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March 2003

 

 

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Monday, March 31: Let me see if I've got this straight: The neocons hate the Arabs but they convinced themselves that the Arabs would love us.

***

 

The SARS epidemic: Please wash you hands often and buy alcohol gel hand sanitizer.

***

 

The Marines throw Geraldo Rivera out of Iraq for drawing a battle plan in the sand on TV -- C'mon, guys, get creative. Don't toss him out -- feed him disinformation. You know that Geraldo has to be the highest rated American TV personality in the bunkers under Baghdad, if just for the mustache alone.

***

 

Video of the Week: 'Other Side of Heaven' by Steve Sailer

Although the movie industry practically dislocated its shoulder patting itself on the back in 2002 for voting Oscars to Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, "The Other Side of Heaven" is a much riskier celebration of diversity.

***

 

Video of the Week: 'Red Dragon' by Steve Sailer

The primordial human fear of being eaten has inspired three of Hollywood's all-time most profitable franchises: "Jaws," "Jurassic Park," and the Hannibal the Cannibal series. Anthony Hopkins returns as Dr.Hannibal Lecter.

***

 

Video of the Week: 'Truth About Charlie' by Steve Sailer

"The Truth About Charlie" is hoping to do a little better when released Tuesday on DVD (26.98 list) and VHS (rental only) than it did in the theaters, where it earned $5 million last fall.

***

 

Sunday March 30: Monday is Cesar Chavez Day in California. As I wrote three years ago:

 

The truth about Chavez is much more interesting than the stereotype propagated by Chicano activists. A third-generation American citizen from Yuma, Arizona, Chavez was first and foremost a labor leader, as crafty and sometimes ruthless as any effective union boss must be. Today, Mexican-American educators and politicians have one simple priority: more immigration. Every warm body with a brown skin increases their clout. But, then and now, union leaders have the opposite need. The UFW's essential problem was the same as all other union's, straight out of Econ 101. Chavez needed to limit the supply of labor in order to drive up wages. From this grew the fundamental conflict of his life. Was he an American class warrior or a Mexican mestizo racial activist? What came first: La Causa or La Raza? This irresolvable dual identity culminated in the terrible irony of his tragic last dozen years.

***

 

New VDARE column up at left.

***

 

Saturday, March 29: Another behind the scenes look at "holistic" college admissions -- This is like all the others -- no evidence whatsoever that admissions officers ever look at the outcome of their past decisions before making new decisions.

***

 

Korean-American 8th grader Michelle Wie shoots a 66 for 3rd place in the LPGA major championship in Palm Springs. At age 13 she's six feet tall and hits drives 300+ yards, 40-70 yards longer than her grown-up playing partners. I'm not too optimistic about Annika Sorenstam's chances in a men's tournament in May, but give Michelle 12 years and watch out, boys.

***  

 

Friday, March 28:Commentary: Support up in fighting allies by Steve Sailer

While the White House trumpets the number of governments that at least nominally support the invasion of Iraq -- "over 50" according to an op-ed by national security adviser Condoleeza Rice in The Wall Street Journal -- public opinion worldwide remains acutely negative. Good news for the administration, however, comes from the rise in popular support in the two other English-speaking nations that publicly have units fighting in Iraq. A rally-around-the-troops effect appears to be buoying hawkishness not just in the United States, but also in Britain and Australia.

***

 

Film of the Week: Rock in 'Head of State' by Steve Sailer

In "Head of State," Chris Rock plays a Washington, D.C., alderman selected to step in as a replacement presidential candidate. On paper, this role as the first black nominee sounds like a good vehicle for the ace comic.

***

 

Thursday, March 27: So, warbloggers, who's looking forward to a nice little invasion of Iran now? Don't all raise your hands at once.

***

 

Confessions of a Timid Reporter -- Watching better men than I file reports from inside Baghdad and on the front lines near Karbala, I turned to my wife and asked, "Aren't you glad I don't have a brave bone in my body?"

 

As Tom Stoppard's fine play about war correspondents "Night and Day" pointed out, the payoff for print reporters of reporting from the trenches is awfully limited. They become legends to about 100 other reporters, but the public never notices their names.

***

 

Richard Perle uses the occasion of a conflict of interest scandal to resign from being Chairman of the Defense Policy Board. As a leading proponent for the view that this war would be cheap and easy, maybe he really quit because he'd actually lost the confidence of Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld? Perle may be proved right tomorrow -- war has a way of surprising everybody -- but today he leaves with his reputation in tatters. A one-time advocate for the idiotic idea of only using 50,000-75,000 troops, Perle was largely overruled, but there's many an armored commander in Central Iraq right now wondering when his next fuel ration will arrive who won't be sorry to see Perle go.

 

In the unlikely event that this war turns out very badly, Rumsfeld might go too for his credulity. Perhaps Powell would then switch to Defense to reinstate the Powell Doctrine of massive force. Pressure would then emerge for the appointment as new Secretary of State of the one man best situated to patch up American relations with the rest of the world. Who is that American statesman popular worldwide? You guessed it: Bill Clinton. It would be pretty ironic if the hawks' war ended up bringing Clinton back into power! (That's all extremely implausible. But I just wanted to mention it in case it happens.)

***

 

After praising Turkey to the high heavens for 18 months as a "Muslim democracy" that shows that Iraq could be turned into a democracy hesto-presto, the neocons have now turned their fury on Turkey's "betrayal." Hey, guys, Turkey held a vote and the popular will was done. That's democracy in action. The Turkish people never felt much threatened by Saddam. What they really fear is resumption of the civil war with the Kurds in which 37,000 people died. That's a dozen 9-11s. It was foolish of us to assume we'd get their approval. The WaPo has the details.

***

 

Funny how nobody seems interested anymore in whether Saddam is still alive. Maybe his younger son Qusay is in charge. He's kind of a Michael Corleone figure, while his older brother Uday is like Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas," only even more defective. Interesting topic for a moral debate: which one is more evil -- the obvious monster or the healthy one who chooses his path?

