You have to love those Strong Women Leaders

From NRO’s Corner:

L-LO quotes a reader: “This woman [Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco] is lost and looks lost. She may have won the election but she has no business being in charge of anything. Watching her on TV the last two days has made this pretty clear. Now is not the time to be sobbing. She sure as hell should not be doing it on the tube in front of her fellow citizens – the ones looking to her for leadership.”

JPOD: the governor of LA is emotionally broken. She keeps speaking of “trying to figure out” how to evacuate people; “trying to figure out” how to put refugees somewhere else, etc. As you noted, she can’t even say that looting is wrong; the most outrage she can muster is “where are they taking the loot to, anyway?” She can’t even see that her brokenness demonstrates that no one is in charge, and the more that people see that, the more utter chaos and lawlessness are spread.

I’m just kind of curious, what else was everyone expecting? Most women crack under even minor pressure and having thousands of lives at stake in the wake of a natural disaster and knowing that your decisions will likely condemn people to death is a tremendous responsibility.

If I were a politician running against a woman, I’d be playing this tape followed by Patricia Schroeder’s similar – albeit even less justified – tears. Sure, the media would completely flip out and the women’s groups would go nuts, but so what? The point is to win the election, after all, not make your opponent feel swell about herself.

That being said, it’s no surprise that the neoconservative Podhoretz wants to hand over control to the Feds. Look, the people of Louisiana elected the woman, and while they don’t deserve the hurricane, they certainly deserve to suffer her leadership, or lack thereof, now.

UPDATE: A New Orleans resident adds his two cents: “I don’t know how much coverage the mayor of New Orleans is getting but the guy is awesome. Cool, realistic and reassuring. So too are Bob Riley and Haley Barbour. But Governor Blanco… words fail me. It strikes me that if you are governor of a state that has just been hit by disaster you should not burst into tears during a press conference and have a little Princess Di moment.”

Fighting for what?

The littlest chickenhawk clucks again:

But our sympathy for a grieving mother cannot and should not outweigh our sympathy and support for the men and women still fighting to promulgate American values and protect American freedoms — and their parents.

And what are they fighting for? A few speeches at the United Nations General Assembly by a pair of prominent Texans suddenly spring to mind.

“”It is the sacred principles enshrined in the United Nations charter to which the American people will henceforth pledge their allegiance.” – President George H.W. Bush, 1992

“The Security Council was right to demand that Iraq destroy its illegal weapons and prove that it had done so. The Security Council was right to vow serious consequences if Iraq refused to comply. And because there were consequences, because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace and the credibility of the United Nations, Iraq is free, and today we are joined by representatives of a liberated country.” – President George W. Bush, 2003

According to the Commander-in-Chief, Americans are not fighting for American values and to protect American freedoms in Iraq, they are fighting for the legitimacy of the United Nations, for the values expressed in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and to protect Iraqi freedoms.

And considering that American freedoms such as the right to bear arms are conspicuous by their absence in the Iraqi constititution, the neocons are cheering the sacrifice of American civil liberties and martial law is in already effect in portions of the United States, it should be clear to any rational observer that there is a growing gap between the neocon rhetoric and the observable reality.

None of this is the troops’ fault, of course. The blame lies squarely with their Commander-in-Chief, and both Buchanan and Farah are absolutely right to call for his impeachment as a traitor to the United States Constitution.

Interestingly enough, Bob Prechter suggested the possibility that Bush the Younger would be impeached and removed from office not long after he won his second term based on his interpretation of the wave patterns. At the time, I assumed he was hitting the crack pipe and couldn’t imagine how that could possibly come to pass. It still looks unlikely to me, but if the markets dive this fall, you might want to keep an open mind regarding the possibility it might actually happen.

Protecting no one, serving themselves

Rod Dreher on NRO’s Corner:

Times-Picayune reporters witnessed police and firefighters in New Orleans joining in the looting. Excerpt: One man said police directed him to Wal-Mart from Robert’s Grocery, where a similar scene was taking place. A crowd in the electronics section said one officer broke the glass DVD case so people wouldn’t cut themselves. “The police got all the best stuff. They’re crookeder than us,” one man said.

Thank God Orleans Parish is now under martial law. The good people need to be protected not only from thugs, but from their own public servants.

You may note that I was one of the few columnists writing after 9/11 who did not buy into the public employee deification of that era. This sort of thing is only one of the many reasons I am a police skeptic. I am not asserting that all cops are bad or that all firefighters are thieves of opportunity, but it is a legitimate question to ask whether the good apples outweigh the bad ones these days.

And there’s even old school cops who agree with me. For you can’t have a police state without police, and little doubt remains among serious observers as to which direction this administration, its predecessor and its probable successor hope to take the nation. A free nation has no need for militarized police.

