Monday, May 28, 2007

Why Congress Caved to Bush - by Pat Buchanan

Sounds about right to me:

Why Congress Caved to Bush - by Pat Buchanan:

The antiwar Democrats are crying betrayal – and justifiably so.

For a Democratic Congress is now voting to fully fund the war in Iraq, as demanded by President Bush, and without any timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal. Bush got his $100 billion, then magnanimously agreed to let Democrats keep the $20 billion in pork they stuffed into the bill – to soothe the pain of their sellout of the party base.

Remarkable. If the Republican rout of 2006 said anything, it was that America had lost faith in the Bush-Rumsfeld conduct of the war and wanted Democrats to lead the country out.

Yet, today, there are more U.S. troops in Iraq than when the Democrats won. More are on the way. And with the surge and retention of troops in Iraq beyond normal tours, there should be a record number of U.S. troops in country by year's end.

Why did the Democrats capitulate?

Because they lack the courage of their convictions. Because they fear the consequences if they put their antiwar beliefs into practice. Because they are afraid if they defund the war and force President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops, the calamity he predicts will come to pass and they will be held accountable for losing Iraq and the strategic disaster that might well ensue.

Democrats are an intimidated party. The reasons are historical. They were shredded by Nixon and Joe McCarthy for FDR's surrenders to Stalin at Tehran and Yalta, for losing China to Mao's hordes, for the "no-win war" in Korea, for being "soft on communism."

The best and the brightest – JFK's New Frontiersmen – were held responsible for plunging us into Vietnam and proving incapable of winning the war. A Democratic Congress cut off aid to Saigon in 1975, ceding Southeast Asia to Hanoi and bringing on the genocide of Pol Pot.

Democrats know they are distrusted on national security. They fear that if they defund this war and bring on a Saigon ending in the Green Zone, it will be a generation before they are trusted with national power. And power is what the party is all about.

Yet, not only does the situation in Iraq appear increasingly grim, with rising U.S. and Iraqi casualties, other shoes are about to drop that will reverberate throughout the region.

Support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with his war in Lebanon a debacle and his leadership denounced by a commission he appointed, is in single digits. Waiting in the wings is Likud super-hawk "Bibi" Netanyahu, the most popular politician in Israel, who compares today to Munich 1938 and equates Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Hitler.

If and when Bibi comes to power, he will use every stratagem to provoke us into attacking "Hitler."

Also drumming for war on Iran are the floundering neocons and the Israeli lobby. Under orders from the lobby, Nancy Pelosi stripped from a House bill a stipulation that Bush must come to Congress for authorization before launching an attack on Iran.

With Democratic contenders reciting the mantra, "All options are on the table," and Iran defying U.N. sanctions, pursuing nuclear enrichment and detaining U.S. citizens, Bush has a blank check to launch a third war.

Lebanon is ablaze. Gaza is ablaze. The Afghan war is not going well. The Taliban have a privileged sanctuary. The NATO allies grow weary.

In Pakistan, the most dangerous country on earth – one bullet away from an Islamic republic with atom bombs – our erstwhile ally, President Musharraf, is caught in a political crisis over his ouster of the chief justice.

Presidents Musharraf in Islamabad, Karzai in Kabul and Siniora in Beirut, and Prime Minister Maliki in Baghdad, sit on shaky thrones. No one knows what follows their fall. But it is hard to see how it would not be crippling for America's position.

With such volatility in this crucial region of the world, with such uncertainty, it is easy to see why Democrats prefer to be the "dummy" at the bridge table and let Bush play the hand.

The congressional Democrats are cynical, but they are not stupid. If the surge works and U.S. troops are being withdrawn by fall 2008, they do not want it said of them that they "cut and ran" when the going got tough, that they played Chamberlain to Bush's Churchill.

And if the war is going badly in 2008, they know that the American people, in repudiating the party of Bush and Cheney, have no other choice than the party of Hillary and Pelosi and Harry Reid.

That is why congressional Democrats are surely saying privately of the angry antiwar left what has often been said by the Beltway Republican elite of the right: "Don't worry about them. They have nowhere else to go."

And that is why the antiwar left was thrown under the bus.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Same Old Story

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall:

"Johnson: And we just got to think about it. I'm looking at this Sergeant of mine this morning and he's got 6 little old kids over there, and he's getting out my things, and bringing me in my night reading, and all that kind of stuff, and I just thought about ordering all those kids in there. And what in the hell am I ordering them out there for? What in the hell is Vietnam worth to me? What is Laos worth to me? What is it worth to this country? We've got a treaty but hell, everybody else has got a treaty out there, and they're not doing a thing about it.

