Thursday, December 27, 2007
I would, of course, most prefer a Giuliani nomination. I could certainly live with McCain, who is a little further from me politically, but close enough for comfort. Even Mitt Romney – someone I wonder about, sometimes, because of his reversals on key issues – would get my vote against any Democrat who could be nominated. But if Mike Huckabee gets nominated, I can only hope that another Mike, Mayor Bloomberg of New York, makes the independent run some people think he has in mind. In a three-way race with Huckabee, Bloomberg, and any Democrat, Bloomberg gets my vote. In a two-way race with Huckabee and any Democrat, who knows what I would do? I certainly dread the prospect.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Libraries, museums, and all other city, county, state, and national Government buildings (except for emergency facilities) will be closed. The post offices will have been selling Christmas stamps for the past few weeks; postal clerks may even be shocked if you tell them you don't want Christmas stamps (I remember one year going to a post office which had nothing but Christmas stamps! I had to settle for lower-denomination stamps that I could combine to make the then-current postal rate!) Oh yes, they have had, in recent years, Chanukah and Eid stamps as well, but there are never enough variations to account for all the various religious beliefs in this pluralistic country, not to mention atheists and agnostics. Why not just let the Government ignore all the various beliefs and keep to its secular business?
One runs into people who claim that “no establishment of religion” in our First Amendment means the government cannot favor one Christian denomination over others, not realizing that Christianity is just one religion among many. I can not fathom this point of view. Giving special preference to Christianity over Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or even atheism is just as much establishing a particular religion as taxing us to support the Episcopal Church would be.
Fifty-five years ago, I was subjected to a humiliating treatment by my own teachers in public school as a 10-year-old boy because of my religion. I declared that I could not sing songs with words like “Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.” Up until that time, my music teacher had treated me as a “teacher's pet” because I had a good singing voice. From that point on, she conspired with another teacher to make things as hard for me as possible. So I say what I am saying here from a basis of experience.
Nobody is advocating a policy such as that in Saudi Arabia where a person can be criminally prosecuted for selling Christmas cards. Rather, let Christians freely celebrate Christmas in their homes and churches (and other religions' adherents freely celebrate their own religious holidays in their own homes and places of worship) but let the Government stay out of these celebrations and be resolutely secular and neutral.
A happy December 25th to all. But please don't wish me a “merry Christmas.” Please don't wish anyone a “merry Christmas” unless you know they are a Christian.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I feel that punishment should be commensurate with the crime. I would never wish to see the death penalty meted out for any crime short of murder. But no punishment short of the death penalty is appropriate for anyone who deliberately takes the life of an innocent person.
A definite condemnation of the New Jersey legislature and governor is in order.
Friday, December 07, 2007
But then, my question is “Should anyone care?” After all, we have a Constitution which clearly states (Art. VI): “... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” And therefore, whether Mitt Romney (for he is the only Mormon being considered by people asking that question) is qualified for the Presidency cannot be related to the answer to this question. And I say this, despite the fact that I'm rather cool to Romney for other reasons (see earlier posts, specifically my July 14 post).
Really, the people raising the question “Are Mormons Christians?" are bigots if they mean to imply that only Christians can be President, and irrelevant if they do not.
Thus my response: “Should anyone care?”
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Let's face it. "Social conservatives" is just a code word for religious bigots, who have nothing in common with the kind of freedom of religion that this blog supports. And the sooner they can be evicted from positions of power in the Republican Party, the better it will be for all of us.
Let us just hope that the Giuliani supporters can hold their grounds. Rudy Giuliani will be the greatest thing that has happened to the Republican Party in many years, if we can get him nominated.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It's hard to tell how this will end up. The Court's conservative justices are sympathetic to the NRA's crazy view of what the Second Amendment means, but they also believe in stare decisis. And they don't have a total majority anyway.
Naturally, if you have read my earlier posts, I would hope that DC's laws are upheld. But I can't predict what the Court will do.
Friday, November 09, 2007
It seems that the Senate needs to learn that the U. S. is not a parliamentary system. The executive does not fall if the legislature votes no-confidence. The Senate is not supposed to refuse Presidential nominations to Cabinet posts just because they have policy disagreements with the President, or because they want to pressure the nominee into making statements that they might use against the President. The Senate's only reason to refuse a Presidential nomination to an executive office is lack of qualifications. (It might be in order to give more input on nominations to judicial offices, though even there they have no business trying to force the President to nominate someone that does not meet with his approval.)
