Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Good Advice

Outside the Beltway discusses building traffic for a start-up blog. (He's only been blogging for three months and is averaging 500 visitors a day, so he knows what he is talking about.)

Monday, April 28, 2003

Waiting for our Clausewitz


Read Part II here.

Carl von Clausewitz died in 1831 leaving an unfinished manuscript and other papers that his wife edited and published between 1832 and 1837. The most important of these was On War. That work was not an instant success, but it has been an enduring work. Even today articles and books continue to analyze Clausewitz's work and, most interestingly, use that work to analyze military problems in the present. See here for examples

Clausewitz holds a position that is striking. Not only is he esteemed by scholars, he is read by current practitioners. In business studies few hold an analogous position. There are scholars whose work gets taught in B-schools but these are rarely the books that executives recommend. Further, these latter are often examples of the fad de jure (reengineering, discipline of market leaders, Tom Peters, etc.) and lack staying power.

The only exception i can think of is Michael Porter. His work is used in B-schools and also in corporate strategic planning. Porter, however, differs radically in his approach. Clausewitz presents descriptive theories, his aim is to help the future commander prepare himself for the challenges he will face. In contrast, Porter's work is intensely prescriptive. His Five-factor framework and generic strategies are templates waiting for the executive's implementation.

Porter's, then, implies that the key to business strategy is "knowing". The doing will almost take care of itself. Clausewitz never presumed that the science of war (which gets studied in peacetime) could ever supplant the art of war (which wins actual battles and campaigns).

One big reason why command remained an art was "friction" one of Clausewitz's signal contributions to military theory:

In war, "everything looks simple; the knowledge required does not look remarkable, the strategic options are so obvious that by comparison the simplest problem of higher mathematics has an impressive scientific dignity."

"Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war."

"The military machine-- the army and everything related to it-- is basically very simple and therefore seems easy to manage. But we should bear in mind that none of its components is of one piece: each part is composed of individual, everyone of whom retains his potential of friction."
Round up

Sounds like Clayton Cramer is having a Santorum moment (catching flak for stating unpleasant facts)

The Country Store is on fire: he's got the goods on Hillary, John Kerry, and Al Sharpton

This is a must read: Compare the Brave Entertainers of 1943 with today's Hollywood motley bunch. (found via One Hand Clapping) . Look here for a slightly different take on the matter.
Draft Day

The NFL draft was this week-end. Pittsburgh took a safety from USC in the first round. A good choice since we need a lot of help in pass coverage. Oakland, New England, and Atlanta shredded us last year Also, even before he starts on defense, he can help us on special teams where our poor performance cost us at least three games in the last two years. (Including a the AFC championship in the 2001 season).

I'm worried about this season. Our defense had problems last year. Our running game is suspect since Bettis has been injured in the last two seasons and Zeroue is a question mark as a feature back.

The big question is QB. Kordell Stewart is gone to Chicago so it all comes down to Tommy Maddox. He played brilliantly for much of last season-- but that was when he was an unknown quantity for defensive co-ordinators. This year they will know what to prepare for and will have plenty of film to study. Plus Maddox was badly injured for part of the season.

Nonetheless, draft means that it is time to look forward to the 2003 season instead of looking back at what might have been in 2002. Not that i obsess about the Black and Gold, not anymore. I mean, just because Cower decided to pass against the Cowboys in the Superbowl when Morris was outrushing Emmitt Smith and we were driving for the go-ahead touch down on the ground and the "most accurate quarterback in Steeler history" then proceeded to toss two interceptions that turned into Cowboy points..... i mean, hey, i don't dwell.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Neoconservative

In the NY Post, John Podhoretz sounded a tiresome refrain:

It's kind of flattering, this notion that a group of people called "neoconservatives" - a term hostile people use to refer to Jewish Republicans with hard-line foreign policy views in and out of government without using the word "Jewish" - have seized the reins of power in the United States.

Look, neoconservative is a good, descriptive term that has been around for twenty-five years. If Pat Buchanan uses it as a synonym for Jewish conservative, that doesn't mean everyone does so. If the neoconservatives want to drop the term because it has been distorted by prejudice, then they should come up with another term to substitute for it. Conservative alone is too broad. We need words to describe the various currents within conservatism of which neoconservatism is one among many.

