|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
Check this cat out:
Friday, March 21, 2003
Posted 9:39 PM by WiN
with this picture - it says it all about the whole pro-liberation vs. anti-war thing:
Posted 9:12 PM by WiN
Usually I listen to music during my 30 minute there-and-back commute to Oklahoma City, but naturally the last few days I wanted to use the time to catch up on war news, especially in the morning. There is only one all-news station in the market (I'm not counting the NPR college station. I know it's my tax dollars paying for it, but I'd rather puncture my eardrums with a rusty ice pick than listen to NPR's take on the war) so I don't have much choice.
Anyway, the news feed this particular station uses comes from ABC news radio. And their tagline for Iraqi war news? "America Attacks!" Jeez, guys, what is this, Pravda North America? America Attacks??? Could we come up with anything more pejorative? Perhaps "Gulf War II - Revenge of Bush"? "Yanqui Imperialists Subjugate Swarthy Arab Natives"?
And these folks still marvel at the success of Fox News.
Posted 8:35 PM by WiN
Bigwig comments on the positive ramifications of the new policy of 'embedding' journalists.
Posted 8:17 PM by WiN
Lileks - the master
Yeah, I know. Anyone who has been reading blogs for more than 2 days know that Lileks is in the pantheon of blog gods, right alongside Professor Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, Charles Johnson, Meryl Yourish and a few others. But yesterday's entry is a prime example of why. Classic photo, combined with astounding profundity:
In any case, it’s obvious tonight this isn’t SHOCK AND AWE, which brings me to the Library of Congress. Years ago ago I was standing in the LoC, looking up at the glorious ceiling, and I saw a curious phrase painted above:We're not worthy.
Posted 7:46 PM by WiN
Surrender of Iraq imminent?
Bill Kristol, being interviewed on Fox News, says that sources say Iraqi generals are close to negotiating an end to the war by surrendering to allied armies. Saddam is either dead or in no position to control his military apparatus any longer.
I don't have any idea, of course, how accurate his sources are, but I think we can all pray that the end is very, very near and that no more deaths on either side will be necessary.
Posted 3:02 PM by WiN
All but unnoticed in the wave of hits that washed over my tiny part of the blogosphere the last couple of days as a result of the Carnival, WylieBlog reached a pretty significant milestone today - 5,000 visits! Woo-hoo!
Now to some, that probably seems piddling, and I wouldn't argue. But, it took almost 5 years for my previous personal site to reach 10,000 visits, and this site is less than a year old. My 5,000th visitor appears to have been from Europe, and was referred by a link to the Carnival from John Ray's Dissecting Leftism. I'm honored to have had people dropping by that many times to read my ramblings, and I hope to keep doing it for a long time to come. Muchas gracias!
Posted 2:33 PM by WiN
Why this war? Why now?
Another excellent essay on why the current war on Iraq is the right thing to do, and the probable consequences had it been delayed.
This time, we get the chance to do things differently because the lesson of history is right there before us. It is the Rhineland once again. As Churchill said during those dark days, and as he reiterated in the clearer light that followed the last war, had we in the West acted together and defeated Hitler then, there would not have been a Second World War. It would have been a relatively easy job if the Western powers had acted in concert, since Hitler and Nazi Germany were still quite weak. By halting or even killing the "guttersnipe" (as Churchill called Hitler) and vanquishing the Nazis early on, we would have been spared all the later bloodshed and horror of World War II. Again we face a similar choice: It's either a small war now, or a large, even massive, war later — but not much later, maybe two or at most three years (as it similarly was between Hitler's seizure and illegal re-occupation of the Rhineland, in 1936, and the Nazi conquest of Poland, in 1939). And the massive world war we face if we do not fight Saddam's Iraq will, it is almost certain, involve nuclear bombs — since historical experience with Saddam has shown us that he will not hesitate to use this or any type of weapon of mass destruction, if he thinks he can get away with it and if it will demoralize his enemy.I agree 100% with Professor Green, that Bush had to make a decision on Iraq and he made the correct one. It was not easily or hurriedly made, of that I am positive. But it was a decision based on knowledge and information - knowledge of history, of personalities and motives; information about weapons, timetables, and the movements of sworn enemies of the United States. It is assuredly agonizing to decide to send young American men and women into battle, knowing that some will not come home. But it is far, far better than to wait until hundreds of thousands lie dead, millions are injured, and hundreds of millions live in utter dread of what could happen to them tomorrow, or the next day. This quote from Churchill's The Gathering Storm is stunningly apropos:
Virtuous motives, trammeled by inertia and timidity, are no match for armed and resolute wickedness. A sincere love of peace is no excuse for muddling hundreds of millions of humble folk into total war. The cheers of weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to echo, and their votes soon cease to count. Doom marches on.The march has ceased, for now, largely in part due to the courage of men like President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. May God bless them, and give them continued strength of purpose to see the job through.