On global empire

There are three extant strains of thought when it comes to American empire. These are:

1. The Marxian notion of global capitalist hegemony
2. The realpolitik view of sole superpower
3. The utopian concept of world democratic revolution

The “empire” for which Ben Shapiro and his neocon compatriots call is this third sort. It has its origins in Woodrow Wilson’s concept of worldly paradise through correct political structure and rests on the notion that the quasi-democratic system of majoritarian representation in a centralized state is superior to every other form of government, including genuine democracy. Based on this faith, the democratic supremacist finds justification for ignoring national sovereignty, cultural tradition, self-determination and anything else that happens to bar this progress towards global utopia.

This view is inherently globalist, which is why Wilson was a strong advocate for the League of Nations and why American neocons are surprisingly – to conservatives – friendly towards the United Nations. To the world democratic revolutionaries, the idea that Americans should be solely concerned with American rights and American citizens, not with Iraqis, Yemenis or Papua South Guineans, is archaic and bordering on immoral, for they see everyone as global citizens with the concomitant global rights. This is why the UN – a centralized global quasi-democratic institution – is seen as a primary ally by the utopians, who hope to reform its flaws and take advantage of its strengths to further their visions of strictly limited world democracy.

The “freedom” espoused by the utopians should never be confused with the unalienable freedoms that are the American birthright, however. It is no accident that despite the fact that they speak of an American empire, the quasi-democratic systems that result from American military invasions and occupations are inevitably free of the not only the checks and balances of the American Constitution, but also a good part of the American Bill of Rights. I have not perused the Iraqi Constitution, but I would bet that it bears far more similarity to the UN Declaration of Human Rights than to the U.S. Constitution and the American Bill of Rights. For example, there is almost no chance that the right to bear arms is included despite the fact that Iraqis have suffered under a despotic government for decades.

The reason that advocates of utopian empire are inherent traitors to the United States and enemies of its Constitution is because without respect for national sovereignty and self-determination, the United States itself has no raison d’etre. The protections of its constitution are nil and its unalienable rights are void if they are in conflict with the wishes of the utopians. In the same way that neither the Serbs nor the Kurds are permitted the right of self-determination under this utopian scheme, Americans are denied the very rights that they are supposed to be guaranteed. This utopian veto over individual rights is how Shapiro can justify the “temporary sacrifice” of civil liberties in a war predicted to last decades, even though there is no possible way that these sacrifices will aid the war effort and there are other, less oppressive means of addressing the supposed risks.

And because it offers the promise of freedom while delivering its opposite, the neocon’s utopian concept of empire is doomed to failure by its inherent inconsistencies. The World Democratic Revolution is no more tenable than the World Communist Revolution, and like its intellectual parent, will eventually collapse into totalitarian tyranny. The particular danger for the United States is that following the tradition of imperial overstretch, its abuse as the utopians’ primary weapon will cause the remnants of its constitutional system to break down as well.

Mailvox: logic and pugilism

JR plays dirty by bringing logic into the equation:

I think you are becoming a victim of the type of “debate” used by . . . chickenhawks . . . on, say, FreeRepublic. You end up chasing them as they obfuscate, dodge, change the subject, etc. They are great at creating quagmires.

It is really pretty simple: (1) these men are of an age where they are good potential military material; (2) these men assert that this “war” is of the highest priority to the nation; (3) these men do not enlist.

Therefore, one of two situations exists: (1) these men are cowards or (2) they do not believe their assertions about the priority of the war…. If they believe there is another situation that could exist, it is their obligation to posit it.

I’d add the “hypocritical” adjective to coward in situation (1) but otherwise I see nothing logically incorrect about JR’s summary. What are the chances that Chuck, JohnG or any other avian defender can respond to this train of logic without obfuscating, dodging or attempting to change the subject?

For all the digital ink that has been spent on this, I’ve yet to see a similarly rational defense of chickenhawkery. Instead, these nominal defenses are getting increasingly absurd and bitter.

And it seems that upon further thought, BH has concluded that Ben’s honor isn’t worth fighting for. Michelle’s either, for that matter:

Thank you for your very cordial invitation…. I never wrote that I agreed with Ben Shapiro, only that his age and inexperience have no bearing on the validity of his arguments. Concerning Michelle Malkin, however, you are right: I did misrepresent you. I retrieved the article in question and there was no ad hominem. You argued the facts. It’s been a pleasure corresponding with you.

Likewise, BH. It’s always entertaining to discuss the arcana of the sweet science and its Oriental cousins with a fellow enthusiast.

Mailvox: a lieutenant sounds off

LT sends a similar response to Ben Shapiro’s recent columns from an Air Force intelligence officer on active duty:

Kind of like un-Patriotic conservatives, Benjy Boy? I’m referring to David Frum’s screed in the National Review attacking Paul Craig Roberts, Robert Novak, Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan and other members of the Old Right. The NeoConservatives have proclaimed them un-American as well.

