One of the reasons I support the democracy project in the Middle East is the idea that most peoples (broadly speaking), given the chance to choose their leaders, will not elect governments that support terrorism and aggressive war. Another is that, if any voting public does support these things, democracy gives the public a way to stop them when they tire of them. Any war stops when someone's will to fight ends: the Soldiers', the military leadership's, the civilian leadership's, or, in a democracy, the voting public's.
So far, the results in Iraq and Afghanistan have been hopeful in this regard. The depressing counterexample has been the Palestinian Authority. Given the chance to form whatever political parties they pleased, and vote as they liked, the Palestinians threw virtually all their support to Hamas and Fatah, terrorist parties both. Yesterday, James Taranto linked to this story about a new Palestinian party, one that supports Israel's right to exist, and does not demand the "right of return." This party is explicitly Islamic, and may draw support that secular centrists cannot.
I haven't seen much commentary on this yet, and of course this new party hasn't been tried in elections, but I call it a ray of hope.
Steve Dillard, better known here as Feddie of the now-retired Southern Appeal, has a letter in the American Spectator. In it he explains why Fred Thompson is his candidate of choice for 2008. I still prefer Duncan Hunter, but I appreciate the introduction to a candidate I knew little about.
I recall that some of you are young, unmarried men who might be curious about what impresses women. Fuzzybear Lioness answers your question, once and for all.
The new webcomic links include some good reading. I've been going back through the archives of Schlock Mercenary. The 4 August 2000 strip is priceless.
Since we just watched Zulu, you might be interested in several links about the British in the Coalition, and vice-versa.
So. What did you think?
I'll start with this: does it make any difference that Hook was really a model soldier? An excellent film that takes unfair liberties with the life of a good man is still a remarkable work of art: but is it a moral act to make such a movie?
Discuss. :) Plus anything else you like.
In the comments to a post by BlackFive's Uncle Jimbo, documenting an attack on an Army recruiting center in Milwaulkee, Papa Ray left the following link. It is to some pictures of so-called peace activists burning a US soldier in effigy. Also an American flag.
I don't hold it against anyone that they're opposed to the war, for strategic reasons; I don't hold it against honest Quakers and other pacifists that they find war morally awful. Too, I am sure these idiots are a minority among the people who were demonstrating against the war -- part of that professional class of agitator, I expect.
They're using displays of this sort to try and stir up divisions among Americans, so that some of us will be mad and some of us will feel obligated to defend the behavior. The minute somebody who wouldn't burn a flag or a soldier's effigy pipes up in defense of those who did, rather than see the pro-war crowd claim the moral high ground, that burning becomes a little more acceptable in American society.
Let's not give them that. I'll respect honest differences with decent Americans who oppose the war but love the nation; in return, let's unite in condemning these scum.
Dr. Helen has a post on bumper stickers as personality tests. This reminds me of a story.
I once drove my wife's truck into D.C. for a meeting. On the way out of town, a woman on I-66 slammed right into the back of the truck. She wasn't paying any attention at all. It wasn't a hard hit, so I climbed out and glanced down at the bumper to see if it was hurt. No obvious damage.
That done, I walked back to the other car -- a nice Lexus SUV filled with nervous, well-dressed, overweight people -- and inquired as to whether anyone was hurt.
"What?" the lady driving asked, with fear-filled eyes.
It seemed odd to me that they were so visibly frightened by a minor accident, but I put it down to adrenaline. "Is anyone hurt?" I repeated.
"No! No!" she said.
"Then let's just forget about it," I told her with a smile, and turned around to walk back to the truck.
As I was doing so, I noticed the bumper sticker my wife, in a moment of oddball humor, had plastered right across the back:
KEEP HONKING -- I'M RELOADING.
I suspect that was a lot funnier with a little brunette driving, instead of me. :)
Karrde has sent me his list of links, and I've re-re-fixed FbL's link to Project VALOUR-IT. With this newest set of links, I'm starting to think we may need to break out a separate section of links to online comics. Maybe I should dig up the link to Foamy the Squirrel...
Division of Labour quotes from and links to a New Republic article (full article requires subscription) by Steven Pinker (I don't mean to subscribe but I'll see if I can find the print article this evening). The subject is a decrease in violence documented by "recent studies" - which I also mean to look for and look at when time allows. Right now I just wanted to provide the links to readers here.
This is obviously interesting in light of the opinion, shared by Grim and Daniel, that moral progress has not occurred and is not even possible. Something has changed our civilization from one in which cat-burning and bull-baiting were popular sports, into our own; something has changed slavery from a universal custom to a universal crime; something has changed our expectations of Soldiers, from predators to protectors. Perhaps these writings will improve our understanding of what that is.
This is interesting on the first half, of whether moral progress has occurred. The second half, of whether it can, will I think become moot as we learn to remake the species. But that is another story.
Note please that the websites for Soldiers Angels and Project VALOUR-IT have changed. The sidebar has been updated with the correct information (under "Support the Troops").
Also, Joe's favorites section is now available. Karrde still hasn't sent me his. :)
Not just my menu from yesterday (plus Guinness, of course, given the holiday), but also the topic of a humorous article by Daniel Clark. I'm not familiar with the gentleman, but I will have to read more of his stuff.
The latest point of emphasis in the global warming movement is that cattle farming endangers the planet by producing too much methane. So now, steaks and hamburgers are classified as instruments of destruction, along with large vehicles, lawn mowers, and charcoal grills. It can't be much longer before cowboy movies, cigars and hockey are held to be enemies of the earth as well....The author has some valid points to make about the coalition-structure of the modern protest industry. There are quite a few people now making their livings doing this, and have been since the anti-free trade protests of the 1990s.
Wouldn't it be more plausible if a few items like styling gel, latte makers and tofu were said to destroy the planet as well?
Thus, the global warming movement seeks to repress guyhood in order to perpetuate itself. If a guy is shown a picture of a sad-looking polar bear adrift on an ice floe, his first thought will be something like, "I've heard that bear steaks are tough, but maybe if you marinated them in beer, they'd turn out all right." At that point, the alarmists' emotional ploy is foiled.Oddly enough, I've never eaten bear steaks. I think it may be one of the few edible animals I haven't eaten, either here or in China.
I like my elk steaks, and my venison, marinated in beer, fresh garlic, and hot pepper (cayenne or something simliar). If it's really tough, get a hotter pepper -- the acids break down the muscle fiber, but most of the "heat" of the pepper will cook out.