Imperial Requiem

Friday, January 28, 2005

To Hell with the Media

I wish that there was some form of Sedition Acts in service today, in full force like they were during World War 2, becuase the media really needs a swift kick in the ass in the present day. Firstly, there's the article from, called "Fourth Estate or Fifth Column" by Thomas Sowell (got word of it via Powerline):, where he talks about how the media reports in Iraq. Basically the only casualties that the media gives a rat's ass about are the American ones, and tangentially the Iraqi ones. They don't care how many insurgents and terrorists that the Coalition forces take out, or if the battles were military victories.

The other article is by the American Journalism Review, called "Quitting Kabul", by Kim Hart (got this one from Captain's Quarters):, where Hart discusses how the media has all but abandoned Afghanistan, in favor of Iraq. To be fair, the article does talk about how there is an emerging Afghani media which is taking up some of the local slack for journalism (hence, they can be used as stringers or freelance work), and that parts of the country are hard to reach, both physically and technologically. But that doesn't excuse the media from their poor track record in Afghanistan since 2003.

My take on these trends? The media doesn't want to realize that WE ARE AT WAR. Plain and simple, the media is operating on a level that thinks that President Clinton is still in office, and that if they only make Bush look bad, things will be better. Part of the problem with that, is that they have not really taken into account the logistical nature of the conflict that we're currently involved in. It's highly likely that they didn't plan on having the journalistic material and manpower to cover both Iraq and Afghanistan. But that's probably not the reason why the mainstream media is covering the news the way that they are. They WANT the American forces to lose the war. And at this point, they NEED the American forces to lose the war- they've spent too much money and manpower hyping their point, to turn back. They're spinning for spinning's sake at this point. They're also trying desperately to protect their viewpoint, their Vietnam driven ideology, which is increasingly becoming seen as a sham (case in point; historians are now getting a radically different view of 'Nam than they used to. Anything written prior to the 1990's is generally seen as innacurate), and is proving to be useless in the present day. This amounts to a desperate rear guard action, which will only end in their slow extinction. But not before they put the lives of American servicemen and women at risk, and endanger the coalitions' mission in the Middle East.

Now, eventually someone's going to bust the mainstream press on this, and I don't mean like the CBS Memogate story. I mean in terms of someone bringing hard proof that the mainstream media is working either with the terrorists, or deliberately trying to change the real news to the controlling news that they want (ie; turning American victories into defeats). What happens then? When they get "outed" in that fashion, what will their response be? And what will the public- and government's response- be? I almost long for that day, because it will represent a true watershed in the evolution of the media, and also, a return to real journalism. Plus, it'll help the war effort, rather than the childish yelling we're being subjected to.

I have a sinking feeling, that if the media acted like they are today during WW2, the generals in command would have ordered them shot on sight.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Congrats to Condi, and other points of interest

Firstly, I want to congratulate Condoleeza Rice on becoming the first African American female Secretary of State. She deserves it, and her body of work- beyond just her term as National Security Advisor- shows that she's the right person for the job. It certainly will be interesting to see what happens when she has to meet with various Muslim and Arab leaders around the world, and tells them "I'll drive".

On the other hand, the handful of Democrats who bitched about her on the Senate floor, and held her nomination up for a few days is really pathetic. You'd think that the Dems would be smarter than to play crass obstructionism like that, but some of them don't seem to be getting the hint. Partially, I think that some of them are trying to "cover their asses" about the whole WMD issue, since they DID say the same things that they're now complaining about the Bush administration, prior to the Iraqi invasion. The other part is that they're trying to humor their own far left base, or at least pretend that their base is larger than it really is. Both are signs that they're off the beaten path, and are basically going as low as one can go, in politics. I mean, for crying out loud, eventually the republicans in Congress will get a backbone, and do something about it. As it stands, virtually none of the Democratic platform will get through Congress; the best the Dems can hope for is to negotiate with the Republicans for some leverage. And even that gives the Republicans the initiative, and with the way that the Dems have been handling things, they're using their response time to just whine and bitch. Not good for 2006, so far.

All the Democrats have been able to come up with are rants that "Bushlied!Bushlied!Bushlied!" or "Something's wrong in Iraq; we don't know what it is, but apologize and pull the troops out of Iraq so we can bitch at you some more, m'kay?" Neither of those are really worthwhile arguements, and they make the Dems look even smaller and petttier, and highly unattractive. And stunts like Harry Reid's staffer protesting at the Inauguration (and getting arrested for it) also comes across as highly childish. The whole world was watching that inauguration- and Mr. Reid allows his staffer to essentially have a hissy fit? Does any of this make any sense? Does it come as a suprise that Bush's approval ratings jumped after the election?

Does anyone think that we'll be hearing from Boxer, Ted Kennedy, Dayton, Kerry, and Harkin by 2006? I think not.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Thoughts on the Inauguration speech

I've had a few days to think the President's Inauguration speech over, and also to see some of the pro and con responses. To be fair, I haven't paid too much attention to the leftist responses, because a good portion of them are knee-jerkism at it's worst, and fail to grasp why the left needs to rebuild their ideology from the ground up. And the best critiques of the President's speech happen to come from the right, and some from the same 'neocon' area that Bush himself comes from. But I happen to think those critiques are wrong, and that the President's speech was not only brilliant, but also a clarion call for not just America, but also for the world, for generations to come. It's probably the most significant Presidential inauguration speech since Kennedy's.

