The Long View 2005-12-19: Bush Speaks; Spengler Smirks; Aslan Roars

More tedious political crap from 2005.


Bush Speaks; Spengler Smirks; Aslan Roars

 

It is otiose, as a rule, for a blogger to quote Glenn Reynolds, since if you read any blogs at all you probably read his. Nonetheless, let me note for the record his take on President Bush's address from the Oval Office last night:

BUSH DOUBLES DOWN: I just watched Bush's speech. Nothing new there for anyone who's been paying attention to the speeches he's been giving over the past couple of weeks. But one big thing struck me: In this national televised speech, Bush went out of his way to take responsibility for the war. He repeatedly talked about "my decision to invade Iraq," even though, of course, it was also Congress's decision. He made very clear that, ultimately, this was his war, and the decisions were his.

Why did he do that? Because he thinks we're winning, and he wants credit. By November 2006, and especially November 2008, he thinks that'll be obvious, and he wants to lay down his marker now on what he believed -- and what the other side did. That's my guess, anyway.

That is possible, but the hypothesis is unnecessary: Bush needed to be seen to be in favor of his own war no matter how he thinks it is going. In any case, let me also note these remarks by that old calumniator, Mark Steyn:

One day Iraq will be a G7 member hosting the Olympics in the world's No. 1 luxury vacation resort of Fallujah, and the Defeaticrat Party will still be running around screaming it's a quagmire. It's not just that Iraq is going better than expected, but that it's a huge success that's being very deftly managed: The timeframe imposed on the democratic process turns out to have worked very well...

The Iraq election's over, the media did their best to ignore it, and, judging from the rippling torsos I saw every time I switched on the TV, the press seem to reckon that that gay cowboy movie was the big geopolitical event of the last week, if not of all time.

He is correct about the establishment-media treatment. The policy of the US opposition seems to be that no outcome in Iraq can be judged to be anything better than a disaster, at least as long as the Bush Administration is responsible for it.

As for silence about good news, I note that the The New York Times must have had an advanced copy of Bush's speech in good time to make an editorial comment about it in today's edition, but no such comment appeared on today's editorial page. That's not censorship, though it's odd enough to suggest a division of opinion in the paper's management. More troubling about the Times was the publication, on the day after the Iraqi elections, of the story about NSA wiretaps or residents of the United States who mad been in communication with possible terrorist organizations abroad. The wiretaps were colorably legal, and the people being monitored were reasonable objects of surveillance. The appropriate members of Congress had been informed.

What stinks to high heaven is the timing of the story. The Times had sat on the information for two years. They released it when they did, apparently, for no other reason than to have something else on their frontpage besides coverage of the notably successful elections. (There was also the fact that the journalist who reported the story is about to publish a book on the subject.) To paraphrase a recent Times editorial, we have to ask whether the country can tolerate having a newspaper of record this bad.

There is reason to believe the story will backfire. Bush justified the wiretaps at length in his press conference this morning. He took special care to note his consultation with Congress. Many of the president's most ardent supporters are fed up with him, but I think that the public now appreciates how artificial these "scandals" have become.

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Despite the good news for the White House, That Spengler continues to blaspheme against the implacable benevolence of Immanuel Kant and his Democratic Peace:

Apropos of Washington's triumphal response to the high voter turnout in last week's Iraqi elections, we should ask this simple question: why do political leaders believe that democracy fosters peace, despite innumerable examples to the contrary? History shows us that the broad electorate can be as bellicose as the most bloodthirsty tyrant. But there is a sound reason to equate democracy and peace; sadly, this argument has a fatal flaw...The trouble is that entire peoples frequently find themselves faced with probable or inevitable ruin, such that no peaceful solution can be found...That is why Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is the Islamic world's pre-eminent democrat...By the same token, Hamas represents the popular will in Gaza and the West Bank.

That Spengler's many admirers will recall that he has a theory that the Iranian theocracy is doomed six ways to Sunday, so the theocrats quite literally have nothing left to lose. The same is true, he tells us, not of Islam, but of its Islamist deformations.

Be that as it may, I am reasonably sure that the outcome of the recent Iraqi elections was not a victory for Iran. Unless I am greatly misinformed, Arab Shia think that Iranian Shiism is something of an impertinence. Watch.

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As for stability fascists, let them choke on this:

'Drastic global warming threat from Pantheron Dileoxide': Chief Wolf speaks out

By Our Own Correspondent, Digdirt the Dwarf

Today, the Wolf Council of the White Queen, Imperial Majesty Jadis, Empress of the Lone Islands, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel, the Witch of Narnia, ('May She Freeze Forever!'), howled an apocalyptic warning in the Narnian Independent that the world is threatened by drastic global warming from the continued emissions of Lion's Breath, Pantheron Dileoxide (PL2). "PL2 is a dangerous, roaring greenhouse gas", the Chief Wolf, Maugrim, growled. "It melts everything, even frozen fauns and fountains. Climate change is the biggest threat ever to Narnia - we might even have Christmas, and the Queen's war chariot polar bears will have nowhere to live", he snarled.

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Many intelligent people never got the memo about Alternative History, and those who come upon that section of my website sometimes take for real the items there. Well, I at least have menu page that explains what AH is and clearly lists all the AH items. In contrast, what excuse will the Weekly Standard be able to give for Joe Queenan's "Keeping it Real," which appears without warning in the December 19 issue of the magazine?

[F]rom Schubert to Shakur, musical violence is an old story

The recent shooting of record mogul Suge Knight at a music industry celebration has evoked the usual handwringing [but recent scholarship contends] that violent internecine behavior has been a staple of Western music since at least the 18th century..."Brahms blinded his first agent, fed his publisher's ear to his pet piranha, Sasha, and paid to have an opera critic gang-raped by lovesick Montenegrin goatherds," says [one scholar] "And Brahms did not even write operas..."

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Here's another paranoia engine for you, called They Rule (Thanks, Tim!). This one cover CEOs, financial moguls, and their corporate entities.

It seems to me, by the way, that the real use of this engine is as an aide to customer complaints. If you have some intractable billing problem, for instance, but can't get satisfaction from Customer Service, try writing to the whole board of directors. Remember to be brief and polite.

Copyright © 2005 by John J. Reilly

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