Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mailvox: head games

MC is convinced that the church is lying to women:

I'm not a feminist, I'm a stay-at-home-mom and babysat my g-child her first 5 years. I believed in the submission misteaching for a long time, then I learned: The Bible says the man is the head of the *woman,* not of the household.

Moreover, the word *head* is from a Greek word meaning *source*, not leader.Furthermore, the whole passage starts with submission to one another, and includes men submitting to wives, honoring them so their prayers be not hindered. Please read 10 Lies the Church Tells Women and/or see some insights into the Greek.

So, what can we logically conclude from this supposedly corrected teaching?

1. Jesus Christ being the "head" of the church grants him no authority over the church or leadership within it.

2. Since men are to submit to their wives, this relieves women of the burden of submitting to her husband in all things, of obeying him, of not denying him sexually and so forth. One wonders, of course, how the "mutually submissive" can explain the need for one equal partner to obey the other.

3. There is no leader within a household.

4. There is no special relationship between husband and wife, since Christians are also told to submit to one another outside the marriage relationship.

I can't imagine how this interpretation could possibly lead to weakened marriages and an enervated Christian Church, can you? Take a shot as to who has produced this defense of an "equal partners" doctrine, I mean, you'd never guess it was ordained female ministers, would you?

Who we are... We're three women from Texas--Barbara Collins, Gay Anderson and Pat Joyce. Barbara and Gay came to the Lord in the 60's and Pat in the 70's. Although we are all ordained ministers, we have found our identity in Him; and He's been our life since we first met Him. On this basis, we would like to share some of the truths we have discovered.

I just wonder if they ignore the bits about women being silent in the church and the various restrictions on church leadership positions as being a) cultural traditions, b) a misinterpretation of Paul's supposed sarcasm, or c) Paul's sexism. A glance at their site suggests (a), but the problem with this theory, of course, is that it is now completely culturally acceptable to have sex with a woman on the first date across most of what used to be known as Christendom.

By the way, the value of the teachings of these women can be readily discerned from one of the ten "lies" they list:


Women are certainly capable of spreading deception because they have a fallen nature as men do, but there is no evidence that they have greater gullibility. That view is rooted in demeaning stereotypes and prejudice.

No, that view is rooted in easily demonstrable historical fact. It is why every would-be dictator from Lenin to Mussolini has encouraged female participation in politics. There is a staggering amount of evidence that women are more gullible than men, this holds true regardless of whether one is concerned with dating or demagogues.

It is ironic that supporters of women's rights will argue with a straight face that despite their rhetoric and manifesto, the Fascists weren't truly supporters of women's rights, that Mussolini only supported women's rights in order to gain power. This is true, of course, the very minor point that they're missing there is that the scenario was not unique to historical Italy, but applies everywhere. The only reason women are still allowed to vote in the United States is that since American freedom is not yet completely eradicated, the tool cannot yet be disposed of.

What's the difference between a lesbian feminist and a Christian Jezebel? One is a Strong Independent Woman, the other is a Strong Anointed Woman. I can't imagine that there's any feminist influence in the following sentence, can you?

To associate godly women with Jezebel, a wicked Old Testament despot, is unfair and offensive, yet men in the church today often pin Jezebel's label on strong, anointed women because they feel threatened by them.

Fab-U-lous! Whining about unfairness, playing victim, launching a passive-aggressive attack... I can't believe they even dug up the old "threatened" canard! The only thing that was missing is an assertion that their critics aren't getting laid.

Mailvox: on Jesus Christ and leadership

Despite choosing a name that is after my own heart, Sartrewasamoron reveals a complete failure to grok the concept of leadership, let alone the way in which Jesus Christ exercised it:

Jesus, the consumate leader of the church, and the consumate completely submitted follower of the Father ... two utterly nonconflicting roles carried out at the same time perfectly... empty of self and never bitterly demanding his "rights" as a leader be respected ... laying down his "rights" and sacrificing all, as all leaders must if they are in fact leaders, per God the Father. You remember the Father, don't you? After all, He gave His all, His Son. Or had you forgotten? You know, it's a leadership thing, giving ... but you can't seem to grasp it.

What a complete crock of stinking nonsense. Giving cannot possibly be a leadership thing, or God would not require it of everyone. "We are all leaders!" cry the Gamma Males, “everyone is the same!” assert the Beta Females, all unconvincingly and with no basis in science, Scripture, logic or language. And in every case, a profound and willful obtuseness towards the words and deeds of Jesus Christ are demonstrated.

For Jesus Christ did not bitterly demand his rights, he blithely exercised them. The desperate, defensive attempts to elevate one example of service over the cornucopia of exercises in leadership are hilarious, or at least they would be if one could not see the terrible damage the doctrine the "servant leaders" have pushed on church and society has wrought. In but a few chapters of a single book, one can see many examples of how he “humbly served”:

He issues direct orders: "Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." - John 5:8. "When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." - John 6:12

He gives warnings of future consequences: "Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." - John 5:14

He understands the principle of delegation: "Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son" - John 5:22

He delegates and trusts his followers to enact his will: "Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." - John 6:10

He allows his followers to experience the consequences of refusing his leadership: "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you?....From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.” - John 6:60-67

[Note - I regard this to be a key example. Too many leaders are lured into micromanagement in honest efforts to prevent their followers from making predictable mistakes. Much better to warn them, allow them to make their own decisions, then let them experience the consquences, including punishment if necessary. Then remind them that they were warned. Most will learn to trust the leader, those that don't are incorrigible and should be fired.]

His actions are not subject to questioning or explanation: "Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?" - John 4:27

One thing that has become very clear to me throughout this discussion is how few individuals, male or female, have any concept of what leadership is. Leadership is not about giving orders, although the leader has to be willing and able to give them. It is not about controlling others, although the leader has to be in control. It is not about giving, although the leader has to be willing to sacrifice his interests for the long-term interests of the group he is leading. The fact that nearly every defender of the "servant leader" myth points to what is obviously poor and ineffective leadership as a substitute for making their case only underlines the fundamental weakness of their position.

Ironically, the Sports Guy has a better grasp than most on the concept underlying the theological matter. In a recent column, he identified the three marks of a terrible NBA general manager, which can be directly applied to three marks of a terrible business or family leader:

1. Puts own short-term interests ahead of team's long-term interests.
2. Focused on tomorrow's possibilities instead of today's realities.
3. A total inability to grasp financial limits.

With regards to the theological, it is the first flaw that is the most applicable. Ken Lay of Enron and Bernard Ebbars of WorldCom were terrible leaders because they demonstrated more interest in exploiting the opportunities presented to them in their positions than in exercising their duty to their employees and shareholders. The good CEO, like the good husband, is concerned first with protecting the long-term interests (not the immediate desires) of those over whom he holds authority; if he does an excellent job in that regard no one will begrudge him the perquisites of his position.

