Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Years On....

Every once in a while I come across something on the 'net that matches what I feel or think that I wish I would have written it myself. Here 'tis:

Five years on, the most striking change I see having taken place is the stridence and apparent insanity of war critics. We were attacked on by a brutal enemy on 9-11, a fact they either dismiss or refuse to acknowledge and understand. The actual changes to civil liberties have been marginal and don’t compare to what Lincoln or FDR did to civil liberties in the course of war. But in this war a coalition of Stalinists, mainstream lefties, some on the right, jihadis, moderate Muslims, cranks and kooks has blown its irrational fears of our own leadership out of all proportion and made 9-11 denial acceptable. They have made it more acceptable to hate Bush and Cheney than bin Laden and Zawahiri. On Fox News, Alan Colmes can say that he is agnostic about what happened on 9-11 and be back the next day to criticize Bush, as though what he had said he night before didn’t qualify him for the looney bin.

Five years on, a psychosis has gripped millions who can’t and won’t fathom the true nature of the war we are in. For many of them, having been born and raised in an essentially post-Christian West, they can’t imagine that anyone might be motivated to kill and die because of something a warlord wrote down centuries ago. They cannot imagine any religion other than the one they believe they have outgrown being violent or causing violence. They cannot imagine anyone fighting for a cause that offers no material gains and therefore cannot be negotiated away. In our essentially materialist West, millions lack the imagination to believe that bin Laden’s pining for the return of Andalusia to Muslim rule is in his mind a legitimate reason to wage war on America now. They can imagine their own countrymen being so motivated, though, and I think that’s key to understanding their state of mind. They can imagine the Rotary Club member down the street plotting mayhem because he goes to church and votes Republican, but they can’t imagine that the Muslim in Karachi is a real, live enemy who is actually plotting an attack.

This lack of imagination has bred the anti-war madness we have now. Rather than accept the reality of an enemy that cannot and therefore will not negotiate away what he believes to be the will of God, and rather than accept that this enemy will understand nothing outside total victory or total defeat, and rather than understand that this enemy’s goals include enslaving the entire world in a global caliphate, and rather than accept that this reality necessitates the use of all tools including military might to defend ourselves, millions have embraced an alternate reality. The reality of the enemy outside the West and its motivations being too terrifying and too far beyond their own control, millions now imagine that the enemy in this war is within. The enemy, to them, isn’t the turbaned man behind the plot to hijack multiple airplanes and crash them into multiple buildings in America. The real enemy, to these millions, is the man in the Oval Office, and the man or men behind him.

Imagining the enemy as a Westerner who has a Western worldview and essentially Western motivations gives these millions the comfort of thinking that they can understand and defeat the enemy easily. They can expose him in the press or on their blog. They can spread the word through a bumper sticker or a sign in their yard. They can vote against him and encourage others to help vote him out. They can impeach him. They can shout and rail at anyone who supports him. They can destroy his political party and ruin his name. They can, in their own minds, win the war on their own terms without exposing themselves to danger. Because they have imagined their own enemy from before that day to be the enemy of civilization. And because it’s not really a war at all, just a made-up threat some evil neocons conjured up to scare everyone into giving them power. And that being the case, the deniers imagine that they can save civilizaton at the ballot box. They don’t have to find out what makes the enemy tick, they don’t have to fight him, and they don’t have to change their fundamental and now obviously flawed assumptions about humanity and the world.

If only it were that easy.

Five years on, the illness of replacing an implacable, indeed alien enemy with one from our own civilizational family has spread and metastasized through the majority of one of our two political parties, and may yet claim a majority of the country itself. History has a way of fading out as the day’s current noise rises in volume, and to them 9-11 is either history or a historic lie. The loudest voice, though not always or even often right, is often the one that gets the last word. And the 9-11 deniers and their allies across the left are nothing if not loud.

Five years on, it’s hard to take a positive look at the war because we are failing to comprehend it. The mass denial of reality is taking half our arsenal of unity and morale away from us. Those of us who see the threat for what it is still say that we will prevail because we are right and because we are America, but that’s just letting the others off the hook. If we’re going to prevail anyway, why should they snap out of their fog? And why should we demand that they do? The truth is, we need the denial to end and we need our countrymen to understand and help, but since we’re powerless to cure it with reason we shrug or laugh at it. But it’s eating away at our
ability to defend ourselves.