Posted 1:41 PM by WiN
Losses mount at home
Allied losses have been thankfully light so far, with every reason to remain optimistic that this conflict can be resolved with an almost incomprehendably low casualty rate, among both 'friendlies' and 'non-combatants'. But on another front, casualties have been running high for months and continue to mount at a rapid pace. The casualties of which I speak are relationships.
Last night, my sainted wife went out for a few hours of 'girl talk' over drinks at a local watering hole. My wife is intelligent, incredibly level-headed, almost supernaturally kind-hearted, and non-confrontational on a level that makes Ghandi look like Rambo. I've met her friends and, while I wouldn't want them designing any rockets that I'd be flying in, they seem reasonably intelligent and genuinely nice. Upon arriving home, she announced that they had had a nice time together, except when the topic of war came up. She made a comment to the effect that 'they didn't agree with' the war in Iraq and that they had made disparaging remarks about Bush to the point where she felt the topic had to change. I was genuinely surprised that these close friends couldn't have a civil discussion on the topic of Iraq, but I let it slide until I read this.
Apparently, my wife's experience is not only not unusual, it is disturbingly common. Mr. Dreher sadly relates tales of friendships 30 and 40 years old being rent by discussions concerning how to properly deal with Iraq. This is unbearably sad, and I thank God that I have not had such a confrontation. I certainly do not feel so strongly about forcing my opinions on this topic on someone that I would risk losing a friend, but I would hate it if we couldn't at least talk about our reasons in a civil manner. But, as Bill Whittle points out much more eloquently than I ever could, the pro-liberation side has "fact, history, logic and reason on our side". The 'antis' have 'compassion'. Emotion. Deeply held feelings and beliefs, that tell them in their 'heart of hearts' that they are right. But the problems lies in the fact that so do we. And, unfortunately, when all you have on your side are your deeply-felt 'feelings' about something and someone starts attacking your position with facts and logic, your only option is to just express your feelings more vehemently. We saw this reaction writ large yesterday across America. Thousands and thousands of people, most of them probably very sincere and with no hidden agenda (unlike their 'organizers'), lashing out against their fellow Americans with obstructionism, invective, violence and destruction. Not Saddam. Not even President Bush. Their friends and neighbors. The police who are sworn to protect them, their families and their homes. And that's sickening.
But to me, it's not as sickening as someone throwing away a close friendship over something like this. I have an opinion about the war and our reasons for being there. I don't contend our motives are 100% pure but, based on everything I've seen and read (and I read a lot), Bush is doing the right thing. I support him. I'm praying for him and our troops, for 40 days, at 6 a.m. in the morning. I believe in my 'heart of hearts' that God will turn what the enemy meant for evil into tremendous good for the Iraqi people and possibly the entire Middle East. I'd be happy to explain exactly why I feel that way to anyone who was truly interested. But you know what, in the end it really doesn't matter what I think. If the war goes well, or if the war goes badly, I'll probably vote for Bush, and my two senators, and my representative, again. And those who don't support what they did in office will vote against them. That's the way America works, and I think it's great. But my being for or against the war will not change one tiny bit of the ultimate outcome. And it's certainly not worth losing a good friend, or even a close acquaintance, over. I'd just say, "Look, we obviously disagree on this. Let's not discuss it any further. How 'bout those Sooners?" That's my $.02. In the words of that great 20th century philosopher Rodney King, "Why can't we just get along?". Or at least let's realize who the enemy truly is here, and it ain't your brother or your fishing buddy or your college roommate from 45 years ago. Ask yourself, "What would Jacque Chirac do?", and don't miss a good opportunity to shut up.
Posted 8:24 AM by WiN
Brave young men are dying. Here's why
Yes, there are brave young men, and women, who are dying today. Many more will die in the days and weeks to come. Innocent women, children, grandparents, infants, daddies and mommies will die, too. Why? This essay by Bill Whittle, from almost eight weeks ago, says it better than I ever could. Please read it, and you'll know why. (A big "thanks" to Danny at Blog O' Dob for linking to this again yesterday. Enjoy your break!)
