Michael Hirsh’s Idea Of “Acceptable” Losses
In economic circles, there are those who believe government intervention in the natural economic cycle is wrong. In the long run, they argue, the natural ebb and flow of the economy will right the wrongs and everything will balance out for the best. These kind of people spend a lot of time gathered around campfires singing Kum-by-ya.
The problem is, the long run is a long time to wait for most people. John Maynard Keynes put it best when he said “In the long run, we're all dead.” Well, it looks like Newsweek’s Michael Hirsch takes the “long run” approach to international conflict. Yesterday he penned a piece entitled “Why America's Pullout From Vietnam Worked” where he went to great lengths to excoriate W for his history lecture given at the VFW convention in Kansas City.
Hirsch claims W “mangled” Cold War history because today Vietnam is a budding free market society. He thinks the American retreat from Saigon was the best thing that could have possibly happened to Vietnam – and probably should’ve happened sooner. While Hirsch’s claims of a revitalized Vietnam may be in fact true, he blows right by the aftermath of Saigon 1975 in getting to his conclusion. Says Mr. Hirsch:
Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years. Above all, we have learned that Vietnam and Southeast Asia were never really central fronts in the cold war (although Korea at the time of the outbreak of war in 1950, when Beijing still kowtowed to Moscow and before the Soviet Union and China split, might have fit that bill). The decision to pull out had very little effect on the ultimate outcome. America triumphed in the cold war because it had the right kind of economy—an open one—compared to Moscow and Beijing, and its ideas about freedom were more attractive to the states within the Soviet bloc than their own failed ideas were.
He conveniently, or purposefully omits the some 2 million Cambodians who perished at the hands of Pol Pot in the years after the last Huey left the US Embassy in Saigon. He glosses over the untold number of Vietnamese who were ruthlessly “re-educated” by their northern communist brethren. Yes, dear reader, Vietnam was not a battle of the Cold War.
Neither, I guess, was Korea. If both these Hirsch assertions are in fact true, then I have a few questions for Mr. Hirsch: Who was arming the North Vietnamese throughout the entire conflict? Were they making their own weapons? Did a large contingent of NVA march to Moscow and make off with all those heavy weapons, SAMs, and anti-aircraft emplacements responsible for killing so many Americans? Did both the North Koreans and North Vietnamese make a quantum leap in aircraft technology which enabled them to mass produce MIG fighters? Did the North Koreans have vast reinforcements which suddenly appeared at the Chosin Reservoir?
I’m sorry, but Mr. Hirsch’s argument is invalid on its fact and Newsweek should retract his article or label it as wishful fiction. His obliviousness to the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal in Iraq coupled with his proposal to refocus efforts on Pakistan and Afghanistan make me wonder if he isn’t secretly an Obama foreign policy advisor. Its pretty obvious how well that’s working for Obama.
After reading Mr. Hirsch’s wandering narrative, it occurred to me he sounds a lot like George C. Scott’s character in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In that movie General “Buck” Turgidson’s is laying out the consequences of a nuclear war when he utters his most famous line:
Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.Forgive me for saying, but Mr. Hirsch glosses over nearly 40 years of bloodshed, torture, and genocide to paint a rosy picture of Vietnam in the post-cold war era. Those are pretty rough breaks, even in the long run.
Here endeth the lesson.
The Battle For Iraqi Hearts And Minds
There's a storm ready to converge on Washington DC. General Petraeus is due to give his report to Congress on September 11 th and both sides are posturing in pre-spin mode to maximize his words regardless of what kind of picture he paints.
Among those facing the biggest difficulty in the Post-Petraeus world is Dusty Harry. You see, he's already declared the Surge to be a failure. An admission of anything less than that by the General would make Dusty Harry look like, well, a fool. Actually, Dusty Harry does a good job of doing that every time he opens his pie-hole.
W, on the other hand, went on the offensive yesterday . He gave a history lecture at the VFW convention. His intended audience wasn't the VFW – they'd already lived through most of what W described. W took direct aim at Dusty Harry, The Pelosi, and the rest of the Cut, Run, And Surrender Caucus and hit them with body blow after body blow. He even went so far as to invoke the specter of Vietnam – something till now considered exclusive territory of the leftist cheese eating surrender monkeys. American failure does have a cost, and W pulled no punches in laying out what will happen if people like Hillary, Dusty Harry, and The Pelosi get their way. The US has been down that road before and nobody in their right military mind wants to repeat it.