For the record, neoconservatism originally had nothing to do with the Republican party. It represented an attempt to keep the Democratic party from going too far left. The neocons's greatest electoral victory was when Democrat Pat Moynihan defeated conservative Republican James Buckley in New York in 1976 for the Senate.
Round-up

Clayton Cramer has an interesting PR release from a child of one of the Branch Davidians killed at Waco and some other information. Worth a look.

Was Judas Iscariot really a traitor to Christ? Or was he an accomplice? One Hand Clapping weighs the evidence

Read this prof's letter on affirmative action grading. You won't be sorry. (Thanks to Discriminations for the link)
Stardumb

A good article by David Skinner over at The Weekly Standard.

But not all celebrities came out in protest. In an unusual wrinkle among the footnotes of who did and did not support the American-led war against Saddam's regime, a remarkable group of great athletes stood behind the president and the American cause in Iraq. Thus athletes came to represent--albeit very quietly, which seems appropriate--not only the pro-war opinion, but mainstream America. And Hollywood and music celebrities came to represent an oppositionist culture fueled by anti-Bush venom and peopled by the anti-American fringe. The same week that Michael Moore accused the president of the United States of fabricating a grievance with Saddam on stage at the Oscars (before a huge international television audience), Tiger Woods without any to-do posted a statement of support for the president on his website. The two men were more or less opposing archetypes of the American celebrity in wartime. The content of their politics were as different as their style.
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It may be unimportant, but it is certainly interesting to ask why. Why stagehounds and screen stars but not gridiron greats or baseball legends? Let's start with the uncontroversial assertion that one's profession informs one's worldview.


Skinner offers a variety of interesting reasons why this is so, and i can't argue with any of them. However, i do wish he had explored the implications of one of them in more depth.

Only monarchs know the kind of adoration Hollywood stars enjoy. Meanwhile athletes must constantly defend their bona fides against other contenders. As such, theirs is the more democratic glory. Anyone wrongly anointed in sports is quickly given his comeuppance. Anyone wrongly anointed in show business can spend years skipping across the covers of glossy magazines before anyone's the wiser.

There are many talented actors and musicians who never make a living at it, let alone become stars, whereas if you can score twenty points a game against professional basketball players, you're going to enjoy steady employment. There is no one futzing around the local Par 3 course who can play golf like Tiger Woods, whereas if you look hard, you'll find singers as good as Sheryl Crowe or actors as good as Tim Robbins who can barely make ends meet.


Quite simply, many stars lap up public acclaim while knowing that they are somewhat undeserving. Moreover, fame is often purchased at a high price in terms of integrity and self-respect: Young performers must woo and placate some pretty slimy characters to catch a break. Those are non-trivial facts for one's psyche to process.

An interesting question is why Hollywood has become so monolithic in its opposition to mainstream values. Why is the music business so generally subversive? These attitudes go beyond performers and permeate the offices, studios, and backrooms.
Please help stop this

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez may remake Casablanca. Yes, you read that right, they want to fill the shoes of Bogart and Bergman. The petition to stop this outrage is right here.

Thanks to Dean Esmay for alerting me to this looming menace.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Sacred Ground

I was at West Point this weekend for PointCon-- a wargaming convention organized by cadets. Its a good convention-- well run, plenty of good games, and a great location. There is no need to feel embarrassed about gaming when you hear and see how the military uses it.

The West Point Museum is a great way to spend a couple of hours and being on campus is an experience not soon forgotten.

The first thing that strikes you is the security-- at the entrance ID's are checked and vehicles searched. The MP's are armed CAR-15s and they are not just at the guard booth.

The architecture is massive; it marks the campus as a former fort and current military post and sets it apart from most college campuses. Nor can most campuses match the sense of history--- over two hundred years of producing leaders who helped make our country.

By far the most impressive thing is the cadets. As expected there are no piercings, tattoos, long hair or slovenly dress. Since every cadet is expected to be an athlete, there is also no flab or beer bellies. In my interactions with cadets i found that their discipline produced politeness without a hint of servility. (Call it the anti-punk ethos, good manners and self-respect).

They are the same age as other college students. But they don't just take classes, they train in air assault and armored tactics. They have committed to serve their country and in wartime it is clear what all that entails. Some of their friends who graduated last year have already gone to the Middle East. That is sobering for anyone, but hard to imagine for a twenty-year old.

