No, I mean INDEPENDENCE. Self-sufficiency. And that doesn't just mean "no one telling them what to do." It means being able to protect and defend themselves, govern themselves (with a government that won't instantly implode or regress into tyranny at the drop of a hat), and keep this open democracy ball rolling. If they can do that, they don't need US, and we don't need to keep watching over our shoulders for THEM.

And if that means hanging around for another six months, a year, even TWO years more, it's worth it. Don't you think? I realize that in this age of instant gratification, short-sightedness, and "enlightened uninvolvement" that that's a hell of a lot to ask of the American people -- I mean, after all, what's the pay-off for THEM? -- but THAT'S what's being asked. And that's WHO it's being asked of.

So THAT'S what needs to be "sold," if you ask me... the Big Picture.

In the long run, if we see this through like we "should," IMO, we will have gotten off dirt-cheap.

Just keep thinking about what the 30s and 40s would have been like if we HAD turned Hitler back when he first goose-stepped into the demilitarized Rhineland. The intrusion might have been reviled, but the 50,000,000 people that died during World War II would have lived -- because there wouldn't have BEEN a World War II. Hitler himself said as much. And THAT'S what getting off "dirt-cheap" means.

300 billion (which wouldn't have been so tough to bear if our "co-threateners" had stuck with their threats and shared in the effort) is a paltry fraction of the cost of fighting our way out of another global conflagration, which was entirely foreseeable had Hussein been allowed to continue as he was.

Sell THAT.


Dang, it's never easy to follow GHS, but I'll try to address the points you made to me, JAT. To start with, I really don't think it's the Republicans who have been harrassing the administration for an "exit strategy". It's hard to show our interrogation techniques making a "demonstrable dent" in the insurgency, but I'm pretty confident that they are. As Bill mentioned in this and other essays, we don't know how many attacks have been prevented from information gained from these prisoners. Maybe 100. Maybe none. But since WE have not been attacked on our homeland since that awful day, I'm guessing that number is a lot greater than one. And that, to me, makes all our efforts worth it.

As for letting the Iraqis handle their own prisoners, I'm all for it. And they will. They are getting ready, but they are not ready just yet. It's easy for us to sit here in the US with such expectations, demanding that they do it NOW. keep in mind freedom is a very new concept to the Iraqis. They have been living under oppression you or I have never known, and they now have the power to steer their own destiny. But like any teenager, they have to have some driving lessons first.

The elections showed how much they wanted it. The volunteers have come forward to be trained as police by the thousands, knowing full well that by doing so they are putting a target on their chests, or more likely their backs. Progress is being made every day toward the goals we have set (if you pay close attention), and all the vaunted insurgency can do is blow up a car in frustration that they are being left behind. Of course, it is the car bomb that makes the headlines and gives the insurgency the attention it desires and the legitimacy it doesn't deserve.

One other benefit of our presence there, as someone mentioned earlier, is that every terorrist in the middle east is now busy making themselves targets for our perfectly capable military machine rather than planning attacks on other countries around the world. Turning their own people against them would be a blow from which they could not recover.

These goals take time to reach. How long do you think it took our country to get it's act together after the Revolution? There was plenty of work to be done and disagreements to be worked out before we could truly call us the United States. And even though we had some of the most brilliant men of any age at our helm, we somehow expect everything in Iraq should have been wrapped up in a nice little bow yesterday. But I can understand; we live in the 21st century, where we get frustrated when a web page takes longer than 5 seconds to load.

Patience. They will get there. I have no doubts whatsoever. AS LONG AS WE DON'T LOSE OUR RESOLVE. That means we can't abandon them at this critical time. They need our protection until they are ready to take the keys themselves. And when they are ready, and their elected government asks us to go home, as they are able to hunt down their own insurgents thank-you-very-much, then I will consider calling it a victory.

That was excellent, Hudson21. Thanks.


i must say i find the comments on this blog a consistently better read than the essays. thats because a two sided discussion is always better than a sermon.

i must admit however that after some time away, i expected the comments pages to be nothing more than a series of contraire-cleansed brown nosed fawning, but am relieved to find that the likes of mr kerr (great name and a credit to trolls everywhere) generate some revealing and entertaining comments from this site's partisans, not least some of mr whittles finest and most enraged articulations.

thank goodness or it would be a tedious website indeed and ghs would not be the star he is.

To GHS and Hudson 21 from JAT,

GHS "Were too close now."Posting June 23 2005.
Rumsfield testified that the insurgency might take as long as 12 years to quell. Not that we would be in for all of it. But just how long we'd be in for till as Abizaid commander of the U.S forces said "The Iraqis are ready to fill the battle space" no one knows.
Every two years we stay in means roughly 1500 lives and 300 billion dollars. Assuming of course, the pace of the insurgency doesn't escalate. No one knows whether it will or not.
What everyone seems to agree on was that withdrawal right now might mean civil war, and that tensions right now are such that a war might get started in our absence.
So, we're not just trying to install a democracy. We're trying to keep tensions in the area from getting to the boiling point, and that elections and constitiutional assemblies simply aren't enough to accomplish this mission. Since elections mean so much here, wouldn't it make sense to hold a vote to determine whether or not the Iraqis want us there anymore.
You also mentioned how long it took for us to get our act together after the revolution as a measure of how long putting Iraq together. The treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. By 1793, Washington was office, and the civil war was still 80 years away. We didn't ask Britain or any other nation to help in this process.
You agreed with me that Bush did a poor job of selling the war to the American public, and you refered me to the essay "WAR" where Bill discusses that same point. The only thing I could get out of it that remotely relates to that topic was Bills statement that
evidence of Iraqs relation to 9/11 was at best
As far as I can see, Bill doesn't cite any deficiencies to Bushs' approach to justifying the war at all. However, in reading "WAR" I was surprised to see how much of that essay, both in quantity and in tone, depended on WMD's. Take WMD's away from the essay, I don't know what there is left, as far as an attack on Iraq is concerned. But take out Iraq or Saddam, and reverse their places in the essay with North Korea, and Kim Jong Il, and it makes sense again.
And to go from "WAR" to "Strength" part 2 is to see the emergency over WMD's become less important than justifying the intelligence failures over them. Maybe there's something I missed.
And you both mentioned the Civil War. In "WAR" , Bill said that Lincoln, seeing the Union's chances for victory receding, decided to issue the "Emancipation Proclimation" to re-fire the Union Forces. That maybe so, but when Lincoln introduced the idea in July 22, 1862 to his cabinet, Seward said absent any significant Union victories, it would look a like "a cry for help-our last shriek on the retreat."
Lincoln agreed, and it wasn't till five days after Anteitam that he announced it. Moral here:Morality without muscle is hollow. And, aside from being the right thing to do, it brought more manpower to the Union side. There was a very practical reason for it.
GHS mentioned it in terms of the public trying to run the minutiae of military operations, and being impatient with their progress. Well, after 2 Aprils and summer, the Union had won at Gettysburg. This shattered the myth of Southern Military invincibility, and forever ended southern hopes of invading the south. The taking of Vicksburg had given control of the Missippi back to the Union, and torn the confederacy in two. It was just a matter of time by the end of the summer 1863. And everyone knew it.
Bush has had his 2 aprils and this summer. Rumsfeld has just announced it might be 12 more before this is all over, and how many we take part in is anybodies guess.
H21. I'm pleased you agree with me that Iraqis should guard their own. What I disagree with is the idea that their not ready yet. Compared to getting ready for battle, guard duty is simply not that difficult. The Iraqis need to do more than just vote. They need to guard their own, and they need to start doing it now.
A final note. This war not only needs to be sold to the public. It needs to be sold to that small portion of the public that is going to do the work in Iraq. Recruiting quotas aren't being met. Current force strength can't hold out forever.

I came to this site from a link posted in the comments section at Iraqthemodel, and am quite pleased to have clicked that link.

Thank you for the numerous noteworthy insights. I just wonder, though....

How the hell does a masterpiece like this get so little attention from the rest of America, while a piece of trash-laden pile-o-crap like Michael Moore's Fahrenheit911 get undeserved acclaimation from average movie goers who don't even have the intellectual fortitude to realize they've been robbed of eight bucks each?

Uh-oh, I'm going to do something stupid again and violate my own sanctions about posting after midnight. I always regret it. But I've got several busy days and nights of work ahead, and if I don't jump on this now, it may be a while before I can.

First of all, JAT, thanks for the civility of this discourse. Would that all our exchanges could be so adult and rational. That being said though...

You said, "Every two years we stay in [Iraq] means roughly 1500 lives and 300 billion dollars."

No, I believe those figures are inclusive of the cost of the build-up, the invasion, and the all-out offensive that flared up and died down again two-and-a-half years ago. And though, sitting here at my computer right now, in the middle of the night, I don't have any hard figures with me, I believe I heard or read somewhere that fully two-thirds of that total can be attributed to that "brief" spike of aggression that occurred in the beginning -- the actual "war" part of this operation. The remaining third of that cost, therefore, would account for all the rest -- the peacekeeping and general sustained presence that's filled the rest of those two years. Based on that then, another two year's continuation would more closely duplicate that one-third'ish expenditure (dang it, I wish I could remember where I heard that -- I know it's at least true of the casualty figures -- but it's possible I've misquoted or just flat out misremembered the rest of it).

Regardless, of course, either way it's still a pricey bill to pay. The question then is not whether it's going to hurt more or less at the next budget council -- it's gonna' sting no matter what; it's only a question of degree -- but whether, in the long run -- the LOONNNGG run -- it isn't still the better bargain.

You said, "So, we're not just trying to install a democracy. We're trying to keep tensions in the area from getting to the boiling point..." [obviously] "...and elections and constitutional assemblies simply aren't enough to accomplish this mission." [of course they're not... they're just the first bare-minimal steps... but you can't do much else without 'em, like make new laws, build new armies and security forces, or form any kind of a nucleus from which a stable new nation can grow on its own]. "...Since elections mean so much here, wouldn't it make sense to hold a vote to determine whether or not the Iraqis want us there anymore?" [well, that's the nice thing about having a newly formed, duly elected government, with an enthusiastic voting populace rallying behind it... they CAN choose to do just that. THEY can. Not us. If that's what they want to do, they can do it. And from what I've seen, there's nothing holding them back... any more].

