Saturday, March 01, 2003  

Condolences, Not In Our Name-style:

We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage — even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen.

I don't mean to question their patriotism and humanity, okay maybe I do, but why is it that these leftist groups have such a hard time mourning September 11 (and only September 11)? Their all-inclusive grieving is as inappropriate (and damning) as telling the bereaved at a funeral, "While of course I mourn your grandma's murder, I think it's no more tragic than many other people who've died in the last 30 years. Actually, it's pretty comparable to the accidental deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire of a war fought to end communist expansionism, the same civilians whose surviving relatives clung to boats in order to flee the same oppressor being fought by the United States."

I don't think that Not In Our Name feels particularly sorry for the victims of September 11; in fact, I think they feel inconvenienced by them because they don't fit the "American oppressor" narrative. Rather, the best they can do is squeeze them into their world-view by implying that some people (Iraqis, Panamanians, and Vietnamese) are direct victims of U.S. warmongering, while others, like those who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, are indirect victims of U.S. policy because, obviously, that explains "why such a thing could happen."


posted by Geraldine | 11:10 AM

Every time I think I couldn't hate Ted Rall more...

If Ted Rall's mission in life is to bring me within moments of punching out my computer screen on a daily basis, I must say he has been a complete success.

His latest piece of tripe, entitled "The Case for the French," is so filled with ludicrous statements that I would pass out from exhaustion before I finished refuting all of them. Therefore, here are a few choice excerpts:

To be sure, France owed America a nice thank-you card for D-Day. But we owe them a more. Without France, the United States wouldn't even exist--it would still be a British colony.

"Dear Americans, thank you for sacrificing thousands upon thousands of your best and brightest to bring our gutless 'nation' out from under the thumb of one of the most brutal regimes known to history. We hope you enjoyed the gift basket. We now consider any debt to you paid in full. Love, the French." And we do definitely owe them more because no country ever gained independence from Britain without the help of the French. I mean, except for Canada, Australia, India...

The Bush Doctrine advocates invading weak states, imposing "regime change" and building an American empire composed of colonies whose dark-skinned races can be exploited for cheap labor.

It's hard to even respond to this because it doesn't seem to have any basis in fact, as I have never heard anyone in the Administration advocate any of this. If we were just going to invade weak states, why aren't our tanks rolling across the bridge into Toronto right now? Any state is 'weak' compared with the military and economic might of the U.S., so necessarily anyone we go to war with will be weaker than us. Doesn't mean that sometimes we shouldn't go to war anyway. Last time I checked, there was no rule that war had to be fair.

And what problem could Rall have with 'changing' a regime responsible for the murder of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people? I suspect his main problem is that he hates W. more than he cares about the thousands of Muslims that Saddam has slaughtered.

And as for our 'empire building' scheme, while I can't predict the future, such a plan has no historical precedent in America. We militarily occupied but no longer control Kuwait. That also goes for a dozen or so other countries including Panama, Grenada, South Korea, the Phillipines, Cuba, Germany, Italy, and Japan. In fact, with the exception of Hawaii (which was just too good to give up), I cannot think of a single nation that the U.S. has occupied by force that we still have control over. And even if I've missed a few, they are certainly the exceptions, not the rule. Point being, I don't see Bush deviating from this precedent. And just because we set up a government that doesn't want to destroy us, does not mean that we've set up a colony.

French-bashing is a nasty symptom of an underlying American predilection for anti-intellectualism: a society whose most popular TV show features smoky chatter between poets and novelists naturally threatens the land of football and Pabst.