***

 

Analysis: U.S. public war opinions stable by Steve Sailer

Will the press' plummeting mood affect the American public's will to fight?

***

 

Wednesday, March 26: Rod Dreher kindly published a correction on NRO's The Corner, retracting his earlier statement that I was an "anti-war blogger." Here is what I wrote to him:

 

"In today's highly emotional environment, I can't afford to be mischaracterized. During the war, I am of course hoping for a quick and overwhelming American victory.

 

"I realized a long time ago that I am a better analyst than decisionmaker, so during the long run-up to the war I decided I could best help my readers make up their own minds by not becoming a true believer in either creed. I have attempted to evaluate pro-war and anti-war arguments on their individual merits. This can easily be verified by reading www.iSteve.com."

***

 

Over two years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the end of Desert Storm, Feb. 27, 2001, I published an unpopular essay defending George H.W. Bush's decision to end Desert Storm without pushing on to Baghdad. I think it's held up relatively well. My conclusion: "So, while the outcome of Desert Storm was hardly ideal, it was about as good as could realistically be hoped for in the Middle East, that junkyard of statesmens' dreams."

***

 

"Harassment is an effective means of waging a defensive war, but wars are ultimately won by offensives." John Keegan, A History of Warfare."

***

 

Now that the mood of the press has swung to bitter pessimism, implying a Stalingrad on the Tigris, let me suggest that the chance for a sudden collapse of Iraqi resistance within the next few couple of weeks remains substantial. I've been pointing out the difficulties of conquering Iraq since 2001, but let me also point out that the most rigid regimes have been known to look indestructible practically up to the moment of implosion.

***

 

Commentary: No dancing in Iraq yet -- I give a dozen possible reasons for the sullen reception liberated Iraqi civilians are giving the Allies.

***

 

Tuesday - A fine column by George Will

 

"Now, when the country needs the chastening sobriety that should be conservatism's contribution to the national conversation, it has been getting a whiff of something oxymoronic: conservative triumphalism. There has been much breezy confidence that the war will be painless and the aftermath -- replacing Iraq's regime -- easy. This has made the public susceptible to mood swings."

***

 

Sandstorm - Hopefully, some of of our fighting men in the 3rd Infantry Division near Baghdad got a good day's sleep while the sand flew. It's easy to forget the stress that a tremendously fast advance like this one can impose on its human elements. But can you sleep in a sandstorm? I sure couldn't, but soldiers are famously good at sleeping anywhere, anytime.

***

 

Commentary: The real strength of opinions by Steve Sailer

Pollsters are experts at finding out how the public feels about the war. (Support has surged to more than 70 percent according to both Gallup and CBS/New York Times polls.) Yet, they can have a harder time determining how much the public feels.

***

 

Monday, March 24: A month into the war in Afghanistan, the press suddenly went into a funk and decided that America couldn't win. A couple of weeks later Kandahar and Kabul fell. This time, it took less than a week of enormous gains for this mood to set in. Imitating Douglas MacArthur's island-hopping strategy by leaving southern cities unplucked on the vine in the race to Baghdad makes perfect sense. The chance that the Iraqis can muster an offensive that could permanently cut the supply tail seems negligible. Nonetheless, the chances are increasing that Baghdad won't fall into our laps without either a fight or a siege, and those have always been ugly prospects. But, the President has made his war and to stop now would be ridiculous. I think we can now see a little better, though, why Dick Cheney, George H. H. Bush, and Colin Powell made their much second-guessed decision not to try to conquer Baghdad in 1991.

***

 

When all the shooting is over, I'll read through these daily comments and try to learn from my mistakes. I'm sure I'll learn a lot.

***

 

Sunday, March 23: No stopping the "Chicago" juggernaut, but what is it I don't get about "The Pianist"? It's a fine movie, well worth seeing, but Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director??? Think about that Screenplay award, for which it beat "Adaptation," for heaven's sake: The second half of "The Pianist" has virtually no dialogue. And the first half is very good, but haven't we seen it all before 500 times on the Hitler Channel, I mean History Channel? And while Adrien Brody looks perfect for the role, the screenplay doesn't give him much to do other than stare blankly. Charles Bronson could have played the role! Let me ask you this: does his character feel survivor's guilt? And if you think you know the answer, what evidence do you have for it? (It was cool, however, that Brody said Hello to his friend in the Army who is Over There. I wonder how many others at the Oscar show know anybody involved?)

 

Anyway, nothing wrong with giving Oscars to Nicole Kidman, Chris Cooper, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Conrad Hall's posthumous Oscar for lensing "Road to Perdition" was admirable. Two awards to "Frida," for Score and Makeup -- very impressive for a $12 million movie. Too bad it was about Stalinist scum.

***

 

The most important thing to point out is that American killed-in-action numbers remain minimal for having penetrated the majority of the way to Baghdad. Even after Sunday, we've lost about one American life per ten miles traversed! Compare that to, say, the 1916 Battle of the Somme, or the Iraq-Iran war.

 

One thing that's concerning about Iraqi resistance, however, is that their guerilla/terrorist tactics are ones that could be used indefinitely to torment American occupation troops after the main war is over. Extended family-oriented countries like Iraq that are bad at fighting real wars are often pretty good at waging low-intensity ambushes and terror. Strong family loyalties get in the way of effective national armies, but make for good cells of terrrorists/freedom fighters/mafioso. (See my "Ethnic Crime Mobs" article.) One purpose of the pretend surrender treachery is to make American soldiers' trigger fingers itchier, to cause massacres of innocent soldiers and civilians.

***

 

From my January 2002 review of "Black Hawk Down:"

 

"The movie also implicitly asks the numerous proponents of invading Baghdad to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: If the men of Baghdad prove willing to fight from their own apartment buildings, as Aidid's did, do we follow the Clinton administration's precedent of sending in only light infantry no better armed than the enemy? Or, do we protect our own men by calling in heavy weapons to flatten their residential redoubts, with their women and children in them?"