Leadership is, first and foremost, about providing direction to those who follow. This does not mean constantly giving orders or watching for every minor misstep, indeed, a tendency to micromanage is the hallmark of the incompetent middle manager and in any high-functioning corporation this is usually enough to disqualify a contender from reaching executive status. Anyone who has ever served in the military will know that the best officers are those who know how to delegate, who make sure that everyone knows the plan, knows their role in it, and then leaves them alone to perform that role to the best of their ability. It is the leader's trust in the follower that inspires the follower's faith in the leader.

Of course, when that trust in the follower is disappointed, the leader has a responsibility to correct the follower's failure. Turning to God in prayer instead of speaking to the errant wife is an abdication of that responsibility; imagine the reaction of the general if a lieutenant complained that a private was not listening to him, or a CEO if a technical support manager complained that someone manning the tech support phone lines refused to answer the phones. In either case, the result will be, at a minimum, a much-deserved butt-chewing for the incompetent lieutenant or manager.

The fundamental stupidity of the "mutual submission" doctrine - or "equal partners" as I prefer to more accurately describe it - is that it deprives a family of leadership and therefore direction. Submission cannot be a synonym for obedience, as it is not possible for two individuals to obey each other, nor can it erase the command for wives to obey their husbands anymore than it cancels out the command for husbands to love their wives.

An equal partnership sans leadership, regardless of the rationalization for it, is likely to result in a constant struggle for power, a lack of unified direction and eventual failure. Perhaps it is only a coincidence that this has become a common description of many Christian marriages today following the rise of the servant leader myth, but I highly doubt it.

There is truth in the old chestnuts. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mailvox: doctrinal grammar

JJ asks for clarification:

Are you saying that the idea of "servant leadership" should be thrown out entirely or that it's simply a misapplied concept in the marital relationship? I'm in agreement with you that the church, in general, has acquiesced to the feminist culture and not stood by its guns in its teachings on marriage. On the other hand, if we are to follow Christ's example and there is no such thing as servant leadership, how do we explain what He said in Luke 22:27 ("For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.").

At this point, I'd say to throw it out entirely as poisonous and demonstrably destructive. My view is that one must apply the noun first - leadership - and then concern oneself with the fine points of the adjective second. In the absence of
the former, the latter is completely irrelevant.

A man who focuses on being a servant to his wife and pays no mind to being her leader is missing the point far more completely than the man who is a harsh and cruel leader. For, as is pointed out in the Old Testament, the man is destined to not only lead, but oppress. As a leader, a man will have a natural tendency to be a cruel one without the mitigating effects of Jesus Christ's teachings on what kind of leader a man should aspire to be.

There is another option, of course. The man's leadership role can be surrendered to an even harsher authority, a third party in the marriage that respects no limits and worships no god except itself.

A slug in reserve

PS takes exception to what he considers today's cheap shot at Catholics:

Salve VOX,

I usually like your column and agree whole-heartedly with your analysis today, on the pandering to feminism. But, why the non-sequitur of picking on the Catholic Church. We Catholics are always such an easy target. Don't you realize that transubstantiation has a very specific meaning for us, and has nothing to do with saints or pagans, unless, of course you consider Catholics to be pagans. I sincerely hope you don't, and that you understand what saints really mean to us.

This always becomes the rant and rave I hear from evangelical friends, who accuse us Catholics of something which they simply don't understand. The early Church did use pagan cultural symbols, "gods", festivals etc, as a non-threatening and easilly understood metaphorical means to explain the Good News to essentially illiterate people. eg, St Patrick used the shamrock, but Patrick was a real person..

Didn't Jesus use metaphor to help explain ? The Church wasn't pandering to pagans any more than Jesus was. Remember, He was preaching to religious Jews; but the early church was preaching to people without a previous monotheistic background, and had to learn to grasp a whole foreign background with the concepts and truths of Christianity.

As PS probably knows, I don't have any personal issues with the Catholic Church. However, I do not think you can reasonably excuse as metaphor a practice which, however proper the doctrineal theory, has resulted in praying TO, not for, dead people. I see that as precisely the same sort of cultural accomodation which the Protestant church has made with feminism, to its similar confusion and subsequent detriment.

Transubstantiation, small-t, is used correctly in the column, i.e., to change (one substance) into another; transmute, and the doctrine of the servant leader certainly changes the substance of the Biblical household doctrine. I merely chose to use that particular term as a semantical connection, not as a double-barrelled slam. So, while the reference to saints and pagan gods can be considered a shot - albeit hardly a cheap one - the proper use of a noun should not be considered as one, nor was it intended to be.

Christian or falsely conscious?

MJ reveals an insufficient feminist indoctrination... or perhaps it is that diabolical Patriarchy imposing a false consciousness on her:

I'm a 31 year old conservative Christian wife and mother. I attend an Independent Baptist Church whose leadership is about as politically incorrect as they come. I believe the pastor, if questioned would not argue against the Bible's teaching on the proper role of a wife. Unfortunately, this important subject is not addressed. My personal opinion is that women are most to blame for poor marriages and divorces among Christian couples. (given the man is a normal guy and not some crazed misogynist) I believe this because most Christian men perform their duties as husbands that the Bible commands, but most Christian women do not. They don't honor their husbands, they don't obey, and they don't maintain a household that creates a sanctuary for their husbands. The Bible is very clear about what a wife is expected to do and not do, and sadly too many Pastors and Churches (as you point out in your column) are not. There's a phenomenal book, written for women, on this very subject. The title is Created To Be His Help Meet, and the author is Debi Pearl. If all Christian women would read this book and follow its advice, we'd live in a different world.

It is remarkable, the difference between what many pastors believe and what they are willing to say from the pulpit. This is particularly annoying when one considers how the wolves in sheep's clothing are far bolder than the shepherds.

I may have to rethink the death penalty

Color me superficial, but with no dearth of evil under the sun, reading this upset me more than anything in months:

Vandals wrecked Europe's most valuable collection of 60 Jaguar cars by crashing them in a game of dodgems. The cars, including some models dating back to the 1930s, were said to be worth more than £1million.

I don't consider myself an aesthete, will only visit a museum if lured into one by a suffiently attractive member of the opposite sex and am deeply suspicious of anyone who sits deep in seeming reflection before a painting for more than five minutes, but this subhuman lack of respect for beauty infuriates me. I think I can find more sympathy for the hit man, whose motives I can at least understand, than for these uncivilized cretins.

I sold my Jaguar years ago, and while I don't regret it the way I regret selling my MGB, I still retain great fondness for the family car. (The cruelest telephone call I have ever received was from Little Miss Dartmouth, who gently broke the news of a certain automotive merger some years ago to me by singing, sans introduction, "have you driven a Ford... lately?")