Of everything, this maybe got to me the most, because it features the "I'm a liberal so I'm smart; you're not so you're stupid" argument so highly favored in the halls of most of our academic institutions. I think this argument came about because in general, conservatives are more likely to see things in black and white terms, while liberals are more likely to analyze every facet of every situation to death. This over-analysis, to some people, means intelligence. But this war is one situation where over-analysis can lead you to your doom, because here are the facts: They will kill us unless we kill them first. Because this equation is so simple, it doesn't take a Ph.D. to figure out what needs to be done. This isn't anti-intellectualism, it's just going straight to the solution of a problem. This is not only efficient, it is essential because waiting and wondering what the answer might be gives the bad guys the time they need to mass against us. Anyway, we've already spent time thinking about this problem and doing nothing - it was called the '90s.

And on a more important note, only a dirty hippie like Rall would badmouth Pabst. Us real Americans can have our Pabst, while Rall and all his unAmerican intellectual cohorts can have all the French wine they can stomach.

posted by Josh | 11:09 AM

A little (or a lot) off topic, but...

It never ceases to amaze me how adept those on the left are at finding a victim. From a CNN story about kidney transplants for cats:

The rise of kidney transplants for pets has caused uproar among animal welfare groups who fear the lives of stray [animals] will be sacrificed to keep much-loved pets alive.

"We would certainly never accept that an "under-class" of unwanted and stray animals should be considered as a bank of potential sources of organs for transplantation," the Blue Cross welfare group said in a statement.

An 'under-class' of animals? What? They're animals; they are the underclass. I guess liberals weren't satisfied with just dividing humans into as many opposing groups as possible. Now they've decided that house cats are oppressing their homeless brethren.

posted by Josh | 9:34 AM

Hollywood Inches Toward the Right, Now Only 99.99% are Anti-War

Finally, a voice loud enough to drown out Barbara Steisand. Actor and ex-Senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson has recorded a pro-war (or maybe just pro-Bush) commercial as a response to actor Martin Sheen's pro-Saddam commercial.

The difference between these two actors is this: while Sheen pretends to take responsibility and act like an adult on TV, Thompson has chosen to be responsible and act like an adult in real life.

Update 3/02: If you haven't seen them on TV, the commercials can be found at Citizens United.

posted by Josh | 8:36 AM

Friday, February 28, 2003  

Life Parodies the Onion: Russell Simmons' Def Saddamite Jam

Russell Simmons, Lou Reed and David Byrne were among the artists on hand in New York yesterday to announce the formation of Musicians United to Win Without War, an industry-wide peace alliance. Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Roseanne Cash and Tweet are among the other members of the group, which will use its public platform to support weapons inspections, as opposed to invasion and occupation, as a means to resolve the conflict with Iraq.

The more I read things like this, the more satisfaction I take in downloading music for free.

posted by Geraldine | 10:02 PM

A new feature at WMI: Taking Candy From Babies, Fisking America's College Newspapers

Today's TCFB

A Berkeley senior sets forth her priorities: bash Israel first, go to class second.

Unfortunately, she thinks everyone else should be inconvenienced and cheated out of their tuition too:

There must come a time when it is justified to cause a slight inconvenience to non-participants in a demonstration in order to call attention to issues of greater importance.
This issue includes the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the state of Israel, ongoing in it's brutality since 1967; the continued dispossession of Palestinians from their land; the imprisonment of activists for political reasons;

When I think of activists, I think of a guy with a nail bomb strapped to his abdomen blowing himself up in a bus station. I'll be goddamned if I continue supporting a country that tries to suppress these grassroots politicians!!!

the targetted assassinations of Palestinians;

Yep, nothing says "brutal" like killing terrorists.

torture in Israeli prisons;

Again, nothing's worse than getting terrorists to tell you about their future plans for murder and mayhem, nothing!!!

the use of collective punishment against Palestinians by the Israeli government; the extensive use of checkpoints in the occupied territories that makes movement extremeley difficult and often impossible;

Oh no, not CHECKPOINTS!!! I know I'd blow myself up in a shopping mall if I had to go through a couple checkpoints.

the implementation of curfews in Palestinian areas such as Nablus which effectively imprisons a whole population;

My parents gave me a curfew, I wanted to kill them too. Then I turned 17.