 

There are other options. Laying siege and starving them out. Infiltrating agents to negotiate with traitors. Bribery proved effective in Afghanistan. Combinations will work best. Plus, we can adjust, as the Israelis did in Jenin. They started out light and lost too many men, so they went heavy and just plowed under apartment houses in their way.

***

 

Tiger Woods, facing little competition from the human world, today took on an added opponent: the pathogen world. Despite vomiting repeatedly on the course from food poisoning, and playing in the pouring rain, he shot a 68 to win by a huge 11 strokes. The question is no longer whether Tiger is the most extraordinary athlete in the world, it's whether Tiger is the most extraordinary athlete ever.

***

 

Saturday: If you have cable and are watching CNN, Fox, or MSNBC, you probably don't realize how little interest the broadcast networks are showing in the war. For most of Saturday afternoon and evening, I couldn't find anything about the war on any of the eight major broadcast channels in L.A. 

***

 

Will the Iraqi people greet us with gunfire or with rapturous dancing in the street as the Administration hopes? If this WaPo story and this LA Times story from Safwan are leading indicators, the answer might in part be: neither. So far, they've mostly done what Iraqis do best: kvetch and ask, "What's in it for me?" And these are the Shi'ites who hate Saddam. Hopefully, the Basraites will be more appreciative of us.

 

Of course, the Iraqis have more pressing matters to concern themselves over. Tyrants and conquerors come and go, but feuds go on and forever, and with no civil authority in much of southern Iraq at present, the night of the long knives is once again at hand.

***

 

I want to apologize to Rod Dreher. The title "Ex-Friends" that was put on his NRO piece mischaracterizes his personal approach to his problems with friends who disagree with him on the war. Rod's answer is to stop discussing it with the more vociferous of them. Good for him. 

 

Other pro-war people he quotes, though, have ended friendships. Rod attributes these breakups to the "hysteria" and "fever swamps of emotionalism" of the anti-war side. 

 

But, it seems clear that pro-war irrationality contributes heavily to this vicious cycle. (Rod says he believes in the war "with all my heart," but doesn't say anything how much of his head believes in it.) As the polls show, a large fraction of the pro-war side believes that Saddam contributed to 9/11. The Administration has desperately searched for evidence for that for 18 months, but without finding much. I'm not sure that it's ever said precisely that Saddam was involved, but it's certainly done zero to discourage that fantasy, because it wants people to believe that invading Iraq is revenge for 9/11. (Greg Cochran says that a lot of people who think Saddam must have been involved in the WTC aren't being illogical. They are just trying to make more sense out of the White House policy than is justified. They are drawing an overly logical conclusion about the White House's motivation. They are reasoning: If the WTC is blown up. And then Bush invades Iraq. Therefore, therefore Bush must be doing that because Iraq blew up the WTC.)

 

I'm sure there will soon be lots of Iraqis lining up to tell the conquerors whatever they want to hear about Saddam and Osama being bosom buddies, but who's going to believe them who didn't already want to believe them?

 

And how about all that fear-mongering about how the mighty Iraqi military machine was going to invade its neighbors -- despite Iraq's complete lack of air cover and all its other obvious weaknesses. That looks awfully silly today. I'm sure poisons will eventually be discovered, but as we've seen for the last few days, isolated weapons don't make a military capable of successful invasions. What it takes are vast integrated air-sea-ground-space systems.

 

This is not to say that there aren't good reasons for the Iraq Attaq, some of which I've written about here in VDARE. Others include the humanitarian benefits of lifting the sanctions, the Opec-damaging advantages of eventually flooding the market with Iraq's oil, the difficulties of not getting bored with inspections, and the fact that Saddam just plain deserves death and dismemberment.

 

But, this kind of irrationality and disdain for the truth on the part of some on the pro-war side just fosters irrationality on the other side. And that has ugly consequences. When so many of the reasons given by pro-war forces are bogus, it leads to searches for the secret, "real" reason -- like, oh, the Elders of Zion must be jerking the puppet strings. Anti-Semitism has been latent in every society known to history, and sometimes it doesn't take much to bring it out. I fear that the Administration has done much to worsen anti-Semitism around the world.

***

 

Friday: Here's the Saddam betting line: "Will he not be in power on March 31": currently a 79% chance he'll be a goner, according to the Dublin line, up from only 20% a few weeks ago. I'd take that bet even at only a low payoff.

***

 

"Part of the problem here is the profound intellectual poverty of the Left. The whole debate about this massive, this ancient, this hugely complex threat to Western civilization, this clash of civilizations, is, for all intents and purposes, being hashed out on the Right. The best arguments against war come from the Right; the best arguments for it come from the Right. The Left chicanes and heckles, enfeebles and distracts; it says almost nothing of value, except when it adopts polemical postures hammered out in earnest by those it regards as monstrous. A good example is the sudden discovery by militants of the secularist Left of the Just War theory: who knew that Communists admired St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas?" -- Paul Cella, Tech Central Station.

***

 

I'm going to start writing daily coverage for UPI on public opinion, nationally and overseas. So, if you see something interesting, please let me know. 

 

What's the American flag situation like in your area? Today, very few cars in the San Fernando Valley were flying those foot tall flags that clamp to your windows, many fewer than after 9/11 and during the Afghan War. (I did notice some flying tiny styrofoam flags on their antennas, something I hadn't seen before.)  

 

Here's another question I'm wondering about. Let's say it's an utter walkover. There's no streetfighting in Baghdad, the war is over in a week, and the total death tolls end up very low: say, <100 Americans, <1,000 Iraqi civilians, <10,000 Iraqi soldiers, or something like that.

 

Would this make America more popular in the rest of the world than it is now? After all, many of the ostensible reasons given by foreigner for opposing the war -- e.g., aversion to civilian casualties -- would turn out to have been overblown. Or, would this demonstration of overwhelming American military might make America even less popular because what is really driving anti-American attitudes is fear and loathing of the fact that the American President can now evidently invade any non-nuclear nation on Earth without breaking a sweat, while even cutting taxes?