If the British authorities ever catch these unspeakable vandals, I hope they'll consider turning them over to my uncles for punishment. They are mechanically-skilled and automotively-minded engineers who literally fly the Jaguar flag for what they consider to be the most significant 24 hours of the year. I think they could be trusted to wreak proper justice on the barbarians.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Discuss amongst yourselves

A medal for Horatius

This made me laugh:

Rome, II Calends, April CCCLX
SUBJECT: Recommendation for Senate Medal of Honor

TO: Department of War, Republic of Rome

I. Recommend Caius Horatius, Captain of Foot, CMCMXIV, for the Senate Medal of Honor.

II. Captain Horatius has served XVI years, all honorable.

III. On the II day of March, during the attack on the city by Lars Porsena of Clausium and his Tuscan Army of CMX men, Captain Horatius, with Sergeant Sporius Laritus and Corporal Julius Herminius, held the entire Tuscan army at the far end of the bridge, until the structure could be destroyed, thereby saving the city.

IV. Captain Horatius did valiantly fight and kill one Major Picus of Clausium in individual combat.

V. The exemplary courage and the outstanding leadership of Captain Horatius are in the highest tradition of the Roman Army.

Biding their time

Dunnigan's Strategy Page has not forgotten about the Kurds:

Kurdish popular sentiment strongly favors an independent Kurdistan. In contrast to their followers, however, the leaders of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which have been acting in concert for some time now to run northern Iraq, are proceeding very cautiously. At present Kurdistan is effectively autonomous within Iraq, and far more stable and prosperous than the rest of the country. Attempting to establish a separate Kurdish state would bring problems not only with Iraq (which probably couldn't do much about the matter anyway), but also with Turkey and Iran, both of which have restive Kurdish minorities. And the U.S. would probably be very unhappy about the move as well, as it would be a serious blow to American efforts to create a stable Iraq.

It is typical that the media, both pro- and anti-administration, is completely focused on the Sunni-Shia divide, when it is the Kurds who will likely deal the death blow to Dear Leader's opium dream of a united, free and democratic Iraq. The Kurds have been waiting decades for this opportunity and they're determined not to blow it now by alienating the Americans any sooner than is necessary. While they are very grateful to the USA, they also know better than almost anyone how fickle American support can be and they know they cannot count on it when they declare independence.

The reason for this is that Turkey is an important American ally and Kurdish-Turkish relations are far more bitter than Kurdish-Iraqi relations ever were. Saddam slaughtered them when they revolted during the first Gulf War, but otherwise treated them reasonably well, allowing them to speak their own language and maintain their own culture, whereas the Turks have banned the Kurdish tongue and force Kurdish children to attend Turkish schools where are only allowed to speak Turkish and are taught that they are Turks, not Kurds.

Once it became clear that George Bush, for all his lofty talk of self-determination, had no intention of allowing the Kurds to pursue it, I was convinced that there would not be a peep out of the Kurds until either the American withdrawal is complete or the Sunnis and Shias begin fighting it out in earnest. But only the most naive of analysts would discount the determination of this much-abused people to take advantage of what is literally the best chance they will ever have to establish their own nation at last.

My guess is that the Kurds are quietly hoping that the USA will move on Iran in some capacity, a move they will enthusiastically assist in order to sever Iranian Kurdistan from Iran and expand the borders of a sovereign Kurdistan. This will then likely turn the already tumultuous area of Turkish Kurdistan (or, if you prefer out of respect to our good NATO ally, Kurdish Turkey) into a hotspot on the order of Kashmir.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Xine and Synaptic

So, I can finally go back to using Linux, but I'm having a problem with Xine. Somehow, the upgrade to FC4 caused Xine to go out of whack and when I try to reinstall it with Synaptic, I get an package error about and something called or whatever. I'm using the standard repositories, so perhaps it's as simple as being directed to the right ones, but anyhow, if anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Falsibility and fraud

From New Scientist magazine, 3 December 2005:

America's first footprints too old to be human

Silvia Gonzalez of Liverpool John Moores University, UK, surprised the world media in July at a Royal Society exhibition in London by suggesting that markings found in a layer of ancient volcanic ash near Puebla were 40,000-year-old footprints. This would mean that people arrived in the Americas at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought.

But the markings are unlikely to have been made by humans after all, because new argon dating reveals the rocks are 1.3 million years old. The first humans did not evolve in Afirca until a million years later.

At least they had the honesty to say "unlikely". But it's a circular argument. Anthropology and geology claim to be sciences because they are falsifiable. How would one falsify the scientific theory that people arrived in the Americas only 10,000 years ago? Presumably by finding evidence that they had, such as footprints.

But when such evidence is found, it is declared irrelevant because it testifies that the extant theory is false. (It's entirely possible that the markings aren't footprints, of course, but it is illogical to argue that they cannot due solely to their violation of one's theoretical assumptions.) Therefore, this is evidence that anthropology is not a science, for precisely the same reason that it can be argued that intelligent design is not a science, namely, it is not falsifiable.

As I mentioned before, I have a short story dealing with an archeologist who finds fossiles that prove dinosaurs and humans co-existed. I postulated that there would be great temptation, perhaps even external pressure, to destroy the evidence because it would overturn so many "scientific" theories. It seems that in this, too, reality may be capable of coopting fiction.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Mailvox: the grammar geek

Elena is up for some copyediting:

Would you need cross-referencing from Book 3 to the two previous? What style guide do you prefer: Chicago, Associated Press, or something else? (I notice you often don't use the series comma.) Do you need fact checking (stats, scientific facts, dates, etc.) as well? How quickly do you need the work done?

Email me, Elena, and we can rectify your unseemly ignorance with regards to the literary crimes. In answer to your questions, No, AP is all I have, No, Not all that quickly since I'm going to add a scene first. However, her reference to the series comma reminds me of a conversation with the editor of WORLD.

VD: So, am I supposed to drop the comma before the and or not? What's the deal.

ED: You're grammatically okay either way, but I hate it. The proper term for it is the serial comma and I like to say it's because whenever I see it, it makes me want to go on a serial killing spree. (loud chortles, mixed with one or two distinct snorts)

VD: (alarmed silence)

ED: I'm kind of a grammer geek, I guess.

VD: You didn't get asked out a lot in high school, did you.

ED: Strangely, no.

She had to move in fast

Since Mary Kay LeTourneau was already making eyes at him:

A 37-year-old day care worker was arrested for allegedly raping and sexually abusing a four-year-old boy, police say.

Sources tell us in what amounts to a bizarre confession that the suspect is actually accusing the four-year-old boy of seducing her. But police are not buying that explanation as they investigate several instances of rape and sexual abuse inside the day care center over a six-week period.

Clever, clever police. Clearly, nothing gets past the men in blue. As BL, who brought this to my attention, pointed out, this has to be one of the most extreme possible examples of a woman attempting to avoid responsiblity for her actions.

