Paul: It's hard to not feel the frustration you express, but we all have to resist it. There's always a choice. There has to be, or we are no different from the barbarians we fight. I'm utterly confident that the desire to get to the bottom of this and to punish anyone guilty of a crime is felt most strongly among the Marines themselves. Haditha may have been the ultimately dark moment for some of them, but for the rest their light shines undimmed.
The Spectacle Blog
Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is touting a letter to the editor in the Washington Post today, "How Faith Works for Democrats." The headline belies Clyburn's meaning: Democrats don't work for faith but vice-versa. Here it is:
...Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) created the Democratic Faith Working Group more than a year and a half ago to remind the wider faith community of the public and personal faith narratives of Democrats.
Ms. Pelosi asked me to chair this initiative because, as she explained to me, she had noticed in my actions and expressions a deep commitment to faith-based issues. Ending poverty, increasing the minimum wage, protecting the innocence of children, improving education, preserving God's creation by protecting the environment, and fighting for social and economic justice are all faith-based causes. The values expressed are solidly rooted in the faith of the American people and in the policies of Democrats.
Is becoming a bit of a spectator sport. Every time new economic data is released, showing the economy to be booming, how will the media skew it into disappointment?
ABC News submits its entry for today's latest unemployment and job growth figures: "Job Growth Stalls but Unemployment Dips." By which they mean the economy added 75,000 jobs in May, and unemployment dipped to a fantastically low 4.6 percent. How miserable!
I managed to catch you on O'Reilly last night. I wish he had asked you about an underlying issue: the rules of engagement in this conflict. As you noted, the Corps is remarkable for how few such incidents they have had in their long history of working in nasty places. But what alternatives do Marines have in their current predicament short of over-reaction on one side, and being hamstrung from protecting themselves on the other? From this civilian observer's perspective, they seem to be in a profoundly difficult circumstance. Their overall sterling performance in the midst of such conditions really makes the "ethics training" now promised seem like a sad joke. (Shouldn't stateside office workers get ethics training before the military does?)
When I criticized the Bush White House for tacitly supporting Ray Nagin for re-election as mayor of New Orleans, providing the crucial difference in his slim victory over Mitch Landrieu, a few people ignored Nagin's record of incompetence and outlandishness and demagoguery to say, well, Bush was right because the national Dems (those evil meanies!!!!) were all in line with Landrieu, and it was better to beat back the Dems. Well, well, well. I'd rather be in bed, politically speaking, with Mary Landrieu and the DNC than with Jesse Jackson. Look at page A-6 of today's Washington Post and you'll see just who it is who got an honored spot at Nagin's (re-)inauguration: The Rev. Jesse himself, in a photograph laughing with Nagin and with incompetent Gov. Kathleen Blanco -- after Jackson and others of his il.. well, his reputation, rescued Nagin with a massive vote turnout by displaced New Orleanians bused back into town.
Lots going on today. I'll be on "Dayside" on Fox about 1 pm EDT talking about the Haditha mess. A media feeding frenzy like this is not unusual, but can't obscure the fact that if war crimes were committed, it's not a metaphor for the whole war, and an aberration in the history of the Marines.
I'll also be guest-hosting again for Hugh Hewitt (6-9 pm EDT on Salem Radio Network, www.hughhewitt.com). Guests scheduled include Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and The Beltway Boys - Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke. The discussion with Chertoff will be, ah, spirited. Hope you can listen in.
Just one look at today's lineup on Congress, immigration, and immigration punditry makes it clear as a polished dagger that a profound disgust has gathered in America. It is not only the disgust of Conservatives, but I believe it is a thoroughly conservative disgust.
One way of thinking about this difference is to read Peggy Noonan's meditation on the possibility of a third-party revival in 2008. This kind of talk has never been really infrequent in modern American politics, but that it even can be taken half-seriously now is nothing short of astounding. "It wasn't meant to be this way," one feels -- but then again, that's the coda of feeling that embodies our whole problem.
Quin, you are right to praise both Kavanaugh and Bush today.
But on Bush, it would be nice for him to act on judges when the cameras are not rolling. We can scream to high heaven for the Senate to act on the President's nominees, but let's face it -- Bill Frist isn't sweating it because President Bush is not applying pressure. More and more, judicial confirmations hearings look like occasional bones to appease upset conservatives.
By the way, now-Judge Kavanaugh acquitted himself (pun sort of intended) very well indeed at his swearing in, with very appropriate and wise and respectful words about a judge's role and the necessity of humility, etc. He will make a superb judge -- and, perhaps, down the line, a superb Justice!
Also terrific today was President Bush, who took the opportunity not only to heap praise upon his longtime aide, but also to pointedly make the case for all judicial nominees to get a fair, open, unfilibustered, up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. Great stuff, all around!
At the White House today to see young Brett Kavanaugh be sworn in as the newest federal appellate judge, in this case the important DC Circuit Court of Appeals, I had the chance to speak to a number of the stars of the conservative legal firmament, and was reminded again just what good and decent people we have on our side -- starting with a real Starr, former judge and independent counsel Kenneth Starr. What a warm and gracious gentleman he is! The media caricature of him as a modern-day Grand Inquisitor is so far off the mark, so almost-criminally unfair and removed from reality, as to condemn that caricature's purveyors (if there is any justice) to at least severe danger of long-term residence in one of the realms (or circles) about which Dante wrote. The truth is that Judge Starr is a great American who took on a very tough job and did his duty with honor and care. Sure, critics can carp that he did not always handle the political side well in what became a sickeningly politicized investigation -- politicized, mind you, not by Starr but by his critics.