***

 

What are iSteve readers interested in today? Judging by my email, it's helping me answer the question: "Which language should my son study in high school: French, Spanish, Latin, or Japanese?" I received quite a few emails, all of them superbly well argued but with no consensus whatsoever. So, I left it up to Matt and he picked Latin. This should please Duende of GNXP, who advised, "Latin classes seem to be fairly apolitical (I think the Carthaginian Wars stopped vexing people long ago), while high school Spanish classes frequently become propaganda sessions for immigration and "La Raza."" 

***

 

Film of the Week: 'Bend It Like Beckham' by Steve Sailer

"Bend It Like Beckham" is a well-executed, crowd-pleasing comedy that earned more money in Britain than any all-British film ever. It's the story of a teenage Indian Sikh girl who would rather head soccer balls into the goal than play a role in her big sister's marriage ceremony. Call it "My Big Fat Sikh Heading."

***

 

Turkey invades Free Kurdistan against American wishes -- Hopefully, this will be limited to the border region, but it has the potential for trouble. Here's what I wrote way back in 2001:

 

The diplomatic questions involving Turkey, however, are inordinately complex. Many Turks believe they were cheated out of the Northern Iraqi oil-producing region of Mosul in the carving up of the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire after World War I. The Turkish prime minister briefly raised the question of taking back northern Iraq in 1995.

 

Would Turkey go along with an American invasion of Iraq? Possibly, but its price might be high. For example, it might want the whole of northern Iraq. What Turkey did not want in 1991 and does not want in 2001 is self-determination within Iraq. That's because, besides the Iraqi Arabs and the Turks, there is one more nation that believes itself entitled to the mountains and oil fields of Northern Iraq: the stateless Kurds. There are some 22 million Kurds, most living in the mountains near Turkey's borders with Iraq, Iran and Syria. They are often said to be the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state, though that seems debatable. (African-Americans, for example, are more numerous, and India is full of larger ethnic groups.)

 

Turkey definitely does not want an oil-rich Kurdish state with its own army on Turkey's southeastern border. The Kurdish rebellion against Turkey in the last decade cost 37,000 lives, according to the Turkish government. Would the Kurds, who have known an uncertain and shifting degree of autonomy within Iraq since the Gulf War, welcome or attack invaders coming from Turkey? It's hard to say. Kurdish politics is volatile, with Kurdish factions occasionally aligning with Iraq, Turkey or Iran in order to wage war against other Kurdish parties. Still, it could well be that to bring Turkey into the war, the United States would have to betray the Kurds. America has largely been untouched by Kurdish violence, but selling out the Kurds could make another dangerous enemy.

***

 

From my January 13, 2003 American Conservative article "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum:"

 

"Retired U.S. Army colonel Norvell De Atkine spent years trying to train America's Arab allies in modern combat techniques. In an article in American Diplomacy entitled, "Why Arabs Lose Wars," a frustrated De Atkine explained, "First, the well-known lack of trust among Arabs for anyone outside their own family adversely affects offensive operations. In a culture in which almost every sphere of human endeavor, including business and social relationships, is based on a family structure, this orientation is also present in the military, particularly in the stress of battle. "Offensive action, basically, consists of fire and maneuver," De Atkine continued. "The maneuver element must be confident that supporting units or arms are providing covering fire. If there is a lack of trust in that support, getting troops moving forward against dug-in defenders is possible only by officers getting out front and leading, something that has not been a characteristic of Arab leadership."

***

 

Along very similar lines, National Review Online runs a terrific article by freelancer Ann Marlowe on how cousin marriage-based extended families prevent the emergence of democracy in Afghanistan. It's nice to see NRO running analytical pieces with no pre-ordained ideological slant, ones that teach you new ideas rather than just provide rationales for already held views. NR has two staffers with strong anthropological backgrounds: Stanley Kurtz and John J. Miller.

***

 

Friday - Tariq Aziz - I've always had the feeling that the (perhaps late) Iraqi diplomat was actually being played by Peter Sellers.

***

 

Thursday - 11 pm - Shock and Awe-Lite - I presume we're doing a diet attack because:

 

A. We don't want to use up ordnance more needed to intimidate North Korea into not pouring over the 38th Parallel this summer.

 

B. We knew all along that -- despite all the Administration's talk of the danger of Iraq invading its neighbors -- the fearsome Iraqi war machine was actually useless.

***

 

What's the over-under on Iraqi military casualties? It could be low. It's starting to look like the major danger faced by Iraqi troops in Southern Iraq is getting run over by an Abrams heading north at 50 mph.

 

If Saddam is a goner, (and perhaps even if he isn't), then we probably won't need to do any street fighting in Baghdad, so the over-under to downtown Baghdad might be, what, a week? Less?

 

The Administration is downplaying the idea that that was Saddam's double on TV 24 hours ago, and playing up the idea that that that was the real Saddam, but in a pre-recorded announcement. But why would Saddam, a famous Mussolini-style bravo, turn in such a pathetic performance if he was recording it at his leisure? The double theory sounds more plausible -- the guy on TV looks like Horatio Sanz of Saturday Night Live in that sketch where he played Saddam's lowest quality impersonator. Most likely, though, I think that was the real Saddam and it was broadcast nearly live, but he was injured, pumped full of painkillers, knew he had been betrayed by someone in his inner circle, may have lost a son, and probably lost his makeup man so nobody could tape his jawline up. But, I've been wrong before, as you can see by reading entries below.

***

 

Gosh. Isn't it a tragedy that we didn't get Turkey's permission to launch a ground invasion from Turkish territory? That might have allowed us to cut two, even three hours off the length of the war, with the only cost being decades of complications of the Turk-Kurd situation. (Turkey is still threatening to invade Free Kurdistan, which a Turkish Prime Minister asserted a claim to in 1995.)