You then said, "You also mentioned how long it took for us to get our act together after the revolution as a measure of how long putting Iraq together. The treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. By 1793, Washington was in office, and the civil war was still 80 years away. We didn't ask Britain or any other nation to help in this process."

Well, first, I would HOPE we wouldn't have sought Britain's help, since it was them and their methods of governance that we'd just fought so hard to expel. And we didn't ask for anyone else's assistance because the experiment in self-rule we were proposing had no precedent at the time. Whose assistance WOULD we have sought? But, are you saying that the 10 years between the signing of the treaty and Washington's assumption of the reins of power was okay, but the 2+ years we've spent wrestling a reeling nation like Iraq onto its own two feet is running too long? I'm not sure what your point was there.

You said, "You agreed with me that Bush did a poor job of selling the war to the American public, and you refered me to the essay "WAR" where Bill discusses that same point. The only thing I could get out of it that remotely relates to that topic was Bills statement that evidence of Iraq's relation to 9/11 was at best "murky". As far as I can see, Bill doesn't cite any deficiencies to Bushs' approach to justifying the war at all."

Well, first of all, I brought up "WAR" not because it was an essay (even in part) about Bush's poor salesmanship, but because, as I said, I know that "...even Bill would agree with that," and cited that essay as one place where he openly expressed it. To quote from "WAR"...

"We are about to launch a war in which people will die at our hand, and we have done a dreadful job of making the case for such an action."

And from "DETERRENCE" (Part 1): "I initially had many doubts about George W. Bush. Actually, that’s not quite fair. The truth is, I despised the man...

"... During the past two years I have been angry with the President; angry that common amateurs writing online in their pajamas (I favor a smoking jacket, fez and calabash pipe when I dash off these little gems) have to rise and defend the policies that we wholeheartedly agree with but which have been APPALLINGLY POORLY DEFINED AND DEFENDED BY THE WHITE HOUSE." [my caps]

In other words, my point was that even the host of this site agrees with that particular assertion of yours, and "WAR" was one place where you could find a suitable example. That's all.

You then said, "And to go from "WAR" to "Strength" part 2 is to see the emergency over WMD's become less important than justifying the intelligence failures over them. Maybe there's something I missed."

No, I don't think there's anything you missed. Before the war (when "WAR" was written), WMDs were, while not the ONLY factor, a HUGE and central feature in its justification. And for all the reasons laid out in "WAR." But AFTER the war (when "STRENGTH" was written), the WMDs had not only still not been found, but the threatening regime that had been pursuing them was gone as well. So that kinda' nullified their looming and immediate threat, and allowed other priorities to take the forefront, at least "debate-wise." So, no, you didn't miss anything, but then, no, that does not mean there was any contradiction either.

You then said, "In "WAR", Bill said that Lincoln, seeing the Union's chances for victory receding, decided to issue the "Emancipation Proclimation" to re-fire the Union Forces. That may be so, but when Lincoln introduced the idea in July 22, 1862 to his cabinet, Seward said absent any significant Union victories, it would LOOK LIKE [my caps] "a cry for help - our last shriek on the retreat."" [yeh, and I would agree with that (with the "look like" part) -- much as I said in my previous posting, when, referring to GWB and any "backtracking" that he might do, I said, "...any attempt now to elaborate on the broader issues of the war that did justify it would just come across as so much stuttering and excuse-making now." And I still think that's true, and comparable to your quote there].

And to that, you added, "Lincoln agreed, and it wasn't till five days after Anteitam that he announced it. Moral here: Morality without muscle is hollow. And, aside from being the right thing to do, it brought more manpower to the Union side. There was a very practical reason for it."

Sounds like we're in agreement again.

You said, "GHS mentioned it in terms of the public trying to run the minutiae of military operations, and being impatient with their progress. Well, after 2 Aprils and summer, the Union had won at Gettysburg... It was just a matter of time by the end of the summer 1863. And everyone knew it. Bush has had his 2 aprils and this summer."

Ah-ah-ahhh! Bush HAS had 2 Aprils and a summer, true, but the WAR was won in the first few weeks, and ENDED "2 Aprils ago." If you're going to include the reconstruction efforts that have been ongoing since then, be sure to tack the same thing onto Lincoln's tally sheet as well.

"Rumsfeld has just announced it might be 12 more [Aprils] before this is all over," you said, "and how many we take part in is anybody's guess."

The (multi-national) UN inspectors told us that, based on what they'd found and learned, Hussein would have had a fully functioning nuclear weapons program in about FOUR more "Aprils," and that was three Aprils ago. In other words, all other outside influences aside, some time next year he would have had the capability of presenting that all-important "smoking gun" to our resident pacifists and appeasers -- and gosh, I'd surely hope that none of those terribly compassionate wishful thinkers actually LIVED in the City du Jour when that entirely PC fireball finally bloomed in the middle of downtown -- but at least THEN, with all that freshly minted "righteous rage" now ready to justify an all-out retaliation, THEN we could have finally gotten around to starting what we just finished two Aprils ago...

Except that the price tag for THAT belated effort would have been a lot higher than 300 billion dollars, and a HELLUVA' LOT more than 1,500 lives.

And you wrapped it up with, "A final note. This war not only needs to be sold to the public. It needs to be sold to that small portion of the public that is going to do the work in Iraq. Recruiting quotas aren't being met. Current force strength can't hold out forever."

That "small portion" that IS doing the work in Iraq -- right now, and over the last two-and-a-half years -- doesn't NEED to have it sold to them. They're doing it, they're doing it phenomenally well, and for the most part, they're PROUD of what they're doing. As for our reticent civilian "potential-future-soldiers," it doesn't surprise me one bit that, under the avalanche of selective media coverage, focusing on the death rolls, the suicidal self-decimating insurgent actions, and the constant harping on the polls showing a waning public interest and European condemnation, all with hardly a popcorn-fart's worth of gas spent on all the good being done, the massive strides being taken, the lives being rebuilt and set free -- that, added to the lack of the original vengeful motivations that we had in the beginning (the worst possible reasoning to go, but the one everyone accepted so wholeheartedly when we charged off for Afghanistan) -- I can definitely see where there'd be little now to entice a fresh wave of recruits to the colors.

"What? No arch-villains to GET BACK at? No new glorious history-shaping objectives left? Just snipers and bombers and guard-duty? In the heat? Jeez, I could get hurt, or even killed. And what good would my college bennies be then?"

Yep, something's got to impress the "Bigger Picture" on these folks -- on EVERYBODY, for that matter. And you're right, it'll require a better salesman.

Hey Bill! What're you doing this summer?


P.S. - Jeez, what a bloated pig of a post. I'm probably going to wake up tomorrow and delete the whole thing. Sorry folks.

and to think i used to get told off about using up bills bandwidth!~ poor excuse. i should never have listened. and theres the point right there.

there is a good critique of silent america at amazon. it also mentions this website and the prevailing wind. it gets one star.

now don't be tempted to start trolling him y'all. we wouldnt want to be hypocritical would we? :)

To GHS from JAT,
I appreciate very much the time you take to respond to my comments. You do this on your own time, and, as you needed to remind me once, on your own dime.
I, too, have a life which must be tended to every now and again. So my time at the computer is shorter than I would like it to be, and on occasion my comments aren't as informed(or well formed) as I would like them to be.
Perhaps I'm not reading Bills comments as closely as I should because I don't understand how they are organized. If I knew that, then perhaps I could find chapter and verse when told to refer to something.
Your honesty and patience are a never ending surprise to me, and they are again, appreciated.
Many times these days it is said that civility in serious discourse on public affairs has been lost. How nice it is to have a spot where such is not the case.
I will respond when I have more time.
Have a good day.

You know, a fly, generally speaking, is a fairly harmless creature. And it even has a relevant role to play in the food chain. But when one just keeps buzzing around your face and regurgitating on your potato salad, and won't go away with a mere "shoo'ing," that fly -- harmless or not, relevant or not -- just becomes a nuisance. And then it's time for more drastic measures.

So alpha, either contribute to the discourse, or go away. Don't make me regret "approving" the first of your two recent postings, which I'd found caught in the MT Blacklist filters, unposted, and awaiting a digital thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Though all it did was call Bill's writing "tedious sermonizing," proclaim your expectations that all comments made in your absence would be nothing but "brown-nosed fawning," and extolled the virtues of the trolls (not the adult dissenters, mind you, but the trolls), it at least implied that you'd found something of redeeming value in the comments made this time, in which I had foolishly thought you might then intend to participate -- you know, like addressing a specific topic, rather than just shitting on the potato salad.

I'm having a hard time now recalling why I opted to hit that "approve" button (the "thumbs-up" button) after I'd read it. And after your last one, I'm having an even harder time resisting the urge to go back and reverse it.

So please, either live up to the standard you just so "glowingly praised" in this comment stream, or go away. And that's all the "shoo'ing" I intend to do this time.

Fly swatters may be primitive, but they still work.

Oh, and as a P.S., it wasn't the LENGTH of your postings that brought on the scoldings about "using up bills bandwidth," it was the FREQUENCY (5, 6, 7 times or more a day, often 3 or 4 postings in a row) and the incessant, taunting, buzzing-fly NATURE of them. Change that, and we haven't got a problem.

And to JAT: right back at'cha. I have the advantage in that, since I have access to Bill's Movable Type account, and regularly scour through it to clean out the scum (in all its varied forms), I frequently get to re-read not only his old essays, but his less-thematic in-betweeners as well, along with all the comments in all the comment streams, including the essays and comments that are no longer in "Publish" status (as in, "accessible to the public"). So I wouldn't expect anyone else to have the same reference capabilities when quoting from anything here on E3. I mentioned the additional quotes from "DETERRENCE" above not to bombard or to showcase "all that you'd missed," but to simply further substantiate my claim that Bill would have agreed with you on that point, and had said so on several occasions. Nothing else intended.

Anyhoo, it's late again, and I'm doing it again.



Oh, and a P.P.S. for alpha...

I just checked, and found that (a) the OVERALL review rating for "Silent America" was four-and-a-half stars, (b) individual reviews were almost all FIVE stars, with those that gave only FOUR stars having done so based solely on the "poor editing" and amateurish production values of the book itself, they said, not its content. And (c) only one INDIVIDUAL (that I saw) gave it a one-star review, and that was, none too surprisingly, another "writer," with an opposing viewpoint on the war, and, shock of all shocks, his OWN book to sell.