Yet they volunteered to go there and then serve wherever their country needs them. Any nation would be privileged to have them.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Just Asking

One of the reasons our military is so good is that it has institutionalized self-criticism. Win or lose, battle or wargame, everything gets analyzed-- what worked, what didn't, etc. I wonder if any media institutions do that. I don't mean the yapping about pro-war bias due to embedding, or the relative severity of Geraldo's sins compared to Peter Arnett's. I mean hard questions about dubious predictions, breathless scoops that were not true, completely wrong-headed analyses of Iraqi resiliance.

Will J-schools do it? Have they done it for Vietnam? Do 10% of their graduates know why Vietnam was a quagmire? Do 5% know that in 1975 the South fell to an armored blitzkrieg like Poland and not to a pajama clad VC?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Grave Dancers

Media-minded has an excellent post on the Daily Howler's disgusting tirade against Michael Kelly.
Post Modern NRO

On March 7 Victor Davis Hanson penned a remarkably astute article for National Review Online. He began it with a hilarious series of questions that satirized the attitudes of the press. One example:

CBS: Mr. Secretary! Mr. Secretary! Aren't you worried about reports that Apache helicopters unnecessarily strafed hundreds of retreating Republican Guard battalions that were in essence trying to surrender?
And the follow up, sir: Isn't it true that literally thousands of Republican Guard regiments were allowed to flee unmolested into Syria — and now amount to a potentially dangerous counterrevolutionary force right on the border of a liberated Iraq?


After more in the same vein he he asked the money question

Why will we soon hear such irrational, contradictory questioning — a sort of fantasy circus where Will Kane takes passive-aggressive inquiries from Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer?

His conclusion, our press had become so completely post-modern that its rhetoric had lost all connection to reality.

I think he was on to something. I also think that NRO should have looked in the mirror when they ran it because they have begun to exhibit symptoms of that post-modern attitude.

In a recent outing, Michael Ledeen pats himself on the back for his prescience about the "terror masters" and then offers us this gem.

Since we had taken too long to move on from Afghanistan to challenge the regimes of the terror masters, they had forged an alliance and would cooperate in sending terror squads against our armed forces, with the intention of repeating the Lebanese scenarios in the mid-Eighties (against the United States) and the late Nineties (against Israel).

Fair enough, but NRO ran this only a few days after they ran Stanley Kurtz's piece which evaluated the war effort and concluded

But the fact of the matter is, we went into battle with too few troops.

Now it is hard to reconcile these two points. If we wanted more troops, we would have had to move even more slowly that Mr. Ledeen wanted. If we were to move on the Ledeen schedule, then we would have had even fewer boots on the ground than Kurtz thinks we needed.

Ledeen believes that Syria and Iran are now hostile and will act on that hostility

Just as I have been saying for these many frustrating months, we would find ourselves in a regional conflict, whatever we wanted, and whatever fanciful ideas the likes of Armitage and policy-planning chief Richard Haass conjured up for their personal satisfaction.

But that is hard to reconcile with the Ledeen Doctrine as enunciated by Jonah Goldberg as a justification for the Iraq War over one year ago

I've long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the "Ledeen Doctrine." I'm not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." That's at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago (Ledeen is one of the most entertaining public speakers I've ever heard, by the way).
****
Fighting and winning today means not having to fight at all tomorrow —


The point of such a display of force against Iraq is to cow and deter other odious little regimes like Syria. If it is not going to work (as the doctrine's author now hints), then that's a pretty big mea culpa.

Finally, Ledeen offers this optimistic scenario

So they are coming to kill us, which means that there is no more time for diplomatic “solutions.” We will have to deal with the terror masters, here and now. Iran, at least, offers us the possibility of a memorable victory, because the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will enthusiastically combat it, if only the United States supports them in their just struggle. One may legitimately ask if the Iraqi people are fully prepared for the burdens of democracy after the mind-numbing years of Saddam (I think they are, mind you, but the question is fair), but there is no doubt that the Iranians are up to it.