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Posted 6:44 PM by WiN
Protests turn violent
I cannot begin to describe my disgust at the scenes of protesters in San Francisco, where it has been reported that riot police are being attacked with rocks, bottles and even pieces of rebar. These folks need to be put behind bars, where they can protest by holding a 6-month hunger strike.
UPDATE: Fierce Highway has similar thoughts on the protesters in Chicago.
Posted 6:41 PM by WiN
Posted 3:32 PM by WiN
Ballad of the Human Shields
Posted 12:37 PM by WiN
Is the internet, like, excruciatingly slow for everyone else today? I'm guessing between everyone keeping up with March Madness, in addition to events in Iraq, traffic is as high as it's been in a long, long time
And speaking of the war in Iraq, it occurred to me that at the time of the previous Gulf War, I had never even logged onto the internet once. Blows my mind.
Posted 12:07 PM by WiN
Quote of the day
From today's Thomas Sowell column:
Most people do not realize that Winston Churchill was a pariah in the 1930s, for telling people what they didn't want to hear -- namely that Britain needed to build up its military forces to deal with the threat that Hitler and the Nazis represented. What we are seeing today in the attempts to ridicule or demonize President Bush is nothing new.
Posted 10:06 AM by WiN
Ground war is set to commence
Reports are that the invasion proper of Iraq is set to commence. I'm sure that after months of waiting the coalition forces are anxious to get busy and do whatever they can to get it over with.
The days ahead are full of uncertainty, but death and destruction are inevitable. I am heartened by the possibility that some of the evil men are now dead that Saddam had counted on to assist him in creating havoc amongst the civilian population in order to discredit the allied military and save his own miserable hide. In my mind, the best possible result would be a quick and early decapitation of the Iraqi command structure, causing resistance efforts to collapse and allowing the Iraqi army to surrender en masse. In any event, the vast majority of the Iraqi population will soon be free from Saddam's tyranny and for the first time in years will be receiving adequate food and medical care.
Please join me in praying for a swift conclusion to this conflict, with a minimum of casualties on both sides, and that the Iraqi people will be delivered from oppression and fear and allowed to live in freedom for many, many years to come.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Posted 3:02 PM by WiN
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Posted 3:05 PM by WiN
Carnival of the Vanities - Week XXVI
A warm WylieBlog welcome to the cornucopia of erudite opinion, righteous outrage, sagacious sayings, cheeky humor and personal musings that is the Carnival of the Vanities. War is upon us, so naturally there is a preponderance of Bush-backing and bashing, but as you'll see there are plenty of other topics on the minds of our select panel of contributors. There may be more later, but these are the wonderful folks who made the deadline (entries are posted in the order in which they were received). Next week's Carnival will be hosted by Shanti at Dancing with Dogs.
Thanks for stopping by - enjoy the CotV-XXVI!
As the uproar over Jim Moran dies down, some are noticing a disturbing trend toward toleration of previously taboo canards, such as the "Jews control the media (monetary system/courts/business)" line, by the Democratic party. Ed Mick thinks he knows why, and has a disturbing question for them. (from Revealed Truth)
Posted 2:16 PM by WiN
"And Bill said, 'Let there be Windows!' and lo, there was Windows"
Are you an old Windows hand? I mean, a really old Windows hand? Then you'll probably get a kick out of this: Screenshots of Windows from pre-1.0 to present. Gack! How in the world did we put up with that? [via Solonor's Inkwell]
Posted 1:36 PM by WiN
Wright flyer replica to duplicate first flight
Yeah, this is a little geeky, but I think it's very cool. A replica of the 1903 Wright flyer will attempt to duplicate the first powered flight on its' centennial, December 17, 2003 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. I'd love to see that, I get chills just thinking about it. [from The Light of Reason]
Posted 12:17 PM by WiN
Blair threatens to resign?
Did Tony Blair, the United States' staunch ally throughout the entire war debate, really threaten to resign if Parliament doesn't back him in supporting the war in Iraq? I sure sounds like it:
" (To) tell our allies that at the very moment of action, at the very moment they need our determination, that Britain faltered. I will not be party to such a cause."Bully for him!