Now, why are the right wing commentators wrong about the President's speech? For a few reasons. Firstly, the speech wasn't aimed at them, per se. It was aimed at the rest of America which is still unsure about what the country should do in the wake of 9/11 and Afghanistan/Iraq. It was also aimed at those in countries that are not free, and their leaders who keep them from freedom. Those that were freed from Communist control with the fall of the Soviet Union directly looked towards Regan's leadership against the 'evil empire' as their inspirations for overthrowing communist dictatorship. And those that look to free themselves from dicatorship- either the remaining socialists or theocratic ones- will look towards Bush's leadership and this speech as their inspirations. Did those critics bother to remember the situation in places like Iran and North Korea, where there appear to be growing dissident movements? Think about what this speech will have on those areas. It will have the effect of a 500 kiloton bomb being dropped onto the situation there, and for good reasons. What happens when a protester in Iran, with a sign that says "help free us America", at a demonstration that the Khamenist government trys to suppress while being filmed, gets onto Fox News? Does anyone in their right minds think that Bush won't act?

The other problem is that the critics ignore the realism in Bush's speech. He knows that the expansion of freedom won't be done overnight: "So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary." What that means, simply, is that the US will use all available resources to aid whoever they can, when they can. That doesn't mean that we'll get ourselves embroiled in the Congolese War, or yammer about what to do about China and Russia. Bush also realizes that much of the work will remain AFTER he leaves office: "The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause. " Here, Bush is actively telling everyone "hey, be patient, even Regan wasn't in office when the Soviet Union fell." He's also saying that there will be times when America will have to deal with other issues, as well. What that means, who knows? But if there's a looming Taiwanese/Chinese War on the horizon, you'd bet your bottom dollar that Bush (or his successors) isnt going to be able to afford to pay any attention to Somalia.

The last reason that they're wrong is that they primarily grew up and were active during the Cold War. Many are Reganites, who couldn't concieve of the dangers that this world currently faces, in the time we live in now. And this isn't to knock them, like William F. Buckley, or Peggy Noonan, who are great Americans. But it is to say that their mentality is different from what Bush is looking for- and what they are looking for. They saw his vision in the first 4 years of the Bush Administration- and it feels like they're now getting cold feet. Sure, there are things that need to be reworked, and concepts that need to be reexamined now that they've met reality, and not just idealism. But that doesn't mean that Bush's concepts, as a whole, are not fundamentally sound. Look, the only reason that Iraq is the way it is, is because of the American mainstream media. They hate Bush with a passion, and will do whatever it takes- even working with the enemy- to discredit any idea or initiative that Bush brings forth. The Iraqi War has, overall, been a resounding success, despite the fact that the media continues to harp on the WMD charges, troop casualties, and terror bombings in Iraq. The Reganites' view of the world was one in which the Soviet Union needed defeat, but preferrably not one in which nuclear war was the primary resort. Today, they see the world still through that prism, and play the cautious road wherever possible. I think Bush sees that America will just be dealing with the terror threat for quite some time to come, and that taking the cautious road will only lead to more American deaths.

The speech was very significant, and those that are nitpicking it just tells me that they didn't really want that speech, or just can't grasp it's ultimate meaning. It could also be that they'd built themselves up so much that ANY speech would have ended up being a letdown. I'd love to see what they would have wanted Bush to say, instead. And the handicaps would be simple: Bush was going to use his speech for international purposes (keep in mind, he has the SOTU speech up next), and that Bush wasnt going to fall for the media's shell game about Iraq.

Oh well, we're only human, I suppose. You can't please everybody.

UPDATE: Check out for more editorial perspective on the Bush speech, striking up similar issues that I bring up. It's quite good, and worth the read. There are more than one posts, so scroll down.

Friday, January 21, 2005

ABC, Part 2

Apparently, ABC couldn't help themselves, and they ran the funeral stuff anyways. It's not on the web, since ABC is probably sure that the 'net will savage them if they put it there- but it's too late, and the 'net has already responed. Here's the text originally spoken by Peter Jennings, gotten from NRO's The Corner (

"In Rockport, Texas today, just about the time the President was speaking, there was a funeral for a young Marine reservist: 21-year-old Matthew Holloway was killed in Iraq last week by a roadside bomb....His brother told a local paper that as much as Matthew wanted to be home, he was very proud of what he was doing in Iraq. And it is something you hear from so many people in the services, including the ten thousand who have already been wounded."

To be fair, I'll say that Jennings DID say that the fallen soldier supported the war effort, and that he wasn't alone in saying so. But at the same point, ABC clearly wanted to go for a cheap shot. Amazing, isn't it? This is what the 1960's have wrought on our journalistic standards. What the reporting from the Vietnam War has given us is nothing more than hackwork journalists who invent the news to fit their own agenda, and will stop at nothing to smear the people or ideas that get in their way, and forget whatever collateral damage that they accrue along the way. In the long run, they'll find themselves sitting next to the dodos, but in the short term, they fail to pay their real respects to fallen soldiers like Matthew Holloway. Their vileness is breathtaking in it's stupidity.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

ABC hits the Fever Swamps

ABC News wanted to play "balanced" news with the Presidential Inauguration, by also doing a story on a military funeral on the same day, of any soldier that died in Iraq. Apparently, ABC was asking if anyone knew of any military funerals that were on the 20th, so that they could "cover" it. ABC took the article down, once they realized that the 'net got ahold of the info, and someone got a brain there. Here's the archived article, which I got from the Captain's Quarters blog (

Funerals for Iraq War Casualties
Honoring Fallen Heroes on Inauguration Day
Jan. 19, 2005 — For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20.

