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May 29, 2004

Mixing It Up

I love it... terrorists didn't kill Nick Berg. FreeRepublic.com did. And here I thought it was Dumbya.

Steven Hayes has a must-read article on the connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda in the Weekly Standard. I'm not going to comment - just go up and read it, bookmark it, or better yet save it to your machine for the next time you get in an argument with someone who still maintains there is no connection. It's nice to have a few facts at your fingertips. I was watching the news last night with the Unit and the anchors were patting themselves on the back for finally proving there was no connection. I had to leave the room.

JunkYardBlog has a great video of AlGore you should see. If anyone can't view it over their dialup, I can send you a zipped up version, but try going there first. Via Instapudit.

Jen Martinez has a good post on the capture and execution of Sgt. Walters. The Jews have an old saying: "Never to forgive: never to forget."

Deb over at MarineCorpsMoms has some great posts for your perusal. Spirit of America with the 1/5, LtCol Stan Coerr, USMCR, asks, "Why don't they ask the guys that were there?, and my new personal motto (since this is what I'm taunted with by the &*!#$@ Marines at the gym): Pain is weakness leaving the body. But that's OK, how often do you get to torture the wussy Colonel's wife?

Too funny...

- Cassandra

May 29, 2004 at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

The Price of War

In keeping with the Memorial Day theme, Sydney J. Freeberg has an excellent piece in the National Journal on the price of war. I take exception with his translation of the monument at Thermopylae: although his is more irreverent (and perhaps more soldier-like), I prefer this one from my favorite book on the battle of Thermopylae, Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire:

Go tell the Spartans, strangers passing by
That here obedient to their laws we lie.

Freedberg does a good job of placing the casualties in historical perspective without trivializing the tremendous human cost of going to war:

In the scales of history, a thousand bodies are almost too light to measure. Even a young and relatively unbloodied country such as the United States has borne heavier burdens, and for longer. More American troops died every month at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968. More American troops died in one day at the start of the Normandy invasion in World War II. More American civilians died in minutes on September 11, 2001, in either tower of the World Trade Center.
But on a human scale, a thousand dead are almost beyond imagining. Some concrete comparisons might help. It is as if every male student (plus two dozen women) at some smallish liberal arts college had been wiped out. If the dead from this war could somehow return, if they were guests at the next State of the Union address, every senator and representative in Congress would have to yield his or her seat on the floor of the House chamber to an Army soldier killed in the Middle East. Soldiers slain elsewhere, plus all the Marines, airmen, and sailors, would overflow onto the balcony. If the dead could attend a White House reception, if they passed through the receiving line at a brisk clip of about three seconds per person -- handshake; hello; thank you; next, please -- the president would be shaking their hands for roughly 45 minutes, nonstop.
Then there are the living left behind. The vast majority of the troops killed so far in the "global war on terror," as the Pentagon calls it, were young enough to be survived by both their parents. About half of the dead were married. They leave more than 580 children.

Something to remember if you choose to light that candle at your Memorial Day dinner. And he dispells another persistent myth: that minorities are disproportionately represented among the dead. If only Charles Rangel read this blog (or the Vietnam casualty records for that matter):

It is wrong to say that minorities are disproportionately bearing the burden. Whites are indeed slightly under-represented in today's active-duty military as a whole: They make up 64.2 percent of the force, compared with 69.1 percent of the U.S. population. (The reserve components are somewhat whiter.) But whites are slightly over-represented among the dead, at 70.9 percent.

Ed. note: Since whites are dying at a rate 6.7% higher than their representation in the military and 1.8% higher than their representation in the general population, clearly something fishy is going on by Rep. Rangel's logic. They are obviously being victimized. Clearly we must bring back the draft to equalize racial representation among the dead. /sarcasm

Conversely, African-Americans are notably over-represented in the military as a whole. They make up 19.1 percent of the active-duty force, and a staggering 24 percent of the Army, as opposed to just 12.1 percent of the population. But blacks are not significantly over-represented among the dead of this global war: They make up only 12.4 percent.
The reason for this discrepancy, say experts, is that although blacks sign up in greater numbers, they cluster pragmatically in noncombat units whose training in mechanics, electronics, and logistics translates well into civilian careers upon leaving uniform. "The proportion of blacks to whites is very much smaller in the combat arms than in other branches," said retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, former commandant of the Army War College and a noted author. He added that Special Forces and aviation units have the smallest percentage of minorities of all segments of the military.