Five years on, the mistakes are starting to pile up. For a rising dictator, President Bush did precious little to mobilize the masses who once gave him more than 90% approval ratings. He got the Patriot Act and Homeland Security but didn’t increase the overall size of the military to deal with a war that by his own statements would be global in scale. He didn’t ask the American people to sacrifice. He didn’t demand that his earliest critics put up or shut up, when he commanded the political heights. He didn’t take the Democrats seriously when they openly planned to use Congress to sabotage him and the war at the same time and still doesn’t defend himself when they smear him and the troops and undermine the war. And for all the great and grand things he said and did in those days and the days since, he didn’t secure our border and he didn’t even name the enemy.

Five years on, the Democrats have become a party of repulsive clowns who pretend the entire decade of the 1990s never happened. Or their psychosis includes a great deal of convenient amnesia. They remember a photograph with Rumsfeld shaking the bloody hand of Saddam but conveniently forget everything they said in the public record about Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and about al Qaeda during that same period. They remember and grossly inflate the American relationship with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war but conveniently forget who bombed a Sudanese pharma factory on suspicion that it was manufacturing WMDs for al Qaeda in partnership with Iraq. They conveniently cut and paste intelligence reports to demonstrate “no link” between Saddam and terror but conveniently forget that the two Abu’s of terrorism–Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas–both resided in Iraq prior to 2003, and that there had been high-level meetings between the Baathists and the jihadists during the 1990s and right up to 2003. They accuse the current president of lying our way into war in Iraq but conveniently forget that a president from their own party tried to convince America that Saddam was a major threat worthy of very serious military action in 2000. They are the party of “never mind.” Or perhaps they said all that back before Bush because they knew all along that as long as one of their own was in the White House, nothing would actually come of all their hot rhetoric. They knew they could count on inaction. They knew Clinton’s public boldness on Iraq was fed more by his own scandals than any real threat, which freed them to talk and act tough in ways that scare they would never do if they thought it might lead to more than talk. They knew their own words were empty.

Whatever their motivations, roughly half the country and counting refuses to understand the war and its causes. The rest of the West is in worse shape. Europe is all but gone, with sharia in de facto force in many European cities. Britian’s last anti-terror lion is spent and is almost sure to be replaced by someone with anti-American leanings, no matter which party wins the next elections. A majority of Germans would rather see the terror masters in Iran obtain nuclear weapons than see the world use military force to stop it. A majority of Canadians believes we attacked ourselves on 9-11. Mexicans chant “Osama, Osama!” at a soccer match against the
American team, Venezuelans join citizen militias to prepare for the American invasion that their dear leader promises is coming, and Latin America is swinging swiftly into the Chinese and Iranian spheres of influence.

Five years on, the West is tired of a war that the jihadis promise is only beginning.

Five years on we seem to be seeing the enemy’s fight to break out of the box that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq had put him in. Iraq’s slide toward civil war because of Iranian instigation and the Taliban’s resurgence in Pakistan and Afghanistan along with what looks like the end of the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon could be a set of temporary setbacks. They’ll become permanent if we let them, and I worry that war fatigue will keep us from pushing back hard enough to defeat our enemies. Jacksonian American may be fighting hard overseas but it’s flagging on the homefront. The spectre of 9-11 isn’t enough to keep us unified and focused.

So five years on here we are, battle weary and divided across the West and with too many millions of us not even believing that there is a threat that thinks and acts independently of anything we understand as a reasonable motive. Iran is rising as a threat and we’re not rising with enough resolve to counter it. We’re too hung up on moral equivalency, legalism and cultural guilt to defend ourselves against an obviously evil enemy. Too many nurse their own pet nightmares and refuse to look the real nightmares in the face and deal with them. For too many, “We will never surrender” been replaced with “We will never remember.” But we should remember. We should remember our dead, look after those they left behind, and do all in our power to make sure no one ever dares strike us again. We have done a good job at the first two for these five years, but the third is a work yet incomplete.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Re: Below post; Tom, you ignorant slut...

