Saturday, May 08, 2004 - Judge orders couple not to have children
I really don't know how to feel about this. It's disturbing, but also completely logical. I worry when the courts take control of our choice to have children (though obviously I'm not concerned about the possibility that they might remove the right to not have children through abortion, I know, it contradicts). I'll have to think about this for a while.

UPDATE [5/8/2004 - 20:15]: Matto at IchiBlog has some more extensive (and useful) thoughts.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Do you know who Joseph M. Darby is? (via OxBlog)
Well, you should.

UPDATE [5/8/2004 - 11:17]: DemfromCT on DailyKos (yes, I'm still commenting there) pointed out that this post is a bit ambiguous. For those who weren't clear, I intended to imply that this guy is a hero, and deserving of ultimate respect.

IMAO: "Kerry email: Kerry volunteers will be responsible for getting out the vote in every precinct across the country.
Frank J.: Give me all of Florida; I can handle it. I promise!
Email: In addition to saving America by winning this election,
Frank: Whoa! Slow down there, Chachi! "Saving" America? Are you implying that without Kerry's tepid leadership, America will collapse? Yeah, riiiight."

Frank J. fisks another Kerry email. I get these every day, and I chuckle at them, but Frank makes me actually laugh out loud.

The New York Times > Opinion > The New Iraq Crisis: Donald Rumsfeld Should Go

I'm amused by all of these calls for Rummy to step down or be fired. Many other bloggers on my blogroll have more insightful things to say about it, but here's my two cents: I'll give up Rummy when Gorelick is off the 9/11 commission.

LILEKS (James) The Bleat: "Time to make Gnat's lunch for school tomorrow, finish the video project, watch the Sopranos, and sit on the back stoop with a cigar and watch the bats. "

I want this man's life. At some point, I will live in the middle of nowhere, if only for a year, and limit myself to the internet, television, family, repairmen, tools, cheap beer, and good cigars.

For those who have been following the multiple abortion debates across this blog, seditious libel, and IchiBlog, you might be interested to see its progression. I resonded to a post entitled Bush's FDA to Women: Drop Dead at DailyKos during one of my writing breaks (will this paper never be finished?), and started quite the firestorm. I'm posting as RFTR, and the progression of posts from someone called Demosthenes is particularly amusing. I lay out my opinion pretty clearly throughout the posts, so I won't comment further here, but if you're up for an amusing time, I recommend that you check it out.

Thursday, May 06, 2004 - Bushes decline twin daughters' graduation ceremonies
Makes sense, though I feel bad for Barbara. I guess I feel bad for Jenna, too, but I only met her once, so I have much less feeling on the subject. - Law keeping brain-damaged woman alive struck down - May 6, 2004
The link to this article from the front page of reads "Judge strikes down Gov. Bush's brain-dead woman law."
Does that seem a little odd to anyone else?

Point: Military Service - The Politic - Opinion
I don't really feel right excerpting a money quote from this article, as it is my own work, finally published online in The Politic. It is written in oppostion to the Counterpoint, which asserts that Kerry is uniquely qualified to be CinC. Read them both, but bear in mind that I did not have an opportunity to read the pro-Kerry piece before I wrote my own.

The only comment I'll make about Mr. Jones's piece is, do you notice how he keeps saying "John Kerry can do such and such. That is not to say Bush can't, but Kerry can do it better."? Example: "John Kerry clearly left Vietnam with a profound appreciation for the preciousness of human life - an extraordinarily important quality for the commander of the most powerful military ever assembled. This is not to suggest that George Bush is callously indifferent to human life or that he lacks the capacity to care for the nearly 600 American soldiers killed in Iraq. But I do wonder whether the president is adequately concerned with the legal and moral obligation to wage war only as a last resort." Sounds like a pretty weak argument to me. And also, it serves as a great example of how the left mischaracterizes the right's justifications for going into Iraq in the first place. As we see it, war was the last resort. Saddam wasn't complying, and we needed to do something about it. Anyway, read them both and let me know what you think. - Coalition targets Mehdi Army in Iraq
Looks like we're finally rolling into Najaf. May God protect the soldiers on the front line of this conflict: keep them safe, and help them fulfill their mission.

