Friday, August 26, 2005

Savagery in Seattle

Michelle Malkin has a lot of information and links on the Seattle soldier beatings here. With due respect to Sean Hannity, it's pretty silly to jump to the conclusion, as he does, that this brutality was perpetrated by anti-war protestors taking out their anger on soldiers just home from Iraq. The whole thing sounds much more like an example of just plain thuggery carried out by imbecilic savages who couldn't even spell Iraq.

Parenthetically, reading the material at Michelle's blog one gets the impression that there is no police force in the United States more incompetent and more gutless than that which patrols the streets of Seattle. It'll be a long time before this family goes back there.

Optimistic About Iraq's Constitution

The New York Times' David Brooks finds cause for optimism in the new Iraqi constitution:

President Bush doesn't lack for critics when it comes to his Iraq policies, but the smartest and most devastating of these is Peter W. Galbraith, a former United States ambassador to Croatia.

Yesterday, after reading gloomy press accounts about the proposed Iraqi constitution, I thought it might be interesting to hear what Galbraith himself had to say. I finally tracked him down in Baghdad (at God knows what hour there) and found that far from lambasting Bush, Galbraith was more complimentary about what the administration has just achieved than anybody else I spoke to all day.

"The Bush administration finally did something right in brokering this constitution," Galbraith exclaimed, then added: "This is the only possible deal that can bring stability. ... I do believe it might save the country."

Read the rest of Brooks' article here.

Who's Shaping Conservatism?

Gideon Strauss wonders who's keeping the fires burning in contemporary conservativism. Who, he asks, is producing the ideas that infuse energy and vigor into conservative political philosophy.

Strauss suggests a few answers. Here are three more: The conservative blogosphere, the neo-con Weekly Standard and, surprisingly, perhaps, the Discovery Institute.

Pat Stephanopolous

Well, well. Look who else has endorsed assassination as a political tool:

Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson prompted a firestorm of media outrage on Tuesday after he suggested that the Bush administration should assassinate a foreign leader who posed a threat to the U.S. - in this case, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. But when senior Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos publicly argued for the same kind of assassination policy in 1997, the press voiced no objection at all.

Fresh from his influential White House post, Stephanopoulos devoted an entire column in Newsweek to the topic of whether the U.S. should take out Saddam Hussein. His headline? "Why We Should Kill Saddam."

"Assassination may be Clinton's best option," the future "This Week" host urged. "If we can kill Saddam, we should." Though Iraq war critics now argue that by 1997, the Iraqi dictator was "in a box" and posed no threat whatsoever to the U.S., Stephanopoulos contended that Saddam deserved swift and lethal justice.

"We've exhausted other efforts to stop him, and killing him certainly seems more proportionate to his crimes and discriminate in its effect than massive bombing raids that will inevitably kill innocent civilians," the diminutive former aide contended.

Stephanopoulos even offered a way to get around the presidential ban on foreign assassinations: "If Clinton decides we can and should assassinate Saddam, he could call in national-security adviser Sandy Berger and sign a secret National Security Decision Directive authorizing it."

The Stephanopoulos plan: "First, we could offer to provide money and materiel to Iraqi exiles willing to lead an effort to overthrow Saddam. . . . The second option is a targeted airstrike against the homes or bunkers where Saddam is most likely to be hiding."

The one-time top Clinton aide said that, far from violating international principles, assassinating Saddam would be the moral thing to do, arguing, "What's unlawful - and unpopular with the allies - is not necessarily immoral."

Stephanopoulos also noted that killing Saddam could pay big political dividends at home, saying the mission would make Clinton "a huge winner if it succeeded."

Watch for the media feeding frenzy over Pat Robertson's remarks to suddenly evaporate once it comes to be widely known that Stephanopolis had advocated pretty much the same thing as Robertson has. The media cares more about using Robertson's words as a cudgel with which to pound a prominent conservative than they do about the actual suggestion itself. If it becomes widely bruited that a high status liberal held similar views to those of Robertson, they'll reluctantly lay aside that weapon rather than have to club Stephanopolous with it as well.

POST SCRIPT: As it happens, I agree with Stephanopolis and disagree with Robertson, but the differences in their positions require the sort of analysis that does not lend itself to sound-bite journalism. It also would sound very much like special pleading were the liberal media to try to justify Stephanopolous' advice after roundly condemning Robertson. It's more likely that they'll just drop it rather than put themselves in that position.