But thanks for bringing it to my attention.


no problem.

actually i remember the bandwidth issue being bandied around several times, the first way back in early 2003 i think, initiated by a certain mrs dutoit. it was a ruse, but then that was the order of the day. i think the realisation that i had been duped strengthened my reslove.

5,6,7 posting s a day were part of an escalating conversation i guess about a year ago and most were short , particularly toward the end. but it was fun. and informative.

by the way i thank you if you clicked the thumbs up. its not hard to post despite the blacklist of course but fun though shitting on salad can be (think shock and awe), escalation of hostilities is a negative approach. i have said before that i come here to learn, and indeed i have, and continue to do so.

i found this site during the build up to the invasion of iraq and was intruiged to find a little more discource than was available on the daily talk radio i was listening to which has a similar agenda but less time to discuss and being radio is of course sensationalist, ranting, paranoid, propagandist and sensationalist.

i remember one day the jock said something along the lines of 'if you think that arab looking guy at the gas station probably supports al-quaida, dont be ashamed to think it; HE DOES!!




well how true can a guess be. maybe the guy was chalabi?

point being that the paranoid public gets fed its worst fears and that in turn feeds everything from gun sales (shoot the nerve gas) to election results. thats the point of the show.

try and phone in with a contrary position, politely or otherwise, with genuine conviction, concern, or with paranoid conspiracy theories, either way, the caller is used and abused and simply proves the point of the show's agenda.

sound familiar?

callers are transient. comments pages need to be monitored and swept. a dinner plate needs to be placed over the salad. i like bills essays because they are so conclusive, at least in thier conviction and thier attention to detail. despite this i remain unconvinced? is brainwashing all about who gets to you first or who got to you last? here i am. im such an air head surely i can be convinced. bill was. thats part of his opening salvo.

am i an air head or am i just about bright enough to grasp it?

i suppose its not about that at all is it? its about the kind of world you want as much as the kind of world you think we are in.

i think thats it.

i dont want a world where the us chases saddams death toll. i dont want a world of raped alaskas, (dont get me wrong, i know what china is doing too) i want positive initiatives for the planet. for people. i dont want to perpetuate poverty and i dont want to believe that the hawks give a shit. because they dont. god bless america and fuck everyone else.

and thats where we differ. my vision is not so limited.

Thank-you, alpha. And I mean that.

And dang if I didn't agree with almost everything you just said there.

But off to work now.


Alpha said:

“i suppose its not about that at all is it? its about the kind of world you want as much as the kind of world you think we are in.”

. . . and then curiously proceeded to describe what he DIDN’T want.

As a libertarian, I firmly believe, and assiduously live by, the motto: “I care not what others do with their lives, as long as they don’t forcefully interfere with my life.” What I want is a world where everyone agreed to live by that motto, and justice for violating it was swift and excruciating. Imagine for a moment what a marvelous world that would be if everyone were free to live their life as they chose to live it, with the only restriction being that they were not allowed to impose forcefully upon someone else.

Alas, the real world I find myself living in is the antithesis of my utopia. Liberals, tyrants, and politicians of every stripe assume the right to regulate my economic life and confiscate the fruits of my labor for redistribution to themselves and/or their favorite causes. Worse and far, far more dangerous, are the millions of religious nuts who are striving mightily to get hold of the reins of power so they can regulate my personal life by their moral standards. Dodging the tax collector and tweaking liberals is good sport, but the thought of having to deal with fundamentalists, be they Muslims or Christians, in control of the powers of the state is truly chilling. There is a reason they called it the Dark Ages.

Call it Radical Islam, Militant Islam, or Fundamentalist Islam; it must be eradicated NOW before their insidious breeding program overwhelms Europe and eventually North America.

Islam declared war on us. If we don’t get this right, nothing else we may be fretting about will matter. Whatever one may think of the strategy of making Iraq the second front in this war with Islam, it is where the action currently is, and we must win it. Period.


'politicians of every stripe assume the right to regulate my economic life and confiscate the fruits of my labor for redistribution to themselves and/or their favorite causes.'

so what you are saying is that only the people who support the war in iraq should pay for it right? obvious to anyone from a small child to an insurance company that pooling rescources is more than just a good idea. unless of course you dont believe in the concept of a nation. you sound more like an anarchist than anything else.

as regards islam declaring war, black people are muggers and americans are ignorant. jews are rich and miserly and women are whores. men are rapists and you are just such a nice guy.

call it racism genocide ethnic cleansing or extermination, it must be stopped now, as an action and as an attitude. it stinks.


I’m not an anarchist, but I do insist on respecting our founders’ vision of the sovereignty of the individual and a constitutional republic with extremely limited powers. I view the United States as just that: a free trade zone and mutual defense pact between 50 individual sovereign States. The politicians and bureaucrats of the federal government are our employees, not our masters. I view 90% of what they do as unconstitutional and as such, exceedingly easy just to ignore as irrelevant to my life. Nor are we bound by the whimsical and often ephemeral “will of the people.” This is NOT a democracy (two wolves and a lamb discussing what to have for breakfast); it is a republic, where the minority is protected from the tyranny of the majority by the Constitution.

If you cannot see the danger to our civilization posed by fundamentalist Islamists (whatever their race or ethnicity – it is their creed that is dangerous and must be eradicated), you will just have to count on those more perceptive to save this country for your grandchildren. We don’t need your approval or much care if you find us odious, all we ask is that you stay the hell out of our way while we take care of business.

you gotta laugh.

and live8 are all communists. oh sorry, terrorists.

there are a small amount of followers of islam who are a danger to western nations. more since the invasion of iraq, but you cannot defeat a religion unless you terminate it's people. entirely, please make it clear, is that what you are suggesting?


Be amused if you must, some of us take this matter rather seriously.

Yes, I would terminate all jihadists without a second thought. I’ll go you one better. If it was up to me, I would simultaneously obliterate every Wahhabi masque on the planet on a Friday morning while the men (only – women are not allowed) all have their asses in the air awaiting a good swift kick into martyrdom. I wonder if Allah would run out of virgins?

Jihadists without a second thought. understood. you have not made it clear though, because at first you were talking about a war with islam. in this context, all ijhadists are islamic but not all islamics are jihadists.

when you are talking about death squads, you really nead to get your PR in order.

unless you do want to kill all follwers of islam just to be on the safe side.

in which case theyre ALL gonna start having to protect themselves.


I have been quite clear. So have they. This is not about word games. Nice chatting with you. Bye.

you really are an ignoramous. im not using gratuitous insults here, you really do display ingnorance. even in handing me the last word, but i suspect it is willful so there is little to be gained from pursuing the evidence you addressed to me right form your first post.

and you really are a curmudgeon. quite cantankerous. and wantonly genocidal!!! i shall forthwith refer to you, should the need to refer to you arise, as carbunkle.


bit quiet around here on the subject of live 8. or even g8

"Snapping at the heels of the Great Eight
All the massive pushing at the front gate"

as the song goes.

anyone care to say IN ADVANCE of the gleneagles summit, what bush should come away with in the face of pressure from margaret blair et al, on the subjects of fighting african poverty, world economic growth and climate change?

should bush agree to arms sale controls, cancellation of debt, new policies on alternative energy sources ect?

he has already come with something interesting, which is to agree in pricnciple that debt can be cancelled in return fro free trade agreements, so something is going to shift, so i wonder if any of the prophets here would like to either predict or suggest an outcome?

First, I shall proclaim my own ignorance, when I say that, until a channel-surfing accident this morning, I'd never heard of "Live 8," and even AFTER catching that little snippet, all that I know about it now is that somehow a concert by Madonna (along with several others) is supposed to promote this debt-forgiving agenda to the G8 before their next big meeting. That, plus one notable quote by one of the event's promoters, who stated, on camera, that hopefully this would generate some awareness of our "responsibility to give Third World nations a future." He said that!


It's our "responsibility" to dig them out of their own self-constructed graves? And we're supposed to do this by first writing off some 40 billion dollars in irredeemable debts -- from loans we'd once granted, and which they'd then turned around and squandered and misspent -- and then, secondly, by "investing" even MORE money and unearned diplomatic advantages in those same wasteful regimes?

I may be -- I MUST be -- misunderstanding this, and at present, I'm presuming that I am. So, with regards to the details, I'm open for an education on the subject. However, regardless of the details -- our "responsibility?" No.

Our "desire," our "altruistic intention," our "self-imposed DUTY?" Fine. I'll accept that. But not our "responsibility."

As for the idea of forgiven debts -- personally, I don't have a problem with that. For starters, it's not like we're ever going to see the money again anyway. In many instances, the interest rates alone are going unpaid. And truth be told, considering the cultural and economic conditions in the countries in question, I don't see how complete restitution could EVER be achieved or expected. So why NOT just wipe the slate clean, and get that monkey off their backs. Ease some tensions, lighten some loads.

But then, they want us to "invest" even MORE in "their future?" Absolve them of their past and present fiscal irresponsibilities, and then hand them even more to misspend? What am I missing here?

Again, I'm sure I'm operating on some flawed understandings here. So please enlighten me.

With regards to Curmudgeon's "genocidal proclivities," though -- in re-reading through the last half-dozen posts, alpha, I haven't seen anything he said that espoused doing anything more than eradicating the RABID dogs in the pack -- not ALL the dogs (and don't go reading some ulterior meaning into my "dog" reference either -- I'm not calling anyone a dog; just comparing the "Radical/Fundamentalist"-versus-"mainstream Islamic" relationship with another violently deadly spin-off from another otherwise peaceful group -- namely, rabid versus healthy and companionable dogs). And I've got no problem whatsoever with eradicating every single last RABID dog there is, just as I wouldn't with any REAL rabid dogs. You're not going to be able to teach them any new tricks, and they'll rip your throat out just as mindlessly whether you approach them out of compassion or ruthlessness. It may be a shame and a tragic waste, but no other solution is practical.

So, whether it pains the womenfolk or not -- whether you have to avert the children's eyes or not -- to make your town safe from the rabid dogs in the woods, SOMEONE needs to go out and do the dirty work of removing that threat, for EVERYONE'S benefit. And one would think that even the animal-lovers could appreciate the necessity of that kind of dirty work.