Political Wire: Lieberman's Advice: "Here are Lieberman's 'three criteria' to judge a running mate:
Someone the public sees as capable of being president.
Someone who largely agrees with the presidential nominee on issues.
Someone the presidential nominee is comfortable with."

It's too bad Senator Lieberman did not fill the second requirement when running with Al Gore. Instead, he had to pretend that he had always believed the opposite of his true convictions. It's why I'll never vote for him, despite the fact that I used to quite respect him.

Bush pauses to comfort teen (via Andrew Sullivan): "The way he was holding me, with my head against his chest, it felt like he was trying to protect me,' Ashley said. 'I thought, 'Here is the most powerful guy in the world, and he wants to make sure I'm safe.' I definitely had a couple of tears in my eyes, which is pretty unusual for me.'"

I just have a hard time believing that Kerry would have behaved in the same way. Read the whole thing.

Little Red Corvette: "Are John Kerry's presidential ambitions and the shape and images of his campaign more about a mid-life crisis writ very large than any underlying set of ideas?"

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Shocking and Awful: "Rush Limbaugh compared the prison torture to 'a college fraternity prank,' like a Skull and Bones initiation."

Ok, Ms. Dowd, it's fine that you like to make things up, but, as a Yalie, I'm going to take this moment to correct you. Skull and Bones is not a fraternity, and there are no pranks involved in their initiation. There are, of course, rituals, but none of them are at all connected to the outside world, lest they be found out. The pranks played at Yale are significantly more likely to be played against the Skulls' tomb. If you'd wanted to be accurate, you should have drawn a connection to DKE, the fraternity of which W was the president during his time at Yale.

Also: having now continued to read the rest of this column, I have to say that if I handed it in at Yale, I couldn't expect better than a D. What is her point? She just rambles. It started out ok, and then her complaints seem to go all over the place. Freaky.

UPDATE [ 5/6/2004 - 12:07]: To clarify, I am not criticizing the comparison of the Iraqi torture to Skull and Bones, so much as I am criticizing the comparison of Skull and Bones to a fraternity, which it most certainly is not. And I'm criticizing the fact that this column is really poorly written.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004 "I recommend his post, and we're pretty much in agreement (his question isn't rhetorical, but he's for staying and getting it right). Here are my thoughts, for what they're worth. There was an alternate plan (the 'low hanging fruit' strategy focusing on Somalia, Sudan, etc.). But we went to Iraq, I think, for several reasons:

First, we needed to make the point Ed describes. It's dangerous to be on our bad side, even if you're a powerful dicatator with a large army and lots of bribed foreigners. That point has been made.

Second, we couldn't have a powerful, rich dictator with WMD programs and terrorist connections, who hated us, operating in the region without facing serious handicaps in our efforts elsewhere. That's taken care of, too.

Third, invading Iraq let us credibly extend that threat to other terror-supporting nations like Syria, Iran and, to some degree, Saudi Arabia. There's no question that they feel threatened -- in fact, it seems likely that they're sending fighters into Iraq as a way of mounting a 'spoiling attack' intended to make us less likely to move against them. And we appear to be returning the favor in a lower-profile way. (And, on a more overt level, the Bush Administration is putting sanctions pressure on Syria.)

Fourth, over the longer term, we felt that a de-Saddamized Iraq provided an opportunity to produce an Arab state that would be neither a theocracy nor an autocracy, but a democratic model that would undercut Arab dictatorships (a root cause of terror, you know!) and terrorists themselves throughout the region. The dictators and terrorists certainly seem worried about that, as evidenced by their efforts -- and the efforts of their propaganda arm, Al Jazeera -- to undercut that project."

Read the whole thing, and then read the post he links to. They say it way better than I could ever hope to.

The National Debate: Where Policy, Politics and the Media Meet (via InstaPundit): "CNN's complicity - and the failure of the other news organizations described by Jordan (as well as The New York Times' John Burns in the book Embedded) - is coming home to roost as media outlets around the world make the claim without contradiction that there is no difference between Iraq under Saddam and Iraq under U.S. occupation. Where is the CNN file footage of interviews with Saddam's torture victims? Where are the shocking Saddam torture photos?