Of course Benjy Boy has to simplistically reduce what a “chickenhawk” is. Chickenhawks have been around a long time. Thomas Paine called them “sunshine patriots”. Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun were actually called “Chicken Hawks” and pressured Madsion into asking Congress to declare war on Great Britain. And then there were the men in favor of fighting the Confederacy who paid $500 to other men to fight for them. Later you had the draft-deferring Newt Gingrichs, Trent Lotts and Dick Cheney who had “more important priorties”. I’m sure Benjy Boy has more important priorties now also than joining the Marines. What Benjy Boy fails to distinguish is support and advocation. If you are going to advocate pre-emptive war and empire then you need to put your money where mouth is…. This is what is bothering Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, Benjy Boy and the other Chickenhawks. What is laughable is that they can’t ignore it and make pathetic attempts to defend their position.

I loathe Michael Moore but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Following Lt. Col. Geoff Metcalf’s motto of “It is not a question of WHO is right or wrong but WHAT is right or wrong that COUNTS” it does not matter that Michael Moore is the one who wrote the definition. The definition is correct regardless. Benjy Boy accuses others of ad hominum yet he happily uses the ‘Guilt By Association’ argument. If the Kerry campaign said members of the Bush Administration – Dick Cheney in particular – were chickenhawks, then the term has no credibility. Why? Because it was used by the Kerry campaign!

So it is American to argue in favor of imperialism, and that Empire is a right and a duty of all Americans yet it is dishonest and limits free speech when you label someone a “Chickenhawk”? Calling someone un-American advocates Republicanism, freedom of choice and freedom of speech. Calling someone a Chickenhawk violates freedom of choice and freedom of speech. And it is dishonest. “Paging George Orwell!”

The “chickenhawk” argument states that you can have an opinion and vote BUT if you advocate and cheerlead empire without ever having put yourself in harm’s way then you are screeching like a hawk while EVERYONE knows you have the backbone of a chicken. Who is saying that if you behave like a chickenhawk you may not write, speak or vote? Who? Benjy Boy simply does not like being called on who he is! It is not about rights Benjy Boy. It is about credibility. You also have a right to say that there are flying saucers from Mars being hidden in the Nevada desert. But will you be credible? Why do neoconservatives have such a hard time grasping the concept of credibility?

“Implicitly, then, the “chickenhawk” argument rejects all options aside from civilian pacifist control of American foreign policy.” Implicitly, explicitly or any other “plicitly” it does no such thing. Perhaps, perhaps, from the LEFT it may. But from the right the argument is simply, “Quit barking like a poodle from the sanctity of your ivy-league towers and come down and fight like a man if you want any respect. Otherwise keep barking, because you have the right to bark, but don’t expect anyone to respect you or your opinions, Chickenhawk!”

The whole thing was much longer, believe it or not. The lieutenant also highlighted an interesting quote that demonstrates the high regard shown by the military for the chickenhawks: “I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day.” – General Tommy Franks on neoconservative cabalist Douglas Feith.

I further note that readers of this blog, some of the least left-wing individuals on the planet, agree with the lieutenant’s position regarding the chickenhawkery of the specific neocon in question, 303-57. Also, my email ran 2-1 in support of yesterday’s column, much of it very enthusiastic. This is further indication that the popular contention of Shapiro, Lowry, Goldberg and others that the term is nothing but a left-wing pacifistic attempt to stifle debate is itself a red herring thrown out in a futile attempt to avoid debate on their own lack of credibility.

What I find most interesting is the way that the defenders of neocon chickenhawkery so readily resort to the tactics of bait-and-switch, of pointless accusations and the refusal to respond directly to relevant points that have been made against their position.

The tide of public opinion has turned against the global struggle and the Bush administration. This minor chickenhawk irruption is only one indication that a majority of the American people have lost faith in the president, his advisors and their cheerleaders in the media. That is why the chickenhawks are so desperate to shut it down before it cripples their ability to reframe the public discourse in a manner that will allow them to argue for expanding and widening the struggle.

This is pretty long for a stifled debate

Amillennialist contra Vox:

If Day’s argument is that Shapiro seems defensive, and that this defensiveness reveals a lack of courage, then that is the argument he should make. But the intimation of physical or moral defect on the part of his target is childish and inconsistent with Christ’s example.

Amil gets right out of the blocks with a blown reading comprehension test. First, that’s not my argument. Second, the suggestion of the possibility of a physical or moral defect is far from childish, it is absolutely necessary in order to admit the real possibility that the entire argument does not apply. Now, it was vicious, yes, because I’m quite aware of the fact that most people can’t read properly. But this is how we do it….

