Friday, June 27, 2008

A Few Good Links...

There’s more comment than you could possibly stand on memeorandum today about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment. I think Althouse and Volokh (and Volokh, again) have the best takes, but your mileage most certainly may vary. Pick and choose, at your leisure.


The best thing I’ve read today… so far: Cheer up. We're winning this War on Terror; Al-Qaeda and the Taleban are in retreat, the surge has worked in Iraq and Islamism is discredited. Not a bad haul. That’s the title to a piece by Gerard Baker in today’s Times (UK). Mr. Baker’s lead grafs:

"My centre is giving way. My right is in retreat. Situation excellent. I shall attack!”

If only our political leaders and opinion-formers displayed even a hint of the defiant resilience that carried Marshal Foch to victory at the Battle of the Marne. But these days timorous defeatism is on the march. In Britain setbacks in the Afghan war are greeted as harbingers of inevitable defeat. In America, large swaths of the political class continues to insist Iraq is a lost cause. The consensus in much of the West is that the War on Terror is unwinnable.

And yet the evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat. The current mood on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, represents a kind of curious inversion of the great French soldier's dictum: “Success against the Taleban. Enemy giving way in Iraq. Al-Qaeda on the run. Situation dire. Let's retreat!”

Since it is remarkable how pervasive this pessimism is, it's worth recapping what has been achieved in the past few years.

And the recap is good. Most EIP readers will nod their heads north and south while reading this piece because we know the things Mr. Baker enumerates are true, particularly this:

The second great advance in the War on Terror has been in Iraq. There's no need to recapitulate the disasters of the US-led war from the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 to his execution at the end of 2006. We may never fully make up for three and a half lost years of hubris and incompetence but in the last 18 months the change has been startling.

The “surge”, despite all the doubts and derision at the time, has been a triumph of US military planning and execution. Political progress was slower in coming but is now evident too. The Iraqi leadership has shown great courage and dispatch in extirpating extremists and a growing willingness even to turn on Shia militias. Basra is more peaceful and safer than it has been since before the British moved in. Despite setbacks such as yesterday's bombings, the streets of Iraq's cities are calmer and safer than they have been in years. Seventy companies have bid for oil contracts from the Iraqi Government. There are signs of a real political reconciliation that may reach fruition in the election later this year.

I find it oh-so-interesting that The Obamanon is still running on a platform that highlights “ending the war.” He also refuses to acknowledge the progress that’s been made during the past 15 ~ 18 months and continues to focus on “George Bush’s failed policies.” Obama might be correct if he’s speaking of the earlier missteps and outright bad decisions made by the administration during the war’s early days and those decisions, viewed with the luxury and clarity of hindsight, really DO look abysmal. But that was then, this is NOW. The president changed his strategy and the results speak for themselves, as Mr. Baker and many others have noted. Except for those on the Left, who would rather change the subject at this point in time. As far as I can tell, Obama and his supporters still think withdrawal and defeat are our best options.

This, of course, is yet another reason NOT to vote for The Obamanon… unless you really believe it’s in the best interests of the United States of America to concede the war in Iraq to al Qaeda. I don’t. And I don’t believe the majority of Americans do, either.


Remember that “show us your workspace” meme? Well… you just gotta go see Morgan’s place o’ bidness, Gentle Reader. Waaay-cool, it is.


Today’s Pic: An F-101 Voodoo interceptor, sitting quietly on the grounds of the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB in the Florida Panhandle. I had a “close encounter” with an F-101 back in the day… an encounter that left me jes a lil bit wobbly in the knees. I was lucky I didn’t have to go home and change my pants, actually.

(First-generation digital pic taken in November of 1999. The usual, customary, and reasonable disclaimers about quality apply.)


  1. If my US history is correct, didn't the Civil War look at first like the South was going to win? The north kept getting defeated and the real turning point of the war was Gettysburg? What if the yanks had given up before Gettysburg? Or what if after Sherman burned Atlanta and they said, well, let's go home. I'm amazed at how some people don't want to see this through to the end.

  2. What if the yanks had given up before Gettysburg?

    Sometimes I wonder the same thing,Jenny. I wonder why the North just did not let the South go. Fortunately, some men had a bigger vision.

  3. Ahh -a little Friday Voodoo love, my favorite of the entire Century series... :)

    - SJS

  4. I agree with Jenny and Lou, I have always wonder that as well.

  5. Your history is correct, Jenny. Or you read the same books I did, LOL! But your point (and Ash and Lou's, too) is well-taken. I've read a few pieces here and there comparing Dubya and Lincoln and the similarities between them and their wars, as well.

    SJS: I think the F-106 is my favorite of the Century series, from a purely aesthetic POV. But there was SO much to love in those various airframes, for so many different reasons!

    (Links for my non-military readers, of course)

  6. Defeatism .... especially in light of the way the war is changing and we are starting to win significantly ... makes me sick. That's all I have to say .... @&#$%^&*@&$!!!

  7. Everything about Obama is "abysmal"; I only hope our country wakes up to that before it's too late.

    And for the record - Obama does have other things he talks about; but it's generally hard to decipher them as he changes his mind like the wind.

  8. Hi Buck - I've been MIA for a few days, just catching up with my reads... You sure had a lot of info for me to check out! Have you had a chance to read McCain's Lexington Project? Curious about your take on it... I like it... plain simple english... and sensible... not just huff and puff into the wind. Had to laugh at the hand in hand Obamanon and Hilly speeches in NH... just too much farkquoi for me! Gag!

  9. Alison: re: The Lexington Project. I've only given it a cursory read (so far), but aside from the bits about Cap 'n' Trade and declaring war on "speculators," I generally agree. I've NEVER been in favor of cap 'n' trade, seeing as how the essence of the program is yet another gigantic federal bureaucracy and I don't much favor Congress interfering with the market's mechanisms, which is what the "clamp down on speculators" seems to be. The boogeyman ain't the market, it's a combination of things. And I also think "energy independence" is something of a myth. We MAY achieve it at some point in the very distant future, but talk of achieving it within five or tens years is just Happy Talk. Reality bites, in this space.

  10. Sharon and Kris: Agree with your points, Ladies!

  11. Buck, I see your point about the cap n trade. (I also find it interesting that the environmental groups can purchase and retire credits which in turn drive up the price of the remaining credits on the market.) And how about the staggering amount of dollars involved in carbon emmissions trading... some $64 billion dollars last year? There's alot to look at when you try to see the whole picture... kinda makes my poor head hurt!

  12. Alison sez: There's alot to look at when you try to see the whole picture... kinda makes my poor head hurt!

    Makes MY head hurt, too. Nearly ALL of the proposed remedies for climate change are expensive... and it's you and I that will bear the cost burden one way or another. The part that irks me the MOST is the lack of proof (as opposed to political posturing and doom saying) that climate change is anthropomorphic, rather than a function of normal historical variations. I'm just not buying it, yet.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.