Despite their record of complicity in covering up years of brutality and torture in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, CNN has lost no time in running endless reports on the Iraqi prison photos. Besides practically non-stop reports on the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse story, CNN's line up has been stocked with guests booked to discuss the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse story."

No, I'm not going to make the claim that what happened to these prisoners in American custody was ok, because it's still better than Saddam's Iraq. That's BS, and it's a form of debate in which I will not engage. What I do want to say, however, is that we need to remember that this type of behavior in all cases is wrong. It is shameful that these soldiers persecuted the Iraqis in this way, but it is equally shameful that we allowed the same and worse to be done by other Iraqis for so long, and that the same continues around the world to this day. There is evil in the world, and we need to stop excusing it. We need to pursue it to the ends of the earth, until the repercussions of torturing another are so great as to eliminate any justification. - Kansas Gov. to sign illegal immigrants tuition bill

Someone needs to explain to me why it's beneficial to make illegal immigration legal. Doesn't it sort of defeat the purpose of having immigration laws in the first place? - Bobby Brown ordered to stand trial for hitting Houston: "Bobby Brown was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges that he hit superstar wife Whitney Houston."

Ok, I'm making a new rule, here and now: if you hit a woman, I get to hit you. With a two-by-four. Then a crobar. Then maybe a brick. When you recover, you bend over and let me kick you in the face. Then maybe you'll have received what you deserve.

Political Wire: Will Bush Be Challenged From The Right?: "Alabama's renegade Chief Justice Roy Moore -- the 'Ten Commandments Judge' -- 'is mulling a run for president from the right,' Salon reports.

'The possibility that' Moore 'could challenge President Bush in November may not be costing Karl Rove any sleep -- yet. But the chance that the popular conservative judge could do to Bush what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in 2000 -- split his ideological base, and cost him the presidency -- has analysts crunching numbers and weighing Moore's chances.'

Moore says he 'will decide if he will run when he has exhausted his court appeals in the Ten Commandments case.'"

Why on earth would he do this??

Political Wire: Kerry To Open Special New York Office: "Sen. John Kerry 'will open a special New York office for the duration' of the Republican convention, 'and his campaign has already begun contacting local supporters... to coordinate a response to the G.O.P. gala,' the New York Observer reports."

I think this could be a fatal mistake for Kerry. It seems like a good idea to have a big counter-protest to the GOP convention, but Kerry shouldn't touch it. This is going to be an absurd showing of the most leftist wackos in the Democratic Party. Kerry would do well to point at it and say "look how outraged the public is about this false leader," from a distance. As soon as these wackos have an official association with him, he begins to look suspicious, and like an ultra-leftist himself. I think he'll soon regret this decision.

Political Wire: Cheney's Heart: "If you ever wondered about Vice President Dick Cheney's heart condition, an AP story indicates the seriousness with which the Secret Service treats it.

While in Tallahassee over the weekend to deliver the graduation speech at Florida State University, the local hospital prepared a room for Cheney -- complete with 'flowers, a big TV set and Secret Service agents outside the door' -- 'just in case anything might happen.'"

More justification for the recommendation I made here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 'Nightline' ratings up for war dead show: "The folks at ABC's "Nightline" thought Friday's telecast with the names of Americans killed in Iraq would be a ratings loser -- and the opposite turned out to be true[...]preliminary measurement was up 22 percent from the previous Friday and was 29 percent more than other "Nightline" telecasts last week."

A)Bull. They knew that it would get free media coverage because they knew it would stir up controversy, and ratings always go up under those circumstances. If they didn't, then they wouldn't be at the top levels of television production
2)I renew my objection to Nightline's decision to air this show, both at the time it was done, and in the way it was handled. There was no reason to read this list now, at the expense of other lists at other times. It was as ratings ploy, and I'm infuriated by it.

Cafe Hayek: "I've got mine!" vs. "I want yours!" (via diet coke for breakfast): "I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat. But I know enough Republicans to state confidently that many of them support less government and more reliance on markets precisely because they believe that these policies will enhance the welfare of almost everyone, especially the poor. Perhaps these Republicans are mistaken; perhaps they are correct. But the fact is that being a Republican is not evidence of a small-minded, greedy, monotone motivation to 'keep what's mine.'"