(When certain self-styled intellectual and moral experts engaged in ad Hominem attacks against Him, Jesus encouraged them to testify to what He said that was false. That’s still good advice, even to-Day.)

I doubt that Shapiro would argue that members of the military cannot use the term (and anyone who serves on the battlefield deserves the highest honors his or her fellow citizens can bestow); his assertion that the use of “chickenhawk” is “a leftist attempt to silence debate” is in most contexts today, true, which is the context in which Shapiro was making it. It is intellectually dishonest of Day to imply otherwise.

I testify to what Shapiro said that was false. His assertion is largely incorrect and is only true in the single context of conservative media commentary, which, ironically enough, features a high percentage of people who many on the Left and Right would consider to be chickenhawks. I took a poll of some of the most extreme right-wing people on the planet – in the last election, Bush came in third behind the Libertarian and Constitution party candidates – and 85 percent believe that the chickenhawk appellation applies to Mr. Shapiro.

And I note that if there is anyone less interested in genuine debate than the conservative commentariat, I have yet to meet them. Malkin was afraid to show even when she was called out in public and asked live on the air to defend her book. I doubt Shapiro has the balls to defend himself or his positions either. Hugh Hewitt won’t even permit libertarians on his radio show. Conservative commentators talk a good game as long as they think they’re dealing with brain-dead leftists, but they’re cowards for the most part. At least the lefties will show up and froth at the mouth for a while. Anyhow, the fact that leftists can’t debate properly doesn’t mean they won’t; you have to remember that to them calling names IS how you debate.

So, Shapiro is demonstrably wrong. My very willingness to debate blows his (and Amil’s) talking points-derived notion away. I’m right here… Shapiro and Lowry and all the other war cheerleaders know where I am. Shall we talk about the invasion of Pakistan? Or do you prefer Egypt? To quote our president, Bring It On. And what debate, precisely, is being stifled? From what I’ve seen, the left seems more than willing to debate the war. President Bush is the one who won’t answer any questions.

But it is dishonest to personally attack someone rather than expose the fault(s) in their argument. And neither is military service a prerequisite to having a valid opinion on the use of military force…. He was not writing of legislation regarding hypocrites, as Day jests. Now that’s silly.

I did both, so why the word “rather”? There’s nothing dishonest about attacking someone, indeed, I’d think the openness would be rather refreshing in light of all the fake Crossfire-style friendliness. An opinion is one thing, a call to action is another. Shapiro wasn’t simply expressing his opinion about the war, he was telling Americans what their duty was and what sacrifices they have to make. And Amil is right, Shapiro wasn’t talking about legislation, which is precisely why that argument was so phenomenally stupid. Why does the Supreme Court so often wrestling with questions of constitutionality? Why? Because it is the judicial branch! (In other words, it usually involves laws.)

An ad hominem attack is intellectually dishonest and therefore immoral. What is immoral is un-American. And Shapiro’s reference to the President’s daughters was in the context of the Left’s misuse of them. He was not misusing them himself.

Amil skips over the small matter of the First Amendment rights. And there is nothing intellectually dishonest about an ad hominem attack, it is merely irrelevant if it is not accompanied by a more substantive attack, as this was. Shapiro’s intellectual sloppiness appears to be rubbing off here, as the attempt to equate moral with American is a monumental failure of both logic and personal observation. Shapiro brought the daughters up as a red herring defense for himself, so my point is not only funny, but appropriate.

Name-calling is almost always an attempt to silence opposition or avoid debate (or to discredit the opposition in the minds of those who are easily deceived). That Day has criticized the War is the exception, not the rule, as most who use such terms have no real intellectually-honest argument to make against the War, they just hate President Bush and/or the military (even if it results in our nation “enjoying” the reign of the Religion of Peace).

Already dealt with this on the blog. Amillenial is only correct about the parenthesized bit, though he leaves out that this group covers 95 percent of the populace so it’s rather important if you have any interest in influencing them. Name-calling is primarily shorthand to harm the target for those casual observers, and the more accurate the name the more effective it will be. Given how panicked the chickenhawks are over getting successfully nailed with the name, it’s quite obvious that the label is both accurate and effective.

The country needs more intelligent, morally-sound young people who can string together a coherent thought. Perhaps he better serves his nation on his current career path. If Vox Day wants to play with words, he shouldn’t do it at the expense of someone who seems to be a decent kid. And liberal use of a thesaurus is no substitute for intellect.

I don’t think “coherent” is the synonym for “obvious” that Amil seems to think it is. If Ben wants to play with the big boys, then he’d better learn to think more carefully and choose his words with more precision. My column today was nothing but a well-earned spanking, perhaps Mr. Shapiro will learn something from it and begin rethinking his asinine calls for empire and sacrifice of liberties.

And Amil, not only do I not use a thesaurus, I don’t even use a spell-checker.