While I agree with your appraisal of Weis's testicular fortitude, Saturday night's game gave me plenty to worry about.

Both Georgia Tech and Ohio State (in last January's Fiesta Bowl) provided the blueprint for how to contain the Irish: attack them with an aggressive, physical defense. Our offensive line, while good, is not a dominating one; they are neither big enough (they average under 300 lbs., which puts them more-or-less in the middle of the pack of college lines) nor athletic enough to dominate the line of scrimmage. Also, we do not have breakaway speed at the receiver nor the running back position. Samardzija and McKnight are very good receivers, but they are possession receivers, not burners - it is possible to cover them without stretching your defense too thin, and you can play them tight and physical without much worry that they're going to blow by you. Walker is a solid back with a knack for finding holes, but not a guy who will leave your defense in the dust - the longest run of his career is 40 yards.

With these limitations, the Irish under Weis have relied on superior play calling and timing to exploit opposing defenses' weaknesses. An aggressive defense can by neutralized by draws and trap runs, as well as quick slants and screen passes. Quinn was checking out of runs for most of the first half Saturday night, and the Irish looked out-of-sync as Tech's aggressive, physical defense knocked Quinn and his receivers out of their rhythm. Quinn didn't check out of the running plays Weis called in the second half, and ND was able to exploit the weakness of an aggressive defense: the tendency to over-pursue.

The defense looked much quicker to the ball on Saturday night than last season, but at this point it is tough to tell how much better they are, because Georgia Tech has, at best, a mediocre offense.

While I'm not forecasting doom and gloom or a return to the futility of the Davie-Willingham period of darkness, I think a more realistic expectation for the 2006 Irish is a 10W - 2L regular season record. I think Michigan has the right ingredients to beat us, and have been focusing on the ND game quite intensely in the offseason (it's a shame, too, because I will be at that game). USC, despite losing two Heisman Trophy winners to the NFL, are fast, talented, and deep. It would be a minor miracle for the Irish not to lose a starter or three to injury over the course of the season, and thanks to the (non)recruiting of Ty Willingham, ND has practically no experienced depth after the starters (they played at least 9 freshmen on Saturday night). While USC can afford the attrition, ND can't, and the game is in late November, so.....I'm not very optimistic about that game either.

Okay, that's my head talking. My heart, and every other fiber of my being, will be hoping and praying for an Irish victory each week. Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame!!!


Sunday, September 03, 2006

There's no such thing as a bad W

So said Charlie Weis after Notre Dame's less-than-stellar defeat of Georgia Tech (source). I completely agree. In fact, I'm glad the Irish just squeaked by GT. ND's ranking might fall, but the pressure of being the #2 team will ease a little, and the specter of overconfidence will be held at bay. Besides, I much rather ND be #2 at the end of the regular season than at the beginning. Am I happy with ND's performance? Not really. I'm relieved they won, but they did not look good. The offensive line could not protect Brady Quinn and Notre Dame's powerful offense was held to just 14 points. None of these were good signs, but the team regained their composure late in the first half and looked much better after half-time. Plus, the defense looked much better than last year. One thing that impressed me was coach Weis' testicular fortitude. He called a quarterback draw from the five yard line with 16 seconds and no timeouts left in the half. Had Brady Quinn not made the end zone, the Irish would have gone into the locker room scoreless. But, his gutsy call paid off and the Irish put seven points on the board. Late in the fourth quarter Charlie Weis elected to run another quarter back draw with fourth and one from the GT 46 yard-line. Had the play failed GT would have been a first down away from field goal range. But the gamble paid off and the Irish retained possession for the rest of the game. Big brass ones Charlie. That's the kind of play calling I like to see.


More From the Email Transom

I've received this email several time now, so I decided to post it. Since it is from the internet, it must be true. I'll comment later:

About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. from abundance to complacency;
6. from complacency to apathy;
7. from apathy to dependence;
8. from dependence back into bondage.

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:

Population of counties won by: Gore: 127 million; Bush: 143 million;
Square miles of land won by: Gore: 580,000; Bush: 2,427,000;
States won by: Gore: 19; Bush: 29;

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore: 13.2; Bush 2.1.

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the tax-paying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off government welfare." Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some 40 percent of the nation population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

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