Read the whole thing. My brother's comment: "I can't tell you how many people I met during college who were shocked and appalled to hear that I am a Republican. Most of them were more understanding after I explained that I support market forces and and a rights based approach to most social issues. However, they very rarely were willing to make the leap and acknowledge that if I supported Republicans for these reasons, that others might have similar rationales, and that not all (other) Republicans were monsters."

It's hard for people to accept the fact that I think wellfare, publicly-controlled social security, affirmative action, and most other social programs are actually bad for society. They don't understand that I don't want them abolished so that I can remain part of the elite, but because I believe that introducing a bureaucratic system to people creates dependence, and locks them into the lower classes. Anyone ever heard the phrase "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help?" Government does not fix problems, it pretends to do so by inefficiently throwing money at them. So, yes, I'm also pro-life and pro-death penalty, but I'm a Republican because I believe in free markets, and freedom from government. This is why I'm looking forward to the Andrew Hamilton biography -- from what I understand, so did he. - Rescuers prep for hybrid car accidents - May 4, 2004: "The growing popularity of hybrid vehicles poses a new danger for rescuers at accident scenes: a network of high-voltage circuitry that may require some precise cutting to save a trapped victim."

Oh, good. So while you're saving the environment, your hybrid has you in a death grip. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire: "'In several recent cases, the administration first refused requests for information by saying that releasing it would jeopardize national security, then released that same information itself at a moment when it became politically convenient to do so -- leaving the impression that it was safe to release all along.' "

I noticed this too, first with the PBD, then with the Justice Department memos that Jamie Gorelick wrote. I'm wondering why more haven't commented on it.

Kerry and His Church (
Here's yet another piece about Kerry and his Church, as you might have picked up from the title. I didn't quote anything specific because I want to take this in a different direction. So now I'll quote something specific: "There is, first, the frustration of many bishops who lean Democratic on most public issues over how hard it is for even mildly antiabortion Democrats to gain traction or much respect within their party."

I once had a professor (Stephen Skowroneck for those who care) who very accurately described the Democratic Party as a circus where they try to squeeze all of the sideshows under the big-top. Understandably, it gets a little crowded in there. This image stuck with me, and I spoke to him about it after class. What he and I decided was that the only common issue (for the most part) seemed to be a pro-choice stand. I then mentioned the Catholic portion of the party, and he predicted that sometime over the next ten years we would see the Church begin to associate more closely with the Republican Party. This was about 18 months ago, and his prediction, it seems to me, may be coming true.

I don't have much more to say about this, but since pro-choice really does seem to be the key definining issue of the Democratic Party, and with several Supreme Court nominations possibly in store for the next administration, this may become a very important issue. I'm interested to see exit polling of Catholics in November, as well as turn-out data. There might be a thesis in there somewhere.

UPDATE [5/4/2004 - 15:42]: Robert Novak adds some thoughts to the above. He is then rebuked by Andrew Sullivan at The New Republic. The money quote, from Sullivan: "But is abortion different? Is the contempt for human life that any abortion inherently embodies such a social evil that no politician can be permitted to call himself a Catholic and support the right to choose it? That is indeed a critical question, and conservative Catholics are not wrong to raise it. But there is a distinction between support for the morality of abortion and reluctant support for a woman's right to choose such a moral wrong. It should be possible, if difficult, for a Catholic politician to affirm the evil of abortion but to defer to the political freedoms inherent in a liberal polity--specifically control over one's own body--in most cases."

I think what Sullivan misses in this passage is that, if you oppose abortion for the reason Catholics do (you are circumventing God's will by preventing the life of another, or, by ending one), then saying that it is a woman's right to do this is a bit untenable. You do not believe that it is a choice for a woman concerning her own body, it is a choice concerning the life of another. The government does not protect the right of a person to retain control over another's body, so, if you truly follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, you cannot say "it's still a woman's right to choose." Support for the morality of abortion and support for a woman's right to choose such a moral wrong, however reluctant, are inextricably linked in the doctrine of the Church.

