Friday, July 25, 2008

Necessary and Sufficient

One of the tropes to which the media has been treating us of late, and which Senator Obama has himself danced close to endorsing, is that the improved conditions in Iraq are due to all sorts of factors - the Sunni awakening, the improved economy, the al Qaeda atrocities, the improvement of the Iraqi security forces - everything but the American military surge. The role played by the surge is often dismissed as an almost coincidental event in Iraq that really had little to do with changing the conditions there.

Despite the persistence with which this notion has been advanced, I think it's just obtuse to believe that any of those other factors would have had any effect at all were it not for American military might being brought to bear to subdue both al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgents. It's possible that, by itself, adding more troops would have failed to pacify Iraq, but it seems to me undeniable that had we followed Senator Obama's advice and never implemented the surge, he would not have been able to safely walk around that country this week. In other words, even if the surge was not in itself sufficient to pacify Iraq it certainly can't be concluded that it therefore wasn't necessary. It's like arguing that just because scoring runs in a baseball game is not enough to guarantee victory that therefore runs aren't crucial to winning.

For Obama and his sycophantic media to downplay the decisive importance of the surge in bringing us to where we are in Iraq is symptomatic of an inability either to be objective, clear-headed, or honest, or all three.



Jack Shafer at thinks there's a double standard at work in the press' refusal to run the story of John Edwards' recent late night visit to a Los Angeles hotel. Shafer thinks that, though the Edwards story is not exactly analogous to Senator Larry Craig's airport restroom solicitations, still there's a huge disparity between the way the press played Craig's homosexual peccadillo and the almost total news blackout on Edwards' possible tryst and illegitimate child.

Shafer thinks that the explanation is, in part, that:

[The press is] observing a double standard that says homo-hypocrisy is indefensible but that hetero-hypocrisy deserves an automatic bye.

That may be part of it, but there's another big difference between Craig and Edwards. Craig is a Republican and Edwards is a Democrat. Republicans are held to a much higher moral standard by the media than are Democrats, and when they fall the media is much more enthusiastic as they close for the kill than they are when a Democrat is caught en flagrante delicto.

At any rate, it looks like Edwards' hopes of being named Obama's veep have pretty much evaporated.


Why Jackson Hates Obama

Shelby Steele, a former English professor and author of several excellent books on race in America, including White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, writes a fascinating analysis at The Wall Street Journal of why Jesse Jackson wants to geld Barack Obama.

Steele explains in plausible accents not only Jackson's antipathy for Obama but also Obama's wide cultural appeal among both whites and blacks. Here's a glimpse:

Mr. Obama's great political ingenuity was very simple: to trade moral leverage for gratitude. Give up moral leverage over whites, refuse to shame them with America's racist past, and the gratitude they show you will constitute a new form of black power. They will love you for the faith you show in them.

So it is not hard to see why Mr. Jackson might have experienced Mr. Obama's emergence as something of a stiletto in the heart. Mr. Obama is a white "race card" -- moral leverage that whites can use against the moral leverage black leaders have wielded against them for decades. He is the nullification of Jesse Jackson -- the anti-Jackson.

It's an outstanding column and you should waste no time getting to it.


Loser Letter #9

Mary Eberstadt finally gets around to explaining why she left the Dulls to join the Brights in the ninth installment of her wonderful Loser Letters.