On Tuesday, Americans will choose between the conservative hawk from Texas, and the conservative hawk from Massachusetts. Both are running on a platform to strengthen the military and track down terrorists wherever they may live. Draw your own conclusions about who has the most convincing track record in this regard.
I have tried to make clear the reasons I have, and continue to support, President Bush. Despite his many faults, he seems to understand that the only nations serious about this fight are already in the field at our side. We have recovered from budget deficits before. We have been debating abortion and gay rights and all the other lifestyle issues for decades, and these debates will not go away if John Kerry is elected.
I will be able to live with a Kerry Presidency. But what tortures me is the thought that this country is no longer capable of doing hard, dirty work -- that we have reached the point where nothing difficult is attainable because the cost is something less than free.
I believe, from a reading of the history and the very words of the leaders of North Vietnam, that John Kerry was instrumental in convincing them that if they were able to hang on and inflict enough American casualties, eventually we would tire and go home.
I further believe that history shows that the Ayatollah Khomeini had our number in this regard, and I regard the start of this current conflict as the day they overran the US Embassy in Tehran, to which our response was...what?
The murdering, beheading savages who are trying to steal victory from defeat in the American ballot box have seen these lessons of Vietnam, and Iran, and Somalia, and they are -- and have openly said they are -- doing their best to kill as many Americans as they can to win this election for the man they certainly seem to fear less. That tells me something.
We now discover from MEMRI (link here) in a more precise interpretation of Osama bin Laden's recent tape that he was in fact saying that those American states that do not mess with him will be safe, and the implication, of course, is that those that do -- by voting for Bush -- face his retaliation.
Whether or not you are willing to bargain your safety with this man is up to your own individual conscience. Personally, the idea disgusts me, and I think the reason the press has --shockingly! -- declined to mention this is because they know that despite Michael Moore, this is not Spain. I believe the idea of bin Laden dictating American politics is enough to ensure a Bush win. Read the article at MEMRI and draw your own conclusion.
President Bush has already done much to re-program our mortal enemies assumptions about our determination to finish what we start, no matter the cost. Three dangerous enemies have fallen during his watch -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The first two were predicted to cause American streets to run red with blood as the Jihadists took their vengeance upon us. In the three years since 9/11, there have been no terrorist attacks on this country. That is a record to be proud of, and one that deserves the reward of my vote, at least.
I want to finish this fight, now. I don't think our children should have to worry about this five or ten or twenty years from now, when Iran or North Korea has had a chance to spread some nuclear largesse around. I believe a badly wounded enemy is more dangerous than a dead one. I want this fight to be over so that the country can afford to elect someone who panders to everyone and speaks French and can undo all this animosity from Europe with a few well-placed toasts and a conciliatory speech at the UN. The time for that is when this thing is over.
There is much to dislike, and even some to despise, about the current American President. But he means to finish this fight, and by that, I believe he means to finish it by winning.
Afghanistan did not go to the warlords. It went to the polls. There were not one million refugees. Iraq did not produce 10,000 US casualties in house-to-house fighting, nor did it splinter into 3-way civil war as so many predicted. In three months, Iraqis will also go to the polls, and they, by all accounts, will continue their widespread support for secular candidates and repudiation of the extremists that are fighting so hard to terrorize and dishearten them. But the Iraqis are not terrorized. They are signing on for their army and police forces in the face of great danger. We owe those brave men and women something better than "wrong war, wrong place and wrong time."
This is failure?
Not by my standards, it isn't.
So I promised you a final thought, and everything above this point is mere preamble to it. Here it is:
People are telling you that Tuesday will be the most important election of your lives.
That is not true.
The most important election of your lives was held on Tuesday, November 7th, 2000. You just didn't know it. Neither did I.
What happened on that day led to one man being in the White House these past four years, rather than the other one. Whether he has done enough to keep us safe, even if he should lose on Tuesday, remains to be seen. But the fact remains that George W. Bush was Commander in Chief and President when we needed him the most.
I made a mistake when I cast my vote for Al Gore in the most important election of my lifetime. I won't make that mistake again on Tuesday.
You may call that a Terror Mastermind. I call it a greasy wet spot on the wall of a cave in Afghanistan.
The man is dead. Dead, or just possibly captured. The likelihood of him having been killed at Tora Bora by US 'outsourcing' was rising with his deafening silence concerning each American counterstroke and became 100% when nothing was heard from the late Osama after the US invasion of Iraq.
October 6th, 2004
I am now openly stating that Kerry will win with over 95% of the vote, and praying that my predictive ability remains up to par.
I just had a vision.
Nothing mystical, no sense of a tap on the shoulder by Divine Providence, and it is the antithesis of a personal sense of destiny. History has not been kind to such people. And these ideas are much, much bigger than I am.
But something woke me up, literally as well as figuratively.
No, this in fact is an idea -- a set of ideas -- so simple and humbling that I am again, as I have so often been in the course of this little cyber-experiment, filled with awe and humility and more than anything a sense of gratitude that I might be allowed to have a small, small voice in this critical time in history.
I want to remember -- and more importantly, commit myself to the notion that at this exact moment, all of the ideas and threads and comments and history that circles in and out of my head, all of my many work experiences in science, aviation and entertainment have finally coalesced into a vision of why Eject! Eject! Eject! is here and what we are going to try to do.
I count 93 entries since we began Eject! Eject! Eject! on December 12th, 2002. Some have been reasonably deeply thought out, some have been fun, and some have been just plain silly. Good or bad, they've all been for you, you kind and brilliant strangers. This post...well, this one is for me. It is a note to myself that I cannot weasel out of. Please forgive me this pretension, but this is a message to my future self.
We have seen about 120,000 unique visits in the last week; that's about 10% of my total traffic in two years, with all of those peaks and valleys during 23 months. It's been a great pleasure to hear from many new readers. During the next few weeks, I hope you will enjoy the Silent America essays on the right sidebar. Newest essays on the top; old faithfuls at the bottom.
I will be spending this weekend getting the essays into PDF format. My publisher says I will need about 20 days from the delivery of those files before we can start shipping Silent America. I have seen samples of both their hardcover and softcover work, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Their fullfillment system seems simple, inexpensive and reliable. The book will also be available through Amazon and you will be able to order them through large retailers, as well as through this site. Much more on this in the next few weeks.