David Brooks: Right Face, March!: "The one big problem they are not addressing -- and are actually making worse -- is the creepy tone of prudentialism that envelops this campaign. Nobody is passionate about John Kerry."

The overall tone of this column is that Kerry is doing well, slowly positioning himself closer to the center than he was during the primary. I agree with that, though I still think he's doing a poor job of defining himself. I think the way he's positioning himself in the middle is by not positioning himself out on the left. That's a problem too.

But I chose this quote because it's still the biggest problem that Kerry is facing. My mini-poll is up to 46 votes. 11 are pro-Bush, 2 are anti-Kerry, and 8 are pro-Kerry. That leaves 25, over HALF, who have marked themselves at anti-Bush. Clearly this is unscientific, but people are far less likely to go to the polls because they don't like a candidate than if they do like one.

A Question for those that read this regularly:
Am I a theo-con?
I picked up this term from Andrew Sullivan, and I'm wondering if people think it applies to me. Respond in the comments.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Mrs. du Toit (via InstaPundit): "And this is what George W. Bush recognized. And this is what most of us who support the President understand. It isn't about Iraq. It isn't about Afghanistan. And it won't be about Saudi Arabia, Syria, Indochina, North Korea, Iran, and Liberia. It's about making it unattractive to go up against the Great Satan.

So, when Ted Koppel decided to spend an episode of Nightline reading the names and showing the pictures of the soldiers who had died in Iraq, it felt wrong immediately. There was something really wrong about it."

Read the whole thing. She makes many, wonderful points.

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire: "Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), 'who has spent months positioning himself so that his stature and seniority make him a major Senate force in the years ahead, was today expected to announce he is seeking re-election to a fifth term,' the Hartford Courant reports.

'His intentions come as no surprise. The suspense surrounding Dodd involves how far he can go - and where - should he win re-election.'

'Dodd has long had his eye on Washington and national leadership... The more intriguing question is will Dodd go even further and seek the presidency in 2008 or the governor's office in Connecticut.' "

He's perfect for Senate leadership. After all, he is a lying sack of ... but I won't say that here. In case you can't tell, I don't care for this particular Senator from my home state. Why? Because during the Senate's vote on the Clinton impeachment articles, he sought advice from his constituency, and even held a "townhall meeting" where the public was allowed to talk to him. The overwhelming choice of Connecticut citizens who wrote, emailed, and called him, as well as those who spoke at the town meeting was to convict and boot Clinton from office. Yet Shays voted to acquit. I don't have a problem with the vote, though I disagree with it, but I have a serious problem with declaring that you want your constituent's input on a vote, listening to it, and then voting against it. I may not dislike him as much as I dislike my Congressman (Christ Shays), but I'm certainly not a fan.

Biking to Extremes (from today's Political Diary):
"Meanwhile, we've done some research: Handmade titanium Serotta bikes like Mr. Kerry's cost upwards of $3500 for the frame alone. If you want forks, be prepared cough up 500 or 600 bucks, and, of course, wheels, seat, gears, etc. are priced in the same ballpark. In short, Mr. Kerry was riding a two-wheeled testament to the law of diminishing returns. Such a bike can't do anything that a much cheaper bike couldn't do: Mr. Kerry might just as adequately have fallen off a Schwinn. The Senator, of course, has access to enough of his wife's money to buy any bike he wants, but a lot of rich people are content to park their buns on a Schwinn. It takes a certain kind of ass to insist that only the most expensive bike is good enough for it (him)."

To be fair, if you bike off-road, or bike enough on-road that you would tear another bike to shreds, you might need a bike worth thousands of dollars. Kerry, I'm sure, does not ride on those surfaces, or that often, so this is a bit excessive. I, for example, do just fine getting around town on a huffy, though I could afford better. And I certainly never make the mistake of looking like this.

