It’s small but it’s starting

From Drudge: Some 150 ultra-nationalists rallied in central Moscow on Tuesday to denounce what they called “the invasion of Russia” by foreigners and ethnic minorities. The sanctioned demonstration in front of Moscow’s historic Gorky park was ostensibly staged to mourn the victims of a February 6 Moscow subway bombing that killed 41 commuters. The attack was blamed on rebels from Chechnya. “Moscow is a Russian city. Russia for Russians. Moscow for Muscovites,” the group, made up predominantly of teenagers, chanted. “Say no to registration (for foreigners), says yes to deportation,” read one banner. The ultra-nationalist protest was led by the fringe Nationalist Patriotic Party (NPP) and Movement Against Illegal Immigrants. “It was not ethnic Russians who blew up the metro,” said NPP leader Alexander Sevastyanov.

The media is going to have a hard time fitting this into their usual spectrum, as Europeans of Left and Right begin to turn “ultra-nationalist” in response to the Islamic terrorists setting off bombs in their capitals. The tide has already begun to turn in Holland, and I expect it will not be pretty in countries like Germany and France. France, particularly, has shown that it has no qualms about treating Muslims badly, as 70,000 dead Algerians could testify. This is precisely the sort of thing I was predicting last night on the radio show. I don’t expect the fringe parties to remain fringe parties for long, unless their policies are co-opted by the major parties.

Mailvox: he’s too kind

Bane writes back: That you can question the fact that we are in a state of war continually causes me to be amazed. You are either a bound servant to semantics, or you are teasing us to make an as yet unrevealed point. I refuse to believe you are just stupid.

I don’t deny that a war is being fought against us. It has been since at least 1983. But I deny that we, as a country, are in a state of war. We’re not. The average American is practically unconscious of it, and is being encouraged to stay that way, foolishly, by the administration, which is fighting a minimalist action, most likely in an attempt to win a gradual war of attrition at a minimal cost. Perhaps the strategy will work, but I don’t believe so. And if I were not a bound servant to the semantics of the Bible and, to a lesser extent, the Constitution, I would be just another globalist elitist using the glorious prospective ends to excuse the current means.

I thought that an invasion of Iraq would be only a first stepping stone from the very beginning, as soon as September 28, 2001, as a matter of fact. I was surprised when we started with Afghanistan instead. I didn’t like this sleight-of-hand – mostly because I believe that this sort of devious pragmatic manipulation tends to backfire in the long run – but I accepted it and even wrote a column later theorizing that Iraq would serve as the jumping off point to destabilize and topple the pro-jihad regimes nearby. However, as that looks increasingly unlikely to be the plan, I’m starting to suspect that Clouseau-not-Clausewitz, may indeed be the case. Even the magnet strategy of dilly, dilly, come and be killed would have been much better executed in a neighboring country.

A clean sweep of regimes followed by an immediate withdrawal, allowing internecine struggle to keep the jihad splintered and busy would have been a much more effective and less costly option than the nation-building plan, which I simply do not believe will work. Indeed, Palestinians are deeply concerned that this strategy lies behind Sharon’s move to withdraw the settlements. I don’t pretend to be a military expert, but then, history shows that military experts are not immune to making miscalculations that lead to stupid decisions.

Mailvox: Dear sir, I daresay I disagree

Bane comments in his typically pithy style: utter crap

Actually, only the arguments put forth by the Bush administration and its defenders are utter crap. This isn’t that Jean Francois is any better – he absolutely is not – but he hasn’t even begun to make a coherent case, so it’s hard to criticize a nebulous thing of predominantly hypothetical existence. But let’s look at what the Bush administration has professed:

1. Islam is a religion of peace: it isn’t and never has been.

2. We are fighting a war on terror: it isn’t a war, the borders are open to self-declared enemy nations and we’re continuing to provide funding and protection to terrorist entities. Some war.

3. We are attacked because the jihad hates democracy: a blatant lie. The jihad loves democracy in majority Muslim countries. We’re the one’s actively opposing it. It’s a power game, just like almost every war in history. Rome used to get attacked on every side too, in response to its predominance. It comes with the territory.

4. Saudi Arabia is our friend and ally. Right. The global jihad is a Wahhabist one run by Saudis, using mosques funded by the Saudi government as operational centers. Better invade Iraq. By this logic, we should have invaded Franco’s Spain in response to Hitler’s overrunning Europe.

There are two possibilities. One is that the Bush gang bears more strategic resemblance to Clousaeu than to Clausewitz. The second is that it is blatantly and knowingly deceiving the American people about the war that it has unconstitutionally signed them up for. Bane, with all due respect, which is the case?

The charade plays out

From the Star Tribune: By a single vote, the South Dakota Senate today killed a bill that would have banned almost all abortions in the state. The bill, which almost certainly would have been challenged in court as unconstitutional, had passed both the House and Senate earlier, but Gov. Mike Rounds issued a “form veto,” asking that some of the bill’s language be clarified. The Senate, which had passed the original bill on an 18-15 vote, rejected the revised measure today by 18-17…. Earlier today, the House easily approved Rounds’ proposed changes, which were designed to keep current state abortion restrictions in place if the new law was challenged in court, as expected. That vote was 54-16.

Rep. Matt McCaulley, a Sioux Falls Republican who wrote the bill with help from the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., had hoped the strict law might reach the U.S. Supreme Court and be used to overturn the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Some legislators with long records of opposing abortion lined up against the bill, however, fearing that a court challenge could backfire and further entrench the Roe decision.

