Monday, June 30, 2003

This is absolutely hilarious.

It's come up often, and it's apparently becoming more common, not less, for critics, especially Our European Friends, to claim that America armed Iraq, especially in the '80s. So it falls to me, apparently, to list the facts.

For the purpose of investigating these charges, it is best to look at what Iraq had at the time of its invasion of Kuwait, because the accusations pertain to what Iraq was supplied with (passive voice deliberate here) in the decade or so preceding this invasion. Thus we need to account for whatever Iraq lost during the conflict to insure that there aren't any omissions (thus nixing possible accusations that America destroyed whatever it gave Iraq during the war to hide the evidence).

The main sources for the below are the Desert Shield Fact Book (Frank Chadwick, Loren Wiseman et al, GDW 1991) and the Gulf War Fact Book (Frank Chadwick, Matt Caffrey et al, GDW 1991). Equipment will be listed by category, along with the nation of origin. For those scoring at home, items of AMERICAN origin will be highlighted thusly, and of European (FRANCE) likewise. As of 90/91, Iraq had the following:
MiG-29s - 70 (Soviet)
Mig-25s - 18 (Soviet)
MiG-23s - 20 (Soviet)
MiG-21s - 105 (Soviet)
F-7s - 20 (Red China)
MiG-17s - 30 (Soviet)
Su-25s - 20 (Soviet)
Su-20s - 30 (Soviet)
Su-7s - 50 (Soviet)
F-6s - 20 (Red China)
Su-24s - 10 (Soviet)
Mirage F1s - 100 (FRANCE)
MiG-23/27s - 70 (Soviet)
Il-20s - 10 (Soviet)
Tu-22s - 7 (Soviet)
Tu-16s -12 (Soviet)

Armored Vehicles
T-54/55 - 1400 (Soviet)
Type 59 - 500 (Red China)
Type 69 - 1000 (Red China)
T-62 - 1600 (Soviet)
T-72 - 1000 (Soviet)

IFVs, armored recon vehicles, and APCs - 9000 total, aprox (biggest component BTR - 60s); no precise breakdown but consist of:

EE-3 (Brazil)
EE-9 (Brazil)
EE-11 (Brazil)
Panhard M-3 (FRANCE)
FUG-70 (Hungary)
BRDM-2 (Soviet)
BTR-40 (Soviet)
BTR-50 (Soviet)
BTR-60 (Soviet)
BMP-1 (Soviet)
Type 63 (China)
OT-62 (Czechoslovakia)
OT-63 (Czechoslovakia)
BVP-1 (Czechoslovakia)
Walid (Egypt)

Interesting to note, at the time Iraq had 13 modern ships on order from ITALY

G-5 155mm (South Africa)
GHN-45 155mm (AUSTRIA)
Astros-II SS-30 MRL (Brazil)
Astros-II SS-40 MRL (Brazil)
M56 105mm (BRITAIN)
D-74 122mm (Soviet)
D-30 122mm (Soviet)
2S1 122mm (Soviet)
2S3 152mm (Soviet)
M1937 152mm (Soviet)
M1938 122mm (Soviet)
M1939 37mm (Soviet)
M1943 152mm (Soviet)
M-1975 122mm MRL (Soviet)
BM-21 122mm MRL (Soviet)
BM-13 132mm MRL (Soviet)
S-23 180mm (Soviet)
ZSU-23-4 23mm (Soviet)
ZSU-57-2 (Soviet)
ZU-23 23mm (Soviet)
"Majnoon" 155mm (Iraq/Gerald Bull of CANADA)
"Al Fao" 210mm (Iraq/Gerald Bull of CANADA)
82 mm Mortar (Soviet)
SA-2 SAM (Soviet)
SA-3 SAM (Soviet)
SA-6 SAM (Soviet)
SA-7 SAM (Soviet)
SA-13 SAM (Soviet)

Small Arms
AK-47 (Soviet)
RPK (Soviet)
RPG-7 (Soviet)

Clearly, the vast majority of Iraq's weapons came from the Soviet Union and other Communist nations. Behind them, however, it's largely European countries that armed Iraq. The best I can tell, the U.S. provided Iraq with some spare parts for systems Iraq acquired elsewhere, relatively trivial support compared with even what France provided (much less the Soviets). Even on the level of parts and logistical support, America's contribution was small compared with that supplied by those nations. Hysterical reports to the contrary of how America armed Saddam are belied by the facts of Iraq's TO&E on the eve of the Gulf War. Therefore, it is deceptive to the point of dishonesty for anyone - especially anyone from Europe - to say America armed Iraq. People are only able to get away with this like they do with inflated civilian casualty figures for the Afghanistan campaign - feeding off of people's ignorance. The ignorant then take the accusation at face value and pass it on.

Another thing to note is that three nations show up most frequently on the list - France, Russia (in the form of the Soviet Union), and China. It probably isn't simply a coincidence that France, Russia, and China worked hardest over the years down to the present to obstruct action against Saddam and pushed most strongly for the removal of sanctions, etc.

More Left-wing lies exposed, courtesy of this feller.

The real global story is not "anti-Americanism," but perhaps a growing American weariness with strident allies and the braggadocio of pathetic Middle Eastern despotisms. If I were a functionary of the European Union, I would either have an emergency meeting right now to explore ways of stemming a rising, grassroots tide of Middle America's anger against Europe or alternatively allot 400 or 500 billion Euros per annum for its own unilateral and collective defense. We in America are waiting for sober Europeans to question their current frightening leadership that came of age in 1968, but now shrug that the Schroeders, Fischers, and Villepins may not be so aberrant after all. The EU, remember, is now being asked by Mr. Abbas on the West Bank to stop subsidizing Hamas.

So in response, what should we do?

Keep quieter and carry a far bigger stick. Methodically and politely transfer, redeploy, and reduce troops from countries that have opposed our efforts of the past two years or whose populations simply profess no overt support for the United States. Seek real friends — the fewer the better — in Eastern Europe, on the Black Sea, or around the Gulf who want American troops as a reflection of genuine mutual security needs, appreciate the economic stimulus such bases provide, and quite simply like the United States.

The extraordinary Victor Davis Hanson in NRO. I strongly advise you to read the whole thing. I agree completely, America needs a new Declaration of Independence, from the entangling alliances we made five decades ago to defend ourselves against a totalitarian power which no longer exists. Its a new world, and we should adjust our foreign policy accordingly or risk the possiblity that "Old" Europe will drag us down with it. We should do everything in our power not to join them in their psychotic experiment with beaurocratic totalitarianism.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

The first generations of American Jews earned a reputation as progressive politically but morally disciplined. The current generation of young Jews, though, lacks those ethical foundations. We have raised a generation of super-consumers often contemptuous of Judaism — because it offers no alternative to suburban superficiality — and addicted to modern America's vices.

A Hillel poll of entering college freshman last summer found the average Jewish student more liberal and libertarian than most — but also more libertine. Eighty-nine percent of Jews versus 52% of non-Jews supported abortion; 49% of Jews versus 32% of non-Jews backed marijuana legalization; 69% of Jews versus 38% of non-Jews approved of casual premarital sex, and, most disturbing, 73% of Jewish students identified financial success as their priority, rather than developing a meaningful philosophy of life...

The standard post-bar-mitzvah question should be "To whom did you give?" not "What did you get?" No one should spend more on a party than they have contributed to charity in a given year. Similarly, in lieu of gifts for all birthday parties, we should give cards designating gifts to charities. We need not be fanatic — close family can give some special gifts while encouraging others to donate.

To the extent that this beneficent redirection would end that crass equation wherein gifts are proportionate to the party's costs, perhaps donating would help scale back these extravaganzas because the family is not "making back the money." Consider informal barbecues, picnics, pool parties and mystery bus rides as more age-appropriate activities; consider a group outing to a local soup kitchen or a hospital, or a family tour to Israel, as more befitting a Jewish rite of passage.

Gil Troy in The Forward, lamenting the materialism of today's Jewish youth. The problem with Troy's theory, and this goes for nearly the entire Left-wing Jewish intelligensia, is that he fails to grasp that very ethos of "social justice" liberalism who's end he eulogizes here is exactly what has led us to this point. The idea of charity, good works, etc. being the only real expression of Judaism has led directly to the materialistic view of life he so despises. American Judaism outside of the Orthodox world has fostered a universalized, materialized form of Judaism devoid of its spiritual/mystical content, thus creating a spiritual wasteland into which, naturally, the pursuit of financial gain has come to dominate. "...informal barbecues, picnics, pool parties...a group outing to a local soup kitchen..." this is going to revitalize Jewish life and identity? How about reading the Torah? How about reading Gershom Scholem on the Kabbalah and the significance of Messianism in Jewish history? How about actually reading the writing of the Zionists Troy claims to admire? How about learning to read and speak Hebrew? How about engaging the immensity of Jewish civilization and history in a real, honest way? How about skipping that pool party and actually learning something about the people you claim to belong to? How about that?

Very, very interesting. Perhaps the Bush administration is finally beginning to understand that Arab/Muslim recognition of Israel is as much a key to ending the conflict as territorial compromise. Here's hoping.

