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

Hitch: A War to Be Proud Of

A War to Be Proud Of

The case for overthrowing Saddam was unimpeachable. Why, then, is the
administration tongue-tied?

by Christopher Hitchens
09/05/2005, Volume 010, Issue 47 The Weekly Standard

LET ME BEGIN WITH A simple sentence that, even as I write it, appears
less than Swiftian in the modesty of its proposal: "Prison conditions
at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the
arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad."

I could undertake to defend that statement against any member of Human
Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and I know in advance that none
of them could challenge it, let alone negate it. Before March 2003,
Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration
camp. Now, and not without reason, it is an international byword for
Yankee imperialism and sadism. Yet the improvement is still,
unarguably, the difference between night and day. How is it possible
that the advocates of a post-Saddam Iraq have been placed on the
defensive in this manner? And where should one begin?

Iran: Plan A, B or C?

The Washington Times

Iran's strategy
By Arnaud de Borchgrave

Published August 18, 2005

"If Iran wanted, it could make Iraq hell for the United States." So said Iraq's deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Al Bayati last February. Well, Iran not only wants to, it already has.

The scenario is well known to the intelligence community on both sides of the Atlantic. Iran began enlarging its already wide footprint in Shi'ite Iraq as the U.S. buildup for the war on Iraq began in Kuwait in 2002.

Today, according to Time magazine's exclusive on intelligence reports from Iran, the United States and Britain, the geopolitical confrontation between the U.S. and Iran runs through Iraq. The Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government and the new Iranian government are moving steadily closer and forging a strategic relationship. Since Ibrahim al-Jaafari took over as prime minister, U.S. officials have concluded what is said or shared with the Iraqi government winds up in Tehran.

A Reply To Poor Cindy

The Wall Street Journal

'Cindy Sheehan Does Not Speak For Me'
By RONALD R. GRIFFIN

August 18, 2005; Page A10

I lost a son in Iraq and Cindy Sheehan does not speak for me.

I grieve with Mrs. Sheehan, for all too well I know the full measure
of the agony she is forever going to endure. I honor her son for his
service and sacrifice. However, I abhor all that she represents and
those who would cast her as the symbol for parents of our fallen
soldiers.

The fallen heroes, until now, have enjoyed virtually no
individuality. They have been treated as a monolith, a mere
number. Now Mrs. Sheehan, with adept public relations tactics, has
succeeded in elevating herself above the rest of us. Sen. Bill Nelson
of Florida declared that Mrs. Sheehan is now the symbol for all
parents who have lost children in Iraq. Sorry, senator. Not for me.

More about Cindy

I sometimes part company with Ms. Coulter's positions, such as her view of the Schiavo affair, but as a rule she gets a lot of things exactly right, and she has an admirable way with words, which counts for a great deal where I am concerned. Here she is:

CINDY SHEEHAN: COMMANDER IN GRIEF
By Ann Coulter

Wed Aug 17, 8:05 PM ET

To expiate the pain of losing her firstborn son in the Iraq war, Cindy
Sheehan decided to cheer herself up by engaging in Stalinist agitprop
outside President Bush's Crawford ranch. It's the strangest method of
grieving I've seen since Paul Wellstone's funeral. Someone needs to
teach these liberals how to mourn.

Hitch on Cindy

fighting words
A wartime lexicon.

Cindy Sheehan's Sinister Piffle
What's wrong with her Crawford protest.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, at 11:50 AM PT

Here is an unambivalent statement: "The moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

And, now, here's another:

Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full well that my son, my family, this nation and this world were betrayed by George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agendas after 9/11. We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy … not for the real reason, because the Arab Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy.

The first statement comes from Maureen Dowd, in her New York Times column of Aug. 10. The second statement comes from Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. It was sent to the editors of ABC's Nightline on March 15. In her article, Dowd was arguing that Sheehan's moral authority was absolute.

I am at a complete loss to see how these two positions can be made compatible. Sheehan has obviously taken a short course in the Michael Moore/Ramsey Clark school of Iraq analysis and has not succeeded in making it one atom more elegant or persuasive. I dare say that her "moral authority" to do this is indeed absolute, if we agree for a moment on the weird idea that moral authority is required to adopt overtly political positions, but then so is my "moral" right to say that she is spouting sinister piffle. Suppose I had lost a child in this war. Would any of my critics say that this gave me any extra authority? I certainly would not ask or expect them to do so. Why, then, should anyone grant them such a privilege?

Well, <groan>, here she is, Ms. Sheehan:

New York Sun Staff Editorial
August 11, 2005
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/18436

Cindy Sheehan's Crowd

It's easy to see why Cindy Sheehan, the 48-year-old mother of a
soldier killed in Iraq, has become the new face of the anti-war
movement, featured in a New York Times editorial on Tuesday and a
Maureen Dowd column yesterday morning. Camped out in Crawford, Texas,
near President Bush's ranch, she's a more sympathetic face than a lot
of the alternatives. But as sad as Ms. Sheehan's loss is - and we
don't belittle it - she has put herself in league with some extreme

Stress Relief

To cope with stress lately, I find little math problems to solve. If I can solve them by writing a perl script, then it's that much more fun.

For example, suppose a type of cereal has game cards inside. There are four different cards, each equally likely to be found in a box. On average, how many boxes must one buy in order to get all four cards?

Think about it, make a guess, then check out the following script: Game card simulation

My take on Schiavo

Earlier today I made a post to a email list I frequent. It is in the list's archive here:

http://mailman.jtan.com/pipermail/os2-right-stuff-l/2005-March/002674.html

The little note to the New York Post editors sums up my thinking, and perhaps more importantly, my feelings, about the matter. You'll see in the archive of the subsequent thread that I am quickly accused of countenancing attempted murder, and doing so "comfortably." I anticipated this level of retort. It saddens me greatly.

WFB gets it exactly right.

THE GREAT QUANDARY

Tue Mar 22, 8:41 PM ET

By William F. Buckley Jr.

What was good was that the resources of the entire nation, so it
seemed, could be aroused with only the end in mind of sparing -- more
accurately, prolonging -- a single life. It was left only to mobilize
the Seventh Fleet to level a thousand guns on the doctors engaged in
removing the tubes from Terri Schiavo. Not since 6-year-old Elian
Gonzalez was ordered by the courts to return to Cuba, there to submit
to a lifetime of servitude under Fidel Castro (news - web sites) Inc.,
had there been such a mobilization of public sentiment.

Psychopathia Cyberneticus

I need to create some new entries in my list of categories. How about "Almost completely unravelled!"?

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