Saturday, July 1, 2006

Electoral Strategy

Jonathan Chait has hit upon the answer to the problem of Democratic electoral failure. Unless I misunderstand him he's advising Democrats to leave talk of principles and ideas to the Republicans, who are apparently better at it, and just promise to govern on an ad hoc basis.

Tired of conceding elections to Republicans, Chait wants to concede the sphere of principles to them as well. His argument, I think, is that Republicans articulate a lot of high-sounding principles about low deficits and small government, but they govern according to the expediencies of the moment. This doesn't seem to hurt them at the polls so the Democrats ought to go and do likewise.

I doubt his advice will be followed, nor should it be, but if it were it might portend the end of ideology in our time.

Hardball in Gaza

Israel is playing hardball:

Israel last night threatened to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh if Hamas militants did not release a captured Israeli soldier unharmed. The unprecedented warning was delivered to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter as Israel debated a deal offered by Hamas to free Corporal Gilad Shalit.

It came as Israeli military officials readied a second invasion force for a huge offensive into Gaza. Hamas's Gaza-based political leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, had already gone into hiding. But last night's direct threat to kill Mr Haniyeh, a democratically elected head of state, sharply raised the stakes.

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters considers the objection that Israel is exceeding the law by targeting Palestinian political leaders, and concludes it is without merit.

Update on <i>Hadji Girl</i>

Michelle Malkin is concerned that Cpl. Josh Belile, the creator of the controversial song Hadji Girl, is being muzzled by the Marine Corps in ways inconsistent with the First Amendment. They apparently have ordered him not to record the song commercially as he intended to do.

I think Michelle's concern is misplaced. The Marine Corps has every right to insist that its image as a professional military service be protected and enhanced by those who represent it.

In their judgment (and mine) Hadji Girl does not do that. The lyrics toward the end of the song are coarse and disturbing and seem to convey a zest for killing that our troops don't need to have associated with them. As much as it is necessary to kill Islamists it should not be something in which we revel. Songs which extol killing tarnish the United States, and for that reason I think the Corps was correct to prohibit Cpl. Belile (if, in fact, they did) from recording his song as long as he is a Marine.

Having said that I should add that Hadji Girl is relatively tame, as far as its lyrics go, compared to much of what passes for music in our popular culture. Nevertheless, the Marine Corps prides itself in setting a higher standard of conduct than set by American popular culture and is justified in expecting its Marines to hold to that standard.

Vindicating Sharon

Doug Hanson at The American Thinker makes the interesting point that Israel's ability to move freely in Gaza during its current operation there is possible only because there are no longer dozens of Israeli settlements impeding their military maneuvers and lines of fire.

In other words, Ariel Sharon's decision to withdraw from Gaza, though very unpopular at the time, seems to have been militarily prescient. The Israeli Defense Forces have much more freedom of movement in Gaza today than they would have had two years ago and far fewer Israeli lives are at risk from Hamas than would be were the Israeli settlements still in place.