Israelis and Palestinians will, it seems, wake up
this morning to a new era: The thousand-day war
will be behind them, leaving more than 800
fatalities on the Israeli side, more than 2,200 on
the Palestinian side and tens of thousands of
wounded on both sides. Each people's ability to
trust the other has been severely damaged.

Uzi Benziman in Haaretz, declaring the war over and also giving it a pretty damn good name (much better than "Al-Aksa Intifada" or the even worse "The Second Intifada"). I am personally far more skeptical as to whether the Thousand Day War is, in fact, over and done with. I trust Hamas and Islamic Jihad only slightly less than I trust Abu Mazen and the PA. Mr. Benziman's optimism may prove extremely unwarranted, I'm reserving judgement for a while.

I would also note that Benziman's analysis of the situation is pretty marred by his own personal biases. In other words, like most Left-wing Israelis, he's got a semi-psychotic obsession/hatred for Ariel Sharon. Arik has never lacked for strong responses, but some folks simply seem unable to give the guy a break on anything, and this fellow is no exception.

The hearings on Pipes nomination are being held by the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. If you are a Massachusetts resident, Senator Kennedy (shudder...) is the ranking Democrat. You can email him here: The website of the committee is here. There is a mailing address here, and also a link to the list of senators you can email. I strongly urge you to drop these guys a line as well. It makes a serious difference, and don't think the other side hasn't thought of this as well. Go. Do it. Now.


The brilliant Daniel Pipes, who is one of the few scholars of the Middle East not co-opted by Edward Said-style neo-Nazi Arab supremacism, has been nominated to the Institute of Peace, which is a government institute that studies and generates policy on the Middle East. As per usual the neo-Nazi Left within and without academia are trying to kill the nomination on the basis that Pipes is - surprise! - a racist. Needless to say, as I think you can see from his website, it is Pipe's antagonists, and not the man himself, who are the real racists. Pipes has committed the cardinal sin of taking an objective, critical view of Islam and not blaming all its problems on Israel or the United States. For this, the neo-Nazi Left intend to destroy him. Don't let them. A petition is circulating here in support of the nomination and I fully recommend signing it and asking your friends to do so as well. I also recommend sending a supportive email to the president and vice-president at:

They say you can judge a man's worth by his enemies and if this is true than Pipes is a very valuable scholar indeed. I strongly urge you to help deal the academic Left a defeat it most sorely deserves.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

A Palestinian Zionist?

It may sound like an oxymoron, but it's an apt description of Walid Shoebat, a would-be terrorist who now lives in the Bay Area.

In a recent appearance before Berkeley's Bridges to Israel group, Shoebat donned a kippah and proudly proclaimed Ani Tzioni -- I am a Zionist -- in Hebrew.

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this. I guess we have our Noam Chomskys, and they have this guy. More power to him.

Nor is this the only way in which Mr. Said's account of an upbringing in "his" beautiful old house has proved baseless. He has spoken with characteristic vehemence about a famous later tenant. Pressing his role as victim, he has stated: "The house from which my family departed in 1948--was displaced--was also the house in which the great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber lived for a while, and Buber of course was a great apostle of coexistence between Arabs and Jews, but he didn't mind living in an Arab house whose inhabitants had been displaced."

The truth is the other way around. It was Mr. Said's aunt who evicted Buber, and not in 1948 but in 1942--the very period when the young Edward Said was supposedly residing in the house. That brings us to another element in Mr. Said's reconstruction of his Jerusalem childhood: his schooling. According to his standard version, he attended St. George's Anglican preparatory school in eastern Jerusalem. In a recent BBC documentary, Mr. Said is seen touring this school and turning the pages of an old, leather-bound student registry from his youth, where he points to the entry for one of his Jewish "friends."

Interestingly, we are not shown or told about any listing for Mr. Said himself in the St. George's student registry. And for good reason: Neither in the particular registry shown on camera nor in the school's other two registry books is there any record of his having attended this institution as he has claimed (although he might have been a temporary student on one or more of his brief visits with his Jerusalem cousins). Nor does the Jewish student he claims to recall remember Mr. Said. What about the family's departure as "refugees" from Jerusalem to Cairo? Mr. Said has repeatedly placed this event in mid-December 1947, citing the "panic" caused in Talbieh by the threat of Jewish forces. Yet, in the 51/2-month period leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948, voluminous documents record only two incidents of intercommunal violence marring Talbieh's calm, and neither of these resulted in the permanent departure of local Arabs. The inevitable conclusion is that just as Edward Said and his immediate family were not long-term or permanent residents in Talbieh in the 1930s and '40s, so they were not resident there during the final months of the British Mandate. They cannot be considered "refugees" or "exiles" from Palestine in any meaningful sense of those two very weighty and politically charged terms.

Nor, of course, did they arrive in Cairo for the first time in late 1947. As scores of public records attest, Cairo is where the young Mr. Said grew up. There he resided with his family in luxurious apartments, attended private English schools, and played tennis at the exclusive Gezira Sporting Club as the son of one of its few Arab members until he was sent in 1951 to complete his schooling in America.

This isn't a new story, but it demands revisiting on a regular basis. Said, with the possible exception of Noam Chomsky, is the country's foremost academic charlatan and Arab supremacist. He is also, as this article proves, a supremely brazen and inept liar. I would note that Said, in response to this article, failed to refute a single one of its facts. He simply called its author a racist. This should come as no surprise, since Edward Said's definition of racism is: anyone who fails to agree with Edward Said. The entire academic establishment in America genuflects before this clown and you wonder why conservatives are so angry all the time.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said that more 2,000 people from all over the world will come to Israel this summer to protest the "brutality of the [Israeli] occupation and the injustices perpetrated by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians." The controversial group has been condemned by the IDF, which accuses its members of collaborating with terrorists...

"We have nothing against the internationals," said a senior IDF officer, quoted in the Jerusalem Report. "But, as far as we are concerned, ISM is not an international organization or a peace organization. It's a pro-Palestinian organization, set up by Palestinians, funded by Palestinians and linked to Palestinian terror."

The army says that by their provocative actions, ISM activists put themselves in danger in a war zone. "There is no other country in the world that would have allowed these people so much scope, and in the end Israel gets blamed," the officer told the Jerusalem Report. "The human shields obstruct IDF work, while the [ISM's] witnesses and spokespeople give a deliberately distorted picture of what is going on."

The ISM is probably the most lied about organization in the world. The media essentially gives them a free pass on their claim to be a pacifist, human rights organization when, in fact, they openly endorse the use of terror and totally deny Israel's right to exist. They are a racist, genocidal organization which calls for Israel's destruction and the annihilation of its Jewish population. They are the vanguard of the anti-semitic Left and ought to be exposed as such.

"We are enormously powerful, and we are very scary. And we only know that when actually we've been covered," Sulzberger said. "How do we open ourselves up, make ourselves more accessible and make ourselves more accountable? We've got to do it."

You know the old Robert Frost line? "A liberal is someone who's too open minded to take his own side in a fight." Here's "Pinch" (I'm not going there...) Sulzberger explaining how "diversity" focused hiring had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with employing an incompetant unethical hack as one of his star reporters. Denial is a terrible thing, isn't it?

In the early 1990s, so-called Reverand Al Sharpton incited a pogrom against the Jewish residents of Crown Heights, New York. A young Orthodox Jew named Yankel Rosenbaum was murdered. His assailant was set free by a racist jury whose verdict was later described by the judge as insane. Reverand Al is now running for president as a Democrat. This Washington Post puff-piece makes no mention of Rosenbaum, nor does it describe Rev Al's role in the brutal hate crime that killed him. The Washington Post does not speak the truth, so I will: Al Sharpton is a Jew-hating demagogue, a slimy, corrupted, vile parasite with blood on his hands. He has been given a free pass by a media and a political establishment because of the color of his skin. If he were white he would be considered in the same league as David Duke. He is a national disgrace and if there were such a thing as real justice in this country he would be in jail for life as an accomplice to Yankel Rosenbaum's murder. Think about that the next time you go in to pull the lever for the Democratic Party which can't even muster the guts to condemn a man who set off the only pogrom which has ever occurred on American soil.

Saramago must have been ablaze, writing these lines.

Intoxicated mentally by the messianic dream of a Greater Israel which will finally achieve the expansionist dreams of the most radical Zionism; contaminated by the monstrous and rooted 'certitude' that in this catastrophic and absurd world there exists a people chosen by God and that, consequently, all the actions of an obsessive, psychological and pathologically exclusivist racism are justified; educated and trained in the idea that any suffering that has been inflicted, or is being inflicted, or will be inflicted on everyone else, especially the Palestinians, will always be inferior to that which they themselves suffered in the Holocaust, the Jews endlessly scratch their own wound to keep it bleeding, to make it incurable, and they show it to the world as if it were a banner. Israel seizes hold of the terrible words of God in Deuteronomy: 'Vengeance is mine, and I will be repaid.' Israel wants all of us to feel guilty, directly or indirectly, for the horrors of the Holocaust; Israel wants us to renounce the most elemental critical judgment and for us to transform ourselves into a docile echo of its will.

