Saturday, November 08, 2003
As you know, Saturday is usually rocket-day on the Bad Movie Shrine
. Today is no exception. We're nearing the end of the moon movie marathon. Or rather, unless you nice folks can suggest some more moon movie titles...
Please direct your suggestions for further titles to this post's comments. If you want to discuss today's film, please comment on its own page
(Oh and once again, this review is the longest yet. Apologies in advance.)
Friday, November 07, 2003
I'd like to inaugurate a semi-regular feature to this web log. Every now and then I'll turn your attention to a website you might find useful and instructive. So let's take a look at:
The House of the Goddess
Living with Pre-emption
Michael Totten remembers who wrote the doctrine of pre-emption:
In other words, he’s pitching the Kissinger doctrine over the side. “Stability,” “our bastards,” and the rest of the old right ideology is finished. We cannot and will not liberate every oppressed population at once. But we’ll do what we can when we are able.
It’s ironic that a recently isolationist Republican president has embraced this vision. It’s an old vision and its roots can be found on the left. Paul Berman articulated it best. “Freedom for others means safety for ourselves. Let us be for the freedom of others.”
George W. Bush, to my enduring astonishment, agrees. It’s the only thing that makes the Democrats’ self-destruction bearable.
Pre-emption is Democratic foreign policy. It's not that unusual for a new administration to inherit the former's foreign policy doctrine. Clinton borrowed "Aggressive Multilateralism" from the Republicans. Both parties endorsed Containment, Assured Destruction and even Detente. Some call it plagiarism, others simply say that politics ends at the water's edge
Why do Democrats (other than Mr. Totten) repudiate pre-emption? After all, they wrote it. And it seems like just yesterday they were still endorsing it:
To our enemies, we say with one voice: No act of violence, no threat will drive us apart or steer us from our course: to protect America and preserve our democracy. And make no mistake about it: We are going to hunt you down and make you pay.
Now is not a time for finger-pointing or politics as usual. The men and women who are defending our freedom are not fighting for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. They are fighting for the greatest country that has ever existed on Earth: the United States of America.
As Americans, we need to put partisanship aside and work together to solve the problems that face us. On the day after the attacks, I went to the Oval Office for a meeting with the president. I said, "Mr. President, we have to find a way to work together." I said, "We have to trust you and you have to trust us."
Since that day, there has been no daylight between us in this war on terrorism. We have met almost every single week and built a bipartisan consensus that is helping America win this war.
Well there's day and there's night:
"This president is a miserable failure," said Gephardt, blasting Bush for pulling the United States back from international alliances built over the last 70 years. "He is not doing his job. When I am president, I will go back to the U.N. I will go to NATO. I will repair these alliances."
Is he recommending we return to Aggressive Multilateralism? If yes, why invoke the two institutions who killed that doctrine?
I've nearly given up trying to decipher the Democrats' national security policy. I hope lots and lots of voters have, too.
Vindicated by VDH
Despite the chaos, we are doing a wonderful job in Iraq; but it is past time to show that we are at times angry and a little crazy — as we remember that we really are in an all out war for our survival and civilization. Our goal should be to arm tens of thousands of freedom-loving Iraqis and put them with us on the front lines of the Sunni Triangle — and then ensure that sober Iraqi members of the new government are in the forefront of the media spotlight to take credit for winning the freedom of their own country. The problem is not just getting Iraqis to fight, but rather extending to them the responsibility, sense of honor, and pride that will accrue when they finally rout the Baathists.
Why is this so important? Free Iraq must be founded by free Iraqis
. If we just installed a friendly government -- even a democracy, wouldn't we be sabotaging our mission? Iraq needs its own heroes and its own set of Founding Fathers.
The situation is akin to Paris in the Summer of 1945. After the allies chased out the Nazis, the French punished their own collaborators and took back their country. Sure, today they make films commemorating the liberation with hardly a mention of our role -- that's why they're French. The point is that their government is homegrown and beholden to nobody. That's what we want for Iraq, too.
I don't want Free Iraq to be little more than our client-state. Urging them to take back their country is the best way to turn them into our closest and most reliable ally.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Although I didn’t like Radar Men from the Moon
, it seems to have struck a nerve.
A question for the movie web log
readers: would you like to follow a serial? I’ve several others, and would consider posting them, one chapter at a time. Would you stick with an admittedly low-traffic web log for a full twelve weeks?
Three months is probably too much to ask. What if I featured two or three episodes each week?
I ask only because the current moon movie marathon must eventually end (and the last one’s a real kicker).
So what shall it be: feature films or sepia tones serials? Your votes do count.