A final note on this odd and uplifting morning: DETERRENCE will probably be the last serious post before the election, because once it is over -- regardless of the outcome -- I plan to begin a second volume of essays that are cover topics far more timeless and universal, which I have been aching to do. SILENT AMERICA: ESSAYS FROM A DEMOCRACY AT WAR has been a collection of thoughts on the War on Terror as it unfolded. It's conclusion -- VT Day -- may never be known. But the Presidential election of 2004 is as good an end point as any, and for those of you disappointed by the slow progress of publication (and none of you are more disappointed than I am, because I not only know who to blame, I can can jab him about it any time I want to) let me say this: the book was not ready to print last year because STRENGTH and DETERRENCE hadn't been written yet.
So, like you, I am holding my breath until November 3rd. But win or lose, that day will mark a new beginning, and if you think the War and the Election have been stressfull and tumultuous, well, you ain't seen nothing yet.
I worry about terrorism. I worry about Transnational Progressivism. I worry about the utter moral decline of large parts of Europe. I worry about China. I worry about all these things.
But the only thing I genuinely fear is the cyclical nature of civilization. I fear the consequences of abandoning personal responsibility. I fear the self-hatred and nihilism that grows among the pampered, the narcissistic and the uninformed. These are things to be feared greatly. They have brought down entire civilizations and led to dark ages that have cost this species very dearly. I think we stand at such a point today, and this election -- win or lose -- will not determine the outcome...although it might give us some indication of how sick or healthy we are at this pivotal moment in history.
So prepare yourselves. There is a big fight ahead of us, regardless of who is crowing loud in a few weeks time. Other civilizations have fallen; this one may yet. But none have been armed as we are, and our wonder weapon is not the Carrier Battle Group, the Smart Bomb, or the M1 Abrams. This Civilization is armed with information, with real-time communication, with self-organizing expert systems. And for the first time in history, it has in its quiver the chance to hear from great minds otherwise buried in obscurity, to harness the power of billions of opinions and ideas and little, well-made boxes of competence and expertise; brilliant and commanding voices thrown away with the chaff in preceeding generations. This is a force multiplier to cheer even the most pessimistic.
And civilization will rise or fall on the ability to use these weapons under the shield of our shared values of freedom, opportunity, and just plain courage.
Watch this space.
Watching the Presidential debates of September 30th, and the subsequent reactions to them, has left me once again with the sad realization that there are many millions of people who prefer a man who says the wrong things well over one who says the right things badly -– and in the case of the first debates we are talking about saying very, very stupid things well and intelligent things very, very badly.
Now I don’t mean stupid in a bad way. I fully credit John Kerry with the intelligence needed to analyze, dissect, and evaluate a position, and without mechanical aid, quickly and accurately use advanced trigonomic functions to determine the most popular position on a wide range of complex issues -– a feat that requires a very quick mind indeed.
So it’s not dumb stupid, those statements he made in the first debate. It’s more of an entirely understandable, eminently defensible, very common fossilized kind of stupid that we saw from the Senator. It was the stupid of a man claiming to have new ideas and new plans based on shared assumptions and models that no longer apply to reality.
President Bush seemed stupid in comparison because he seems to only know three things in all the world -– and it is our great good fortune that he is right about all three.
In a moment, we’ll look at what both men said, and through a very specific filter: not their Aggregate Presidentiality, or their respective Molar Charm Ratio. We’re going to look at what both men believe in respect to deterrence: whether their positions increase or decrease the likelihood of further attacks on the US.
That’s it. That’s all. That’s the sum total of this election for me. We’ve survived boobs and crooks and idiots and charlatans of all stripes and colors, struggled through booms and recessions, surpluses and deficits, and wars on poverty and drugs and crime and General Public Lasciviousness and come through just fine, and we will again.
But the nuclear destruction of the heart of Manhattan, or Long Beach Harbor, or the Capital mall -– these things are serious business and as Sam Johnson once said, the prospect of being hanged in the morning tends to focus the mind.
As I have been willing to accept that George W. Bush is no longer a hard-drinking frat boy but rather a sober and responsible adult, then so too am I willing to allow that John Kerry has matured since his secret meetings with enemy leaders during a time of war. I myself cast my first presidential vote for Walter Mondale. There is no decent excuse for any of these behaviors; and I only wish that my own lapses of judgment had been less embarrassing and more explainable… cannibalism, say, or something of that nature.
So I am willing to put the Moonbat and Wingnut nonsense aside for the moment, and grant that both men -– and their supporters -- have in mind the same objective when they talk about national security.
We both look at this:
And we both want to make sure that it -– or worse -– does not happen again.
We don’t want it to happen again.
We want to deter it from happening again.
And all of this rage and fury and spitting and tearing up of signs, all of these insults and spinmeisters and forgeries and all the rest, seem to come down to the fact that about half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean.
It’s really just that simple.
Now if sociology were a real science, we could set up experiments. We could, in fact, do what just about every one of us -– Liberal or Conservative -- has, in our heart of hearts, secretly wanted to do: send that 50% of idiots on the other side packing -– I mean, really packing, as in, out of the country, for good -- and let history show we were right after all.
We imagine an America made up exclusively of tough-minded Conservatives would be a far better, a safer and stronger place, than an America composed of nothing but compassion-filled Liberals.
They, of course, think precisely the opposite. And I have, over the past two years, determined that internet comment threads do not hold the answer to this predicament. Theirs, and ours, are usually just cheerleading sessions, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing but a soothing reduction in blood pressure brought about by the narcotic high of being agreed with.
We can’t, alas, deport all the left wingers and they cannot, damn it, silence all the right wingers. We are stuck with each other. Each sees the press as biased toward the other, and each gapes in awe and amazement that the other side could possibly feel the same way.
And although we cannot run an experiment to look into the alternate futures to glean the best result, to determine the relative benefits of being nice or being mean -– for those, ultimately, are the choices, believe it or not -– we can at least look back to see which seems to have produced the best results in the laboratory of history.
It all comes down to carrots (liberals) or sticks (conservatives). By the way: if you’re in a rush and need to run, here’s the spoiler: you can offer a carrot. Not everybody likes carrots. Some people may hate your carrot. Your carrot may offend people who worship the rutabaga. But no one likes being poked in the eye with a stick. That’s universal.
I’m a stick man. I wish it were different. But part of growing up -– in fact, the essential part of growing up -– is realizing that wishing does not make it so.
