Aesthetics, morals, community.

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...includes political matter.

In Search of Murtha's Army By Jed Babbin

In Search of Murtha's Army

By Jed Babbin
Published 12/13/2005 12:10:46 AM

Last week, I went to Iraq to search for John Murtha's army. You know: the one he described as "broken, worn out," and "living hand to mouth." Thanks to the help of some friends in low places, I met with a lot of the troops and almost all of the commanders around Baghdad and at Camp Fallujah. Murtha was not just wrong, but damnably wrong. And so, unsurprisingly, is Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, who declared the war unwinnable.

I promised to bring back as many of the facts as I could. Here are the two most important ones: First, we are winning this war. Second, as the operations in Iraq enter their fourth year, our forces are beginning to suffer the problems that a prolonged conflict creates.

At War: The Panic Over Iraq By Norman Podhoretz

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

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.

Stalinophilia By Robert Conquest

The Wall Street Journal


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?

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."

Iraq: The Last Word By William F. Buckley Jr.


By William F. Buckley Jr.
Tue Nov 29, 8:12 PM ET

The mills have been grinding feverishly in the matter of Iraq. They have, for the most part, dealt with questions having to do with our entering the war, but these have led to promptings of different kinds on how to get away from Iraq.

Professor Jeffrey Hart of Dartmouth (my colleague at National Review) has amassed a near encyclopedic document giving instances of what he deems dissimulations by the administration and its supporters in calling for war on Iraq. Norman Podhoretz defends the administration thoroughly in Commentary magazine. Frank Rich of The New York Times scathes up his weekly scorn; he is answered by the New York Sun. Michael Kinsley appears in Slate, the online magazine he founded, exercising his airborne syllogisms in telling us what to do.

Here is my reading on the Iraq question.

We Like You! We Really, Really Like You! By Ann Coulter


By Ann Coulter
Wed Nov 30, 8:11 PM ET

When Democratic Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record) called for the withdrawal of American troops in the middle of the war, Republicans immediately leapt to action by calling Murtha a war hero, a patriot and a great American.

I haven't heard Republicans issue this many encomiums to one man since Ronald Reagan died. By now, Murtha has been transformed into the greatest warrior since Alexander the Great and is probably dating Jennifer Aniston.

Iraqi Cauldron By Nibras Kazimi

Iraqi Cauldron

November 29, 2005

Three ingredients are necessary for failure in Iraq, and all three are being poured into the bubbling cauldron that is Baghdad at this very moment. The recipe includes Ba'athists believing that they have been given a seat at the table and thus have achieved a prelude to total victory, and the Islamists supposing that if they cinch these next elections, then they will get their theocracy. The third element is the cowardice of Washington offset by the bravery of American warriors, but we'll get to that later.

The Cairo conference last week - where warring Iraqi factions were supposed to reconcile - was an unmitigated disaster. In an attempt to isolate the jihadists, America has uneasily embraced the Ba'athists it defeated on April 9, 2003, when Baghdad was liberated. The moral high ground has been ceded: as I had warned back in June, the "honorable resistance" is now the acceptable term among the Iraqi political elite for those who attack American soldiers. The American military command in Iraq is now using the term "rejectionists" and not terrorists to describe those who lob rocket propelled grenades at America humvees.

Slaying Able ~ Editorial

Investor's Business Daily
Issues & Insights

Slaying Able

Posted 11/23/2005

Intelligence: The whistle-blower who embarrassed a presidential administration about its intelligence failures has seemingly been punished for his actions. No, this isn't about President Bush and Joe Wilson.

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer knows a little about intelligence failures and being persecuted for saying things not in tune with the conventional wisdom.

He is the Army Reserve officer who went public in August with details about a secret military intelligence unit called Able Danger that, using a technique known as "data mining," determined pre-9-11 that four of the future hijackers were al-Qaida operatives.

Hill A Marked Gal By Deborah Orin

New York Post - November 11, 2005



DEMOCRATS get to gloat about President Bush and the 2005 elections, but Sen. Hillary Clinton can't gloat too much because a rival Dem 2008 star was born in the person of Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

Warner's amazing 78 percent popularity was enough to help elect another Democrat, Tim Kaine, as Virginia's next governor.

But that's not all.

Annan's First Step ~ Editorial

Annan's First Step

New York Sun Staff Editorial
November 9, 2005

The next few days will tell a lot about whether Kofi Annan, in canceling his trip to Iran, really means business. It took Mr. Annan more than a week to realize that visiting Iran after its president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" wouldn't be "appropriate." But we are happy to see him avoid the kind of misstep he made when, on his way to Yad Vashem, he placed a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat. It has been an official Iranian war aim since the 1979 Iranian revolution for Israel to be wiped off the map, but the Iranian president's reiteration of the call made it impossible even for the general secretary of the United Nations to ignore.

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