So I believe, compulsorily and satirically, in the existence of this absurd world; but as to the existence of a better world, or of hidden reason in this one, I am incredulous, or rather, I am critically sceptical; because it is not difficult to see the familiar motives that lead men to invent such myths. George Santayana

Genocidal Fantasist By Mark Steyn

Genocidal Fantasist

BY MARK STEYN
December 12, 2005

Good news! On Thursday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, who recently called for Israel to be wiped off the map, moderated his position. In a spirit of statesmanlike compromise, he now wants Israel wiped off the map of the Middle East and wiped on to the map of Europe.

At War: The Panic Over Iraq By Norman Podhoretz

AT WAR
The Panic Over Iraq
What they're really afraid of is American success.

BY NORMAN PODHORETZ
Monday, December 12, 2005 12:01 a.m.

Like, I am sure, many other believers in what this country has been trying to do in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, I have found my thoughts returning in the past year to something that Tom Paine, writing at an especially dark moment of the American Revolution, said about such times. They are, he memorably wrote, "the times that try men's souls," the times in which "the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot" become so disheartened that they "shrink from the service of [their] country."

But Paine did not limit his anguished derision to former supporters of the American War of Independence whose courage was failing because things had not been going as well on the battlefield as they had expected or hoped. In a less famous passage, he also let loose on another group:

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses . . . Their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered.

Thus, he explained, "Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head," emboldened by the circumstances of the moment to reveal an opposition to the break with Britain that it had previously seemed prudent to conceal.

Christians Afoot By William F. Buckley Jr.

CHRISTIANS AFOOT

By William F. Buckley Jr.
Fri Nov 25, 8:12 PM ET

I am mindful that Samuel Johnson enjoined the preachers of his time not to inveigh against those who were absent from church on Sundays by scolding those who were not absent. Notwithstanding Dr. Johnson's stricture, I here berate those who fail to heed the atrocities in China and North Korea, by appealing to those who have heeded these barbarisms, drawing attention to the inattention that the Christian world seems to be paying them. There is no means of putting away from memory the experience of the Jews in the last century, objects of discrimination of various and imaginative kinds, culminating in genocide.

Who Is Lying About Iraq? By Norman Podhoretz

COMMENTARY

December 2005

Who Is Lying About Iraq?

Norman Podhoretz

Among the many distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral and/or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.

What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up, or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

Noble Cause by William J. Stuntz

The New Republic Online

BRIEF WARS RARELY PRODUCE LASTING RESULTS. LONG WARS OFTEN DO.

Noble Cause
by William J. Stuntz

Only at TNR Online
Post date: 12.06.05

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln led what was left of his country to war to restore "the Union as it was," to use the popular phrase of the time. Free navigation of the Mississippi River, the right to collect customs duties in Southern ports, the status of a pair of coastal forts in South Carolina and Florida--these were the issues over which young American men got down to the business of killing one another that sad summer.

It was all a pipe dream. "The Union as it was" was gone, forever. Events proved William Tecumseh Sherman--the prophet of that war--right, and everyone else wrong: An ocean of blood would be required to reunite the United States, and once that blood was spilled, the country over which James Buchanan had presided was as dead as the soldiers whose corpses littered the battlefields of Shiloh and Gettysburg, Antietam and Cold Harbor.

'Meathead' Is at It Again By Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell

The Wall Street Journal

COMMENTARY

'Meathead' Is at It Again
By SHIKHA DALMIA and LISA SNELL

December 8, 2005; Page A16

LOS ANGELES -- Celebrities with a social conscience are a growing breed in Hollywood. But it would be nice if they'd stick to whales and landmines and leave our children alone.

Unfortunately, California parents have no such luck. Movie-director-turned-child-advocate Rob Reiner recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program. The initiative would impose a 1.7% income tax on couples making over $800,000 a year ($400,000 for individuals) to offer three hours of free preschool for all the state's 4-year-olds.

Stalinophilia By Robert Conquest

The Wall Street Journal

COMMENTARY

Stalinophilia
By ROBERT CONQUEST
December 5, 2005; Page A20

At this time of year we "writers" are commonly asked to name the "Best Books of the Year." If you had to name a "Worst Book of the Year" -- or even just a Bad such -- how would you choose? It should, if possible, be one published and publicized in the international academic establishment, and by an author widely perceived -- at least in his homeland -- as impressively scholarly. David Irving's Holocaust-denial could hardly have competed, even though he is now subjected to what is called "censorship" if applied to those who tend to something not dissimilar. Still, Mr. Irving's awful work might give us a clue. What other horrible regime is now, one would have thought, totally disgraced in the Western mind?

Anatomy of a Leak by Thomas Joscelyn

The Weekly Standard

Anatomy of a Leak
How anonymous CIA sources spun the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.

by Thomas Joscelyn
12/01/2005 8:00:00 AM

IN THE CIA's continuing campaign against the Bush administration, the agency has found the leaking of classified information to be a potent weapon. This is especially true with regard to the spinning of intelligence connecting Saddam's Iraq and bin Laden's al Qaeda. Consider, for example, the case of Abu Zubaydah, a top al Qaeda operative captured in March 2002.

Leaking At All Costs by John Hinderaker

The Weekly Standard

Leaking At All Costs
What the CIA is willing to do to hurt the Bush administration.

by John Hinderaker
11/30/2005 12:00:00 AM

THE CIA'S WAR against the Bush administration is one of the great untold stories of the past three years. It is, perhaps, the agency's most successful covert action of recent times. The CIA has used its budget to fund criticism of the administration by former Democratic officeholders. The agency allowed an employee, Michael Scheuer, to publish and promote a book containing classified information, as long as, in Scheuer's words, "the book was being used to bash the president." However, the agency's preferred weapon has been the leak. In one leak after another, generally to the New York Times or the Washington Post, CIA officials have sought to undermine America's foreign policy. Usually this is done by leaking reports or memos critical of administration policies or skeptical of their prospects. Through it all, our principal news outlets, which share the agency's agenda and profit from its torrent of leaks, have maintained a discreet silence about what should be a major scandal.

Victorian Worthy: The historian as controversialist. by Gertrude Himmelfarb

The Weekly Standard

Victorian Worthy
The historian as controversialist.
by Gertrude Himmelfarb
12/12/2005, Volume 011, Issue 13

J. Anthony Froude
The Last Undiscovered Great Victorian
by Julia Markus
Scribner's, 340 pp., $30

"HOW DELICATE, DECENT, is English biography, bless its mealy mouth." That was Thomas Carlyle in 1838, complaining of the hostile reception of a biography of Sir Walter Scott. The book had been criticized, Carlyle said, for being excessively "communicative, indiscreet," recording facts that should have "lain suppressed," mentioning circumstances "not always of an ornamental sort," and revealing the "sanctities of private life."

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