Archive for November, 2005

Calling the Left Out

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Congressman Hunter (Vietnam vet, Ranger platoon leader) did a masterful job of calling out the anti-American left in Congress. The debate over Congressman Murtha’s call for immediate withdrawl was instructive, with the Democrats left having Murtha reading letters from a few soldiers and families opposed to the war. The Republicans, after the Democrats walked out on the limb trying to claim special honor for Murtha as a Vietnam veteran with a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, proceded to introduce an entire batting order of veterans and current service members. They culminated with Congressman Johnson of Texas. Rep. Hunter introduced him as the recipient of 2 Silver Stars, then worked through other medals to the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, thus seeing the Democrat’s hero hand and raising them. Then Congressman Johnson spoke of how he personally knew of lack of freedom from over six years as a prisoner of war. He made the debate about Vietnam and Congress’s abandonment and betrayal of the troops and our allies. He was extremely blunt. The vote became a vote about Congress now and then as he spoke. He ran out of time and a couple Democrats wanted to stop the debate, but they dared not stand up and be recognized, so the hero was given another three minutes to drive a stake in the cut-and-run movement.

GWOT Dashboard?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

The Senate’s vote for quarterly progress reports is not a bad thing and could be coopted into a good thing. The SecDef asked, in a 2003 “snowflake,” how we would know we are winning. By now we ought to have a clear set of metrics persuasively linked to a clear set of objectives and these should be updated weekly in a single screen (no larger than 800×600) “dashboard instrument panel” showing quantitative goals and progress towards the goals. The President ought to see the Senate’s demands and raise them with a WEEKLY update given directly to the American people , copy furnished to the Senators.

“Out” Christians?

Monday, November 14th, 2005

Interesting piece in the latest Atlantic Monthly ties in with the latest Anne Rice novel (previous post) and tangentially with the question of Hollywood’s approach to war movies. The article suggests Christians are well on the way to regaining positive inclusion in the business and on the screen. Money quote: “Don’t you know? ‘Christian’ is the new ‘gay.’” Projected end state: normalization of Christians and Christian themes as an accepted minority along side gays and racial minorities. The mainstreaming of open practioners of Christianity may be the realization of the La’Bree vision of artists who are Christians producing quality art informed by but not limited to their religion.
Add to this the recent stepping up to support the troops/war by Bruce Willis. A gradual slowing, vector reversal of Hollywood culture towards the center?

Anne Rice’s first foray into the light a success

Saturday, November 12th, 2005
Product Image: Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
My rating: 4 out of 5

I picked up a copy of Anne Rice’s new novel, the first in a new cycle, entitled Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. She took the risk of writing a novel of Christ’s childhood voiced in the first person. She succeeded. And what a postscript! Worth the price of the book in its lucid defense of the historical truth of Christ.
I’ve read a number of the Vampire Chronicles and some of her other supernatural works. I found them rich in historical/archeological detail, concerned with moral problems, and ultimately having the same effect as the Winter Queen’s Turkish Delight: you want more but it never satisfies and ultimately is a bit sickening as you are immersed in darkness and decay, the embrace of the darkness that sustains itself by consuming life but never creating it. Rich, haunting, tragic figures and some nightmarish ones.
Quite a transformation to write from the perspective of The Son of God, the Light of the World. The same challenge as Dante faced in moving from the Inferno to Paradise. I judge Anne Rice’s first volume to be of a par with her best dark works, although that judgment may be clouded by the distance of time since I last read her. I gave up reading her old vein of works, for reasons cited above, and will definitely be looking for her next installation of this new series.

News notes

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

The NYT continues to make its unintended case for an American Official Secrets Act.

This time it is a secret pitch about a captured notebook computer with information that even France and Germany agree confirms the Iranian mullahs desire to play with nuclear fire.

The computer contained studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead, said European and American officials who had examined the material, including a telltale sphere of detonators to trigger an atomic explosion. The documents specified a blast roughly 2,000 feet above a target - considered a prime altitude for a nuclear detonation.
Nonetheless, doubts about the intelligence persist among some foreign analysts. In part, that is because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop computer beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a longtime contact in Iran.

Wonder if the source is dead now, or still in place, or evacuated with the evidence? Is this an official leak intended by the President to put further pressure on the Iranians and obstructionists both foreign and domestic? If not, refer back to the opening sentence, if so then consider the complexity of the government sometimes using and sometimes objecting to leaks of classified material.

From the Washington Post
President Bush and leading congressional Democrats lobbed angry charges at each other Friday in an increasingly personal battle over the origins of the Iraq war.

Increasingly? Personal? So the president finally started standing up for the troops and the mission, never mind his own reputation. If you take the position that you can’t really “support the troops” while trashing the mission on the way to trashing the commander-in-chief, then the reverse must also obtain. Failing to defend the mission is failing to support the troops. I’m thankful the president has taken a first step, and look forward to at least weekly equally forceful, blunt follow-ups by him and his top officials. The troops deserve it and the nation, the world, needs it.

The Republicans might just survive the next election cycle by being less incompetent than the Democrats:
The Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean is losing the fundraising race against Republicans by nearly 2 to 1, a slow start that is stirring concern among strategists who worry that a cash shortage could hinder the party’s competitiveness in next year’s midterm elections.

C|Net asks Will’s Sony’s DRM nightmare affect future policies? This provides a useful chronology with links.
Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Friday that it will suspend production of CDs with copy-protection technology that has been exploited by virus writers to try to hide their malicious code on PCs.

The decision by the music label comes after 10 days of controversy around the technology, which is designed to limit the number of copies that can be made of the CD and to prevent a computer user from making unprotected MP3s of the music.

10 days! An eternity in the 24/7 new media cycle. Especially check out this very cool web tool connecting players, topics, and stories in a clickable diagram.

Finally, a bit on energy policy as national security policy:
I see a bit in Wired on biodiesel as a replacement/suppliment for fuel oil. The article is realistic:
But he points out that if biodiesel catches on as predicted, the waste vegetable oil that individuals like Parris are using could become a commodity, and it would no longer be easily obtained for free. And there’s another problem. “We probably won’t be able to replace more than 10 percent to 15 percent of our current petrodiesel usage with biodiesel,” he says. “Ultimately, the answer is relying on a broad range of renewable-energy strategies including biofuels of all types.”

OK. Still makes sense to dispose of used oil by consuming it rather than puting it into the ground or water. While I share Hugh Hewitt’s frustration with R’s that won’t risk their r’s to increase energy independence with drilling in ANWR, I also know that the Bush administration, and so the president, helped create the problem of schizophrenic policy with the rejection of Kyoto/ acceptance of the Kyoto premise in pushing replacement of coal with natural gas in power generation. Major competition with all the old folks in the Northeast.

Oh, read Ralph Peters on the French Intifata.