This is the most belligerent Senate in recent history, and I think they need to read the Constitution and learn the difference between our system and parliamentary ones. Their duty is to legislate, not to try to control the Presidency.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"[I]f Congressional Republicans would stand up to the President and demand a change of course in Iraq, we could spend less time working to fix this failed war policy and more time focusing on other threats we face around the world."
Well, I have a news flash for Sen. Reid: Congressional Republicans don't want to stand up to the President, because they (and I) think that his is not a "failed war policy."
Way back in the long-gone days of World War II and immediately following, it was the Democrats who were unified in fighting the enemies of our nation and the Republicans who had isolationists, people who felt we should ignore the rest of the world and concentrate on domestic affairs, in their number. Now these are reversed.
The Democrats were right then. And the Republicans are right now. Sen. Reid should emulate the good Republicans like Sen. Vandenberg of that era and give up this isolationism for the good of the world.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
She clearly doesn't want to help kids; she only wants to get into a fight.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to imagine a congressional action more pointlessly provocative than passing a resolution that Turks committed genocide against Armenians some 90 years ago. But here come House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, many of her fellow Democrats, and some Republicans with an ironclad determination to do just such a detrimental thing to their country.
The cost could be high. The Turks don’t like this idea one little bit, and warn they may just quit letting the United States and its allies use Turkey as a crucial transport avenue for military supplies in Iraq if the condemnatory declaration gets majority votes in the House and Senate.
This Muslim democracy, which has itself been a vital ally in multiple respects, may also refuse to cooperate in other ways. One example: Our leverage in keeping Turkey from going to war with our Kurdish friends in northern Iraq could be lessened as a result.
And what exactly would the resolution achieve? Nothing, of course. No one can possibly think that a congressional vote will make this atrocity any more real or true, or alter an understanding that is dependent on witnesses, evidence and scholars, not elected officials.
It’s not as if the judgment of humankind is dependent on majority votes in the U.S. Congress, or as if anyone alive in Turkey today had anything to do with what happened then. The thought that a condemnation now might help dissuade others from repeating such vileness is an extraordinary stretch.
Why on Earth should it be the job of Congress to go around saying what it thinks on this or any other distant historical event? How about Congress paying more attention to current events and leaving assessments of past iniquities to historians, as critics have suggested?
Considering the disadvantages such a futile resolution would heap on us during our present, perilous struggle with Islamic fascists, you begin to wonder what’s up with Pelosi and friends. Utter, total, half-crazed incompetence, maybe, or could it conceivably be a traitorous hatred for their own land?
Surely not. It’s got to be something else. And so you read more on the subject, and you find the answer: a Reuters story reporting that something close to 2 million Armenian Americans have been lobbying for years for a resolution of the kind recently approved for floor consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“U.S. representatives in Congress and state governments now realize the Armenian community has a lot of political power and they can make contributions to political causes and various parties,” Armenian American filmmaker Michael Hagopian told the Reuters reporter.
In other words, U.S. representatives - mostly Democrats - shrug their shoulders when a Turkish military leader warns of an irreparable tear in U.S.-Turkey relations or the Pentagon notes how logistically dependent we are on Turkey in the Middle East, but they do multiple bows when some slight political opportunity shows its face.
Democrats aren’t alone in their frequent obeisance to anyone and everyone who might do them a favor, of course. When they had control of Congress, Republicans had a hard time refusing favors for special interests at public expense, giving us spending records at variance with both their enunciated principles and the common good. For that and other reasons, they ultimately paid a steep electoral price.
That probably says it better than I could. And it seems that some of the Democrats have begun to recognize this. (See http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWW8WW0xt_U4Iqg30uuw23lBuEvgD8SB6NNG2, where we see that the sponsors of the resolution are pulling out.)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
However, the Armenians are not without their faults. After all, what is gained by getting Congress to pass this resolution? It is, as I said, totally toothless, and accomplishes nothing except getting the Turks mad. The Ottoman Empire, which is the real guilty party, is long gone. And the current republic of Turkey certainly has no obligations.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Look, let's remember what the Prize is about. Al Gore now joins the ranks of Yasser Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, Le Doc Tho, who signed a treaty on behalf of a government that two years later invaded and extinguished the country it signed that treaty with, and the most disgraceful ex-president of the United States Jimmy Carter, who, forget about Iraq -- I'll remind you in the Gulf War, actively lobbied other countries to oppose his country in helping it in going to war. So, look, this is a treaty that is, has nothing to do with peace, it's about politics. It's the...I'm sorry, the award.