***

 

Peter Brimelow's "VDARE.com and the War: a Statement"

***

 

And now for something completely different: Colby Cosh responds to my assertion that Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil resembles what 1984 would have been like if it had been written by Evelyn Waugh:

 

"Gilliam is an intuitive artist who calls much on his own subconscious--the mask worn by Sam's torturer in Brazil, for example, is one Gilliam had a memory of seeing as a child. Gilliam is, after the fashion of the painter Francis Bacon, a surrealistic cultivator of brilliant tonal accidents. Waugh achieved a very precise control over his instrument, a control to which someone like Gilliam would never dream of aspiring.

Yet there is much that is Waughian in Brazil--perhaps the hand of Tom Stoppard is responsible. It starts with the very first dialogue in the screenplay, with a Deputy Minister using sports metaphors to talk, basically, about state torture.

 

HELPMANN Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seems to have forgotten certain good old fashioned virtues. They just can't stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game, instead of standing on the touch line heckling -

 

INTERVIEWER In fact, killing people -

 

HELPMANN - In fact, killing people - they'd get a lot more out of life.

***

Bush should challenge Saddam to prove he's not dead: "If you're still alive, show it by appearing at exactly noon on the south balcony of the 3rd floor of Palace #1 -- you know, the balcony with all that pink marble filigree. And stay there until I call you on your cell phone and tell you my experts agree it's really you."

*** 

 

Analysis: Which American groups most back war? by Steve Sailer

Now that war has started, support by the American public for an invasion of Iraq can be expected to rise among all groups. But what segments of the public have been the strongest and most consistently supportive of a pre-emptive attack?

***

 

Wednesday, 11:56 pm - So, was that puffy faced man on TV one of the dead Saddam's doubles, as many are claiming, or just the old blowhard suddenly realizing he is soon going to die? I'd bet on the latter. Emotional shocks can change how people look fast. Of course, the problem is that practically every man in Iraq looks rather like Saddam, what with the big mustache that seems to be even more popular in Baghdad than it was with the Village People.

***

 

Question: Say a Republican Guard division shoots Saddam, and its commanding officer then declares himself liberator and leader of Iraq. Great! Wonderful! But, what do we do with 10,000 armed Sunni thugs who view themselves as heroes and rightful rulers of Iraq? Letting them run the country is intolerable, but what do we do with them? Shoot them?

***

 

Has any single phrase ever proven more disastrous to the popularity of America with the rest of the human race than "axis of evil"?

***

 

So much for my lunar timetable! -- Instead of waiting for at least a few hours of moonless night (see below), we started the war in the dawn gloaming with the full moon shining. Hopefully, we rubbed out Saddam with this snap shot, but the one military skill Iraqis are good at is hiding in holes in the ground (as shown by our failure to take out the Iraqi leadership in 6 weeks of targeted bombing in the first war). Further, the cruise missiles and F-117s we sent in can't carry the biggest bunker-buster bombs (at least as far as I know, which isn't saying much). But, let's hope for the best.

 

Obviously, our leaders hold the Iraqi war machine in such utter contempt that we didn't bother to wait to use our huge advantage in night-fighting. Exactly what threat Iraq could have posed to the rest of the Mideast when they are so weak that we didn't even bother with the first lesson in Modern American Warfare 101 is an interesting question that people around the world must be asking.

 

You shoot a rampaging bull elephant with an elephant gun, you don't provoke it with a peashooter, no matter how accurate. So, I guess this proves Iraq isn't a bull elephant. We've now given Saddam (assuming he's still around) a short window of opportunity to retaliate with whatever he's got before our "shock and awe" attack begins and presumably wipes out his weapons. Evidently, though, we believe he doesn't have much to strike back with. But if he doesn't, then please remind the world again what's the point of the war?

 

Update: William Saletan makes the same point in Slate: "But watching our guys pummel their guys in their capital with impunity makes me wonder how grave the threat to us really was. The Iraq-al-Qaida connection was always the weakest part of Bush's case against Saddam. The U.N. Security Council is gutless, and I hope one of those bunker busters took Saddam right in the chops. But forgive me if in its first hours this doesn't look like a war of self-defense."

***

 

What's the over-under on the duration of the war? I'd say six days to the outskirts of Baghdad, but then what happens? Ideally, Saddam will have been overthrown, and we'll just parade into downtown. But what if Saddam maintains control? 

 

Do we go in light like in Mogadishu and let them have a fair fight? Personally, I think it's un-American to give the other guy a level playing field like we did in the Black Hawk Down battle. The American Way of War is to crush the enemy with our industrial and technological might.

 

Do we go in heavy with combat bulldozers and crush a bunch of grandmothers in the ruins and still lose some armor? 

 

Or do we lay siege to the city and starve them out, like Israel tried with Beirut in 1982? This would probably minimize U.S. casualties. Key to that strategy would be to drop smart bombs on all the Al-Jazeera broadcasters, because if the world watches the children of Baghdad slowly starve to death on the nightly news, well, it's not going to be worth it. You'll recall what a huge propaganda disaster the Lebanon invasion was for Israel, and how it turned out to be a failure in the long run, with Israel giving up on its Lebanon possessions in 2000.

 

Hopefully, some combination of approaches, such as siege combined with precision airstrikes and quick probes, will speed surrender. The brass has had a long time to think about this and I trust they've got some workarounds.

***

 

Tuesday Night -- The full moon was yesterday -- Tonight, a nearly full moon came up one hour after sunset. Each night, a less full moon will come up one hour later. We prefer to attack when the moon is not up, so that would suggest several more days before we start the war. For example, there will be about five hours of moonless darkness on Saturday night. But, we may figure this will be such a walkover that we only need a couple of hours of darkness for the first wave of cruise and stealth strikes.