It may be rude to point out, but the last time Ledeen was so certain about internal affairs in Iran, he nearly sank the Reagan administration. (He's the guy who was pushing for an opening to Iran and was one of the first to start down the path known as Iran-Contra.) Which is something NRO could have him discuss sometime, but i doubt they will.
Musings

When i worked at First Chicago Bank, a friend of mine had a sign up in her cube. It read: "Fast, Good, Cheap. Pick two." Which is as succinct a statement of inevitable trade-offs as i can imagine. I thought of this when i went to the Agonist's sight and saw on his banner: "thoughtful, global, timely."

With that impossible goal, it is no wonder that he was compelled to steal others work and pass it off as his own. Although, even then, i don't see a lot of evidence of the thoughtful part.
Good Reads


Cut on the Bias takes down some Hollywood airheads

Right-Thinking from the Left Coast reports that the LA City council has come up with a novel solution to the problems of South Central LA.... They are going to change the name to South LA

New Mexico joins 34 other states as a shall-issue concealed carry jurisdiction. Ipse Dixit analyzes the new law.

Tremendous essay on De Genova and higher education found thanks to E. L. Core

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Round-up

The Brothers Judd on B. B. King: Having him around and performing still is like getting to see Babe Ruth play baseball

Great fisking of Hollywood's whiniers

The Ville has an interview with David Horowitz

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Lessons of this War

Andrew Sullivan wrote
Now I can see the army is pissed off that they haven't really been needed yet for the climactic battle against the Republican Guard (if it hasn't already happened). But remind me why the rest of us should be concerned? From my particular, reclining armchair, it looks as if this war will be won primarily by the amazing work of the special forces, and the airforce (with critical backup, of course, on the ground).


(sigh)

I am working on a longer post on another journalist's self-promoting attempts to become his generations Liddell-Hart. But I will state my main point here:

It is too early to speak of "lessons" from this war. We simply do not know enough. We won't know much for months and it will be years before we (the public) have the documentary evidence and analytical histories necessary to draw even rudimentary lessons.

When useful histories emerge here are just a couple of areas that they will address that Sullivan ignores or is ignorant of.

1. How important was the speed of the advance by the ground forces to the success of special operations? Did nearby American frontlines permit more freedom of movement by special ops? Did Iraqi security forces pull back because of the approaching conventional units? Conversely, did Saddam send security forces out of Baghdad toward the infantry and thus make the city more accessible to our covert units?

2. To what extent were Iraqi losses to airpower increased because they were bracing to meet that American advance out of Kuwait?

Capt. Wayne P. Hughs (a Naval officer) made an interesting observation in his book Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice--

Yet one set of Dupuy's data [on land combat throughout history] shows that in modern battle a greater percentage of casualties has sometimes been inflicted by other than the most capable weapons: infantry small arms exceeded artillery in producing casualties after the range and lethality of artillery rose dramatically. Often the second-best weapons performs better because the enemy, at great cost in offensive effectiveness, takes extraordinary measures to survive the best weapon.


A classic example of this occurred at the Battle of Midway. The Japanese feared torpedoes more than bombs and used their Combat Air Patrols to destroy the US torpedo bombers. This left the US dive bombers free to destroy their four carriers.

So it could be that the Iraqi's feared the ground forces more than the air power and, as a consequence, made themselves more vulnerable to air attack. If the ground units had been less threatening, then the Iraqi units may have remained hidden and dispersed and, hence, less vulnerable. In Kosovo, for example, the air campaign against Serbian tanks was only 20-25% effective because the Serbs became adept at hiding their forces and misleading our targeting systems.

3. How important was our eventual possession of the battlefield in the total losses of Iraqi equipment? This is a point that is often overlooked. Not every lost units is immediately destroyed. Sometimes they are only damaged or disabled. If there are no attacking ground forces, they can be recovered and repaired. This was a problem for the German blitzkrieg doctrine when they met reverses on the Eastern Front. As soon as they were unable to keep advancing, their equipment losses soared out of proportion to France or the early days of Barbarossa.

4. How much of the disintegration of the Iraqi units occurred during planned retreats or tactcal maneuvers? It is hard to destroy unit cohesion through bombardment alone. When units are hunkered down and dug-in, commanders can maintain a fragile control, in part because it is safer to stay in the bunker than to try to desert. However, movement is a different story. But again, movement would have been the result of the American ground advance, not the bombardment itself.