Bundy: Yeah, yeah.

Johnson: Of course, if you start running from the Communists, they may just chase you right into your own kitchen.

Bundy: Yeah, that's the trouble. And that is what the rest of that half of the world is going to think if this thing comes apart on us. That's the dilemma, that's exactly the dilemma."

Of course, they were wrong. We turned tail and fled Vietnam (not to mention Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc.), and still defeated communism handily with no more of a sacrifice than the lives of a few million darkies who had the misfortune of living in questionable spheres of influence, and usually without an actual American finger pulling the trigger.

Why does George Bush hate America?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Education Discussion Starter Kit

Here are some good education reform articles for the unitiated.

The first one says that reporters don't spend enough effort on the topics of unsupportive parents and variation in funding amounts. The second one talks about Daley supporting charter schools more aggressively that CPS schools, which I think is heavily driven by the desire to avoid teacher unions. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it should be more transparent. The last page talks about the pros and cons of vouchers.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Give Me Liberty and Give Me Death

There's a great article over at The American Prospect (you have to sign in to read, but it's free) comparing healthcare systems in the US, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, and the VA system here at home. Of the national systems, France performs the best, though the VA system gets two thumbs up as well:

What makes this such an explosive story is that the VHA is a truly socialized medical system. The unquestioned leader in American health care is a government agency that employs 198,000 federal workers from five different unions, and nonetheless maintains short wait times and high consumer satisfaction. Eighty-three percent of VHA hospital patients say they are satisfied with their care, 69 percent report being seen within 20 minutes of scheduled appointments, and 93 percent see a specialist within 30 days.

Critics will say that the VHA is not significantly cheaper than other American health care, but that's misleading. In fact, the VHA is also proving far better than the private sector at controlling costs. As Longman explains, "Veterans enrolled in [the VHA] are, as a group, older, sicker, poorer, and more prone to mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse than the population as a whole. Half of all VHA enrollees are over age 65. More than a third smoke. One in five veterans has diabetes, compared with one in 14 U.S. residents in general." Yet the VHA's spending per patient in 2004 was $540 less than the national average, and the average American is healthier and younger (the nation includes children; the VHA doesn't).

This all sounds great, but, a la our last book selection, aren't lower costs, a seamless information system and better service too high a price to pay for the liberty we would sacrifice in doing away with our current free market system? For example, I'm in a new job now, and just switched insurance plans. Within two weeks I got three identical forms mailed to my house asking me to fill in all my treatment history information to make sure that the doctor's visit I had a few weeks back wasn't for a pre-existing condition that had existed for less than one year prior to the doctor's visit, even though no paperwork I filled out for the new insurance said anything about pre-existing conditions (in anything larger than 3.5 font, that is). So I filled out and mailed back the form twice, and then got a letter on Monday saying that, due to my failure to fill out and send back the form, my claims were being denied. But don't worry--I was on the phone yesterday for 15 minutes with the insurance company, and was able to fax them the info, and now I'm in the appeals process, which should only take about a month or so.

They can have my "Disclosure and Exclusionary Past Condition Form #A-34G67D2/BLN" when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

The Big Blue Marble

I read in the elevator today that a snow/ice area in the Antarctic the size of Planet Mundelein (which, for Earth-dwellers, is roughly the size of California) melted in 2005. But there's another side to the story that the leftist media won't tell you: a snow/ice area the size of Antarctica, minus an area the size of Planet Mundelein/California, did not melt in 2005, which proves conclusively that global climate change is not occuring (1980s), is occuring but is not human-caused (1990s), and is occuring but will have lots of unpredictable beneficial effects for America (2000s). Is there no relief from this liberal media bias?

In an unrelated story, apparently the ocean around the Antarctic has become saturated with carbon about a half century before the global left-wing scientific conspiracy planned to report such a phenomenon (or did it...), which means that the ocean has lost the capacity to absorb more atmospheric carbon.

If only the meager resources of the fossil fuel industry could compete with those of the scientific funding juggernaut, more people who are unable to publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals could get grant money to study this stuff and propose better, less alarming explanations.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Even Democrats Not This Bad

I guess we have to give the democrats some credit. At least they didn't riot when Bush when both elections.

French police have arrested a total of 592 people across the country as bands of rioters protested conservative Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential election victory Sunday, French media reported.
The police said a total of 730 vehicles were torched and 28 police officers were injured in violent incidents from Sunday night to Monday morning. Police fought stone-throwing rioters with tear gas, but it was not clear how many rioters were injured, according to Radio France.

Let's just hope they don't get any ideas.