I understand that it’s politically difficult to institute the kinds of policies–most importantly energy taxes–that would be necessary to substantially reduce carbon emissions. But one good first step would be to stop directly subsidizing dirty energy.
I see Greenwald is doing it to you again, and frankly, I’m disgusted by it. I mean, here we have a guy who refuses to answer his nations call to take up his keyboard and go to war against the Worldwide Islamunistofascist Conspiracy and its servants in the media and the Demislamunistofascistsatanic Party, and chooses, instead, to fact check you and Chuck Johnson, two of America’s greatest keyboard heroes.
I know he thinks he’s exposed you as some frightened, hate-crazed supremacist with delusions of martial grandeur, and maybe you are, but who’s to say that isn’t a good thing. It certainly works for Dick Cheney.
Yes, things look bleak right now. Certainly, to most observers, the fact that the State Department authenticated a document you claimed was forged does tend to make you look like an idiot.
Fortunately we know better. Fuck Greenwald and those of his ilk who are stabbing America in the back with cold hard facts. We have a war to win. We don’t have time for facts or reality. They are merely crutches for the weak. We will build our own reality; a reality where going to war with Iraq was a smart move; a reality where all men are strong and ruggedly handsome and, by God, a reality in which all women are eager to sleep with us even if we live in our mother’s basement eating Cheetos and compulsively masturbating to reruns of 24.
I must echo these sentiments, in the interests of civility.
Rudy Giuliani, the twice-divorced ex-mayor and erstwhile drag queen of New York City, celebrates his 63rd birthday today as he marches onward in his quest to become the nation’s chief authoritarian. As President of the United States, Giuliani would likely go farther than any of his predecessors in banishing squeegee operators, panhandlers, porn merchants and ferrets from the surface of the earth; he would then offer persuasive (if statistically spurious) claims to the effect that his policies had reduced terrorism while raising property values and stimulating tourism.
Although “America’s Mayor” has not followed some of his rivals in promising to “double Gitmo” should he ascend to higher office in 2008, Giuliani would likely be more inclined than other candidates to sufficiently equip Camp Delta with the toilet plungers our interrogators so desperately need to protect America from further attack. As well, white Americans could sleep peacefully each night, secure in their knowledge that dangerous, wallet-wielding Guineans (like Amadou Diallo) and drug-deal-refusing off-duty Haitian security guards (like Patrick Dorismond) will not live to see the next sunrise. If nothing else, President Giuliani could rally the nation’s morale by converting his old Street Crimes Unit into a global special ops force, complete with t-shirts — just as in the good old days — announcing that the U.S. “owns the night” and that “there is no hunting like the hunting of man.” Perhaps Giuliani’s former business partner, police commissioner and dear friend Bernard Kerik — should he avoid prosecution and imprisonment for an arc of felonies reaching years into the past — could renew his bid to preside over the Department of Homeland Security.
Whatever the future holds for Rudy, however, one thing is clear. If this nation is to persevere in the Global War Against People Who Resemble in Some Vague Way the People Who Carried Out the 9-11 Attacks, we need to be as well-prepared and coordinated as the city of New York was on that fateful morning in 2001.
Reihan Salam explains the wrongthink of…Fletch. Disappointingly, he doesn’t also discuss how Spies Like Us failed because of its traitorous attacks on American military values, and how Cops and Robbersons wasn’t funny because it was a subtle pre-preemption of Rudy Guliani’s candidacy, but hopefully that will be in the next column.
The death of Andrew Bacevich’s son on May 13 in Iraq was heartbreaking news for anyone who’s read his work, heard him speak, or (I’m sure) known him. That he would be capable of writing a check for a phone bill two weeks later, much less an essay for the Post, is remarkable. The piece is an elegy for his kid, but it also reiterates important arguments he’s raised in less difficult moments.
Bacevich’s two major works, American Empire and The New American Militarism are provocative and compelling; among other things, he draws on earlier generations of diplomatic and political historians — particularly Charles Beard and William Appleman Williams — to argue that “open door” imperialism has guided US foreign policy since the start of the 20th century. For those who haven’t encountered the term before, the “open door” refers to the traditional ideological consensus among diplomats and policymakers who view free markets as central to US national interests and, moreover, as the ideal venues for the expansion of democratic forms of sovereignty. The widening of the “open door,” as Bacevich sees it, takes place concurrently with the extension of US military and political power. This is a critical argument, because it flies in the face of the Bush administration’s nonsensical claim that “everything changed” on September 11. As Bacevich sees it, the Bush administration has been giving its own perverse stamp to various tendencies in US foreign policy that are at least a century old. (His argument, for what it’s worth, isn’t nearly as reductive as my description suggests.)