One Hand Clapping has also weighed in with some very astute observations.
Like Trying to Drink from a Firehose

I held off starting this blog because i worried that i would run out of things to write about. Instead i seem to find two new things for every post i make.
Kim du Toit Nails It

Go read Rough Men now.

And if you haven't read A Nation of Cowards it's here and continues on the theme Kim explores.

Friday, April 04, 2003

It Isn't Ironic

But it is a little hypocritical.

I found this little bit from Molly Ivins:

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards observed the other day that the price of gasoline has gone so high in Texas that women who want to run over their husbands have to carpool.

Political junkies with long memories will remember that Ann Richards was headed to defeat in 1990 at the hands of Republican Clayton Williams. Then late in the campaign Williams joked that the rain plaguing a campaign event was like rape: "as long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

That gaff became a major issue and cost him the election. The Richards campaign seized on it and drove home the point that noone repectable would joke about rape.

Murder, on the other hand, is a different matter. Even in a state that just finished convicted a wife for running over her husband multiple times with his (but not her) daughter in the car.
Michael Kelly RIP

I don't know if there was a better columnist working today. His death is a great loss.

As soon as i read that Kelly had taken over as editor of the Atlantic in 1999 i subscribed. He did not disappoint. Under his editorship the magazine became serious, engaged, and a joy to read. The three-part series on the World Trade Center clean-up was just one example of the lasting work he commissioned. Every issue became a must read-- he packed each one with interesting writers tackling important subjects.

When you read Kelly for any length of time some things became apparent-- he did his own thinking, he recycled no one's talking points, he possessed a strong moral sense, he knew how do to reporting instead of just punditry.
Hey, check out this differentiator!

Maybe i can't swing stats like Jane Galt. I know i am no USS Clueless or Intel Dump. And One Hand Clapping puts me to shame.

In fact, there are a couple of dozen blogs on my favorites and blog roll that do this better than me.

But here's the thing.

I'm going to be posting all weekend. While most of your regulars are off doing selfish things (and even selfless things), i'll be posting new stuff. So if you need an extra blog fix Sunday afternoon.... this is the place.
Underserved Segments

Another way marketers try to break out of the commodity mess is to tailor the product, channel, and brand message to "underserved" market segments. This is how Wal*Mart had its first success: while Sears and everyone else battled for the suburban market, Sam Walton built stores in small cities away from urban centers. He had less competition in those areas and did not have to unseat entrenched competitors like Sears. The hokiness of the advertising and the stores reflected the fact that Wal*mart was not trying to win over New York "sophisticates", but a more traditional demographic.
Brand Positioning

To be successful and break away from the pack, a product needs to be different in some way. It is not necessary that the differentiator be relevant or make the product objectively "better". Even "irrelevant" attributes can drive consumer perceptions. Two common examples given are the beautiful color of Perdue chicken (has nothing to do with taste or freshness, it comes from feeding the chickens marigold petals) and Folger crystals (no reason it makes the "coffee" taste better, but Folgers is the only one with crystals while every one else has powder).

Almost by definition to be better is to be different. It is easier to convince consumers that you are better if you also show them that you are tangibly different.
Update

Outside the Beltway has moved.
Time is Short


Only a few more days until Buy a Gun to Spite Michael Moore Day.
Words Fail Me

From William Saletan of Slate

the liberation of Jessica Lynch is a 24-hour mediathon. We’re celebrating her rescue for the worst of all reasons: because she’s American.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Armed Young Men in Uniform

One Hand Clapping looks at the crowning glory of the American soldier in WWII and today: they bring gifts and freedom, not destruction and slavery. You have to read it.
Why Chirac Did It

Interesting discussion over at asymmetrical information on the motives behind France's opposition to our Iraq policy

Read the comments... there are a lot of ideas brewing there.

My two cents:

1) Old Europe has more continuity in its governing class than does the US. Their national leaders tend to share similar outlooks and personalities. This led Chirac to underestimate Bush 43's resolve compared to Clinton or Bush '41.

2. Institutions versus sentiments. France stirred up ill will in the US and "new Europe" rose in our esteem. But two years from now America will forget who was with us and who was not. France knows she will still be in charge of the institutions of the EU.
Just saying is all

PFC Lynch has a brother in the service. Which means the Lynch family of Palestine, WV has contributed almost as many soldiers to the war against terror as did the Princeton class of 2002.

