Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Model Railroaders

So maybe you like model trains and even built a layout of your own. If so, you'll find this pretty amazing:

There's more explanation of this display here.

Thanks to Hot Air for the tip.


Brief History of the Politicization of Iraq

David Horowitz and Ben Johnson at FrontPage Mag want to insure that the American people don't forget the history of the Democratic party's opposition to the Iraq War over the past five years. Their essay is worth quoting at length:

On this sixth anniversary of America's invasion of Iraq, there is finally a consensus among supporters and opponents that we've won the war. The surge that Bush launched and Democrats opposed has been successful and, as a result, Iraq has become a Middle Eastern democracy, an anti-terrorist regime, and an American ally.

It would be hard to imagine a more remarkable turnabout or a more comprehensive repudiation of conventional political wisdom. Yet this has not led to a comparable reappraisal by critics of the war of their previous attacks, or to any mea culpas by Democrats who launched a scorched earth campaign against the president who led it, and continued it for five years while the war dragged on.

The Democratic attacks on the war described America's commander-in-chief as a liar who misled his country and sent American soldiers to die in a conflict that was unnecessary, illegal and unjust. This made prosecution of the war incalculably harder while strengthening the resolve of our enemies to defeat us. It is time to re-evaluate the words and actions of the war's opponents in the stark light of a history that proved them wrong.

In the fall of 2002, a majority of Democrats in the Senate joined Republicans in voting to authorize President Bush to use force to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein. In July 2003, only three months after Saddam had been removed, the Democratic National Committee launched a national campaign which accused President Bush of lying in order to trick Democrats into voting for the war. It was the beginning of a five-year campaign designed to paint the president as the liar-in-chief and America as a criminal aggressor, and the military occupier of a poor country that had not attacked us.

What had changed in the intervening three months to turn Democrats so vehemently against the war they had authorized? The answer can only be found in domestic politics. In those three months, an unknown antiwar candidate named Howard Dean had taken the lead in the primary polls and was looking like a shoe-in for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a result rival candidates who had voted for the war, including eventual nominees Kerry and Edwards, changed their positions 180 degrees and joined the attacks on President Bush.

Naturally, the Democrats couldn't admit their attacks were motivated by crass political calculations. Instead, they claimed that they had been deceived by the White House which had manipulated the intelligence on Iraq, persuading them to support the war on false premises.

This allegation was in fact the biggest lie of the war, since Democrats had full access to all U.S. intelligence on Iraq through their seats on the congressional intelligence committees. This intelligence was available to them, in advance of their vote to authorize the use of force. In the months and years that followed, the Democrats added other false charges -- that troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," were "terrorizing kids and...women," and had committed atrocities comparable to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime."

They rejoiced when news reporters leaked information about national security programs designed to combat the terrorists - and thus destroyed them. They held up funding for American soldiers on the battlefield, attempted to cut off all funding, and when that failed, tried to tie funding to a timeline that would ensure America's defeat. They openly accused uniformed officers like General David Petraeus of lying about conditions on the ground and hoped against hope that "this war is lost, and the surge is not accomplishing anything."

It's interesting to me that the Democrats' modus operandi seems to be to approve something and then, when it becomes politically expedient, to act as if they were opposed and outraged all along. This is what they did with corporate bonuses, for example, and its what they did with Bush and the Iraq war. No one will ever mistake these guys for profiles in political courage.

It's also interesting to me that ever since it became clear that the war was essentially over, that we had won, and that Bush had largely been vindicated, we've heard next to nothing about Iraq in our media. They don't want to remind people, I guess, how terribly wrong they were about it.


Inching Toward the Exits

When Frank Rich of the New York Times is casting nervous glances toward the lifeboat you know the USS Obama is in serious trouble. Rich thinks that Obama may well be having his "Katrina Moment," the moment when Bush's alleged dithering started his approval ratings on a long downward trajectory.

Rich is terrified that the same thing might be happening to Obama because of the mess at AIG and CitiGroup:

Six weeks ago I wrote in this space that the country's surge of populist rage could devour the president's best-laid plans, including the essential Act II of the bank rescue, if he didn't get in front of it. The occasion then was the Tom Daschle firestorm. The White House seemed utterly blindsided by the public's revulsion at the moneyed insiders' culture illuminated by Daschle's post-Senate career. Yet last week's events suggest that the administration learned nothing from that brush with disaster.

The rest of his column is a plea for the administration to get its act together - which it clearly hasn't - because if they don't not only will we suffer the economic consequences but, worse than that, we'll find ourselves delivered into the hands of the evil Republicans:

As the nation's anger rose last week, the president took responsibility for what's happening on his watch - more than he needed to, given the disaster he inherited. But in the credit mess, action must match words. To fall short would be to deliver us into the catastrophic hands of a Republican opposition whose only known economic program is to reject job-creating stimulus spending and root for Obama and, by extension, the country to fail. With all due deference to Ponzi schemers from Madoff to A.I.G., this would be the biggest outrage of them all.

This is vintage Rich. He can never resist deliberately misrepresenting the political opposition in order to make rhetorical hay. But never mind. The news in this column is that even Obama's most steadfast supporters are, barely two months into the administration, inching toward the exits. That is not a good sign.