I know *I* do.


yeah. i was looking for clarification on that. thanks.

as to the respnsibility bit, of giving third world nations a future, i ask you this;

if you were walking by the lake and saw someone drowning and you knew you could save them, would you not instinctivley draw them out of the water? or would you, on finding that it was a baby just born into the water by a drowning mother, refuse to bother on the grounds that its not your responsibility to 'dig it out of its self constructed grave'?

where is the 'construction' by the 30,000 children who die every day from poverty? what did they use for digging? thier fingers are too small, frail, undernourished and helpless.

about your 'flawed undestandings',

the aid is less than the debt repayments, the situation is created by profits of arms dealers and the like and could just as easily turn into economic success if the deals were self sustaining for the african nations instead of self defeating. the people on the streets and in the coffins have no say in the matter.

a persons country of origin does not make them corrupt. making poverty history is an achiveable goal if you dont give the money to the wrong people (there really is no need to do that) and dont enforce trade sanctions. the best coffee in the world cannot be a successful export business if the wto levies unworkable tarrifs on it. up until that imposition, it was a going concern.

for example.

try this:

and now we get to the good bit. by 'giving third world nations a future', we increase the security and prosperity of our own. you could argue that if you keep the rest of the world poor enough they cannot do anything about whatever we do to them, but as one poster says somewhere inthis column ' we are the shining liberators of the world'.

then liberate the world from poverty.

as the world gets smaller and smaller, we can only get closer and closer, the song says.

i believe that the more flourishing economies we have on the planet the better. for if america wwere the last country left on the planet, it too would not have much longer to last.

bush said today that he does not see any previous agreement made with maggie blair (iraq) as a quid pro quo (blair wants to help people in africa). he wants to get the best for america out of gleneagles. the leader of the richest and most powerful nation in the world implies that the rest of the planet can take a hike as thats all thats gonna be left for them after america has its way.

what live8 is saying is simple; 'we are the world'. fact. not even a dream. its a fact. poverty, like terrorism is a cancer on this planet which needs a cure.

live 8 is saying that it is not neccesarily in america's or the rest of the g8's interest to perpetuate poverty or to pretend that nothing can be done about it or that throwing money at corrupt peope will help. live aid + comic relief put millions onto the streets and into the villages. it bypassed the corruption and saved lives.

i said before, its about what you want. if you believe you can get to the moon , you can. if you dont , you wont. live8 is about convincing people that the earth is not flat and man can get to the moon

reach for the stars.

how american is that?

Well alpha, thanks for your version of the Live8 stuff. I shall listen up further, and see what a few other perspectives contribute as well.

You asked, "...if you were walking by the lake and saw someone drowning and you knew you could save them, would you not instinctivley draw them out of the water?" The answer to THAT would be a resounding "hell yes." However, that's not the same situation we're looking at in our socio-political analogy.

It might be more like, "...if you were walking by a lake and saw someone floundering -- someone whose swimming lessons you'd paid for, for whom you'd provided sufficient funds to buy themselves a boat, but who instead spent that money on all that gold around their neck that's weighing them down, along with all that alcohol that's left them too stuporous to even recognize that they're wallowing in knee-deep water -- would you feel compelled to wade in after them, wrestle with their self-destructive tendancies, AND then hand them some more money, if they promise to spend it wisely this time?

In that scenario, I'm inclined to say no.

You bring up a valid point though, in that handing the money (or foodstuffs, or medical aid, or whatever) to the "wrong people" leaves the "little guys" and the "childwen" out in the cold, while the corrupt assholes squander it. True enough. But it seems to me that wading into a squalid and across-the-board corrupt regime is bound to fail, to SOME degree, no matter who you hand the goods to. Take Somalia, for instance. We sent foodstuffs -- not money -- straight to the town centers of the distressed areas, and attempted to place it directly into the hands of the needy. And the local "warlords" -- Muhammad Aidid most pre-eminent among them -- snatched it right out of their hands, and made off with it. And when we (meaning the UN) tried to protect the deliveries, as well as the people trying to collect it (not "tried to oust the dictators" or "take over the country"), "we" were attacked. So we sent in the Marines (and the Rangers, and Delta Force, and the 160th SOAR) to deal with the warlords that were interfering with an otherwise noble cause -- and THEY were attacked. And then, to cap the whole chaotic operation off, our heroic leadership pulled us out (after just 18 American casualties), thereby abandoning the Somalis to their "internal conflicts," and rendering moot the sacrifices of those dead Americans.

And we were dealing directly with the afflicted there -- no corrupt officials or intermediaries to filter and water down the effort. Just straight from the plane to the outstretched arms of the starving civilians. So merely "not giving the money to the wrong people" is not enough. A corrupt system, top to bottom, will foil the most generous gestures regardless.

Obviously, Somalia was an extreme case. Not every struggling Third World nation is a basket-case of corruption (although, truth be told, right now I'm unable to think of an example that ISN'T -- but surely there MUST be ONE). However, I haven't heard a good compelling case yet -- or seen a single shining example or success story -- for "poverty being cured" by "people handing other people money." Lord knows, the American welfare system sure hasn't come close, and its beneficiaries are a lot more America-friendly, and have been receiving their "assistance" for a long time. So, if that's all that's being proposed by this latest round of "Live 8" posturing, then that's no solution at all. I don't know that that IS all they're suggesting here, so I won't pass judgment on their efforts just yet, but if that IS all they've got, well then...

No, these little Third World dustbins of petty squabbling -- with political power achieved and held through back-stabbing, intrigue, and coup d'etat, with leadership decisions always based on short-sighted personal greed, with violence being the answer to any and all disputes -- with a civil populace made hopeless and destitute, without meaningful work or achievable dreams, and nowhere to go but down -- these can ONLY be salvaged with a complete top-to-bottom overhaul of their "system." I mean an all-out overhaul, an "Extreme Makeover: Hellhole Edition." All or nothing, or don't bother starting. It's self-defeating otherwise, and will not be saved by merely handing them more money and toys. And that means FORCING their petty tinpot tyrant "leaders" OUT, changing their political structure to something more open and (surprise, surprise) "democratic," and even somewhat altering their SOCIAL structure as well. Anything less, and they will regress the instant you turn your back.

And when was the last time we tried something like that? Afghanistan? Iraq maybe? And we all know what a "hit" those efforts were with those of the compassionate "left" and our European betters.

"live aid + comic relief put millions onto the streets and into the villages," you said. Yep... but they "cured" nothing. Good thoughts, noble intentions... white wash.

As for the "increased security and prosperity" that WE would receive by "giving third world nations a future," well, though I do agree with that in principle -- would that EVERYONE could be as secure, stable and prosperous as us -- my point was that that is not our RESPONSIBILITY (as that event coordinator on the news referred to it). It's a worthy and practical goal,to be sure, but it is NOT our duty or our obligation, and I find it interesting that the people calling for that now are the same ones who so recently were decrying us for supposedly trying to be the "world's policemen" when we dealt with a direct threat to our own national security. Yet the role of "world's policeman" is just exactly what that "responsibility" angle is trying to foist back on us again.

Oy, it's making my head spin. And it's getting late.

You finished with, "i said before, its about what you want. if you believe you can get to the moon , you can. if you dont, you wont. live8 is about convincing people that the earth is not flat and man can get to the moon."

I agree with every bit of that sentiment -- just not with the efficacy of the proposed "solution" (as I've heard it thus far). We've thrown money at problems for as long as there's been money and problems, and with the exception of medical research, I've never known any of it to have any effect at all. It's "treating the symptoms," and leaving the root causes festering. Sending food in streaming shiploads hasn't stopped starvation anywhere, and never will. It will save individual lives here and there -- and that IS a worthy enough cause, and should be perpetuated if for no other reason than that -- but it CURES nothing. And the same goes for keeping the small-minded and short-sighted totalitarian mini-states propped up with foreign aid and techno-gifts. If you want to actually FIX them, you've got to knock them down and start from scratch -- preferably done entirely from within, by themselves, though that's highly unlikely in just about all cases -- and Lord knows, there'll be resistance.

Just look at Iraq.

Hey look! Another long one from GHS!

Damn it! Stupid midnight.

Sorry all.


Returning to the subject of WMD's: by making our case for the invasion on the basis of their having been stockpiled to much of the rest of the world, isn't our position comprimised by our failure to find them?
If we had, I think you'd agree international reaction would've been muted at best. Hazmat teams from the world over would be participating in the disarming of Iraq, trying to find the sources etc. etc. Such an investigation I'm sure might have brought a government or two in Europe. More than that, Iraqis themselves could understand our presence there.
However, not having found them, the question of how that does make us look to the rest of the world hasn't undergone as searching an examination here as how to excuse Bush for his actions or inactions, and justification for our continued presence there.
The British, our closest allies there, are not going to remain indefinitley. While Blair may have won re-election, Iraq is becoming an albatross about his neck. The downing street memos, while gaining little traction, again confirm Europeans worst suspicions about Bush.
And of course the instability of the oil market certainly doesn't make our presence there look any more attractive from an economic standpoint.
Finally, I come to the question, how does this look to the Iraqis? Yeah, they come out and vote, but they seem unwilling to guard their own. And if, as some military people have said, that many of the jihadists come from outside Iraq, why don't our people get more reports that stop these attacks. Especially now that it seems that only 50% Iraqis have potable water, and 85% have uncertain electrical power due directly to the actions of the jihadists.
Have their opinions as measured in the latest polls changed as to our presence there?
Last I heard, they think much of the trouble there is our fault.

The above posting was in response to your June 28, 2005 10:04 pm posting, 5th paragraph from the bottom, talking about European condemnation being part of the reason the military is failing to meet recruiting quotas.
Please respond as you have time. I realize I'm discussing issues outside of the current stream between Alpha and Curmudgeon. I'm not much up on the issues taken up by LIVE8. I understand if I'm told to "get with the program."
Also in my post June 28, 2005 when I pointed out that as a measure of how long it would take to set up a government by using our
formative period 1783 to 1793, I meant to use as a comparitive measure. I could have qualified it by discussing "The Articles Of Confederation"
(1781-1787). And by 1793, Washington was finishing his first term in office, having begun in 1789.
This was in comparison to Rumsfelds suggestion that the insurgency might take 12 years to quell. I hope this clarifies why I used this particular period in th this discussion.
Finally, I wanted to respond to your June 23, 2005 11:30 pm posting where you agreed with Hudson 21 that president Bush did not "underestimate the time it would take, or underplayed the risk , cost or effort required. He forwarned us of all that."
What speeches could I look up to confirm your statement, especially in reguards to Iraq?
Also, in light of his ignoring some, (L. Paul Bremer) and firing others(Schuckasvilli, Chief of Staff) who said that more troops were needed for the reconstruction effort than Bush committed to it.