Israel, in short, is a racist state by virtue of Judaism's monstrous doctrines — racist not just against the Palestinians, but against the entire world, which it seeks to manipulate and abuse. Israel's struggles with its neighbors, seen in that light, do take on a unique and even metaphysical quality of genuine evil — the quality that distinguishes Israel's struggles from those of all other nations with disputed borders, no matter what the statistics of death and suffering might suggest.

Saramago, shrewder and more sophisticated than the crowds in the Washington streets or the panelist at the Socialist Scholars Conference, did condemn the suicide bombers. He did so in two throwaway sentences at the end of his essay, sneeringly, with his own expressive ellipsis:

Ah, yes, the horrendous massacres of civilians caused by the so-called suicide terrorists.... Horrendous, yes, doubtless; condemnable, yes, doubtless, but Israel still has a lot to learn if it is not capable of understanding the reasons that can bring a human being to turn himself into a bomb." And so, the deliberate act of murdering random crowds turns out to be the fault of the murdered — or, rather, of the monstrous and racist doctrines of their religion, which is Judaism.

Paul Berman, in an extraordinary essay deliniating the dialectics of Leftist anti-semitism. I sincerely hope to run into Saramago one of these days, so I can confirm all of his suspicions about Jews by pushing his teeth through the back of his head. Berman deserves serious praise for being one of the last decent Leftists (as in he doesn't call for a second genocide of the Jews and the overthrow of American democracy in favor of a totalitarian state) left in the world.

Friday, June 27, 2003

The Jewish Advocate, the local Jewish weekly in Boston, has printed my Op-Ed on Tikkun Olam in this week's issue. Its not avaliable online, unfortunately, so if you're in the Boston area pick it up, its only a dollar.

This week's issue also contains an article on former Dartmouth College president James Freedman, which is online here. Apparently, the Anti-Defamation League has seen fit to bestow an award on former president Freedman for fighting anti-semitism, intolerance, etc., etc. Here's the key paragraph:

Richard Glovsky of Boston, who chaired the event's organizing committee, said his longtime friend has an "unquenchable desire to not just educate, but to learn." Glovsky first met the former president at Dartmouth. While serving as class president, Glovsky was on a committee investigating whether the Dartmouth Review promoted anti-Semitism by using a quote from Hitler on its masthead.

The unaffiliated, free publication was printed in Hanover and circulated on the school's campus. Freedman was willing to take on the newspaper for its anti-Semitic leanings.

In fact, as William F. Buckley has brilliantly extrapolated in his marvelous book In Search of Anti-Semitism, president Freedman's role in the persecution of the Dartmouth Review was more shameful than honorable. In brief, quotes from Mein Kampf were inserted into the masthead of the Review on a single occasion. As Buckley has noted, the editorial staff denied they had placed them there and the most likely explanation was their claim that the quotes had been inserted by a staffer bent on playing a malicious prank. The university, however, chose to believe that the Review, despite the presence of several Jewish writers and editors, was composed entirely of Hitler-lovers and held a day-long symposium called "Dartmouth United Against Hate" in which president Freedman declared Dartmouth would not tolerate hate and intolerance - or, apparently, conservative newspapers. President Freedman organized this day in collaboration with a group of Leftwing student organizations, many of whom had had a hand in bringing such noted apostles of tolerance as Hanan Ashwari, Angela Davis, and Louis Farrakhan to campus. The hypocrisy was thick on the ground for weeks.

Needless to say, the university establishment had despised the Dartmouth Review from its origins. Unabashadly conservative and agressively politically incorrect, the paper had offended the sensibilities of the campus left for years. The Hitler quote was merely the excuse they needed to attempt to silence a publication whose ideology they found impossible to tolerate. Fortunately, they failed. The fact that the ADL has chosen to honor this man who tried so desperately to exploit the issue of anti-semitism in order to repress free speech on his campus is yet one more indication of the fact that this country's mainstream Jewish organizations cannot see the forest for the trees. They are looking for anti-semitism under every Rightwing rock while ignoring the fact that it is alive and well among the Leftists they consider their eternal allies. As a result of this willful myopia they slander those who would be their friends and, in the process, make fools of themselves.

I suppose I might as well comment on this. First of all, my last name isn't Gefen, its just the name of the blog. Second of all, Totten doesn't actually deal with the basic assertion of my post, which is that the extreme Left is just as capable of horrendous violence as the extreme Right, if not more so (and in my opinion definately more so). If he needs current examples, the enviro-terrorists and the anarchists who tore up downtown Seattle are a good place to start.

Its a bit ridiculous anyways since I like Totten's writing and most of the time I agree with him. (Well, 50% of the time.) For the record, I'm not a sixties person either, I was born in 1978. (Although my friends claim I act like I'm around 75.)

A Weekly Standard article posits the posibility of a Bush landslide. I think the main obstacle to such an eventuality would be a serious bout of overconfidence on the part of the Republicans. Lets not start bandying around ideas for the victory party a year before the election, ok?

Such seasoned Democratic strategists as Donna Brazile, Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager, are making a strong case in favor of the first option. "Our party and its leaders must wake up to the fact that we can no longer give short shrift to security issues if we hope to regain our status as the majority party," she recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed coauthored with Timothy Bergreen, the founder of Democrats for National Security. They believe their party can — indeed must — resurrect the traditions of such muscular Democrats as Sen. Scoop Jackson, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy.

But returning to that tradition implies moving away from the more pacific approaches of such Democratic leaders as Walter Mondale, Gene McCarthy, George McGovern, and Michael Dukakis. And the left wing of the Democratic party wants no part of such a shift.

Instead, Democrats such as presidential hopeful Howard Dean, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and Sen. Carl Levin and favor option (2); they're looking to the Carter election as a model. But not content to pray for a new Republican scandal, they're hoping to manufacture one by transforming the mystery over what's become of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction into a scandal. Or, as one Democratic strategist candidly said to me backstage at CNN the other day: "What's lying about sex compared to lying about war? This will be another Watergate."

From an excellent NRO article on the Democrat's headlong rush towards political suicide. Here's the payoff:

Democrat scandalmongers are not pondering such questions. Instead, they are peddling a scenario so fantastic that not even Saddam's mouthpiece, Baghdad Bob, would have dared trot it out: That there were no WMDs and Bush knew it — but that he pretended otherwise as part of a vast (right-wing?) conspiracy that would have included Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Tony Blair — and, of course, Bill Clinton, who bombed what he said were suspected WMD sites in 1998, after the U.N. inspectors were forced to go home. And don't forget to include the U.N. Security Council, every member of which signed Resolution 1441 which did not ask whether Saddam had WMDs but rather gave his regime "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations."

That's all the wisdom on one foot, as we say in Israel. There's no credible argument that Saddam never had WMDs. The only questions are where he hid them or how he got rid of them, neither of which are being asked by the Democrats. They want us to buy an obviously insane conspiracy theory which any honest or responsible person knows is politically motivated balderdash. Par for the course I would say. Good luck Donna, you're gonna need it.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an
agreement Friday for an IDF pullback in the Gaza
Strip and a tranferral of security control to the
Palestinians, following a meeting between
Palestinian Minister for Security Mohammed Dahlan
and Israel's coordinator in the territories, Amos

This isn't big just yet. As I've said before, Dahlan is the key to all this, and we are swiftly reaching the moment when he's going to either put up or shut up. Stay tuned.

Given that Kerry once went all the way to Vietnam under some kind of misapprehension about a war for democracy and launched a political career on the basis of what he finally learned when it was much too late, one might be tempted to discern a pattern here. But that temptation should probably be discarded. The Tonkin Gulf resolution was fabricated out of whole cloth (by a Democratic president, building on the legacy of another JFK from Massachusetts), and not even the most Stalinized of the Vietnamese leadership ever ran a regime, or proposed an ideology, as vile as that of Saddam Hussein. Indeed, Ho Chi Minh in 1945 modeled his declaration of independence on the words of Thomas Jefferson, appealed for American help against France, and might have got it if FDR had lived. Uncle Ho shared in the delusion that there could be an anti-colonial and anti-dictatorial empire. If that is indeed a delusion. …

I don't know why, but every time I'm ready to embrace Christopher Hitchens, he just makes me hate him. Why is this guy, who's been right about pretty much everything to do with 9/11 and the Iraq War, who actually had the God blessed balls to tell Noam Chomsky to go fuck himself, still making apologies for the we-really-didn't-mind-torturing-POWs-and-killing-a-million-of-our-people North Vietnamese?! Sorry Chris, despite your most fervent wishes, you're no George Orwell.

As sometimes happens with Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), he let his mouth race ahead of his brain Wednesday night at a gathering of Young Democrats at the Washington nightspot Acropolis. After presidential candidate Howard Dean spoke, Kennedy delivered an impassioned peroration against President Bush's tax cut. We hear that Kennedy told the crowd: "I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked a [bleeping] day in my life." With that he got the audience's attention -- the dropping-jaws kind. "He droned on and on, frequently mentioning how much better the candidates would sound the more we drank," a witness told us. "Finally, he had to be stopped by a DNC volunteer." Kennedy's spokesman, Ernesto Anguilla, told us yesterday: "He was talking to the crowd; it was a rally-the-troops kind of speech about the tax cut. He was energizing the crowd and got caught up in it and used an unfortunate word, which he regrets using. . . . And no one pulled him off the stage."