And another thing, that awful idea for a reality series-- the Real Beverly Hillbillies-- basically the producers are talking about dropping people like the Lynch family into a lala-land mansion so we can laugh at their attempts to cope.

The concept for this particular "reality" show is to find a rural Appalachian family of diminished economic means and send them to live in Beverly Hills for the amusement of a network television audience.

Cameras would record the poor "hick" family's every faux pas, their astonishment at modern appliances, their ignorance of even the most basic essentials, such as Guccis and Rolex watches.

"Imagine the episode where they have to interview maids," one CBS executive famously gloated.


Sometimes i miss Andy Jackson. He would have known how to deal with this executive.

But i will close with some words from Tom Wolfe.

In the Korean War there were 78 Medal of honor winners. 32 of them were from the South, and practically all of the 32 were from small towns in or near the Appalachians. The New York metropolitan area, which has more people than all these towns put together, had three Medal of Honor winners, and one of them had just moved to New York from the Appalachian region of West Virginia.
Perverts

Effing perverts. Too many blogs and and too many journalists eager to know if PFC Lynch was tortured. Too much leering speculation about how she was tortured.

Have a little respect for the family and the families of those still held by Iraq. Damn, have a little respect for yourself.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Couldn't let this pass

From over at the Command Post:The Gurkhas Have Arrived

They are in Iraq, some of the most legendary fighters in history.

I can highly recommend Byron Farwell's The Gurkhas as an entertaining and informative history.

George MacDonald Fraser, in Quartered Safe Out Here, talks about them as a soldier who fought side by side with them.


but having tea with the Gurkhas is something special, for they radiate a cheer and good-fellowship that has to be experienced, and once you have, you understand why British soldiers have always held them in an affection that is pretty close to love."
*****
"No one would have dreamed of taking offense [at their pranks]; it would have been downright cruel, for the Gurkha was as eager to please as a playful grandchild. The thought of quarreling with one of them never even occurred-- for one thing, you'd be better picking a fight with a king cobra.
That was a thing that was often hard to remember: that this delightful little man, with his ungainly walk and protruding backside and impish grin, who barely came up to your shoulder and was one of nature's born comedians, was also probably the most fatal fighting man on earth. Their reckless courage was legendary.
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I was once privileged to watch, from a distance, a company of them attacking a Japanese position. There was a Highland unit on their left....and I was profoundly glad that I was not Japanese. One of the Highlanders told me later that when they came out again they found the ground before the position littered with Gurkha rifles: most of them had gone in with kukris alone.



During the Falkland War, i remember reading about a journalist who asked a Gurkha officer why they were sharpening their kukris (heavy, curved fighting knives) before battle. His reply-- because we don't have time to sharpen them during battle.



Some Times It's All about Them

There is a school of thought that believes the embedded reporters are inherently biased in a pro-war direction, (for example, see here).



What is not often discussed is how professional ambitions make journalists defeatists. When wars go well, the uniformed military receives the praise. It is they who enter into history. We remember Nimitz and Patton, not the correspondents who wrote dispatches about the victories at Midway and Bastogne.

In contrast, Vietnam made the careers of David Halberstam, Seymour Hersh, and Neil Sheehan. Exposing military failure and atrocities makes the journalist the hero not the chronicler. It is a powerful temptation, one which could cause a reporter to lose proportion and distort the meaning of events. Yet this is not something that seems to get discussed much.
Awe- Inspiring Self-control

Every time I see General Brooks do a briefing, I marvel at his calm in the face of provocation. Many reporters are even-handed and honestly seeking information. But there are too many jerk just trying to create a controversy by getting Brooks to commit a gaff.
PA Blogger

I received an email from Lane Core, Jr. who writes the view from the core. Turns out he is from Washington county. Check out his site, especially his pictures from the Flight 93 memorial.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Things that make you say hmmmmm

Did you ever notice that Lowry and Goldberg often ask Corner readers for research help on their columns, yet never thank anyone? Think that means no one has ever sent them anything useful?
Real Life Spy Story

It appears that Mark Riebling written a real life spy thriller. Check out the first couple chapters here
Television News in Perspective