First of all, to all who might have wondered why the main page of this blog has been blank for so long, let me say that it is not because Bill has left the building -- he has simply been engaged in a different writing project. And hopefully I am not violating my blood oath of silence when I say that (1) it is a screenplay, (2) so-called "red staters" are gonna love it, and (3) you didn't hear it from me. He should make an appearance here soon though, if for no other reason than to confirm that he is, in fact, still alive.

In the meantime, sssshhhhh...

Now, to JAT: let me see how "brief" I can be for once...

You asked, " making our case for the invasion on the basis of [WMDs] having been stockpiled to much of the rest of the world, isn't our position compromised by our failure to find them?"

Probably, yeh. It SHOULDN'T be -- they definitely existed (they were USED several times, after all), there were mountains of pre- and post-war evidence for them, the UN inspectors were certain of them, defectors were murdered for having spoken of them, Saddam boasted of them AND agreed, in writing, to turn them over to the inspectors (which he wouldn't have agreed to if there'd never been anything to turn over), AND we gave the bastard 12 years to find a place to hide them. The leaders of other UN nations believed in them, and issued their own declarations of intent to pursue the "serious consequences" spelled out in UN1441 if Hussein didn't make good on his treaty promises, as did almost every one of the most outspoken congressmen who are now calling for Bush's head. I've seen the quotes. So, our "position" might be "compromised," but not because of any lack of evidence -- only because it's an easy bandwagon to jump on, and something the anti-administration types can wave a righteous finger at. A chink in the armor.

You said, "...If we had [found the WMDs], I think you'd agree international reaction would've been muted at best."

If by "muted" you mean "restrained," as in "grinding their teeth and stewing because the war did turn out to be justified (even by their definitions) after all," then yeh, I could see that. If you mean "quietly thrilled," well, eh, not so much... I think. If you meant something else, what was it?

You said, "...Hazmat teams from the world over would be participating in the disarming of Iraq, trying to find the sources etc. etc."

If we'd found stockpiles of WMDs just sitting around in warehouses and bunkers, we wouldn't NEED "Hazmat teams from all over the world" to help us find them (although the extra manpower would have made the rounding-up go faster). Personally, I think "Hazmat teams from all over the world" (which include all those countries that also believed in their existence and imminent threat beforehand, just as much as we did) should be participating right now specifically BECAUSE we're having a hard time finding them. We all know they existed, so we SHOULD all be worried about where they went. But it's more satisfying for them to have an anti-war leg to stand on (for once), so I don't foresee any assistance coming along any time soon -- not from the "gotta'-have-a-smoking-gun" crowd anyway.

"Such an investigation," you said, "might have brought [in] a government or two in Europe." [personally, I don't think so -- our European betters had already weenied out before the first shots were even fired, back when even THEY still believed in the WMD threat themselves] "...More than that, Iraqis themselves could understand our presence there."

I think the Iraqis understand full well our presence there. The BAD guys in particular understand very well the old "might makes right" ethic -- hell, it's ALL they understand -- and the GOOD guys over there -- who knew firsthand, from daily experience, the oppressive looming sword dangling over their heads, the willingness of their "leader" to massacre his own people at the drop of a hat, to lead them into costly and self-destructive adventures, and to stunt and alienate them from the rest of the world -- they understand the bloody excising that was necessary to end all that. I'm sure they'd rather it hadn't had to come from OUTside their borders, but it sure wasn't happening from INside them. But even for those who are just stunned and angry, there ain't a whole lot of mystery here.

All that having been said though -- let's just assume that there'd NEVER been any WMDs. Why then, in the face of looming "serious consequences" (by an adversary who'd already kicked his ass once), didn't Saddam just LET THE INSPECTORS DO THEIR DAMNED JOBS? If there was nothing to hide, then WHY HIDE IT? All other issues aside, the invasion would never have happened if Saddam had just played by the rules he'd already agreed to! Period. He'd still be in power right now, thumbing his nose at the rest us from one of his multitude of opulent palaces... and all he had to do was just let the inspectors find out for themselves that there were no WMDs! So either he was magnitudes more stupid than anyone ever imagined, or maybe, just MAYBE, there WAS something to hide.

Aaurgh! Still arguing this point as if it was the only justification for the invasion. I've got to stop this!

You mentioned "The downing street memos," [about which I know nothing], which "...while gaining little traction, again confirm Europeans worst suspicions about Bush." [I've determined that ANYTHING will "confirm" the European's worst suspicions about Bush, the more inflammatory the better. I'm sure they're still portraying him as an alcoholic deserter and a failed businessman as well, not to mention a Christian zealot trying to drag the world into an early Armageddon. Personally, I no longer care what incites them about Bush]

And you said, "Finally, I come to the question, how does this look to the Iraqis? Yeah, they come out and vote, but they seem unwilling to guard their own."

Unwilling? I don't buy that for a second. I suspect they're EAGER. I just don't think they're READY yet, and that's a call that WE'VE made, not them, and based on factors to which I am not made privy. But when they ARE, they WILL.

It's like we've pulled the thugs off of a battered and bloodied mugging victim -- we've even seen to the disposal of the thugs, whether through demise or arrest. But if we just prop the victim up in a corner now -- reeling and weak, and still in the bad part of town -- and walk off, we will have done them no favor at all. Other thugs will rush in on such a defenseless target, and do even greater harm. So we need to leave that "victim" in a condition capable of not only defending itself, but of moving forward, asserting itself in the world, and making life better for itself in the process. And that won't happen just by dusting off his rumpled lapels and handing him back his wallet.

You asked, "And if, as some military people have said, that many of the jihadists come from outside Iraq, why don't our people get more reports that stop these attacks."

First of all, I'm not sure what the connection is between "imported Jihadis" and any greater availability of reports that might have stopped these attacks. What does one have to do with the other? And secondly, who says they DON'T get more reports than you know about? How many attacks HAVE been stopped that just didn't get reported? Regardless of the numbers though, a defensive stance -- a reactionary one -- will always leave you at a disadvantage. You will always being playing catch-up, while they run around and pick their targets. Which is why we must get our new Iraqi allies up to speed on taking the OFFENSIVE -- build them up in equipment, training, and confidence -- so that they don't HAVE to wait around to see where the bastards will strike next. We've certainly provided them with a definitive example.

And then, "...Have their opinions as measured in the latest polls changed as to our presence there? Last I heard, they think much of the trouble there is our fault."

Most of their CURRENT troubles ARE our "fault." They're temporary, but they are most definitely a result of our TEMPORARY presence there. There wasn't an insurgency back when there wasn't something to "insurge" against, there weren't buildings that needed to be rebuilt before they were knocked flat, and there weren't foreign tanks rolling through their streets before there were foreigners on their soil. And those are all there now because of us. Granted.

Of course, before us, they didn't have a say in who led them or HOW they were led... and if they were of an unpopular cultural sect, they could expect to be gassed to death -- by the village-load -- on a dictatorial whim... they'd feared for the safety of their sisters, mothers and wives, whose health, chastity, and even lives were mere playthings for the rapacious tendancies of their leader's evil spawn (hell, even their Olympic team members had reason to fear for their lives if they so much as lost a key game)... and they were being dragged steadily toward national destruction by their leaders. I suspect they don't miss that stuff much.

But still, I can't deny: things there DO suck -- for the time being, and in some places. But not everywhere, and not forever. Lordy, after 12 YEARS of reneged promises, underhanded dealings, and not a single moment of weakening in Hussein's defiance of the rest of the world, people were STILL saying "give the sanctions a chance!" But after just TWO years of trying to singlehandedly rebuild a cowed and battered nation to a level greater than had existed BEFORE we kicked down the door, those same people are now screaming that it's taking too long! Not that it matters anyway -- regardless of how long it's taking, doing anything less than seeing it all the way through now means disaster, so QUIT FIGHTING IT and HELP see it to fruition! [that's a general statement, not directed specifically at you]

[Also (referring to your estimates of Iraqis with potable running water and electricity), I'd be curious to see what the percentages were BEFORE the invasion. I also try to imagine what any other "invader" would have done about the damages left in their wake. I also make a point of remembering the carnage, rape, and pillaging that accompanied the Iraqi Army's unprovoked invasion of Kuwait.]

And finally, you said (in your second post) " agreed with Hudson 21 that president Bush did not "underestimate the time it would take, or underplayed the risk, cost or effort required. He forwarned us of all that." What speeches could I look up to confirm your statement, especially in regards to Iraq?"

Well, most obvious of all would be the speech quoted BY Hudson21 in his June 22nd post above, which, for the sake of saving space (sure, NOW I try and conserve words) I won't repeat here. I'm sure there were many others -- people talked about his speeches around the water cooler constantly throughout the year-and-a-half between 9/11 and the invasion, and it was an ongoing theme. However, there's something you should know about me...

I can't even spell "google." I am a cyber-challenged old schooler, and I wouldn't have a clue about how to research this stuff through the internet. My arguments, here in these comment streams, are almost always about people's logic and reasoning (or the lack thereof), a response to what I see as flawed, usually ill-informed, and frequently highly biased thinking. Not that MY logic and reasoning is unassailable -- far from it (and I usually find out just how far it's off right here in these comment streams) -- but THAT is what I'm usually pointing out when I respond to someone with a counter-view. I do have a few areas of personal "expertise" on behalf of which I will also argue -- military history, for instance, its methodology, tactics and strategy (from the more-than-a-decade that I spent in the military myself), aviation (from my experiences as both an air traffic controller and a pilot), space (from my first job working in a planetarium, and the huge amount of subsequent reading ["research"] that followed), and a couple other subject areas about which I might be a little better read than my opponents -- but with the exception of those genres, I do not usually address the issues as much as I do the person's thinking on them. How has their personal bias affected their opinion, or their ignorance of the facts, or their choices for "voices of authority" -- that kinda' stuff.