The Nobel Peace Prize is about politics. It's the Kentucky Derby of the world left, and it gives it to people whose politics are either anti-American or anti-Bush, and that's why he won it.
I usually agree with Krauthammer, and I'm happy to let him speak for me. So take this as my own comment too.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Frankly, I see no harm in gay marriage. I cannot see how it even affects the people who are so opposed to it; if same-sex couples can get married, it certainly doesn't prevent opposite-sex couples from doing so. But if some people object to it being called a "marriage," then certainly giving them all the rights of a married couple without the word seems a good compromise.
Of course, the problem is that some people are (based on religious background) simply opposed to homosexuality. You can't show me anything that is not based on religion, and in fact on a specific religious belief, that makes homosexuality per se undesirable. And because we have a Constitution that forbids an "establishment of religion," no religious argument can hold water as a basis for our law.
So for once, I think O'Malley is right.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
This is the sort of political behavior that gives politics a bad name.
Why should Giuliani, at this moment, call attention to the fact that he's been more gay-friendly than most Republicans? At least he hasn't reversed himself like Mitt Romney. But he's trying to get votes from Republicans who are not as tolerant as he. He's going to scare them off if he does what Capehart wants, without winning over enough gay Republicans (how many gay Republicans who will be eligible to vote in a GOP primary are there?)
Capehart shouldn't be criticizing Giuliani -- before Giuliani can do anything helpful to gay causes, he needs to get nominated, and elected. He should be working to help the only possible nominee who might be favorable to the causes he espouses get nominated.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
People who say we ought to emulate the Canadian "single payer" plan want us to imitate a system that is so bad that top government officials admit we have better medical care than they do? Really!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
On the other hand, there are some Senate Dems who have no reason to oppose Mukasey, but want to pick a fight, so I've seen the word that they might just use the confirmation hearing to raise -- once more -- the issue of trying to get information that the White House deems to be covered by executive privilege. Just goes to show that both left and right in Washington, these days, seem more interested in making points than in making government work. No wonder the public approval of our governmental institutions is at an all-time low!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm with the Republicans, naturally.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
- First we have the "If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" argument. When I first saw this one, I was inclined to simply dismiss it, saying, "Of course. They'll be outlaws because they have guns." But of course, what they mean, and I do need to address the point, is that criminals will find it easy to get guns and circumvent any laws. My position is that criminals can get guns by one of two means: by buying them and by stealing them. If guns are not available to the public, but are only sold directly by the manufacturer to police departments and the Army (or other branches of the military), then criminals cannot pretend to be legitimate purchasers and buy firearms. And if there are no privately-owned guns, who are criminals going to steal them from? Certainly, a police department or military base that is so incompetent that they cannot guard their firearm storeroom against theft has no business existing.
- Second, we have the "If a criminal attacks us, we need guns for self-defense" argument. I've seen this put forth by people after the Virginia Tech shootings, where they actually claim that the killer would not have been able to take out so many victims if some of the students had been armed. First of all, does anyone really think that college students (known for binge drinking, fraternity hazing, general prank-playing, and the like) could be relied upon to restrict their gun usage to legitimate self-defense? Second of all, how many of them have the knowledge to use a gun properly, and not hit fellow-students or their professor while attempring to shoot at the attacker? Getting away from the college situation, if people have guns lying around their home, do they really have the self-control to make sure that someone is really an intruder before shooting? I shudder to think of a case where someone hears a noise in the house in the middle of the night, gets out his gun, goes to confront the "intruder," and shoots his kid getting in from a late date, or his wife going to the kitchen for a midnight snack. These scenarios are far more likely than the noise being from a real criminal entry.
- Finally, we have the extreme libertarian argument that "We need to protect ourselves from a government that wants to enslave us, and so we can't rely on the government police to be our servants." I say, if you're really bent on a revolution, no laws enacted by the government matter, so this argument is not worth trying to counter.
I favor freedom, but not anarchy. And I really don't think anyone needs a gun (except if he's in the military or the police).
