Sunday, September 30, 2007

Behind the Hard-Left Smear Campaigns

Noel Sheppard has an interesting explication of the instititutional foundations of the hard-left's smear campaigns against Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly (via Memeorandum):

Last week, two of the leading conservatives in the media, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, were dishonestly and unprofessionally attacked by press outlets that cherry-picked out of context remarks from lengthy radio broadcasts in order to vilify outspoken personalities whose opinions they don’t agree with.

Unfortunately, as folks around the country saw this play out on their television sets and newspapers, few were at all familiar with the organization behind the smear campaigns, or that this same group started the firestorm which ended with radio host Don Imus being terminated by NBC and CBS in April.

Maybe more importantly, even fewer citizens are aware that this organization is linked directly to Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as billionaire leftist George Soros.

For some background, John Perazzo wrote a column for FrontPage Magazine in July entitled “Media Matters: Hillary’s Lap Dogs,” that should be must-reading for all citizens interested in who's targeting America’s leading conservative personalities...

The Perazzo column cited by Sheppard dissects Media Matters, the online outfit at work this week trying to get a little payback against conservatives for their powerful outrage against MoveOn's Petraeus attack.

Michelle Malkin sums up the need for payback like this:

It’s about the Democrats trying to save face in the aftermath of the disastrous “General Betray Us” smear. They want their own moment of righteous (or rather, lefteous) indignation, their own empty proof that they really, really, really do support the troops. They want to shift attention away from, its bully tactics, and its thug brethren at Media Matters. They are making a pathetic attempt to equate the “Betray Us” attack - which was deliberately timed for publication and maximum p.r. damage to our military command when the world was watching our top general in Iraq testifying in Congress - with a radio talk show host’s ruminations about anti-war soldiers who have faked their military records/history.

Bottom-of-the-barrel desperation.

My own post on the hard-left's phony "phishing" campaign against Limbaugh is here. The lefties are desperate alright, and dumb too!

Administration Plans for Iran: Propaganda or Threat?

Seymour Hersh has a new piece up at the New Yorker belittling the Bush administration's strategic planning on Iran. Hersh argues that the administration's shifting rationale for a military response to Iran is tactical propaganda designed to gain the upper hand in public opinion. Here's a snippet (via Memeorandum):

In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran....

The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.

The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.

Hersh spends much of the remainder of his essay questioning the credibility of Iranian support for Shiite terror in Iraq, and he dismisses Iranian influence on the mayhem, suggesting that tribal animosities and sectarian infighting within the Iraqi government are responsible for recent violence and instability.

Those familiar with Hersh's work - he's mounted a decades-long campaign to delegitimize the U.S. military and the use of force - will be rightly skeptical of this article. It's been well known for years that Iran has been supplying some of the most lethal improvised explosives killing U.S. forces in Iraq (see here, here, here, here, and here). Further, Hersh's piece fails to provide sources of evidence or argumentation contrary to his major claims.

Antiwar forces will continue to hammer the administration on foreign policy, and neither a full-scale Iranian incursion into Iraq nor the development of Iranian nuclear capability will derail the left's delegitimization campaign against American counterbalancing on Iran.

Note thought that just last week eight Arab nations warned at a diplomatic conference against Iran's "hegemonistic" designs for the Middle East region. In Israel, moreover, the Jerusalem Post suggested that Iran's belligerence presents a challenge to both Israeli and global security:

If a house is on fire, there is little point in worrying about termites, let only the color of the drapes. Western global priorities are seriously misaligned. While it would be wrong to succumb to the global Islamist threat by ignoring other issues, it is even more wrong to ignore the overarching threat that, if it is not defeated, will prevent free nations from comprehensively advancing any of the other critical items on the global agenda.

By force of necessity, Israel has to place grappling with existential threats at front and center. While the country has done an astounding job of building a thriving democracy despite the continuous Arab war against our existence, our politics has been monopolized by matters of peace and security. All other concerns, from the environment to religious-secular tensions to socioeconomic gaps to battling corruption and reforming the electoral system, have had to be largely set aside by a public and political system that cannot adequately address such "side" issues until our existential dilemma is dealt with.

The existential threat to Israel is, of course, part of the Islamist threat to the West. Ignoring it, in either its local or global forms, will not make it go away. Nor can the international community begin to defeat it in earnest while we are still confused and in denial over the pivotal role the outcome of this struggle will have for all other global priorities.

If there's a silver lining in Hersh's report, it's that Israeli military and political leaders are cool to limited U.S. strikes on Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which is a top option being pushed by Vice President Dick Cheney. Israel remains focused on the full-blown decapitation of Iranian strategic capabilities, Hersh notes. The U.S. should be as well.

State of Denial: Politics and the Black Family Crisis

Orlando Patterson, in his essay today discussing Jena and contemporary black politics, cuts to the crucial racial issue of our time with his discussion of the crisis of the black family (via Memeorandum):

What exactly attracted thousands of demonstrators to the small Louisiana town? While for some it was a simple case of righting a grievous local injustice, and for others an opportunity to relive the civil rights era, for most the real motive was a long overdue cry of outrage at the use of the prison system as a means of controlling young black men.

America has more than two million citizens behind bars, the highest absolute and per capita rate of incarceration in the world. Black Americans, a mere 13 percent of the population, constitute half of this country’s prisoners. A tenth of all black men between ages 20 and 35 are in jail or prison; blacks are incarcerated at over eight times the white rate.

The effect on black communities is catastrophic: one in three male African-Americans in their 30s now has a prison record, as do nearly two-thirds of all black male high school dropouts. These numbers and rates are incomparably greater than anything achieved at the height of the Jim Crow era. What’s odd is how long it has taken the African-American community to address in a forceful and thoughtful way this racially biased and utterly counterproductive situation.

How, after decades of undeniable racial progress, did we end up with this virtual gulag of racial incarceration?

Patterson offers explanatory examples of pathological black culture, including the case of New York Knicks owner Isiah Thomas' practice of calling a former black female Knicks executive a "bitch" and a "ho," the beating of black evangelical minister Juanita Bynum by her estranged husband, and O.J. Simpson's recent run-in with the law:

These events all point to something that has been swept under the rug for too long in black America: the crisis in relations between men and women of all classes and, as a result, the catastrophic state of black family life, especially among the poor. Isiah Thomas’s outrageous double standard shocked many blacks in New York only because he had the nerve to say out loud what is a fact of life for too many black women who must daily confront indignity and abuse in hip-hop misogyny and everyday conversation.

What is done with words is merely the verbal end of a continuum of abuse that too often ends with beatings and spousal homicide. Black relationships and families fail at high rates because women increasingly refuse to put up with this abuse. The resulting absence of fathers — some 70 percent of black babies are born to single mothers — is undoubtedly a major cause of youth delinquency.