And you probably noticed that "politics" was not included in that list of "areas of expertise." That's because I'm NOT well versed on the daily machinations and minutiae of the body politic -- an intentional choice, I can assure you -- because generally speaking, it makes me sick, regardless of who the politico du jour is. Including George W. Bush. So you're wasting your time when you ask me about the individual hirings and firings, the accolades heaped and the mud slung, the nefarious or the noble intentions behind individual pieces of legislation, because I just don't keep up with it. Sorry, but I just don't care. I'm more of a "big picture," "historical precedent," "megatrend" kinda' guy, with my own ideas about WHY people think and act the way they do. And that's what I argue, for better or for worse.

And way too much, apparently.

Lordy, half of a day-off, gone already.

I'm going to back off for a while now, I think. Don't stop on my account though.



Thank you again for taking the time to respond to my comments.
I don't mean to beat a dead horse when talking about WMD's. Instead I mean to put them in the larger context of your comments about the lack of support of from Europe.
I realize there is a large, irrational bastion of America haters there. What I hoped to get across was that their criticisms would be heard far less if (I know, what if, always a dangerous game to play) the WMD's had been found.
My posting also shows the danger of missing (or misplacing) a single word. Where I wrote "One or two European governments would have been brought in" if the sources of the WMD's (Had any been found) were investigated should have read "One or two European governments would have been brought DOWN!".
Sorry about the error.
I also appreciate your explanation about how you approach your writing in your comment streams. I know you've probably written that a hundred other times elsewhere, and, again, I appreciate you taking the time to write it for me.
This will help me gear what I write to you.
Thanks again and have a good day.


The analogy you drew justifying our presence in Iraq "It's like we pulled the thugs off a battered and bloodied mugging victim. We've seen to the disposal of the thugs...And if we leave them now, we've done them no favor at all."
I believe this analogy to be incorrect. If applied to Kuwait, yes it is completely correct. And it is confirmed by the diversity of forces that lined up against Saddam.
In our current circumstance, a better analogy would be a domestic violence call. Whether or not this true, it is certainly held in common belief that this is among the most dangerous situations for the authorities that are called on to deal with them. Because you can never tell whether the abused will have the good sense to leave the abuser, or have the guts to charge the abuser, when necessary, with whatever is necessary to put 'em away.
Even if one abuser is sent packing, the abused may simply take up with someone else who will repeat the pattern of behavior. Or worst of all, the abused turn on the authorities sent to help them.
All that I've heard(I'm no expert. And have no experience, thank God.) about domestic abuse situations say that in order for the abused to be helped, they must begin first by helping themselves. They must leave (Or depose) their abuser themselves.
Of course, if the domestic abuse analogy analogy is to be applied to Iraq, there is one thing that we, the US, were not called to do. We were not called on to intervene in the first place. If we are where we are, it is because we insisted on going there.
If we are to make a go of it there, and I believe the situation is not irretrievable, yet, we have to recognize the fact that our intervention was not called for.
Greater force(More men on the ground), and more properly directed resources can only be brought to the situation if we recognize the situation we're in. We've intervened in a domestic violence situation. Let's get the resources to deal with it, before the abused turn on us.

hi ghs, re our conversation,

well i think to say......if at first you dont succeed.......

and then i think to part of the solution not the problem

then i think... excuses excuses///////

then i think.....positively.....

the g8 have the power to put positivity on the agenda or face a negative one.

then i think....ghs should really publish.

Alright, I HAVE to keep it quick this time -- it's late, I've got an early rise tomorrow, and five 14 - 20 hour work days following that. So it's now or never.

To JAT: You said, "What I hoped to get across was that their [European's] criticisms would be heard far less if... the WMD's had been found."

I agree. They'd also be heard far less if it had been THEM that had been attacked on 9/11 instead... or if THEIR leadership had carried through with all their pre-war bluster and actually participated in the "serious consequences" they'd been threatening, AND then enjoyed similar successes to ours on the battlefield. But because, pre-invasion, they'd shared our belief in the proliferation of Saddam's WMD programs (that belief was the centerpiece of their own threats) -- they were fully aware of the times he'd used them in the past, as well as his plans for developing them further in the future -- their claims now that they'd NEVER existed and that we'd gone in on the basis of lies from Bush, makes their howling and scolding sound even more stupid and empty. And, as far as I'm concerned, irrelevant. Right now, they're just looking for any anti-war ding that'll hold water, and as lame and tiresome as that claim is, it's the best they've got. Let 'em howl.

I appreciate the impact of your little typo (I can relate, dude), and agree, it makes more sense in the form you just mentioned, and comes with my concurrence as well (oo, oo! good news!)

An interesting point about the "domestic abuse" analogy in Iraq too. I think the real-world scenario might fall a little more "in between" our two "analogous situations" though, because, while I see what you're saying about the missed marks in MY scenario, the domestic dispute storyline doesn't quite hit on all points either.

For the "domestic dispute" angle to hold completely true to the real-world "sitch," their "domestic" squabbling would have to spill out -- violently -- into neighboring properties, with some of their violence specifically directed AT the neighbors (not just stray shots that accidentally wing the neighbor's wife in the kitchen). Their domestic aggressions would have to include willfully dispatching outsiders to carry their nastiness to "neighbors" beyond even their own block (which no longer sounds terribly "domestic"), plus, even within the walls of their own home, their domestic "disputes" would have to be so horribly one-sided -- just one "spouse" beating and abusing the hell out of the other, while that one just cringed and absorbed it, without hope of ever returning tit for tat. All of this leads me to say, "I don't think the domestic dispute angle is all there either."

In addition, all that stuff about them carrying the fight beyond the walls of their own home -- that's what nullifies the later point about "our intervention not being called for."

Our intervention most definitely WAS called for -- not by THEM, and not by the "police," whose cowardly unwillingness to do anything more than posture impotently left us with no alternative, for our OWN safety -- our intervention was the bold but last-ditch action of a neighbor PROTECTING HIMSELF.

So I harken back to my original analogy about the mugging victim (the Iraqi people) and the thugs (Hussein and the Ba'athists) -- we didn't pull them apart just to help out the battered victim. We did it because (a) it was a bad element that was growing bolder day by day, (b) it had threatened US, and had given the likes of the vermin that ultimately DID directly attack us a safehouse in which to crash, along with weapons and money and the political protection of a defiant strongman behind which they could hide, and (c) the "police" that we'd called had only waved a timid nightstick at 'em, then walked off, warning us that WE'D better leave THEM alone if we didn't want to make them any madder. And this despite all the parole violations these guys were already committing, based on their previous run-ins with the law.

What else SHOULD a "model citizen" have done? Followed the policeman's role, and slunk away with a determined pout on their face? Left town altogether themselves? Just kept putting up with the gunfire in the night, and the regular break-ins and muggings going on around the neighborhood? Or was there another untried alternative that we missed?

But I'm beating these analogies to death, and I've GOT to go to bed now. So, for now, goodnight...

And to alpha -- I'm never sure how to take you. But for now -- for tonight -- I'll presume that was a legitimate compliment, and thank you.

And now, to sleep.


Wow, take a weeklong camping trip and look what I miss! Good stuff by all.

JAT, to address your domestic abuse analogy: you wondered whether or not the analogy would be true. I would point to over 300,000 Iraqi people killed for being a minority in their own country and ask you to stop wondering.

You say that we were not called to intervene in the first place. The way I see it, it is very hard to call the police for help when the abused has been beaten, tied down, threatened with death, and the phone cord has been yanked out of the wall. Assuming the abused simply needs to have the courage to stand up and leave (or depose) the abuser attributes a lot of power to them that in reality they just didn't have.

The average Iraqi was completely unable to speak out against their corrupt government with the freedom that we take for granted. Any dissent was quickly extinguished and the dissenter's entire family would disappear. And as was mentioned before, we didn't need their cries for help to justify our invasion (although it was a positive reinforcement). We invaded for OUR safety, and that of the rest of the world.

After the fall of Baghdad, I remember seeing live unedited footage of crowds of people dancing in the streets, cheering our troops, striking and spitting on the fallen statues of Saddam. Before that day, the abused had no outlet for their frustrations. They lived in silent fear that we wouldn't succeed in liberating them and then they were REALLY gonna get it from Daddy. I remember one live feed from CNN interviewing one of the Iraqis in the street that day who looked into the camera, crying with happiness, and implored of the Americans, "Whatever you do, don't leave us like you did last time" (in 1991).

JAT, you call for greater resources, to understand the situation and to properly direct these resources before the abused turn on us. I can agree with all of that. But I will elaborate on that some more: The abused have not turned on us. The resistance we are getting (and the headlines we are being subjected to daily) is from the remnants of the abusers and their drunk buddies from down the street. We are taking the abused who we untied from their restraints and we are giving them assertiveness counselling and self-defense lessons. They are eager learners but it takes a while to turn a 98-pound weakling into someone who can stand up for themselves effectively.

I believe our leaders who are working with the abused in question on a daily basis understand the situation on the ground much more than you or I, who only get glimpses of what's going on over there. I talk every other day, through this wonderful invention called the internet, to many of the troops who are actually there doing the dirty work and what I hear from them is almost universally positive. They tell me that their support is huge, but there is some (quite justified) fear of being attacked again. These attacks are random and serve no tactical purpose other than to erode support for the Coalition, and in the long run cause us to pull out before the abused can earn their black belt. The people of Iraq know this. Hence the huge turnouts at the election in January (despite threats of death, mind you), and the embracing of the democratic process by almost all parties. Even the Sunnis are beginning to realize that the only way for their voice to be effectively heard is to start playing the game instead of throwing rocks from the sidelines. The people in Iraq are understanding what the dissenters outside of it have yet to grasp: Allowing the enemy to succeed in their objective is up to US, not THEM, which makes it a very unique military situation, and in my opinion, a no-brainer. Now if the rest of the enlightened community would just get on board we can wrap this up much sooner than it will probably take.

GHS, Hudson 21,
Best to continue our conversation here.
Would not fit with current posting.
Does this seem the right thing to you?

GHS and Hudson 21

On second thought, perhaps best to terminate conversation entirely, until the right place and time present themselves, given the volume of work GHS will have to do over the next several weeks.
No response will tell me GHS is snowed under.
I'll get the message.