***

 

Diplomatic Deadend - Essentially, after 9-11 Dick Cheney decided that the spread of knowledge about how to make nasty weapons is making life so dangerous that the only solution is for the U.S. to rule the world. There's a lot to be said for this idea, but there are two problems: A. The world doesn't want to be ruled by the U.S.; and B. The people of the U.S. have almost zero interest in ruling the world, since that might cut in to time that could better be devoted to March Madness, the Oscar preview shows, and keeping up with the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping.

***

 

The good news about our failure at the UN - Our Iraq Attaq was so unpopular on the Security Council that Bush didn't give away the store on immigration to get Vincente Fox's vote. If it had been closer and Mexico had been the deciding vote, who knows what Bush would have promised Fox.

***

 

Monday: It sure would be nice if Saddam fled or somebody shot him -- What makes this unlikely is that Saddam has been concentrating power in the hands of his blood relatives, and making sure they have blood on their hands. This means that they fear that as soon as Saddam goes, they'll be strung up by mobs. That gives them an incentive to fight (at least as well as modern Iraqis have ever fought, which isn't saying much.) That even gives them an incentive to keep Saddam from leaving, unless they can squeeze on the plane with him. Does Saddam own a Gulfstream or a 747?

***

 

Bush's Speech: A huge improvement over his smirking performance of a couple of weeks ago at the American Enterprise Institute. Good speech.

***

 

Jews and War -- Clearly, there is no monolithic Jewish conspiracy. In fact, the opposite is more nearly true: we are witnessing a power struggle among Jews. For decades in America and Israel, Jewish social democrats have been dominant in numbers over Jewish rightists (at least among the Ashkenazi, who comprise practically all Jews in the U.S. and most of the the elite in Israel). The collapse of the Oslo peace process in 2000 gave the opposition -- the Likud/neoconservative alliance -- an apparent historic opportunity to convert the bulk of the Ashkenazi to their more aggressive policies. 9/11 heightened emotions and the American ease of success in Afghanistan made widespread war seem easy. 

 

That these aggressive plans for war in Iraq and beyond are alienating the social democrats of Europe and even fostering anti-Semitism among them is seen as a virtue to the Likud/neoconservative thinkers. They want social democracy permanently tainted with the image of anti-Semitism in the eyes of their fellow Ashkenazis, thus driving Jews to the right. And who is to say that this trade -- Europeans for Jews -- is not in the long run interests of America? If the Jews of the world moved in a more pro-American direction, that might be worth driving the gentiles of Europe into anti-Americanism. (After all, Jews are highly influential on a per capita basis.) Or then again, maybe not -- to consider the world Jewish community (13 million) more influential than Europe (700 million) on an absolute basis seems redolent of the fever swamps of the anti-Semites.

 

Now, there's nothing unique or shameful about this kind of international internecine struggle that is going on among Jews. Lots of other American ethnic groups engage in the same kind of internal disputes over the direction of politics in their homelands and want U.S. backing for their particular parties and policies. Who doesn't have dual (or multiple) loyalties? (For example, as a partly Swiss American, I wish Switzerland well. Of course, the good thing about being Swiss-American is that no country on earth puts fewer practical demands on the abstract affections of its diaspora than Switzerland! As long you aren't planning to invade Switzerland, the Swiss are studiously indifferent to your foreign policy.) The main difference is that, due to the tremendous skills of the polemicists involved (going back to Biblical times), Jewish debates are just so much more interesting and involving to outsiders than are, say, Cypriot or Fijian debates.

 

Nobody held a gun to the head of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld and made them believe one set of views over the other. The success of the Likud/neoconservative alliance is testimony to the quality, energy, and passionate intensity of their arguments, as well as to their prudence in forging alliances with Republicans while mainstream Jews were overwhelmingly Democratic.

 

As I've said since 2001, there are lots of decent arguments pro and con about attacking Iraq. The big question is whether we will follow this up with attacks on Iran and other Muslim countries that are also threats to Israel. The best argument for the Iraq Attaq is that we are legally justified under the 1991 ceasefire deal with Saddam. But that hasn't been a popular argument with neocons because we don't have a similar casus belli with the other countries they want to invade. My guess is that this war will prove plenty for the American people, but it won't for the Likud/neocon alliance. So, who will win the next power struggle? My guess is that we'll let Iran and Syria and the rest be, but I've been wrong before.

***

 

Pinker downplays feasibility of human enhancement through genetic engineering. Here is Steve Pinker's testimony to the Leon Kass' President's Council on Bio-Ethics. I think he's right about the difficulties of genetic engineering -- I sure wouldn't rush to screw around with my children's individual genes because of potential side effects. Look at this genetic condition Henry Harpending and Greg Cochran are studying called "torsion dystonia" - average IQ of patients is 122, but 10% are in wheelchairs. Yeesh.

 

On the other hand, if you are going to have IVF done for whatever reason and you have to select among your embryos that you and your spouse created, why not pick the ones that statistically look best overall? Granted, at present we have little clue which those would be, but a fair amount of that kind of information will emerge for the next few decades. People are already having their embryos checked out for single bad genes, such as to avoid Huntington's Disease. Moving back a step, sperm/egg bank customers are already putting a lot of effort and cash into finding genetically desirable donors. Cloning would even get around all these probabilistic problems, although it has other obvious problems. So, I think my (not yet born) grandchildren will have to deal with a lot of these issues when they are ready to have kids.

***

 

Latest VDARE essay at left.

***

 

Eric Lien's MixedAsian blog has a number of good entries on topics discussed here lately, such as the Census Bureau data on interracial marriages and a short definition of ethnicity. Just scroll down a little.

***

 

I often find that the "Forward," the English language version of the famous New York Yiddish newspaper, has some of the most sensible things to say on Jewish issues. With the question of Jewish neoconservative influence on the President's war policy finally surfacing in the mainstream press, the Forward's editorial "Blabber" is well worth reading.