Folks, it’s time to reach down deep and get in touch with our inner adult.
I used to be a carrot man. Like most larval liberals, I grew up in a life that would be unrecognizable to all but the thinnest sliver of humans that have ever lived on this great rock in space -– that thin, thin sliver being everyone and everything you and I know and take for granted.
Reality -– meaning the wolves -– has never been so far from the door as it is today. So believing in the power of goodwill and friendship, of handshakes and agreement and compromise, of trusting to the good and noble in mankind was easy for me, for the consequences of being wrong in that belief cost me nothing at all. I’d never been robbed, raped, beaten or victimized in any way. That belief in goodwill, compromise, concession and trust grew as a result of being surrounded by decent people in a well-ordered, lawful society, with a long history of compromise and cooperation.
I can remember saying, in college, that if someone broke into my house and stole my television, well that was fundamentally just, because after all, I was white, male, educated and could make enough money to afford an endless line of televisions.
This view of the world was tempered somewhat, when, a few months later, I awoke to the sound of my window being opened and the sight of the upper torso of a man climbing in over the sill. By the way, it was only later that I realized that it wasn’t my TV he was there to steal. He was there to steal my dad’s TV -– he paid for it, not me. Once I had to go to work and earn money to pay for things, my mood changed somewhat. I put in forty hours of misery, boredom and early mornings for that TV, and some yayhoo just walks right in and takes it? Screw that! You want a TV? The McDonald’s on 13th and University is hiring.
Folks, some people who steal and rob are not fundamentally bad people. Some of them are desperate, some of them are stupid, and some of them are just plain lazy. Some of them, though, are psychopaths who’d kill you for a nickel and think nothing more about it -– they’d trade your life, and the life of your spouse and children, for two hours of getting high and it would not bother them in the least.
Nations are governed by people. People are noble and base, honest and corrupt, brutal and gentle and all the adjectives in between. Yes, even Americans! The success of democracy, it seems to me, is that there is always a counterweight to the most mendacious and the most harebrained of human activities. It’s harder to fool all the people all the time.
Dictatorships, on the other hand -– well, you’re down to the limits of one man’s sanity, ego, vanity and judgment. And when you consider the kind of person it takes to rule absolutely and totally the lives of millions of others -– many of them more intelligent, educated and capable -– then what you are left with is an enormous, destructive Iron Giant -– a state -– with a tiny, desperate, paranoid, perpetually fearful psychopath pulling the levers. Dictatorships put the power of millions, the muscle and capability of entire nations, behind the guy with the gun in that dark alley.
It is a prospect to make sane people shake with fear. Surely we can agree on this much. Surely we can agree, no matter our political persuasion, that there are mean, bad, violent people who care nothing about inflicting violence on the innocent in order to get what they want. And since those people exist, we should also be able to agree that such people can -– even in the heart of people as civilized as the Germans -– ride to power and employ that hatred and reckless disregard for human happiness multiplied by a hundred million.
That’s reality. It’s undeniable. I wish it were not true… but wishing does not make it so. Paging the Inner Adult… white courtesy telephone, please.
It would be nice to live in a world full of liberals. I say that as a staunch conservative. It would be nice to live in a world that behaved like a Hollywood party or a university campus, filled with kind, educated people with lots to lose, who cherish art and culture and are incapable of brutal, violent acts. If all the world were filled with decent, compassionate, rational people, life would be a bouquet.
But it’s not. There are bad people who do bad things, and there are bad countries run by bad people who do bad things, who eat the kind and gentle people for breakfast. There is no denying this. Therefore, liberals are insane. I speak from experience here.
It’s a damn shame, it really is.
Reasonable people can take the most cursory look into the world -– the Western world, anyway -- and see successes everywhere, but perfection nowhere to be found at any price.
Because I try to be a reasonable person, I don’t fault the government for not preventing 9/11 only because ultimately the government is made up of ordinary people, and ordinary people, like me, could not fully imagine or grasp what we were seeing that day even while we were seeing it.
I tuned in when the first tower had just gone down. The first images I saw that morning were of one tower and a cloud of smoke. Funny, I remember thinking, I thought there were two World Trade Center towers. I was sure I had remembered wrong. I didn’t see the first tower go down. Skyscrapers don’t just disappear.
When I saw the replay of the first plane hit, the first words I said that weren’t mumbled, awestruck and unpublishable were simply these:
There’s no way airline pilots did that. Those were not our pilots.
That was the only coherent thought I had for six hours.
We like to say that the world changed that day. What a ridiculous, self-centered thought. The world didn’t change. Our illusions about the world changed. The scales had (mostly) fallen from my eyes in the years leading up to that morning. My travels (and travails) through the Dark Realm called "Reality" had almost completed my conversion. But many, many conservatives were born precisely at 9:17 am EDT, when United 175 flew past the burning North Tower -– an accident? -– and exploded through the second, on the morning of September the 11th, 2001.
And everything we thought we knew about deterrence changed at 9:17 too –- although I am sorry to say it hasn’t fully sunk in on certain people.
Nineteen people -– some barely literate -- killed almost three thousand of the most highly skilled and productive citizens on the planet. I told my Dad that morning I just saw our Pearl Harbor. He immediately replied, “No you didn’t. After Pearl Harbor we knew who to attack.”
He was right. That’s the point of terrorism, of course. Deniability. 9/11 was an attack on the US by Islamicist fanatics, orchestrated by Egyptian strategists, staffed with Jihadists recruited from around the Arab world, and paid for largely by Saudi religious zealots. So why didn't they launch the attack with elements of the Egyptian and Saudi air forces? Because within six hours there would have been no more Egyptian and Saudi air forces, and within six weeks, no Egyptian and Saudi governments, either. Our deterrence against conventional attack, or even nuclear attack from a nation-state, is so credible and muscular that such a thing has become literally unthinkable.
But how do we deter people who want to die? How do we deter people who need only the skill and the means to push a button on a briefcase, or open a box cutter and be prepared to do bloody work with it? How do we deter the assassin lost in the crowd at the Superbowl? How do we deter enemies who are so dispersed, so ethereal and fragmentary, that hostile governments can arm and shelter them knowing full well that we will not retaliate with a nuclear attack against millions of genuine innocents in Cairo, or Tehran, or Riyadh?