Thursday, September 06, 2007
But before getting into this issue in depth, I want to address the issue that is really at hand: Washington, D. C.'s right to enact its strict gun-control laws. Some people appeal to a misguided reading of the Second Amendment. Let me quote the Second Amendment in its entirety: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Note the first first 13 words. No other freedom guaranteed in our Constitution has a qualifier: not a single one! Obviously this is a clue to the intent of this amendment. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms" is only guaranteed in order to provide for "a well regulated militia" and not for any other purpose. (For more details see http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/secondam.pdf where this is discussed at some length.)
So now we get to people who claim that, under common law, the militia consists of all able-bodied citizens. (Mostly this is to deny that "militia" now means the National Guard.) Well, if you claim to be part of the militia, you are obligated to put yourself under Congressional control. After all, Art. I, Sect. 8, clause 15 states: "[The Congress shall have Power] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions" while clause 16 adds: "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress" -- a pretty clear grant of power to the Congress.
There is no way of getting around this language. If you want to claim that the militia is everyone, then you cannot be armed except by Congressional provision; if you accept, as I do, that the militia is now the organized National Guards, then you do not have "the right ... to keep and bear arms" except if you are a member of the organized Guard. Any other reading of the Second Amendment is a perversion of its intent.
Now the question arises: is the District of Columbia entitled to pass these laws? Obviously, by my reading, a State has the power; the Second Amendment doesn't apply to the states anyway, and the Bill of Rights freedoms only apply to the states because of a judicial reading (probably justified) of the Fourteenth Amendment, but even if you apply the Second Amendment to the States in this way, it still grants "the right ... to keep and bear arms" only to people organized in militias, not to the public at large. But the District is not a state. It therefore gains its powers from Congress, under Article I, Section 8, clause 17, just as any city government gains its powers from the laws of the state in which it is incorporated. And Congress has not challenged that the home-rule charter granted to DC allows it to pass this legislation; it has been on the books for decades.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
And before proceeding in this discussion, I want to say that I have the utmost respect for Sen. Specter. A number of years ago, when he was contemplating a run for the Presidency (which he gave up on because he'd seen the power of the extreme right within the GOP), I was a strong supporter, and even wrote a letter to Specter encouraging him to run and offering to help in any way I could. And Arlen Specter's positions on critical issues are closer to mine than perhaps any other member of the Senate. So any criticim I give to Specter is to be considered as coming from a friendly direction.
But Specter seems not to understand one thing. Larry Craig represents Idaho, a very conservative state. Arlen Specter represents Pennsylvania, a quite liberal state with two cosmopolitan cities in it. Specter doesn't realize that Craig has decided that someone who is suspected to be gay has no chance of winning a high political office in Idaho. On the other hand, in Pennsylvania that would be much less of a problem. And Specter is attuned to Pennsylvania politics, not Idaho.
I just feel that the thing we need to note is that Craig's comment, "I'm not gay and I don't do such things," not just "I didn't do it," shows it's more important for him to come out as not gay than as innocent!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
That this should matter is really a shame. But Craig is a conservative Republican, and as I mentioned in my Aug. 15 post, some people think that conservatism on some issues means you have to be on all issues, and anti-homosexualism is considered a necessary part of conservatism in many people's eyes. So a liberal like Barney Frank or former governor McGreevey of New Jersey can be gay, but not a conservative senator from Idaho.
That's really stupid. Why a person who is gay can't be a conservative (or vice versa) escapes me. What sexual orientation has to do with economics (or gun control, or almost any other issue in politics) escapes me.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Some people are so imbued with the spirit of compassion and sanctuary that they even refuse to use the word "illegal" in describing these immigrants, which of course obfuscates the issue, because to fail to distinguish legal from illegal immigration denies the actual existence of what, to their opponents, is the principal issue: people entering this country in violation of our nation's laws. As a result, pro-illegal-immigrant groups can paint their opponents as xenophobic and racist, which is a false characterization for many. (I have no intention of denying that there are some among the anti-illegal-immigrationists who are xenophobic and racist, but certainly many, probably most, are not.)
On the other hand, on the other side are folks who insist that any action short of mass deportation constitutes an amnesty. It offends me to see the McCain-Kennedy bill characterized as an "amnesty" bill, since the illegal immigrants would have to pay penalties before being granted legal status. A true amnesty would mean automatically granting them this status.
