I was quite gratified to see the results of the Google Search for “Antonin Scalia greatest living justice.”
So, what have been the funniest wingnut reactions to the ISG? Mark Steyn is always a good place to start. When wondering why a reactionary hack with no discernible knowledge of any relevant issues is lauded as a great sage by so many other hacks, I am often told of his allegedly sparkling pose and biting wit:
Well, the ISG — the Illustrious Seniors’ Group — has released its 79-point plan. How unprecedented is it? Well, it seems Iraq is to come under something called the “Iraq International Support Group.” If only Neville Chamberlain had thought to propose a “support group” for Czechoslovakia, he might still be in office. Or guest-hosting for Oprah.
But, alas, such flashes of originality are few and far between in what’s otherwise a testament to conventional wisdom.
Hardee-har-har. Personally, I would allow at least two paragraphs between complaints about “originality” and the six trillionth comparison of people who don’t think that turning Iraq into an anarchic training ground for anti-American terrorism at an immense human and financial cost is an effective way of fighting anti-American terrorism with Neville Chamberlain, but that’s just me.
And conservative commentator William Bennett vented in volcanic fashion. “In all my time in Washington I’ve never seen such smugness, arrogance, or such insufferable moral superiority,” Bennett wrote in a posting on the National Review Web site. “Self-congratulatory. Full of itself. Horrible.”
Yep, that is the very same guy who filled up countless hours on the teevee and wrote a book lecturing the American public for its unwillingness to support a rabidly partisan drive to impeach a president president for getting a blowjob (among an endless parade of other episodes of pompous gasbaggery) accusing other people of “insufferable moral superiority.” Perhaps the next edition of
Buy This Recycled Crap My Research Assistant Threw Together, Billy Needs Another Weekend At The Bellagio The Book of Virtues will feature Britney Spears’ lecture about the importance of public modesty.
I’m sure there are other worthy candidates, but in all candor this competition has long been over. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Forty-Two Star General Ralph “Blood N’ Guts” Peters:
The difference is that Pilate just wanted to wash his hands of an annoyance, while [James] Baker would wash his hands in the blood of our troops.
Hey, give him this: he’s funnier than Mark Steyn.
The anticipated wingnut mourning has yet to begin — I suppose there’s not enough time, what with Jimmy Carter and the Associated Press and Flying Imams to be fretful about — but some early gems have emerged.
Some textbook nihilistic relativism from this fellow:
General Pinochet is dead and his country owes him gratitude for saving it from the reign of terror and communism. Yep, he killed a few but freedom ain’t free.
But those who complain about Pinochet are always silent about commie dictators like Castro. How many were killed by this monster Castro in the past 50 years?
He saved Chile from Marxism, but did it with deadly force worthy of his Marxist enemies. Then in 1990, Chile was free. Hated by the American/European Left, but loved by many of his countrymen. A complicated legacy.
And as to the question of whether Pinochet deserves a state funeral, this happy looking fellow answers in the affirmative:
Every nation should of course avoid state-organized murders or torture but at least the Chile’s economic model is certainly an example for others to follow. And I feel that the former dictator deserves a standard funeral with their state honors. If he were one of the guys who want to be dictators forever, like Stalin, he would almost surely get one. Is the fact that he actively allowed the fully standard democracy under the civilian rule to return — and he may have intended that from the beginning — a reason to treat him like an animal?
Any state-organized murder is bad. But if one views some of them as a necessary evil to create a better future, I would guess that those 2 thousand people who died under Pinochet allowed a better future than the 50 million people who died under Stalin.
All this reminds me of Hunter Thompson’s remarks shortly after Nixon’s death, in which he suggested that Tricky Dick’s body be burned in a trash can, or his casket set afloat in an open sewer canal. Or perhaps he should just be buried in a lime pit, or thrown from a helecopter into the Pacific Ocean.
- September 1974: Has DINA, his secret police organization plant a bomb in the car of General Carlos Prats, his predecessor in Buenos Aires. The bomb kills General Prats and his wife, Sofia. Debris from the explosion is found on the ninth floor of a building across the street.