Over and over I hear the most popular question of the anti-war left – "How do you measure victory or success in Iraq?" Most often this is answered with something referring to the need to win over the hearts – and minds – of the Iraqis.
Very little is ever reported about the Iraqi mindset. Most of what we see coming out of Iraq has to do with the death and destruction inflicted by terrorists. The Iraqi people have been through some 30 years of hell under Saddam and four years of instability following his abrupt exit and subsequent execution. The MSM, however, has very little to say about them.
This vacuum is filled by guys like Michael Yon – simply the best combat journalist on the ground in Iraq. He gives you an unfiltered look at life in Iraq. He is optimistic. Go read his work and find out why.
Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace has stated he believes there is a "sea-change" happening in Iraq. The people are turning against the terrorists – sometimes at great personal cost. One such story caught my eye this morning (HT RightWingSparkle) that shows Pace's words to be true.
The incident took place in the Iraqi town of al-Arafia this past Saturday (August 18th). An unidentified Iraqi put himself between a group of American soldiers and a homicide bomber – pushing the Islamofacist Murdering Thug away from the group and outside the lethal range of his bomber vest. The unidentified Iraqi (known to the soldiers but not to us) was killed when the bomber detonated himself.
So, for those of you slow on the uptake, an Iraqi sacrificed himself to protect American soldiers. His father told the American commander he felt "no remorse his son's death because he died saving American Soldiers." Nobody forced this man to do what he did. Unbidden actions show true devotion.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I haven't looked very hard to find this story in the MSM. That said, if its out there, it is pretty well buried and is most likely heavily edited. This isn't the only story of heroism among the Iraqis – there are more – many, many more. It kind of makes you wonder.
Why is it when a four year old copy of Binny Laden makes its way out of his slimy sewer of a cave the MSM falls all over its collective self trumpeting his threats – but when signs appear that show the war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people just might be won the silence from the media is deafening?
When you come up with a good answer to that question, you let me know. Better yet, explain it to our troops – and the Iraqis.
Here endeth the lesson.
Hey Binny! How You Doin' ?
Most everybody would like to have the answer to the $50 Million Question – Where's Usama "Binny" Laden? Right now the best guess from those who know is "somewhere in the tribal regions of Pakistan" – which is code for some deep dark slimy cave in the middle of nowhere.
Binny has been really good at hiding since Tora Bora – so good in fact that he's not actually been seen since then. Yes, we've "heard" from him in several short audio clips – the last time being May 2006 where he disavowed the involvement of Zacarias Moussaoui in the 9/11 attack plan. Binny didn't help Moussaoui very much because poor Zac is now rotting in SuperMax Prison someplace in Colorado.
Well, today "top" Taliban commander Mansour Dadullah declared that Binny is "extremely healthy and active". You'll forgive me if I'm hesitant to take the word of an Islamofacist Murdering Thug about the health and activity of Binny. Prior to, and just following the 9/11 attacks, Binny Laden was the Chuck Schumer of the Islamofacist Mudering Thugs – meaning he'd stop at nothing to get himself in front of a television camera. He delighted in taunting the Great Satan – wagging his finger at us from his mountain hideaway – warning of the horrors waiting to be unleashed upon us infidels.
The best the al Qeda PR gurus can do is recycle some old footage . They don't even try to herald it as new.
So, Mansour, where is this "healthy and active" leader of yours? Too wounded, disfigured, or sick to do anything other than phone in his message from a remote cave? Give me a break.
Binny is no brave warrior. He's a cave dwelling coward.
Here endeth the lesson.
James E. Faust - 1920-2007
James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died this morning in Salt Lake City. He was 87.
President Faust has been a fixture in the upper echelons of LDS Church leadership for as long as I can remember. I always enjoyed the counsel he provided in the various settings I saw him in. Most times he was a jovial, grandfatherly type but he also had a stern side when he was given an especially difficult or sensitive subject to discuss.
Of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Faust was the only one who spoke Portuguese. He, like me, served a mission in Brazil, though when he served, the Brazil Mission took up most of the Southern Hemisphere. 70 years changes many things.
My fondest memory of President Faust occurred when he and Elder Richard G. Scott visited an Area Conference at Brigham Young University. This meeting took place in the Marriott Center and the place was packed to a capacity crowd – something that usually happens when the BYU basketball team has a winning season.