The circumstances that far too many African-Americans face — the lack of paternal support and discipline; the requirement that single mothers work regardless of the effect on their children’s care; the hypocritical refusal of conservative politicians to put their money where their mouths are on family values; the recourse by male youths to gangs as parental substitutes; the ghetto-fabulous culture of the streets; the lack of skills among black men for the jobs and pay they want; the hypersegregation of blacks into impoverished inner-city neighborhoods — all interact perversely with the prison system that simply makes hardened criminals of nonviolent drug offenders and spits out angry men who are unemployable, unreformable and unmarriageable, closing the vicious circle.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other leaders of the Jena demonstration who view events there, and the racial horror of our prisons, as solely the result of white racism are living not just in the past but in a state of denial. Even after removing racial bias in our judicial and prison system — as we should and must do — disproportionate numbers of young black men will continue to be incarcerated.

Until we view this social calamity in its entirety — by also acknowledging the central role of unstable relations among the sexes and within poor families, by placing a far higher priority on moral and social reform within troubled black communities, and by greatly expanding social services for infants and children — it will persist.

I have made parallel arguments in my posts on black America. In one recent entry I argued:

Blacks do not need more policies of redistribution amid the endless cries of "institutional racism." We've seen enough of that. It's been 43 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the political system, the educational establishment, and the corporate sector have made historic efforts to promote full inclusion for African-Americans in mainstream life. The key agenda for the GOP should be to promote black independence and uplift through policies focusing on greater individual and family responsibility, excellence in educational achievement, the rebuilding of the black family structure, and opportunity-oriented economic policies, focusing on entrepreneurship and ownership.

The current crisis presents a phenomenal opportunity for the GOP to provide crucial leadership on race, and smarts too!

At least one top Democrat has already demonstrated an astounding ignorance of diversity of black America today:

We need reform of the black family in America, and we need frank discussion about the crisis of the black lower third in this presidential campaign. Democratic Party pandering on race to young, left-leaning MTV crowds represents just more of the same old victims' strategy of grievance mobilization. Blacks need high expectations, not condescension. A freedom and opportunity agenda, one the GOP is best situated to champion, offers a powerful direction for the future of black progress.

Drawing Down in Iraq?

Max Boot's article in the current Commentary weighs the competing alternatives for a U.S. drawdown in Iraq. Boot looks at both the diplomatic and military sides of the drawdown equation. For example, Boot reviews the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (ISG), as well as the proposals of Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, among others.

With reference to the ISG, Boot raises some interesting points with regards to Iran and Syria's sponsorship of terrorism in Iraq. Could Iran and Syria help the U.S. push a diplomatic angle to augment a general drawdown for U.S. forces in Iraq? Boot get to the heart of the matter:

As if Iraq’s internal divisions were not bad enough, the country’s neighbors, in particular Iran and Syria, have contributed greatly to the current unrest. This is the challenge that the ISG’s “diplomatic offensive” proposes to meet. But how? Iran, according to the ISG report, “should stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and use its influence over Iraqi Shiite groups to encourage national reconciliation.” Syria, for its part, “should control its border with Iraq to stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in and out of Iraq.”

Well, all that would surely be nice. But how exactly are we to convince Syria and Iran that they should do what the Iraq Study Group thinks they should do? The “United States,” says the ISG somewhat redundantly, “should engage directly with Iran and Syria.” There is, however, little reason to think that such talks would yield progress in the desired direction.

In the Iranian case, one indicator of interest—or, more accurately, lack of interest—in negotiations is that on May 28, even as talks were in fact being held in Baghdad between the American and Iranian ambassadors, the Tehran regime was detaining four Iranian-Americans on fabricated charges. Another is that the Iranians have been stepping up the flow of funds, munitions, and trainers to support terrorism in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Both Syria and Iran are also deeply complicit in backing Hamas, Hizballah, and other radical groups working to undermine two other democracies in the Middle East: namely, Israel and Lebanon.

The ISG report suggests that Syria and Iran have an interest in an “Iraq that does not disintegrate and destabilize its neighbors and the region.” That may be so—but not if it means that Iraq emerges as a democratic ally of the United States and an active partner in the war against terrorism. For a terrorism-sponsoring Iranian regime, that would be the worst outcome imaginable. Much better, from the strategic perspective of both Syria and Iran, to continue fomenting chaos in Iraq so as to prevent the emergence of a unified state capable of threatening them.

Syria and especially Iran have been waging a proxy war against the United States in Iraq that could well end with Iran as the dominant player in most of the country. By means of the Jaish al Mahdi and other front groups, Tehran is doing in Iraq what it has already done with Hizballah in Lebanon: expanding its sphere of influence. Why should Ayatollah Khameini and his inner circle voluntarily put a stop to a policy that appears to be achieving their objectives at relatively low cost?

Tehran might veer from its belligerent course if it feared serious military and economic retaliation, ranging from an embargo on refined-petroleum imports to air strikes against the ayatollahs’ nuclear installations. But with a few brave and prophetic exceptions like Senator Joseph Lieberman, who has continued to call attention to Iranian aggression, there is scant political support in the United States for such a tough policy, however justified it may be.

Boot also takes a close look at the various scenarios involving residual stabilization and advisory forces in Iraq, whereby U.S. contingents would remain in-country to foster the consolidation of Iraq's political regime through counterterrorism and training. How many troops would remain in Iraq after an initial troop drawdown? There's some debate on the requisite numbers, with a bare-bones estimate suggesting that 60,000 U.S. troops remain for logistics, air support and transportation, and medical services.

Here's Boot in his summary of the overall situation:

Sooner or later, we will have to draw down our forces. It therefore makes sense to undertake now the kind of detailed planning that will be needed to effect a transition to a smaller force, perhaps 80,000 to 100,000 strong. Assuming sufficient political support at home—and that is by no means inconceivable, if the situation on the ground continues to improve— such a force could remain in Iraq for many years, focusing, as the ISG proposed, on tasks like advising local security forces and hunting down terrorists. But while the ISG approach makes sense in the long term, moving to a smaller force right now, as so many critics of the administration urge, would constitute an unacceptable risk.

The more security that our “surge” forces create and consolidate today, the greater the probability that a transition will work tomorrow. If we start withdrawing troops regardless of the consequences, we will not only put our remaining soldiers at greater risk but, as things inevitably turn nastier, imperil public support for any level of commitment, whether at 160,000 or 60,000.

Notwithstanding some positive preliminary results, the surge might still fail in the long run if Iraqis prove incapable of reaching political compromises even in a more secure environment. But, for all its faults and weaknesses, the surge is the least bad option we have. Its opponents, by contrast, have been loudly trying to beat something with nothing. If they do not like President Bush’s chosen strategy, the onus is on them to propose a credible alternative that could avert what would in all probability be the most serious military defeat in our history. So far, they have come up empty.

Read the whole thing.