If a suitcase nuke detonates in Times Square, or Long Beach harbor, or outside the Capitol building, what do we do? Nuke Mecca? Incinerate Damascus? Because -– so help me God, I tremble to say it -– that is exactly the response our enemies would hope for. They care not a whit about their own people because they have no allegiance to anyone but themselves and their vision of a vengeful and bloodthirsty Allah. A million, ten million innocents under American mushroom clouds are just that many more martyrs gone to paradise. It is they, not we, who dream of a clash of civilizations, with its promised sweeping away of the decadent and godless by the blood and faith of the Believer.
We might yet be able to stop this on the cheap. If we do not, I fear the day will come when 3000 civilians and 1000 American soldiers will look like a very, very small bill to pay.
What we learned on 9/11 is that there are people out there who are not deterrable. Given the chance -– given the weapons -– these people will strike without any regard to consequences. The ultimate horror of a world enveloped in nuclear fire is just peachy keen with them if it will bring about the New Caliphate. We love death the way you Americans love life, they say. They are not kidding. They are serious. You can pretend otherwise, but that will not make it change. There are people who are determined to kill us for who we are and what we believe. They can not be deterred.
But they can be defeated. And the people they depend on for survival can be deterred.
I initially had many doubts about George W. Bush. Actually, that’s not quite fair. The truth is, I despised the man. But then something happened.
I was walking across the studio lot to my car on the night of September 20th, 2001. I ignored the NOT A WALKWAY! signs in the grip and lighting department: cutting through the building saved me having to go around three giant sound stages to get to my car. Barricades had been put up on the back gate, and security guards were checking our trunks for explosives and running a mirror under every vehicle that drove onto the lot. And you couldn’t hear a jet fly over without wondering... what if? What now?
You may remember those days. I do.
It was getting dark as I walked down that narrow corridor, flanked by enormous movie lights and innumerable c-stands. And there, at the desk, was a group of six or seven grips watching a small color television in perfect silence: an ancient TV, the greens and oranges radioactive and bleeding -- the Acid Channel.
I watched George W. Bush give the best speech I have ever heard: better, by far, than FDR’s Pearl Harbor address. Better, even, than the tinny, lilting, lisping sound of Churchill’s immortal call to fight them on the beaches.
As I watched that speech unwind, I knew, instantly and unequivocally, that this President understood what we were up against, the moment he said:
We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.
Yes, precisely: not desperately aggrieved parties, not freedom fighters, not anything more than thugs and murderers who want to impose their way of life on the world. Fascists. Ruthless, fanatical bastards sworn to our destruction.
Then, three paragraphs later, this:
Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
This line, this doctrine -– either you’re with us or the terrorists -– has drawn nothing but scorn from the nuanced sophisticates from around the world. What they refuse to see is that in one brilliant stroke it cuts the camouflage away from terror, and in effect neutralizes the very lever that makes International Terror so effective a tool: deniability. More on this in a moment.
I sat amazed at the confidence and the vision President Bush outlined in that speech. I remember saying out loud, to no one in particular, “I was wrong about this man.” A few of the grips nodded in silence. None of us took our eyes off the TV screen.
It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.
And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end.
I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.
And there stood a man I had not seen before -– and sadly, have not seen often since -– holding the shield of a dead hero in his hand, promising not to tire, or falter, or fail, until this vague and mysterious war was won. And I swore to myself, right then and there, that I would support this President, come what may. And in the intervening years, as the criticisms and hysteria have risen in pitch to the point where only dogs can hear, I have stood by him and his policies, and I do so proudly, to this day.
But time and again I have wished and hoped to hear that music again, that calm, unruffled, determined voice. By now so many small people have carried so many lies so far –-BushHitler! Halliburton! Yellowcake! No Blood for Oil! AWOL! -- that we awake as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to find that the broom shards have filled the cellars with an ocean of poison to debunk and to drain.
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.
And then I had a bit of a revelation. Like Col. Kurtz, I felt I had been shot through the forehead with a diamond bullet. This happened last night.
I tried to enlist on September 12th, 2001. I knew a little about airplanes; maybe the Air Force would trust me to wash them or something so as to free up useful people. They asked how old I was, thanked me, and told me they’d give me a call if they needed me.
So here I am: feeling useless. But President Bush warned that this was going to be a different war -– something unlike anything we had ever seen. The front line now, at this critical time, is in the hearts and minds of our own people. That’s where the real battle is now. That is our weakest point, our breach, our point of failure. We have not made the case to enough people and time is running out.
So maybe now, at this absurd point in this new kind of war, we’re the crack troops, we old and useless pajama patriots reduced to printing up pamphlets to sell war bonds to the weary, to make the case for holding on to an unglamorous, uninspiring, relentless grind because that -– not Normandy and Midway -– is the face of war in this gilded age of luxury and safety and plenty.
Maybe that’s our job. Maybe we can help cover some small gap in the lines.
We’ll see. But for now, I will take up the sword of the pajamahadeen, and rise up: just another citizen-wordsmith, trying to put words and ideas where they are needed: into the stumbling gaps, exasperated expressions and defensiveness of a brave and exhausted man under a lot of pressure.
John Kerry has spoken now in front of the nation. We have, at last, a position that can be analyzed. I could use exerpts from their first debate to show that he is better spoken, or nicer, or taller than President Bush. I care about none of that. I am interested in one thing only from these two men: who will best deter the enemy? Who will best be able to stop a thousand 9/11’s in a millisecond of religious ecstasy? That’s all I care about.
We’ll review the debate in the order in which it occurred.
[Part 2 continues below]
SENATOR KERRY: I can make America safer than President Bush has made us.
And I believe President Bush and I both love our country equally. But we just have a different set of convictions about how you make America safe. I believe America is safest and strongest when we are leading the world and we are leading strong alliances.
I'll never give a veto to any country over our security. But I also know how to lead those alliances.
This president has left them in shatters across the globe, and we're now 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq and 90 percent of the costs.
I think that's wrong, and I think we can do better.
Four years ago, I would have voted for this policy in a heartbeat. This is what I mean by not stupid in a dumb way. But it is stupid in an ignorant way.
It’s stupid because it is a precise example of how to fight the last war. We are in a World War right now. It is being fought all across the globe and the consequences of winning or losing this war will effect every person on the planet. It is World War IV. If you can’t see that then you are either not paying attention, or are mollified by our spectacular successes over the past three years.