Frankly, I'm disgusted with ABC's news division right now. In short, if someone fought and died in Iraq, and were buried on the 19th, or the 21st, then ABC doesn't care about them, because they don't give them a news story with which to bash the President. Nevermind that they don't care about the soldiers who died in Afghanistan, or soldiers that might die in the Tsunami relief efforts. That was a new low for ABC, and it was very, very arrogant of them to try to pull such a stunt. I know some folks who have, or are currently serving in Iraq, and I want them to come home safely (not before kicking some serious ass). If they were to die while overseas, I'd want their funerals to be solemn and remembering affairs. Not cheap political fodder for folks who can't get it through their damned heads that they lost the election and are losing their grip on the media control of this country. No, ABC just wants to rant and rave and pretend that their voice means something more by sticking a boom mike at a six foot hole in the ground. Dan Rather's the least of the media's problems right now.

Inauguration thoughts

With President Bush's 2nd Term inauguration set a few hours from now, I've been thinking about what Bush's agenda for his second term will turn out to be. Here's some tidbits:

- Bush will tackle Social Security, and he'll spend some of that "political capital" that he earned in the election upon it. I have my doubts that he's sold his plan to the American public overall, but I like most of what I'm hearing. Privatizing some of Social Security will actually pay more money, longterm, than keeping social security under federal control. However, it will take a while for Bush to win this battle with Congress. They're notorious for maintaining the status quo, and the Democrats will most likely fight tooth and nail against Bush with his Security proposals. It will probably be a fight that Bush will have to take into 2006- but it will be one in which strategically speaking, Bush will maintain the initiative, and he'll also get the added benefit of the Democrats screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs. This isn't to say that the Dems won't provide their own counter-proposals to Bush's plans, but that they will seek to play partisan politics right from the beginning. That will hurt them badly, because their image isn't one of moderation, at this stage. If they want to remain relevant in the 2006 mid-term elections, they'll have to cut their losses on the social security issue, and refrain from getting bogged down in ad hominen and character assassination tactics.

- Bush will begin to tackle tort reform, and make some inroads to it. But I think that it will take more than Bush's second term to get some serious tort reform through. It's not as conscious in the American minds as the Social Security issue is. And I'm not going to touch the potential to nominate new Supreme Court justices, just yet. That issue will probably arise during Bush's 2nd term, but it hasn't yet, and I really have no idea how he'll handle it. My gut feeling is that he'll end up choosing someone (or someones) who will please no one. But I'm not going to rely upon that feeling. Not just yet.

- The War on Terror will probably remain the major focal point of Bush's foriegn policy. Iraq will quiet down, sometime by April to June of 2005, and that will free Bush to start dealing more openly with Syria and Iran. The Europeans are going to have to start dealing with Bush on his terms, since they've lost a ton of credibility with the Bush administration (outside of Italy, Britain, and Eastern Europe), and that they really don't have much to offer the US if they continue to bicker and whine at the Bush admin. They'll have to seriously start to consider what the Bush administration is doing in Iraq- and may well do elsewhere- and realize that they're locking themselves out of the 21st century in the process. Also, watch for Peter Goss' reformed CIA to begin to take shape sometime in the middle of the year. Don't be suprised if we make some inroads into capturing the remaining heads of Al Quaeda as a result.

- Bush will also bring the United Nations to heel. The Oil For Food scandal is breaking open at a rapid pace, and the US government will be spearheading the efforts to get to the bottom of the case. It'll help to further reduce the UN to the role of a tin soldier, but it will also crystalize the global situation for those who have been hesitant, or unwilling to listen. The message will be loud and clear: the institutions that existed during the Cold War are rapidly becoming useless in the modern world. Anyone who wants to cling to those institutions, is of course, free to do so. But if they want to, they'll fail to realize that other institutions- and alliances- will be created, and they won't be a relevant part of that future.

- Lastly, the Bush Administration will let the mainstream media continue to implode on itself. They'll get plenty of help from various Democrats who sit on the political fringes, of course. The Bush administration will largely play a silent role, and let the media fall on their sword of their own accord. This will also help Bush get his message across, without wading into the fever pits of the mainstream (and leftist) media. He won't get sidetracked- but the media will.

- I would like to say that there won't be another major terror attack in the US, or somewhere in the world- but I won't. The odds are that there will be an attack, somewhere, somehow, and somewhen. But the odds of it happening in the US remain the same as it has been for the past year or so- and those odds are possibly falling.

Monday, January 17, 2005

We're a bit spoiled

Just a small point that I'd like to make: for a few generations, Americans and Europeans for the most part (oh, what the heck, most of the world, too) have been spoiled in terms of how they've had to handle warfare. Think about it: Ever since the end of Vietnam, what wars have western nations fought that have been more than a cakewalk? Falklands? Panama? Grenada? First Gulf War? East Timor? Somalia? Kosovo/Bosnia? American-Afghani War? None of those wars were more than sheer overkill, or just outclassing the opposition. And the most destructive wars were fought by non-westerners- the Iraqi-Iranian War in the 1980's, as well as the Soviet-Afghani War (many would consider the Soviets NOT to be Western.....and still aren't), Kashmir, and the Congolese civil war. And the only war that could be considered western, is the Israeli-Palestinian War, which only had the apperance of a war when the Israelis actually bothered to fight back, in 2001- present day.

What this means, is that the Western World is getting a crash course in what warfare really looks like, to an extent, in Iraq. Putting the blatantly bad media asides, the Iraqi conflict is something that the western world is still getting used to. Or really, reused to. The American public is showing a pretty strong understanding of the Iraqi war. I'd wage bets that less than 30% of the country actually prescribes to the Michael Moore mentality, when push comes to shove. Divergent views about the war, of course, exist, but by and large there's a groundswell of support for seeing things through to their bitter end. But this doesn't mean that it hasn't taken some time for the American and western public to get over the shock of a war that lasted longer than five mintues, and bombings from a remote nightvision video camera. It has, and 2004 was a case in point about it.

