Saturday, February 04, 2006

Saturday Roundup

Ideology, yay!

Professor Bainbridge recalls a golden oldie ("where's the beef?") and points to a Daniel Henninger column on the return of the ideologues. Pull quote:

"People who crave the middle are simply going to be disappointed in 2008. The Democrats have abolished the middle, and the Republican middle has discredited itself."

I have to disagree with Henninger on one thing: John Kerry's attempt to filibuster Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation from afar wasn't ideological in origin. It was a pure, (poorly) calculated play for the sympathy of his party's rank-and-file ideologues -- who, as you'll recall, he barely beat down during the 2004 nomination process -- but Kerry doesn't have an ideological bone in his body. Kerry's ideology, in its entirety, comes down to "I really, really want to be president."

Beat on the Boortz

Esmay is right. The only respect in which I might differ is that this is the kind of crap I expect from radioheads. Boortz isn't paid to explore nuance. He's paid to bring in the advertising dollars, which means bringing in the audience ... and the sure-fire way to do those things is to caricature a target, go after that target like a kid beating on a pinata, and then answer the phones.

I expect better from guys like David M. Brown, though. Please ... read his argument. It's worth reading. But I'm going to cut to the punchline:

"Whatever the full explanation may be, anyone who reads these stories and continues to claim that murderous Islamo-fascist antipathy toward the West and America is all or mostly about foreign policy, and would evaporate if only the governments of the West never acted militarily overseas, is not being altogether honest."

Like the poor, we will always have "murderous Islamo-fascists" with us. The question is whether they remain marginalized or whether they are able to radicalize, and garner support from, the population which surrounds them. We have "murderous Christiano-fascists" right here in the US -- and we've seen their handiwork, including church and synagogue firebombings -- but their popular support is pretty much limited to the God Hates Fags "church" and a few other cranks.

There are reasons for the difference. One of those reasons is US foreign policy, especially since 1990. That's just a fact. If you don't believe me, stick a couple of Syrian divisions in Chicago and see how quickly the locals (and the St. Louisians, and the Detroiters) begin to warm up to "Christiano-fascist" car-bombings -- and, sooner or later, "Christiano-fascist" ideas.

Speaking of 'toons

Was the Tom Toles cartoon tasteless and disrespectful? The knee-jerk reaction is "yeah, it was." That reaction is flat wrong. When and if the Busheviks stand down their effort to destroy the US military, and cut the claims that the bull market in prosthetics is a sign of "victory," they may have some standing to bitch about respect for the troops. Don't hold your breath waiting on that. More from The Left Coaster.

Making book

Ken MacLeod's first contact novel, Learning the World, is picking up award nominations. Congratulations, Ken! I haven't read it yet -- way behind on my sf -- but I always look forward to his work and never come away disappointed.

Force on

McQ and Dale over at QandO dig into the administration's future military vision. I haven't examined the plan in detail, but up front I agree with McQ that it looks like a step in the right direction in at least some ways (although maybe not exactly the same ways).

Naturally, I get a big ol' woody when I see that the plan includes an explicit special operations function for the Marine Corps, but I'm going to take a raincheck on more detailed analysis there.

At the very least, as McQ notes, the military seems to be getting over its "airpower is everything, the infantry is just a janitorial detail now, and paratroops are obsolete" delusions. If anything is obsolete, it's the amphibious function that Dale just barely alludes to.

The plan grows the military overall -- which I see as not only unnecessary but foolish -- but it does includes a small reduction in the (over-sized by about 80%) naval carrier force and a significant reduction in nuclear ICBMs, as well as retrofitting of some boomers to conventional instead of nuclear missiles.

Missed it the first time around

Well, moxie ... if his lips were moving, you have your answer, don't you?

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