Monday, September 24, 2007

Sometimes other people say it better

This quote sums up my feelings on the shooting incident involving Blackwater Security in Iraq last week:

Blackwater USA is in the news because of a shootout about a week ago in Baghdad which resulted in the death of about a dozen civilians. . . . If innocent people were killed then that is a tragedy, but these guys aren't providing personal security to Britney Spears and Puff Daddy, moving crowds aside so they can enter LA nightclubs unimpeded.

Before you jump to conclusions that these are trigger-happy Special Forces wannabees, keep in mind most of them did their national service in the US, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, or elsewhere as trained, qualified Special Forces, Navy Seal, Air Force Special Ops, or other elite force members. So they are special forces already-have-beens. . . . As far as I'm concerned, they have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Latest dispatch from Cloud-Cuckooland

This is like apologizing to the guy that just socked you in the face for hurting his hand!

Simply Outrageous

Thanks to Chuck Muth for this item from the War in Afghanistan (the "good" was, according to Democrites). I am speechless.

Mirandizing the Enemy
By Chuck Muth

For today's lesson in "How to Lose a War," let's consider the case of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in World War II and compare it to the case of Nawab Buntangyar in what some consider to be World War III today.

But first, consider this all-too-common report in the New York Times this week out of Nad Ali, Afghanistan:

"A suicide bomber wrapped in explosives walked into a crowded government building.and blew himself up, killing at least seven people, four of them police officers. Six people were wounded."

OK, back to the lesson. Admiral Yamamoto commanded the Japanese Navy and led the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. He was, as the lawyers put it today, an "enemy combatant." Then, on a spring afternoon in 1943, Admiral Yamamoto decided to take a leisurely inspection tour of the South Pacific in a transport plane. U.S. forces learned of Yamamoto's exact itinerary, intercepted his plane and blew him out of the sky.

Note that Yamamoto was merely on an inspection tour and not engaged in hostile activities directed at the American pilots who intercepted him. He posed no "imminent threat" to the American pilots. Therefore, according to some rather bizarre interpretations of today's rules of engagement, the American pilots should have tried to force Yamamoto's plane to land and capture him rather than shoot him down. And the pilot who was credited with nailing Yamamoto should have been tried for murder instead of being awarded the Navy Cross.

Asinine, right? Right. Absolutely absurd.

Which brings us to Nawab Buntangyar.

Mr. Buntangyar had been designated an "enemy combatant" in the Afghanistan war theater for organizing suicide and roadside bomb attacks like the one in Nad Ali described above. He was, for all intents and purposes, an officer in the enemy's corps, not a foot soldier. As such, Buntangyar was declared an "enemy combatant" and was "vetted as a target" by American commanders which, according to the New York Times, "meant he could be legally killed once he was positively identified."

Similarly to Yamamoto, U.S. forces learned of Buntangyar's itinerary last October and endeavored to take him out of the game - permanently. Buntangyar was lured out of his village hideout and into the open where a Special Forces team was waiting. He was positively identified by Afghan police on the scene. So Capt. Dave Staffel gave Master Sgt. Troy Anderson, reportedly 100 yards away from Buntangyar, the green light.

BLAM!! Right between the eyes. Bye-bye, Nawab. Hello, 72 virgins.

Think about this for minute, folks. Our man Sgt. Anderson, under the pressure of a wartime operation, nails the bad guy from the length of a football field right in the melon with one shot. No American casualties. No civilian causalities. Not even any property damage, other than maybe a dry-cleaning bill or two for the guys standing next to Nawab at the time. Compare this to the enemy's suicide bombings.

Naturally, Staffel, Anderson and the entire 7-man Green Beret team involved in the mission were warmly clasped on their backs and congratulated for a job well done, right? Wrong.

In June, Lt. Gen. Frank H. Kearney charged the pair of Green Berets with premeditated murder in the incident. What makes this persecution - er, prosecution even more outrageous is that Kearney brought the charges after not one, but two military investigations cleared the Green Berets in the incident, concluding the shooting was "justifiable homicide."

Is this any way to fight a war?

The shooting was cleared, twice, so why is Lt. Gen. "CYA" Kearney continuing to persecute - er, prosecute these military professionals who did the job they were trained to do and asked to do by their country? What kind of message does this persecution - er, prosecution send to our boots on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq? I mean, if we're not going to let our soldiers kill the enemy, then why the hell are they there?

Who's running this "war" anyway? The commanders in the field or the lawyers back home? If it's the lawyers, and men like Capt. Staffel and Sgt. Anderson have to read Johnny Jihadi his Miranda rights instead of plinking him in the noggin with a bullet, then the war is over. We lost. Bring the boys home.

