Peace through victory - the American way.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Oh Dear Wendy.

Lars von Trier deserves credit for his role in developing Dogma 95 filmmaking. His Breaking the Waves is a classic. Even Dancer in the Dark is fascinating to watch as a naturalistic musical. But Dear Wendy, which he wrote and didn't direct but which shows his influence, is a bit much.

Whereas Dancer's heavy-handed social commentary was mitigated by the fascinating filmmaking style, this movie is all message. For instance, one shouldn't romanticize guns because they are dangerous and will kill you. You think?

Frankly, it's more than a little off-putting to this American to watch von Trier grind his anti-American axe. His view of America is two-dimensional.

You've got to give this film credit for one thing. Those Dandies (the kids in the movie who become too fascinated with their guns) carried some pretty cool handguns. Not very practical. Just cool. Mister Americano wouldn't mind owning a little pearl-handled Wendy himself.


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Thursday, March 30, 2006

America Has Real Enemies: Mexico Isn't One Of Them.

How should America deal with the fact that millions of people live in our midst who came to this country illegally, most to work and make a better life for themselves and their families?

Today on Laura Ingraham's show Hugh Hewitt said something that captures the polarization of partisan politics fairly well. "Democrats see an illegal and see a voter. Republicans see an illegal and see a worker." He went on to say that we should see an illegal and see a threat. Not a cultural or an ethnic threat, but a security threat.

For some time now conservatives have been riled up over the presence of illegals in this country and a lack of security at the border. Some use the language of war and describe the flow of illegals across the border as an "invasion."

Mister Americano hates talk like this. Mister Americano lives in San Diego and doesn't see illegals as a threat. Mister Americano sees an illegal and sees a neighbor.

Mexico is not America's enemy. The flow of Mexicans across the border is not an invasion. Mexicans do not risk arrest and their lives to come to our country to do us harm. They come to America for the same reasons everybody before them came here; to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Immigration in general benefits our country. Immigrants from Mexico, legal and illegal, benefit our country as well. Far from being invaders or security threats they are security assets.

The US exists in a world of demographic change. The survival of our country depends on population growth. The countries of Europe are in decline in no small part because of their population declines. The US is one of the few fully developed nations with high population growth. Immigration helps us to sustain a level of population growth that will protect our status as the world's only superpower.

It's in our security interest to let more people in and to legalize those who have already chosen to live here. This doesn't mean the US shouldn't protect its borders.

If it means building a fence to protect our border, then, fine, let's get on with it and build one. But if we're going to build a fence, let's make sure we include plenty of big, wide-open gates.

We build a fence and leave open the gates because we want to make sure we don't cut off immigration while we secure our border. Rather than building a fence to stop immigration, let's use it to channel a considerable number of legal immigrants into our country.

For those illegals who are our neighbors now, grant them amnesty. The US is lucky that the illegals here now share so much of America's values. Unlike the immigration problem facing Europe, we have immigrants who could readily assimilate into American society. To be fair to the legals who are here and in line, put the illegals at the end of the line for citizenship, but let's not deport them and let's get them out of the shadows.

We should also increase substantially the number of legal entries permitted into the country so that nobody who would be tempted to come here illegally has to because there is a legal spot available to them instead.

The current drive against illegal immigration is fueled by the fact that the United States lives in a time of war. The war is not simply a shooting war. It's an ideological war. Mark Steyn has identified the crux of the conflict as a battle of civilizational confidence. He has argued that the West's weakness against the Islamists is that we don't have enough confidence in our civilization. (Here.)

The current conservative attitude towards illegal immigration is a sign of civilizational insecurity not confidence.

We have nothing to fear from fellow North Americans who have come to this country illegally so they may work and better themselves and their families. Nada! We should show more confidence in the ability of our own society to absorb this wave of immigrants and we should do what must be done to make it happen. Face it, that's what Ronald Reagan would do, the godfather of us all.


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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Baseball Makes Good Start On Barry Bonds Investigation.

Good news, everybody!

Major League Baseball has decided to investigate past steroid use. The announcement comes tomorrow so the story on the web (here) doesn't have much in the way of details. The investigation will include Barry Bonds and other players. Former Senator George Mitchell is rumored to be the head of the investigation.

Baseball has taken a good first step by deciding to do an investigation. As with everything, however, the devil is in the details and there are troubling things about the proposed investigation.