Fifty-seven boxes were recently returned to the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya in Zeit trucks—large Russian military vehicles—by the Iraqi government authorities. Each box contained a dead child, eyes gouged out and ashen white, apparently drained of blood. The families were not given their children, were forced to accept a communal grave and then had to pay 150 dinars for the burial.
—London Sunday Observer, 1987

When the man responsible for such an atrocity—one among many others and not by any means the worst—appears on American television to talk to “America’s most respected newsman” about his hopes and fears, his devotion to his people, his respect for American leaders, and his strong religious faith, is it then just a matter of good manners not to mention the dead children, like John Cleese’s character in “Fawlty Towers” not mentioning the war to his German guests? Presumably Dan Rather, who recently (as he puts it) “found himself” interviewing Saddam Hussein in one of the latter’s presidential palaces in Baghdad, would say that it was. And, unlike Basil Fawlty, Rather was far too slick to get caught inadvertently mentioning his interlocutor’s career as a mass murderer.


James Bowman in the latest New Criterion. The rest of it is here.
The Pause

It is clear that many journalists and commentators believe that the pause in our advance from the south toward Baghdad is a bad thing. It is also pretty clear that they have no idea why this is so.

Many times a pause in the advance does help the defense and hurt the offensive. This happened to the Germans in 1914 after the battle of the Marne and to the Allies in the autumn of 1944 when we could not supply our divisions in France and were unable to finish the German armies in the West. In these two cases, the retreating forces were able to stop, resupply, integrate reinforcements into their order of battle, build new defensive works, and restore command and control.

But this is not some law of nature. Clausewitz warned of the "culminating point of victory" beyond which the attacker becomes weak and vulnerable to a counter-stroke. There are circumstances when a pause is preferable to continuing the pursuit. For example, many historians believe that the Germans would have been much better off in 1941 to stop well short of Moscow. That would have allowed them to dig-in, build up their supplies for the winter, and choose the ground where the Russians would have to begin their counter-offensives.

The key question is this: whose side is time on?

The RG is already in defensive lines of their choosing. Each day of bombing weakens those lines.

Each day our troops receive more supplies. I doubt that there is very much moving out of Baghdad in the face of our air interdiction.

Each day more Iraqi soldiers grasp Saddam's strategic poverty and realize the hopelessness of their situation.
Higher Education


Many if not most of our "elite" universities believe themselves to be morally superior to our armed forces. Some will not permit ROTC on campus (see here for more on that issue.) Their tenured faculty is a hospitable home to people like Dr. De Genova at Columbia ("one million Mogadishus").

Right now, the Left is so deeply dug-in there that the Academy is the equivalent of French-occupied territory.

Doesn't have to be that way. The ROTC issue is the easiest to address. Harvard and the rest are receive tens of millions of dollars in federal money-- research grants, student loans, student grants. That means that Congress can require that they admit ROTC on campus or cease to be eligible for those programs. Why Republicans have passed on this issue is a puzzle.

The problem of the anti-American faculty is not as easily dealt with. Legislation is out of the question, and Columbia doesn't care about public opinion: they only care about the opinions of their faculty, donors, and prospective students.

Although, in some political races it might be fun to make a candidate defend the statements of professors from his alma mater, especially if said candidate attempted to make his education an issue or was a fund-raiser for the schools endowment. It may or may not get traction, but it would be a way to send a message that would eventually get the schools attention.
Sort of makes freedom fries look mild

Iraq protesters deface British war monument in France

Vandals have defaced one of the biggest British war cemeteries in northern France with graffiti condemning the US-British invasion of Iraq, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) said.

The words "Rosbifs [British] go home! Saddam Hussein will win and spill your blood" were painted in French over the base of the cemetery's main monument - an obelisk topped by a cross.

On one side was a swastika and the words "death to the Yankees".

Also daubed were the words "dig up your garbage, it is fouling our soil," and "Bush, Blair to the TPI (International Court of Justice)".



Charming.
News, bad news, good news, bad news

Pejman has moved here.

Unfortunately, in the move he dropped the Sam Adams quote in his title banner and replaced it with one from Teddy Roosevelt. The Adams quote was what first told me that his was a blog of distinction.

But that means i could use it as part of my title section since he isn't using it anymore.

Except, i can't make it work when i try to incorporate it into my template.

So anyway, here it is:

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." --Samuel Adams