Interesting reading for Memorial Day weekend.

- Cassandra


May 29, 2004 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Light A Candle

On Memorial Day, it is fitting that we remember the price paid to secure our country and protect her interests. And as we reflect, those thoughts should not make us dissolve into a puddle of fear, doubt, and self-loathing.

When they faced the enemy, they did not back down. How can we, secure in our homes and neighborhoods, so shame the memories of the men and women who have served us so well?

It is a heavy price, but it is not more than we can bear. After all, they have borne far more for our sakes. If we fail them: if we falter now, when we are so close to achieving what they fought and died for, then they have died for nothing. Do we not owe them something - perhaps a small measure of the courage they displayed on the battlefield? Can we not stiffen our spines and dismiss the naysayers, the doubters, the cynics, the media who are sleeping with the enemy?

This Memorial Day when you sit down to celebrate with family and friends, I ask each of you to light a candle in memory of our armed forces: those who died in this conflict or in past wars, those who are wounded, those who fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, our coalition allies, for whom we should thank God - what would this world be without friends in time of need?

I will be saying a little prayer:

Dear Lord:
On this Memorial Day, gather gently the souls of the fallen. Shelter them under Your loving arm, as they protected us during their time on earth. Comfort their families. Send them happy memories and replace their tears with the peace of knowing their dear ones are in Your care. Anoint the wounded with the balm of Your love: ease their pain and speed their healing.
For those on the battlefield, we ask courage and strength to face the trials and dangers of war. Hold them safely in the palm of Your hand and grant them safe return to their families. And if they must fall, may Your light shine upon them to guide the way home.
We thank you for our brave coalition allies, who defied a storm of world opinion to stand with us in this fight. Bless our leaders with wisdom and courage. Give them strength to withstand those who would undermine them during this difficult time. But above all, make us worthy of the sacrifice made on our behalf by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Help us to live up to the ideals they fought and died for.
And never let us forget their service or their sacrifice.

- Cassandra

May 29, 2004 at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Terrorists and the Geneva Convention

John Yoo on applying the Geneva Convention to Guantanamo detainees:

The reasons to deny Geneva status to terrorists extend beyond pure legal obligation. The primary enforcer of the laws of war has been reciprocal treatment: We obey the Geneva Conventions because our opponent does the same with American POWs. That is impossible with al Qaeda. It has never demonstrated any desire to provide humane treatment to captured Americans. If anything, the murders of Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl declare al Qaeda's intentions to kill even innocent civilian prisoners. Without territory, it does not even have the resources to provide detention facilities for prisoners, even if it were interested in holding captured POWs.
It is also worth asking whether the strict limitations of Geneva make sense in a war against terrorists. Al Qaeda operates by launching surprise attacks on civilian targets with the goal of massive casualties. Our only means for preventing future attacks, which could use WMDs, is by acquiring information that allows for pre-emptive action. Once the attacks occur, as we learned on Sept. 11, it is too late. It makes little sense to deprive ourselves of an important, and legal, means to detect and prevent terrorist attacks while we are still in the middle of a fight to the death with al Qaeda. Applying different standards to al Qaeda does not abandon Geneva, but only recognizes that the U.S. faces a stateless enemy never contemplated by the Conventions.

The entire article is worth reading - as with the Patriot Act, there are many misconceptions about the Geneva Convention. The most disturbing thing about the Guantanamo detainment centers is that the war on terror is potentially a war without borders and without a forseeable end date. It is disturbing to think of detainees being held for years without a trial; without, as in World War II, the possibility of an armistice to bring a definitive end to their confinement.