And that's one thing that the Democratic Party failed to understand in the Election campaigns- that for all their spin, they were only getting some worth out of it, because Americans were still adjusting to a concept of a longer war. 2005 will probably give them diminishing returns on that concept, as more and more Americans realize that the term "Global War on Terror" isn't meant as a cheap campaign or publicity stunt like the "War on Drugs" or "War on poverty" concepts. They're slowly starting to realize, on a base level, what the Pentagon and other security experts (as well as I have) been saying: that this is going to be a long war, and that there will be many stages to it. At least the Bush administration understands this- and most Republicans do. Some democrats do, as well, but not enough. It'll be an uphill battle for them for the next few decades as they try to find their own understanding of the conflict we're involved in. Get used to it, folks.

A little bit of everything

-The book that I was reading- Honor Harrington (Book 5): Flag in Exile was a paperback copy. And I mean WAS. It's literally started falling apart on me, and this is the first time I'm reading it. Pages are coming unglued, or unstuck. Argh. Hopefully the library will have a hardcover version of the book, so I can finish it without pages falling out.

- College begins later this week, actaully looking forwards to it. Depending on how things go, I'll either be in 4 classes Tuesday through Thursday, or Tuesday and Wednesday. Haven't had a chance to switch classes around, and might not be able to.

-Still peeved about the Jets losing in OT to the Steelers. Must. Get. Voodo. Doll.

-Saw three movies over the weekend; House of Flying Daggers, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and Patriot Games. All three were good, and if anyone has to catch a movie in the theatres, make a point to see House of Flying Daggers. It's a VERY good Hong Kong Wuxia film, with really strong directing by Yhang Zimou and great acting by Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger), and Takeshi Kaneshiro (the guy from the Onimusha video games!). And Harold and Kumar is a riot. Totally politically incorrect, and it steps on so many toes that you just have to admire them actually LETTING someone make this film. Patriot Games was good, and its just a shame that Harrison Ford didn't do the OTHER Jack Ryan movies. Please, someone erase the Ben Affleck Ryan movie from my mind! I offer that portion of my brain up for a mindwipe!

Saturday, January 15, 2005


I've been away for a few days, largely because of sleeping issues. Got little sleep for some odd reason a few days ago (don't ask) and spent the next day sleeping in, and then working. I'll be posting regularly again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

CBS Fallout

While my earlier post did some praising of the panel that gave us the report on CBS's memogate incident, there are some points that need clarification. At no point did the report accept that the CBS news division was hopelessly out of touch with the political dimensions of the United States. They were staffed with liberals, or left of center democrats who essentially HATED the concept of a Republican in office, and would do anything to bring them down. How much negative press about John Kerry's campaign did they generate? And how much about Bush's campaign did they generate? One doesn't need to be clairvoyant to see who they wanted in the White House. Of course there was political bias at CBS- they planted the memogate story right after the Republican National Convention, when Bush was riding high in the polls. It was a hit piece, pure and simple. And shame on CBS for not catching onto it fast enough, and squashing the story as soon as they heard about it. Yet they decided to do a cover-up instead, which is usually worse than the initial crime itself. And they completely dismiss the notion that there was contact between the DNC, Kerry Campaign, and CBS.

Like I've said, people will talk, and no one's heard the end of this. Les Moonves still has to answer to his stockholders at Viacom/CBS. I don't think they're happy, either. At the least this is probably the effective end of CBS News, unless they do something drastic. I'm increasingly less and less saddened by that fact; it's becoming more and more clear that the mainstream (and leftist) media is more than willing to fall on their swords and die ignominiously before our very eyes.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Dan would Rather Not!

Just as a reminder, Dan Rather will not be hosting CBS news tonight. Figures. What, Mr. Rather can get away with interviewing Saddam Hussein, but when the questions are about his own career, he slinks away, sucking his thumbs? Perish the thoughts. He's off to do some noble deed, for sure.

Methinks he's joining OJ in the search for the missing memos about Bush's National Guard service. Heh.

CBS Report

I'll be reading the CBS report over the next few days, you can find it here:(, but from what I've gleaned from it, so far are that A) there were serious problems with the fact checking and journalistic standards at CBS B) the report does all that it could to tell everyone that the people who are guilty, are indeed full of crap C) the report all but says that the report and the memos in question were fakes; but for legal reasons they back off from acutally calling them, outright, fakes. I can live with the evidence that they put forth, though, and D) they dismiss charges that CBS had a overtly liberal bias which allowed obvious fake documents to be accepted as fact, and they do not look into the timeline of contacts between the CBS news staff and the Kerry campaign.

Heads did roll at CBS, and rightly so. My personal take is that this is far from over- and that more folks will go before everything's done. Dan Rather may well have had nothing to do with the documents, and the story itself- other than try to protect people that he's worked with for years. It's understandable, on his part, but its also sad that he didn't try to find out what's right and wrong with the reports. In short, he's one of the fall guys here. More work needs to be done to determine the extent of the bias at CBS, which the report trys not to go into.

The evidence is there, that the report finds that the documents were false (without saying so, explicitly) and it's damning. To be honest, the guys who were asked to do the report- Thornburgh and Boccardi- aren't asked to be prosecutorial briefs. I can't, overall, fault the work they do here, which is pretty thorough. But I CAN say that there's far more than meets the eye with this. People talk, and I can guarantee that the folks who were fired will have alot to say about this. Someone somewhere is going to put 1 + 1 together, and they're going to connect the dots. The legal end of this hasn't been touched yet. And the way that CBS is situated right now, more firings will probably come down, and more and more folks there (including the fired ones) will talk.