I think this says something wonderful about our country. To get elected to national office, you don't have to be good-looking, you don't have to be well-educated, you don't even have to be particularly smart, you just have to be a Kennedy.

The U.N.'s two 50-year-old buildings in New York City are basically falling apart — decaying pipes and crumbling ceilings are now commonplace — and the U.N. is seeking an interest-free loan worth more than $1 billion to renovate its headquarters.

I see. So, not only are we bankrolling this decrepit bunch of backscratching, bribe-guzzling, Jew-hating, One-World Government loving neo-Nazi slimeballs, but now they want us to foot the bill to rebuild the buildings from which they scratch backs, guzzle bribes, slander the Jews, usurp sovereign power, and - lest we forget - do everything in their power to frustrate American foreign policy. I have a better idea. How about we give every last one of these diplomatically immunized kleptocrats 24 hours to get the hell out the country, then knock those buildings down and build the new headquarters of the Israel Bonds Committee on the site. We can invite Adolf - sorry "Kofi" - Annan to the dedication. See what good government can accomplish?

In the nearly two months since the fall of Baghdad, candidate Dean has steadfastly refused to admit the obvious: the Iraqi people are better off without Saddam Hussein in power. During last Sunday’s disastrous appearance on “Meet the Press,” Tim Russert asked Dean to expound upon the following comment: “We’ve gotten rid of (Saddam). I suppose that’s a good thing.”

Given the chance to clarify his views, Dean stubbornly surmised, “We don’t know whether in the long run the Iraqi people are better off.”

Let's face it, Howard aint exactly the brightest bulb in the bunch. But it gets better:

A clue into their warped, anti-American viewpoint was provided this week by Edward Said, scholar, faux Palestinian refugee and rock-thrower extraordinaire. In an essay published Monday, he wrote of:

“the awful, the literally inexcusable situation for the people of Iraq that the U.S. has now single-handedly and irresponsibly created there. However else one blames Saddam Hussein as a vicious tyrant, which he was, he had provided the people of Iraq with the best infrastructure of services like water, electricity, health, and education of any Arab country. None of this is any longer in place.”

In this claim, Said is neither alone nor original. While protesting the sanctions against Iraq, far-left activists constantly parroted the lie that Saddam spent massive sums of tax dollars buying food and medicine for the suffering people of Iraq. (Of course, we now know Saddam diverted much of the Oil-for-Food money into private palaces for himself, and, it seems occasionally, bribes for left-wing British politician George Galloway.)

Oh, Edward. There you go wonder they love him at Columbia. I love the "faux Palestinian refugee" line, it should also have said "alleged writer and pseudo-intellectual". Read the whole thing. The basic thesis is that the Democrats are committing suicide because they're prisoners of their Leftwing base. Well, duh. The really interesting story is how they got that way, which is where this comes in. Go. Read it. Now.


George Orwell was born one hundred years from the day I write these words. Novelist, soldier, journalist, literary critic and political commentator, Orwell, alone out of the English intellectuals who were his contemporaries, has managed to remain a potent figure in our intellectual life. Almost from the first moment after the 9/11 attacks Orwell’s words were being hurled about like so many hand grenades across the ramparts. Rightists and leftists of all denominations accused their enemies of being Big Brother, of speaking in doublespeak, of engaging in what has come to be known – in perhaps the greatest compliment an intellectual can receive – “Orwellian” behavior.

“Orwellian” is a tricky term, as indeed were Orwell’s own politics, but it generally refers to acts of totalitarian-style thought control, the twisting of language for political purposes, or a disturbing lack of regard for the principles of free thought and expression. It is not generally considered to be a compliment.

What Orwell himself would have thought of all this is a question which much vexes his many admirers and few detractors. One of the most appealing aspects of Orwell’s work is his lack of dogmatism. He is refreshingly, almost liberatingly contemptuous of political orthodoxies. He insisted, no matter which movements or ideologies had his personal sympathies, on thinking for himself. He could be as violently critical of his own allies and acolytes as he could his enemies. He was that rarest of intellectual figures: a staunch ideologue who was nonetheless capable of extraordinary honesty and self-reflection. This capacity, however, did not render him ineffectual, he did not seek a muddle-headed “middle ground” or “third way”, he understood that in great battles of ideas one was beholden, morally required, to take sides. He simply believed that the side one chose ought to face the same scrutiny as the side one did not. This seemingly obvious scenario has proven itself to be of near insurmountable difficulty for Orwell’s successors.

This commitment to intellectual honesty rested on Orwell’s rock-solid belief in objective truth. Totalitarianism horrified him not merely because of its physical cruelties, but because it sought to destroy the soul as well as the body. As opposed to mere dictatorship or monarchial rule – or even the plutocratic democracy he believed his native Britain to be – totalitarianism sought not only to rule the state but also to rule reality itself. Orwell, who was at heart an artist, a lover of great writing and great ideas, and he understood the terrible danger faced by the artist, by the thinker, in a totalitarian state.

This instinctive, guttural hatred of totalitarianism is the reason why Orwell’s politics have proven so confounding to so many. Certainly he was a man of the Left, there can be no denying this, but his true dedication was to the cause of human decency. Not the facile, self-serving decency so often cited by polemicists of Right and Left, but that difficult, imperfect decency carved out by those aware of the imperfections of life and the human animal. He believed there was no excuse, ideological, religious, or otherwise, for cruelty, barbarism and oppression. He despised communism and Nazism alike because he saw (and was one of the first to see) that they were twins, squabbling relatives that could not get along only because they were so alike in every fundamental way. He disliked established wealth, privilege and aristocracy because he saw the arbitrary injustices which were their result, but he distrusted and ultimately rejected revolution because he was so fully (and indeed personally) aware of the tyranny to which it would inevitably lead. He was in every way that Tory Anarchist which he delighted in calling himself. He was not a theorist, he was a critic, and an unsparing one, both of his adversaries and of himself. And it is for this quality most of all that those who love Orwell hold him so close to our hearts. We love him because he had that rarest of qualities in an intellectual: he refused to lie to himself.

More than anything else, this is the secret of Orwell’s enduring legacy. Unlike nearly all the intellectual giants of the 20th century, who at one point or another embraced totalitarianism in its Right or Left form, Orwell refused to erase or to explain away evil in the name of ideology. Even to the point of claiming that Truth itself does not, cannot exist. Orwell saw the beginnings of this rejection of Truth, of the falsification of reality for the purposes of political and intellectual control. He battled against it relentlessly; he refused to accept that objective, rational truth was an illusion. Today, the battle he inaugurated rages more violently than he could have imagined. To paraphrase Nietzsche, Truth has ceased to exist if only because educated people no longer believe in it. It is possible to view our whole intellectual life today is a battle between the Orwellians and the totalitarians. A war between those who believe that Truth must triumph over power and those who believe that truth is merely a bourgeoisie concoction. To those of us in the former camp, we may draw comfort from the fact that the man who helped inaugurate this battle is now such an icon that his very name has entered the English language which he wielded as such an artful and effective weapon.

Here's another profile for you. I don't intend this to be anti-porn, I'm actually in favor of pornography on libertarian grounds (and the fact that the feminists hate it), but rather a commentary on a fascinating, and I think rather sad, icon of American life.

The Road to Xanadu
Hugh Hefner and the Empire of Illusion

Pornography remains among the most popular and least acknowledged entertainments in American life. At the center of it, its most well-known, popular, and mainstream figure is Hugh Hefner, the 70-odd year old publisher of Playboy Magazine and founder of Playboy Enterprises, a man who has come to symbolize the hedonistic ambitions of the sexual revolution. Hefner’s place in the public mind as the personification of respectable pornography, of tasteful licentiousness, has been reached both by calculation and historical factors. Historically, he remains the central figure of the initial forays into a new, looser sexual morality that came into being in the late 1950’s. His magazine, from its origins, sought to walk the line between prurience and sophistication. It displayed copious pages of pinup style nudes, but also contained obviously highbrow prose by writers like Norman Mailer and Alex Haley, articles on mixing martinis and listening to jazz music, a whole blueprint for the new lifestyle which affluence and liberalism were combining to create: a culture of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. One in which desire became an axiomatic value. Hefner, from the beginning, has sought a nobler purpose for his endeavor, often citing his own inner battle with a “puritan” upbringing, spinning his career as a solitary battle against hypocrisies public and personal. These pretensions of social consequence have met with derision from unexpected quarters. Larry Flynt, publisher of the far raunchier Hustler Magazine, has asserted that Hefner’s problem lies in his inability “to admit he’s a pornographer”, i.e. that within Hefner’s claims of combating hypocrisy lies a deeper hypocrisy, that Hefner is, in fact, doing anything other than making money by selling pictures of naked women.

There is no question that Hefner does his best to live to his word. His entire lifestyle, public at least, is a practice of his hedonistic preachings. Now in his 70s, he boasts a trio of 20 something girlfriends he squares around to Los Angeles clubs where he is likely the oldest patron by some 45 years, hosts lavish parties at the now famous – or infamous, depending on who you ask – Playboy mansion featuring rock stars and actors, all young and on the make, and never loses an opportunity to comment at length on the recreational virtues of Viagra. Hefner, like all good converts, does not merely live his life, he prostlytizes it.