indiscriminate murder by gunpoint of Palestinians by the Israeli army resulting in the deaths of many children;

well at least they don't discriminate when they "murder by gunpoint." When they "murder by knifepoint," however, they're very selective, hence the much lower number of Palestinian children killed in IDF knifings.

the refusal to allow Palestinian refugess to return home;

You mean they won't let them return to Kuwait, the country that kicked them out back in '91? That's ridiculous! We should divest from Israel until they allow the Palestinians exiled from Kuwait to return home!

the use of poisonous gas against civilians;

Ummm, that would be Saddam Hussein -- he's a charming Arab fella, bushy mustache, fatigues, the whole bit.

the complete impoverishment of Palestinians;

Well, they seem to be able to afford bombs and guns. Maybe they could pawn a few of those. And Forbes says Yassir Arafat's worth 300 million, maybe he could spread some of his dough around.

and a system of laws within Israeli that discriminates against it's population.

I don't see anyone forcing them to stay "within Israeli"

Particularly considering the fact that our fees and our taxes, as students at UC Berkeley and people living within the borders of the United States, directly fund Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians, it sometimes takes civil disobedience to make people take notice of what is going on around them and in their name.

Wow, when I was in college, my student fees went to pay for idiotic college newspaper writers and race-based mutual admiration societies. At least the student fees at Berkeley go to pay for cool things like Apache helicopters.

The burden non-participants had to pay in not being able to get to class for merely one day is small when you consider the issue at hand and our complicity in it.

Look, I enjoy skipping class as much as the next guy, but that's my choice. If a bunch of idiots forced me to miss class, then I'd be pissed off. Call me inconsistent, but I believe in a student's right to choose.

We must choose what we think is more important: causing the disruption of classes for a few hours, for one day, in one semester, or calling attention to human rights atrocities funded by our government and by our university. Unfortunately, the Daily Cal has taken the former stance.

Considering the fact that you've just called attention to "atrocities" -- in your charming, semi-literate way -- without missing a single class, or causing anyone else to miss theirs, doesn't your argument lose just a little bit of steam?

My hope is that others will stand up for what's right and call for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and for UC Berkeley to divest.

Translation: "I would love to see an Israel stripped of the ability to defend herself from her perpetually hostile neighbors, and I want Berkeley to play a part in that."

Let's not look back 10 years from now at our inaction today with shame.

Something tells me that 10 years from now you'll be married with 2 kids and rolling around Marin County in a Volvo. You'll get over the shame of inaction. In fact, because America is such a forgiving country, most people who know you now will probably forgive you for being so naive when you were in college.

posted by Geraldine | 7:55 PM

As if there weren't enough reasons to suspect a French Connection...

We know France has huge oil contracts with Iraq. We know that France tried to help the Iraqis build a nuclear reactor. But to me, this seals it:

Last night, esteemed journalist Conan O'Brien reported on his show that Saddam Hussein has a large stake in the publishers of Elle magazine.

We really should have seen this coming.

posted by Josh | 6:19 PM

Not his best stuff, but the facial at the end makes it worth reading: Jonah Goldberg on Janeane "It Certainly Couldn't Hurt My 'Career'" Garofalo

We've given Saddam more than a decade of chances for peace, with 17 U.N. resolutions. We've tried to win without war. But Ms. Garofalo doesn't see that, because she thinks she's the first person to even suggest such a thing. If people could just see how simple it is to win without war, everything would be fine. One can almost see FDR with his Cabinet. Pearl Harbor in smoking ruins. He's drafting his declaration of war when, all of a sudden, Eleanor bursts in with a brilliant suggestion: "Franklin, darling. Let's win without war!"

"'Win… without…war?' My God, Stimson, what am I paying you for? Ellie, darling, that's gold! Sheer gold. We can win without war!"

It almost sounds like a perfect Saturday Night Live skit. Maybe Garofalo should go back to her old job and try it out.

posted by Geraldine | 3:28 PM
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