But that, in a way, is a natural consequence of their status: they are not uniformed combatants of identifiable nation-states. There is no nation with whom we can engage, combat with honor on the battlefield, make peace treaties, and exchange prisoners. Al Qaeda sends suicide bombers into our cities to kill innocent civilians rather than making war upon other soldiers. They do not abide by the Conventions Al Gore wants applied to them: Conventions that, if we were to apply tomorrow, their past conduct would exempt them from under the Geneva rules. Al Qaeda doesn't play by the rules.

Still, rules aren't everything. There are also moral and ethical obligations. We are obligated to treat the Guantanamo detainees humanely. There needs to be enough oversight to ensure that we are doing so, but not so much that security is compromised. And the troubling question remains: how much time and effort are we obligated to expend in trials and habeus corpus petitions during wartime? Theoretically, were sufficient legal protections extended to them, with very little effort the detainees could flood the system with petitions, appeals, and other legal matters. How much is enough when we are at war?

This is a difficult question. On the one hand, we do not wish to be an unjust nation. On the other, these people have taken up arms against us in a manner proscribed by the laws of war - a fact that critics like Mr. Gore tend to gloss over. If we let them go, they will undoubtedly do so again. Undoubtedly, there are some comparatively harmless people caught up in the madness, who could be safely let go - detainees who, after all this time, might go peacefully back to their homes. But how do we determine which ones to let go, and how much effort and time are we obligated to spend finding out?

- Cassandra

May 29, 2004 at 09:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 28, 2004

Jet Noise Caption Contest Hall of Shame

Back in February of 2004, a Great Tradition was born... a Mighty Race of Heroes arose upon the Decks of the Captain's Quarters.

Before them was the Face of the Evil One. Like the fighting men of Agincourt, they did not blench at the sight of danger, but vanquished the Enemy with searing wit and half-vast intellect.

And so their noble deeds have been immortalized in this, the Jet Noise Hall of Shame for future ages to ponder and revere:

Old farts forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But we'll remember, with advantages,
What feats of captioning you did that day!
Then shall your names,
Familiar in our mouths as household words-
Pile On, spd rdr, Purple Raider, JarheadDad,
Be in our flowing mugs freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And th'anniversry of the
Kerry Caption Contest shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,
But you Noble Hearts in it shall be remembered-
You few, you happy few, you band of brothers;
For you who captioned that twit Kerry that day
Were made as brothers; be you ne'er so vile,
That day hath gentled your condition;
And gentlemen on other blogs now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd
They were not there,

And hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks
That Captioned Not upon the Contest Day.

***************************************

Pile On

February 24, 2004 Captains Quarters

Hero of Soviet Union:

Put that lighter back in your pocket you stupid redneck, I DON'T EFFIN KNOW FREEBIRD!

March 10, 2004 Captain's Quarters

Honorable Mention:

I'm John Kerry, and I have approved this public display of tender man on man affection.

March 17, 2004 Captain's Quarters

You Have The Conn #2 (NFC Champ)

Ok, Gephardt, you run toward Iowa street then fade south and stay there, Dean go hard left and then off deep; Kucinich you go short, very short, Edwards, you aren't going anywhere; just stay in the pocket with me and try and make me look good, got it? On three,...break.

April 14, 2004 Captain's Quarters

Report to Sick Bay/Injured Reserve (On The Double)

John honey, I didn't know you enjoyed football so much, I thought your ohhh ohhh ohhh face was something special just between us.--
Theresa

May 3, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

3rd: At a recent pro-abortion march in Washington D.C. one protester expresses her deep seated rage at her bush being neither selected or elected.

July 4, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

1st: Pile On® - The Deserter and the Desserter.

July 14, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

1st: Pile On®, "Yes, it’s true. Fat Albert went on to a successful medical practice. Mushmouth? Well…let’s just say….he b-be-b doing-b ten-b to b-twenty-b in-b the b-bighouse b-man-b."

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

3rd Pile On: Here, let me show you West Virginia peckerwoods how we celebrate marrying a billionaire out on the Cape of Cod.