Although perhaps she is innocent and we're witnessing the second coming of Casanova. One wonders how a four-year old Don Juan goes about chatting up the ladies... hey, I don't know if you realized this, but I'm using the big potty now. Care to see my crib?

The adventure begins

From the ex-publisher:

Per your request, we are cancelling our contract for Book #3 and will revert rights to Books #1 and #2 back to you

In cooperation with another writer, I'm planning to arrange for the publishing of the third Eternal Warriors novel, THE WRATH OF ANGELS, most likely through a small secular publisher of my acquaintance. However, the arrangement will allow for me to sell the books directly over the Internet to those who would like them four to six months in advance of their official release in the bookstores by the publisher.

This will also allow for me to test my theory that releasing free ebooks is beneficial to book sales. However, I have a few questions:

1. I'd like to find five volunteers to help with copy-editing the third book. If anyone is interested, please fire me an email. An interest in fantasy and a prediliction, if not an obsession, with detail is desirable. Familiarity with the first two books is also a plus.

2. I'm contemplating two options. One is a fat omnibus version of all three books, either in hardcover, which would probably run 850 pages at $29.95 or thereabouts. The other is a simple trade paperback which would be similar to the previous two books, 400 pages and $12.95. Which is of more interest? Would the former feel like a ripoff if you already own the first two books? If so, perhaps doing both would be best.

3. What's the best way to handle pre-orders? Take credit card numbers but not run them through until the books are shipped? Take checks but not cash them? Trust people to place an order if they say they will?

And yes, if this works out well, I'll consider doing a non-fiction book this way.

Mailvox: income, leadership and power

Morgan forgets she came late to the party:

The funny thing is, Nate, that you do get a pass here. If you weren't a regular here and some liberal guy came in and said he stayed at home and was supported by his wife, every yahoo in this place would call him a panty-waist, pussy-whipped Nancy Boy.

The Pan-Gargler never got any such pass, as yahoos and non-yahoos alike certainly made all of the requisite dismissals before we eventually got bored with it. Hence the occasional "don't you have some ironing to do", etc. But the way in which he comported himself during that time made it clear that the label didn't stick very well; the process was, of course, classic male group dynamics. By the way, if you've never read the old post about Nate and Bane surviving TEOTWAWKI together, you've truly missed out.

If Dr. Who went down to the bank tomorrow and took your name off the bank account and refused to give you a penny or allow you to make financial decisions, the only recourse you would have would be to divorce her. She is kind to you, though, and doesn't do that. However, she has the power. You don't. Ergo, she is the leader.

Morgan commits three errors here. First, she conflates leadership with earned income. This very sloppy thinking can be easily disproven in the broad sense either by comparing the dictionary definitions of the two concepts or by the various examples already provided. Indeed, in the case of the corporate CEO, he is hired to provide leadership by those who are in authority over him, the owners. They have the power, he is the leader and the question of income is irrelevant because it can flow to the advantage of one or the other, or even be negative for the owners, depending on the financial circumstances.

Her second error can be seen in the narrow sense of power, leadership and income within the married relationship. Morgan implicitly accepts core feminist ideology here, which states that an unemployed married woman is under the power of her husband due to his income-earning. This is why many women believe they must have careers, in order to maintain their independence even within the context of a married relationship. This is a poisonous and destructive belief; it is also false.

As Camille Paglia points out, when one party labors and the other party spends the greater part of the fruit of that labor, the power clearly rests with the latter party. Is it the employer or the employee who is considered to hold the power? Morgan and the feminists have the matter precisely backward,

Her third error is, in light of the other two, relatively minor, but it is a howler and reveals her fundamentally feminine outlook. If Dr. Who were to cease providing funds to the Pan-Galactic one, divorce is far from his only recourse. Being a man, and therefore oriented towards problem-solving, it would be the simplest of matters to get up, ignore the household chores and go out to work, thereby obtaining the means to buy the truck, motorcycle or whatever else Dr. Who might wish to deny him. In fact, I daresay that divorce would not even enter into his mind, because most men do not consider it their inherent right to be provided for, even those men who are sufficiently provided for. Even if we accepted the feminist notion of income=power, it would be clear that Dr. Who holds that unique power only as long as Nate is willing to sit in his hot tub playing X-Box.

Now, as to a proper practical definition of leadership. The leader, in any household, is the one with two votes in the event of disagreement. If a woman wishes to homeschool her children and her husband wants them in the public schools, the probable leader of that household is easily determined by how the children are schooled. In fact, women are the heads of many households; I believe this is a common reason for female marital dissatisfaction as the natural desire to be in control conflicts with the natural desire to not be responsible.

The good leader takes into account everyone's wishes, makes the best decision he can and accepts responsibility for the consequences. While it is not impossible for women to be leaders, in general they are much happier to be influencers as a distaste for decision-making and an absolute hatred for being held accountable by others are very common traits among the female sex.

And no, there can never be two leaders, especially not in a relationship. One need only survey the ignominious history of matrix management or organizations with two heads to understand this. If there are two "leaders", then there is not a leader, there is only the inevitable power struggle until a leader is settled upon.

What was that about no evidence?

WND has the latest on the mercury-autism link:

A new study shows a direct relationship between mercury in children's vaccines and autism, contradicting government claims there is no proven relationship between the two.

Published in the March 10 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the data show since mercury was removed from childhood vaccines, the increase in reported rates of autism and other neurological disorders in children not only stopped, but actually dropped sharply – by as much as 35 percent.

Using the government's own databases, independent researchers analyzed reports of childhood neurological disorders, including autism, before and after removal of mercury-based preservatives.

According to a statement from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, or AAPS, the numbers from California show that reported autism rates hit a high of 800 in May 2003. If that trend had continued, the reports would have risen to more than 1,000 by the beginning of 2006. But the number actually went down to 620, a real decrease of 22 percent, and a decrease from the projection of 35 percent.

Stated the AAPS: "This analysis directly contradicts 2004 recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, which examined vaccine safety data from the National Immunization Program of the CDC. While not willing to either rule out or to corroborate a relationship between mercury and autism, the IOM soft-pedaled its findings and decided no more studies were needed."

Of course, the proper scientific thing to do would be to conduct a large-scale blind study and shoot 10,000 kids full of mercury-laden vaccines, shoot another 10,000 full of non-mercury vaccines and leave a third group of 10,000 alone. Why would this be unethical, considering that all three options either have been done or are being done now without anything being considered except doctors' opinions based on the information they are provided by the vaccine makers?

Occam's Razor suggests that both the vaccine makers and the doctors know that vaccines, especially the mercury-laden ones, have been causing harm, so they are desperate to keep the waters muddied and avoid any conclusive proof from being established once and for all. Otherwise, why object to allowing the proven methodology of science to settle the matter?

