Thursday, December 18, 2014
Blog

I agree with my good friend Michelle Malkin that the American infusion of troops into  Iraq, well known as "the surge,"  was The Story of 2007. Certainly not the Virginia Tech massacre, and not the Barry Bonds steroid scandal, as MSM organizations maintain.

And I agree with William Kristol of the Weekly Standard that Gen. David Petraeus is the Man of the Year--not Vladimir Putin as determined by Time magazine.

That doesn't mean, of course, that The Story of the Year  has an ending, or that The Man of the Year's hour is  over.

Clearly, what happens next in and around Iraq will be the story of 2008 just as much---and in a way more so--than the selection of the next president.

I just reread my own columns discussing the surge to reconsider my perceptions and reservations, and see how they have fared as events have unfolded.

The first surge column dates back to December 2006. Assuming the surge's  tactical success, my question for the future was:

"Looking back on, lo, our many costly years of liberation and occupation in Iraq, what would it turn out that we had actually won? In other words, what, in this best-case scenario [of surge success], is `victory' supposed to look like?"

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Michael Kidd is the man at the back of this photo, the one behind,  from L to R, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray and Gene Kelley. The picture is a publicity still from one of my  all-time favorite movies,   "It's Always Fair Weather," a positively brilliant musical comedy about postwar America told through the lives of  three ex-GIs who reunite in New York City ten years after the war's end.

Playing one of the GIs was Michael Kidd. It was his debut in front of the camera. But he made his remarkable career behind the scenes, both on the stage  ("Guys and Dolls," among many others) and on the screen ("The Band Wagon," among many others), as one of America's  most inventive and inspiring  choreographers. He died over Christmas at age 92.

In reconsidering his work, preserved in a string...

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Just got a Christmas greeting from my favorite Army colonel, LTC Allen West (ret.), recently back from Afghanistan. You may remember Col. West--I guess I should say at this point "no relation" except, of course, friendship.

Col. West is the commander who, back in the early days of Iraq, came to national attention for having fired off his gun near the head of a suspected insurgent in order to extract information about  ambush and assassination plots targeting him and his men. After this interrogation, there were no more attacks on Col. West or his men.

But there was a big. fat, PC controversy. The New York Times recounted it thus: "Expressing concern that his behavior could send the signal that abuse was acceptable as a means to an end, the Army relieved Colonel West of his command and contemplated court-martialing him on assault charges."

In other words, to borrow  a phrase,...

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I've heard various stories about how insistent Daniel Peterson, a West Indian immigrant to Canada, was when it came to making sure his five children got musical educations. One of those children was Oscar Peterson, the magnificent jazz pianist, who died today at age 82. How exceedingly fortunate the entire world is that Daniel Peterson was such a good father.

Time to give the Christmas carols a rest and listen to Oscar. Me, I'm heading first for "You Stepped Out of a Dream."

Oscar Peterson, RIP.

..."Lou Dobbs Tonight," tonight , which starts at 7pm EST on CNN.

There is something sick and lunatic about our lawmakers' and media's obsession with the destructon of CIA tapes of  waterboarding  a couple of senior jihadist leaders--tapes the CIA was under no obligation to make in the first place.

But there is a greater problem here.

What does it say about our desire to survive as a nation when our leaders are more concerned with protecting our mortal enemies from temporary duress (35 seconds of waterboarding is considered a long session) than with saving American lives?

They say they are concerned with America's continued moral well-being. There is no degradation of our precious moral high ground (if that's what they want to talk about) in coercing actionable intelligence from jihad leaders. Such coercion, including waterboarding, is not undertaken to procure phoney testimonies in a show trial, to punish political opposition, or for sadistic delight. It is undertaken to save American lives.

Andy McCarthy wrote a terrific piece on this subject here: 

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That's the title of Chapter 4 of my book The Death of the Grown-Up. Too bad I couldn't have included the following report out of North Carolina, where a Christmas pageant erupted into a melee... among the parents in the audience. According to the principal:

...chairs were thrown, obscenities were yelled and three mothers physically punched each other while two other mothers attempted to break up the fight.

Several people called police, but the twin sisters [parents] involved in the fight had left by the time they arrived, according to Roberts.

An e-mail from Superintendent Terry Grier to media Wednesday morning said that the three female parents involved had a history of disliking each other.

Oh. Well, that explains it.

The full story is here;

http://www.myfoxwghp.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=5257845&version=10&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1

Lawrence Auster at View from the Right offers some  trenchant  analysis  pertaining to my interview with Pat Buchanan on C-SPAN BookTV's "After Words" show last weekend:

As for Buchanan, on the positive side, Buchanan's central theme is in my view the central theme, namely that if a country fails to make its own countryhood primary in its politics, its economics, and its moral system, everything that the country does only serves its own undoing. On the negative side, Buchanan remains deeply naive on the subject of Islam, refusing to see it as a threat to America; or, like the neocons, he says that Islam is an existential danger to Europe, but not to America. As though the Islamization of Europe would not represent the most profound threat to America. In my view Buchanan's blindness to the real nature and program of Islam is explained by his long-standing animus against Israel. To speak of Islam as a serious danger to us would be to treat Israel's mortal enemy as our mortal enemy. But because Buchanan...

