The Spectacle Blog

Re: Don’t Give up the Ship

By on 7.23.06 | 9:10AM

Larry: Thanks for the rejoinder. I know you don't intentionally counsel defeat, but that is the necessary result of the strategy you propound. The fact is now, was in 2003, and always will be that by delaying action against other terrorist regimes while we wait for the Iraqis to sort themselves out is a strategy that leads inevitably to our defeat. While Maliki and the rest fiddle, Ahmadinejad develops nukes, Syria keeps the Sunni insurgency alive in Iraq and Saudi Arabia plays both ends against each other. I'm not against helping nations achieve democracy, but I'm inalterably opposed to elevating democracy to the status of weapon or strategy. As Iran, Syria, and the rest are proving day after day, they are using our delay to their great advantage. Democracy was impossible in Germany until Hitler was dead and his regime ground into dust. Democracy in the arab world must wait until victory has been achieved. Iran? Syria? As WSC would have said, "Action This Day."

Re: Don’t Give Up the Ship

By on 7.23.06 | 4:02AM

Jed, thanks for your good and thoughtful reply. I'll take issue with two things: I do not counsel or countenance defeat. Victory means as much to me as to any Amerian. Second, Middle Eastern countries, at least some of them, represent a great deal more than Brit exercises in map-drawing. The Bible mentions several countries that still exist, among them, Iran.

It’s The Humanities, Stupid

By on 7.22.06 | 3:37PM

Some eyebrows went up when, right after Bush's State of the Union, I decried his proposed emphasis on math and science education, to the patent detriment of the humanities. Now, here comes academic luminary and prolific intellectual author Martha Nussbaum -- someone who should know, and about whom more later -- beating the same drum:

The Merry Single

By on 7.21.06 | 5:10PM

At first glance, most conservative grouches should have nodded approvingly at Katie Couric's nurturing decision to eschew reporting live from the Mideast when she hosts CBS Evening News:

"I think the situation there is so dangerous, and as a single parent with two children, that's something I won't be doing," Katie said.

On second thought -- and discounting the fact we of the 99.9% of the population less attractive than she seem to unduly enjoy always tweaking her -- there is something bothersome here that should be aired.

As the iconic New Century Woman, Katie does neither marriage, nor men, nor women any favors by referring to herself as a "single parent." By doing so, she telegraphs how deeply society has internalized the "new" (meaning "non") marriage paradigm.

Like most bad ideas, it started with good intentions. In the seventies, "single mother" was the replacement term used to avoid having a divorced woman feel shame -- a shame she may well have deserved not one scintilla. Inevitably, the term migrated to describe women with children who had never been married. For them, "single parent" dodged a potentially even greater shame.

Catching Up

By on 7.21.06 | 12:09PM

I resolved not to blog for the past couple of weeks whilst honeymooning in Europe, and of course missed out on huge and tragic news. I'm referring, of course, to the Carmen Electra-David Navarro breakup.

But also to the conflagration in the Middle East. On the plane home from Prague the other day, I read the International Herald Tribune and noted Edward Luttwak's cogent argument that a wider war is unlikely: The players, most importantly Syria and Iran, simply have too much to lose. On the same page (and I take it the New York Times had a similar juxtaposition), an editorial says that "The only beneficiaries of a wider war would be Iran, Syria and the armed Islamic radical groups that they support throughout the region." Come again?

War Warning Part 6 supplemental: North Korea/Iran

By on 7.21.06 | 11:58AM

Below from my column in today's New York Sun: detail of the Iran observers was confirmed in public (open source) yesterday in Congress testimony. Additional note: the Iranians are now ready for the US air strikes. The North Korea test (and there may be a second test) was a full scale exercise in wartime conditions. North Korea trained Iran's rocket brigades. The Iran warhead is North Korean design.

Congress’ Bad Old Tricks

By on 7.21.06 | 11:24AM

As usual, the nonpareil reporter David Rogers of the Wall Street Journal has all the inside scoop today on congressional action. And, once a conservative analyzes the unbiased, factual reporting of Rogers, that conservative again will start to feel his blood boil -- on social issues and especially on spending.

Let's start with spending. Once again, Congress is using ruses to disguise how much money it is spending, and thus how much debt to load onto our grandchildren's grandchildren. Apparently these folks have never heard of honest budgeting. It's bad enough that they spend like thoroughly drunken billionaires; it's even worse that they don't have the guts to do so on the up-and-up, but instead try to hide their handiwork. To quote David Rogers: "The Senate Appropriations COmmittee gave final approval to a $453.5 billion Pentagon budget, cutting $9.1 billion from the administration's request.... An estimated $3.8 billion in savings would come from operations accounts, suggesting that the military will have to rely on Iraq-war emergency funds to help weather the reductions."

Bush at the N-A-A-C-P

By on 7.21.06 | 9:11AM

The New York Times, in its special way of imputing vaguely sinister motives to benign phenomena, takes issue with President Bush’s pronunciation of N-A-A-C-P, “attracting some notice from those who use the more traditional pronunciation of N-double-A-C-P.” They don’t say who, or why. I also enjoyed John Lewis’s statement that he was disappointed Bush hadn’t mentioned the Iraq/>/> war in his speech. Of course if he had, Lewis and the Times would have complained how inappropriate it was for the President to use his first speech to the group to promote his war policies.

Bush should have stayed away from the NAACP the rest of his term, in the hopes that the organization would either die of neglect or reconstitute itself along constructive ends.