In any case, this aspect of Bacevich’s work is relevant because it feeds today’s editorial. In his scholarship, he contends that the open door consensus provides a messianic vision of US history that enables one disaster after another. Today, he argues, it
confines the debate over U.S. policy to well-hewn channels. It preserves intact the cliches of 1933-45 about isolationism, appeasement and the nation’s call to “global leadership.” It inhibits any serious accounting of exactly how much our misadventure in Iraq is costing. It ignores completely the question of who actually pays. It negates democracy, rendering free speech little more than a means of recording dissent.
This is not some great conspiracy. It’s the way our system works.
When I was a younger lad man, there was no one around to tell me that Tom Friedman was an utter buffoon.
I was in Seattle in 1999, and I remember reading Friedman on the demonstrations. He was careful to interpret every event in a manner most sympathetic to conservatives and least sympathetic to demostrators. Every critic, he suggested, was either stupid and misguided or beholden to parochial interest; no pragmatic or principled objection was entertained.
Strangely enough, America’s Stupidest Pundit repeated this performance in the run-up to the Iraq War. Unfortunately, common wisdom was somewhat divided, so Tommy had to play both sides. A week before the attack he was for; then he was against. In the illusory aftermath of victory he was for, again. Then, he started spouting Friedman units.
If I could have identified a “least useful” pundit in the run-up to the Iraq War, I would have said Tom Friedman. Those expectations have not been disappointed,, except in the definition of the Friedman Unit, which I suppose he should receieve some extraordinarily mild credit for. Nevertheless, to the extent that one is to be guided bu the foreign policy punditry of Tom Friedman, one is best instructed by the following three axioms;
1. Don’t read Tom Friedman.
2. If you accidentally read Tom Friedman, the opposite of what he suggests is, most likely, the clearest road to success.
HMS Sheffield was the first of the Royal Navy’s Type 42 Destroyer, a class designed to supply fleet air defense. Theoretically, the Type 42 destroyers were supposed to protect a new Royal Navy aircraft carrier, but the cancellation of this carrier altered the mission. Displacing 4350 tons, HMS Sheffield could make 30 knots and carried a twin Sea Dart SAM launcher. Like virtually all post-WWII warships, Sheffield was almost completely unarmored. Two Type 42 destroyers, Hercules and Santisima Trinidad, had been sold to Argentina during the 1970s and served opposite Sheffield in the Argentine Navy during the war.
Sheffield was part of Task Force 317, the fleet assigned to retake the Falklands. On May 4, 1982 HMS Sheffield was performing an air defence patrol when two Argentine Super Entendards, flying at low altitude, managed to approach within 6 miles before releasing an Exocet missile. Both the Super Entendards and the Exocet missiles had been sold to Argentina by France. Although the French refrained from directly intervening in the war, they did allow the Royal Navy to study and operate Super Entendards in anticipation of air/naval combat. The missile was not detected by radar, and visual identification gave Sheffield very short warning. Sheffield was not the first warship struck by a guided missile. The Germans first deployed guided anti-ship munitions in 1943, successfully sinking the Italian battleship Roma with a Fritz X glider bomb. Roma, en route to surrender at Malta, took two hits, exploded and sank. HMS Warspite took hits from three Fritz X missiles a few weeks later and barely survived. Those weapons weighed about 1400 kg and carried a 320 kg warhead. In 1967, two Egyptian missile boats hit the Israeli destroyer Eilat with Soviet supplied Styx anti-ship missiles, which weighed 2300kg and carried a 450kg warhead. The Eilat is thought to have been destroyed simply by the kinetic energy of the strikes, rather than through the detonation of the warheads. An Exocet weighs about 600kg and carries a 160kg warhead, but is slightly faster than a Styx and much faster than a Fritz X. For a last bit of comparison, an 18″ shell from HIJMS Yamato weighed about 1450kg, although the shell would fly much faster than the missiles and would not lose weight from fuel consumption along the way.
The missile that hit Sheffield struck amidships and tore a large hole in the hull, but probably didn’t explode. Nevertheless, the kinetic force of the impact, combined with the dispersion of rocket fuel, severely damaged the destroyer and started a serious fire. Electrical and water systems were disrupted, hampering damage control efforts. With fires raging out of control, the ship was abandoned. While awaiting rescue, the crew sang Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. In spite of the severe damage, Sheffield did not immediately sink. An early effort was made to salvage the ship, and she was taken under tow. However, it was determined that repairing the ship would be prohibitively expensive, and Sheffield was scuttled six days after the initial attack. The destruction of HMS Sheffield cost 20 British lives, but neither deterred the British war effort nor significantly decreased Royal Navy capabilities. One other Type 42 destroyer, HMS Coventry, was sunk during the war, although by free fall bombs rather than with an Exocet missile. The Argentine Air Force would also successfully destroy the frigates Antelope and Ardent, both with free fall bombs. Five years later two Exocet missiles launched by an Iraqi Mirage fighter struck the frigate USS Stark, killing 37 but failing to sink the ship. Eight Type 42 destroyers remain in service with the Royal Navy, and one with the Argentine Navy.
