That Whole Rigamarole

Friday, August 30, 2002

Via Ranting Screeds John Keegan (I know him as the author of The Face of Battle) writes in the Telegraph about President Bush and Winston Churchill. The passage from a 1938 Churchill speech could have been written this week.

When - it is not a question of if - Saddam acquires nuclear weapons, the moment when he could be crushed without risk to his opponents, or of provoking a wider war, or of truly destabilising the Middle East, will be gone. At the moment Saddam could be toppled quickly, cheaply and without difficulty. The moment will not last.

Churchill would see the opportunity and, if in power, would grasp it. He would ignore the timidity of yesterday's men and strike. He would avoid by any means the need to make the speech that he was impelled to deliver to the Commons after Munich in 1938: "Do not suppose that this is the end. It is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first taste of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us year by year unless, by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."

Monday, August 26, 2002

When George Will writes about the NEA

"Many NEA ideas defy caricature, such as the suggestion that 12th-graders soothe their souls by reading Dr. Seuss books. The NEA represents, and presumably reflects the mentality of, the people who are delivering -- inflicting? -- public education. That is as frightening, in its way, as any foreign threat."

I am reminded of P. J. O'Rourke's comment once upon a time that ever since the XFL was canceled for not being stupid enough, it's apparent that our internal enemies have already won.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Enough About Nuance

This comment from an editor about a Times of India story really caught my eye. It responds to some grousing by Indian officials about American frustration with happenings on the subcontinent.

[Note to Mr. Rajghata, who is a friend of the Editor's wife and therefore by way of being an acquaintance: The reason the Americans have been able to change the world in so many different ways in the last hundred years is precisely that they do not get the nuances. Or, to be fair to the 31-year old Washington analysts - the Editor's son is off and on one such - the Americans do get it but do not care. Too much nuancing is what leads, after all, to intractable situations. Alexander the Great was not one for nuances: that's how he solved the problem of the Gordian Knot. Editor.]

Here's to a robust, dynamic, and not-too-thoughtful American foreign policy.

The Analysis section of the Orbat (Orders of Battle) site is packed with military detail on the current hostilities.

Blogging Resumes

I have updated my suicide bombing rate charts. As of today, Israel has 14 consecutive bombing free days. We need to see at least a few more weeks before declaring an effect from the comprehensive approach of military action, building demolition, and negotiations.

I believe that the charts may show that the Palestinian terrorists may have been emboldened by the 9/11 attacks, as the pace of bombings really picked up only late in 2001. A lot of bloggers (and maybe others) have pointed out that Arab culture seems to be emboldened by perceived weakness, and my interpretation of the charts is consistent with that idea.