- October 1975: Has DINA, through Italian fascist terrorist Stefano Della Chiae, attempt to murder Christian Democrat politician and regime opponent, Bernardo Leighton in Rome Italy. Leighton and his wife survive, but live in constant pain for the rest of their lives.
- September 1976: Has DINA blow up the car of Orlando Letelier in Washington, DC, killing Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt.
- November 1978: The bodies of fifteen men who were “disappeared” are found in an abandoned limestone mine in Lonquen.
- June 1990: The bodies of 19 men who disappeared in the 1970′s are discovered in a mass grave in Pisagua.
- September 1991: The bodies of 127 victims of Pinochet’s regime are found buried secretly, two to a grave in some cases. Pinochet responds to television reporters by praising the economy of burying two to a grave.
As Randy says, Satan’s probably getting more than he bargained for…
While Augusto Pinochet lived decades longer than any reasonable human being would have hoped, we might take some small comfort in noting that his mighty, fascist heart disintegrated on the 58th anniversary of the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a statement infamously derided by the recently-departed Jeane Kirkpatrick as a “letter to Santa Claus.”) That document — which like so many others has been rendered “quaint” in recent years — reads in part:
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
One hopes that General Pinochet, as his blackened soul roasts for all eternity like a hog turning on a spit, will be treated to a reading of the Universal Declaration on an endless audio loop, narrated by the families of the tens of thousands of South Americans whose lives were dispached by Pinochet, Alfredo Stroessner, Jorge Videla, and the thousands of anonymous thugs in their employ.
…Pinochet used to be a litmus test for right and center-right thinkers; if you considered Pinochet a “complicated” figure, possessed of certain vices but laudable for his understanding of modern economics and the existential threat of Communism, you were a Serious Thinker. Those who believed he was a murderous tyrant were unserious, overly emotional, and incapable of understanding the threat of Communism and the true interests of the Chilean people. There was no substance to this, of course, but there rarely is with such tests. Fortunately or no, the neoconservative emphasis on democracy has allowed rightists to forget that the men and women they admire once supported such a tyrant, although I still look forward to seeing some “he was a tyrant, but…” defenses from right blogistan in the next week or so.
State of the art battleship armament in the late 19th century involved a mix of large and small caliber weapons. It was believed thatthe higher fire rate of the smaller weapons would make up for their lack of penetrative capacity. Indeed, some argued that large armored ships with small weapons (armored cruisers) could defeat battleships by saturating them with fire. However, developments in optics and improvements in gun accuracy at the beginning of the twentieth century began to tilt the balance towards heavier guns. The increased accuracy meant that ships could engage and expect hits at previously unimagined ranges. Moreover, the high rate of fire of smaller guns was mitigated by the fact that it was difficult to acquire the range by splashes when there were so many splashes around the target. Indeed, the presence of smaller weapons made it more difficult to get hits with larger guns. In 1904, the Japanese and the Americans began thinking about “all big gun” ships, which would carry a larger main armament at the expense of the secondary weapons. Satsuma, laid down in 1905, was designed to carry 12 12″ guns, but ended up carrying 4 12″ and 12 10″ because of a shortage of 12″ barrels. The slower Americans didn’t
lay down South Carolina until December 1906, about the time that Dreadnought was commissioned.
In October 1905 John “Jackie” Fisher became First Sea Lord. Fisher was, in an organizational sense, a committed revolutionary. He retired many of the older ships and set others to reduced commission. His vision of the Royal Navy centered on a new kind of ship, the battlecruiser, that would have the speed and armament to either destroy or run away from any potential foe. This was a bit too radical for the Admiralty, and he was forced to compromise on a new design for a battleship, to be called Dreadnought. Dreadnought would be slower, but more heavily armored, than the battlecruisers that Fisher wanted. Nevertheless, Fisher pursued the construction of Dreadnought with all enthusiasm. Dreadnought, like Satsuma and South Carolina, would be designed to carry a single main armament of large guns, rather than the mixed armament of previous ships.