He was preceded at the podium by his wife and before she took her seat he put his arm around her and proceeded to tell the story of their courtship. He stated that he did not kiss his wife until they knelt across the altar and were married for time and all eternity. He went on to explain that he had more than made up for the lack of pre-marital lip-lock in the subsequent years of their marriage.
Then President Faust looked at his wife, and with a devilish smile said:
I don’t think I’ve ever kissed you in front of this many people before…And he proceeded to lay one on her right then and there.
He served his country during World War II in the US Army Air Corps and later practiced law in Salt Lake City. He was called as a General Authority in 1972. His life was full of family, service, and love. He will be greatly missed.
Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord. – Matthew 25:21Godspeed, Jim. Welcome home.
Here endeth the lesson.
I’d first like to take this opportunity to apologize for the lack of recent posts here at SOTR. Bonjo and I have discussed it and we’ve concluded the blame lies with Global Warming. It’s hot here in our neck of the woods. Damn Hot. Very Hot.
Now to the subject at hand.
Over my professional career I’ve had several different jobs. Basically that means I’ve had to write several résumés which I had to send to many different companies. I’ve also had my share of job interviews where I was required to defend the claims made in my résumé. I’ve also been on the other side of the job interview table and am very familiar with the creative means used by people to overplay accomplishments and downplay failures. As a general rule, its not a good idea to clam you can walk on water when you’re not even able to swim.
That said, in all the résumés I’ve ever written, I’ve never seen fit to include the experience or accomplishments of the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro as a part of my résumé. She’s a brilliant and accomplished woman in her own right and while I may assist her in some of her exploits, I’ve never seen fit to take credit for her professional accomplishments – and vice-versa.
This is not the case where Hillary! and Bill Clinton are concerned. Now I realize that political power couples play by a somewhat different rulebook than the rest of us. But when Hillary! made the following statement at the AFL-CIO Union Thug Debate on Tuesday:
I want a united Democratic Party that will stand against the Republicans. And I will say that for 15 years I’ve stood up against the right-wing machine and I’ve come out stronger. So, if you want a winner, who knows how to take them on, I’m your girl. (Emphasis Added)Here’s the video for added effect:
For the benefit of the historically challenged, let’s review Hillary’s political résumé. It won’t take long because the record is exceptionally thin.
2000-Present - Junior United States Senator from the State of New York. She was elected to this seat despite never having prior residence in the Empire State.
1992-2000 – First Lady of the United States during the two terms served by her husband – Bill Clinton. This is an unelected position which is accountable to nobody – not even the President. There are no pre-requisites nor constitutionally dictated requirements or qualifications for the First Lady. All that is required is that the woman be married to the President.
Hillary! learned a hard lesson about just how much power the First Lady wields in Washington. She’d really rather most of America forget her first foray into the health care arena. Most of us can remember back to 1992 and the debacle she led with such flair. I’d bring up the Travel Office scandal, the Rose Law Firm billing records discovery (in her private White House office), and her various depositions before several Grand Juries, but I think that record pretty much speaks for itself. Her time as First Lady is not exactly a bright spot in White House history.
Hillary! is claiming her time as First Lady among the “15 years” she’s spent winning battles against the “right wing machine”. First off, I’m pretty sure if you check the scorecard, she lost more battles against that machine than she won and caused more problems than she solved.
As for her Senate record, there’s not a lot of there there either. Although I’m usually hesitant to take Dick Morris’ word on much, he does know Clinton, Inc. pretty well. Says Dick:
…Hillary has done nothing of note in the Senate except to vote for the Iraq War, a position she has since disavowed, and to win the applause of her colleagues for not being partisan and obstinate. Her main efforts have been directed at raising massive sums of money for herself and her colleagues and making a lot from writing and selling her memoirs. Her efforts on behalf of New York after Sept. 11, 2001, have been exposed as largely derivative of those of her colleague, the more effective Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
She has passed no important legislation, except for bills congratulating Alexander Hamilton, Shirley Chisolm, Harriet Tubman, the American Republic, and the Syracuse lacrosse teams on their respective accomplishments.
Forgive me, dear reader, if I fail to see a record upon which a substantial case can be made for elevating Hillary! to the highest office in the land. On her own – a scant seven years in the US Senate – she has accomplished little other than sniping at the Oval’s current occupant on CSPAN-2.
And some wonder why people have little else to write about other than how much cleavage Hillary! shows on CSPAN. They’ve nothing else with which to fill their column inches.
Americans require more of their President.
Here endeth the lesson.