All of this begins to appear quite strange if one considers the actual facts of Hefner’s life. Playboy Enterprises, as it has for over two decades, loses money. The mansions, parties, lifetime Viagra supplies, and all the other accoutrements of Hefner’s public lifestyle, come out of his own pocket, not the profits of his magazine empire. Even more telling is the reason why. For all of Hefner’s pretensions of shocking the puritan establishment, Playboy itself has become establishment, the tired icon of an idea that has long lost its relevancy. Ironically enough, Playboy is dying because it is too tame for the world it inhabits. Pornography is no longer a matter of bared breasts and some raunchy jokes. It is a multi-billion dollar business, the lion’s share of which is dedicated to material more explicit than Playboy would ever dream of printing. The internet, which has finally conquered the great obstacle to pornography consumption – the fear of people knowing that one is consuming pornography – is now the industry’s cash machine, and there is no way for Playboy’s relatively innocuous product to compete in a world where every manner of debauchery – however unappetizing or illegal – is available for no humiliation and at little cost.

This is all immensely ironic, for the breakdown in public mores, that ethic of universal hedonism that Hefner preached to all who would listen, is now turning his empire into an edifice of sand. The normalization of pornography has rendered what was once shocking and licentious into something trite and perhaps slightly dull. Hefner’s public persona has turned into something a little embarrassing, like a man who has stayed to late at a party to which he wasn’t invited. But most striking, and perhaps most tragic, of all is his own uncomprehending enthusiasm, as if he actually believes that Playboy is influencing the national culture, as if he actually believes all these young Turks consider him their peer and equal, as if he actually believes those three busty twentysomethings are with him for his startling good looks and fascinating mind and not to assist him in spending his millions of dollars. His must be an isolated life. He is an old man in a young man’s world, a millionaire whose business has been failing for decades, a haggard old clown who has, somehow, convinced himself that he is still a revolutionary.

Just about halfway through Anne Coulter's new polemic (in the best sense of the word) Treason. As per usual liberals who regularly refer to the president as a Nazi are attacking Coulter for using intemperate language, and there's no question that this book is wonderfully, gloriously violent in its condemnation. It may also mark the beginning of a serious revisionist take on Joseph McCarthy, the book (much to the horror of its few liberal readers, no doubt) is mostly a spirited, and surprisingly well argued, defense of McCarthy and McCarthyism. It points out, for instance, the unfortunate fact that McCarthy was right in nearly all his charges, as well as pointing out the supposed atmostphere of repression and suffering under his yoke has been, to say the least, grotesquely exagerrated at best and at worst simply manufactured after the fact. The left has been rewriting the history of the Cold War to suit their own ends for most of the last forty years and its high time we took our history back from the bastards who would erase their crimes and the crimes of their fellow travelers. I find it highly significant that I have yet to see a single criticism of Coulter which attacks the facts of her argument, every one of them is simply an ad hominem assault on her ferociously polemical writing style.

The book, by the way, has already passed Hillary Clinton's on the Amazon bestseller list.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

For the past three years, an annual conference called the World Social Forum has been the biggest international gathering of radicals on earth, attended by all the leaders of the world left. Labor unions, Communist parties, non-governmental organizations, anti-globalization activists, anti-American 'peace' groups, multiple heads of state, and the representatives of armed guerilla insurgencies all gather yearly at Porto Alegre, Brazil, to make new connections and plan for the future. While the organizers of the World Social Forum claim the event is a "open meeting place" for those interested in building "a planetary society centered on the human person," in reality, it's nothing but an organizing meeting for unreconstructed socialists, constantly attempting to turn world political forces against America. Some prominent leftists think it has serious potential. The high priest of anti-American professors, Noam Chomsky, attended this year's World Social Forum, and concluded that the conference holds "at least the seeds of the first "authentic" international, the dream of the left and labor movements since their modern origins." That is, the World Social Forum has the potential to replace the last two centuries' communist Internationals - the First, founded by Marx, the Second, founded by Engels, the Third by Lenin and the Fourth by Trotsky. The Fifth International! This dream of a Neo-Communist international left is a nightmare for America. Conservatives need to take a closer look, before the World Social Forum becomes a serious threat.

The neo-Nazi Left turns out in force. Here they are folks, know thy enemy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

For the Orwellians

Today is the birthday of my favorite writer, the extraordinary George Orwell. He called himself a Tory Anarchist and I suppose, in a way, so do I. I have tried to emulate both his unique combination of ideological commitment and unflinching intellectual honesty and his ability to write about deeply complex issues with clarity and simplicity without sacrificing their essential complexity. Everyone else seems to be reprinting "Politics and the English Language", which is of course brilliant, but this is my favorite: "Looking Back on the Spanish War". He manages here to anticipate, not merely the rewriting of history for ideological purposes, but the death of truth itself. He understood where the trends that would be called post-modernism were leading, where I believe they have, in actual fact, led us. As Nitzsche said about God, Truth has now ceased to exist if only because educated people no longer belief in it. This prospect horrified him and he expressed that horror better in this essay than anywhere else. Enjoy.

The struggle for power between the Spanish Republican parties is an unhappy, far-off thing which I have no wish to revive at this date. I only mention it in order to say: believe nothing, or next to nothing, of what you read about internal affairs on the Government side. It is all, from whatever source, party propaganda--that is to say, lies. The broad truth about the war is simple enough. The Spanish bourgeoisie saw their chance of crushing the labour movement, and took it, aided by the Nazis and by the forces of reaction all over the world. It is doubtful whether more than that will ever be established.

I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, 'History stopped in 1936', at which he nodded in immediate understanding. We were both thinking of totalitarianism in general, but more particularly of the Spanish civil war. Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various 'party lines'. Yet in a way, horrible as all this was, it was unimportant. It concerned secondary issues-- namely, the struggle for power between the Comintern and the Spanish left-wing parties, and the efforts of the Russian Government to prevent revolution in Spain. But the broad picture of the war which the Spanish Government presented to the world was not untruthful. The main issues were what it said they were. But as for the Fascists and their backers, how could they come even as near to the truth as that? How could they possibly mention their real aims? Their version of the war was pure fantasy, and in the circumstances it could not have been otherwise.

The only propaganda line open to the Nazis and Fascists was to represent themselves as Christian patriots saving Spain from a Russian dictatorship. This involved pretending that life in Government Spain was just one long massacre (VIDE the CATHOLIC HERALD or the DAILY MAIL—but these were child's play compared with the Continental Fascist press), and it involved immensely exaggerating the scale of Russian intervention. Out of the huge pyramid of lies which the Catholic and reactionary press all over the world built up, let me take just one point--the presence in Spain of a Russian army. Devout Franco partisans all believed in this; estimates of its strength went as high as half a million. Now, there was no Russian army in Spain. There may have been a handful of airmen and other technicians, a few hundred at the most, but an army there was not. Some thousands of foreigners who fought in Spain, not to mention millions of Spaniards, were witnesses of this. Well, their testimony made no impression at all upon the Franco propagandists, not one of whom had set foot in Government Spain. Simultaneously these people refused utterly to admit the fact of German or Italian intervention at the same time as the Germany and Italian press were openly boasting about the exploits of their' legionaries'. I have chosen to mention only one point, but in fact the whole of Fascist propaganda about the war was on this level.
This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar lies, will pass into history. How will the history of the Spanish war be written? If Franco remains in power his nominees will write the history books, and (to stick to my chosen point) that Russian army which never existed will become historical fact, and schoolchildren will learn about it generations hence. But suppose Fascism is finally defeated and some kind of democratic government restored in Spain in the fairly near future; even then, how is the history of the war to be written? What kind of records will Franco have left behind him? Suppose even that the records kept on the Government side are recoverable--even so, how is a true history of the war to be written? For, as I have pointed out already, the Government, also dealt extensively in lies. From the anti-Fascist angle one could write a broadly truthful history of the war, but it would be a partisan history, unreliable on every minor point. Yet, after all, some kind of history will be written, and after those who actually remember the war are dead, it will be universally accepted. So for all practical purposes the lie will have become truth.

I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously coloured what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that 'facts' existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost everyone. If you look up the history of the last war in, for instance, the Encyclopedia Britannica, you will find that a respectable amount of the material is drawn from German sources. A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as 'the truth' exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as 'Science'. There is only 'German Science', 'Jewish Science', etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, 'It never happened'--well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five--well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs--and after our experiences of the last few years that is not a frivolous statement.

But is it perhaps childish or morbid to terrify oneself with visions of a totalitarian future? Before writing off the totalitarian world as a nightmare that can't come true, just remember that in 1925 the world of today would have seemed a nightmare that couldn't come true. Against that shifting phantasmagoric world in which black may be white tomorrow and yesterday's weather can be changed by decree, there are in reality only two safeguards. One is that however much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing, as it were, behind your back, and you consequently can't violate it in ways that impair military efficiency. The other is that so long as some parts of the earth remain unconquered, the liberal tradition can be kept alive. Let Fascism, or possibly even a combination of several Fascisms, conquer the whole world, and those two conditions no longer exist. We in England underrate the danger of this kind of thing, because our traditions and our past security have given us a sentimental belief that it all comes right in the end and the thing you most fear never really happens. Nourished for hundreds of years on a literature in which Right invariably triumphs in the last chapter, we believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in the long run. Pacifism, for instance, is founded largely on this belief. Don't resist evil, and it will somehow destroy itself. But why should it? What evidence is there that it does? And what instance is there of a modern industrialized state collapsing unless conquered from the outside by military force?