 

Something new I learned here was that the Israelis traditionally believed that Iran, which sponsors Hamas and Hezbollah, was a greater threat to Israel than its weakened rival Iraq, which many Israeli officials saw as a counterweight to Iranian ambitions. Secret negotiations between Israel and Saddam's representatives happened as recently as 2000, but the U.S. forced Israel to drop out. Recently, opinion within the Israeli government has swung sharply in favor of an American attack on Iraq. Still, many in Israel are concerned that Iran could be a major beneficiary from the demise of the Iraqi strongman. The best outcome would presumably be American attacks on both Iraq and Iran. Another Forward article said, "For the last several months, Israeli officials have been prodding Washington to carry its campaign against the "axis of evil" on to Iran immediately after the end of the Iraq war." So, if the conservative press in 2004 is full of articles demanding an attack on Iran, then that would be an interesting test of neoconservative power and motives.

***

 

Interracial marriage gender gaps stay huge by Steve Sailer

Newly released data from the 2000 Census show that the interracial marriage "gender gap" endured by black women and Asian men may have worsened since 1990. 

 

In recent years, there has been much discussion about the difficulties African-American women face finding husbands. Although less publicized, similar problems confront Asian-American men looking for wives. Gender imbalances in the number of interracial married couples contribute to both groups' frustrations in the highly competitive market for spouses.

***

 

Film of the Week: 'The Hunted' by Steve Sailer

There's an article of faith among Republican pundits that everyone in Hollywood is a pacifist feminist wimp. Yet, you sure wouldn't guess that from going to the movies lately. For example, "The Hunted," starring Tommy Lee Jones, is the most primordial blood and guts action movie about an aging Special Operations warrior named "L.T." who must fight his way out of the woods since ... well, since last week's "Tears of the Sun" with Bruce Willis.

***

 

I'm writing an article on different demographic groups' views on whether or not to go to war. I've got a fair amount of polling data, but what I'm missing is a measure of intensity of feeling on this issue. Has anybody seen one? My guess, based on the low minority turnout in November's election, is that nonwhites tend to feel less strongly about the issue.

 

It's hard to blame anybody for deciding they'd rather watch "American Idol" than think through this issue. Both sides have a whole bunch of arguments, none of which seems to me decisive. I strongly supported Desert Storm and fairly strongly opposed our attack on Serbia because in both cases I could boil the controversies down to a single principle: I believe in the importance of territorial sovereignty. But here, there's nothing so clear cut. So, when's "Fear Factor" on?

***

 

One of the most interesting writers around is J.P. Zmirak. His archive, "A European Reactionary from Queens," is found at http://zmirak.blogspot.com/

***

 

Travolta Says He Passed on 'Chicago' -- Does any actor make dumber decisions about roles than John? God knows how big a star Travolta would be if he'd choose a good script more than twice a decade.

***

 

If you are in Santa Barbara, you can see me on Mark Green's "Flashpoint" talk show on Channel 17 on Thursday, March 13th at 8:00 p.m. and Friday the 14th at 4:00 a.m. and noon. I'm pretty bad in the first 10 minutes but improve a little. Suggestions for improving my TV style, such as it is, would be appreciated. Besides losing weight, of course. You can never be too thin on TV.

***

 

When I feel guilty about having less and less to say each month about Iraq, I can take consolation in noting that the most creative columnist in the Anglosphere, Mark Steyn, admits to being tapped out:

 

"Is there a columnar equivalent of Viagra? I mean, I started writing about the impending war with Iraq in late September 2001 and after a year and a half I'm beginning to flag. I don't think I've had a new thought on Iraq in months. I agree with what I said about toppling Saddam on this page way back on September 27th 2001. Don't bother looking it up. I've said the same words in a slightly different order a gazillion times since and, even taking the President at his word that this is Saddam's last last chance, that still gives me a couple more weeks or so to say it another half-dozen times. I'm like Tony Orlando in Atlantic City, getting older and sadder singing the same song every night. This is the Mesopotamian desert of punditry. I've been parched of fresh opinion for months, and the damn mirage of war shimmering on the horizon never gets any nearer. The only consolation is that the anti-war crowd are having an even harder time keeping it up than I am."

***

 

Whatever happened to the artistic creativity of Europe, once the homeland of genius? Paul J. Cella brings up a fascinating quote from G.K. Chesterton's biography of St. Francis of Assisi:

 

"War had broken out between Assisi and Perugia. It is now fashionable to say in a satirical spirit that such wars did not so much break out as go on indefinitely between the city-states of mediaeval Italy... But the citizens of the mediaeval republic were certainly under the limitation of only being asked to die for the things with which they had always lived, the houses they inhabited, the shrines they venerated and the rulers and representatives they knew; and had not the larger vision calling them to die for the latest rumours about remote colonies as reported in anonymous newspapers. And if we infer from our own experience that war paralysed civilisation, we must at least admit that these warring towns turned out a number of paralytics who go by the names of Dante and Michael Angelo, Ariosto and Titian, Leonardo and Columbus, not to mention Catherine of Siena and the subject of this story. While we lament all this local patriotism as a hubbub of the Dark Ages, it must seem a rather curious fact that about three quarters of the greatest men who ever lived came out of these little towns and were often engaged in these little wars."

 

Most of what once inspired European artists to rise above themselves -- religious faith and rivalry between city and city or nation and nation -- has died out, leaving only competition for higher social status. The emergence of the assumption that Europeans should be Euro-minded has coincided with the collapse of genius in Europe. The prefix "Euro" has come to mean blandness and tawdriness, as in Europop and Eurotrash.

***

 

Please help me polish my definition of "ethnic group."

 

As you may know, I've spent a lot time trying to come up with the most parsimonious definition of "racial group" possible. By now, I'm down to five words: "a partly inbred extended family." (By the way, should I say "partly" or "partially"? "Inbred" or "endogamous" or something else?)

 

I'd like to come up with a complementary definition for "ethnic group." My first crack at is: "A population sharing traits that are typically passed down through families, but don't necessarily have to be." In other words, traits like language and religion as well as genetic traits. This would seem to match the Census Bureau's usage, when they carefully explain that Hispanics are an ethnic group, but not a racial group.

***

 

New VDARE column at left.