September 20, 2004 Jet Noise Bat Caption Contest

TRUSTY SIDEKICK AWARD: Pile On®

OKAY CHARLES!!

You can have horse woman over for a slumber party but only if you come down off that ledge this instant.

October 5, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

3rd: Pile On - "Long suspected but never proven Big Tex’s drug problem is finally exposed during a federal sting operation when he is caught on film sniffing crack."

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Look At That Shiny Thing

First Down: Pile On® :Known for his lack of public speaking abilities, Senator Kerry illustrates his foreign policy by calling for a punt on first down.


***********************************

Cassandra

February 24, 2004 Captain's Quarters

You have the Conn #2 Lyrics:

For every flip-flop
Turn, turn, turn...
I swear! there's a reason!
Turn, turn, turn...
And I've voted for ev'ry position
Under heaven.
A time to be Pro
A time to be Con
A time to Bend
A time to Sway
A time to bring up Vietnam
A time to put Vietnam behind us...

March 10, 2004 Captain's Quarters:


Ist Place: Edwards: "Well... if you're sure this will win over the Log
Cabin Republicans...

April 14, 2004 Captain's Quarters

You Have The Conn #1 (The Bomb)
"Do I catch it, or let it go...catch it, or let it go...damn I wish those poll results were in!

May 3, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

2nd: Cassandra - Proudly, Muffy waved her sign aloft. That
expensive English Lit degree from Tufts had allowed her to express
her views with an grace and economy of expression that did credit
to her gender.

May 26, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

2nd: Cassandra - Brad Pitt reminds us of the wisdom of the old adage, "Beware of Greeks baring gifts".

July 26, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

2nd: Cassandra - Once again, Senator John Kerry demonstrates that he is incapable of straight shooting.

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

2nd: Cassandra - Clearly speaking with the safety off, the Democratic candidate was heard to remark: "If guns are outlawed, only Senators will have guns."

BEST TRUE CAPTION: Cassandra

"I was against it before I owned it".

September 20, 2004 Jet Noise Bat Caption Contest

BATGIRL (You can come along in case the guys get tied up and need rescuing....again): Cassandra

"Do we have Tipper on the phone yet? Big Al's gone off his lithium again..."

***********

JarheadDad

February 24, 2004 Captains Quarters

You have the Conn #1 Lyrics:

I've been walking these streets so long
Changing the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of DC
Where wafflin's the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
There's been a load of compromising
To the Vets on my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the medals are shining on me

Like a Mekong cowboy
Riding out on a boat in a star spangled Viet Float
Like a Mekong cowboy
Using lies and slander from people I don't even know
And offers coming over the phone

Well I really don't mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you're down when you're riding a train
That's financed the wrong way
And I dream of the thing I'll do
With a White House token and the UN tucked inside my crew
There's been a load of compromising
To the Vets on my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the medals are shining on me

***********

spd rdr

March 17, 2004 Captain's Quarters


You Have The Conn #1 (AFC Champ)
"Tick..tick.. tick.. tick.."

April 20, 2004 Captain's Quarters

Captain's Award (Sailor Moon)
Now pay attention, children. This is a voting booth. VO-ting boooo-the.
On election day, you little guys go to the table marked "DEM"
and the nice lady will let you go into the booth. Pull the "blue" lever.
Got that? Pull the the BLUE lever.
Don't touch the red lever or your mommy will die.

May 19, 2004 Captain's Quarters

You Have The Conn #1 (Floating Feather) -- Spd Rdr:

With a subtle grace not seen since the Ford Administration, Senator Kerry gently nuances the ball over the net.

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

WELL THAT'S JUST SICK AWARD:

"You'd better run, Teresa! I'm only counting to two this time!
One."
BOOM
"Two.
Any of you gals rich and single?"

September 27th, 2004 Jet Noise Caption Contest

Kenneth Cole Petite Sophisticate Award: spd rdr

The defense attorney's faith in his case was for the first time shaken when Mr. Jackson's lone character witness entered the courtroom.