Continuing the conversation here is just fine. There are people still contributing to comment streams on essays that are over two years old here (believe me, I check 'em all the time). Our "conversation" will just become more "private," as newer streams come on-line and other commenters move on without looking back. I do, however, most definitely agree that the latest posting (on the recent blasphemy in Britain) would not be the place to do it -- at least for now -- although soon enough, someone's going to say something that'll get something even stronger going over there, and then we'll be busy enough just contributing there.

Anyhoo, I've enjoyed this dialogue, and will continue to contribute when I can -- it may just have to be shorter each time.

HAR-HAR! Yeh right.


Got your message.

well yes ghs it was sincere; though i do not subscribe to the politics behind your thinking you are thorough concise and articulate and i think this blog is all your doing anyway and bill a mere appendage. obviously you and he are a team but like a rock star and his producer, without you there would be no lively debate here. essay are one thing, debate another. * i do believe bill has credited you as his mentor. your writing is less emotive or sensational and i find it more sincere. sorry bill but there you are. perhaps you would find a market for your prose adjacent to bill's, ghs.

* debate used to be the 'lifeblood' of these comments pages, if not the country. now i note they are merely the property of a mr william a whittle.

Well, alpha, again I find myself warily saying, "Thanks... sorta'." You've managed to once again slap and then shake the hand of your conversational opposite at the same time.

The "rock star and his producer" analogy is interesting -- not 100% accurate, but then I don't think it was intended to be, either.

The fact is though, that this is Bill's blog -- his own, personal, self-paid, opinion site. He set it up as a place where he could publicly rant and vent, and, at least initially, to tear into the hateful, fire-breathing, revisionist rhetoric he'd discovered in reading other people's blogs, particularly European ones. It doesn't need to have a comment section at all in order for Bill to have his say, and he has, in fact, shut it down several times because of the ugly, despoiling turns it has taken (entirely on its own and separate from him). He eventually quit reading and participating in them altogether (for the most part) when they proved to be too much of a continual distraction and a frequent frustration to him. Leaving it to ME then, to oversee and occasionally "tidy up," was his last attempt at keeping them open, creditable (as in "presentably adult"), and comfortably unmonitored by him. In other words, with a sufficiently trustworthy "overseer," he could leave this stuff to us, and not worry too much about it turning into a cyber-food-fight when he wasn't looking.

To that end then, my involvement here has been a strange and unforeseen evolution. I didn't even start particpating until after "MAGIC" came out, and my first exchanges were downright embarrassments. But I did eventually find my voice, and because of our long history together, Bill and I (we've known each other since we were kids -- 36 years now), he and I are of sufficiently "like mind" that he knew he could leave me as "his voice in the comment streams," and turn his attentions elsewhere.

But that's as far as my influence goes. And for damned good reason.

Bill's the "idea" guy here -- none of the angles he's found to approach these topics from would ever have crossed my mind. EVER. And because he's far better read, up on current events, and willing (and knowledgable as to HOW) to do research, he comes with a mountain of data and evidence to stand upon, which (with the few exceptions I listed several postings back) I do NOT. He's also much more passionate about such things -- about ANYthing, really -- than I am, which, on the one hand, makes his prose that much more dynamic and vibrant and downright entertaining (and is one of the main attractors for his audience, I believe), while on the other hand, making him far less patient with inanity, virulent cluelessness, and baseless anti-American vitriol.

To get the fire on the one side, you've got to accept it on the other -- they go hand in hand.

So, in that regard then, I guess he IS kinda' like a "rock star," because the "music's" all his -- the themes, the messages, the arrangements, and the passion conveyed by all -- as well as the originality and the ambition to present it publicly as well. I just hang around behind the scenes, ready to qualify his remarks, expand upon his themes, keep the wolves at bay, and occasionally apologize for the trashed limos.

For all these reasons, you've got it backwards when you say, "... i think this blog is all your doing anyway and bill a mere appendage." I don't have to exist at all for this site to stand sturdily on its own -- I just keep the entirely unnecessary comment stream tidy.

As such, when you say, "... debate used to be the 'lifeblood' of these comments pages, if not the country. now i note they are merely the property of a mr william a whittle...", try and picture how it would be if this was YOUR self-paid blog -- would you not have the RIGHT to purge whatever the hell you wanted from YOUR PROPERTY? If someone just flat pissed you off, for whatever political, expressive, or personal reason, would YOU feel compelled to just let them have their way with YOUR comment section? Post a dozen times a day, copy-paste their favorite magazine articles, and call all your regulars names? If asking them to behave according to your own rules didn't get the results you wanted -- if the hostility and profanity of the exchanges started to destroy your own credibility with newcomers to the site -- wouldn't YOU consider it your RIGHT to delete and expel whomever you wanted? It's your property, isn't it? It's not the official national website for your particular viewpoints, with any legal obligation to provide a wide-open and uncensored forum for every hothead that comes down the pike -- it's YOUR PROPERTY. It's your yard.

I AM thinking about starting a blog or two myself though, although they won't be on any of these topics -- these subjects are not my forte. But when I do, I can assure you I will be tightly monitoring my comment sections, and I won't have any compunctions about booting the rowdy kids off my yard whenever the hell I feel like it.

Thanks again, though... I think.


your account of the evolution of the running of this site is illuminating and will probably be appreciated by all regulars who read it. so i guessed wrong.

i hope i will have the opportunity to read your blog ghs. comments are not always necessary but here i find more information in the comments than in the essays alone. for example, without the comments here, i would have no idea if bill is just a lone voice or speaks for anyone else. thanks to these comments pages i can worry that he is not alone in his monovision and study the virus at close quarters.

i have poked and prodded the subject and learned much. i stand more informed but am still no expert. its a complex study and it helps me with my own judgements and helps me question my instinctive opinions.

the first thing i learned is to think more about what i want to say before saying it. weak arguments are counter productive and sometimes arguing on someone elses terms is pointless. a square peg and a round hole. one shape does not fit all.

i have learned from the criticism of all who stand in the way of the prevailing politics here that there is much resentment and prejudice which weakens the arguments, but does expose more light on the mud slinger than the target.

im thinking of the spanish and french in particular. there is precious little understanding outside the usa of other cultures. american culture has been so exported over the years yet the imports are largely cliches. britain is quaint and they have stiff upper lips. the spanish have a flighty latin temperament and cant be relied on, the french are ingrates...

they would have been all these things had the countries leaders made different decisions lately?

well they diddnt so we cannot speculate. we can instead argue that that proves the cliches true. but cliches they remain.

anyway back to the point, which is about these comments pages which are the lifeblood of this blog AND the sole property of....

fair enough, i just note the change with a measure of cycnicism matching that which marks the change itself, bourne no doubt through bitter experience.

i wont give any time to the 'self paid' blog/bandwidth tears more than i would to any individual 's choice to pay for their own soap box, or to advertise a product. should be tax detuctable too.

actually, as an aside, i belive advertisers should pay me for the eyespace they take up as i drive down the road trying to watch traffic not cleavage.

property is nothing more than a concept. you can take anything you want if you can get away with it. laws are there to be broken, rules are there to be changed when the need arises. thats what money is for.

i find bills essays harder to read lately. i vote for the shorter and more frequent and i too curse frank j. having said that im going read through sanctuary thoroghly now as i detected a hint of tolerance in the closing paragraphs when i last skimmed through. i found it impenetrable on the first attempt.

and is it really anti-american vitriol? some of it perhaps -have we not had a conversation before about 'true americans'? there is a poem by steve colman:

hope you read it rather than have me post it, you know, bandwidth and all :)

tries to post..

Hey GHS,
What's going on? Hope things are well with you and yours.
Hope you read and evaluated "my small request". Got no experience running one of these darned things. Having said that, I strongly believe refering to posts by number would make it alot easier to follow the conversations, and refer back to material produced earlier. Many times saw significant quotes but lost them because I couldn't find them again.
Now, back to the issue of WMD's(July 6th,2005 8:57 AM). Noted your frustration with having to answer questions about them.
Victory, in almost any situation, offers its own justification, without reguard to cost, so long as it comes relatively quickly. It's that we're still hanging around there (and likely to hang around alot longer) that makes this issue pressing, and I believe it will become more pressing as time goes on. As McNamara found when the Vietnam war had gone on so much longer than planned, he deemed it necessary to compile the "Pentagon Papers" documenting the history of the decision making in Vietnam.
Something, not currently being discussed
with the Valerie Plame issue, is the effect of having upon this had on the intelligence community. Did word get around that anyone who disagreed with Bush on the WMD issue would be outed? Did this have a chilling effect on intelligence gathering?
I don't care about Bushs' standing with the public. Keeping vindictive people about who go after covert operatives who found info that doesn't conform administration versions of the truth will help neither us or convince our allies to stick with us very long.
Look forward to your response to these comments.


Welcome back. I was sorry to see this discussion die, and I hope the others notice you are back. Though I am less patient, and disinclined to feed squirrels, I nevertheless enjoy the level of discourse you have managed to engender here. BTW, thanks for the “rabid dogs” analogy; it was perfect. I now suspect both Alpha and I were misconstruing the others remarks or questions, and their sincerity. While I find many of his points rather thought provoking, his inexplicable need to be deliberately illiterate, cryptic, and condescending, generally subverts the affectation of erudition undoubtedly intended. I applaud your ability to expose his mind as less infertile, rigid, or reflexive than I initially perceived. Carry on, and know there are still appreciative readers lurking about.

Good grief! What did I do to get blacklisted? I am one of Bill’s biggest fans! See:

I have not tried to post here since saying goodbye to Alpha back on July 3. Perhaps someone has been impersonating me. . . ???

First of all, to Curmudgeon -- sorry about the blacklisting. I found your lastest 2 postings caught in the filters this morning -- I have no idea what made the friggin' "cyber-overseers" choose to pluck them out -- but I plugged them back in again. I found a couple of alpha's there too (from another comment stream), again with no apparent reason for having been selected. I'll keep watching, and if it happens again, I'll catch it again.

And thanks for the compliments. I've been out of the loop for so long now (friggin' fried computer), I'd forgotten what we were talking about back then. I had to re-read it again this morning just to figure out what you were complimenting me for.