The fact of the matter is that there WERE connections between the CBS camp and the Kerry/DNC camp. What that means, I'm not sure. But there are too many coincidences, and the CBS report totally glosses over this. What about the phone conversations betweek Burkett, Mapes, Lockhart, and others in the Kerry/DNC camp? What about the timing of the "Fortunate Son" ad campaign, and the various "gotcha" interviews with the Kerry staff, the DNC, and other media names, right after the report was issued? That screams of collusion, and there's enough circumstancial evidence to point fingers at both sides. It won't be long before some enterprising DA gets involved in this. Heads aren't all that should roll- handcuffs should follow.

Btw, here are some sites with really good analysis of the report:
Roger Simon-
Captains Quarters-
Hugh Hewitt-
National Review's TKS column (Formerly The Kerry Spot-

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Sorry about not doing any posting today, been bedridden all day. Fell last night while taking the garbage out, and hurt my back. Feeling a little bit better, but not enough to do more than a cursory look at the 'net and news. Should hopefully be better tomorrow, but I'll let you folks know.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Wither the UN?

Congrats are in order to Australia, who has done a bang up job with the aid efforts in the Tsunami relief. They're now doing a $1 Billion aid package to the embattled region, and Prime Minister Howard has this to say, as reported in the Herald Sun:(,5478,11880264^662,00.html) (thanks to Tim Blair's blog, for the info)

$1 billion will not be wasted
Ian McPhedranJason Frenkel
AUSTRALIA'S $1 billion aid package to Indonesia would not be wasted through
aid agency incompetence, John Howard last night vowed.Arriving home from the
Jakarta tsunami summit, Mr Howard described the package as a defining moment in the history of Australia-Indon relations. The Indonesian death toll yesterday
jumped 20,000 to more than 113,000. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi
Annan toured the devastated province of Aceh as the world body took charge of
the global relief operation for the disaster that left over 165,000 dead. But Mr
Howard said he was determined there would be no UN involvement in Australia's
massive package to Indonesia. "There's not always the view that money that goes
through international agencies necessarily gets well spent," he said. Six
Australian officials will sit on a joint commission with Indonesia to distribute
the money. The PM said he realised within hours of the Boxing Day disaster that
Australia's response would have to be unprecedented. "I was determined that it would be big. One billion dollars seemed to be an appropriate amount of money," he said.

Iraq, through the eyes of the media

It's no small wonder that there is a large segment of the American population that has a very negative viewpoint on the Iraqi War. I can't blame many of them, for the news that they get paints a very negative picture. Bombings, insurgents everywhere, beheadings and killings everywhere. And the US military doesn't know what to do about it. But is that the reality? There's no question that there is an insurgency, and that there are bombings and what looks like controlled chaos in Iraq. But that's not the whole story. To a large extent, that's what the media wants us all to believe. Abu Ghrahib? They beat that story to death. Fallujah? They didn't report it. Which is more important? To be sure, both are, in their own rights. But it's not the media's job to be selective. That's our job, as a consumer public. It's no suprise that many in the more liberal media- the New York Times, Newsday, Washington Post, LA Times, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, have all been steadlily losing readers and advertisers. Hell, Newsday (and it's sister publications, the Chicago Tribune and Hoy) was caught red-handed trying to inflate it's readership by between 80,000- 100,000 readers a day. And now they're facing lawsuits from advertisers, and the loss of both more readers, and revenue. In the meantime, more conservative media- Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, talk radio, etc, are all flourishing- and the liberal media has no idea how to handle it. Except snipe, which really doesn't help them in the long or short term. Here are some things that the liberal media has neglected to talk about:

-What about the schools in Iraq? They're preforming better than they did prior to the Iraqi War. And boys and girls are both going to school, in record numbers.
-What about the power grid, and infrastructure in Iraq? It's producing more than twice the electircal output of Iraq prior to the war. Cable tv access is abundant. Water facilities are running better than they were prior to the war.
-What about law and order? There are now over 100,000 Iraqi policemen. Prior to the war, only about 30% of all hospitals were running at anything close to efficiency. All are now.
-By the end of Janurary, there will be around 15 Iraqi Brigades, mostly a combination of Kurdish, Turkoman, and Shi'ite Iraqis.
- The Iraqis have an interim constitution, and are building political parties. Even Muqtada Al-Sadr has joined the political process, and as a result, Najaf and Sadr City (the slums of Baghdad) are essentially quiet zones.
-At least 80% of Iraq is secure and will have free elections, with no fear of any reprisals or terror attacks.
- Most of the bombings in Iraq are now confined to two major areas: a 4 mile radius in Baghdad, and Mosul. The fall of Fallujah, Samarrra, Ramadi, and Najaf dramatically reduced the insurgency's ability to wage war.
- For the war dead, there are some 350 soldiers who were KIA during the actual conventional war between the Hussein Iraqi army, and then there are some 300 soldiers who were killed in accidents, suicides, and deaths of natural causes. The rest were KIA in either offensive operations after the war (Najaf, Fallujah, etc), or in terror attacks. That actually leaves ALOT less soldiers KIA by terror attacks. The "1,000 dead" number is faulty at best, and the media accepts it as the norm, without doing the actual statistical breakdown.
- Btw, the Iraqi war- from March 2003 to present day- has the lowest casualty rate among ALL American wars ever fought.

