The Four Corners

Friday, April 04, 2003

A great piece of commentary by The Onion, arguing cogently that "while there is a time to criticize, there is also a time to follow in complacent silence". An effort worthy of National Review.


Former CIA director James Woolsley, who is rumored to be very high on a short list of potential successors to Saddam Hussein, is telling UCLA students that America is now engaged in World War IV against most of the arab governments in the Middle East. Though Woolsley did not cite arch-imperialist Norman Podhoretz' piece in Commentary, his "teach in" suggested that America has undertaken a commitment that will require decades of war to fulfill, and eventuate in America domination of the Middle East, which is precisely the plan that Podhoretz espouses. I expect increasingly "respectable" people to begin mouthing similar sentiments in the months to come. Donald Rumsfeld is already threatening Iran (for developing nuclear weapons) and Syria (for allegedly aiding Hussein). First, we'll hear Woolsley's sentiments echoed by Paul Wolfowitz, then Rumsfeld and Cheney, and finally, George Bush, Condeleeza Rice and Colin Powell. As a regretful Bush voter, I wonder when "prosperity with a purpose" became "perpetual war and depression for oil interests and the Likud party".

Thursday, April 03, 2003

It seems that our buddies State Senate Majority Leader Roy Cooper and Gov. Mike Easely in North Carolina are really fired up about the missing original copy of North Carolina's Bill of Rights that was given to the 13 original colonies by George Washington that may have resurfaced. Here comes the kicker, it disappeared in the Civil War and was allegedly stolen/perhaps purchased by a Union soldier. This anti Yankee sentiment is being stirred up by these two now that the copy has turned up in a CONNECTICUT ANTIQUE DEALER's possession. People in the south say it was stolen, the antique dealer's lawyer claims this cannot be proven and that it may have been purchased from a southerner who was hard up for cash.

This past year, the wallet of General William Lee Davidson was given on loan from the Public Records Office in London. Gen. Davidson was killed in action at Cowen's Ford creek, a precursor to the battle of Guilford Courthouse--the most hotly contested and crucial battle of the Southern Campaign. Cornwall is ended up winning a pyrrhic victory, was nearly captured himself, and his forces were softened up for our eventual victory at Yorktown. Anyway, the wallet was taken by the British and eventually resurfaced. Much to the delight of the authorities at Guilford Battleground park it was given on loan to the museum for a year. What they didn't foresee was the North Carolina red necks getting fired up about it and threatening not to give it back. Their reasoning, was that they stole it. The British mugged General Davidson. This got a ton of press and a lot of conversation. With this precedent already in place the issue of the State's original Bill of Rights and the language that they are using already, it seems that they are trying to fan the flames of regionalism that are still smoldering--not quite beneath the surface.

For Easely and Cooper to be out in front on this, I can almost guarantee Sens. Edwards and Lieberman will be asked about it and it could become a regionally divisive sentiment that could resonate for the other Presidental candidates from the New England, stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

And I thought it was April Fool's: Turns out U.S. House Democrats overwhelmingly passed their alternative budget resolution yesterday, with only some thirty-odd Republicans voting against it.

Do you know how often that happens? Almost never! The House is the most bare-majority rules type of place I have ever seen, save maybe the British system which lets the majority choose its own election date.

I guess it just goes to show that the rank and file Republicans have a conscience. They can't cut funding for veteran's pensions to make way for a $725 billion dividend tax cut during a war.

If only Bush and his allies would stop using the war to ram through their tax cuts. The "let's do it for the Troops" argument isn't going to fly, especially the "they'll need jobs to come home to" line of reasoning. Actually, employers are required to keep on called up military men and women (Thanks to Bill Clinton of course). So much for that.

As to Steve's compromise, I am all for it, as long as Anthony posts again!


How about this for a deal:

We let the neocons govern Iraq. And, in exchange, they let the rest of us govern the United States.
Would that make everyone happy?

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Don't use the 'V' Word: I don't know about you, but like Ed Kilgore, I am sick and tired of Liberals crying out "Vietnam!" every time we engage in conflict.

Hate to break it to you, but there will never be another or a next Vietnam. That war was characterized as a slowly escalating battle against an anti-colonialist group, which happened to be Communist too. America was seen as the next foreign imperialist/invader, after the French.

As badly as the Bush administration has bungled the diplomacy/politics and the military planning of the buildup and actual war, we are far from being in a quagmire.

U.S. forces are less than fifty miles away from Baghdad, people! Meanwhile, American planes can freely fly over the city and bomb the crap out of any form of resistance.

Sure, supply lines are stretched thin, Arabs are busing in to take us on, and we don't see Basra cheering us on, but the U.S. and U.K. military are far superior and have advantage in nearly every position.

Instead of trying to force every conflict into the tired, worn Vietnam mold, these Liberals should be worried about post-war Iraq. It seems the same civilian chickenhawks that thought their version of "shock and awe" would make Saddam's "House of Cards" collapse easily are planning on installing themselves as post-Saddam rulers. As Joshua Micah Marshall says, "It's not even an American occupation; it's an AEI occupation." That's sure to leave paleoconservatives like The Third Avenue's own Steve worried.


USA Today's editors have hit the nail on the head. The US economy does not need more fiscal stimulus! Arguing that (a) our financially unsound federal government cannot afford it, and (b) present weaknesses in consumer and investment demand will likely abate once the war in Iraq is won anyway, this piece comes to the right conclusion. Even more to the point, however, a government that is already running $400 billion in the red cannot credibly promise to tax less and spend more anyway. In addition, the very fact of a large deficit suppresses business investment. A large budget deficit implies that, at some unknown time, some unknown combination of tax increases and spending cuts (insofar as the government reigns in its own deficit) and interest rate rises and exchange rate depreciation (insofar as the deficit must be financed out of private savings) will be required. The uncertainty inherent in this environment is a drag on demand that may be comparable to the uncertainty generated by the war itself. If the Bush administration wants recovery, it can't do much better than to wrap up its adventures, abroad, and put its finances in order back home.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Some one in the Joint Chiefs has a bone to pick: Who are Seymour Hersh's sources? The man who is being sued by now former Defense Board Policy Chairman Richard Perle now has the top Brass whining about Rummy's war plan. Apparently, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld sent back war plans which called for more troops repeatedly. Sounds like the ol' Don has come down with an acute form of the Bush virus: ignore or berate everything and everyone that doesn't agree with your opinion, even if they are right.

Now granted, twelve days into the war is a bit early to be second guessing, but if front line commanding officers are complaining that they don't have enough men and/or equipment, then don't say they don't understand the whole picture. They, in case the obvious is hard to grasp, are actually on the battlefield. Unlike Donald, Richard (Perle and Cheney), or George, they are actually fighting in a war.

The lesson to be learned from Waging Modern War, besides the fact that General Clark didn't care for politicking but did like to boast, is that the modern Pentagon is supposed to differ to frontline commanding officers but tend not to do so. During the Kosovo war, Clark was being overruled by Cohen, State, the Joint Chiefs, and NATO member countries. Since the U.S. have no allies other than the U.K. to speak of, there is no more NATO to overrule, nor does State have much pull, all of overruling comes from the civilian (whom are without military experience) commanders like Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Cheney.

The president has deferred to about everyone, except himself. I guess a guy who can't remember a few months of his comfy Texas National Guard service shouldn't be trusted to military strategy, he figures.