I suppose they will argue that there were too many false diagnoses of autism taking place, which coincidentally happened to stop at precisely the time that thimerosal was removed from many of the vaccines. It's possible, of course, but color me, as always, skeptical.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

End game conservatives

Dear Leader's support continues to fall away:

John Derbyshire: Well, I'm with Bill Buckley and George Will. This pig's ear is never going to be made into a silk purse, not by any methods or expenditures the American people are willing to countenance. The only questions worth asking about Iraq at this point are: How does GWB get out of this with the least damage to US interests, and to his party's future prospects?

So, Kristol and Shapiro are starting to blame the insufficiently bloodthirsty, Buckley, Will and Derbyshire are outright proclaiming failure and Ledeen has fallen suprisingly silent with regards to the freedom-loving people of Iran who are just waiting to rise up against their Islamofascist - a dumb word if I've ever seen one, as anyone who knows anything about fascism can tell you that the mullahs are less fascistic than the neocons - oppressors.

Either we're about to declare victory and leave, or this is the calm before the storm. I truly hope for the former, but I'm afraid the latter is more likely.

R.I.P. White Buffalo

I'm pretty sure he died laughing when he read Carrie's comment:

No, I'm perfectly willing to believe you are a typical male, with a typical male ego that needs typical male crutches. You need to feel superior to women and you need to "prove" yourself to the world at large.

I'm fairly sure that crutches, stroking or any other form of assistance for my oversized ego is close to the absolute last thing that any of my friends, family and acquaintances believe I need. The fact that there are no shortage of arrogant posers out there does not mean that the real thing does not exist.

Big Chilly's wife just called, apparently they had to call the paramedics for him. They've got him on sedatives and are reading from Bill Clinton's MY LIFE in order to stabilize the chortling; fortunately he built up a partial resistance to attacks of lethal amusement by attending a performance of Wodehouse's THE PLAY'S THE THING at the Guthrie few years back.

If it were not for the knowledge that pride goes before a fall and that God hates it, I have no doubt that I'd be entirely insufferable. Indeed, I am told that prior to learning, as Bono says so well, how to kneel, I was entirely insufferable. But I don't believe that God values false modesty, nor do I believe there is anything to be gained from such deceit.

Not only in America

An Aussiesums up the answer to an oft-heard question:

You women might be disgusted by our reasoning and try brow beating us or shaming us into thinking that we are doing something wrong but it won't work. Commitment for men in Australia is like playing Russian Roulette with three bullets in a six round revolver. Would any woman be willing to play that game?

Don't waste your time attacking us guys, we can't change the way women are behaving. If women want us guys to commit then you women need to change your own behaviour, government policy and laws so that commitment is not longer so dangerous. Your feminist sisters have created the problem so stop blaming men and tell the women who have made commitment a life threatening condition for men to BACK OFF.

By the way, the Federal Government is concerned about the drop in the number of children us Australians are having. Hmmm, do you think the reason behind the drop in children might have something to do with men not taking the risk of losing everything to a woman he gets pregnant??? Is it because every young man in Australia has a close friend or relative who has lost everything to a woman who took his children from him???

I found the overall discussion to be both funny and telling. As usual, it follows the typical format:

WOMAN: Why are men so afraid of commitment?
MAN #1: Because we're not crazy. Look at how the deck is stacked against us.
WOMAN: Well, that's only because we've been oppressed for 10,000 years. It's payback time.
MAN #1: I never oppressed anyone.
WOMAN: Well, someone did. And who? Men! And you're a man, so obviously you're an immature, controlling would-be rapist at heart, so you'll oppress me and my sisters again unless we make sure the government keeps you chained down. We have to protect ourselves, you know.
MAN #1: Ooookay... gotta go.
WOMAN: Hey, where are you going? Look, I've got a diploma! What's the matter with you? Yeah, well, no one wants you anyway! You just can't handle a smart, sexy, successful woman.
MAN #2: What's going on? I heard some shouting.
WOMAN: Oh, nothing. (deep sigh) Why are men so afraid of commitment?

In this, as in all things, if you don't know the answer and are asking the question, then don't argue when the answer is provided. If you understood what was happening, then you wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.

Feminists are wedded to an irrational unreality. They have to believe that I'm a bitter little man, sexually and socially unsuccessful, in order to write what I write, because the alternative is that their worldview is unaligned with objective reality. They must cling to this notion, even in the face of the copious evidence to the contrary, or face the fact that they must change their ways.

Why do I continue to hammer on this boring topic? Perhaps because it is one that so many people care about so deeply, (as the massive number of comments on that Sydney blog indicates), but also because winning the battle is about the social culture, not changing the law. Feminists are now learning how the law is impotent in the face of male self-interest, men are learning that there are a plethora of options available to them.

People need to learn to live life. Women need to stop thinking of the government as a protector against her potential husband and see it for the devil's tool of marital destruction that it is. They need to stop looking for external reasons for their own failures and begin asking why anyone would want to be with them.

American men, on the other hand, need to remember their heritage. Our forefathers were explorers, adventurers and pioneers, remember? Don't whine about indoctrinated, maleducated American women, go out and find others more to your liking in the Ukraine or the Phillipines. Why sit around being hateful, bitter and impoverished when there is a wide world before you? Go work in Brazil or Slovakia. Find a job in England or Morocco. Have a margarita with Fred... I doubt the Mexican authorities care much about what the Family Court in Cleveland said you had to pay for the rest of your ex-wife's life.

A new roundup

Four new blogs and a new location for an old one:

  • Echo Zoe

  • The Token Hippie

  • Brain Sex

  • The Screeching Skraeling

  • The Lazy Half S Ranch

  • Check them out. Pretty Lady also has an amusing Date From Hell story well worth the read. I have to disagree with her on her assertion of inappropriate attire, however, as there are few things more beautiful than an ice-blonde in black sable, especially if that is all she is wearing.

    The female Peter Pans

    One woman laments being duped out of motherhood:

    What went wrong? How is it that the age-old business of having babies has suddenly become fraught with so many difficulties. An important clue can be found back in the late 1970s when I was in my teens. I was part of the generation of schoolgirls who, instead of being propelled towards childbirth by cultural and religious expectations, could balance motherhood against a career and good times.

    The result is that my childless contemporaries and I are the fallout generation from the sexual revolution, the real-life Bridget Jones's who spend their evenings getting drunk instead of reading bedtime stories. We were told we could have it all, but in reality we were sold a pipe dream. The reality is that we forgot that we are helpless in the face of our biological clocks. And now it is simply too late for a lot of us....

    Looking back, I think I was suffering from delayed maturity syndrome. I was so used to acting like I was 27 that I had convinced myself I was in the prime of my life.