Priorities & Frivolities: What a Difference a Few Months Make: "John Kerry, March 5, 2004:
At this rate the Bush administration won't create its first job for more than 10 years. Americans have a clear choice in this election. They can either suffer with more and more job losses that rip the heart out of our economy or they can give George Bush a new job in November and start putting america back to work.
John Kerry, May 3, 2004:
I think we'll probably have a pretty good job market this month and the next four or five months. That's great. That's not the problem. The problem is that we're not creating the kinds of jobs that pay more. On average, the jobs are paying $9,000 less than the jobs we're losing and American wages are going backwards...."

I'll let them stand on their own. Then tell me the first quote was anything more than opportunist sniping.

Well, It Was a Good Idea in '46: "HERE'S THE HARD THOUGHT that's been creeping up on me for a while. Mistakes are one thing, but if the folks pulling the levers don't win all the way--all the way--if the decision-makers falter and declare half-victory with a frozen smile, and tip-toe away, and act shocked, shocked, I tell you, when the whole place falls apart . . .
Then it will be impossible to gather the will, or the votes, or the moral fiber to do it again, the right way, for a very long, and by then thousands, and then millions of innocent 'occupied inhabitants' will have been tortured and slain.
And the worst part, the greatest sin: Every life lost so far will have been wasted. Every Pat Tillman--and they're all Pat Tillmans, every one--will have been given for nothing."

Granted, Larry Miller is a comedian, but this is a very serious column. I was reading the whole thing, finding line after line that I wanted to excerpt, until I settled on this near the end. Read the whole thing, though, because he does a great dissection of the argument made by many that we are only making things worse by responding to insurgents in Iraq.

The Bush "Smear" Machine

I've been confused by this for a while, and I'm glad to see Mr. Barnes lay it out so clearly for me. If you think that there really is a Bush Smear Machine indicting Kerry's service or his courage, please respond in the comments and lay it out for me. I'm very interested to see what you come up with.

Meaningless echoes - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - April 27, 2004: "From the people who brought you 'Howard Dean will be the nominee,' 'George W. Bush is vulnerable,' 'Ralph Nader doesn't matter' and 'the news conference bombed,' we now have, more or less, 'John Kerry can't win.' Good grief."


OpinionJournal - Extra: "These weekend invitations to Westport, Conn.--I've started calling it 'Leftport'--are becoming burdensome. I find myself surrounded by people who have moved from Manhattan to homogeneous suburban enclaves encircled by white fences, white neighbors and purer-than-thou philosophies. Never mind that they moved there for better public schools and lower tax rates--and to see Paul Newman at the local grocery store. They are now of one mind: to defeat President Bush!"

Being from Fairfield (right next to Leftport), this piece may speak to me more than most. But I think Mr. Bromley makes some great points, and I'd love to have some liberals read the piece and respond in my comments.

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail: "It is traditional for party activists to grumble about their prospective nominee between the time he wraps up the primaries and when he is actually nominated. But the doubts about Mr. Kerry go beyond campaign kvetching. At times, they seem to verge on quiet panic."

Really interesting, and right up my alley. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 02, 2004 - Former Philip Morris CEO Dies: "After attending Yale University, he worked at a cigar store in New York and then went to Cuba to work in a cigar factory. He joined Philip Morris as a vice president, and was named president and chief executive in 1957."

Sounds like this guy had a pretty cool life. And he lived to be 92. Maybe mind over matter actually works. I mean, he was one of the CEOs in 1971 who said "I do not believe that cigarettes are hazardous to one's health." Sounds like, in his case, he was right. - Kidnapped U.S. contractor found safe: "'He came out of a building and identified himself to American forces,' Kimmitt said. 'This is a preliminary report that we have that indicate it was an escape from the building."

Thank God that he's alright. Pretty impressive story, too. It appears that he escaped once before, but was recaptured before he could find any coalition troops.

Political Wire: Wilson Fingers Cheney's Top Aide: "'Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson says that the disclosure of his wife's identity as an undercover C.I.A. officer may have come from the vice president's chief of staff,' the New York Times reports.

The claim is made in Wilson's new book, The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's C.I.A. Identity.

USA Today notes the book claims that Cheney himself 'was aware of a meeting held by his staff that started a chain of events' that led to the leak."