I credit John Kerry with the genuine desire to protect this nation, because the alternative to believing that is the back alley short-cut to insanity. He has, in mind, precisely the correct formula used to protect the ideals of Liberal Democracy and ensure its victory in WWI, WWII and the long, twilight, Cold War fight of WWIII.
Allies and alliances defined the First War. After four years of mind-shattering horror, the European powers had fought themselves to utter stalemate – and those trenches might yet today mark the borders between Germany, Belgium and France were it not for the arrivals of the American allies. Don’t misunderstand me – we did not win that war on the battlefield. That credit goes to the British and the French. But the endless supply of American troops disembarking, full of confidence and optimism and raw heroism, convinced Hindenberg and Ludendorf to desperately roll the dice on the spring 1918 offensives before they faced a million fresh American troops, full of fight. But defense was king in that war, and the Ludendorf Offensives failed. The counterattacks succeeded. The alliance won that war.
The alliance won World War II – that is beyond dispute. Without Britain hanging on during the lonely and dark opening years, where would the Western invasion have come from? Soviet Russia defeated almost 70% of the strength of Nazi Germany, and the United States defeated Japan single-handedly at sea, and with a great deal of help from the British and Australians and New Zealanders in brutal island jungles. An Alliance won that war – not us. Not us alone.
For almost fifty years, the most successful alliance in history had the guts and the commitment to put American cities on the line in order to prevent Soviet tanks from crashing through the Fulda gap. American, and to a deteriorating degree, European taxpayers built and maintained the armed forces needed to keep half of Europe free while the other half slowly rotted under the weight of an ideology so corrupt that it can now only thrive in the hothouse environment of the western coffee shop or faculty lounge. That, too, was an alliance victory.
If John Kerry were running for president in 1916, or 1940, or even 1976, he would have my enthusiastic vote, for the alliance of the US and the European powers is what saved Europe and the world not once, or twice, but three times in a single lifespan. One might expect some gratitude and respect for this, but as I say, the scales fell from my eyes some time ago.
But this is not 1916, or 1940, or 1976. Europe, ruler of the world in the first war, had become a military freeloader by the end of the third. Europe was not able to muster the military muscle or political will to extinguish a genocide within Europe – and things have gotten worse since then. The French nuclear carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, returned from her sea trials with a reactor room flooded with five times the allowable level of radiation and with one of her propellers at the bottom of the Atlantic. She borrowed a screw from her predecessor, the Foch – which was faster – and now sits in port making impressive appearances during national holidays and furthermore showing that if God exists he has both a sense of justice and a sense of humor.
The Germans cannot deploy an effective force beyond her own borders. The Russians – the mighty Russians -- could not call up so much as one decent ten-man special ops squad when she and her children needed them the most. Japan has constitutional restraints – drafted in American English – preventing her from deploying her defense forces overseas: a fact that has given me many nights peaceful sleep. And as for China… even if she decided, out of the kindness of her heart, to commit her forces to help her arch-rival…who do you think, Senator, would benefit the most from us sharing our weapons, tactics, logistics and intelligence with China?
An alliance would be nice – if the allies could shoulder some of the burden. But the sad, inconvenient, disappointing fact is that there is only one army on the face of the earth that can fight on the same battlefield with the United States; whose forces, technology and training rival ours in quality if not in scale, and whose trust has been forged by three world wars when we have stood alone, together. That country is Great Britain, one of the members of what Senator Kerry called the “trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted.”
The sad fact, the unpleasant reality of 2004 is that there is only one nation in the world that is of any strategic value on the battlefield, and that ally is with us as she has always been, a staunch friend through many dark nights who deserves something better, I perceive, than slander from a man proclaiming himself the greatest diplomat since.. well, since himself. I will say this for John Kerry: he is a man unrivaled in his own esteem.
An alliance of European powers is a chimera that no longer holds any significant value. That is a critical point. It is an essential point of delusion embedded in Senator Kerry’s world view. He waits for rescue from a knight long dead and moldering, sitting beneath a withered oak tree in rusted armor.
That’s point one.
Second, you cannot even throw the cloak of wishful thinking over Senator Kerry’s strategic nakedness, because as those of us in pajamas are well aware, the governments of the Grand Rescue Alliance – that is, Germany and France – have both announced publicly and in the most clear language available that regardless of who wins the election in November, they are not coming to Iraq.
That is not my opinion, that is not a product of the Republican Smear Machine…that is an official statement from the governments of the nations in question, stating unequivocally that they are not going to be a part of a coalition that is against their interests even if it is lead by an American who went to Swiss schools and speaks fluent French.
Is it possible to put this any more plainly? They do not have any meaningful capability, and they are publicly pledging that their lack of meaningful capability is…not…coming.
As a final thought on this essential issue, consider this, from your own personal experience: I have found that the only thing worse than doing a hard, dirty, thankless job by yourself is depending on help from someone who will not be there when you need them. We have a few good friends in this fight: Britain -- the Aussies, God bless them -- the Poles and the Italians and a few others: 4am friends who will drive 300 miles in a snowstorm to help us when we are broken down on the side of the road. Those are friends. Those are the people we need in a tough and dirty fight. Those people deserve gratitude and honor, not scorn and mockery.
Senator Kerry, your powerful allies don’t exist, and even if they did, they have plainly told you they are not coming. Welcome to 2004, John. It sucks, I know. That’s just what we’re dealt.
SENATOR KERRY: I have a better plan for homeland security. I have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror by strengthening our military, strengthening our intelligence, by going after the financing more authoritatively, by doing what we need to do to rebuild the alliances, by reaching out to the Muslim world, which the president has almost not done, and beginning to isolate the radical Islamic Muslims, not have them isolate the United States of America.
I’d consider voting for this policy. But John Kerry has a 20 year record of having voted against every significant weapons system the US has deployed during his term in office. This is an assertion on the Senator’s part; words from a man who has been steadfast, constant and consistent in his ability to say what he thinks his audience wants to hear. His voting record – the put your money where your mouth is record -- is the polar opposite of this assertion. I’m taking the walk over the talk on this one.
Now, assume for a moment, that you are one of the Islamicist enemies of this nation. President Kerry has outlined a plan to reach out to the Muslim world and isolate you. President Bush, on the other hand, predicates his reelection on the premise that he will
…pursue(d) al Qaeda wherever al Qaeda tries to hide. Seventy-five percent of known al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice. The rest of them know we're after them.