    Delayed maturity is precisely how I'd diagnose these women. The thing that I have found most striking about the career women I know is how emotionally and developmentally immature they all are. They make me think of female Peter Pans, blithely assuming that they will have plenty of time to [fill in the blank] whenever they feel like getting around to it, when the reality is that the window of opportunity for anything, be it a job, an entrepeneurial opportunity or a chance at a happy marriage, is finite and often brief.

    And the rage with which some of them react when they find out how "unfair" it is that men don't value their pieces of paper, that they can't compete with an uneducated yoga instructor and that there isn't a husband and 2.4 children waiting to be summoned at the snap of their well-manicured fingers is simply infantile.

    Unfortunately, men and women alike are very bad at thinking beyond tomorrow, much less knowing what they will want in ten years. About half of the stay-at-home mothers I know once vowed that they would NEVER want children and wouldn't even dream of giving up their careers in the extremely unlikely event that they happened to have one. Of course, once out of college and realizing that the glamorous world of the office is actually a hellish stew of busy work, bad coffee, petty power struggles, ugly business-casual attire and hours of meaningless mind-numbing meetings, they not only were happy to get pregnant, but phoned their boss and quit about five seconds after seeing the plus sign.

    Mailvox: those lecherous unicorns

    Peter sends a link to Protein Wisdom's post about a particularly dumb "rape victim":

    You might be asking yourself: Why would a woman claim rape if she knew a video existed that so thoroughly contradicts her story? If you can figure that out, please let us know. Even after police detectives told her they’d viewed the video, Moonier still refused to recant. She continued to demand that the men be prosecuted.

    Next month an Orange County jury will hear the case against Moonier (now Kerr following her marriage). Interesting footnote: without the videotape, the men could have spent the rest of their lives in state prison if they were convicted of kidnapping and aggravated rape with a handgun. But the woman’s false accusation is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than six months in county jail. It’s only because she took several thousand dollars from a taxpayer-funded victims’ assistance program that she was charged with two felonies.

    The thing that I find most amusing about this is that even a psycho-slut such as Mrs. Kerr can manage to find a husband, while the Maureen Dowdniks of the world are loudly bemoaning the fact that men completely fail to appreciate their glorious educations and impressive resumes. Of course, it's fairly obvious that if nothing else, the former Miss Moonier is extraordinarily entertaining in the boudoir, although the futility of attempting to prevent her from enthusiastically sharing her charms with the police, the postman, the paperboy, the neighborhood pets and small woodland animals might prove burdensome in time.

    Naturally, our occasional bait noir, la feminista found it impossible to allow this chauvinistic calumny to go unchallenged:

    There is a balance: It’s the criminal justice system, and it evaluates rape like it does every other crime. Of course the concept that you mention extends to men accused of rape. Are they denied lawyers? Are any of their Constitutional rights taken away from them? Every crime report has the potential for abuse—and you can fake a robbery a whole lot easier than you can fake a rape. Why make the bar higher for rape? You haven’t given a good reason (and “women can cry rape” isn’t a good reason, given that people can—and do—“cry” nearly every other kind of crime).

    Rape, like nearly every other crime, is sometimes falsely reported. It’s interesting that you choose to highlight this case, when I don’t remember seeing on your blog the many, many stories of people who commit insurance fraud.

    Rape is also one of the most under-reported crimes out there. There’s a ton of shame and stigma still attached to it. I know many women who have been raped and assaulted, and none who have reported it. So no, I’m not going to dedicate space on my blog to highlighting one of the very few false rape reports. It’s a slap in the face to rape victims. It’s a further reminder that no one will believe them.

    First, rape isn't treated like "every other crime". There is no such thing as a murder shield law, and those accused of rape are sometimes denied their right to confront their accuser. The assertion is wildly absurd; if theft was treated like rape, people would be getting convicted without the accuser having to demonstrate that any money had been stolen in the first place. Murderers would be convicted despite there being no body.

    As for the under-reporting of rape, we've already settled that one. It's clearly the unicorns. No one believes most "rape victims" because most of them are lying, or at the very least, wildly exaggerating. It's telling to note that in every country where actual evidence is required - including otherwise feminist strongholds such as the Scandinavian countries - the reporting, arrest and conviction rates for rape are signficantly lower than in the United States. There are three possibilities:

    1. American men are significantly more prone to commit rape than anywhere else on the planet.
    2. Rape is even more underreported in every country from Singapore to Sweden.
    3. The feminization of the US justice system combined with the sexual revolution has caused a dramatic increase in false rape reports.

    Since la feminista is likely a typically parochial, untravelled American, she is probably unaware that the American culture of hooking up is completely foreign to Europe or Asia, with the partial exception of the UK. This strongly suggests that the reason for the USA's inordinately high incidence of reported rape is number three, a conclusion which is supported by all of the available evidence that does not simply consist of asking a woman a) has she ever been raped? b) did she report it? c) what color was the unicorn?

    Rape victims haven't been stigmatized in the USA for decades. They are beatified, idolized and made the center of attention by every group of feminist sob sisters on every college campus in the country. Women love being victims and they love attention, so fake rape is inevitable. Best just to relax and enjoy it.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Mailvox: logic vs overactive imaginations

    Rex Little is incredulous:

    Most "rape" and "abuse" of women in the United States is completely fictitious.

    MOST?? What do you base that on, Vox? Seems to me if false accusations were so common that they outnumbered real rapes, they wouldn't make the news.

    I like to start with an informative little document that the FBI likes to call the 2004 Uniform Crime Report.

    Forcible Rapes Reported: 94,635
    Forcible Rapes Cleared: 39,557 (it basically means arrested)

    Murders Reported: 16,137
    Murders Cleared: 10,101

    So, percentage-wise, one-third more murderers were arrested despite the fact that there is, obviously, no victim around to help identify the murderer and the likelihood of DNA evidence is lower. Furthermore, excluded from the report counts are the "unfounded" reports, which for forcible rape was four times higher (8 percent) than the average for all Crime Index crimes (2 percent.) This means that the actual percentage arrested is only 38.7 percent, so already we're dealing with a minority of the rapes reported resulting in arrest and we're not even to the conviction rate yet.

    According to the US Department of Justice, 48 percent of those arrested are convicted, so 18.6 percent of reported rapes are deemed genuine by the justice system. However, the USA conviction rate is extraordinarily high compared with every other country in the world, for example, in England, (which is also on the high side), only 5.6 percent of reported rapes result in convictions. That number has been plunging, down from 32 percent in 1977, possibly due to the introduction of DNA evidence making false accusations more difficult in countries where corroborative evidence is required, unlike in the United States where it is only necessary that a jury take a woman's word for it.

    Now, it is possible to simply assume that there are millions of rapes going unreported, but it is equally valid to assert that those millions of rapes are being committed by rainbow-tailed unicorns. For those who prefer logic and evidence to emotion and imagination, all of the available evidence around the world points the vast majority of rape reports being false.