Consider for instance the re-institution of slavery. Who could have imagined twenty years ago that slavery would return to Europe? Well, slavery has been restored under our noses. The forced-labour camps all over Europe and North Africa where Poles, Russians, Jews and political prisoners of every race toil at road-making or swamp-draining for their bare rations, are simple chattle slavery. The most one can say is that the buying and selling of slaves by individuals is not yet permitted. In other ways--the breaking-up of families, for instance--the conditions are probably worse than they were on the American cotton plantations. There is no reason for thinking that this state of affairs will change while any totalitarian domination endures. We don't grasp its full implications, because in our mystical way we feel that a régime founded on slavery must collapse. But it is worth comparing the duration of the slave empires of antiquity with that of any modern state. Civilizations founded on slavery have lasted for such periods as four thousand years.

When I think of antiquity, the detail that frightens me is that those hundreds of millions of slaves on whose backs civilization rested generation after generation have left behind them no record whatever. We do not even know their names. In the whole of Greek and Roman history, how many slaves' names are known to you? I can think of two, or possibly three. One is Spartacus and the other is Epictetus. Also, in the Roman room at the British Museum there is a glass jar with the maker's name inscribed on the bottom, 'FELIX FECIT'. I have a mental picture of poor Felix (a Gaul with red hair and a metal collar round his neck), but in fact he may not have been a slave; so there are only two slaves whose names I definitely know, and probably few people can remember more. The rest have gone down into utter silence.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

It appears this whole cease-fire idea has been tried before...

This is what I mean about liberals - even good ones - being divorced from reality:

I don't think the Democratic mood is more pervasive. For whatever reason, I dodged this bullet. I've watched it happen to the right, and now to the left. It's the same phenomenon at the same volume, only the left is less violent. Don't forget all the right-wing militia groups holed up in the mountains. Don't forget Timothy McVeigh. Not in my lifetime has the left produced armed revolutionaries plotting the actual destruction of the government and killing hundreds of people.

You mean like the Weathermen? The Black Panthers? The SDS? The SLA? What planet were you on during the sixties? Or did you just take a history class at Harvard University, which of course teaches that the Left was a peaceful, non-violent movement...until they suddenly started killing cops and housewives. Michael Totten is a smart guy and I admire his stance on the war, but this is self-pitying, propagandistic nonsense. I'll take the Rightwing nuts to task any day of the week (and some of the Clinton haters are way out there, no question), but the idea of a pure, innocent Left that never, never would - my heavens! - resort to violence to impose its ideas on its fellow citizens is unmitigated revisionist garbage. Riot, rampage and assassination have been the preferred methods of political change on the Left for two hundred years, this is fact, history, deal with it.

Hamas appears to have decided in principle to carry out a cease-fire for three months, an IDF intelligence Branch official told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today.

Great, "were going to take three months off before we start slaughtering Jews again", thanks guys, don't do us any favors. Kill 'em all. Now.

The Prime Minister's popularity has taken a nosedive since the end of the war in Iraq, according to a new opinion poll.

An ICM poll commissioned by the Guardian gives him a personal rating of minus 13, compared to plus 8 during the hostilities.

The failure to provide evidence of Iraq's weapons, the controversial Cabinet reshuffle and the recent row over taxes are all given as factors.

I hate to say this, because I really admired Blair's courage in the leadup to the Iraq War, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. His next move seems to be an attempt to put Britain on the Euro, which is a really, really bad idea. Britain's greatness always came from its independence from the barbarians - sorry, "Europe" - and they should protect it now more than ever. Blair seems irredeemably dedicated to the EU monster state, so as much as it pains me to say it, I wont be sorry to see him go.

Bush is seeking American Jewish support this summer for two very different agenda items — to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to win re-election for another four years in office.

But in seeking that support, some Jewish leaders say, this White House has sidestepped the traditionally liberal Jewish organizations because of frequent scuffles over domestic policy issues.

Instead, the administration has focused its efforts on ingratiating itself with more conservative Jewish leaders inside and outside the major policy groups, and on direct appeals to Jewish voters.

From a very interesting article on the White House's attempts to sway the Jewish vote in the next election. Like all things Jewish, this is a very complex issue, but I think this article neglects a major component: the generation gap. The Jewish population in this country is demographically very old, and that older generation is beholden, body and soul, to the Democratic Party. I don't think they can be swayed in large numbers to the Republicans. However, the younger generation of Jews, who are not wholly beholden to the Left or, like me, have abandoned it in disgust because of Leftist anti-semitism, are very much in play and the White House should make a major push to reach them, especially since, unlike most young voters, Jews tend to actually vote from time to time. Also, we are in no way part of or beholden to the "mainstream" Jewish organizations, which are mostly staffed by the older generation, ultra-Liberal and, in my opinion, divorced from mainstream of American Jewish opinion. There is another, more radical generation of Jews coming up, and we are not tied by sentimentality or ideology to the Left, if anything, we are running away from it at full speed. The Bush White House would do well to notice this.

The Supreme Court preserved affirmative action in university admissions today by a one-vote margin but with a forceful endorsement of the role of racial diversity on campus in achieving a more equal society.

"In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in her 5-to-4 majority opinion upholding the University of Michigan's consideration of race for admission to its law school...

The result of today's rulings was that Justice Powell's solitary view that there was a "compelling state interest" in racial diversity, a position that had appeared undermined by the court's subsequent equal protection rulings in other contexts and that some lower federal courts had boldly repudiated, has now been endorsed by five justices and placed on a stronger footing than ever before.

There's a couple of reasons why this is a really bad thing. Firstly, it puts on legal footing the idea of "diversity", which is a term that means nothing except the right of institutions to pick and choose which minorities they consider worthy of charity and which they don't. In other words, whichever oppressed race the neo-Nazi Left chooses to fetishize on any given day. I wont go into the convoluted means by which universities do this, but Allen Dershowitz (a liberal no less) has demonstrated quite well how the university affirmative action system is a de facto quota on Jews and Asians. In other words, it discriminates in favor of blacks and Hispanics (which is a term which means nothing whatsoever, since its a linguistic term and not a racial one) and against Jews and Asians. Needless to say, the whole system is obviously racist and unconstitutional but, like many other aspects of our society, the Constitution becomes noticeably irrelevant where the ideology of the neo-Nazi Left is involved. The idea that "diversity" is in itself a value beyond all others, i.e. that a campus should be racially diverse before it is anything else, is the principle catalyst behind the environment on American campuses we see today: racially diverse and intellectually monochromatic. The idea that the color of one's skin automatically confers some sort of mystical "otherness" which inherently contributes to the intellectual life of a campus or a nation is Hitlerian thinking, pure and simple. Affirmative action can only be supported by someone who ascribes supernatural forces to the factor of race, who lives in a world where there is such a thing as "black" history, "Jewish" science or a myriad of other racialist concepts which now dominate the academy. This is intellectual sophistry at best and psychotic racism at worst. The university system should be a total meritocracy, based on nothing but intellectual competence and ability. Of course, to achieve this we would have to fire almost the entire faculty of every major university (since they are nearly all hired for political reasons and not their intellectual ability) and rearrange most of the system of admissions as well. If such a merit-based system results in the dominance of certain ethnic groups, so be it. As D.P. Moynihan has noted, ethnic groups often have distinct cultures which push their members towards specific professions and sectors of society. The attempt by the neo-Nazi Left to engineer this fact away is, like all its other attempts to engineer away human nature, doomed to failure and much destruction in the process.

But anti-Americanism here is staid. Tired of theocratic hard-line rule, the people are happy to get whatever help they can from abroad. The opposition radio and satellite television are widely used even in the poorer sections of Tehran. Accusations of American backing actually have given courage to the demonstrators. Unlike the streets of Paris, Berlin or Berkeley, anti-Americanism is not fashionable in Tehran. The regime, having adopted it for the past twenty-five years since the Islamic Revolution, has beaten the life out of it.

People are encouraged by the presence of U.S. in both the East (Afghanistan) and the West (Iraq) of Iran. The influence of opposition media from abroad cannot be under-estimated. But the accusations of American meddling are exaggerated and betray a certain helplessness on the part of the rulers in the face of their mounting unpopularity. This is a spontaneous uprising coming from the university and spreading out. It is an uprising that is unorganized, without leadership or ideology. A massive protest that comes from the deep discontent and frustration of a people tired of being bullied.

This is an indigenous movement of a youth who wants individual freedom and who has finally mustered enough courage to stand up and face the knives, clubs and guns of government thugs. It is exactly the improvisational nature of the uprising that gives it weight -- it is difficult for the regime to paint it as anything but genuine and indigenous. There are no leaders to assassinate or arrest and no ideology to detract - only an ever-growing frustration that has spilled into the streets.