I've been a bit worried that it might come to this for some time now. If it's established that Cheney did actually manufacture the link, maybe this is a good time for him to bow out off the ticket? Think about the troubles it would save: defending his health, defending his refusal to release the records of his energy meetings, and it would entirely diffuse this leak issue. Plus, it leaves Bush open to grab another veep, while still leaving Cheney open to campaign for him. (not so sure about that last one) Might be a strong idea.

Our Honor, Our Grief - Keep politicians and the media away from our fallen soldiers: "I have lived through the numbing sadness of going to Dover to pick up my son, and have experienced the body-shaking pain of having to lay to his final rest a member of the U.S. military.
The idea of criticizing President Bush on his choice not to attend the funerals is ludicrous. The simple fact is that President Bush either attends all or attends none for to attend some could be interpreted as an insult to those fallen heroes whose funerals he is seen to have 'spurned.' Besides, the logistics are impossible. On the day that my son was being buried in New Jersey his two buddies he was killed with were being buried at the same time at opposite ends of Pennsylvania. What was the president to do when the helicopter crashed and killed 17 soldiers? How to attend 17 funerals without forcing the families to wait for the president?
The arguments put forth to have the ban on media coverage lifted vary from allowing the American people to bear witness to the sacrifice of the soldiers and thus honor them, to the need to deny President Bush the opportunity to hide the real costs in human terms of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Steve Capus, executive producer of "NBC Nightly News," arrogantly and presumptuously spoke for me when he stated, "It would seem that the only reason somebody would come out against the use of these pictures is that they are worried about the political fallout." Well I am that "somebody," and as I looked at those pictures the tears were not running because of my worry about political fallout. In all the criticism there has never once been put forth a single argument of how having the media coverage lifted would be of benefit to the loved ones of these heroes. We are never taken into account. We are the collateral damage in this all so obvious ideological struggle."

This is a powerful piece worth considering. It might do the Left some good to consider the fact that, though Bush may actually be Hitler/The Devil/insert other invective here, he may also be considering the well-being of the families in question, as well as the honor of the soldier underneath that flag. Just picture, as every coffin comes off the plane at Dover, a throng of cameras flash, and tapes roll. The soldiers standing by do their duty and salute their fallen comrade, but all the while the click, click, flash, flash of the media surrounds them. Oh, but you say the media wouldn't be there for every coffin? They'd just film it once and re-use the pictures right? Then what's the point, exactly? I thought the argument was to show the American people the evidence of the mounting casualties. Either way, it's unnecessary, except as an attack on the President, and an insult to the fallen and their loved ones.

I'll leave you with one of Mr. Griffin's parting thoughts: "If it is truly the intention of those who support the lifting of the ban to honor these gallant individuals while giving the American public the opportunity to grieve with them--and if it is truly the intention to bear witness to sacrifice and view at first hand the cost of this war--then let them visit the families of those who freely chose to join the military family. Let them visit the grave sites, let them journey to Fort Bragg or Fort Campbell or Fort Hood and speak to those who have returned or who might soon be joining the fight."

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
Read it. I'll have more comments, but I want to give people an opportunity to read this before I taint it.

UPDATE [5/2/2004 - 17:28]: I said I'd have more comments, and here they are, prompted by Jacob Levy's new column, The New Republic Online: Without Apology: "Presidents and their subordinates basically have three options in these situations: They can accept responsibility by resigning or firing those more directly responsible; they can apologize in a way that prevents them from having to incur any penalty; or they can refuse to apologize at all. Clinton took the second option; Bush has taken the third. But the first option is by far the best for the health of a democracy."

The piece about Woodward's book, above, shows that Bush really had been told that we had made the case for WMD in Iraq, and went forward on Tenet's word that it was "a slamdunk." I tie this in with Levy's TNR piece, because I do want to see someone take responsibility for the intelligence failings. Though I think the weapons are there, they do not appear to be there in the massive quantities or locations we were promised, and I think a head or two should roll on it. The first, should be Tenet's. He's been Director of Central Intelligence for far longer than any previous head, and it's time for him to move on. It shouldn't be positioned as "you blew it, get out," but simply as his time to move on. He has served the country well, and for that I am grateful, but it's time for someone else to take a swing at the Agency. I bet it doesn't happen.