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Look At That Shiny Thing

Second Down: spd rdr

The candidate looked refreshed after landing in Ohio, despite the rigors of an all-night naked Twister party the evening before.

***********
Purple Raider

April 07, 2004 Captain's Quarters


Captain's Sailing Song Special Award -- Purple Raider:

(to the tune of Eve of Destruction):
My leathery face, it is expanding
Wrinkles flaring, Botox fading
I need another treatment, but not from Dean,
I don't believe my hair,
the hair weave's looking mean,
And Denny K's tin hat is Looking Green,
And I'll tell you over and over and over again my friend,
Ah you don't believe that I'm a Nam Vet.

May 19, 2004 Captain's Quarters

Best Musical Reference (Gump, You're A *&$%$# Genius!) -- Purple Raider:

"They Call him Kerry, Kerry, faster than ketchup.
No one you see is nuanced as he
And we know Kerry Votes for a bill then against it
Getting the praise from Uncle Teddy.

Everyone loves the Vietnam Vet
Ever so brave and fearless is he
Medals he won sent over the fence
Then displayed for all to see

They call him Kerry, Kerry taxing the rich folks
No one you see is fairer than he
And we know Kerry Kerry lives in five mansions
Him and Teresa and his dog VC"

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

1st: - Purple Raider

"Now let's crawl on our bellies and hunt deer!"


***********
Cricket

June 3, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

2nd, La Femme Crickita — “My precious…mine. My own. Nassty little
cardinalsess, they wantsss the precious…
they won’t have it until they takes it from my poor dead fingersess…yesss.
I won’t show this to my secretary…
he tried to bite poor me yesterday he did…vile secretary…

July 26, 2004 OTB Caption ContestTM

3rd, La Femme Crickita - "This was exactly the position I was in when I got my first Purple Heart . . . "

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

WELL THAT'S JUST SICK AWARD: La Femme Crickita

"What do you call a skydiving John Edwards?"
Skeet!
Kerry: "Pull!"

************

September 20, 2004 Jet Noise Bat Caption Contest

BATMOBILE AWARD: Don Brouhaha

"... And in other news, after being told by Senator Kerry that the allies of the United States in Iraq were 'nobodies', Prime Minister Tony Blair was seen dressed in a Batman suit, trying to rally other members of the Justice League to his cause."

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Look At That Shiny Thing

Third Down: Don Brouhaha

"Geez, John, it would be a lot easier to play football here at Lambert Field if these jets weren't all taxiing around. John? John? Where'd you go John?"

************

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Debate Caption Contest

The King of Beers: Greg
"That's right Mac, HE'S buying". "Hey, did I ever tellya about the time I was at Lambert Field in December of '67? I tell you, it's 'seared', 'seared' into my brain. Nixon was President and............."

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Look At That Shiny Thing

See The Doc Immediately (tie): Greg

"If my press liason suggests THIS photo-op in San Francisco...I'm firing his as*"

************

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Look At That Shiny Thing

See The Doc Immediately (tie): CKC

"CATCH, Kim Jung! Hold it while I assume the Yoga As(s)anas "Sun [don't shine] Pose"...but don't push any of the buttons!!

************

September 27th, 2004 Jet Noise Caption Contest

Elton John Fashion Forward Award: Freeven

Adjusting to their newly found freedom, Iraqi women have begun measuredly testing ancient mores.

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Debate Caption Contest

This Bud's For You: Freeven

Hey, how come every time I mention Vietnam, they all take a chug? That reminds me, did I tell you about the time my bunk mate Hawkeye and I built our own still?

************

October 12, 2004 Jet Noise Debate Caption Contest

Anybody Feel A Draft? RIslander

Are you sure that woman down there is worth more than 700 million. Because, if she is, this could be one of those magic moments.

**************

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

3rd (tie) KJ

"I shot one warning shot into the air, like this. I waited 10 seconds, then I razed the villiage and killed every man, woman and child I could find with the knowledge and consent of my CO. Well, not me, but at least I heard about many soldiers that did this in Vietnam on a daily basis."