From an extraordinary article in The Iranian. Here's the kicker:

Can the uprising keep enough momentum to topple the regime? This is the question that is now on everyone’s mind. Several factors are crucial to the success of this uprising. One is that international pressure has to be strong enough to keep the regime from shedding too much blood. Protesters hugely welcomed remarks made by George Bush that Iran should free imprisoned demonstrators.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An indigenous movement for freedom from tyranny! A grassroots uprising led by student activists! And what is the Left doing? Fighting it with everything they have! And welcoming the endorsment of the evil imperialist George W. Bush no less! The Iranian students are doing something beyond just toppling the world's most evil theocracy, they are exposing the neo-Nazi Left as the lying, doublespeaking hypocrites we all know and love. God bless a free Iran!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2003

Asian Studies Professor Brett de Bary is promoting a course that he says will be “team-taught” by the Cornell Forum for Peace and Justice (CFPJ). This course will not permit students to do much critical thinking since the instructors have already reached conclusions on the major issues to be covered. The class, entitled “Empires and Imperialisms,” is being targeted to students affiliated with the CFPJ Coalition and is described by Dr. De Bary as follows:

“I'm trying to get as much information as possible from colleagues throughout the university about events that are ALREADY SCHEDULED for the Fall Term which offer critical perspectives on "Empires and Imperialisms." This can include historical and cultural analyses of prior empires and colonial regimes, as well as work on any aspect of the Bush administration's military, economic, and environmental policies, the dismantling of civil liberties, detentions and racial profiling, and so forth.”

From FrontPageMag. Wait. It gets better:

In addition to the anti-Bush course being planned, Cornell’s Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) is holding a fundraiser by selling posters that compare George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Dana Brown, CUSLAR’s Coordinator, describes the fundraiser as follows:

“Direct from Argentina, CUSLAR brings you the latest in revolutionary posters. This full color poster complete with picture of Dubya in a Hitler moustache reads: "Bush, fascista, vos sos el terrorista" (Bush, fascist, you're the terrorist"), a popular saying in Argentina these days. CUSLAR is selling full-color reproductions of this poster (11"X17") for a suggested donation of $10 (we're poor--everything is a fundraiser). Get your poster today!”

The neo-Nazi Left has so totally taken over the academy that they can't even concieve of the idea that someone might not think that George W. Bush is the moral equivalent of Hitler - so why not teach a course on it. There's only one way to deal with these people, Napoleon said it first: attack, attack, attack.

Once Upon a Time in America

Just saw this for the first time and since its purported to be something like a great movie, I think its worth commenting on. This was the last film by the Italian director Sergio Leone, who's mainly famous for making hard-edged reimaginings of American genre films - specifically Westerns - and launching Clint Eastwood's career. All of his movies were Westerns except this one, which is a gangster film. Or rather, its an epic, bloated, convoluted commentary on the gangster film as a genre and, it seems, all of American genre cinema. It apparently took twenty years to get made and, given that the running time is nearly four hours, it was clearly intended by Leone to be his masterpiece, his great cinematic statement. Judging by the film's cult following, some movie fans consider it not only Leone's masterpiece, but damn near the greatest film ever made. Personally I thought the thing was an unholy mess, but considering I'm still thinking about it two days after, it probably merits a bit more discussion than that.

First, the good things. This is a movie that's been worked on. Leone obviously lived with the film for a long time before it was actually shot. Every frame is lavished over with a care for detail which I've seen only in the films of Kurosawa. The cinematography is extraordinary, very carefully and opulently done, but not over the top, understated in a way which has become unusual in today's film world. I have something of a weakness for Italian cinema, and one of the reasons is that you can see that the people who make Italian movies love movies. Their films are lavished over, etched out with a passionate exactitude, you can almost feel the joy taken in the art of cinema by these guys.

The film is also structured in a very artful way. It is essentially set in three time periods. The 1960s, in which an aging gangster played by Robert DeNiro is brought back into contact with the ghosts of his past, the 1910s, where he is growing up as a young punk on the Lower East Side, and the 1930s, the heyday of his gangster life, which comes to a shattering halt in a spectacular act of betrayal (I'm really trying not to give away too much plot here, the film is worth seeing in a state of ignorance as to its twists and turns). The opening sequence in particular, which jumps across several scenes in a beautifully executed montage, all in the head of DeNiro's opium-addled character, is a wonderful piece of editing. This playing with time - and the passage of time is the major theme of the picture - is the one thing movies can do which no other art form can, and Leone really goes for it in this film, its full of inventive transitions and ingenious twisting of the chronological narrative.

But the best thing about the film is the score, by regular Leone collaborator Ennio Morricone. I've actually never really cared for Morricone's memorable but otherwise shallow music, but this film is of a different order entirely. Its mostly pointless to discuss music in prose, so I'll just say that Morricone's work here is nothing short of breathtaking, for all intents and purposes it is the film, the movie cannot exist seperate from it. The music has a kind of desperate, yet utterly unfullfillable sense of longing and loss, a melancholy sadness that breaks your heart, especially in the film's later scenes.

And this sense of loss, of the heartbreak of the passage of time, is what I liked most about the movie. At certain points it has a downright poetic quality, a sense of the irretrievability of the past that I've never seen executed so artfully and with such effectiveness. The film, perhaps because its so long, has a real sense of time, of the inner soul of an old man looking back on a past he can never retrieve. The only film I can think of with a comparable sense of loss is The Magnificent Ambersons, especially the long walk back to the Amberson mansion and Welles's narration about how George has finally gotton his comeuppence, "but those who had so sorely wished for it were no longer there to see it..." I don't think there's anything more heartbreaking than the passage of time, and that sense of tragedy really lifts this film up to a loftier perch than your average gangster film.

All that being said, the movie has a lot of problems. More than anything else, the movie is despicably, reprehensibly violent. I've got a pretty strong stomach but a lot of this film is straight up cinematic sadism for no good reason that I could see. In particular, the movie revels in violence against women, sexual and otherwise. There's two or three rapes, plus some serious beating, shooting, and killing in other nasty ways. All the women in the film were either whores, nymphos or ice queens who end up raped. I understand Leone was accused of misogyny when the film was released and I'm afraid there's no real defense against that. There's certainly some realism in the way the women are treated in the film, but some of the scenes are obviously contrived and deliberately exploitative and it mars the film badly. Not the least because it introduces an air of shallow vulgarity into what is otherwise a very elegantly shot and constructed film. It doesn't jive with the whole feel of the movie, and it hurts the film badly.

Secondly, for a movie that puts a high premium on realism in terms of look, in terms of story a lot of it is totally ludicrous. The plot is mostly window dressing for the cinematography and it has so many holes that its almost impossible to follow. In a movie with a fractured narrative its natural for there to be some confusion as to plot, but in this case the lack of believability is a serious problem, and only made worse by the nonchalance of the filmmakers in regard to keeping a coherent story going. There's also a lot of digression into unnecessary subplots (there's one with a police chief played by a very young Danny Aiello that is ridiculously stupid and should have been cut) and unbelievable situations which seem to be played for laughs but are often more cruel than funny.

For me, the most disappointing aspect was the fact that this is one of the only major gangster films made about Jewish gangsters. The Jewish mob was as big and influential as the Italian one for a good part of the first half of the last century, and there's a great film just waiting to be made about figures like Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Lepke, and the rest, but this one isn't it. First of all, its painfully obvious that, while Leone has done his research, there's major gaps in his knowledge. There's a street scene in the first half of the film with a sea of Hasidic Jews going to synagogue. Leone gets everything, right down to the different hats and coats worn by the different types of Hasidim. Then about a minute later, a character announces that everyone is going to synagogue for Passover. No one goes to synagogue for Passover, you have a seder with your family. Its a massive gaffe and its not the only one. This probably doesn't matter to the average watcher, but I had a lot of trouble suspending my disbelief after that. Basically, Leone's mobsters are Italians (they're all played by Italian actors or WASPs) who occasionally say a few words in Yiddish. There's no sense of them coming from a Jewish culture or a Jewish milieu, there's no feeling of the broader world they come from, the way The Godfather is saturated with the Italian-American experience. I also disliked that Leone resorted to often-ridiculous fictions when so many of the great true stories of the Jewish mob have never been told. There are extraordinary legends out there which would be perfect for the movies and Leone used none of them. He should have done his homework.

Most of all, however, is the film's pacing and length. This film is immensely long and often excruciatingly slow. Clearly, Leone wanted a measured, dreamlike pace to the film, but often the effect is not elegance but boredom. Perhaps, having waited so long to make the film, Leone couldn't bear to cut a single frame of it. I have no idea, but at nearly four hours, this has to be one of the longest movies I've ever seen, and unlike Lawrence of Arabia or The Godfather, there just isn't enough here to justify that kind of running time. The thing moves at a snails pace, and while sometimes it is quite effective, at others its simply an annoyance. The drawn-out sound cues - which seem to have become semi-legendary among fans of the film - really are that irritating, there's a famous scene where DeNiro stirs a cup of tea for what seems like a half hour. All you hear is his spoon scraping the tea cup for an excrutiating length of time. The only excuse for that is pretentiousness or laziness, neither is particularly admirable in a filmmaker.