I don't know what kind of quid pro quo he's been promised in return for his support, but I sincerely hope he's rewarded for his courage and not cast aside as Churchill was. I have a feeling the names Bush and Blair will stand in history alongside those of Roosevelt and Churchill and Reagan and Thatcher in opposition to tyranny. And that's pretty heady company indeed. [link via Heretical Ideas]
Monday, March 17, 2003
Posted 12:06 PM by WiN
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
"Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man." Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there."
All indications are, war is imminent. As a Christian, I believe it is my responsibility to pray that God's will be done in the days ahead. Whether you agree with President Bush's decision or not, I ask that you would join me in praying that
Posted 11:36 AM by WiN
No real surprise here
Republican - You believe that the free market will
take care of most things, but that the
government should be there with moderate
taxation to provide for national defense and
enforcing morality. Your historical role model
is Ronald Reagan.
Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Posted 10:29 AM by WiN
All that is necessary for evil to triumph...
Can you complete that quote? Do you know who said it? Maybe you should think again.
Yesterday, my pastor and his wife were raving about a movie they had just seen, "Tears of the Sun". They both said that it was very moving, and my pastor's wife was struck by the final frame of the movie, which she described as a black screen, save for the above quote. She apparently never heard it before, so I told her that it was a quote from the 18th Century by a man named Edmund Burke, and that it was one of my favorite quotes of all time.
I got to thinking about it some more today and decided I might want to use it again soon in the context of the imminent war against Iraq, so I went to Bartlett's Book of Familiar Quotations to look it up. What th' flock? They don't have it? I was momentarily stunned, but then decided to Google it. As expected, there were hundreds of entries, but none looked very 'official'. Then I ran across this, which led to this.
It would not be too great an exaggeration to say that for the Web community that have made use of it, it is the quote that keeps the memory of Burke alive, rather than Burke’s position as a writer that has led to him being quoted. It is always quoted with considerable reverence, and is made to stand as one of the unassailable truths about the need for freedom of action in democratic societies, a truth which crosses party divides and national loyalties.So, where does it come from and what is the original quote?
There is no original. The quote is bogus, and Burke never said it. It is a pseudo-quote, and corresponds to real quotes in the same way that urban legends about the ghost hitch-hiker vanishing in the back of the car and alligators in the sewers correspond to true news stories.The author challenges anyone who can find the exact reference (volume, page and line) to this quote to send it to him. It looks like no one has taken him up on it. In a follow-on essay, he speculates on the origin of the quote and comes up with an actual Burke reference that sounds similar enough to be a possible source, "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontent. Vol. i. p. 526. But he then points out that, in the original context, this quote meant something very specific and didn't really lend itself to all of the various causes for which it has been called upon as a Simple Truth. But I did find his quote of the original context interesting. It comes from the much-quoted 'Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents’, referenced above:
Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. Where men are not acquainted with each other’s principles, nor experienced in each other’s talents, nor at all practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them; it is evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. In a connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours, are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.To my (admittedly slanted) viewpoint, that sounds an awful lot like Paul's admonishment to the church not to 'forsak(e) the assembling of yourselves together' and to be 'fitly joined together by what every joint supplies'. Pretty sage advice, in any event. But as for the veracity of the psuedo-quote, I happen to believe that its' enduring quality isn't just its' flexibility to apply to just about any cause, right or left, but that it rings true for so many people. When I first heard it, many examples ran through my head: the silence of Jesus' followers at his trial before Pilate, the typical reaction of bystanders to an assault on someone in the street, the 'high-tech lynching' and character assassination of Clarence Thomas, and the world community in response to horrible tragedies like China's subjugation of Tibet, genocide in Rwanda and the Holocaust. So I guess what I'm saying is, even though the quote may not be attributable to a recognized figure in history, and is subject to interpretation and even abuse at the hands of ptolemaists on both ends of the political spectrum, I still agree with the sentiment and will continue to pass it along. And I'll let you know about the movie, when I see it.
Posted 6:58 AM by WiN
Carnival of the Vanities - Call for entries
WylieBlog is proud to be the host of this week's Carnival of the Vanities blogapalooza. If you have a recent post on your blog that you feel deserves greater readership, please submit it to me and I'll include it. One entry per blog, please (multiple entries will be considered for group blogs). Deadline is 7pm Eastern Time tomorrow (Tuesday).
For those of you who were having trouble finding my addy, here it is: wcm3 @ yahoo-dot-com (remove the 'dot').
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.