Cultural Relativism is a bunch of rot

I am in the east African nation of Djibouti. Last weekend, my colleagues and I and some folks from the embassy took a trip out into the country to Lake Assal.

Lake Assal is a salt lake like the Great Salt Lake in Utah or the Dead Sea in Jordan. In fact, Lake Assal is the most saline body of water on Earth. It is also the lowest point in Africa and the second lowest point in Earth at about 375 ft (115 m) below sea level. (The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth at 1378 ft (420 m) below sea level.)

What does this have to do with cultural relativism? In our group was the representative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We ran across some acquaintances of hers and they joined us for a picnic lunch at the beach. They were a married couple. He was French, a doctor, and his wife was Spanish.

Somehow our conversation turned to some of the more barbaric cultural rituals practiced in African societies. Female genital mutilation is the most well-know of these. I will assume that readers are familiar with this practice and will not describe it here.

I mentioned that there is another ritual practiced in West Africa. It is called "pressing". Mothers place heated stones or irons on the budding breasts of their young daughter. This is supposed to curb the growth of the breasts. This is done so that young women do not become objects of lust to men and hence victims of rape. I wonder about the prevalence of rape that such a practice is deemed necessary.

The French doctor then told me about another practice that I hadn't known about called "pulling". He said that it is fairly common in central Africa. The purpose of pulling is to enlarge the female genitalia to enhance sexual pleasure (for the man, please). The practice usually begins around age 10.

As I heard about this practice, and thought about the others about which I had already known, I started to get angry. It's bad enough that these medieval, barbaric practices continue in the 21st century. However what got me really mad was thinking about the complicity of the political Left in all this.

Cultural relativism dictates that no one culture is better than another. Cultures are just different. Cultural relativism is a cousin of another hated dogma (hated by me, that is) of the Left, "diversity". I cannot fathom the rationale behind cultural relativism. The closest I can come is white guilt and hurt feelings. Many on the political left feel guilty that our society is able to provide more for its citizens than other societies. This isn't "fair", they say, so we must have cheated somehow to obtain these ill-gotten gains. White guilt is the natural consequence for all those morally superior people of the Left. Hurt feelings because we don't want to remind other peoples of the shortcomings of their own cultures.

Thus, Western culture is robbed of the ability to criticize such gross practices as female genital mutilation and "pulling". I think this is reprehensible and is one of many reasons I would never align myself with the political Left.

However, cultural relativism also damages our own culture. Because of cultural relativism, "hip-hop" culture (such as it is) is now dominant in the United States. Hip-hop culture is misogynistic and glorifies pathology and criminality. Put simply, hip-hop culture is a "low" culture. It is self-destructive and aspires to nothing. Yet, thanks to cultural relativism, our society is precluded from criticizing hip-hop culture. Anyone who criticizes hip-hop culture faces charges of cultural imperialism and racism.

So, thanks once again, Lefties. You are complicit in the lowering of our culture and rob the rest of us of the ability to forestall this slide into the cultural oblivion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Donovan McNabb's Comments

On a soon-to-be-aired episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel", Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is interviewed by "Real Sport's" James Brown. I haven't seen the program, nor am I likely to watch it. However, an article on yesterday carried some highlights. In case you didn't see the article, I'll recap it for you (and I am paraphrasing here):

James Brown: Donovan, is it tougher for black quarterbacks in the NFL?

Donovan McNabb: Waaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

No. It's not my birthday (that's next month). But yesterday was the third anniversary of my first blog post.

I left out one of the best parts!

In the post I put up the other day about the "Women's Studies" (and I use the term loosely) professor from Duke, I neglected to comment about the best part.

Did you catch this sentence?

. . . Complexifying this equation to include race meant identifying ourselves as white oppressors; it meant, therefore that our politics were now less absolute, we ourselves less pure. (emphasis added)

How like a college professor! The verb to denote the coining of a word is to neologize. I believe the origin is Greek - "neo" meaning new, and "logos" meaning word.

Now, Dr. Rudy has a Ph.D., but the fact that she won't say the field in which she was awarded her Ph.D. makes me think it is likely in the spurious field in which she teaches. So I guess it should not be much of a surprise that she choose to use a neologism -


The title says it all

Thanks to my friend, Nick Keck, for the following item:

Bank Robber Uses Own Check in Robbery

Sep 11, 8:24 PM (ET)ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - A man robbing a bank demanded the money by writing a note on one of his own checks, authorities say. Not surprisingly, he was caught soon afterward.

Forest Kelly Bissonnette, 27, apparently tried to cover his name on the check, then handed the note to a teller Sept. 5 at the Bank of the Westin Englewood, according to authorities.