But Fisher wanted more than big guns. What distinguished Dreadnought from South Carolina or Satsuma was the decision to use turbines instead of reciprocating engines, resulting in a higher speed, faster cruising, and less vibration. It was this contribution that helped make Dreadnought a revolutionary design. Neither the Americans nor the Japanese had envisioned their new ships as part of a fundamental break with the past. USS South Carlina was built onto the hull of a Connecticut class pre-dreadnought with what amounted to a re-arranged armament. She could have (and indeed this was the intention) operated at the head of a squadron of pre-dreadnoughts without difficulty or embarassment. Dreadnought, on the other hand, rendered the previous battleships of the world obsolete at a stroke. Carrying a large number of heavy, long range guns and having a higher speed than any contemporary meant that she could destroy extant battleships at range. Later battleships would have to be modelled upon Dreadnought; thus, she gave her name to a type of warship. “Dreadnought” is a name that the Royal Navy has used throughout it’s history, with the 1906 version being the sixth to carry the moniker (a Dreadnought served with Nelson at Trafalgar). It’s interesting to consider what modern battleships would have been called if another ship had preceded Dreadnought. I doubt, for example, that the navies of the world would have come to call their ships “South Carolinas”. Satsuma has a decent ring to it, but the Japan is probably too remote for the name to catch on. Dreadnought was followed on the slips by HMS Bellerophon and HMS Temeraire, neither of which, I suspect, would have become popular.
HMS Dreadnought was commissioned in December 1906 (accounts vary as to whether on the 3rd, 6th, or 11th of the month). She displaced about 18500 tons, could make 21 knots, and carried 10 12″ guns in five twin turrets. The British didn’t believe that superfiring turrets would work (and, in their defense, superfiring experiments in American battleships had yielded poor results), so arranged the turrets one fore, two aft, and one on each wing. This gave Dreadnought an eight gun broadside and six gun head on fire in either direction. Dreadnought was armored on roughly the same scale as the Lord Nelson class pre-dreadnoughts (although ironically the construction of Lord Nelson and Agamemnon was so delayed by the concentration on Dreadnought that they weren’t commissioned until 1908). She was Jackie Fisher’s baby. Fisher began stockpiling material for Dreadnought before finalizing the design, and delayed all other construction to accelerate her completion. Laid down in October 1905 (five months after Satsuma), she was launched in February 1906.
Dreadnought served as flagship of the Home Fleet until 1912, eventually being replaced by newer and larger ships. Her construction forced the navies of the world to reinvent their own battleship designs, with the result that Dreadnought remained the most powerful ship in the world for only a brief period of time. She missed Jutland while in refit, and served for a while as flagship of a fleet of pre-dreadnoughts intended to deter German bombardment of the English coast. On March 18, 1915 she rammed the German U-29, thus becoming the only battleship to ever sink a submarine. Although she returned to the Grand Fleet in March 1918, she was placed in reserve when the war ended, and scrapped in 1923. She survived First Sea Lord Jackie Fisher by three years.
Charles Bukowki opens my favorite poems, “The Shoelace,” with the following grim observation:
a woman, a
tire that’s flat, a
desire: fears in front of you,
fears that hold so still
you can study them
like pieces on a
it’s not the large things that
send a man to the
madhouse. death he’s ready for, or
murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…
no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to the
not the death of his love
but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left …
I’ve been thinking of this poem quite a bit as the wingnuttosphere stoops to tie the shoelace — losing their minds, so to speak, over the Jamil Hussein “scandal.” Treason-in-Defense-of-Slavery Yankee has even issued an impassioned, Althousian plea for attention on behalf of his fellow “citizen-journalists.” Why, he asks, won’t the lefty blogs discuss this almost completely unimportant story about an Iraqi police captain who, though quoted by the Associated Press, may not actually exist?
Allow me to pose a question. Bloggers who accepted the Bush administration’s claims about WMD; who insisted that the Bush administration fulfilled its obligations to the victims of Katrina; who rationalize torture and unlawful detention in facilities known and unknown across the globe; who shamelessly urge a “gloves off” policy in Iraq that would surely generate massive war crimes; who snicker over the garroting of Jose Padilla’s mind; who insist that a peer-reviewed study using conventional public health methods is invalid because it . . . well . . . sounds weird; who rally in opposition to a Flight 93 memorial because they see subliminal Islomfascism in the preliminary designs; and who find the silhouette of George W. Bush in their morning toast — these folks have some form of credibility remaining?