It rained or threatened to rain for ten consecutive days, which I’m told is unusual. In any case, I’m happy to be back, although the traffic bump that accompanied my vacation has enhanced my sense of personal irrelevance. Thanks to Rodger for his fine, well-thought out posts, and thanks to Media Czech for demonstrating a capacity for uniting Left Blogistan that I had thought only George W. Bush possessed. Rodger can be found at both Duck of Minerva and Rodger Payne, and Media Czech can be found at Bluegrass Roots.
I understand that anything less than fulsome praise for the artistic stylings of untalented multi-millionaires will crush the Fragile Spirits of today’s Sensitive Teenagers (and, alas, I do think that this comment was serious.) Despite this, I see no way to avoid quoting from this review of Newt Gingrich’s new literary classic, which has the soaring ambition to be the worst art ever produced about Pearl Harbor (far from an easy task, given that America’s Worst Director has already set the standard.) How bad does a book have to be to get a hatchet job from Janet Maslin? Behold:
When the attack began, it was Dec. 7 at Pearl Harbor but Dec. 8 in Japan. The book is subtly subtitled “A Novel of December 8th” to signal its attention to the Japanese point of view. On the basis of that detail, you might expect a high level of fastidiousness from “Pearl Harbor.”
And you would be spectacularly wrong. Because you would find phrases like “to withdraw backward was impossible,” sounds like “wretching noises” to accompany vomiting, or constructions like “incredulous as it seemed, America had not reacted.” Although the book has two authors, it could have used a third assigned to cleanup patrol.
This is not a matter of isolated typographical errors. It is a serious case for the comma police, since the book’s war on punctuation is almost as heated as the air assaults it describes. “One would have to be dead, very stupid Fuchida thought,” the book says about the fighter pilot Mitsuo Fuchida, “not to realize they were sallying forth to war.” Evidence notwithstanding, the authors do not mean to insult the fighter pilot’s intelligence — or, presumably, the reader’s.
Some of these glitches are brief, while some are windier. The long ones are particularly dangerous. Here is what happens when James Watson, an academic and a decoding expert who is one of the book’s cardboard Americans (as opposed to its cardboard British and Japanese figures), has lunch:
“James nodded his thanks, opened the wax paper and looked a bit suspiciously at the offering, it looked to be a day or two old and suddenly he had a real longing for the faculty dining room on campus, always a good selection of Western and Asian food to choose from, darn good conversations to be found, and here he now sat with a disheveled captain who, with the added realization, due to the direction of the wind, was in serious need of a good shower.”
James lives in Hawaii with his half-Japanese wife, Margaret. Margaret is the book’s only female character, and she barely appears. This is evidence that Mr. Gingrich has learned that politicians writing fiction are well advised to avoid eroticism. The book’s only trace of the lascivious is a reference to rising wartime hemlines in Britain because of an effort to conserve cloth.
Elsewhere in Hawaii, among the fighting forces, things are typically editor-proof. In a case for James’s decoding skills, the book says: “The boys had money in their pockets to burn and fresh in from the West Coast the obligatory photos with hula girls, sentimental silk pillows for moms and girlfriends, and ridiculous-printed shirts had sold like crazy.”
Even leaving aside the writing that could make Jewel look like Yeats, the apparent lack of not only eroticism but female characters pre-empts some of the so-bad-it’s-entertaining moments that distinguish the fiction of Bill “He was speaking hushed tones, telling her how much he enjoyed her body, using words that in polite conversation would have been vulgar, but in this context were extremely erotic” O’Reilly and Orson “Thank God after a long day of dealing with liberal academics who, after solemn reflection, I’ve convinced are entirely evil I can return home to the killer bod of my wife, Scoop Jackson” Scott Card. Whoops, there I go again, discouraging teenagers who might otherwise be writing novels about killing everyone who ever gave them a negative job evaluation or stapling a bunch of position papers rejected as “too simplistic and knee-jerk reactionary” by a local Young Republican newsletter together and calling it a “novel.” My apologies, but keep in mind that if they keep pressing on they can get a featured podcast interview from Glenn Reynolds, so it will all be good…