    Finally, note that all of this relates only to "forcible rape". The FBI doesn't track "statutory rape" or other sexual offenses, many of which your average rape hysterist likely considers to be rape, near-rape, unicorn rape, whatever. What little evidence I have seen suggests that the false report rates are higher and the arrest and conviction rates are lower than the forcible rape statistics.

    A frightening near-rape experience

    I know I'm shocked:

    A 23-year-old Central Florida woman has been charged with making false statements about a rape that left Rollins College students scared to walk the campus, according to WKMG-TV in Orlando. In November, Desiree Nall told Winter Park police that she was raped by two men in a Rollins College bathroom.

    "The college was on high alert and the neighborhood was in confusion because there was a lot of fear," Winter Park police spokesman Wayne Farrell said. Investigators told WKMG-TV that Nall confessed to making up the story.

    Nall is the president of the Brevard Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Local 6 News reported. Police said she may have been trying to make a statement when she lied about the rape.

    How is that possible? We have been assured by feminist leaders that women - especially educated feminist women - never lie about these things. Obviously she must have suffered a "near-rape" experience like Amandagon's poor friend and was misunderstood by the authorities when she reported her harrowing ordeal.

    "Lying about that story is absolutely horrible because women are victimized every day.," Rollins student Elizabeth Humphrey said. "And if we get the reputation of lying, then people won't start to believe us if it does happen."

    Won't start? What is she talking about? Most "rape" and "abuse" of women in the United States is completely fictitious. If you want to see real rape and abuse, go to Bosnia or the Sudan, which is where we are headed if the feminists are allowed to take Western culture down with their suicidal ideology. Women don't fare so well under the law of tooth and claw, which is the primary long-term alternative to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    "Oh, it was awful, he hit me?" So what, are you a china doll? Did you break? And if so, then how is it possible that you're still here, yapping away?

    Mailvox: airpower and techno-ecumenicism

    Major CC continues the discussion:

    As a third-generation professional Airman, I could not let your statement that "the history of strategic bombing is a history of complete failure" go unanswered. Additionally, your assertion that Airpower, while being "a crucial tactical element... is strategically toothless" could not be more wrong. I've read many of the responses posted on your website, many driven by some pretty strong emotion-driven bias and selective statistics on every side of the debate, so I hope to try a more "strategic" approach, although I may seem overly optimistic to some.

    First Lesson: Weapons are not inherently tactical, operational or strategic in and of themselves.

    Whether a mission is tactical, operational, or strategic is dictated by the target and the effect of destroying or degrading that target, and not by the weapon used. The rifle and solitary bullet used by an army sniper can have a tactical, operational, or strategic effect, based on whether the target is an enemy platoon leader, commanding General, or Prime Minister. In the same way, a 2000 pound GPS-guided bomb dropped from the wild blue can have a tactical, operational, or strategic effect, based on whether the target is a tank, a command bunker, or a key communications node.

    Agreed. I thought it was fairly clear that the aspect of airpower I was dismissing was the Dohout/Mitchell view of Airpower uber alles, that favored view of bloodless war-enamored political columnists, which believes that mass bombing campaigns and pinpoint air strikes are capable of winning wars without risking the infantry. The target of my criticism is not the Air Force, but those who call for its misuse under misapprehensions of its capabilities.

    I understand the confusion. My father served in a Cold War Air Force that systemically confused the word strategic with nuclear bombers and the word tactical with conventional fighters. Vietnam left the Air Force totally confused over its role in a non-nuclear strategic air campaign, and we actually adopted the Army's myopic AirLand Battle Doctrine in the late 70s and 80s, so I wouldn't necessarily consider "flyboys" or "grunts" who served even 5-15 years ago to be experts on this topic, either.

    I hope some of the retired flyboys who are reading this will note that the major said that, not me....

    While AirLand Battle Doctrine did help give us the venerable A-10, it looked at conventional Airpower in terms of tactical Close Air Support or long-range artillery based on a mystical epic future tank battle in the Fulda Gap. While you seem to agree with the idea that employing ground forces, with airplanes buzzing in tactical submission overhead, is the only truly effective way to achieve strategic results, let me point out that two-dimensional conventional ground forces must first maneuver against the two-dimensional tactical targets on the ground in front of them. Only when they are able to push back or break through the "front line" can they begin to slog their way overland to operational and strategic targets.

    The early airpower theorists recognized that Airpower could operate simultaneously against tactical, operational, and strategic target sets and attack from any direction at any time (sometimes referred to as "parallel warfare"). This time factor actually adds a fourth-dimensional advantage to air assets that ground forces simply do not possess. It has taken time for the technology to catch up with the theory. Just wait until we start employing airborne lasers, which will have the capability to vaporize an Iranian ballistic missile in flight and then refocus to deep-tan Usama from 20 miles away without even scorching his brokeback buddies' Al-Qaeda-regulation beards.

    Being a science fiction writer, I'm entirely open to the possibilities, indeed, one of my short stories anticipated something very similar to today's Predator, albeit one used in a more networked capacity than anything today. However, the major must admit that "just wait" has been the mantra of the Air Force for over sixty years now. And while it has done many impressive things, it has seldom delivered the results it promised beforehand.

    I'm not surprised when a civilian with a government school education thinks that war is only about "boots on the ground" with soldiers fighting hand-to-hand and door-to-door until we plant our flag on foreign soil. Any midgrade officer in today's military should be able to explain that war, in a broader sense, is the application of various national instruments of power, including military, to make an enemy do what we want them to do (or kill them if they won't). Our "national will" must be translated by civilian leaders into military objectives before military planners can determine how Airpower, or any other military capability, can be used to meet those objectives.

    When have I ever stated anything about that? Indeed, I have written for the last two years about how "boots on the ground" will not suffice to accomplish our revised goals in Iraq. My skepticism with regards to Iran is not because I am setting up a strawman and arguing that air strikes won't cause the mullahs to surrender - although Michael Ledeen did seem to think for a while that the mere threat of air strikes and special forces in support of Iranian insurrectionists would suffice a while back - it is because I doubt that a combination of air strikes and special forces ops are capable of shutting down a clandestine and distributed nuclear program run by smart people who watched what happened in Iraq. As Blackfive has mentioned, in war, the enemy gets a vote too.

    With that in mind, our senior military leaders of all services must focus on meeting strategic objectives and the desired effects, rather than focusing on tactics and specific weapons. Contrary to your assertions, Airpower is actually most effective when used strategically, and is currently the most efficient means of achieving the quickest strategic effects with the least risk and cost - a bargain for the taxpayer, despite all the editorial comments regarding the cost of stealth-bombers, etc.

    This is a naked assertion. I'd like to see some detailed evidence before I even consider conceding the point. Keep in mind, I have a whole catalog of information demonstrating how air power failed to even meet its stated strategic goals, much less proved to be more effective strategically than tactically.