"We could still make it out even though he blacked it out," FBI agent Rene VonderHaar said. Nearly $5,000 was taken.

Surveillance video showed a suspect similar to Bissonnette's description, and a tipster said a man named Forest Kelly claimed he got $5,000 in a bank robbery, according to a federal complaint.

Bissonnette remained in federal custody Tuesday after turning himself in Friday. A public defender was to be appointed for Bissonnette, who doesn't have a listed phone number.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

There is a really simple solution here

Check out this item from Fox News.

Like I said, there is a really simple and obvious solution here. Young Saul Arrellano is also a Mexican citizen. If he wants his Mommy so bad, there is nothing stopping him from going to Mexico and being with her.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, buddy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I can't help myself

I try not to crib from James Taranto's "Best of the Web" too much, but some items are too juicy to pass up:

Last week we noted a bizarre op-ed piece from Kathy Rudy, a professor of "women's studies" at Duke, who described herself as a supporter of animal rights but proceeded to defend erstwhile NFL player Michael Vick's involvement in illegal dogfighting on the ground that he is black.

Many readers wrote to ask us or to tell us that Rudy was one of the infamous "Duke 88," a group of Duke faculty members who signed an ad that listed quotes, purporting to come from Duke students, about the rape allegation against lacrosse players, which turned out to be a hoax. The original ad seems to have disappeared form the Web, but a copy is here.

What's more, according to this page, Rudy was not among the 89 Duke faculty members (which included some who had been among the 88 and some who hadn't) who signed a "clarifying statement" which said the ad had not been intended to prejudge the rape case--not a terribly believable assertion, but at least an implicit acknowledgment of error.

Blogger KC Johnson--co-author of "Until Proven Innocent," which is reviewed today by Abigail Thernstrom and is available from the OpinionJournal bookstore--has more background on Rudy, a tenured associate professor:

Upon first coming to Durham, Rudy recalled that she "moved quickly into the lesbian community because there was a growing sentiment in feminist discourse that lesbianism was the most legitimate way to act out our politics." Within this "progressive" neighborhood in west Durham, "Many of us thought that by avoiding men and building a parallel, alternative culture, we were changing the world . . . I managed to live most of my daily life avoiding men all together, and spent most of my social time reading, dreaming, planning, talking, and writing about the beauty of a world run only by women, . . . free of [men's] patronizing dominance." Rudy and her fellow radical feminists oriented their activities around "the ideas that women were superior and that a new world could be built on that superiority."

But problems soon emerged.

Durham's radical feminists were white and middle-class, but Rudy's social group had two "Black women." The duo "began to use race as a category of political analysis, when they declared that they--as Black lesbian women--were more oppressed than the rest of us." The two women exposed an uncomfortable truth: "If one identity-based oppression was bad, two or three or more was worse."

Their action, Rudy reminisced, challenged the founding principle of radical lesbians in Durham and elsewhere: "That we--as women--were oppressed, so much so that identification as the oppressor then seemed impossible. For us at that point, the equation was simple; men dominated and oppressed women . . . Complexifying this equation to include race meant identifying ourselves as white oppressors; it meant, therefore that our politics were now less absolute, we ourselves less pure." This development produced uncomfortable questions, such as "Could we stand to see ourselves as oppressors and still exist in such an ideologically pure community? Could we purge ourselves of racism by loving Black women but not Black men?"

They say America has the world's finest system of higher education. If that is true, there are scores of other systems--perhaps as many as 200--that are worse than the one that produced Kathy Rudy. This is going to give us nightmares for a long time.

Will someone please tell Kanye West to shut the hell up?

Someone really needs to put a muzzle on hip-hop superstar Kanye West (I know - I can't name a single song of his either). I am a big fan of freedom of speech, but sometimes I wonder if it is a good thing that every idiot in our country is entitled to it.

First, in September 2005, during a Hurrican Katrina fundraiser West made the stupid, and ultimately impossible-to-prove claim, that George Bush doesn't care about black people.

Then, in 2006, the publicity hound made headlines again by throwing a temper tantrum when he didn't win the Grammy for Album of the Year. (The award went to U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb instead.)

Just a few weeks ago he was at it again, throwing another tantrum when he was shutout in five categories at the MTV Music Video Awards. Predictably, West accused MTV of "disrespecting" him.

Now he is taking shots at MTV claiming they 'exploited' Britney Spears (one wonders if that is even possible) by featuring an unprepared Spears in the show. According to West:

Man, they were just trying to get ratings, and they knew she wasn't ready and they exploited her.

Like I said, I just wish he would shut the hell up, as the press is obviously pathologically incapable of not providing him a forum for these outbursts.