I have to say in the end that I remain ambivelent. I tend to like films that are ambitious, even when they fail, and this is definately a hugely ambitious movie. Its worth sitting through at least once, if only to look at its gorgeous pictures, and some people seem to have an unhealthy adoration for it, so maybe you'll be one of them. There has to be something to be said for a film that causes you to expend a half-dozen paragraphs explaining why you didn't really like it. I had a similar experiance with Gangs of New York, which I now think is a great film, so perhaps I'll revise my opinion after a little more thinking. But I doubt I'll be able to get past my major objections, the violence in the film is totally indefensible, and the thing is, unquestinably, bloated beyond all recognition. Its a giant, unwieldy monster of a film, but it has moments of truly extraordinary cinema. Particularly at the beginning and the end it manages to lose that adolescent brutality which mars its center and become something deeply melancholy and sad. Whatever one may say about it, it is a haunting film. It stays with you. And that, at least, is saying something.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

ACROSS THE COUNTRY Republicans and conservatives are asking each other the same basic question: Has the other side gone crazy? Have the Democrats totally flipped their lids? Because every day some Democrat seems to make a manic or totally over-the-top statement about George Bush, the Republican party, and the state of the nation today.

"This republic is at its greatest danger in its history because of this administration," says Democratic senator Robert Byrd.

"I think this is deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America," says liberal commentator Bill Moyers.

From an excellent and unflinchingly accurate article by David Brooks in the Weekly Standard. It gets better:

It's mystifying. Fury rarely wins elections. Rage rarely appeals to suburban moderates. And there is a mountain of evidence that the Democrats are now racing away from swing voters, who do not hate George Bush, and who, despite their qualms about the economy and certain policies, do not feel that the republic is being raped by vile and illegitimate marauders. The Democrats, indeed, look like they're turning into a domestic version of the Palestinians--a group so enraged at their perceived oppressors, and so caught up in their own victimization, that they behave in ways that are patently not in their self-interest, and that are almost guaranteed to perpetuate their suffering.


When they look to the culture at large, many Democrats feel that the climate is so hostile to them they can't even speak up. During the war in Iraq, liberals claimed that millions of Americans were opposed to war, but were afraid to voice their opinions, lest the Cossacks come charging through their door. The actor Tim Robbins declared, "Every day, the airwaves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and fear." Again, conservatives regard this as ludicrous. Stand up and oppose the war, conservatives observe, and you'll probably win an Oscar, a National Magazine Award, and tenure at four dozen prestigious universities. But the liberals who made these complaints were sincerely expressing the way they perceive the world.

And when they look at Washington, they see a cohesive corporate juggernaut, effortlessly pushing its agenda and rolling over Democratic opposition. Again, this is not how Republicans perceive reality. Republicans admire President Bush a great deal, but most feel that, at least on domestic policy, the conservative agenda has been thwarted as much as it has been advanced. Bush passed two tax cuts, but on education he abandoned school choice and adopted a bill largely written by Ted Kennedy. On Medicare, the administration has abandoned real reform and embraced a bill also endorsed by Kennedy. On campaign finance, the president signed a bill promoted by his opponents. The faith-based initiatives are shrinking to near nothingness. Social Security reform has disappeared from the agenda for the time being. Domestic spending has increased.

But this is the kicker. I was at this graduation and I sent the original link to Andrew Sullivan, who posted in at his website, which I'm guessing is where Mr. Brooks saw it. Needless to say, I'm slightly this side of ecstatic that I actually managed, in my own small way, to get Mr. Kushner a whack by the Weekly Standard. It just proves how totally the web has opened the marketplace of ideas to all. Yeah, I'm happy about this:

But if you listened to liberal rhetoric, you would think America was convulsed in a Manichean struggle of good against evil. Here, for example, is the liberal playwright Tony Kushner addressing the graduating seniors at Columbia College in Chicago. This passage is not too far off from the rhetoric one can find in liberal circles every day:

And this is what I think you have gotten your education for. You have presumably made a study of how important it is for people--the people and not the oil plutocrats, the people and not the fantasists in right-wing think tanks, the people and not the virulent lockstep gasbags of Sunday morning talk shows and editorial pages and all-Nazi all-the-time radio ranting marathons, the thinking people and not the crazy people, the rich and multivarious multicultural people and not the pale pale grayish-white cranky grim greedy people, the secular pluralist people and not the theocrats, the misogynists, Muslim and Christian and Jewish fundamentalists, the hard-working people and not the people whose only real exertion ever in their whole parasite lives has been the effort it takes to slash a trillion plus dollars in tax revenue and then stuff it in their already overfull pockets.

Second, there is the frequent and relentless resort to conspiracy theories. If you judged by newspapers and magazines this spring, you could conclude that a secret cabal of Straussians, Jews, and neoconservatives (or perhaps just Richard Perle alone) had deviously seized control of the United States and were now planning bloody wars of conquest around the globe.

I love this job.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Now this is interesting. I think a Jewish/Hindu alliance against radical Islam is one hell of a good idea. Israel needs another ally, and it would put paid to the neo-Nazi Left's ridiculous preening as the champion of the Third World. Some Third Worlders, it seems, have declined to be championed.

Friday, June 20, 2003

The Rosenbergs' refusal to cooperate with the authorities, given the dire consequences for themselves and their children, convinced many naïve leftists that the Rosenbergs must have been innocent, despite the evidence presented at their trial. These people were also influenced by the Communist Party's vigorous defense of the Rosenbergs, conducted through a series of fronts.

However, the evidence emerging since the Rosenbergs' trial has been damning. The now-declassified Venona files, the decrypted telegrams of Soviet agents to their Moscow masters, mention Julius on multiple occasions. They also reveal that Ethel knew about her husband's espionage, and assisted him in his work. And starting in 1997, Julius' Soviet handler, retired KGB agent Aleksandr Feklisov, described his extensive interactions with Julius; first in a PBS documentary, later in a detailed memoir. The conspiracy charges against the Rosenbergs were just.

From a terrific slam aginst the Rosenberg Industry at FrontPageMag. Here's the payoff:

Despite all his failings, I still can't feel much but pity for Robert Meeropol. Although his folks treated him to one miserable childhood, it's not surprising that he continues to defend his parents. Admitting the truth, that he was abandoned, would be far too painful. But his efforts to rehabilitate the Rosenbergs are both ahistorical and immoral, and his supporters, lacking his infamous parents, lack his excuse. Those who attempt to deny or justify the Rosenbergs' treason perpetuate a horrendous lie. Although it's been fifty years since the Rosenbergs' execution, we all would do well to remember - to remember the horrors of a century of Communism, to remember the draw their anti-Americanism still has on the neo-Communist Left, and to remember that criminal actions do have consequences, even those committed in the name of social justice.

Right on right on. Read it all. This neo-Nazi rally - sorry, "cultural event" - got a write-up in the NY Times today. Not a word, naturally, that the Rosenbergs were nguilty as charged. That might mean the US government doesn't summarily execute people for their political beliefs, and we can't have that can we?

Thursday, June 19, 2003

It is my pleasure to announce that Congress has decided to investigate the charges of political bias that have been leveled against Title VI programs by critics like Martin Kramer, Daniel Pipes, and myself. This Thursday, June 19, at 1:00 P.M. in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Select Education will hold a hearing entitled, "International Programs in Higher Education and Questions of Bias." I will testify at that hearing, and it is likely that defenders of Title VI will also be called as witnesses. There could be fireworks. I will post a report on the hearings next week.

Stanley Kurtz at the indispensable Nazi-hunting site campus-watch. Needless to say, this is excellent news. Check out this well-deserved slam on neo-Nazi Arab supremacist Leftwinger Edward Said:

Said has also called for the International Criminal Court to prosecute Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright, and General Wesley Clark as war criminals. According to Said, the genocidal actions of these American leaders make Slobodan Milosevic himself look like "a rank amateur in viciousness." Said has even treated the very idea of American democracy a farce. He has belittled the reverence in which Americans hold the Constitution, which Said dismisses with the comment that it was written by "wealthy, white, slaveholding, Anglophilic men."

Yet Edward Said is the most honored and influential theorist in academic area-studies today. Just last year, the Middle East Studies Association, many of whose members are associated with Title VI centers, joined its European counterparts in presenting Edward Said with a special award for his unparalleled contribution to Middle East studies. In his book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, Martin Kramer details the pervasive influence of Edward Said's post-colonial theory on Middle East studies, as I myself have noted in my discussion of Kramer's book.

It gets worse:

Talk about student safety is nothing but a pretext for a politically motivated boycott of the NSEP by Title VI-funded scholars bitterly opposed to American foreign policy. That is made unequivocally clear by an early pro-boycott statement by the Association of Concerned African Scholars. That statement explains the boycott as a refusal to aid a U.S. policy that "[subverts] progressive governments and national liberation movements" throughout Africa.

For my earlier piece, "Ivory Scam," I reported on a Ford Foundation study that clearly describes the NSEP boycott as politically motivated. That study acknowledges that during the 1980's, "American scholars who supported U.S. policy...more or less withdrew from the African Studies community." The same was true of U.S. policy supporters in other area-studies fields, except that it would be more accurate to say that supporters of U.S. policy were driven out of area studies, than that they "withdrew."

Talk about the worst kept secret in academe. Leftist professors deliberately purging their ideological enemies? Whoda thunk it?