Saturday, September 24, 2005

Stalinists For Peace

Well, I guess it was a successful rally, but if this photo is any indication, claims that there were a hundred thousand anti-war protestors in Washington Saturday were a bit inflated. I've seen bigger crowds at a high school football game.

Michelle Malkin has a few photos and links, but one of the more important stories regarding the rally is the tale of who's behind it. It turns out that the lead organizer is ANSWER, a front group for the Stalinist Workers World Party. The MSM are notably reluctant to help people make the connection, but there is a strange irony in a group which follows the thinking of Josef Stalin, who was directly responsible for the murders of over 25 million people, organizing an anti-war rally.

Investor's Business Daily invites us to imagine a pro-war rally organized by a neo-nazi group and ask ourselves whether the MSM would decline to mention it.

So why do communists - particularly those who march under Stalin's flag - get different treatment? And why do thousands of average people feel comfortable marching arm in arm with them?

It's a puzzle. After all, according to the "Black Book of Communism" - a widely cited and respected compendium of communism's crimes in the 20th century - communist regimes murdered as many as 100 million people over the last century. That's quite a record. Indeed, all the century's great mass murders - Mao Zedong (65 million), Stalin (25 million), Hitler (21 million), Pol Pot (2 million) - were communists or socialists.

Yet many well-meaning people who marched this weekend perhaps didn't know all this. Or perhaps they don't mind having their cause besmirched by people who aren't really anti-war at all, but anti-America, anti-West, anti-freedom and anti-capitalist. It's disappointing that so many marchers will demonstrate, heedless that they're being used by people who hold them - and their bourgeois pacifism - in contempt.

The "well-meaning people" are what Lenin was reputed to have referred to as "useful idiots." When one reads quotes from some of them at the rally one begins to see more clearly what Lenin meant. For example, this from the Washington Post:

Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does - except for the war.

"President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let's move on," Rutherford said.

Just like that. Sorry, big mistake. We're outa here. Good luck to all of you who cast your lot with us when al Zarqawi comes to settle accounts. And good luck to you all when civil war breaks out between the Shia and Sunnis and Kurds, and good luck when the Iranians seek their revenge for the 80's war, and the Syrians lop off a chunk of the western frontier, and the Turks settle up with the Kurds, and everybody in the region decides they need your oil more than you do, and, well, you'll all be a lot better off without us Americans here to build your country up, get you on your feet, and protect you from all these predators.

His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein "a noble mission" but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded. "We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily," she said.

Right. Destroy the Baathist government, say "oops" and then leave the Iraqi people to disease, starvation, and their bloodthirsty neighbors. That's a great idea. We wonder what the average IQ of these protestors in Washington is.

Arthur Pollock, 47, of Cecil County, Md., said he was against the war from the beginning. He wants the soldiers out, but not all at once. "They've got to leave slowly," said Pollock, attending his first protest. "It will be utter chaos in that country if we pull them out all at once."

And how does this differ so much from what we are doing that Mr. Pollock felt the need to make the drive down from Cecil Co. to register this opinion?

Folk singer Joan Baez marched with the protesters and later serenaded them at a concert at the foot of the Washington Monument. An icon of the 1960s Vietnam War protests, she said Iraq is already a mess and the troops need to come home immediately. "There is chaos. There's bloodshed. There's carnage."

And if we pulled out there would be what? Even if Baez is correct, how would doing what she advises make things better? Does anyone who goes to these events actually think? Do they care about the consequences of what they demand? Do they care about the people of Iraq? Or do they, like ANSWER, just wish to see America lose?

Some of the smarter lefties recognize the problem posed by letting a group like ANSWER organize the rally and are voicing their disgust with the whole thing over at the Daily Kos. Bush has indeed been fortunate to have such enemies.

Increase Supply

Two energy-related articles worth your attention:

First, as the price of oil hangs around $66 a barrel oil companies are finding it cost-effective to consider tapping into Colorado oil shale where recoverable deposits are believed to be more than three times greater than what remains in the Saudi Arabian fields. These deposits have been known about for decades but the cost of squeezing the oil out of them was always prohibitive. That no longer seems to be the case.

Second is an article by James Glassman at Tech Central Station which cites the lessons of history by way of warning against slapping a counterproductive windfall profits tax on oil companies. The answer to high prices, Glassman writes, is to increase supply and that can be done by decreasing onerous and unnecessary regulations on the industry which prevent them from drilling for known oil in the Atlantic and Alaska. Regulations also discourage the industry from increasing refining capacity which has really crippled our ability to get petroleum to market even when the supply has been adequate.

Misunderestimating G.W.

Thomas Lifson of The American Thinker argues compellingly that the Democrats who are pronouncing Bush's presidency effectively over as a result of Katrina are once again "misunderestimating" the man. Lifson maintains that Katrina (and Rita, we should add) may do more to burnish Bush's legacy and help him achieve his goals than his opponents realize or want to admit. Lifson's article is worth reading whether you're a fan of the president or an opponent.

Despite low approval ratings at the moment, it's our view that Bush may ultimately be seen as an historic president. If Iraq turns out well over the next couple of years and Afghanistan continues to make progress toward becoming a reasonably healthy state; if there are no major terrorist acts in the U.S.; if the Gulf coast has been revivified by the strategies Bush has outlined; if the economy is doing well and the deficit is not hurting us too badly; if steps have been taken to increase our energy availability; if the future of social security and illegal immigration have been addressed; if there are two more conservative Supreme Court justices, in addition to John Roberts, seated on the Court; and if North Korea and Iran are not seen as imminent nuclear threats, then Bush will be seen as perhaps one of the greatest presidents in history, the carping and cavils of his critics notwithstanding.

This is a lot of "ifs", of course, but every one of them is within reach, and it's not necessary for all of them to come to pass for history to judge him so highly.

Some on the left will be quick to point out that if these things all go south, and they certainly could, then Bush will be about the worst president in history. That's true enough, although I'm confident that those who would make this point are all sincerely hoping that every item listed (with perhaps the exception of the conservative judges) comes to pass.

Others will look at the president's approval ratings and scoff at Viewpoint's prognostication, but we shouldn't rest too much weight on approval ratings. If they had existed during the presidencies of John Adams and Abraham Lincoln they probably would have been lower than Bush's.