Arsenal of Democracy
The newest weapon under development is the p.o.'ed Free Iraqi. He's the cat who won't cop out, when there's danger all about:
Thousands of people are applying to be members of IP, FPS, and the civil defense force. They are begging for the security to be in their hands. We know how to handle those [terrorist] scum. The Americans are more interested in being nice and all about human rights and free speech and stuff. We have our own Law and court systems which we can use but the CPA won't allow us to. They are being too lenient and forgiving on our expence. If you think that is what is required to build a successful democracy then you're too deluded. You don't know the first thing about the Iraqi society.
The AoD need not waste time and money tracking down the evildoers in Iraq. There are plenty of folks who have a stake in their new society and know who and where the enemies are. We should arm them and let them take care of business.
There's a butcher's bill due in Iraq, and if it takes vigilantes to settle the account we should look the other way. It's not the prettiest solution, but the targets are indisputably ugly. As long as we can keep the Hatfield-McCoy nonsense to a minimum, everything will turn out for the best.
Once Free Iraqis finish taming their own country, I've no doubt they'll start fixing up the neighborhood:
There are paintings on the walls all over Baghdad warning Arab foreigners from a bloody revenge if they keep messing with our affairs. Iraqis are openly calling the GC to quit the Arab League.
The Middle East is the new Wild West. Free Iraqis desperately need spurs, six-shooters, horses and hats (white ones, natch).
And that's where we can help.
Now I don't have the free time to spare for the project, so I'm throwing this idea out free of charge. Someone set up a website and get the donations going. Give it a catchy name like:
Horses for Hasim
Revolvers for Rasheed
America would get behind this effort. But if it seems a bit daunting, you can always start small, with something like:
: Bringing laser pointers to the people.
Can't you see it now? Each night a flight of BUFFs
flies Cowboy CAP with loads of LGBs. Instead of trailing their AN/ALE-50s
, they'll unfurl big banners with each pilots' cell phone numbers. A Free Iraqi finds a fedayeen
, paints the target, places the call and BOOM
[Note: last link is a 5.5 meg wmv, but it's worth it for the sensor-fused weapon
Who doubts this plan wouldn't come together? A couple weeks of Cowboy CAP and Iraq would be free and clear. Let's also note that it would serve as an excellent introduction between the Free Iraqis and the brave pilots of the Mighty USAF. In the future these folks will be working together quite often. Heh. Heh. Heh.
UPDATE: Viewing the "Boom.wmv" a second time is revealing. At about the 2:15 mark, you can see a pilot cueing an LGB onto a bunker. Said bunker goes boom. And here's the neato part
: the pilot cues the cursor onto a second target and scores a hit. These explosions are seconds apart, revealing that LGBs are retargetable in flight. Given that Paveways are guided by 4-pixel boom-slap mechanisms, I had no idea you could do that. Too freaking cool!
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Not the Only Bunny Blog
Not content to overpopulate the world, bunnies have turned their gaze towards the blogosphere.
Check out Sunidesus' new bunny
Check out Angie O'Neal's web log
, especially the "Pets" page. By all means download the montage movie. The music's just perfect (even if it isn't Rammstein
Here are Hannah and Zak:
Hannah is a striking, all-gray, dwarf-mix bunny with eyes the same color gray as her coat. She is a spayed female about 6 years old. At less than 3 pounds, Hannah is a little girl with lots of spunk! Hannah is shy at first, but will willingly come to a familiar person for a nose rub, a raisin, or for her favorite treat; bananas! In fact, Hannah loves banana so much that her nickname is "Hannah Banana"!
Zak is a handsome, muted gray, dwarf-mix bunny with white markings on his chest and feet. Slightly larger than Hannah, Zak is a very easy-going neutered male who is about 2-3 years old. When Hannah met Zak, she found comfort and companionship. Zak and Hannah are both are reveling in the joy of having a friend to enjoy bunny life with. Now all they need is a loving, lifelong, INDOOR home with lots of room to run around and explore together!
(New Jersey HBS)
"Hannah Banana," that cracks me up. Mmmmm... banana.
Something v. Nothing
The Progressive Policy Institute
purports to promulgate a Democratic National Security Strategy
. The document begins well:
We recognize, however, that Democrats must do more than criticize this administration's increasingly incompetent handling of our nation's security. That alone will do little to allay the doubts that too many Americans have about our party's willingness or ability to pursue the tough defense and security policies today's world demands. To re-establish our credibility on national security, Democrats must offer a positive vision that spells out how we would do a better job of keeping Americans safe and restoring America's capacity to lead.
Absolutely, so what's on offer? Very briefly:
- National strength.
- Liberal democracy.
- Free enterprise.
- World leadership.