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Daniel Pipes has written a must-read analysis demonstrating the correlation between infusions of Western aid into the Palestinian Authority and spikes in Palestinian homicides (both terrorist and criminal, both Israeli and Palestinian victims). While the West clings to a tattered faith in the belief that any amount of money spent on the PA is worth it if it buys "moderate" behavior from Palestians, Pipes shows, using a stunning set of graphs prepared by research analyst Stephen Stotsky of CAMERA, this faith in money buying moderation is delusional.

He writes: If these studies run exactly counter to the conventional supposition that poverty, unemployment, repression, "occupation," and malaise drive Palestinians to lethal violence, they do confirm my long-standing argument about Palestinian exhilaration being the problem. The better funded Palestinians are, the stronger they become, and the more inspired to take up arms. A topsy-turvy understanding of war economics has prevailed in Israel since the Oslo...

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Our homework today, as Americans, is to figure out what just happened at the European Parliament last week. From what I can tell, through a series of   shell-game-style parliamentary manuevres, the constitutional arrangement to formalize the European supra-state--rejected overwhelmingly by voters in  France and the Netherlands in 2005--has just been adopted, despite the fact the citizens of the European countries under its legal domain haven't voted for it. 

No wonder pro-referendum Members of European Parliament (MEPs) staged a noisy protest on behalf of their constituents back in their home countries who haven't been allowed to vote on this momentous change.

Read about it here: http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2773

Watch the video here:http://more-to-life-than-shoes.blogspot.com/2007/12/protest-they-didnt-want-you-to-see.html

Whether Bernard Lewis is the greatest scholar of Islam of all time, he is without question the most influential such scholar in our time, particularly when it comes to the American foreign policy establishment's understanding of the Muslim world.

This is why it is so disturbing to hear sweepingly, jarringly inaccurate statements from this pre-eminent historian about Islam on core historical facts.

I wrote about one such misstatement early this year after watching a PBS documentary on  Anti-Semitism in the Islamic world. In it, Lewis declared, mind-bogglingly enough,  that Anti-Semitism in the Islamic world was a European import. 

In a January 12, 2007 column I wrote:

According to the practically oracular authority of Princeton's Bernard Lewis, never in 1,200 years did Muslims even think of Anti-Semitism, let alone act on it -- not until European Christian...

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Katherine Kersten of the MInneapolis Star Tribune is one of my favorite reporters. Today,  in her Minneapolis Star-Tribune column, she  brings into focus another Islamizing corner of America, this time at a commnuity college in Minnesota. Some excerpts: Last week, I visited a Muslim place of worship. A schedule for Islam’s five daily prayers was posted at the entrance, near a sign requesting that shoes be removed. Inside, a barrier divided men’s and women’s prayer space, an arrow informed worshippers of the direction of Mecca, and literature urged women to cover their faces.  Sound like a mosque? The place I’m describing is the “meditation room” at Normandale Community College, a 9,200-student public institution in Bloomington.

Kersten described the supposedly non-denominational "meditation room," formerly a raquet ball court, this way: A row of chest-high barriers splits the room into sex-segregated sections. In the smaller, enclosed area for women sits a pile of shawls and head-coverings....

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David Denby wrote a marvelous, if slightly wistful, essay in the New Yorker over the summer in which he wondered, "How did we get from Frank Capra's `It Happened One Night' (1934) to Judd Aptow's `Knocked Up' (2007)"?

How, indeed. A complete answer would produce a massive cultural history of the past 73 years. Instead,  Denby chooses to  crystallize the salient differences in romantic comedy, then and now. In olden days--looking back 73 years to "It Happened One NIght" is looking back to olden days--the hero and heroines competed as equals. Discussing such movies as "Bringing Up Baby," "The Lady Eve," "Easy Living," "Midnight" among others, Denby points out: "The man and woman may not enjoy parity of social standing or money, bu they are equals in spirit, will, and body."

Despite the sexual revolution, feminism, and the rise of the New Man (or, perhaps, because of them), this is not at all the case in the new riffs on the old genre. Today, the most important relationships in  what we persist in calling...

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I'll be  interviewing Pat Buchanan about his new book Day of Reckoning on C-SPAN's Book TV tonight at 9pm EST. The program repeats on Sunday (12/16) at 6pm and 9pm, and Monday (12/17) at 12am and 3am.

I'll also be appearing on  CNN's "Lou Dobbs This Week" tomorrow (12/16) at 6pm EST.

  

Getting a load of "lighten up" on today's column, "Deflating Zeppelin." (Score!) This always happens when I dare to critique the Geriatric Rock Gods and what their continued adulation says about their  increasingly Geriatric Worshippers--and especially if I dare to poke fun at them. Personally, I think going for laughs reflects a sufficiently "light" frame of mind, while the critics who send in the crankier responses strike me as the ones who can't take a joke.