Oh, and to "hindmost" (who also found himself blacklisted for no apparent reason, and e-mailed me directly), if you're reading this -- when I spent the morning, a couple of days back, hosing out all the accumulated garbage in all 110 of Bill's various essays and postings, I didn't find anything of yours being held in "pending" status, so apparently it had already "timed out" before I could get to it. Sorry about that. Please contribute again -- anywhere -- and if it gets caught in the filters again, I'll see it right away and fix it.

Now, to Just Another Taxpayer (who also had a couple of postings snared by the blacklist software): I've kinda' lost the momentum of our previous discussion, but I'll respond to what I can here...

You said, "Now, back to the issue of WMD's(July 6th,2005 8:57 AM). [I] noted your frustration with having to answer questions about them..." [I'm presuming that you were referring to a statement I made that said, "Aaurgh! Still arguing this point as if it was the only justification for the invasion. I've got to stop this!"]

Well, as I said there, it's not that I'm frustrated with having to answer questions about WMDs -- although I've been making fewer and fewer points that I haven't already made dozens of times before, which makes the repetition a little tiresome -- but rather that it seems like the WMD issue is being so frequently used as the sole justification for the war... "So therefore, if we haven't found vast stockpiles of WMDs lying around everywhere, then the entire war was unjustified." And THAT frustrates me, because it means that nothing else that I (and others on my side of this fence) have been saying all this time is getting through at all... all the other reasons; all the provocations, all the violations, all the legal justifications, all the ways that Iraq fully fit the bill as a prime target in this openly declared (and publicly supported) War on Terror... all that has to be ignored in order for someone to continue to hang the entire viability of the war on the apparent post-war "non-existence" of WMDs that EVERYONE knows existed BEFORE the war. If the letters W, M and D had never been uttered in that order, ever, by anyone, in conjunction with our prosecution of this offensive action -- if Weapons of Mass Destruction had never been brought up at all -- there would still have been MANY other reasons to go.

And THAT'S what gets a little frustrating to me... not arguing about WMDs, but having to defend the entire juggernaut of this War on Terror based on that issue alone.

As for the Valerie Plame stuff you mentioned... to the extent that I understand it, and to the extent that I think I understand YOUR points, I am in agreement with you on this one. I don't like it, and it seems self-defeating. But then again, I never claimed to be in love with this administration, nor much of President Bush's domestic agenda. What I like, and thereby support, is the courage and tenacity of this president when it comes to this proactive stance on terrorism. Nobody else, from any party, or from any administration in recent history, would have done it -- nobody -- but in my opinion, SOMEBODY needed to! If France had done it (Har! that's a good one!), I would be supporting them right now. I DO support Israel's neverending struggle in this regard. President Bush is just the first American chief in a bucketful of years who actually meant what he said, said what he meant, AND then did what he said! And to that end, he has my support.

That does not mean that I approve of his every action or fundamentalist Christian stance on everything. I don't. But then, I've never known a president in history that hit on all cylinders all the time. And oh Lordy, I didn't mean for this to run anywhere near this long.

Enough. I'm back. All is cool. Let's talk.



Thanks. I suspected as much.

I totally agree with your remarks re: WMD. A year ago, I wrote a piece on the subject you might find interesting:

Caution; while perhaps not as verbose as Bill, I can give YOU a run for your money. If you do take the time to read it, I would be interested in your critique. In addition, since it seemed to confuse others, I often use the term “shaman” as a mildly derisive term for a religious leader (of any faith) as in “witch doctor.” (This perhaps explains why I smiled at your comment about Bush’s “fundamentalist Christian stance”)

That was GREAT, Curmudgeon! I enjoyed the read thoroughly. I especially liked that most fundamental of all questions, "where DO you want the battlefield to be?" And you also hit on one topic that I've wanted to comment on at length myself (although it is more my habit to RESPOND to others, rather than initiate dialogue streams), and that is the issue of just how stupid "retribution" is as a justification. For ANYTHING.

From the Hatfields and McCoys, to the families of organized crime... the Serbs vs. Croats, Irish Catholics vs. Protestants, Arabs vs. Jews, ad infinitim... you'd think there'd be an overwhelming flood of historical testimonials for the utter futility of this "eye for an eye" ethos. Yet that's still the one motivation that people have been able to "get behind" in this War on Terror. That's what made the invasion of Afghanistan palatable, but not the invasion of Iraq... "what did Iraq do to US?"

Yeh, that's right: somebody has to do something to us first, THEN taking the offensive is okay... then it's simple good old-fashioned retribution, "justice" visited upon the wrongdoers (a remarkably similar battlecry to that yodeled by our enemies, by the way). Getting them back, THAT'S what makes for a "justifiable war." Lord knows, it's worked wonders for the aforementioned belligerents at the top of the previous paragraph.

Amazing. The worst possible reason for sending our sweet, apple-cheeked lads and lasses into the fray -- perpetuating the never-ending tit-for-tat cycle -- THAT'S what everyone accepts without a single halting step to look back. But do something to put an end to the growing infestation in general -- do something about the HIVE, instead of just one bee at a time (and I loved your "alligator allegory" for the same reasons) -- and you're just being a blind, war-mongering bully.


Well, that post of yours was excellent, I thought, and I recommend it for anyone to read. While passionate, it leaves out Bill's rock-and-roll edge, and while broad and all-inclusive in scope, it's succinct, and skips my penchant for wordiness. Damned good stuff.

Not to mention dead-on right!

One thing that I think this medium bungles is the conveyance of any given "author's" TOTAL message -- you are constrained here by the limitations of space, time, and other readers' attention spans to firing little single-shot punchlines and soundbytes that are somehow supposed to encapsulate the entire breadth of your experiences, understandings, philosophy, and perspectives on an issue. And unfortunately, that narrow, blindered glimpse into each contributor's mind, more often than not, only teases and taunts, and quite frequently OFFENDS, simply because the totality of any given idea goes unexpressed, while only the pithy quotable little "punchlines" remain -- which, without the complete framework of the contributor's belief system behind them, can come out sounding shortsighted, bigoted, chauvinistic, hawkish, and/or malformed, when in reality they are not (or at least MAY not be). Often, given the opportunity to fully explore an idea, those labels prove to be incorrect, simply because they're incomplete.

I try to remember that when, for instance, someone like alpha throws out some gristly chunk of philosophical bone to gnaw on, meant to be snappy, ear-catching, and provocative, but instead, because of its one-little-peck-at-a-time approach, comes out sounding half-baked, unformed, and even simplistic. I try -- TRY, I say -- to picture the larger beast beneath that one little fin that's breaking the surface, but it's hard, and, I suspect, often grants too much credit to some truly unformed, simplistic, and short-sighted ideas.

Still, it's a noble presumption, in my opinion.

That's actually one of the main reasons for my own wordiness -- the need to try and show more than just the tip of my blade, as it were (as well as a desire to answer as many unasked questions as I can by tying off all the loose ends in advance). That too is futile though, as the many protracted exchanges in these comment threads proves.

Of course, the dialogue is exactly what makes it all fun.

Thanks for this one, Curmudgeon.


Jiminy Crickets! I just got blacklisted myself! I had to go into Movable Type and "approve" my own posting.

Never trust anything that's supposed to "simplify" your life.

Then again, maybe the software's trying to tell me something.



Thank you, sir. I respect what I have seen of your mind, and therefore value your opinion.

You are right about some of the shortcomings of this medium. Nevertheless, it sure beats what was available to erstwhile “authors” who not too many years ago felt lucky if a local newspaper published a letter to the editor occasionally. Feedback was even rarer, and of course, a debate was never allowed to develop. Meanwhile, if one did try to make a complete case, the editors would ruthlessly distill it to not much more than punch lines and sound bytes anyway.

That was what was so great about the forum. The regular contributors managed to discourage most of the squirrels with lengthy well-developed posts in a debate format that was very intellectually satisfying to us, yet either boring, overwhelming, or just too time consuming to read for the hit-and-run types. On the other hand, that is probably what killed the forum. The level of discourse was such that many readers were probably too intimidated to join in, and after the election, we were all so exhausted that we never really got going again after giving the liberals some time to lick their wounds. Too bad, I miss the exchange of ideas, and it was not all about politics. As an example, when you have the time, you might enjoy the discussion in this thread:

In one of my posts to it, I included a provocative missive I had written shortly after 911.

BTW, if bandwidth, off subject topics, or lack of participation in these non-current comment sections becomes a problem, we could always go rev up that forum again and bring alpha et al with us. It is easy to join, very functional, and free to use. I am sure I could even get the moderator keys to it if we found we needed them.

So why -- someone? anyone? – why do otherwise intelligent and educated people so despise and detest American society, which has achieved more in the way of individual rights, science, arts, medicine, diversity, cooperation and prosperity than any other in history? Why would they oppose such a society when it is trying to bring these blessings to people who have spent thirty years cowering in dark places, fearful of letting the slightest word slip, or betraying their entire family with an askew glance or unguarded moment? Why would someone so viciously oppose freeing a People who have lived for a generation in total, abject fear?

Do people "on the left" hate America? As someone who lives abroad, sees a real decline in the state of America, and opposes the war in Iraq, maybe I seem like one of this people. Ask me about the state of the USA and I'll have plenty of negative things to say. But I don't hate American society -- not by a long shot. We've done a lot of great things, and we are great. And we can do better. In fact, BECAUSE we have been given this opportunity, this chance to do better, it is our DUTY to not be evil, not abuse our power, NOT become everything the founders of the USA tried to prevent us from being. If for no other reason, because going down that road would be the destruction of America as we know it and would undo everything we've done so far. Yes, I have a lot of nasty critical things to say about the USA. The American government, the American media, the American people. And I say those things -- every chance I get, really -- precisely because I love America.

Leo seems to fear one cannot be a neocon without also becoming an imperialist. I don't think the one necessarily follows the other. The United States is the first great power of a deliberately nonimperialistic habit. Look at our deeds: we have conquered more land area than most empires that were determined to be permanent -- and we've given it all back, less some acreage for cemeteries. Military bases overseas are there essentially on loan.

Mr. Whittle, I have just found you and your brilliance. "Tribes" was first, then "Sanctuary (part 1)," now this one. I have spread your talent around to all the people I know. Even a few die-hard liberals. You are something else, that is all I want or need to say. More intelligent folks say it best, but none will say it with more respect than I have for you and your talented pen.