Since the positions are so far apart, with the pro-illegal-immigrant groups apparently insisting on nothing short of a true amnesty and the anti-illegal-immigrant groups calling any attempt at compromise an amnesty, I cannot see any solution.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
As the editorial shows, political correctness has trumped academic freedom.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Case in point: There are two radio stations in the Washington, D. C. area which, I believe, are owned by one company and which have been advertising, "You're sure to hate one or the other" -- one, WTNT, is full of conservative talk radio, and the other is its liberal counterpart. I occasionally listen to WTNT and sometimes agree strongly with opinions expressed there, but the other day I was listening to one of the regularly featured broadcasters, Michael Savage. He was going on and on about "perverts," by which he meant homosexuals looking for their rights. I don't know what makes Mr. Savage have such a vigorous hostility to homosexuals; perhaps he's afraid of being confused with Dan Savage, a sex-advice columnist who is gay. But it just seems to me that, whatever your sexual orientation, nobody else's sexual orientation really concerns you unless they try to seduce you, and in that case, it's the unwanted attention, and not the sexual orientation, that is the problem.
Now some "social conservatives" might say it's condemned in the Bible -- and, of course, many people's reading of the Bible would agree with that, though there are obviously some very religious gay people who read that same Bible differently. But we're in a country with a pluralistic religious composition, and nobody has a right to let his religion dictate his politics to the point of banning people whose religion differs from theirs. An interpretation of "conservatism" consistent with my own economic conservatism would be to keep government out of our private business unless it damages someone, and in that case, why get involved in anyone's sex lives unless it negatively affects someone who isn't involved.
Similarly, "social conservatives" try to impose the beliefs of particular religions on areas like abortion on others who do not believe that way, and in general seem to be convinced that their own religion's views on anything trump all others. What this has to do with the essentially "laissez faire" view of economic conservatives escapes me.
Hence the title of this post: Why do they have to go together? In other words, what do they have in common that justifies the word "conservatism" being used for both?
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Obviously, anyone who can earn degrees from two of the best-reputed universities in the US (Yale and Harvard) is no idiot, and is likely pretty smart. And Pres. Bush is just such a person. Dwight Eisenhower was the general in charge of the World War II effort. And I'm quite sure Ronald Reagan was no idiot either, though I cannot point to specific intellectual accomplishments.
What it seems to be is that anyone who, looking at the facts of the world today, comes to conclusions different from those reached by our liberal Democratic commentators, cannot possibly be intelligent. What a bunch of garbage!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
But on reading the article, I saw more reason to sympathize with Romney's position. He was not talking about porn in general, but about porn directed toward people's e-mail boxes against their wish. Just as I feel people should have the right to look at porn -- no matter how disgusting others might find it -- I also feel people should have the right to control what they look at in a negative way: to decide what they do not want to look at. And on that point I fully agree with Mitt Romney.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Nobody is "pro-legalized-abortion" or even "anti-legalized-abortion"; they are "pro-life" or "pro-choice." As if the only thing alive is a fetus; "pro-life," after all, could mean "anti-euthanasia" or "anti-death penalty," of course. And as if the only choice anyone makes in life is whether or not to abort an unwanted fetus; "pro-choice" could mean "anti-affirmative action," "anti-union-shop," or "anti-compulsory-anything," for Heaven's sake!
Recently pro-labor-union Congressmen introduced something called "the Employee Fair Choice Act." What it really meant was to make it easier for labor unions to intimidate workers into voting for a union, by depriving them of a secret vote in labor representation elections. But obviously, to them a choice to unionize is fair, while a choice not to unionize is unfair!
Obviously, I could multiply cases of dishonesty in terminology, but these examples make it clear that nobody has a monopoly on such dishonesty.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
John McCain seemed at first to be the likely GOP nominee. But he's fallen victim to the problem that he had been all things to all people. He had a lot of support from independents and Democrats who had mistakenly thought he was less conservative than the typical Republican -- not being familiar with his record. And when he became more hawkish than even President Bush, that lost him most of the support he had from those independents and Democrats. Meanwhile, his positions on campaign financing and immigration kept him from getting support from the Republican right wing. So he had neither the left nor the right, and his campaign seems to be spent. In a sense, that's a shame; I like a lot about McCain, but really, one fewer serious rival to Giuliani is probably good for my own wishes.