In an article about China assuming its place at the table of great powers comes this passage:
In the past several weeks China Central Television has broadcast a 12-part series describing the reasons nine nations rose to become great powers. The series was based on research by a team of elite Chinese historians, who also briefed the ruling Politburo about their findings.
I haven’t the faintest about the academic credentials of the historians they’ve tracked down for this, but I would certainly be interested in knowing more. For every relatively inoffensive and policy irrelevant historian like Dave or Erik Loomis, there’s an “historian” like VD Hanson or Bernard Lewis. I’ve argued that one of the reasons that the rhetoric of “will” and resolve is so worthless is that Iran, China, and Russia all have their own Bill Kristols; I would suspect that China also has its share of VD Hansons.
On a related question, has anyone read Ben Barber’s Truth of Power? I would suspect that several books could be written concentrating just on the differences between the conversations of Richard Rorty and Bill Clinton on the one hand and Bernard Lewis and George Bush on the other.
But let me say this in defense of Althouse. She is at least conceding that the shameful treatment of Padilla is worth discussing. And her defense of the sadism is about as plausible as it will ever get. She sees there is an important principle here – something we once knew as habeas corpus. Here you have a U.S. citizen detained on American soil, kept without charges for 3 and a half years, accused of plotting a dirty bomb attack (an accusation never substantiated in any way), tortured until he may be mentally incapable of standing trial … and the conservative blogosphere is completely, utterly silent. Habeas corpus disappears not with a bang, and not even with a whimper, but with deathly quiet. Well, we know what American conservatism now stands for. You can see the visual above.
IndeedOuchDisturbingBecauseIt’sTrue, with two caveats: 1)I’m not sure that coming up with quarter-assed justifications of torture is better than ignoring it (Althouse, as she always does, is using these quibbles to evade the fundamental issues, just like liberal hawks and Iraq) and 2)in fairness, the conservative blogosphere does have at least a couple of proud Schmittians, including a major member of the “Republican Daily Kos.”
Huh. Reading Greenwald and Drum makes me wonder whether the smart political move for the Democrats isn’t to wholly embrace the ISG report, count on the assumption that the Bush administration (and McCain) will reject the recommendations, then in 2008 use the “even the conservative James Baker…” trope. As Atrios has argued correctly and repeatedly, Bush just ain’t leaving Iraq. Republicans have become enormously talented at using the rhetoric of bipartisanship without making ANY of the concessions associated with a bipartisan effort, and the argument that the Republicans had failed to execute some of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Report seemed to find some purchase in 2006.
Ladies and gentlemen, appearing all this week in the Gold Room . . . the appropriately-named Senate Minority Whip
If President Bush and some of his closest associates, not to mention top counterterrorism officials, have demonstrated their own ignorance about who the players are in the Middle East, why should we expect the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee to get it right?
Trent Lott, the veteran Republican senator from Mississippi, said only last September that “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people.”
“Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion?” wondered Lott, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a meeting with Bush.
“Why do they hate the Israelis and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference?
“They all look the same to me,” Lott said.
Lott is an idiot, and so might be excused for forgetting that his own august legislative body authorized a fabulous, illegal war that has needlessly condemned hundred of thousands of people to an early grave. Indeed, a communal civil war is a great deal more comprehensible than what Lott and his peers have allowed to happen over the past five years.
Stein’s larger point — which he’s made before, is that many congressional leaders and law enforcement agents haven’t the foggiest understanding of the basic social and theological elements of Islam, against whose militants we are presumed to be waging an existential war. To be fair, I recently had a conversation with a world history professor — employed at a somewhat reputable university I prefer not to mention by name or location — who insisted that the Saudi monarchy was Shi’a. Awkwardness ensued. I mean, for shit’s sake — this is basic knowledge about a region about which Americans are supposed to be deeply interested. If it were only Americans who suffered the consequences of our ignorance, I’d be tempted to argue that we get what we deserve.