What does this mean? This is the stuff that the media doesn't report on. It doesn't bleed, therefore it doesn't lead. The American- and international media- increasingly wants to view the war through the same mindset that gave us the reporting from Vietnam. And, as a historian, I can safely say that much of the reporting in Vietnam, and subsequent books about the subject, are useless to historians. They're hopelessly biased, and at times, outright lies. One would think that the media would learn it's lesson, but they haven't. There are those in the media who would play the role of "objective journalists" really are just faking it. They want to portray the war in the light that they want to; give both sides of the conflict an equal bearing. Who's side has more moral and ethic responsibility? The Coalition forces, who have created, as I have stated, a better Iraq, or insurgents, who want nihilism for nihilism's sake? The media doesn't ask these questions, but they should. Eventually, the piper will come calling for them, and it won't be pretty. They're rapidly nearing the time when they'll have crossed the line (in fact, the AP already has; they're actively working WITH the insurgents), and when that does, all that they have written will have come home to roost. They'll have alot to answer for.

However, none of this means that the media's role should be to play propagandist for the US military; far from it. But what this does mean is that they have a moral, legal, and ethical responsibility to give us the news, not what they think will help John Kerry get elected, or what represents the pinnacle of "gotcha" newsmaking. If there's a problem, do report it. But if there's a victory, do report that, as well.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Reading, at the moment

I'm a voracious reader, when I want to be. Sometimes I can be lazy, but these days I'm on it. Currently re-reading David Weber's Honor Harrington Saga- up to Book 3, The Short Victorious War. Good stuff, nice space opera drama, with great naval combat (no one does it better than Weber!), and winning characters. Harrington herself is a strong female lead, an Admiral Nelson type, with a heart of gold.

The other book I'm reading is A Concise History of the Crusades, by Thomas F. Madden. IT covers all the major Crusades, largely from a socio-political perspective, but with some military strategy intermixed within. I like how the author sets the Medieval world- how he points out the differences between the Medieval European ways of thinking, and modern thinking. It's fascinating to see the Medieval world interact within his book, and it's done wonders for my understanding of the Middle Ages, which weren't all that dark. Plus, the book will come in handy when dealing with Ridley Scott's new movie Kingdom of Heaven, which is about the Crusades.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

CBS Memogate Report coming soon?

I'm hearing that it may be on its way, but there's a voice in me that remains skeptical. There are many questions that it needs to answer, and I'm pretty sure that CBS supporters and detractors alike will walk away dissatisfied. Personally, at the least, I'd like to see CBS single out specific people who were involved in the Memogate controversy inside of CBS, and their contacts. I'd also like to see them come up with some form of a detailed timeline of how the Memogate developed, incubated, and was presented to the public. And I'd like see what coughfactcheckingcough was actually done, as well, before the Memogate came out, and after it blew up in their faces.

Addenum: One of my favorite blogs, Little Green Footballs, had some interesting stuff to say about the CBS Memogate investigation ( Here's a really good segment:

The big question, and it ties in with the partisan blindness noted above:
how much coordination took place between the Democratic National Committee and CBS? Remember that new video that showed up only a couple of days after the story broke, titled Fortunate Son? It featured clips of Dan Rather on 60 Minutes II. There was clearly a big push planned around this broadcast. When did it start, and who was involved?

The folks at LGF are right to raise this question. CBS knows that they screwed up with the whole Memogate issue, and they're going to try to use this time to try to save as much face as they can. Odds are that they won't be able to, but I doubt they'll answer what LGF asks for, here. But if indeed quantitive ties between the DNC and CBS can be proven, both are in for a world of trouble, legally and ethically. The problem is, is that there probably will remain only circumstancial evidence (unless they're really stupid) about any connection between the two parties, and we'll continue to see collusions like this happen in the future. Some folks (on both sides of the spectrum) will always operate with a "if I don't get caught, it's not wrong" attitude. I want the hammer to come down on all guilty parties with the CBS memogate investigation, as a warning never to do it again, and as an apology for trying to influence an election. But something tells me that they won't, and that their liberal friends inside and outside the media will protect them.

Anyone want popcorn?

As an update to the whole Congress/Election issue, there are a few thoughts:

1) Wait until the Representatives and Senators who were duly elected in November to take office. If anyone thinks things are bad for the Dems now, wait until they find out that they can, in fact, be told to shut up if they continue to posture, preen, and grandstand. I doubt they'll stop, and the biggest arguements to come out of Congress this coming year will be largely done by Republicans, amongst themselves. That's a shame, because the Dems could concievably put forth good arguements without screaming, as they are doing, at the top of their lungs.

2) The list of Democrats who are playing the role of village idiot in the House have among them: Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, and others. Here's a list of the Representatives: Hey, if they want to make a fool of themselves, be my guest, but do it on your own time, not my taxpayer money. They're free to exercise their freedom of speech, but I also have a freedom to A) turn the channel and B) demand a federal refund.

3) I take small comfort knowing full well that President Bush will go down in history as one of the greatest American Presidents, very much in the same vein as Roosevelt and Regan are viewed in the present. Waters? McKinney? Conyers? They'll be nothing more than an anthill on the paths of history. And just like Ozymandias, they'll be swept away, their kingdom nothing but forgotten ruins.

For your OWN SAKES, give it up, folks!

I got this from Fox News (,2933,143510,00.html). My own notes will be within the text.

Lawmakers Dispute Electoral College Results
January 06, 2005

WASHINGTON — Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.),
and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), on Thursday contested the results of the
Electoral College that would give President Bush a second term.

My thoughts pretty much are that this is nothing more than a giant episode of grandstanding, and very unprofessional at that. Where is the House Democratic leadership? Either this is a sign of tacit agreement with the grandstanders, or it's a definite sign that the Dems in Congress have no leadership whatsoever to corral stupidity like this. Either no leadership, or people who are afraid to truly lead.