Mitt Romney, like Giuliani, has going for him the fact that he can win in liberal areas, a good thing for a Republican candidate. But unlike Giuliani, he seems to feel he has to recapture the right and thus disavow all his previous positions where they are not sufficiently right-wing for them. Giuliani has not reversed himself on anything; he just has felt it necessary to show where he is truly conservative, and has made these issues salient. I think that (unlike his father, who I eagerly supported for President several election cycles ago) Mitt Romney is someone who can't totally be trusted politically. I'll support him if he gets nominated to run against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but without a lot of enthusiasm.
None of the other Republicans has a chance. Fred Thompson seems to be the current choice of the Religious Right, which makes me doubt him, but he doesn't really have all that much support (and, while he has more experience than Barack Obama, it isn't very much!) Ron Paul brings a lot of libertarian fresh air to the House of Representatives, but he's too dogmatically extreme in his libertarianism to be President, and I think most Republicans know this. Brownback, Tancredo, Hunter, and the like are not names most people recognize, and that even the extreme religious Right has abandoned Brownback (one of their own!) for Thompson makes it clear that none of them has a chance.
On the Democratic side, there are two serious candidates, Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both try to talk like centrists, but their votes have been extremely left-wing in the Senate. No way I could support either of them. And none of the other Democrats has any more chance of getting the Democratic nomination than Tom Tancredo on the Republican side, so there's no sense even discussing them.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
He doesn't agree with me on everything, but he is closer to me on all the major issues than any other announced candidate of either party, so I'm happy to declare my support.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
But it seems to me that there are two parts to the answer: why I became a Republican, and why I remain one. The first is so easy: I grew up when New York City, my birthplace, was dominated by the Democrats and under the thumb of a corrupt Democratic machine (popularly called Tammany Hall) while both the President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the Governor, Nelson A. Rockefeller, were in my mind doing a good job of running their respective governments. Comparing the two parties' records left me a clear decision to make, and I joined the Republican Party in my mind well before I could in fact -- you had to be 21 to register and vote then, so I could not officially join the party till I was 21, but I've been a Republican in fact since I was in my early teens.
Now, I find myself in agreement with Republicans on some issues and with Democrats on others. (For a good summary of my beliefs, see my first post on this blog, back in February 2006!) But it seems to me that on the issues I consider most important, I'm with the GOP, and that is why I am still a Republican.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
In Vietnam, we were winning. The Tet offensive was a desperation move by the other side, and all military people who have evaluated the situation in retrospect agree that it was a major defeat for the North Vietnamese. But because Communist sympathizers in the U. S., as well as pacifists who saw no reason to maintain the struggle against world Communism, prevailed upon the Congress to withdraw support for our military efforts, we gave up, and today Vietnam is one of four countries in the world (the others being China, Cuba, and North Korea) still under Communist domination, even after Communism has been erased in the country where it first took power (Russia) and everywhere else where it had taken over except for those four.
We did one thing very right in Iraq -- removed the genocidal dictator, Saddam Hussein, from power. We did one thing very wrong there -- refused to accept that Iraq is an artificially-united country, which should have gone the way of Yugoslavia, divided into a number of smaller, more homogeneous nations. A Kurdish state in the north, a Sunni Arab state in the center, and a Shi'ite state in the south would make more sense than a united Iraq. But once we got in there, it is imperative that we not give al-Qaeda the satisfaction of knowing they could drive us out. They would certainly impose a Taliban-style theocratic dictatorship there, where even most Sunnis could not feel at home.
What we need to do now is to try to establish some sort of order in Iraq, while building up the pro-democracy forces in all three communities. I do not know how we can back out of our support for a single united Iraq, though we need to find a way to do so. A multi-ethnic federal state can only work if all parties want it to: Switzerland is a successful example; Yugoslavia an unsuccessful one; Belgium is a question right now.
But withdrawing now, or even promising to withdraw by some specified date, is simply a recipe for insuring a Vietnam-style failure. If we say we will withdraw by some specified date, al-Qaeda's leaders only have to sit tight till one day after that date. This is not the way to go.
Monday, July 09, 2007
I have no great love for Nancy Pelosi -- in fact she's probably, of all major politicians in this country, the most antithetical to everything I'm for -- but in her San Francisco district, she is extremely popular. And as Speaker of the House, a position that an independent Cindy Sheehan could never hope to get, she brings an importance to that district that probably would gain her some votes that go beyond her personal popularity.
Just what does Cindy Sheehan think she can accomplish by this threat?