Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's All In the Nuance

John Kerry promises that he would fight a smarter, more effective war in Iraq, but he's having enough trouble simply bringing his vaunted intelligence to bear in the current political struggle. He seems to blurt out whatever strikes him as useful at the moment, which almost always proves embarrassing to him later. He has claimed, for instance, that Bush had banned stem cell research, that he (Kerry) had met with representatives of the U.N. Security Council about the pending invasion of Iraq, that Bush bungled the supervision of explosives in al QaQaa, all of which claims have turned out to be erroneous.

Senator Kerry is undeterred, however, by the fact that he seems so inept at getting the facts right. He staggers from one canard to the next, blithely indifferent to the tenuous relationship any of his yarns have with reality and completely unmindful of what his mendacity tells us about his character.

Today he delivered this piece of historical buffoonery from the stump in Toledo:

"When the Bay of Pigs went sour, John Kennedy had the courage to look America in the eye and say, `I take responsibility, it's my fault," Kerry said, referring to the bungled invasion of Cuba in 1961. "John Kennedy knew how to take responsibility for the mistakes he made and Mr. President, it's long since time for you to start taking responsibility for the mistakes you made."

Let's see. Deposing Saddam, liberating 25 million people from oppression, and resolutely taking the first early steps to establishing democracy in the heart of the Arab world is, in the mind of the Senator, analogous to a president (John Kennedy) getting cold feet prior to the Cuba invasion and sending thousands of Cuban guerrillas to a pointless death because Kennedy decided at the last minute to withhold the air cover they had been promised.

Not only is the Senator's comparison of the Bay of Pigs with Iraq about as perverse as it can be, Mr. Kerry insists upon serving up this sublime specimen of asininity while the votes of the Cuban-American community in Florida, from whose ranks those dead were drawn, hang in the balance. Moreover, he implicitly reminds them that it was the Democratic president that Kerry models himself after whose dithering was responsible for their slaughter.

This may all seem very smart to the liberals who pride themselves on being so much more intelligent than the rest of us. It may even be an example of the Senator's much celebrated nuanced thinking. But, frankly, we don't see how what the Senator said today can be considered anything other than just stupid.

Kerry's Plan For The Draft

No Left Turns has this interesting piece of analysis about the prospects of a draft being reinstated in the next four years, not by a Bush administration, mind you, but by John Kerry:

One of our readers, Vernon Dozier, has offered a comment that deserves to be moved front and center:

Hasn't anyone considered that Kerry would need a draft a lot more than Bush? Bush is very popular among current military personnel (he stands to get 75% to 80% of the military vote), and the various branches are currently meeting recruitment goals. In contrast, Kerry is reviled by about 95% of those who served directly with him because he pissed all over them with false accusations of atrocities merely to promote his own political ambitions. Who the hell would volunteer to serve under such a commander in chief?

In fact, this is very much in line with what I learned today from talking with a student who has friends in the armed forces. It is no secret that the men and women of the military find Kerry despicable, and apparently there are many who say that if he is elected they will not reenlist. Assuming he would be unable to make up for these losses with French and German soldiers, it is at least as reasonable to suppose that Kerry would reinstate the draft as it is to suggest that the president might.

Pass the word. Kerry has a secret "plan" to reinstate the draft. Here it is: Get himself elected as Commander-in-Chief and be so unpopular with the troops that the only way to maintain a viable military at all is to dragoon people into its service.

This theory has the advantage of being much more plausible than the feverish ravings that have been going around left-wing weblogs about George Bush's "secret plan" to restart the selective service.

The Little People

National Geographic has a story about the discovery of a new kind of human, smaller in stature even than modern pygmies, which inhabited the island of Flores in Indonesia until as recently as 13,000 years ago.

These diminutive hominids have been designated a new species, Homo floresienses but the article does not mention the rationale for placing them in a separate taxon from modern humans. The fact that they were very small, about three feet tall, is not in itself sufficient reason for making them a separate species. Great Danes and Chihuahuas are at least as disparate in size as Homo sapiens and H. floresienses, but these dogs are both members of the same species. Usually, biologists consider two groups to be different species if members of the groups cannot produce fertile offspring, and we have no way of knowing at this stage whether H. sapiens and H. floresienses were interfertile.

At any rate, it's interesting that there have been myths and legends for centuries about tiny people having inhabited the islands in the region, but no hard evidence of it has ever been found until now. It causes one to wonder if the Irish legends of leprechauns and other ancient stories of elves might not have had some basis in pre-historical fact. Might these tiny three foot high humans have been at one time much more widespread rather than confined to just the Indonesian archipelago?