All this talk of immediately withdrawing American forces from Iraq, especially among those most opposed to the war, really misses the reality of the situation. Security has improved in Iraq, and holding onto the recent gains found in the surge strategy will not be possible with an accelerated drawdown timetable. It's advisable, as a matter of prudence, for U.S. forces to stay in Iraq for a good time to come.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blog Watch: Glenn Greenwald

This week's "Blog Watch" entry dissects and exposes Glenn Greenwald, a far-left blogger who's actually one of the more interesting Bush-bashers among those of the radical blogosphere.

I say he's interesting because it's hard not to notice Greenwald's strenuous effort to demonstrate scholarly expertise in international politics, found for example in his constant vitriolic barrages against the administration's Iraq policy, and his righteous fulminations against the coterie of Washington's allegedly evil neocons. Unfortunately, for Greenwald, the more he spews against the administration and its supporters, the more of a left-wing lunatic he appears.

Case in point: Greenwald makes himself an easy target for ridicule with
his recent attack on the apparently despicable "Kagan-Kristol" neocon foreign policy cabal.

Greenwald takes issue with the neoconservative foreign policy agenda of Fred and Robert Kagan and William Kristol (and by extension Donald Kagan, Fred and Robert's father, and Kimberly Kagan, Fred's wife). Greenwald excoriates this "Kagan-Kristol" cabal as promoting "endless wars" from the safe confines of their think tank offices. Greenwald lets loose on Fred Kagan
for his criticism of the Webb amendment, the recent failed backdoor Senate attempt to weaken the military and force a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. Here's Greenwald on the Kagans, with reference to the Webb proposal, attacking their "illegitimate" armchair strategic advocacy:

None has any military service. They have no need for the troop relief provided by the Webb bill (which Fred opposes) because they are already all sitting at home.

Fred Kagan yesterday went to National Review - home to countless tough guy warriors like him who fight nothing -
to argue against Senator Webb's bill. There is no need to give our troops more time away from the battlefield....

If troops want more time at home, Kagan says, there is an easy way to achieve that: "win the war we're fighting." Of course, that would not even work, because Kagan and his friends at the Weekly Standard and the American Enterprise Institute
have many more wars planned beyond Iraq for other families' sons and daughters to fight. For that reason, Kagan actually had the audacity several months ago to type this:

The president must issue a personal call for young Americans to volunteer to fight in the decisive conflict of this generation.
That's the history of our country for the last six years at least. The Fred Kagans and his dad and his brother and his wife and his best friend Bill Kristol sit back casually demanding more wars, demanding that our troops be denied any relief, demanding that the President call for other families to volunteer to fight in their wars -- all "as an intellectual or emotional exercise," as Webb put it.

That's all revolting enough... But it is worth forcing oneself to observe it, as unpleasant as it might be, because within this ugly dynamic lies much of the explanation for what has happened to our country since the 9/11 attack, and the personality type that continues to drive it today.
At base, Greenwald's criticism of Kagan-Kristol's war advocacy is nothing more than a rank "chicken hawk" attack, the same type of adolescent, idiotic slur mounted by the most diehard antiwar activists of the unhinged left (see here and here).

Note further though Greenwald's phrasing: Neoconservative foreign policy advocacy is the foundation of the "ugly dynamic" of the administration's "warmongering" of the last six years.

Such language provides a nice glimpse into Greenwald venal antiwar stance. In a recent post, "
The Rigid Pro-War Ideology of the Foreign Policy Community," Greenwald takes on some of the country's top experts on international relations, particularly those of the think tank variety. He accuses them of a uniform program of unrelenting war advocacy, a trait obviously responsible for the "ugly dynamic" in America's international policy since 9/11. Check this out:

The Foreign Policy Community - a term which excludes those in primarily academic positions - is not some apolitical pool of dispassionate experts examining objective evidence and engaging in academic debates. Rather, it is a highly ideological and politicized establishment, and its dominant bipartisan ideology is defined by extreme hawkishness, the casual use of military force as a foreign policy tool, the belief that war is justified not only in self-defense but for any "good result," and most of all, the view that the U.S. is inherently good and therefore ought to rule the world through superior military force.
It's worth reading Greenwald's post in full, but his key point is that America's foreign policy elite forms a monolithic pro-war machine intent to take over the world in some Trotskyite mission of endless conquest, rape, pillage, and imperial plunder. Greenwald's entry is just one attack in a flurry of salvos launched by top antiwar bloggers. But for all of Greenwald's seemingly firm foreign policy acumen, his analysis is deeply flawed by its wholesale generalizations and ferocious enemy-baiting. International relations expert Daniel Drezner, a key participant in this exchange, took exception to Greenwald's wild exaggerations:

Greenwald is conflating an awful lot of disparate but "mainstream" views within his definition of the "foreign policy community." There is a big difference between not taking force off the table as a policy option and vigorously advocating its use. As I said in my previous post, there are vigorous debates about what constitutes a "vital national interest" Greenwald himself acknowledges that force should be an option when other countries "directly threaten your national security" or harbor terrorist groups that will do the same. How does one define direct threats to national security? For the United States, would civil war in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan qualify? Should the use of force be categorically rejected in both cases? Does Iran's links to the Khobar Towers bombing justify the use of force against Teheran, as per Greenwald's criteria?
Read the full post. Drezner cuts to a real problem in Greenwald's writing, which is that Greenwald is so intent to delegitimize the war and its backers that he can't parse out real differences of opinion among foreign policy experts, and he fails to recognize the significant shift in opinion that has taken place on Iraq among the nation's policymaking elite. (Drezner notes, further, the flaws in Greenwald's generalizations by mentioning that Brent Scowcroft, who's among the elite of the foreign policy elite, firmly opposed the Iraq war from the beginning.)

Check out as well Greenwald's recent defense of's attack on General David Petraeus,
captured in Greenwald's denuciation of Brit Hume of FOX News, who hosted a Petraeus broadcast following the general's congressional testimony:

A country with a functioning political press would never pretend that the pro-war, Bush-worshipping Hume could conduct an actual interview with Petraeus, let alone be the only journalist allowed to do so. And a government subject even to minimal levels of accountability would be too embarrassed, or at least deterred, from decreeing that its top general, burdened by a dubious record and making highly precarious claims about an ongoing war, would sit for a television interview with only one "journalist," and that journalist would be Brit Hume.
Notice first the allusions to the Bush administration's dismantling of the rule of law (a common delegitimization technique of the anti-American crowd). But more importantly, see how Greenwald piles on MoveOn's attack campaign to undermine Petraeus, and by implication the war. The MoveOn debacle has been a disaster for the hard-left, and Greenwald's ravings position him far outside of mainstream, intelligent discourse on the future direction of American military policy.