September 27th, 2004 Jet Noise Caption Contest

Badgley Mischka Glamour Award: KJ (Mommy, where's Montanta?)

As Judy approached the Montanta stream, she realized that she had forgotten something. . . . She had left her fishing pole and tackle box in the truck.

******************

September 14, 2004 Jet Noise Kerry's Big Gun

WELL THAT'S JUST SICK AWARD... bahabuddha™

See? You hold it up high like this when you want to gun-butt children...


May 28, 2004 at 09:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

This site will be down

To whom it may concern. This site, all Typepad sites actually, will be down from 2400 to 0200 hours PST
That`s midnight till 2 AM PST for the un-initiated. Typepad is doing a hardware upgrade on their storage servers. Hopefully after the upgrade, it won`t take so long to load the page or post comments.

That is all

-joatmoaf-

May 28, 2004 at 06:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday Humor

I had to pull this out separately because I loved it:

Essay contest reveals liberal bias in education

A fourth-grade essay contest initiated by an elementary school teacher is riling some parents in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The contest offered a $100 prize to the best essay critical of the Bush administration, a reward that some say stands in opposition to the free exchange of ideas.
The winning essay, "George W. Bush is a Great Big Doodyhead" by Sean Smith suggests that "George W. Bush is ca-ca," and that he has "poo smell." He goes on to say, "When I make doody and look at it in the toilet afterward, it looks like Bush, so that's why I think he is a great big doodyhead."
Smith narrowly edged out Paul Higgins, also of Ann Arbor, whose essay "Dick Cheney is What His Name Says" won a $50 gift certificate to Orange Julius.
Honorable mention went to Jessica Allen, whose essay "Moral Relativism: The Hypocritical Subtext of the Neo-Conservatives" won recognition for its insightful assessment of the dissonance of the Bush doctrine as modulated against the values of the Bible. According to Ron Boucher, the teacher who initiated the contest, Allen's essay was "easily the best written, but it wasn't quite fourth-grade enough to be a winner in this contest."
Protest has been mounting against the essay contest from all across Ann Arbor. PTA director Madeline Stern objected, saying her son Billy was disqualified from the contest when he submitted an essay supportive of the U.S. war effort in Iraq. Boucher claimed the disqualification was because Billy Stern "didn't follow directions."
"These kids are going to get plenty of exposure to these Marxist, blame-America-first professors when they get to college," Madelaine Stern said in a recent telephone interview. "I don't see why it has to begin in the fourth grade."
Ron Boucher could not be reached for comment, but issued a statement through his attorney that "George W. Bush is too a big doodyhead, so nyaah."

It's in the sidebar of the prehistoric bird link in this post and is authored by Chris Elliott.

John Kerry announced today that if elected, he will urge Congress to join the European Union.

Parent of the Year awards are in.

Why, oh why did I ever leave? Oh yeah...my liver...

Not to worry, Kerry will fix the Bush economy...

Not funny, but interesting.

Now they're using prehistoric birds... the bastards....

Words to live by.

- Cassandra

May 28, 2004 at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

And the Winners Are...

Most Asinine Quote of the Week: from the Man Who Would Be King: Al Gore

More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does. Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens -- sooner or later -- to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul. One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one's soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded. We also know -- and not just from De Sade and Freud -- the psychological proximity between sexual depravity and other people's pain. It has been especially shocking and awful to see these paired evils perpetrated so crudely and cruelly in the name of America. Those pictures of torture and sexual abuse came to us embedded in a wave of news about escalating casualties and growing chaos enveloping our entire policy in Iraq. But in order understand the failure of our overall policy, it is important to focus specifically on what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison, and ask whether or not those actions were representative of who we are as Americans? Obviously the quick answer is no, but unfortunately it's more complicated than that. There is good and evil in every person. And what makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have led us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations more than the people any other nation. Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation -- especially the temptation to abuse power over others. Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.