I hate this sort of fake pragmatism. The notion that you can’t do the right thing – what you publicly state you believe to be the right thing – because someone might do the wrong thing down the road, is repugnant. Perhaps this entire affair wasn’t just a ritualized form of political kabuki designed to placate the anti-abortion majority in the state while not actually doing anything, in which case we should see the original ban back soon. I’m not optimistic, though. Isn’t it interesting to see how something that everyone supposedly supports somehow can’t make its way through the legislature, while things that everyone supposedly opposes, such as tax increases, often do.

I wonder what the justices have to do before the politicians are willing to consider reining them in. Declare George Delano dictator-for-life? Institute Islamic law? Personally cuckold every politician in the country?

The politics of force

In 1996, Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States. As near as I can tell, no one noticed. Now, every Republican will tell you at the drop of the hat that we must blindly support George Delano because “we are at war”, despite the fact that the only two enemies that the president has selected for us have been defeated. And this, of course, while ignoring the Constitution he is sworn to uphold.

Never trust a dissembler; they’re often worse than the outright liars. Congressional authorizations of the use of force against Afghanistan and Iraq do not mean that war has been declared against a third party. George Delano’s defenders dismiss this as mere semantics, which is stupid because that reduces the entire Constitution to mere semantics. It’s especially absurd coming from those who wish to make a flap about Jean Francois’ bizarre distinction between “more” and “foreign” leaders. The purpose for a declaration of war, and one coming from Congress, not the president, is not semantic, it is to ensure that the people are fully behind a martial effort that will require time, sacrifice and loss.

A mere use of force, on the other hand, can be portrayed as something that can be done easily, on the cheap, and without requiring anyone to sacrifice anything except a few hundred unfortunate parents who probably aren’t from the social class that matters anyhow. The 21-year old idiot son of a rich CEO here in Minnesota was front-page news when he managed to get himself killed by an Italian after mistakingly invading the guy’s property at 4:30 in the morning; the son of a farmer killed in Iraq the same week didn’t merit the same coverage.

The very fact that people constantly feel the need to remind everyone “we are at war” indicates that we are not, in fact, at war. Not anymore than we have been since 1996. This is the equivalent of October 1939 to May 1940, when WWII was dubbed “the phony war” because the populace and media did not see what was going on literally beneath the surface:

The British press dubbed it the “sitzkrieg” — the expected terror of Total War had not yet emerged. Overlooked was the hot war in the Atlantic. British merchantmen were fighting for their lives to keep Britain supplied with resources. What was happening was futile attempts by both sides to negotiate an end to the war that would not embarrass either side. Germany reached out to the Allies through Holland. Since the British held that Germany should recall her forces from Poland, there was not much leeway for either side to get out with a favorable position to both sides. Underscoring the U-boat menace was the swift and silent entry into Scapa Flow of U-47, commanded by Günther Prien on October 14, 1939. Prien slipped past sunken ships and chains that were used as antisubmarine nets, and sank the HMS Royal Oak with heavy loss of life. Hitler personally decorated Prien.

The only other notable confrontation took place in December 1939 off the coast of Uruguay. The German Pocket Battleship Admiral Graf Spee, a heavy cruiser armed with 15″ guns, was chased into Montevideo by three British cruisers. Much to Hitler’s dismay, the captain landed his crew, scuttled the ship, and killed himself. The Allies, desperate for victories, made a bigger deal of the Battle of the River Plate than its actual military significance. It did end a surface threat to the merchant lifeline to the United States and the Dominions. The U-boats were taking a fearful toll that was not generally reported. In the meantime, many opportunities were lost. The French did not fortify their border with Belgium, although a French officer had proved it was vulnerable during war games in 1938. The troops in the Maginot Line did not move — they did not conduct maneuvers at all, precluding the possibility that they might be needed somewhere else, like to invade Germany. The French Army had gone to ground, a bad mentality to have in fluid, mobile warfare.

The Phony War did lull many French and British citizens into a false sense of complacency, thinking the Germans would not prove to have the mettle to invade the vaunted Maginot Line.

So, the global jihad continues, while its primary supporters and suppliers and enthusiasts remain untouched. If George Delano is a war president, he is a worrisomely bad one, who neither understands the nature of the war that has been declared on America nor the need to have the full cooperation of the American people in fighting it. He might as well have blamed it on ETA as Iraq. And like Mariano Rajoy, the defeated Spanish Popular party candidate, he may well learn that attempting to deceive the electorate about the true nature of the enemy will lead to his defeat.

Focus, grasshopper

I don’t know how well that went, but Mr. Brown did keep me on for 15 minutes more than I’d been scheduled, so I suppose it must have been okay. There probably wasn’t a lot new there for readers of this blog, but that’s the mass media for you. I did start wandering off a bit at one point – lesson: don’t read a book while being interviewed live on the radio.

And here I thought he was ripping off Eco

DAN Brown, the author of last year’s best-selling “The Da Vinci Code,” is nothing but a plagiarist, charges the author of two novels that are strikingly similar to Brown’s. Author Lewis Perdue is preparing to sue Brown for copyright infringement, claiming “The Da Vinci Code” is in large part stolen from his 1983 novel, “The Da Vinci Legacy” and its 1985 follow-up, “Daughter of God” – which were both recently optioned by “Survivor” creator Mark Burnett.

I talked to Pocket Books, which also publishes Brown’s Angels and Demons, last week, and one of the things that came up in the conversation was the similarity of The Da Vinci Code to The Da Vinci Legacy. I’d even considered writing a similar book three years ago, but decided that I’m not interesting in treading ground that has been previously trod – and trod better – before.

Speaking of which, I need to get back to work….