In sum, Greenwald on foreign policy - despite his bookish pretensions - is no better than any other low-level, hate-addled anti-Bush blogger. His work simply feeds the endless appetite for anti-administration fodder among the tasteless surrender-crowd hammering the Democratic Party for its alleged pro-war spinelessness. It's this very pseudo-intellectualism that makes Greenwald worth monitoring. He's got a quick wit, and an even quicker keyboard, pumping out his nasty stuff. Antiwar types digest his swill whole, but the rest of us can see through the balony for what it is: An unexpurgated campaign of antiwar radicalism and anti-Americanism.

Don't believe this guy for a minute.

For more on Greenwald, check his YouTube attacking Washington's prowar "establishment":

See also Greenwald's current post attacking FOX News for its alleged hypocrisy (via Memeorandum).

See also the previous entries from Blog Watch:
The Blue Voice, Firedoglake.

Going Phishing: Limbaugh and "Phony Soldiers"

The hard-left's attempt to tar Rush Limbaugh for his intemperate remark about "phony soldiers" is a scam. It's not much different from "phishing," which savvy web users know is the act of falsely claiming to be an real business in an attempt to trick the user into revealing personal data that will be used for identity theft.

After the
MoveOn debacle, lefties are just itching for political payback, and they've seized on the Limbaugh story like a junky pumping up his last spoon of smack. Yet, while Limbaugh's comments were ill-considered, what was said has been taken out of context: The remarks were off-color statements during a broadcast, in contrast to MoveOn's high-profile smear against the highly decorated four-star commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Karen Tumulty at Swampland provides a quote that captures the hard-left's outrage against Limbaugh:

Any American who risks his or her life to defend us has earned the respect and gratitude of every American citizen, irrespective of their views on this war. If Mr. Limbaugh made the remark he is reported to have made, it reflects very poorly on him and not the objects of his offensive comment. I expect most Americans, whatever their political views, will have the same reaction. He would be well advised to retract it and apologize.
I agree, but Limbaugh's comments were more particular than has been portrayed. Be sure to see the whole transcript. Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" remark was predicated on the actions of guys like Jesse MacBeth, an antiwar hero who invented stories of American atrocities in Iraq.

Yet from the left blogosphere's attacks
one would think Limbaugh impugned each and every member of the military who's had reservations about the war, which is not true.

Jules Crittenden puts things in perpective, noting that Limbaugh's a blowhard, and his comments were dumb:

Remind me not to vote for him for president. Not because he said something stupid and offensive, but because he’s a professional blowhard....

Anyway, “phony soldiers” was a stupid and offensive thing to say about people who are doing their duty and could be killed or maimed whether they agree with what they’ve been asked to do or not. I’d be more inclined to call them “short-sighted” or “ill-informed” or maybe “disgruntled” soldiers. Beauchamp, now, that guy I’d call a phony soldier, even though he’s serving overseas and could get his head blown off. But that’s because of the sockpuppetry, the lies, the dishonoring of his comrades.

Should Congress condemn Limbaugh? The lefties are congratulating themselves for considering themselves above that, which is actually a way of saying they are PO’d that their Democratic-led Congress voted overwhelmingly to smack the New York Times and MoveOn last week.

A shock jock blurting out something stupid is an order of magnitude or two below one of the nation’s leading newspapers running a full-page ad, a half-price, full of insulting distortions about a wartime commander in the midst of critical hearings. I’d be inclined to think Congress has better things to do than waste its time trying to influence the New York Times or Rush Limbaugh, but seeing what Congress has been wasting it’s time with lately, the NYT vote was an improvement. And got more votes than most of what Congress has been wasting its time with lately. If they do go after Limbaugh for an offhand remark, they’ll have lowered the threshold so far that they won’t be able to not accomplish anything else, they’ll be so busy condemning idiotic and tasteless ads, blurtings, comic sketches, etc.
Crittenden adds a footnote acknowledging the unintentional nature of what Limbaugh said, while still renouncing blanket criticism of U.S. troops who disagree with current policy.

Limbaugh's comments, though poorly conceived, compose
the left's current red herring in its efforts to squirm out from under the ignominy of its anything-goes-campaign to end the war. The Democrats, unsurprisingly, are gleefully outraged by the comments.

I don't listen to Limbaugh, and I've never cared for his style of attack broadcasting. I'd be among the first to denounce him if he slandered our troops. Based on the transcipts of his broadcast, that's not the case. The "phony soldiers" incident is a scam - like "phishing" - a trick perpetuated by leftists to get folks to "buy" a new meme, and ultimately to draw attention away from its real smear campaign against the military and supporters of the war.


Update: From
the comments section of a lefty milblog criticizing Limbaugh:

Outstanding response to Rush! That drug-addled fat fuck needs to have his microphone shoved up his ass. You did a pretty good job of doing it, too.
As I noted in the post, Limbaugh's comments were ill-considered. Such nasty ad hominem attacks do nothing to further the discussion.

Update II: Crooks and Liars steps to double-time their Limbaugh smear campaign with a link to the new attack video from Vote Vets:

The more pressure put on Limbaugh the better...Contact your representatives...and let them know you want them to condemn Rush’s disgusting and un-American statements about our troops and veterans.
Contact Crooks and Liars and remind them to read the text of Limbaugh's broadast.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Israel and the Syria Raid: Implications for Iran

This week's Newsweek provides some compelling speculation on the implications of last week's secretive raid on Syria, the target of which Israel has claimed was a nuclear development facility. Check it out:

How far will Israel go to keep Iran from getting the bomb? The question gained new urgency this month when Israeli warplanes carried out a mysterious raid deep in Syria and then threw up a nearly impenetrable wall of silence around the operation. Last week opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu chipped away at that wall, saying Israel did in fact attack targets in Syrian territory. His top adviser, Mossad veteran Uzi Arad, told NEWSWEEK: "I do know what happened, and when it comes out it will stun everyone."

Official silence has prompted a broad range of speculation as to what exactly took place. One former U.S. official, who like others quoted in this article declined to be identified discussing sensitive matters, says several months ago Israel presented the Bush administration with reconnaissance images and information from secret agents alleging North Korea had begun to supply nuclear-related material to Syria. Some U.S. intelligence reporting, including electronic signal intercepts, appeared to support the Israeli claims. But other U.S. officials remain skeptical about any nuclear link between Syria and North Korea. One European security source told NEWSWEEK the target might have been a North Korean military shipment to Iran that was transiting Syria. But a European intelligence official said it wasn't certain Israel had struck anything at all.

While the Bush administration appears to have given tacit support to the Syria raid, Israel and the United States are not in lockstep on Iran. For Israel, the next three months may be decisive: either Tehran succumbs to sanctions and stops enriching uranium or it must be dealt with militarily. (Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.) "Two thousand seven is the year you determine whether diplomatic efforts will stop Iran," says a well-placed Israeli source, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak for the government. "If by the end of the year that's not working, 2008 becomes the year you take action."