By the way, for about seventy of that seventy-five percent, you can go ahead and substitute the word “killed” in place of the more delicate “brought to justice.”
As a deterrent, I honestly and regretfully don’t think our terrorist enemies are much deterred by the thought of dying. I think they are fully ready to die. People who are fully ready to die in order to kill you and your family, who are undeterred by death, are likely not to be terribly concerned by the thought of being isolated by the more sensitive approach of John Kerry’s sworn mission to hunt down, and isolate, chastise and severely reprimand terrorists.
Terrorists don’t seem to be too afraid of stern language. But I do notice, that while the fear of death does not seem to deter these people, the fact of being dead does significantly decrease their operational effectiveness. That’s a casual observation on my part – no real Harvard study to back it up. More of a hunch, really.
75% of known pre-9/11 al Qaeda killed in three years. Where’s my calculator…? 75% divided by three equals uh…25% a year. Well I’ll be a blue-blooded socialite! Why, at the rate of 25% a year, I calculate that ol’ Dubya will have bagged the whole lot of em in …one more year!
I say let’s give him the chance.
No, not this season’s fashionable entry: I was referring to last seasons’ quagmire, Afghanistan.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Ten million [Afghani] citizens have registered to vote. It's a phenomenal statistic. They're given a chance to be free, and they will show up at the polls. Forty-one percent of those 10 million are women.
The fact is that liberal feminists, when all is said and done, would rather have a man who can turn a witty phrase over a nice Cabernet Sauvignon than one who liberates a nation of women, and gives them the vote, to boot. What refined morality they possess.
You know what our enemies really fear? Women. Women scare the hell out of them.
Hey, there’s no shame in that: women scare the hell out of me, too, only I don’t shoot them in the head in their burkas in front of a cheering crowd in a soccer stadium. And in that regard, I find I am exactly like the Taliban…because they're not doing it either. They are dead or in caves. Has this president deterred atrocities coming our way from Afghanistan, home of the International Jihad 2001 Road Tour? You’re damn right he has. I have a word for how that makes me feel. It’s an archaic, old English word, no longer in common usage. It’s pronounced, “GRAT-eh-tood”
You liberate the women of the world and Islamic Terror evaporates. They fear this the way we fear interruption of our Cable TV service. It is the death knell for their tradition of dominance and brutality, and it is not just the sight, but the very idea, of liberated, independent and unafraid women that causes them such hatred and revulsion when they look to the West.
Ladies, President Bush has freed the women of Afghanistan, and shut down the state-run rape and torture of women in Iraq. And for every one of those women who was raped and tortured to death, remember that half the entire country lived in daily fear of being spotted by some Ba’athist pig with too much time on his hands as he hid behind the tinted windows of his limousine, cruising the streets of Baghdad or Mosul or Basrah looking for a little fun.
Senator Kerry, on the other hand, has not only said, he has promised that he will do no such thing.
SENATOR KERRY: But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking it off to Iraq where the 9/11 Commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein.
Somewhere, in an infinity of alternate universes, there must be a place where at this very moment, Ben Stein is wandering the wasteland of Tora Bora with clipboard in hand, stumbling over the rocks, never looking up, and saying, “Osama..? Osama..? Osama..?”
God, the restraint that the President must have when that murdering bastard’s name is mentioned in derision as a sign of Bush’s incompetence. It’s practically superhuman.
First of all, you may recall that three years ago, the President -- correctly, in my estimation -- pointed out that this was not a criminal manhunt for Public Enemy Number One, but rather,
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.
“Secret even in success…” An interesting phrase, that. What does that mean?
Osama bin Laden has not been seen since the battle of Tora Bora in December of 2001. Remember now, this is not someone like Abu Nidal, a genuine terror mastermind described by the US State Department as having carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries. Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul and the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in July 1988
Abu Nidal was rightfully phobic about being photographed. Anonymity was camouflage to him: incredibly tight operational security, even plastic surgery. The man wanted to remain unseen. In fact he did remain unseen, retiring in his golden years to a nice apartment in Baghdad until he was assassinated by Saddam just before the war to maintain the well-established fact that Saddam had no ties to terrorism. No living ties to terrorism. Well, to that terrorist. It’s all very nuanced and sophisticated.
Contrast this behavior to that of Osama bin Laden, who did not operationally plan the 9/11 attacks (see dead underlings, above) but was rather the figurehead for an international organization of many thousands of fanatics, their numbers much thinned now.
Osama made endless videotapes. Lecturing, preaching, instructing, firing an AK-47: all the things that make young jihadis feel funny in the pants. After 9/11, he wowed ‘em in several tapes gloating and laughing over the attack and its aftermath. He was reliably heard on the radio during the final phase of Tora Bora, then…nothing.
Maybe he escaped. It’s possible.
Then came the videotape condemning the Israeli incursion into Ramallah and Jenin…only it didn’t. The US corporate scandals? Silence. Anniversary of Holy Tuesday? Cue the tumbleweeds.
The freaking invasion of a Muslim country by the Great Satan, and this new Caliph, the Leader of the Oppressed, cannot bring himself to shoot a crummy VHS in front of a white wall condemning this outrage? This glory-seeking egomaniac, the New Saladin riding the White Horse across the desert, who practically put out a 10 DVD commemorative set every time the US so much as hiccupped, is now suddenly silent, and has been for three years?
You may call that a Terror Mastermind. I call it a greasy wet spot on the wall of a cave in Afghanistan.
The man is dead. Dead, or just possibly captured. The likelihood of him having been killed at Tora Bora by US “outsourcing” was rising with his deafening silence concerning each American counterstroke and became 100% when nothing was heard from the late Osama after the US invasion of Iraq.
Does President Bush know what became of him? I would say, very likely. We know what did not become of him: he didn’t become a Martyr. He did not become the symbol of Glorious Death resisting the Great Satan. He did not become a Symbol or a Cause or an Example to Them All.
He became, if you will pardon the expression, AWOL. Bugged out. Handed in his walking papers. Fizzle…poof. Gone.
Unfortunately, I do not have fake (but accurate!) documents to back this claim up. I just have common sense, a psychological history, and the ability to see Naked Emperors. The man is dead – just possibly captured; he has been for years.