A joint session of Congress met to certify the election on Thursday but quickly recessed per congressional rules to go to their respective chambers to debate certification for up to two hours. "I raise this objection neither to put the nation in a turmoil of proposed overturn election," Jones said afterward in the House. "I raised this objection because I am convinced that we as a body must conduct a formal" debate and "protect the integrity of the true will of the people."Boxer said on the floor of the Senate that she joined with Jones to "shed some light" about the issues of reported voting irregularities in Ohio as well as election reform throughout the nation. The California Democrat said that even though the last Congress passed the Help
America Vote Act, lawmakers had not done enough to examine voting problems. Boxer said, "the centerpiece of this country is democracy and the centerpiece of democracy is ensuring the right to vote." "Our people are dying all over the world ... to bring democracy to the far corners of the world," she said. "Let's fix it here."

I suspect that they really don't care about a "formal debate" insamuch as a chance to completely shout down the opposition. If they truly cared about the will of the people, they'd realize that even Kerry realized that there was no way that he could win in Ohio, and gave it up. And that Bush has a margin of well over 2 MILLION voters supporting him; in which he gained in nearly every state in the Union, even the ones he lost. The Dems should dwell on that, rather than sniping like this. And I especially take umbrage to their line about "our people are dying all over the world". They know that the rest of the public knows that they sneer at the military whenever they get the chance, and that's just fluff rhetoric from them. Not only are they incessantly whining here, they're also being haughty about it. Never a good combo.

After the two-hour debate in each chamber, the House and Senate are to vote separately on whether to uphold the objection or go back and certify the president. The two bodies are expected to reconvene later in the day in a joint session to report their respective actions.Boxer decided late Wednesday that she would challenge the results of Ohio's 20 Electoral College votes for Bush. She sent a letter to Jones saying she was "moved" by Jones' concerns about reported election irregularities in the decisive swing state. "I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer said in the letter.

This is just self-serving. They're acting like they're some form of messianic help coming to everyone's aid. Right. And, Mrs. Boxer, your view of a two hour debate wouldn't just happen to be a litany of accusations that the Dems have, would it? Or would you really want to have a true debate about the election- in which the Republicans would get equal shrift about Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and also about the problems with the now infamous exit polls. But I have a sinking feeling that the Dems don't want to talk about that. Boxer's concepts of debate, in this instance, are more likely a one sided arguement that would be cannon fodder for their liberal friends in the media. It can only cause more harm than good- to both America, and to the Democratic Party. Oh, and Mrs. Boxer, your form of debate did exist in this world; but you can thank Ronald Regan for getting rid of the Soviet Politburo in 1989.

Earlier on Thursday, Boxer and Jones held a news conference and acknowledged they are not expecting to overturn the November election results. But they stressed the need to have a debate on voting irregularities, which they suggested would not happen if it weren't for this formal challenge. Boxer characterized the objection as "the first round in the battle for electoral justice."

Like I've said, this is nothing more than a cheesy attempt at grandstanding. How will California voters- especially in the Californian north- react to Boxer's transparent attempts here? And how will the American public at large react to something as politically lazy as this? The Democratic Party has big problems on it's hands, especially if this is how they deal with internal crisises. Oh, and by the way, while OTHER Dems are trying to be bipartisan about the Tsunami relief (which I applaud), we get these hacks hurting everyone, as well.

Boxer also said she regrets that she didn't object to the certification four years ago when the controversial election put Bush over Al Gore."Yes, I think there are people who wish we didn't do it, but we're doing it for the right reasons," she said, adding that she was also going to introduce with her House colleagues legislation to standardize elections nationally.Jones added that she couldn't let the election go without assuring democracy applies to everyone in the United States."I can't let it go because there are people in my congressional district, there are people in this country who said, 'Stephanie, I did not get my vote counted. My vote did not count. I was denied the opportunity to vote.'"

Yes, her true colors come out- Anybody But Bush. She still hasn't gotten over Al Gore's loss over 4 years ago, and doesn't care that Republicans do bother to vote. When will some Dems stand up to the Boxers of the world, and tell them that they're going far over the line- especially with her last comments. A wee bit facist, I think. Think about it, folks, the only way she'd ever give a damn about her vote is if every Republican vote didn't count. What she ultimately wants is a one party system in which the opposition is silenced by any means necessary. You Dems better start reigning in the fringe elements of your party, unless you want to become as irrelevant as CBS has. Somewhere in his grave, Harry Truman is crying.


Try doing PhD applications. They are the bane of my existence. Anyone know the saying "Those who teach, teach. Those who can't, are administrators?" Well, I have a new version of it: "Those who teach, teach. Those who can't, build their websites." The websites are a labyrinth of stupidity to navigate through. You basically need a few things- the application form, online or offline versions, letters of recommendations, statement of goals forms, and maybe a online area to access your written essay to send to the college. Only you're lucky to find half of that stuff. At about 2/3rds of the colleges I've sent applications to, I've had to ask their web administrators where the hell they put their letters of recommendation forms. This isn't rocket science, folks. Don't make me want to buy a buzzsaw at Wal-Mart!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A little about myself