Those are all nice things, but is that a strategy? Can you posit a scenario (e.g., Yemeni terror cell rounded up in Chicago) and pit those four points against pre-emption?
Don't take my word for it, read the document yourself. It's only two pages, and even though the document is called a "National Security Strategy," I'm left wondering "where's the beef
Democrats, here's a tip: if you can't come up with a new doctrine, pick massive retaliation
. It sounds tough, and you don't actually have to do anything -- unless we get whacked again. And if that happens, you'll be voted out anyway. So what have you got to lose?
Monday, November 03, 2003
Ken at Brickmuppet Blog
has a wicked neato
post about space launch vehicles. Check it out, especially the link he warns is "picture-rich." I didn't even know we designed half of that stuff.
To think those plans are gathering dust in some forlorn stack of microfiche. At least we can browse and wonder what could have been.
Can you believe I first posted to this little web log one year ago today? My how the time flies.
Everybody place your bets:
It's a Liberal blog-panel on the U.S. Democratic Party & National Security! This started as a feature in today's Winds of War roundup of the global War on Terror, and has now grown into its own post. So pull up a chair and get comfy, 'cause here we go...
(Winds of Change)
Betting's over: believe it or not we already have a winner. Armed Liberal writes:
Here's a couple of off-the-cuff suggestions:
First, we're not going anywhere in Afghanistan or Iraq until we're done. Afghanistan will not turn into Vermont any time soon, but we will make sure that the power of the warlords is checked, and that it doesn't collapse again. Iraq could be the leader of the Middle east, and we intend to help build it into that;
Second, we're too dependent on ME oil. We're going to do something about it, both by pushing conservation, expanding alternative energy, and expanding exploration. We're going to build the damn windmills off of Cape Cod;
Third, we're going to stop Israel from building new settlements and push them to dismantle existing illegal ones;
Fourth, we're going to work to expand the ground-fighting capabilities of our military by adding at least one division to the Army, and looking carefully at the allocation of all our assets to make sure that we have the resources to deal with the kind of wars that we are going to realistically face;
Fifth, we're going to sit with the Arab countries we are supporting and make it clear that they cannot buy internal stability by fomenting hate against Jews and the West and still expect our financial and military support. We will also talk about what kinds of support would be forthcoming if they did stop;
Sixth, we're going to develop security mechanisms based on the theory that fine-grained systems that bring information and communications to the existing public safety community, as well as the public at large are better than huge, centralized bureaucratic solutions;
That'd be a start...
(Winds of Change)
Why that's almost a new doctrine of foreign policy. And after a few more drafts, it might become a credible alternative to Pre-emption.
Ever since Bush articulated the doctrine of pre-emption, I've been waiting for a Democrat or Liberal to develop a competing doctrine. Until now, nobody has -- or at least nobody has proposed an alternative which didn't include the U.N. waving its magic wand.
Why don't the Democrats have an alternative to pre-emption? I've said this before: pre-emption is Democratic foreign policy. To review in brief:
- Upon taking office in 1993, Democrats codified the previous administration's grand-coalition strategy (tested successfully in Desert Storm) and called their new doctrine "Aggressive Multilateralism;"
- Aggressive Multilateralism failed in Haiti and the Balkans;
- Democrats formulated a new doctrine -- one in which they would identify crises before they escalated, and (pick a better word) pre-empt them. They called this new doctrine "Forward Engagement;"
- Upon taking office in 2001, Republicans continued to use the (then) current doctrine, but under a new name.
And that's why the Democrats don't have a credible alternative to pre-emption: it's a foreign policy they promoted as recently as two years ago. While they reject pre-emption today, they haven't articulated an alternative. And as you know, you can't beat something with nothing
Armed Liberal is developing something. To me it's presently unpersuasive, but of course it's still in its first draft. But the point is: he's got something. The others have nothing. The outcome is inevitable.
Advantage: Armed Liberal!
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Sorry folks, it's been two weeks since the last rocket-day. A new review
is up on the bad movie shrine. Check out the marquee in the left-hand column to see if it strikes your fancy.
This latest review represents a challenge: the film belongs to a genre long gone. Few are old enough to remember when it played in theaters, and perhaps it's not fair for an audience with contemporary expectations to judge its merits and its flaws. I've tried to be kind, and always appreciate your feedback.
Try enforcing this ticket:
A woman who drives a G-registration Austin Maestro has told of her shock after receiving a speeding ticket claiming she was travelling at 480mph.
Joanna James, 28, was allegedly clocked as she drove along a road in Bridgend earlier this month.
Could KITT go that fast?
Oh, and while I was reading Ananova, I spotted an even funnier news story. Unfortunately, because this is a PG-13 web log, I can't even begin to describe it. Please don't read it