Not that there isn't a serious message here--one underscored by some of the response. A few letters make a connection between listening to Led Zeppelin and defending our country. Here's one:

When I was driving C-130s for Uncle Sam's Air Force, in the 70s, I was a fan.  Trust me, it takes a bit of "adolescence" to want to stand at the wall and watch the barbarians approach.  If some of our Congressional leaders had a bit of that, I'd feel more confident.

Of course, we're all creatures of our time. I'd say this man was brave, dutiful and daring enough to drive C-130s for Uncle Sam (and the rest of us) DESPITE being a fan of a group whose members lived (and one died) according to a self-absorbed, wasted, sex-drugs-and-rock-'n'-roll way of life that sees such bravery, duty and daring as a chump's game. Meanwhile, our Congess is plenty adolescent, thanks....

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    I  haven't been posting over the last several days as I await the transfer of this blogsite to a new and improved server. Should happen any day now.      Meanwhile, I just wanted to alert readers to my upcoming appearance as guest-host of "Book Notes" on C-SPAN this weekend. I will be interviewing Pat Buchanan about his newbook "Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology and Greed Are Tearing America Apart."     The book is a Buchanan-esque (un-sugarcoated) overview of the weaknesses PB sees afflicting the Union, both domestically, and in regard to a foreign policy I would agree is over-reaching in its stated goal, as President Bush put it in his Second Inaugural Address, of "ending tyranny in our world." The book is, of course, bracing in its assessments. It also taught me a few things. For example, PB reviews a symposium he participated in back in 1989 sponsored by The National Interest in which a selection of writers (including Chas. Krauthammer, Ben Wattenberg, Jeane Kirkpatrick) were asked to  discuss what US foreign policy should look like after the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union. This was before the Berlin Wall actually came down....

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The Jerusalem Post's Carolyn Glick sums up the fallout from the NIE, which this week, of course, declared that Iran had decided eschew nuclear weapons-making for underwater basket-weaving. This pronouncement--which is not even supported by the body of the report--has set off a clamor for engagement with the Iranian mullah-ocracy, and against any policies that might be construed as strong or effective, from military strikes (natch) to even sanctions. Glick's analysis is especially trenchant, and bitterly so, when she speculates about the tie-in to last week's Annapolis Conference:     Many commentators applauded the Annapolis conference, claiming that its real aim was to cement a US-led coalition including Israel and the Arabs against Iran. These voices argued that it made sense for Israel to agree to negotiate on bad terms in exchange for such a coalition. But the NIE shows that the US double-crossed Israel. By placing the bait of a hypothetical coalition against Iran, the US extracted massive Israeli concessions...

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Dr. Al-Zhivago, call your office: Moscow (AsiaNews) -- Moscow’s first private clinic based on Sharia law opened its doors yesterday. “The policlinic will strictly abide by Sharia law by observing, above all, gender differences in its services,” said Anna Kisko, a spokesperson for the health network responsible for the facility. In the new centre women will be served by female specialists; men by male specialists, she told the Interfax Religion agency. The administrative personnel will also be dressed accordingly to Sharia law, i.e. the doctors will only have their hands open and female doctors will have to wear headscarves or possibly hijabs. The opening of a Halal cafeteria and a prayer room with a screen separating men from women should also be available at the policlinic. In addition, all medicines used at the policlinic will have to conform to Halal principles and not contain any alcohol. (Via Brussels Journal.)

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As I wend my way through my veritable library of Clinton Scandals Past (column to follow), I have happened across two good reasons to say Good Riddance to longtime Republican Senator from Mississippi Trent Lott, who announced his retirement from the Senate at the end of November. Good Riddance #1 comes from Sell-Out: The Inside Story of President Clinton's Impeachment by David Schippers, the chief cousel to the 13 House Managers, led by the late Henry Hyde. After the historic vote in the House of Representatives to impeach President Clinton in December of 1998, Mr. Schippers writes of a meeting he attended with the House Managers, a few others, and then-Senate Majority Leader Lott and then-Senator Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania Republican) to discuss the Senate trial to come.

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Having submitted to Saudi dictates against their shaking hands with, or any Muslims using the same doorways as Israelis at last week's Munich Conference--I mean--the Annapolis Conference, the United States of America now limps a little as Leader of the Free World. There is no "peace" to "conference" when one side, the Muslim side, fails to acknowledge the equality--the humanity--of the other side, the Jews. Acquiescing to these dhimmi rules of Islam, which are kin to such twisted Western phenomena as Jim Crow, apartheid, and Nazism, goes against everything the US stands for, and that is a great and terrible shame.

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....I will be appearing tonight and tommorrow night on the political roundtable on "Lou Dobbs This Week," both evenings at 6pm on CNN. And later this evening, at 10 pm, C-SPAN BookTV will be carrying the talk I gave earlier this week on my book The Death of the Grown-Up at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. C-SPAN BookTV will repeat the talk on Sunday at 7am.

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