I normally am shy about these type of things, the whole "Hi, my name is so and so, and this is what I do" schtick. What am I? I'm a aspiring Military Historian- I'll never stop aspiring to be one- who hopes to eventually go for his PhD in Military History, or barring that, teach history on the high school level. I'll be honest....either way, I'd be happy. I deal with strategic and tactical understandings, how the local and operational levels of war affect one another; how changing tactical concepts and technology can radically alter the military and political environment. That could mean the effect of the English longbowmen had on the medieval knights at Agincourt, or the introduction of the Colt .45 to the American military in the Plains Wars. I plan to research the First World War, primarily from a Germanic point of view. I'll probably babble about it at this lovely blog, occasionally. I'm also a giant science fiction and fantasy buff, having grown up on varied subjects like Asimov's Foundation, Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, Star Trek, Babylon5 , Anime (anyone watch Gundam?), and of course, Tolkien's masterpiece, Lord of the Rings. And yes, I do play video games. Ah, I'm also a huge sports fan, and since I live in New York, that means I follow New York sports religiously. Mets, Islanders, Knicks, Jets, Giants- I love them all. But Baseball and Hockey are my primary passions here. And I'm also a wrestling fan...been one since 1988. And I challenge anyone to tell he that "wrestling is fake" to bother to actually watch it. Yes, it's fake, but that's not the point, folks. Sigh.

Oh yes, I'm also Jewish, so feel free to send suicide bombers in my direction. I'll pick them off at a range of 1,000 yards. Shalom.

A clash of civilizations: the UN vs. the US

There are two primary viewpoints that are emerging in the wake of the Tsunami disaster in SouthEast Asia. One is that of the United States (and in large parts of the world), where there has been a relatively quick movement towards action, both fiscally speaking and on the ground. Over $350 million dollars have been sent to aid the battered Asian countries from the American federal government, and large sums from other countries- and the federal tallies show no sign of slowing down. Private donations are also growing exponentially, worldwide they're valued at somewhere between $1 to $2 Billion USD. On top of that, the US is sending naval warships to assist in the rescue operations, cleanup, and damage control for the region. This includes the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier, and the USS Bonhome Richard, which are supplying the region with direct assistance from American military personell who have experience in dealing with these disasters. I'll be honest: I applaud all parties involved in the response to the disaster in these manners. Be it federal or private funds, they're doing the right thing for the right reasons. Even if I disagree with them politically or intellecutally, I won't knock anyone for helping out in any way that they can.

And then there's the UN. I want to be a fan of the UN, but these days I can't help but feel that they're trying to BE Hobbes' Leviathan and failing badly at it. They lost alot of credibility during the Iraqi War, and the aftermath (which is still ongoing), where for all intents and purposes, they tried to inhibit American actions prior to the war, and afterwards, have the Oil for Food scandal blow up in their faces. As bad as that has been, so far, it's nowhere near as bad as I think it will get. And I'm not even touching what the UN workers have done in the Congo. I have my own limits, folks. With their recent baggage still growing, the UN's response to the Tsunami disaster has been less than stellar. They've sniped at western countries, calling them "stingy" about releasing aid and funds to the region- while the UN has done little but posture on that issue. Germany has raised over $200 million, federally. Great Britain over $96 million. The US, over $350 Million. Even Mozambique has sent in $100,000 (I know they're not western, but still)! I don't think that's stingy at all- and in any event, I wouldn't be looking a gift horse in the mouth. But the UN did, and that's their bed that they have to sleep in. They're already seen, to some extent, as a corrupt institution, and calling many nations "stingy" is just bad PR, and extrordinarily undiplomatic towards the folks that pay about 2/3rds of the UN's budget. And, on top of that, they're nowhere to be seen in the affected regions as of now. And to add to that, they're trying to take control of the relief efforts, to lead the coordination groups. But with no visible presence on the ground- while thousands of American, Australian, and other troops (including Singapore as a staging ground for operations) are highly visible, doing all the grunt work. In short, no one's buying the UN's efforts to insert themselves into a leadership role in the relief efforts. Worst of all, the press releases and data that's coming from the UN about the disaster is of vauge nature. And on top of that, I can't help but shake the feeling that the UN's efforts in the wake of the disaster are efforts to control the money flow of the federal and private donations, and in which case, allocate some of it to the UN's own coffers. They're established as corrupt, precisely because they graft from funds and accept bribes.

But part of their motives are purely to reman relevant. They've been badly hurt by the Iraqi War and it's aftermath, as well as the reelection of most of the right of center politicians (Sharon, Howard, Bush, et al). They desperately need to maintain a good public image, for they are going to take a beating this year over the oil for food scandal. This was their chance- and they blew it, precisely because they screwed the pooch in the past few years with the real power brokers (the United States, Britain, Japan, Australian, etc....). What this amounts to, is essentially a classic case of those who act, and those who don't. The UN is made up of primariliy burecrats, and it's their dream job. Its not a place one goes to in order to do grunt and field work. Sure, there are idealists there, but they're the exception to the rule. On the other hand, the US, and the like, are founded on hard work, and getting things done. Those that are in the field right now, doing the hard work of saving people's lives and getting some of the damage cleared away, aren't taking polls or forming comittees ahead of time; they're just getting things done. Sure, they're coordinating with the proper authorities amongst their own people, and also those of the battered nations. The UN is busy doing the exact opposite, and the response they're getting is the cold shoulder from many nations. What this amounts to isn't that different from Samuel Huntington's A Clash of Civilizations- One side in which grandstanding and bureacracy matters more than physically getting onto the ground and doing the right thing, and another side in which getting the hard work done matters far more than anything else.

Despite what the Mainstream Media would have folks believe, I think it's obvious that one side will survive this clash, in the long run. And in the meantime, my heartfelt sympathies and prayers go to the disaster victims, both alive and gone. Contribute in any way that you can. But, for a contrast, I won't have any sympathies for the UN if they go the way of the dinosaur. I'll applaud real reform there, but it's increasingly becoming hard to justify it.