Now, do I fault President Bush for not announcing this? I do not. For the President to not disclose something so beneficial to himself, politically, must mean that there is a reason of great magnitude behind the official silence. Are we, the American People, entitled to know what this secret is?
We are not.
We are not, for the same reason we were not entitled to know that allied cryptographers won WWII by breaking the Japanese and German codes and having the good sense to shut up about it. But don’t dare breathe such sentiments to the current editors of The New York Times. Had those people been running the paper in 1943, tomorrow's headline would have read:
AMERICAN AND BRITISH CRYPTOGRAPHERS BREAK JAP AND NAZI WAR CODES – ALL FUTURE ENEMY MOVEMENTS NOW KNOWN WITH CERTAINTY BY ALLIED HIGH COMMAND.
I suspect that if I live another ten years, I’ll be sitting watching the History Channel some night in my pajamas and all will be revealed to me. Until then, I’m happy not to know. I know some people have a hard time with that. Go to hell. This is serious business. Not everything is about you.
Has President Bush deterred bin Laden from repeating his attack on the US? I don’t honestly see what Osama can do these days, what with him being in several thousand crispy pieces and all.
One nice thing about those hyperbaric bombs, developed by that Vietnamese immigrant who fled to the US after certain people’s ideological heroes overran her country and likely killed most of her extended family: they make a small boom, release some nastiness, and then make a much louder boom.
I hope that son of a bitch knew what the sound of that first little boom meant.
And now, finally, the piece de resistance, the Main Event.
SENATOR KERRY: Well, where do you want me to begin?
First of all, he made the misjudgment of saying to America that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through the inspections…
…And we pushed our allies aside.
Yes, after only thirteen brief years of Iraq’s causus belli of repeatedly and energetically violating every clause of the cease-fire agreement that stayed the US hand in 1991 when he was down, out and routed, and after only fourteen barely-have-time-to-pee months of non-stop, back-to-back UN sessions, resolutions, meetings, condemnations, threats, blocked inspections, harsh language, sanctions, embargoes and Saddam’s willful disregard of international protest, the Smirking Chimp ordered the raring-to-go German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Belgian armored divisions out of theater so that he could have his unilateral war.
Thanks for clarifying that opaque moment in history, Senator.
And so, today, we are 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost: $200 billion -- $200 billion that could have been used for health care, for schools, for construction, for prescription drugs for seniors, and it's in Iraq.
The inference being, I suppose, that a more sophisticated foreign policy and lack of Texas accent could have persuaded France, Germany, Russia, indeed, the entire UN – all with their hands deep in the oily pockets of Saddam – to put their billions back on the table and step up like good fellows to trade their cash for some decent-sized share of the casualties…three or four hundred killed, perhaps, something in that ballpark. Yes, exactly: the Kerry team, using the same impeccable diplomatic finesse they displayed in calling the desperately courageous leader of Iraq a “puppet” and our true, abiding friends a rabble of bribed, coerced, bought and extorted lapdogs, will convince the most selfish, perfidious and unreliable “ally” in human history to step up and do the right thing because he is asking them?
And Bush is arrogant?
But wait! There’s more!
John Kerry, in his bones, cannot envision winning a tough fight. He supported the effort in Iraq when we had a three-week victory, just as the anti-war activist and enemy collaborator has now fashioned himself as Rambo gunning down commies in a hail of bullets. But now that things are just a dirty, nasty, slugfest – a war that is nothing more or less, in fact, than French premier Clemenceau’s description of a series of catastrophes that results in victory, this defeatist says he alone can save us from the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place?
US marines are killing Ba’athist remnants and Syrian and Iranian mercenaries at a ratio of something like 600 to one, which, I might point out, is a damn sight better than the 150 to one against us that those 19 hijackers pulled off on 9/11. The insurgency in Iraq is burning casualties at an absolutely insane and unsustainable – indeed, ruinous pace. Why? Well, they have been paying close attention to Senator Kerry and his history, and saw how unsustainable, devastating, insurmountable NVA and VC losses during the Tet offensive bought victory because we decided we had had enough. Because we were told we were nothing more than a modern day horde of Ghengis Khan and the people whose freedom we were fighting for did not have the guts or the spine to stand up for their own defense. Today, that nation – Vietnam -- remains a basket case while the rest of Asia rocketed out of the stone age.
That is the model Senator Kerry has for Iraq. I’m not claiming he’s malicious. Not at all. I genuinely don’t think he gives much thought to Iraqis or Vietnamese at all.
I do know what he does give a lot of thought to, and that is the melodious sound of the phrase, President Kerry.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. What message does that send our troops? What message does that send to our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis?
Yes, almost got it, Mr. President. But what the hell does this policy say to our enemies? Does this deter attacks on our troops? Or does it say, in the clearest and most unmistakable terms, that as long as you blow up our men and women, President Kerry will begin plans to pull them out as soon as the hand comes down on Inauguration Day?
Does it not ultimately say that this “mistake” was another War Crime? That it was an unjustified and unwarranted attack on an innocent and harmless nation? Does this not make any future preemptive action on the part of President Kerry for all intents and purposes impossible to achieve? Does this “Global Test” nonsense mean every single nation in the world must approve of our pre-emptive actions, including the one we mean to invade to defend our people? No? How many then? 90% of the globe must agree? Fifty percent? France? Who?
But of course, there’s a four point plan at www.JohnKerry.com that will “change the dynamic on the ground.” Yes, this plan on a website will stop Improvised Explosive Devices from detonating. This plan will bring the sworn enemies of this nation into a series of binding arbitrations that will convince them this is all one jolly misunderstanding. This plan – unlike any military plan in human history – will survive contact with the enemy, and his intentions, his will and his capabilities will melt away like the morning dew because Senator John Kerry has a four-point plan at www.JohnKerry.com.
Finally, and most tellingly, Senator Kerry says that Iraq is “a long, long way from the fight on terror.”
Senator, you might choose to read some history: it might broaden your perspective. The last time this country was attacked, it was by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, whose capitol city was Tokyo.
The first land battle the US Army fought after Pearl Harbor was at Kasserine Pass. Kasserine Pass, Senator, is in Tunisia. Tunisia is in Africa. Africa is a long, long way from Japan.
Tunisia did not attack the United States, Senator Kerry. Tunisia, in fact, was a far, far more innocent battlefield than Iraq, which had spent the preceding decade, and then some, committing overt acts of war against British and American aircraft flying missions to enforce UN mandates.