First, the idea that the investigation should be widely focused rather than be about Barry Bonds is risky. The broader the investigation the longer it'll take. Justice delayed is justice denied. In this case, every day that the investigation continues is another day that Bonds remains playing and moves closer to passing Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.

If the charges in Game of Shadows are true, at this point in Bonds's career about all he can hope for is to get as many at bats before he is brought to justice for having successfully cheated his way into the record books. A broadbased investigation plays into Bonds's hands. Those commentators who advocated an investigation of baseball itself rather than just Bonds were inadvertantly promoting Bonds's agenda.

A better investigation would focus on Bonds, and if other players get caught up in the net, fine. It's fair to go after Bonds alone because, out of the superstars who are suspected of cheating, Bonds is the one still in the game. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are out. And of the players still in the game who might have used steroids, Bonds is the one who is closing in on Ruth and Aaron. Who really cares if lesser players cheated before? Their cheating didn't take them to the pinnacle of success in the game. And with the new testing regime they probably aren't cheating now.

But if Game of Shadows is accurate, to allow Bonds to pass Ruth and Aaron would be to allow a cheater to stand at the top of the game of baseball as the greatest homerun hitter of all time. That would be good for nobody. Thus, a quick investigation focused on Bonds is in MLB's interest.

Second, this quote by former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent is especially troubling.
"I think the investigation is the right step," Vincent said. "I don't think the issue is punishment, I think it's: 'Shouldn't the players be called to task for cheating, even if there is no punishment?' I think baseball has to recapture the moral high ground."

There has to be punishment, if the charges in Game of Shadows prove true. Simply revealing that Bonds cheated his way into the record books is not enough. What's good enough for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose is good enough for Barry Bonds.


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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shouldn't We Respect The Votes Of The Iraqi People?

Iraqis went to the polls months ago. The results of that election have been known for weeks. Yet still Iraq does not have a government.

The US is pushing the parties to form a government of national unity, going so far as to broker the negotiations. Negotiating the formation of Iraq's new government is not America's job. It's the job of the political leaders of Iraq.

Moreover, trying to form a government of national unity is problematic. A government of national unity that encompasses all the demographic and political blocs in the country, regardless of the electoral outcome, runs counter to how democracy is supposed to work.

In democracies there are winners and losers. The winners get to run the show and the losers get to be the opposition. When the next election comes around the winners have to run on their record of accomplishments and failures, and the losers get to try again. The voters then decide whether to return the government to office or throw the bums out and let the other bums be the government until the next election.

Trying to form a government of national unity that puts winners and losers in the government ignores the basic principle of a democracy that votes matter. Let's get on with it. Let the winners form the Iraqi government and let the losers oppose them in parliament.


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Barry Bonds: Couldn't Have Happened To A Nicer Guy!

Barry Bonds's life is falling apart and he's just trying to hold on to his sanity. (Here.) Poor Barry. Life is so hard for him now that he's been outed as a cheater.

Meanwhile Major League Baseball has to figure out what to do with him since the facts have come out about how much of a cheater Bonds was in pursuing the homerun record.

Afghanistan's government recently wiggled out of executing a Christian for having converted from Islam by releasing the convert on the ground he was insane. If we're lucky Bonds will become too insane to play baseball.


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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Is 24 Doing The Roman Empire?

America as the new Roman Empire is a meme in contemporary culture. Usually the idea is played out in the international arena with the United States portrayed as an empire meddling in the affairs of other nations to advance its own imperialist agenda.

Rarely is the idea of America as Rome played out in a domestic setting. But 24 seems to be doing it this season. If Americans played politics like the Romans, it would look like this season's 24.

There's the President acting like an emperor making ad hoc decisions with minimal consultation; there's the political attempt to send the President's wife away to a mental hospital; there are the government officials secretly conspiring with terrorists; there's the official who gets caught and then commits suicide under suspicious circumstances; there's the obviously ambitious Vice-President who manipulates the President into declaring martial law; there are the troops on the street; there's the political violence with the murder of President Palmer; there's tonight's attack on Palmer's brother apparently with the involvement of the Vice-President; there's the Department of Homeland Security trying to take control of CTU. It goes on and on.

There is a conspiracy at high levels of the American government. It's not completely clear yet what the conspirators are up to and how high the conspiracy goes, but the Vice-President's manipulation of the President into imposing martial law seems like a big hint.

The terrorists from the unidentified former Soviet Republic running around the streets of Los Angeles with nerve gas probably aren't the real threat to Jack Bauer's America. The season looks like it might be about an attempted coup that will make the United States an empire at home not just abroad.


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Monday, March 20, 2006

Nippon Ichiban!

Tonight Japan defeated Cuba in the World Baseball Classic championship game, 10-6. The game was a slugfest. The Cubans were behind from the start but they were never really out of it. They kept coming and coming all night long. But the Japanese came through to get out of jams each time they made an error on the field, they made the timely hits when they needed them, hustled on the basepaths, and took advantage of Cuban mistakes. In the end the Japanese won. Congratulations to the Japanese on their victory.

Until 2009, Japan is Number One.


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Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Angels Are Crying In San DIego

It's the 8th inning of the Japan-Korea game in San Diego and the rain is starting to pour. (A rain delay in San Diego!!??) Korea's hopes of world championship this year are fading before the onslaught of Japan's hitters. Somebody needs to tell the Japanese players that it's impossible to hit a homerun in Petco Park during a night game. That's all we Padres fans here in San Diego have heard from the players for the last two years.

Whether Japan holds on to win or Korea comes back and snatches the victory, both teams have shown American baseball fans and players how to play the game. And whichever team makes it to the final game on Monday, this American baseball fan will be rooting for them to beat the Cubans.


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Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's A World Baseball Championship Without The American Team!

Tonight a team of Major League Baseball players from Mexico beat a team of Major League Baseball players from the USA. As a result, neither team will advance to the final rounds of the World Baseball Classic tournament this weekend here in San Diego.

Mexico's win sent sent Japan to the semifinals where they will try a third time to defeat Korea on Saturday. The winner of that game will play the winner of Saturday's other game between Cuba and the Dominican Republic for the championship on Monday. (Weather permitting. At the tail end of San Diego's driest winter in years, rain is forecast for this weekend.)

Tonight's elimination of the United States from the WBC championship dramatically changed the tournament for Mister Americano. It's no longer the WBC; it's now the WABC, World Anybody But Cuba tournament.

Go Dominican Republic!

Go Korea!

Go Japan!

Abajo Fidel!


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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Japanese Baseball: Wow; Korean Baseball: WOW!!

Mister Americano loves baseball. Having season tickets for San Diego Padres games he sees a lot of major league baseball. But the best baseball he's seen recently wasn't played by Americans; it was played by the Koreans and the Japanese.

Tonight's victory by Korea over Japan was a great baseball game. The two teams play with respect for the game. They play the fundamentals right. They make few mistakes. They have great pitching.

Baseball may have been one of America's gifts to the world. But the way Korea and Japan play the game is a gift to baseball.


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Monday, March 13, 2006

How Anti-War Activists Help America's Enemies.

Throughout the world America is recognized as having the most powerful military on Earth. Yet America's enemies remain confident about standing up to the US. They believe that America's strength is undercut by its unwillingness to take casualties and to remain committed to a long-term war.

Osama bin Laden mocked America for its history of pulling out of foreign conflicts in his 1996 declaration of war. (Here.)
"We say to the Defence Secretary that his talk can induce a grieving mother to laughter! and shows the fears that had enshrined you all. Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in lees than twenty four hours!

But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu."
Now new information from Iraq reveals that Saddam chose not to cooperate completely with the UN because he believed the US would not attack out of a reluctance to take casualties. (Here.)
"The United States was seen as a lesser threat, mostly because Hussein believed that Washington could not accept significant casualties. In the 1991 war, the United States had no intention of taking Baghdad. At the time, President George H.W. Bush had justified the restraint as prudent to avoid the pitfalls of occupying Iraq, but Hussein concluded the United States was fearful of the military cost.

'We didn't believe it would go all the way to Baghdad,' a senior Republican Guard staff officer later told his interrogators. 'We thought the coalition would go to Basra, maybe to Amara, and then the war would end.'"
Iraq's dictators miscalculated American resolve as to the liberation. However, as time goes on, as casualties mount, and as the situation does not resolve into a tidy little peace, American resolve is being undercut by opponents of the war.

Peaceniks are emboldened now more than ever because of the continuing problems in Iraq. Public opinion is moving against the war. Anti-war activists who demand immediate withdrawal of American troops confirm the belief of America's enemies that the United States doesn't have what it takes to fight a war.

The US peace movement in the 21st Century first mobilized to try and stop America's invasion of Afghanistan. You don't see too many protests by the hippie crowd against the military actions of America's enemies. It's only America's actions that merit their protests. It's only America's resolve that their protests undermine. And it's only America's enemies who benefit from their protests.

The tragic irony of peaceniks is that their protests make war more likely because the more they succeed in undermining America's resolve to fight, the more they increase the resolve of our enemies to fight the United States. Thanks for nothing.


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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Should Cheaters Be Allowed To Prosper?

Today the hometown boys, the San Diego Padres, played the Giants. Barry Bonds struck out in his first at bat and then hit a homerun the next time around. (Here.)

Everybody knows about the new book coming out that claims Bonds knowingly used steroids, and a lot of them, starting in 1999, when his slugging percentage and homerun hitting percentage went sky high. Kids growing up are often told not to cheat because "cheaters never prosper." Apparently that's not really the case.

Now that we know for sure how effective steroids are at improving power stats for batters, the question for Major League Baseball is whether prospering cheaters should be allowed to keep playing. Mister Americano says, "hell no."

What's good enough for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose is good enough for Barry Bonds.

So far Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has not taken any punitive action. It's early yet so there's still time for him to act. Although every day that Bonds remains in a uniform is another day that he comes closer to passing Babe Ruth for career homeruns.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis must be rolling in his grave. (Here.)


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Team Japan Gets Robbed

The World Baseball Classic game between the US and Japan just got marred by a bad umpiring call. The umpires wrongly ruled in the 8th inning that a Japanese runner left 3d base early on a sacrifice fly and called him out at home. The TV replay clearly shows the runner did not leave early. In the 9th inning, the game remains tied 3-3.

Mister Americano loves baseball. And true to his name he's rooting for Team USA. But he loves Japan too and would be happy to see their team in the finals. The Japanese play really good baseball and they have a shot at winning the title. It's tempting to root for them after the bad call. It would be a shame if the US wins the game because of an umpire's mistake. If there's a just God in heaven, somebody will blow the game out in the 9th.

UPDATE: There might be a God in heaven but he's not a just one. Team USA wins by 1 run, 4-3. Without the bad call it would be 4-4. Japan and the USA were very evenly matched and it was a great baseball game. Both teams deserved to win. That's not how it works, however.



Saddam Lied, Thousands Died.

Anti-war activists claim that President Bush lied us into war in Iraq and thousands died as a result of his lies. New information from Iraq published by the New York Times News Service reveals that the liar was Saddam. The article was republished in the San Diego Union-Tribune. (Here.) According to interviews with former Saddam flunkies and documents from Iraq Saddam was bluffing about possessing weapons of mass destruction. His lies were so effective that even his own generals didn't know.
"The Iraqi dictator was so secretive and kept information so compartmentalized that his top military leaders were stunned when he told them three months before the war that he had no weapons of mass destruction, and they were demoralized because they had counted on hidden stocks of poison gas or germ weapons for the nation's defense."
Saddam didn't just bluff his own military. He fooled the rest of the world as to whether he possessed WMDs. Even when his regime's survival was at stake in the months before the US liberated his people, Saddam continued hide the true state of his WMD program.
"In December 2002, he told his top commanders that Iraq did not possess unconventional arms, like nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, according to the Iraq Survey Group, a task force established by the CIA to investigate what happened to Iraq's weapons programs. Hussein wanted his officers to know they could not rely on poison gas or germ weapons if war broke out. The disclosure that the cupboard was bare, Aziz said, sent morale plummeting.

To ensure Iraq would pass scrutiny by U.N. arms inspectors, Hussein ordered that they be given the access they wanted. And he ordered a crash effort to scrub the country so the inspectors would not discover any vestiges of old unconventional weapons – no small concern in a nation that had once amassed an arsenal of chemical weapons, biological agents, and Scud missiles, the Iraq survey group report said.

Hussein's compliance was not complete, though. Iraq's declarations to the United Nations covering what weapons of mass destruction stocks it had possessed and how it had disposed of them were old and had gaps. And Hussein would not allow his weapons scientists to leave the country, where U.N. officials could interview them outside the government's control.

Seeking to deter Iran and even enemies at home, the Iraqi dictator's goal was to cooperate with the inspectors while preserving some ambiguity about its unconventional weapons – a strategy that al-Hamdani, the Republican Guard commander, later dubbed in a TV interview 'deterrence by doubt.'"
So Saddam deceived his own military, his regional enemies, the UN inspectors, and everybody else about his WMDs. Because he wouldn't come clean his regime was toppled rather than running the risk of leaving him in power with possible access to WMDs. Thousands died as a result. But according to the peaceniks Bush is the liar and the killer not Saddam. There is one good thing that came from Saddam's lies. Millions were freed. O, and there's one more. One day, Saddam will swing by the neck for his crimes.


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Thursday, March 09, 2006

The 24 SciFi Actor Filmfest.

Mister Americano finally got around to watching this week's two-episode showing of 24. It was sad to see Edgar go. He was such a vulnerable guy working in a high-risk occupation. It's sadder to see somebody like him die than it would be to see a field agent go. They get paid the bucks to take the risks that Edgar didn't.

An online article said Edgar's being killed off showed that anything can happen on 24. Presumably next week Jack Bauer, who really does take all the risks and who barely avoids death every week will die soon. Right, that'll happen for sure. Then again, maybe not everything is possible on the show.

This week's episodes were a big improvement. The producers are really pushing the incompetence of the President to the maximum. And now that he's got his equally incompetent and equally weird Vice-President by his side, we can look forward to even more stupid decisions coming from the Western White House. Watching the two of them plan emergency operations was like watching a couple of kids playing army. Scary and weird.

But the best thing about the show now is that it is littered with actors from favorite scifi and horror movies.

There's Ray Wise, as the Vice-President, who was great as the possessed and tormented serial killer in Twin Peaks and who played a thug in Robocop.

Next is Peter Weller, Robocop himself, who also played Buckaroo Banzai in fabulously oddball movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

Sean Astin is in the mix too, the great and loyal hobbit from the LOTR trilogy. Astin deserved an award for his work in that series.

The most recent addition is the one and only C. Thomas Howell, star of countless straight to video scifi movies, and also star of the best War of the Worlds movie made last year. Speilberg's version with Tom Cruise was crap. Just plain crap lacking any justification for its having been made. The version with Howell, however, is worthy and Howell is a much better lead than Cruise ever could hope to be. It's called H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Check out its IMDB webpage here.

And finally, there's Jack Bauer himself. Keifer Sutherland has appeared in science fiction, notably Dark City, where he busted out with an odd Peter Lorre-like portrayal of a scientist forced to work for aliens experimenting on humans.

The casting honchos on 24 deserve a big round of thank-yous for putting these actors together.


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This Day In The History Of Terrorism On American Soil.

Today is the 29th anniversary of the day when a group of Muslim terrorists first attacked on United States soil. On March 9, 1977, just three blocks from the White House, 12 Hanafi Muslims seized 134 hostages while taking over 3 buildings. Among the buildings taken were the Islamic Center, the B'nait Brith international headquarters, and Washington D.C.'s District building. The terrorists surrendered after negotiations two days later. Two people were shot, one fatally.

According to the Global Security website, the Hanafi school in Islam is a more tolerant strain within Sunni Islam. It is dominant in Iraq. The Hanafi attack in the United States was done to avenge murders committed by Black Muslims. (Here.)
A sectarian dispute in the United States was transformed into a mass hostage taking by Hanafi Muslims in Washington, DC in 1977. The Hanafi Movement in the United States was founded by Hamas Abdul Khaalis in 1968. Khaalis, formerly Ernest 2X McGee, had been the Nation of Islam's first National Secretary and a friend of Malcolm X. He had converted to orthodox Islam and founded the Hanafi Movement with money donated by Kareem Abdul-Jabar. On 09 March 1977, Khaalis and about a dozen of his followers armed with shotguns and machetes seized control of seized the District Building [city hall], the B'nai B'rith building, and the Islamic Center, in the District of Columbia. Khaalis said they were seeking revenge for the murders of Khaalis' family members by Black Muslims in 1973. They held 134 hostages for more than 39 hours, they shot Washington DC city councilman Marion Barry in the chest, and they shot a radio reporter dead. The standoff ended and the hostages were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations. The Hanafis were convicted and sentenced to long terms in prison.

Thus, the attack does not appear to be part of Islamism's jihad against the West, although some place it within that conflict. Read more about the history of the Islamist's jihad at the website of the documentary film, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West. (Here.)


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Monday, March 06, 2006

ACLU Lawyer Debates USA Patriot Lawyer In San Diego.

Tonight the Community Issues Forum of San Diego presented a debate entitled "National Security vs. Civil Rights: Where is the balance?" The two debaters were former Bush Administration lawyer Viet Dinh and ACLU attorney Candace Carroll. As with most American debates, there was no real debate. Instead each person spoke for 20 minutes, they took questions from the audience, and at the end each speaker gave a five minute summation.

Carroll used her prepared remarks to cite statistic after statistic in order to make a case that the Bush Administration is systematically committing wholesale violations of civil rights and that those violations are not making us any safer. Dinh spent his time refuting common perceptions about the USA Patriot Act with the intent of showing that the US government is not overreaching in its fight against the real threat posed by Al Qaeda.

There were 13 questions from the audience, nearly all directed to Dinh, a couple to Carroll, and all but one opposed to Dinh's position. There was one neutral question. For an event sponsored in part by a university that is probably par for the course.

The fault line in American politics between those who believe the War on Terror is a real war and those who believe it is not was prominent. Dinh did not overtly say whether he believed the War on Terror is a real war, instead he chose to state that however the conflict is characterized, the threat from Al Qaeda is real. Carroll more than once disputed the idea that the War on Terror is a real war. She began the evening by referring to it as a "so-called war on terror." In her closing remarks she said it's not a war, it's a different kind of war, and that more people died last year from heart attacks and drowning than did in 9/11.

Carroll's belief that the current war is not really a war appears to drive her opposition to nearly all the tactics being employed by the Bush Administration to fight Islamist terrorism. That belief leads her to take incoherent positions on the war.

For instance, she said at one time that if we let our liberties be taken away by our government out of fear of Al Qaeda, then the terrorists will have won. She is wrong about that. Americans will have lost if we lose our liberties but the terrorists will not have won. Al Qaeda doesn't care if we lose our liberties. Al Qaeda is fighting us for a different reason and they define their victory differently than that. Al Qaeda is fighting us to drive the United States out of the Middle East. Al Qaeda wants the US out of the Middle East so they can focus their fight against the regimes in Moslem countries that do not govern according to Al Qaeda's interpretation of Islam.

In another example of incoherence, all evening Carroll argued that the Bush Administration is violating civil rights by going overboard in spying on Americans. She complained about the Patriot Act's so-called library provision, the roving wiretap provision, the sneak and peek provision, the pen register provision, the expanded power to use the FISA court. She then complained about the NSA's monitoring of international phone calls.

Her consistent theme was of governmental overreach in spying. And yet, in her final remarks she changed her tune and complained because Homeland Security is not doing enough spying in America: First, because not every piece of luggage that goes into the hold of passenger planes is scanned by the TSA; and second, because not every shipment of cargo that comes into US ports is scanned or searched. So, apparently the US is doing too much spying and not enough at the same time.

Her other incoherent point concerned the scope of authority given to the President by the Congressional resolution for the use of force after 9/11. She suggested that it was reasonable for the US Supreme Court to find in the Hamdi case that detaining combatants on the battlefield was authorized by the resolution. After all, capturing enemy soldiers happens in war and it's reasonable to infer that Congress authorized it when it authorized force after 9/11. Capturing enemy combatants is closely related to the use of military force.

But she then argued that the resolution did not authorize the President to spy on international phone calls under the NSA program because that kind of spying is not closely related to fighting a war. Yet her own belief is that we are not fighting a real war on terror. As she put it we have a "security problem" and we are fighting a different kind of war. She's right, it is a different kind of war. It's a war in which we need to know what enemy terrorists are planning in order to prevent future 9/11s. That's precisely the kind of war in which spying, eavesdropping, and surveillance are closely related to the use of force.

But the most absurd consequence of her belief that we are not really at war is how she rates the threats facing our country. She finished her remarks with this unbelievably delusional statement:
"I'm more afraid of Bush and the FBI than I am of somebody who lives in a cave."
This, despite the fact that President Bush is approved by less than 40 percent of the country's voters, he is ineligible to run for President again, he has a Vice-President who has no intention of running for President, he belongs to a party with no clear successor to run for President, his party is at serious risk of losing control of Congress in 2006, and the opposition Democrats who are poised to take over in 2006 have significant numbers of supporters who favor impeaching the President. O yeah, President Bush is a bigger threat to the United States than Osama bin Laden.


(Reposted on 3/7/2006 to correct Technorati tags.)