SPANNING THE WEB - 5/30/2006
Without parsing Kline’s comments (i.e., note the word “would”), let’s just posit for the sake of argument that Kline meant to say exactly what Jack Murtha said yesterday. For those of you with short memories, Murtha said that troops shot one woman "in cold blood" who was bending over her child begging for mercy.
A couple of initial thoughts: If you’re a regular reader of this blog and just discovering that I’m somewhat partisan, your deduction skills fail to impress. Besides, for what it’s worth, I wasn’t aware of Kline’s comments until they were brought to my attention. This would be where Andrew Sullivan would salute his audience for being the smartest collection of people in the universe. Me, I’ll just confess to blogging while in a partial state of ignorance. Wasn’t the first time, doubtlessly won’t be the last.
As we move on, let’s leave Kline out of this since, as I’ve already confessed, I wouldn’t know him if I stumbled over him. He may be the finest voice of leadership in the House; he may be an irredeemable ass-hat. Not really knowing anything about the man, I can’t comment in an educated fashion, not that such a limitation has stopped me in the past.
But about Murtha – there are two aspects of his comments that are loathesome. First, there is his rush to convict the Marines in Haditha. I stand by what I said yesterday – until all the evidence is in, the Marines deserve both the benfit of the doubt and the presumption of innocence.
But there’s another aspect of Murtha’s comments that rankles. The left wing has been eager to discredit the Iraqi war effort by any means necessary since 2003. Yes, there were some people who legitimately felt Abu Ghraib was the biggest scandal in generations. But most of the people riding the Abu Ghraib hobby-horse (like seasoned veteran John Kerry) knew that even the worst accusations associated with Abu Ghraib were pretty tame as far as war-time atrocities.
That doesn’t mean they weren’t atrocious, but anyone with a passing familiarity with the history of warfare knows that even the “good guys” in wars past did stuff a lot worse than what happened at Abu Ghraib. For more reading on the subject, I urge you to check out Rick Atkinson’s “An Army at Dawn” that in a few passages deals with some of American’s atrocities from the second world war.
Murtha’s rush to judgment over Haditha and other signs of barely concealed joy from leftward precincts has shown that people like the erstwhile representative can’t wait to use Haditha to taint the entire war effort, blast the administration, and once again urge retreat. Murtha said this morning, “I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened…Now we've lost that war, and now it is time to redeploy…The reason we've lost the hearts and minds [is] these troops are under tremendous stress.”
What may have happened in Haditha is outrageous and disturbing. But it is not shocking. There has never been a major war without atrocities committed by both sides. Such events in war are sadly inevitable. Someone as familiar with warfare as Murtha doubtlessly knows this.
That’s what makes his shameless and cynical opportunism so stomach churning. Alas, Murtha’s actions also fail to shock. His antics have become as sadly predictable as they are pathetic.
2) FEEL GOOD BLOG ENTRY OF THE DAY – I know I said I’m a Dixie Chicks fan, and that the juvenile politics of pop-singers and other assorted deep thinkers have lost the ability to anger me in the slightest. Being a big John Mellencamp fan for 25 years I guess has effectively immunized me from show biz idiocy.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it when a big star does something good. With very little fanfare, country superstar Toby Keith visited Iraq over the weekend. The blog entry I linked to is written by a soldier who got to see Keith up close and personal. Among his other virtues, this blogging soldier can really write.
His entry wins today’s “read the whole thing” prize.
3) HELL FREEZES OVER – The normally astute Wall Street Journal editorial board today writes a counter-intuitive piece in which it castigates the administration for having the audacity to barge into Representative William Jefferson’s criminal lair. Give the Journal credit, though – even when spectacularly wrong-headed, a single Journal editorial still possesses more wit than a month worth of the Grey Lady’s finger wagging. The Journal summarizes a portion of Jefferson’s criminal enterprises thusly:
“In the case of Mr. Jefferson, Justice clearly had reason to consider a search. The Congressman is suspected of taking bribes, individuals have already pleaded guilty to paying him and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, and a search of his home found $90,000 in his freezer. Mr. Jefferson says he has done nothing wrong, but we doubt he has found the miracle of an icebox that pays interest on deposits.”
4) FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF THINGS…Be sure to check out Andy McCarthy’s summary of the matter on National Review Online. I haven’t seen a more informative or thorough discussion of the matter anywhere.
5) WISHING WON’T MAKE IT SO…Here’s the reason why I so enjoy the Boston Globe’s op-ed pages: The contributors (Jeff Jacoby excepted, of course) so believe in their fantasy world views, when the real world doesn’t provide supporting evidence they just make stuff up.
Writing today on Europe’s problems with its Muslim populations which include rioting, honor killing, and a failure to assimilate, the Globe’s H.D.S. Greenway nonetheless concludes, “The major problem that both Europe and America face, as far as their Muslim populations are concerned, is not to let vigilance against terrorism spill over into undermining civil rights and discriminating against the 99.9 percent of Muslims who just want to get along.”
Okay, let’s crunch some numbers: In Holland, the epicenter of Europe’s Islamic unrest, there are 750,000 Muslims. That means, according to Greenway’s “99.9 %” assertion, only 750 Muslims are a problem. Given all the rioting, hate crimes, the Theo van Gogh murder, etc., that sounds kind of low.
One wonders what aspect of Greenway’s reportage compelled him to arrive at this figure. Or was it just wishful thinking?
6) TOLD YOU SO – Last week I documented how a movement was bubbling up to commit enough troops to Iraq’s most troubled regions to finally rout the insurgency. This meant adding more troops when politicians across the political spectrum have been demanding a timetable for bringing the troops home. First Bill Kristol floated the notion, then Max Boot, and finally the WSJ editorial page.
Today it became official – a 3500 member brigade is re-deploying from the comfort of Kuwait to the hornet’s nest of the Anbar province. The Bush administration is often maddening, sometimes incredibly so. But admit it – this is the right thing to do, and few past administrations would have done it.
Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org