US troops fought in Tunisia – and they fought badly; infinitely worse than they do in Iraq – because people of vision and courage and great intelligence perceived that this was the first, best front against an enemy that straddled the entire globe. We did not begin our war by launching an armada of landing craft filled with Marines on a suicide mission from Midway to Tokyo. We did not send fleets of transports to get shot down over Berlin carrying fifty divisions of paratroopers.
We attacked in Tunisia because it was the soft underbelly of a powerful enemy. There is a word for this type of action, Senator Kerry, and that word is “foothold.” It is a place where the enemy is weak. It is a place we can capture, fortify, defend and launch further attacks from. As Tunisia, so Africa. As Africa, so Italy. As Italy, so Germany.
We were not attacked by the natives of the Marianas, or the Solomans, or the Marshall islands, and yet these innocent people died along with our troops. It was part of a strategy for victory, Senator. I know you understand the term ‘strategy.’ It’s the other term that seems to me to stick in your craw as I examine your entire career.
Here’s something you might want to read up on aboard the campaign jet: bright people have done studies on what the operational limits of a terror cell are. It’s actually kind of… biological. See, as a terror cell grows in members, it gains not only mutually-reinforcing enthusiasm, but capability. However, the bigger the cell, the less secure it becomes.
Zarqawi’s cells having been fighting us from the day Saddam’s statue fell. So I ask you, Senator: if there were no terrorists in Iraq, where did these organized units come from? Did they parachute in? Saddam’s Fedayeen are not and did not behave as a defeated military unit, but as an organized, cell-based structure. Where did they come from? And poor, unlamented Abu Nidal? And how many others?
When operating outside of rogue nations, law-enforcement pressure limits the cell to about 80 members, and the operational center is much smaller. Any larger and the cell fragments into smaller, more secure, but less capable splinter cells.
However, when protected by a nation-state, such as Syria or Iran – Iraq and Afghanistan having been wiped off the blackboard in this regard in a puff of chalk dust, and Libya having suddenly found religion – there is effectively no limit to how large and capable a terror organization can become, since there are no law-enforcement pressures limiting its growth.
Putting a democracy – even a very bad democracy – in the heart of the Middle East is a dagger at our enemy’s heart. It is as if Canada were overrun by the Taliban: inconceivable, unnaccaptable and intolerable. It draws all the enemy’s resources. It provides a fatal example that people of Arab lands can live in freedom, and eventually, prosperity. A free Iraq is a fatal, deadly poison to the Ideology of Death that threatens this nation and the world.
The essence of deterrence, Senator, is to cause uncertainty in the mind of your opponent. The missile defense system, which you oppose, does precisely this. It doesn’t matter if it has a 3 out of 5 success rate. Fifty such anti-missile installations enormously, in fact fatally complicates an enemy’s ability to plan a first strike or, far more likely, to issue nuclear blackmail.
You have made it clear that you would cancel the bunker-busting bombs that cause uncertainty – deterrence, Senator – in the minds of unstable lunatics like Kim Jung Il and the Iranian Thugocracy.
They do not have to guess what you will do, Senator: you have already given that away, in the same way you gave away the atrocity fictions the Vietnamese Communists were torturing your “Band of Brothers” to obtain, without success.
President Bush believes that a free and democratic state provides a shockingly clear example that there is another way for Arab peoples to live. He believes, as I do, that all people want to live free and determine the course of their own lives. You claim that this is a mistake. You seem to be determined to fulfill that prophesy.
You lack the vision, Senator, to see this as a many-front war. You lack the insight to see how the sight of Saddam crawling from a hole inspired an identical self-possessed lunatic to give up Libya's nuclear weapons program. Iraq deterred Libya, you eternal defeatist. And all of the rest of the former free-range dictators now hang on the results of this election to see whether they will get a man who has capitulation in his very marrow, or one who has weathered unbelievable pressure, slurs and insults, and very likely thrown away his second term, to face reality and do something. Something unpopular. Something that he knew would make his poll numbers go down.
I know. I know, John. Inconceivable.
Senator Kerry, I do not desire to be President of the United States. I will settle for being the head coach of the Florida Gators. I have a four-point plan on how to win against the Tennessee Volunteers. My plan is foolproof, and it will change the dynamic on the field. I place little weight on the fact that the game I have in mind was played several weeks ago: that is why my four-point plan is so perfect! I have analyzed all of the Florida errors, and they will not be repeated when I replay that game in my head.
And I might add I have won every Monday morning game I have ever quarterbacked.
Vote for me.
My friends, if any of you think this may in any way convince people unsure of what to think about this critical election, for God's sake print out as many NON-COMMERCIAL (Short form: that means, no charge) copies as you can and drop them out of airplanes if you are able. This election is entirely too close.
[UPDATE: THE BELOW MENTIONED INCOHERENT RANT HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO AN ESSAY. WILL NEED ANOTHER 48 HOURS. SEND COKES AND POTATO CHIPS]
Until then, I can not urge you strongly enough to get out your bandwidth and take a look at this.
Folks, I have been pursuing the same mangy, beat-up, tired old rabbit down the same worn-out, muddy, collapsing hole for nearly three months now. If I were any smarter I would have figured out long ago that this TRIBES idea was NOT working and that I should MOVE ON.
But no. And rather than just write what was on my mind, I decided I'd keep hacking and bashing at this idea until I got it working, and then I'd get back to this empty page.
Well, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 27,692 times, shame on me.
I'll be back within 48 hours with some helpful debating advice. I will write some essays that don't require intravenous morphine to extract. And I will publish this book -' one way or another.
Until then -' and I mean, during the next few hours -' I need a favor from the Illuminati. Does anyone know how to upgrade Movable Type? The comment spam reminds me of the time I left some shoes out in my Florida Apartment after a walk through the boggy Everglades. Two days later there was green mold over every surface in the place. Spammers should be tortured, disemboweled, quartered and buried in quicklime, and their heads put on pikes outside of Best Buy and CompUSA as a warning to those thinking about taking up the hobby.
e-Brother Matt has some excellent suggestions I am trying to put into effect. I understand the new MT has some safeguards against this disease. Poor GHS is losing his mind and his fingertips, deleting 700+ spam hits per day.
Anyway, back in a few with some words on the 'debate.' They will not be kind words.