In Washington, on the other hand, the consensus against a strike is firmer than most people realize. The Pentagon worries that another war will break America's already overstretched military, while the intelligence community believes Iran is not yet on the verge of a nuclear breakthrough. The latter assessment is expected to appear in a secret National Intelligence Estimate currently nearing completion, according to three intelligence officials who asked for anonymity when discussing nonpublic material. The report is expected to say Iran will not be able to build a nuclear bomb until at least 2010 and possibly 2015. One explanation for the lag: Iran is having trouble with its centrifuge-enrichment technology, according to U.S. and European officials.

Douglas Frantz of the Los Angeles Times noted in 2004, however, that Iran was moving toward nuclear readiness:

This month, Iran said it was gearing up to produce large amounts of gaseous uranium, which is used in enrichment. The gas, known as uranium hexafluoride, can be fed into slender centrifuges, which spin at high speed to transform the gas into enriched uranium.

Iran has moved much faster than expected in manufacturing and assembling these centrifuges, diplomats said. The rapid progress means a pilot centrifuge plant near Natanz, in central Iran, could soon be equipped with enough machines to begin large-scale enrichment.

Two senior European diplomats said the pilot plant could be expanded from the existing 164 centrifuges to 1,000 within weeks and produce enough material in less than a year to fashion a crude nuclear device.

The exact timing involved in Iran's nuclear preparations is probably less important than the regime's overall intentions. Ahmadinejad has rebuffed the Security Council on the issue of continuing inspections, and the world body has delayed a vote on tougher sanctions until at least November, a move designed to give Mohamed ElBaradei - the chief IAEA inspector - more time to investigate Iranian compliance with international demands for a halt to enrichment activities.

Israel might not wait too long, particularly as more information on the ultimate significance of the Syrian incursion becomes available. As the Newsweek story indicates:

The Jewish state has cause for worry. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows regularly to destroy the country; former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered a moderate, warned in 2001 that Tehran could do away with Israel with just one nuclear bomb. In Tel Aviv last week, former deputy Defense minister Ephraim Sneh concurred. Sneh, a dovish member of Israel's Parliament and a retired brigadier general, took a NEWSWEEK reporter to the observation deck atop the 50-story Azrieli Center. "There is Haifa just over the horizon, Ben-Gurion airport over there, the Defense Ministry down below," he said, to show how small the country is. "You can see in this space the majority of our intellectual, economic, political assets are concentrated. One nuclear bomb is enough to wipe out Israel."

The logistics of an Irsraeli attack on Iran's program are difficult but not prohibitive (see here, for example). One interesting scenario - suggested in the Newsweek report - is that an Israeli preventive attack results in Iran's retaliation, with the possible targeting of American assets, which would likely pull the U.S. into the conflict.

Blacks and the GOP: Toward a New Rights Agenda

The top-tier candidates in the race for the GOP nomination skipped last night's candidate forum at Morgan State Univeristy, a historically black university in Baltimore, Maryland. Each of the key Republican frontrunners - Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thomspon - claimed that prior fundraising engagements prevented their participation.

The Washington Post has the story (via

"I apologize for the candidates who aren't here. I think it's a disgrace that they aren't here," Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), a presidential hopeful, told the audience. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry to you and I'm sorry to those who are watching that they are not here."

Asked before the debate whether he accepted his rivals' claims of scheduling conflicts, Brownback said, "If it was a high enough priority, it would get on the schedule."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, another candidate who made the trip, called the situation "embarrassing" for his rivals. "We've come a long way, but we have a long way to go, and we don't get there if we don't sit down and work through issues," he told the appreciative crowd.

The debate was hosted by PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley and attended by Brownback, Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and Alan Keyes, a former ambassador who has sought the presidency twice before.

Several of the candidates took pains to cater to the mostly black audience, blaming inequality in America on continuing racism. Brownback said he wants Congress to pass a formal apology for slavery and segregation. Huckabee promised he would, as president, improve housing opportunities for minorities and address unequal treatment of different races in the criminal justice system. He also pledged to support voting rights for the District of Columbia.

By contrast, Tancredo declared that economic differences have "nothing to do with race," and several candidates reiterated their desire to crack down on illegal immigrants. Paul loudly repeated his call for an end to the war in Iraq. Keyes blamed the plight of the black community on moral decay.

But the forum, which was pitched as a chance to discuss the "covenant with black America," was undercut by the absence of the party's top contenders -- an outcome criticized by black activists, Democratic candidates and some senior Republican leaders.

It's understandable why the top GOP contenders skipped the debate. The Republican Party's primary process will not reward candidates endorsing the failed policy agenda of the post-civil rights black community. Yesterday's Los Angeles Times pinned down the key issues:

Critics say the 2008 candidates' decisions [to skip the debate] reflect the reality that the Republican nomination will be decided by the party's overwhelmingly white, conservative base. Answering questions on issues such as urban blight, AIDS, the government response to Hurricane Katrina and immigration might only hurt the top candidates, all of whom have faced scrutiny over their conservative credentials.

From my perspective, whether answering such questions would hurt the candidates depends on the type of responses offered.

I think Brownback's decision to pander slavishly to the traditional victim's strategy of the black community is a disaster. The responses of Tancredo and Keyes, on the other hand, pushed the discussion on black progress in the right direction.

Blacks do not need more policies of redistribution amid the endless cries of "institutional racism." We've seen enough of that. It's been 43 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the political system, the educational establishment, and the corporate sector have made historic efforts to promote full inclusion for African-Americans in mainstream life. The key agenda for the GOP should be to promote black independence and uplift through policies focusing on greater individual and family responsibility, excellence in educational achievement, the rebuilding of the black family structure, and opportunity-oriented economic policies, focusing on entrepreneurship and ownership.

Further, I've noted recently that the epidemic of black-on-black crime - and especially the phenomenon of "witness intimidation" in the black community, which has made it harder for law enforcement to bring inner-city murderers to justice - ought to be a top Republican issue. The GOP can regain its legacy as the party of Lincoln if its top candidates seize the debate by making a new black freedom and opportunity agenda a premiere plank in the Republican platform.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bush and Iran: Do Whatever It Takes

Today's lead editorial at the Wall Street Journal takes the Bush administration to task for not living up to its public statements on Iran. Here's the introduction:

The traveling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad circus made for great political theater this week, but the comedy shouldn't detract from its brazen underlying message: The Iranian President believes that the world lacks the will to stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear program, and that the U.S. also can't stop his country from killing GIs in Iraq. The question is what President Bush intends to do about this in his remaining 16 months in office.

Over the last five years, Mr. Bush has issued multiple and sundry warnings to Iran. In early 2002, he cautioned Iran that "if they in any way, shape or form try to destabilize the [Afghan] government, the coalition will deal with them, in diplomatic ways initially." In mid-2003, following revelations about the extent of Iran's secret nuclear programs, he insisted the U.S. "will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon."

In January of this year, as evidence mounted that Iran was supplying sophisticated, armor-penetrating munitions to Shiite militias in Iraq, Mr. Bush was tougher still: "We will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

In February, he added that "I can speak with certainty that the Qods Force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops." And as recently as this month's TV speech on Iraq, the President alerted Americans to the "destructive ambitions of Iran" and warned the mullahs that their efforts to "undermine [Iraq's] government must stop."

Read the whole thing. The editors go on to contrast the administration's "rhetorical record" in talking tough on Iran with its public actions, which so far have not walked the walk. One of the most troubling issues is Iran's killing of American soldiers in Iraq:

Administration officials tell us that Iranian-backed militias using Iranian-supplied arms now account for 70% of U.S. casualties in Iraq.

And here's the conclusion:

The Bush Presidency is running out of time to act if it wants to stop Iran from gaining a bomb. With GIs fighting and dying in Iraq, Mr. Bush also owes it to them not to allow enemy sanctuaries or weapons pipelines from Iran. If the President believes half of what he and his Administration have said about Iran's behavior, he has an obligation to do whatever it takes to stop it.

As readers here will recall, I've noted on many occasions the futility of U.N. sanctions in deterring Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. Ahmadinejad announced Tuesday that Iran's nuclear weapons programs was a "closed issue" and that Tehran would ignore U.N. Security Council demands for the termination of its nuclear development efforts.

The administration should delay no longer. We indeed must to do whatever it takes to avoid an international crisis, even if this entails preventive strikes against Iran's nuclear development facilities.

Deconstructing Katie Couric

Peter Wehner, who was previously Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Bush administration, has an interesting post up at Contentions, the Commentary Magazine blog.

Wehner takes a look at Katie Couric's remarks yesterday at the National Press Club. Here's the key passage:

The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying “we” when referring to the United States and, even the “shock and awe” of the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable. And I remember feeling, when I was anchoring the “Today” show, this inevitable march towards war and kind of feeling like, “Will anybody put the brakes on this?” And is this really being properly challenged by the right people? And I think, at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic and it was a very difficult position to be in.

Here's Wehner's response:

There is a lot to unpack in these few sentences. For one thing, Couric’s aversion to using the word “we” when referring to her own country is both weird and revealing. After all, she is part of the United States, a citizen of America, and so she is part of “we.” Hers is an example of a certain journalistic sensibility that feels as if members of the media are compromising their objectivity by referring to their country as if they were a part of it. And I suppose in The World According To Katie, it would be a gross violation of journalistic ethics to hope for America to prevail in a war to depose Saddam Hussein and bring liberty to his broken land. Hence, I suppose, her discomfort with how well the initial stages of the Iraq war went.

This point is worth pausing over. After all, during his reign, Saddam Hussein routinely executed political opponents and political prisoners. Children and young people were tortured to force their parents and relatives to confess to alleged political offenses. Schoolchildren were summarily shot in public—and families of executed children were made to pay for the bullets and coffins used. Human Rights Watch concluded that the Iraqi regime committed the crime of genocide against Iraqi Kurds—and estimates are that more than 300,000 Iraqis were executed during Saddam Hussein’s reign. He was also responsible for invading two nations at a cost of more than a million lives. Imagine hoping that the United States would defeat such a regime quickly, easily, and with a minimum loss of life and damage. The audacity!

As for the “inevitable” march toward war and her “kind of feeling like, ‘Will anybody put the brakes on this?’”: First, the “march” to war was not inevitable—one person on this planet could easily have put the brakes on it. His name was Saddam Hussein. He could have stopped the war at any time, if only he had met the commitments to which he had agreed. It was Saddam Hussein who was in material breach of Security Council Resolution 1441. It was he who had amassed a record of defiance for more than a decade. But for Katie Couric, the responsibility for war rests not with the former dictator of Iraq, but with the President of the United States.

And then there is tossing out the standard talking points that those who questioned the administration were “considered unpatriotic” and “it was a very difficult position to be in.” By whom, in Couric’s imaginary history, were critics of the administration considered “unpatriotic”? This notion is a flimsy urban legend—and yet Katie claims to have been put in a “very difficult position” based on a scenario that never even occurred. What a tower of strength she is.

The virtue of such statements, I suppose, is that it rips away the pretense of objectivity—as if that was even necessary at this stage. It appears as if Katie Couric is a worthy successor to Dan Rather—and her comments, in some ways so utterly typical, also remind us why CBS’s ratings are in the toilet, and deserve to be.

See also Jonah Goldberg's take on Couric's objection to the plural pronoun "we":

A critic might respond that I'm perhaps overly sensitive to this sort of thing and therefore I probably pick up on it too much and think it's a bigger deal than it is. That may in fact be true. Indeed, to some extent I'm sure it is. But just as my sensitivity to this sort of talk says something about me and my views, doesn't Couric's sensitivity say something interesting about her and her views? That she was made uncomfortable by the use of "we" to describe the United States of America during a time of war is really quite revealing, at least to my ears.

From my perspective neither Wehner nor Goldberg are too sensitive in pointing out the cosmopolitan resistance to identifying with America. Couric's positioned herself as part and parcel to the delegitimization of American national identity among the elite multicultural, transnational left.

Going Mad in Academe?

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has an interesting piece on student concerns surrounding Bryn Mawr's proposed "Social Justice Program" (via Maggie's Farm):
Early this summer, FIRE received a case submission from a Bryn Mawr student worried about a proposal for a “Social Justice Pilot Program” gaining momentum on her campus. Conceived in the wake of a campus scandal involving racial slurs published on popular social networking site by a member of the school’s student government, student and faculty proponents of the Social Justice Pilot Program (SJPP) argued that the best way to address perceived intolerance at Bryn Mawr was through adding a “social justice requirement” to the curriculum.

As support for the proposal coalesced, the Social Justice Pilot Program began to take shape. According to an e-mail sent to the student body by the Social Justice Pilot Committee, students would be required to “develop a ‘contract’ to map and document each student’s ‘social justice journey,’ working in collaboration with faculty to ‘critically examine in an ongoing way and in multiple forums the hierarchies and relationships of power that shape our lives and how we shape them.’” Participating in workshops, retreats and approved coursework would serve to fulfill a student’s social justice “credits.” Bryn Mawr’s student newspaper, The Bi-College News, noted in May that under the proposal, “incorporating the social justice requirement into classes would not require a reformatting of curriculum, but rather just a new perspective be taken on some existing classes.” Further e-mails were sent throughout the summer, soliciting student involvement. By all indications, the SJPP had the full support of Bryn Mawr administrators and faculty.

At this point, the worried Bryn Mawr student contacted FIRE. Why? Well, anyone familiar with FIRE’s work will instantly recognize the problem presented by a “social justice” requirement: whatever the intentions of such a requirement, it necessarily violates a student’s fundamental freedom of conscience. That’s because a concept as fundamentally subjective as “social justice” cannot morally be defined and taught, as if it were as static as multiplication tables. Rather, what is and is not socially just is an inherently personal determination, inevitably contingent upon such infinitely variable factors as the sum of one’s life experiences, faith, political ideology, and so on. For a school to present “social justice” as something that can be learned (and graded) is deeply terrifying, as it assumes that only the school’s definition of social justice is acceptable, or that there can be a “right answer” at all. In short, to insist that only an institutional conception of social justice can be correct is both a terrible encroachment upon a student’s individual right to freedom of conscience and simple coercion.
Read the whole thing. Bryn Mawr's president, Nancy Vickers, responded to FIRE's inquiries, and so far it looks like the Social Justice Program will likely not become a requirement. As FIRE notes:

The most important element of President Vickers’ response, besides her demonstrated understanding of the essentiality of freedom of conscience, is learning that the SJPP is in no way mandatory for Bryn Mawr students. That’s a crucial point: If Bryn Mawr isn’t forcing students to participate in the SJPP or accept its conception of social justice, the SJPP is no longer objectionable, as students surely enjoy the basic associational right to participate in programs of their choice.
But check out Victor Davis Hanson, who points to the more everyday madness seen across American academe. In the last few weeks Americans have seen all kinds of campus PC follies, including not just Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's invitation to Columbia, but Irwin Chemerinsky's on-again, off-again job offer to head UCI's new law school, Lawrence Summers' yanked invitation to speak at a UC Davis board of regents dinner, and the unsuccessful attempt to scuttle Stanford's appointment of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to an anti-terrorism task-force at the Hoover Institution:

In each of the above cases, the general public has had to remind these universities that their campuses should welcome thinkers who have distinguished themselves in their fields, regardless of politics and ideology. The liberal Chemerinsky, the Clinton Democrat Summers and the conservative Rumsfeld have all courted controversy -- and all alike met the criterion of eminent achievement.

But the propagandist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not. Unlike Chemerinsky, Rumsfeld and Summers, he used the prestige of an Ivy-League forum solely to popularize his violent views -- and to sugarcoat the mayhem his terrorists inflict on Americans and his promises to wipe out Israel.

Here's a simple tip to the clueless tenured class about why a Larry Summers or Donald Rumsfeld should be welcome to speak, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shunned: former Cabinet secretaries -- yes; homicidal dictators killing Americans -- no.

Things haven't gone entirely mad on America's college campuses, but it's a close run thing, to be sure (Hanson's piece doesn't mention Hofstra's invitation of pro-terror attorney Lynne Stewart to lecture at the law school's "Lawyering at the Edge" conference).

Blacks Say Simpson Did It

The Washington Post reports that a majority of African-Americans believes that O.J. Simpson is guilty of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman:

In a nation that largely despised him, O.J. Simpson always had strong support within the black community, where polls showed a majority of people believed he was innocent of charges that he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her acquaintance Ronald Lyle Goldman outside her home in Los Angeles's Brentwood neighborhood in 1994.

But after a string of missteps by the former football star -- a heated 2003 argument with his teenage daughter in which she called police; a book, "If I Did It," that raised eyebrows last year; and a dispute over sports collectibles in Las Vegas this month that led to an armed-robbery arrest -- black opinion has shifted.

Washington Post survey found that 40 percent of black respondents believe he is innocent of the murders, compared with 71 percent who felt that way around the time Simpson was acquitted in 1995. The change in black opinion brings African American views of Simpson's guilt closer to those of white people. In late 1995, 72 percent of white respondents said Simpson was guilty of murder, and 74 percent say they feel that way now.

The 31-percentage-point drop among black respondents is a head-turner, sociologists said, because African Americans were such steadfast supporters of the celebrity, cheering in some places when the verdicts were read.
Read the whole thing.

The racial divide over the Simpson verdict was said to reflect the deep societal chasm between the races on matters of equality and justice under the law. I personally never doubted Simpson's guilt (and I've always been somewhat indignant over black resistance to see straight on this issue). Now, though, for black America, Simpson's continued family difficulties and his brushes with the law have simply confirmed what many people have thought all along: The man's a killer.

Check out T. Jefferson Parker's essay on Simpson's book, If I Did It. Parker's a crime writer, and he had a chill down his spine when read the section where Simpson essentially confesses his crimes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Anti-American Activist to Teach Legal Ethics Class

Lynne Stewart, the radical anti-American activist who was convicted of providing material support to terrorists in 2005, is scheduled to teach a course in legal ethics at Hofstra University. The Federal Review has the story (via Memeorandum):

A disbarred lawyer convicted of aiding terrorists will be teaching at an upcoming law school ethics conference.

Lynne Stewart, who was found guilty of conspiring with terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, will be speaking October 16 at Hofstra Law School's "Legal Ethics: Lawyering on the Edge," in Hempstead, New York.

The speaking engagement comes only a year after Stewart was sentenced to twenty-eight months in prison on charges of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists.

Prosecutors alleged that Stewart had passed on messages to Abdel Rahman's radical Muslim followers, authorizing a resumption of terrorist operations against the Egyptian government.

As a result of the convictions, Stewart was automatically disbarred from practicing law.

Her client, Abdel Rahman, was convicted in 1996 of plots to bomb landmarks around New York City.

Stewart will be speaking at Hofstra Law School's 2007 Legal Ethics Conference, Lawyering at the Edge: Unpopular Clients, Difficult Cases, Zealous Advocates. The conference is scheduled for October 14 to 16, 2007 in the Sidney R. Siben and Walter Siben Moot Courtroom (room 308) of Hofstra Law School.

According to the University's
website, the conference will feature dynamic speakers who will weigh in on controversial issues such as prosecutorial abuse, the challenges of representing prisoners at Guantanamo, and attacks on lawyers who represent unpopular clients and causes.

This should be a jawdropper, but no one who follows the alliance of Islamic jihad and contemporary Leninism would be surprised by Hofstra's actions. Certainly some of Hofstra's administration and faculty consider "Lawering on the Edge" a worthy aspiration for future attorneys. In Stewart's case, such lawyering includes advocating violence:

I don't believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence....That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions and accompanied by popular support.
Stewart's legal career has been directed to aiding and abetting those forces hell-bent on the destruction of the United States. Although Stewart has First Amendment rights to her views, it's still incredibly distasteful for her project to be sponsored by institutions of higher learning. Nevertheless, as her biography shows, she's in high demand at colleges and universities across the country.

Hofstra's invitation to Stewart is just one more example of how much work needs to be done in exposing and combatting the pro-terrorist agenda that's prominent on the radical left.

Also blogging:
Jammie Wearing Fool, Michelle Malkin, The Oxford Medievalist, Stop the ACLU, Weasel Zippers.

See also, OpinionJournal.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Stubborn Truth of Black Social Breakdown

Heather MacDonald, in her latest column on the Jena 6 case, argues that demonstrators and the press are avoiding key facts underlying the episode. There remain serious unresolved issues surrounding the proceedings, and MacDonald's clear to suggest that if prosecutorial misconduct is found, the most serious penalties - including disbarment - should be considered appropriate.

Yet MacDonald's also clear to identify a lot of backgound information that protestors (celebrants?) are conveniently overlooking in the controversy:

The idea behind the protests and the politicians’ exploitation of them is that just as these five youths were overcharged, the hundreds of thousands of blacks in prison are also the victims of systemic abuse. But for institutional racism, the black prison population would be much smaller.

This is an old complaint, for which no proof has ever been offered, Hillary Clinton’s irresponsible statement notwithstanding. The usual evidence in support of the charge that the criminal laws discriminate against blacks is the far stiffer sentences for selling and possessing crack cocaine compared with powdered cocaine. But that colorblind sentencing regimen, which dates from 1986, was a heartfelt effort to protect the overwhelmingly black victims of crack, not to penalize them. Black liberals such as Congressman Charles Rangel were loudest in sounding the alarm about the effects of crack in the black ghetto. Not even the most deluded racial apologists have ever explicitly suggested that racial bias motivated Congress’s efforts to combat a drug that results in much higher rates of violence among dealers and users, quicker and more onerous addiction, and more emergency room visits than its powdered cousin.

The reason that the black incarceration rate is the highest in the country is that blacks have the highest crime rate—by a long shot. Don’t trust the police, prosecutors, or judges to give a fair picture of black crime? Then go where the bodies are. Los Angeles is representative. In the first seven months of 2007, blacks in Los Angeles were murdered at a rate ten times that of whites and Asians. Who’s killing them? It’s not whites and Asians. While a minor proportion of the assailants of blacks are Hispanic, the vast majority are black themselves. Nationally, blacks commit murder at about eight times the frequency of whites. In New York, any given violent crime is 13 times more likely to have been committed by a black person than by a white person, according to the reports of victims and witnesses. Though they are only 24 percent of the city’s population, blacks committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in New York last year. Whites, who make up 34.5 percent of New Yorkers, committed only 5.3 percent of violent crimes. These ratios are similar across the country. In Los Angeles, blacks committed 41 percent of all robberies in 2001, according to victims’ descriptions, though they constitute only 11 percent of the city’s population. Robbery victims identified whites, who make up 30 percent of the Los Angeles population, just 4 percent of the time.

MacDonald also points out the fundamental hypocrisies shadowing the advocates for racial justice:

No one in the Jena stampede dares whisper a word about black crime, because it undercuts the portrait of a victimized race. You can listen to every protest across the country glorifying the “Jena Six” and you will never hear an acknowledgement of the massive social breakdown that is the black crime rate: no mention of the violence in inner-city schools that black students commit overwhelmingly; no mention of the rising homicides in midsize cities that young black males commit when they feel “disrespected.” It is not racism that is putting black men in jail; it’s their own behavior.

What about the broader significance of Jena? Again, assuming for the sake of argument that this minuscule Louisiana town seethes with the crudest bigotry, held uniquely by whites against integration-seeking blacks, is Jena’s supposed state of affairs a microcosm of America? To the contrary: there is not a single elite institution in the country that is not twisting itself into knots in favor of African-Americans. Every minimally selective college is desperately seeking to enroll more black students. Boosting black enrollment requires drastically lowering a college’s admissions criteria to overcome the intractable 200-point SAT gap between black and white high school students, but every college institutes such double standards for the sake of “diversity.” Any black student who graduates from high school with decent grades and respectable SATs will leapfrog over thousands of more qualified white and Asian students right into the Ivy League. Blacks are also the hottest commodity for exclusive private schools that serve as training grounds for the Ivies. Andover, Exeter, Choate, and every other fancy prep and day school practice the same double standards in their eagerness to admit African-American students. After college, law schools, business schools, medical schools, engineering schools, and others accept black students whose test scores would disqualify them if they were white or Asian.

The preferences continue into the professions. Wall Street law firms annually flagellate themselves over their lack of proportional representation of black associates and partners, even though the number of blacks who graduate from law school with grades and bar-exam scores comparable with the firms’ white hires is negligible. The lack of comparably qualified black candidates does not stop the law partnerships from hiring black associates, though. Corporations have saddled themselves with massive “diversity” bureaucracies whose only function is to justify hiring and promoting less qualified African-Americans and Hispanics. Newspapers, TV stations, and advertisers put enormous pressure on themselves to have blacks on their staffs and to show black faces to the world.

In short, the opportunities for blacks to roar ahead in the economy if they stay out of trouble, study, and apply themselves are legion, but the numbers taking advantage of these opportunities are not. California’s state superintendent of public instruction broke a longstanding taboo this August by pointing out that middle-class black students in the state score worse on math and English than poor white and Asian students—a disparity that applies across the country. The usual poverty excuse for black underachievement does not hold up.

The Jena protesters will go home in denial of these truths. In fact, the purpose of such mass celebrations—and that is indeed what they are—is to make sure that attention stays far away from the actual problems holding blacks back. Astronomical rates of black criminality are not the only topic that the Jena rallies have obscured. No one wallowing in Jena promotion has had the courage to speak about an even more important crisis, the breakdown of marriage. The nearly 70 percent national illegitimacy rate for blacks—a number that can approach 90 percent in inner cities—is a cataclysm. Its consequences go far beyond the harm to individual black children—especially boys—who grow up without fathers. The real poison of the marriage crisis is the message it sends to young men about personal responsibility. The first duty in civil society is toward one’s own children; everything else is built around it. But when boys are raised without any expectations that they will have to support their children and marry the mother of those children, they fail to learn the most basic lesson about responsibility. They also are freed from the civilizing force of the marriage requirement, which pressures young men to become attractive mates. With enough support, individuals can overcome the moral perils of the illegitimacy culture, but given the prevalence of black crime and disaffiliation from the working world, it’s clear that not enough young men are finding ways to do so.

The race industry will try to keep Jena in the media and political spotlight for as long as possible, and to reinforce the notion that this episode exemplifies blacks’ situation in America.

Read the whole thing. I was hoping to see an analysis by MacDonald on this issue. There's virtually no analytical discussion of the Jena 6 case from an objective, big picture perspective.

In my previous post on the case ("Jena and Race Politics"), I cited a CBS News story whose title completely captured the national media's sensational obssession with race in America: "Jena and the Son of Jim Crow: Case Shows Racism Still Pervades The Nation — Not Just The South. There's very little (if any) MSM reporting offering perspectives on Jena outside of this "continuing racism" consensus.

Yet as MacDonald argues (as well as many other commentators), continuing outcries against racial discrimination reflect the ideology of victimization, and they do little to promote the kind of initiatives that will truly advance the cause of black justice and social mobility.