"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Monday, May 24, 2004

Lies And The Lying Lefties Who Tell Them

Newsday.com reported today on the Hofstra University commencement, during which author E.L. Doctorow, rather than imparting wisdom to the graduates, devoted almost his entire commencement speech to an excoriation of President Bush:

Doctorow. . .told the crowd that like himself the president is a storyteller. But "sadly they are not good stories this president tells," he said. "They are not good stories because they are not true." That line provoked the first boos, along with scattered cheers.

"One story he told was that the country of Iraq had nuclear and biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and was intending shortly to use them on us," he said. "That was an exciting story all right, it was designed to send shivers up our spines. But it was not true."

"Another story was that the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, was in league with the terrorists of al-Qaida," he said. "And that turned out to be not true. But anyway we went off to war on the basis of these stories."

Those lines provoked an outburst of boos so loud the "Ragtime" author stopped the speech [temporarily]. . .

. . .He attacked Bush for giving the rich tax breaks, doing "a very poor job of combating terrorism" and allowing the government to subpoena libraries "to see what books you've been taking out."

Let's take these attacks one by one, briefly:

  1. Bush said Saddam was "intending shortly to use [WMD] on us"? Never happened. See my February 5, 2004 post on this topic.
  2. Bush said Saddam was "in league with the terrorists of al-Qaida"? I don't recall that Bush ever said that exactly, but there are plenty of former Iraqi regime officials who say that Saddam and Osama did have a relationship. And Saddam harbored Abbas and Nidal, and he compensated families of Palestinian suicide bombers. It is an irrefutable fact that he was in league with terrorists.
  3. Tax breaks for the rich? A myth. See my April 8, 2004 post on this topic.
  4. "[A] very poor job of combating terrorism"? Two terrorism-sponsoring regimes have been deposed, and scores of al Qaeda leaders and operatives are dead, locked up, or on the run. I'd say that's pretty good.
  5. "[A]llowing the government to subpoena libraries 'to see what books you've been taking out.'"? Hasn't happened. Not even once. But do keep in mind that an integral part of the case against Ted Kaczynski was that he had checked out from the library obscure books that were quoted in the Unabomber's screed that was published in newspapers.

This is the best he can do--offer these fallacious criticisms? The Iraq debate has made clear that many of our so-called "leading intellectuals" are actually dunces, incapable of making coherent, factual arguments--only snide, baseless digs. And how contemptuous and rude of Doctorow to treat the students and their parents that way. (I leave out the faculty, because apparently they loved him. The story reported that "most of the faculty responded with a standing ovation.") Instead of hearing inspiring speechcraft, the audience was fed tired liberal cant.

Of course, lots of students know better than to take seriously such buffoons. The story goes on to say,

". . .Many students. . .called Doctorow's speech inappropriate. Peter Hulse, 24, of Manchester, England, said, "He's a bit like Michael Moore," the documentary director who provoked booing at last year's Oscars' ceremony by criticizing the war in Iraq."

Speaking of the Turd From Flint. . . On the Weekly Standard's website, Fred Barnes weighs in on Moore's less-than-impeccable credibility:

A few years ago Michael Moore. . .announced he'd gotten the goods on me, indeed hung me out to dry on my own words. It was in his first bestselling book, Stupid White Men. Moore wrote he'd once been "forced" to listen to my comments on a TV chat show, The McLaughlin Group. I had whined "on and on about the sorry state of American education," Moore said, and wound up by bellowing: "These kids don't even know what The Iliad and The Odyssey are!"

Moore's interest was piqued, so the next day he said he called me. "Fred," he quoted himself as saying, "tell me what The Iliad and The Odyssey are." I started "hemming and hawing," Moore wrote. And then I said, according to Moore: "Well, they're . . . uh . . . you know . . . uh . . . okay, fine, you got me--I don't know what they're about. Happy now?" He'd smoked me out as a fraud, or maybe worse.

The only problem is none of this is true. It never happened. Moore is a liar. He made it up. It's a fabrication. . .

Now, one could just chalk this up to "he said, turd said." But Moore is a proven prevaricator. The lies and half-truths of his film "Bowling For Columbine," for instance, are well-documented, starting with the title. (The shooters didn't go bowling before their rampage.)

Ultimately, it's not the lies that are so appalling about the left's attacks on the administration. It's the utter lack of seriousness, the nauseating childishness of their approach. For instance, did Doctorow see fit to mention that the two regimes that President Bush relegated to the ash heap of history were the most oppressive and depraved in the Middle East? And that's saying something. No, it's more important to needle, to lambaste, to dwell on trivia than it is to recognize the salutary effect that the president's Middle East policy has had and may yet continue to have on that diseased region.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Trash Talking

In an interview the the Associated Press, John Kerry used the following words and phrases to describe the Bush administration, its Iraq policy, and the war: "Failure", "miscalculations", "arrogance", "disgraceful", "we need a change in policy", "flawed", and "taking us down the wrong track". And yet, once again, he failed to provide a coherent explanation of what would be the "right" policy and the "right" track. The only proposal he ever seems to make regarding Iraq is to "internationalize" the effort and create a bigger role for the U.N.

If I were an Iraqi, I would have an even more jaundiced view of the United "Oil-For-Food" Nations than of the United "Abu Ghraib" States. The former scandal is so much more important that the latter, however, unsurprisingly, the prisoner abuse story gets a hundred times more mentions in the media.

Is the greatest financial scandal in history not more newsworthy than a handful of losers doing nasty things in a prison? Of course it is. It's just so much more fun to smear the evil U.S. than it is to hold the saintly U.N. accountable for propping up Saddam and lining its pockets. Kerry's strategy seems to be this: Criticize, criticize, criticize. When asked for specifics: Generalize, generalize, and criticize some more.

This is leadership?