    Regardless of the Combined Bomber Offensive's effect during WWII, the entire paradigm has changed. It has even changed exponentially since Operation DESERT STORM. The original Airpower theorists were way ahead of the technology, but it's not really even about Airpower, but tactical, operational and strategic effects. It is true that 16 years after DESERT STORM, a single B-2 can launch from 3000 miles away, appear unannounced and unseen miles over enemy territory, destroy more than 60 targets on a single pass, at night, in bad weather, and depart without a trace, leaving behind a steel hailstorm precise enough to destroy diverse strategic, operational, and/or tactical targets simultaneously without even shattering the windows of adjacent buildings. More importantly, this B-2 can be data-linked with F-22 fighters or Navy radar cruisers, networked into US military data systems, retasked at a moment's notice to fill priorities from a commander on the other side of the globe, coordinate operations with Army, Marine Corps, or Special Operations assets on the ground, receive updated and real-time intelligence from multiple sources, including drones, satellites, and intelligence sources, and share it's own real-time situational information with everyone else. Obviously, the entire US military network is key to this process.

    Trying to simplify the argument to "Air campaign" versus "Boots on the Ground" is old-school and based on ignorance of modern capabilities. US Military personnel now have the capability to operate across the spectrum of military operations, including Cyberspace, to destroy strategic, operational, and tactical targets as necessary to fulfill a combatant commanders objectives. Any Airman, Soldier, Sailor, or Marine who thinks only in terms of their Service's capabilities has probably not been deployed recently and the mainstream media is too confused to understand what's really going on (or has a political agenda of their own). In this vein, denying the strategic value of Airpower is based on ignorance or emotional bias.

    I think the major has forgotten that I not only commit the occasional crime of science fiction, but I'm also a game designer. The capabilities of current cross-service networking haven't even caught up with what I've envisioned in the near term, much less some of the concepts designed into the never released Rebel Moon Revolution... which had several military advisors, albeit mostly from the Marines. What holds true of the average journalism major now engaged in punditry seldom applies to me.

    I do not deny that there may well be strategic value to airpower, I merely insist that it is toothless acting alone as numerous columnists have advocated. While the major's holistic and techno-ecumenical approach does not explicitly admit to this stand-alone toothlessness, it could logically be seen as a tacit admission of sorts.

    The question now is "what is the objective and what military effect do we need accomplished, and how fast". Fortunately, Joint force commanders, not arm-chair bloggers, will decide how to meet that objective and what weapons systems to use, based on what's available to them at any given time. Don't be surprised if Air assets continue to operate strategically and decisively, from time to time.

    I've tried to decipher the specific military objectives you and the other bloggers think would drive a war against Iran. When you comment that "precision air strikes launched in combination with special forces operating inside Iran... is only likely to succeed in Hollywood", what objectives are you using to measure success? Degradation of Iran's Military or Nuclear Capability? You allude to a possible invasion of Iran - to what end? Regime Change? Unconditional Surrender? If you let me know exactly what you think the objectives of a military action against Iran might be, we can begin to discuss which ones an Air Campaign could and could not achieve.

    Keep up the great discussions! The truth always comes out eventually.

    With regards to airstrikes (plus special forces), the public objective would be preventing Iran from obtaining a working nuclear-tipped missile. As I've already said, I am skeptical that this can be prevented regardless of what we do, short of the use of nuclear weapons or a massive boots-on-the-ground invasion. The quiet objective I suspect would be preventing the opening of the Iran Oil Bourse, or at least preventing oil being sold in Euros. This could theoretically be accomplished without violence, or merely with its threat. (That's what I assume is going on.) An invasion would be meant to cause regime change, and presumably, the installation of a government in accordance with the principles of the world democratic revolutionaries.

    A little late there, Mr. Buckley

    Mr. Buckley finally admits to the limits of military power:

    Three years ago (March 2003) I wrote in this space: "What Mr. Bush proposes to do is to unseat Saddam Hussein and to eliminate his investments in aggressive weaponry. We can devoutly hope that internecine tribal antagonisms will be subsumed in the fresh air of a despot removed, and that the restoration of freedom will be productive. But these concomitant developments can't be either foreseen by the United States or implemented by us. What Mr. Bush can accomplish is the removal of a regime and its infrastructure. The Iraqi people will have to take it from there."

    Mr. Bush is entitled to maintain, doggedly and persuasively, that he took the right steps -- up through the overthrow of Saddam and the exposure of an armory without weapons of mass destruction. From that point on, the challenge required more than his deployable resources. His political reputation will rest on his success in making that point and ceding realistically to realities we are not going to cope with, and ought not to attempt to cope with.

    Mr. Buckley, appears to be attempting to cover up for the fact that he did not, as I and a very few other writers did, oppose the madness of "nation-building". It was a foolish notion from the start as there was never any nation to be built, there were at least three separate nations all subject to the same repressive force. Keeping them together required the same sort of repression that was seen in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, as we are finally beginning to recognize some three years later.

    I was willing to support an open and declared war on Iraq and other self-declared enemies of America as a means of ending this clash of civilizations that began in the 1970s - or 1950s if you view the post-independence violence that took place in India as the rebirth of jihad. War is the health of the state, true, but unlike the tango, it does not require two. However, it has become clear that the neoconservative utopians in the administration do not see this undeclared and unconstitutional war as a reactive strike in self-defense, but more as a means of reshaping the global order. I expect this attempt to work about as well as Woodrow Wilson's did in 1918. February 2004

    I was pleased to note, however, that Mr. Buckley did make reference to the WWII occupations, which I openly mocked back when they were being made as a means of attempting to rationalize the post-war violence.

    The conquest of Iraq no more brought about an end to the global jihad than did the conquest of the Rhineland-Palatinate mean the end of World War II. Nor could it have. Berlin had to fall before the defeat of Nazi Germany could even be contemplated, and it's bizarre to suggest that the occupation of a peripheral Arabic province could end the war while the Clausewitzian center of gravity remains unmolested. - April 2004

    On a related, note, I found the Littlest Chickenhawk's explanation of how he and other clever pundits derive their political positions to be more than a little telling:

    Clever politicians and pundits, therefore, try to find a way of hedging their bets.... It is worthwhile arguing about strategy in Iraq and in the global war on terror. But honest strategic suggestions can be -- and must be -- distinguished from simple political positioning.

    It appears that we can conclude from this that Mr. B. Shapiro, Esquire, will cease his crowing for imperial conquest now that empire has been declared to be officially declasse by the Confather. Look for future apologetics explaining how it is the fault of insufficiently martial Americans, most of them Democrats, that Sunni Iraqis and Shia Iraqis prefer killing each other in genuine power struggles to participating in farcical elections wherein a bi-factional elite pretends to pay attention to the Will of the People while ignoring it whenever it suits them.
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