I decided to leave out the paragraph breaks so you can experience Weird Al's 'thoughts' in all their stream-of-unconsciousness glory. My one-minute synopsis: Bush is a sexual pervert: he is into dominance as a way of subliminating other, unnamed desires. Big Al hasn't flashed on the fact that the military's investigation of Abu Ghraib demonstratrates that the checks and balances he rants about are firmly in place. Gore clearly doesn't get it - government doesn't (and can't) ensure or bring about human virtue. A system of government is intended to reign in human vice and provide a remedy when things get out of hand (as they clearly did at Abu Ghraib). When one branch of government exceeds its authority, the others have oversight. Thus, Congress may investigate the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The system is working, and the White House has done nothing to prevent this from happening, for all Gore's hysterical ranting. Idiot...

Best Quote of the Week: a tie:

"A man who was very, very nearly president of the United States has been reduced to sounding like one of those people in Times Square with a megaphone screaming about God's justice. It is almost impossible to believe that this man was once vice president of the United States."
- John Podhoretz

"Well, it looks like Al's gone off his lithium again."
- Charles Krauthammer

Voted Off the Planet: I think it's unanimous

Big Al from Tennessee

- Cassandra

May 28, 2004 at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Another Reason To Distrust the UN

You've all probably heard the canard that the US "owes" the UN money. Well, here's the rest of the story:

Claims that the United States owes the United Nations more than $1 billion are false. No legal debt exists or can exist. The UN Charter does not empower the organization to compel payment from any member state.
Even the notion that the United States owes money in the sense of a moral obligation is fallacious. It ignores the military and other assistance that the Clinton administration has provided the UN and for which the United States has not been properly credited or reimbursed. Over the past five years, that assistance has amounted to at least $11 billion, and perhaps as much as $15 billion. The administration has been diverting funds from federal agencies, especially the Department of Defense, to the United Nations.
Allegations of debt have distracted attention from a disturbing administration policy of providing resources, personnel, and equipment to the UN without the advance approval of Congress. In effect, the administration and the UN have been conducting important elements of U.S. foreign and military policy and bypassing Congress's power of the purse. That tendency raises grave constitutional concerns.

Turns out the bulk of this supposed debt would be offset by as much as $9 billion in peacekeeping funds contributed by the US between 1992 and 1997 that were never reimbursed by the UN or credited to us. So much for the "debt".

Curioser and curioser... Apparently there was a lot more going on in the background when 9/11 happened than many of us were aware of. Via EconoPundit.

- Cassandra

May 28, 2004 at 09:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This Interview Rocks

An interesting (although profanity-laced) interview with band leader Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth, in which he sets his Canadian interviewer straight on a few matters. It's pretty amusing watching him call the interviewer on his biases - he doesn't pull any punches:

BW&BK: "This next question is controversial so I'm letting you know before we proceed. Some political analysts have articulated the view that what happened on September 11 was justified due to America's presence in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia. Some political analysts view it as retaliation for what the US has done in the Middle East in the past. As a Canadian, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about this view that's been put forth by analysts."
JS: "No, it wasn't justified. Not at all. And anybody who says so needs to have their f*** head examined."
BW&BK: "Do you think 9/11 will be viewed as the first event in the US empire's decline and fall?"
JS: "No. This is not an empire, first of all. If the United States was an empire, your country would be our 51st state."
BW&BK: "I understand."
JS: "Let's get real. We don't do that. It's not our thing. Colin Powell did an interview and the interviewer called the United States an empire and used this bulls** f*** socialist language and his response was, 'The only land we've ever asked for is enough for the kids who don't come home. In all the countries we've gone and liberated as far back as WWII, the only land we've asked for is for our soldiers that died.' There's an over-whelming amount of jealousy and resentment out there. When you're the leader, everyone comes to you when they need help. But then they s*** on you every chance they get. You can never please everybody all the time. No matter what you do. You can try to do the best things, and no matter what someone is out to get you and tear you down. It's in that way in any scale of leadership. I don't care if it's a personal thing or a country or a commander of a battalion. It's human nature, it's unfortunate. But it's the way it is."

Again, I didn't mind the language, but you have been warned. Thanks to MathMom for the link.

May 28, 2004 at 08:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack