Monday, November 21, 2005

Walk the Line

I hope to catch "Walk the Line" sometime, if nothing else than because one of my favorite cult-musicians has a starring role. More about him here and, further back, here (or here for a real flavor). And, by the way, he had a hand in helping this guy's career. (Yes, I'm being purposefully "mysterious," he likes it that way.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

President Bush's Veterans Day Speech '05

The President on Iraq:
This progress is not easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people.

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war.

When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq, and that is their right, and I respect it. As president and commander in chief, I (accept ?) the responsibilities and the criticisms and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision. While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decisions or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

Some Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hand is a threat and a grave threat to our security."

That's why more then a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send to them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that when -- whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less then victory.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Absolute Final Post About Why Bush Didn't Lie About Iraq

Well, probably not. Anyway, Norman Podhoretz wraps it all up rather nicely by explaining how everyone thought Saddam Hussein was a threat, though even the President didn't think it was an imminent one (my, how that got all turned around, huh?). But Kevin Drum thinks Podhoretz wraps it up too soon and conveniently glosses over the few intelligence agencies that refuted the spook CW. However, Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics reminds us all that President Bush put the onus on Saddam to prove his compliance--heck, even Hans Blix kept offering South Africa as a model--and Saddam failed to spill the beans. (And now we know why, what, with Oil for Food and all) .Only then did we "rush to war" after a couple years worth of warnings.

Friday, November 04, 2005

'Evangelical Pruning' Ahead?

Imagine. The Pope actually thinks that traditionally Catholic universities and colleges should get back to their roots:
Ever since Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, educators at Roman Catholic colleges in the United States have been trying to figure out what his agenda would be for their institutions.

In a speech at the University of Notre Dame Monday, a senior Vatican official offered some predictions about what to expect: a strong emphasis on Catholic identity on their campuses and an increased role in reaching out to Catholic institutions in other countries. Archbishop Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, told a packed audience at Notre Dame that the pope might favor “evangelical pruning,” rather than maintaining ties to institutions that have become too secular. . .

Michael J. James, executive vice president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. . .[believed] that the Vatican is taking a broad view of the ideals of Catholic higher education, and not focusing on any one single question. James said that this was appropriate, but he acknowledged that there could be controversies ahead. Many Catholic colleges are embroiled in debates over whether to recognize gay student groups or to allow speakers on campus who disagree with Catholic teachings. College presidents dealing with such situations tend to face criticism on all sides — with students and many faculty members pushing for greater tolerance, especially on issues of sexuality, while traditionalist groups attack colleges that appear to deviate in any way from official teachings.

One “possible negative outcome” of the archbishop’s talk, James said, was that “it could bolster conservative groups that are relatively small and isolated, but they will take this and say, ‘we think you are not living up to your Catholic identity.’

. . .Rev. Charles L. Currie, president of the Association of Jesuit College and Universities, agreed. “He’s making the point that these schools should be serious about their Catholic identity and the folks I work with — Jesuit and non-Jesuit — are serious. So we accept that challenge, and our schools are very actively pursuing their Catholic identity.”

Inspired Genius

Ian McEwan writes of how some examples of genius is merely "inspired guesswork" and give Einstein's theory of relativity as such an example. Interestingly, the Big Bang is another instance of such inspired guesswork. Did you know it was first proposed by a Catholic priest? Bet you thought all religious people went for that Intelligent Design stuff, huh?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Instapundit Setting the Record on Iraq Straight...again

I'll let him do it so I don't have to, again! Instapundit writes:
One of the things I've noticed in the Judy Miller / Scooter Libby coverage is the development of a new history that's very convenient for a lot of the people peddling it. The new story is that:

1. We only went to war because of WMDs -- that was the only reason ever given.

2. Bush lied about those.

3. He told his lies to Judy Miller, who acted like a stenographer and reported them.

4. Everyone else gullibly went along.
He also points to earlier posts here, here and here. He also adds:
Democratic politicians who supported the war want an excuse to tack closer to their antiwar base. Shouting "It's not my fault --I'm easily fooled!" would seem a substandard response, but it is a way of changing position while pretending it's not politically motivated. Meanwhile, journalists, most of whom were reporting the same kind of WMD stories that Miller did (because that's what pretty much everyone thought -- including the antiwar folks who were arguing that an invasion was a bad idea because it would provoke Saddam into using his weapons of mass destruction), now want to focus on her so that people won't pay much attention to what they were reporting themselves. This makes Judy Miller a handy scapegoat.

But, as I say, the biggest problem with this revisionism is that it's not true. I guess we'll just have to keep pointing that out.
And then he continues:
J.D. Johannes notes that what people were saying in the 1990s seems to raise problems with the revisionist history. "The final authorization for use of force in 2002 cited the legislation from 1998. But what was conventional wisdom and uncontroversial in 1998, became hotly debated in 2002 and beyond." Especially "beyond."
And he links to this from Dean Esmay:
Having been part of those debates when they were happening, I am utterly appalled at people I used to think of as intelligent and well-informed who keep repeating falsehood after falsehood after falsehood about it. And I am utterly exhausted with having to, at least once a month or so, go back and rehash the same arguments because some people are not simply honest enough, diligent enough, or caring enough to go back and look at the historical record and just be honest about it.

I find having to rehash it all about as pleasant and satisfying as chewing on aluminum foil. It's not disagreement I can't stand, it's the constant repetition of falsehoods that makes me want to scream.
Like I said, I reposted most of it so I wouldn't have too dig it all up myself.

UPDATE: Glenn has also posted on how the Democrats under Bill Clinton were more than willing to proceed under the assumption that Saddam did indeed have WMD.