Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Friday, October 17, 2003

Via Instapundit. Jessica Well has links to two articles that says we are losing the 1946:

We know now the tragic results of the ineptitudes of the Peace of Versailles. The European system it set up was Utopia compared to the present tangle of snarling misery. The Russians at least are carrying out a logical plan for extending their system of control at whatever cost. The British show signs of recovering their good sense and their innate human decency. All we have brought to Europe so far is confusion backed up by a drumhead regime of military courts. We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

Victor Davis Hanson senses a weary American public who is "battered daily by the surf of negativism from the major newspapers, television networks, and opposition politicians, whose pounding slowly erodes the public's once resolute defiance." I agree.

The answer, says Hanson, is "spokesmen who can explain the stakes involved in this present war, the almost unbelievable successes achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the nonexistence of alternatives to our present courageous course."

Whether Hanson realizes it or not, he is one of the spokemen and he's been doing a great job.

Christian Lowe has a piece in The Weekly Standard about translators for our army in Iraq.

Halliburton's CEO has a featured article in today's Opinion Journal explaing what his company is doing in Iraq. It's pretty interesting. I had no idea they did so many things and that they apparently do it all very well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Sean Penn is the latest to be profiled in David Skinner's "Stardumb" column for The Weekly Standard. My favorite part:

Denying your identity has seemed a legitimate way of countering critics for so long that it pops up all the time. Right now on death row there's probably a multiple-murder convict saying, with air quotes, "I don't like the phrase 'serial killer.' You can't box me in with your categories and your labels. I mean, what is a 'serial killer'? Criminologists don't even always agree about who is and isn't a serial killer. And I won't stand for words that don't do justice to who I truly am. I won't be boxed in like that."

The latest person refusing to be boxed in like that is Sean Penn, who reminded the Washington Post in an interview last week that, as far as he's concerned, he is no "activist." The last time he tried this was in an essay he wrote and published at his own expense as a full-page ad in the New York Times, saying "I am neither a peace activist nor a partisan politico."

One is reminded of the moment in "Falcon and the Snowman" when Penn's buddy and coconspirator Timothy Hutton tells his Soviet contact that he's not one of them, not a "professional." Such is Hutton's naiveté that after selling many volumes of American secrets to the Russians, he denies being a "spy." But his handler is having none of it and tells him: "The moment you accepted money for this, you became a professional."

Someone should get the message to Penn: The moment you enter the public square to win approval for certain ideas or policies, you become an activist. If not a peace activist, what is a person who loans out their celebrity to the antiwar cause, goes on an antiwar publicity junket to Baghdad just as his country is readying to invade, pays for the privilege of publishing an open letter in the Washington Post arguing against military action in Iraq, and then, as a U.S.-led coalition takes over Iraq, buys a whole page of the New York Times to publish an essay announcing that the American flag is becoming a banner of "murder, greed, and treason against our principles, honored history, Constitution, and our own mothers and fathers"?

Oh, and I can't forget this:

Particularly amazing is that while Penn casually pukes forth the most venomous accusations--calling the administration treasonous and murderous--he doesn't mind a bout of self-pity for all the harsh language that's been directed at him. After publishing the October letter to Bush in the Washington Post, Penn complained, "I was hit by a tidal wave of misrepresentations, and even accusations of treason. I experienced firsthand the repressive condition of public debate in our country, as it prepared for war." Worse than a total, bloviating hypocrite, this guy is a crybaby.

What is it with Hollywood types demanding the right to speak without anyone responding? Are they that spoiled? Do they really believe they have rights that the rest of us don't have? Or is it that they are so used to being unquestioned by members of their entourage and adoring worshippers that they are genuinely surprised when people challenge them?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The U.N. yesterday approved a peacekeeping expansion for Afghanistan. The expansion will target areas outside of Kabul which has, until now, been the only part of Afghanistan that was being protected by U.N. peacekeepers. The peacekeeping is separate from the U.S. forces who are conducting searches for Taliban remnants.

There's more good news from Afghanistan. The Washington Post features a hopeful story about the emerging economy in Kabul. Now that peacekeepers are moving beyond the capital it's reasonable to assume that stories like this can and will be repeated throughout the country.

I remember that some on the left condemned the U.S. war in Afghanistan and insisted that the only reason we were going into that country was to establish an oil pipeline and to rape their natural resources. While it may have been true that oil companies wanted an oil pipeline and that Afghanistan has a few attractive natural resources, it was idiotic to say those were our ONLY reasons for going into Afghanistan. Our reasons were clear. And if Afghanistan can use it's natural resources and strategic location to generate income for their people, then more power to them.

Many on the left will be distressed to hear that Afghanistan is improving. As Afghanistan, Iraq, and the U.S. economy improve the Democrats chances of taking power diminishes. Their only hope appears to be another massive 9/11 style attack. That could be why many are demanding a pullout of Iraq. That could explain why they are doing their level best to discourage national resolve. They have to cause President Bush to fail and if that means forcing a disastrous change in policy then they will do it. Of course they will fail. But that won't stop them from trying. It's all they have left.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Apparently the Europeans are aghast that Californians elected Arnold Schwarzenneger governor last week. Mark Steyn has several examples from European newspapers.

My favorite part of the whole column was this:

California's problem was that it was beginning to take on the characteristics of an EU state, not just in its fiscal incoherence but in its assumption that politics was a private dialogue between a lifelong political class and a like-minded media. It would be too much to expect Le Monde and the BBC to stop being condescending about American electorates. But they might draw a lesson and cease being such snots about their own.

That pretty much nails it doesn't it? It's clear to me that Europe is less democratic with each passing day. The political system that has taken over is the Bureaucratic system. Bureaucrats from the European Union, the United Nations, and various NGO's are running Europe and it will only get worse when the European Union's constitution is passed. What's most sad is the the people of Europe don't care. They are used to being lead by a class of their betters. It used to be the noble class who for centuries told them what to do, but now the class who's leading them is the Bureaucratic class. Clearly, Europe is losing democracy to the "lifelong political class and a like-minded media" who have established and supported the Bureaucratic system.

As Steyn shows, Europe's elite would line up to stop an Arnold-like candidate simply on the grounds that he wasn't one of them and was therefore unsuitable for elected office. But that's what made him so attractive to Californians; that he wasn't a career politician or member of the thinking class. Change can make a remarkable difference. Stability is not the end all and be all. Sometimes things have to be shaken up to get a view from (cliche warning!) outside the box.

Europe needs a grassroots revival of democratic thought. They have become stagnant and comfortable and that leads to corruption and arrogance which Europeans seem to have in abundance at the moment.