***

 

Northwestern U. psychologist J. Michael Bailey sent me a copy of his new book, which will be out in a couple of weeks. It's called "The Man Who Would Be Queen," and, no, there won't be a role for Sean Connery in the movie version.

 

Seriously, it's a real page-turner of a popular science book on male homosexuals and transsexuals. I finished it in a 24 hour period, although there were parts I skimmed because Bailey told me a little more detail than I cared to learn about some of these topics. Lots of fascinating individual profiles along with summaries of scientific studies by Mike and others in the field. Mike is free with his unfashionable but commonsensical opinions, but also very will to admitting everything that isn't known yet in his field.

 

Some of it is quite new -- for example, his study showing that people are reasonably accurate at distinguishing gay from straight men by voice alone. Mike lists three components of the "gay voice" including the "lissssp" (not lithp), but he admits that the gay voice is an oddity. Most gay male traits are characterizable as being more feminine than traits seen in typical straight men. But the gay voice might be different altogether and not fit on the masculine-feminine scale. I don't think women lissssp.

***

 

Here's a fascinating account by a reader of what it's like to accidentally undergo changes in your testosterone level. To avoid being sued by the makers of Accutane, let me point out that his reaction was probably quite idiosyncratic.

 

"Your article "The Manly Molecule" and Andrew Sullivan's to which you refer have illuminated a time in my life which you may find interesting, and possibly even useful for your sons.

 

"Since the later stages of puberty, I have known that I am more sexed, more aggressive, more muscular, more energetic, and more plagued by acne than my peers. Being naturally curious and an avid reader, when I was eighteen I realized (admittedly proudly) that these are all manifestations of high testosterone levels. When I left my home to start college, the gulf between the average male and me became more apparent, as at home I had two sisters, in the dorm I was living in close proximity with a cross section of other males. 

 

"When I was a junior in college, I got over my stoicism and denial about my acne problem and angrily confronted my dermatologist with the total failure of every nostrum he had given me and demanded the Weapon of Mass Destruction of acne - Accutane! 

 

"From the beginning, two things about Accutane's effects were quite noticeable: 1) The stuff worked like crazy - the acne never stood a chance. 2) All of those other testosterone related characteristics greatly diminished. I quickly noticed that sitting still to study in my room in my fraternity was much easier. Before Accutane, the faint happy cheering and howling (especially the female voices) of the inevitable nearby Greek Row party would usually propel me in search of girls. On Accutane I could convince myself to ignore it and study (I was still somewhat prone to distraction, but much less so by thoughts of women). I would no longer glower at guys from rival fraternities, or spend an entire afternoon playing half court basketball, or get antsy at 10 pm and go run five miles. I found I was more pensive and introspective, even wistful, and
became occasionally interested in mirror gazing. My sex drive mellowed. Others noticed, too. My mother told me later that my shoulders became slighter, the features of my face had become more delicate and refined and remarked on the personality changes, too. 

 

"At the time, I rationalized these side effects by deciding that they were simply psychological, i.e. my earlier, more intense ways were an outgrowth of my deep frustration with acne and that removing the source of the frustration eliminated the intensity and aggression. And if I was wrong, well, it was a bargain I was willing to make. Even more interestingly, part of me welcomed these changes. For one thing, my grades improved.

 

"I quit taking Accutane about the time I graduated after a successful 12 month regimen. Although I can't remember any sudden behavior change, my memory of the subsequent years includes a mostly continual (and occasionally even successful) pursuit of sex, some nearly violent confrontations with other men, deep thinking about the feasibility of armed revolution (this was during the post Ruby Ridge and Waco years pretty embarrassing) plus a lot of other high-T political thinking, and consistent defiance of my boss at my physically demanding, rugged, outdoors job. Cleary the side effects were temporary, which, come to think of it, seems unfortunate in some respects.

 

"So what happened? The side effects that I experienced are precisely the symptoms of reduced testosterone. Accutane isn't known to cause such an effect, but given the fact that medical science still doesn't completely understand how Accutane works, perhaps there is something related going on here. There has been a steady drumbeat of anecdotal evidence connecting Accutane with depression and suicide - given the connection between a lack of Testosterone and depression, my experience has convinced me that for some patients there is a testosterone related side effect that needs to be investigated. 

 

"Here's something interesting: even though before and after Accutane I reveled in my apparent abundance of the Big T, while I was on it, I could not be roused to do anything to restore that abundance. I was quite happy to be without it. This has given me some insight into something that has puzzled me: why are eunuch harem guards loyal? The most crucial attribute of any despot's palace guard is loyalty to the despot, so why would he arm and place into a sensitive job someone whom he had castrated? Wouldn't such grievous harm create a burning hatred and motive for revenge on the part of the eunuch? My experience with apparently reduced testosterone suggests that a eunuch might well appreciate his calmer status and in any case probably couldn't muster a burning hatred about anything anyway. 

 

"I don't know if your sons are teenagers or if either has acne, but if so, and if he is considering Accutane, I hope that he and you would appreciate the leap into the unknown that Accutane represents. There are topical remedies, including the one I currently use (ProActiv solution) that work pretty well for most. At least wait until he has fully grown and his brain has stopped developing."

***

 

A liberal reader comments upon the Swedes and blacks welfare question: 

 

"For a poor black mother in the immediate post-civil rights years of the 1960s, moving from a nanny job working for a lower middle-class white family, to receiving a government welfare check, was actually a huge pay raise. And if she had additional children, she stood to receive even more welfare money. This flow of government money had such a huge impact on poor black Americans, that it radically upset the economic power balance between low-income black men and low-income black women. Women on welfare, with their subsidized apartments, health care, food stamps, etc., were able to enjoy a higher quality of life, than what a low income non-unionized black man was capable of providing for his family. That marked the emergence of what some thinkers have described as "welfare feminism", where black women began to view husbands as unnecessary. In fact, social engineers created a situation whereby a woman was actually rewarded if she separated from her husband, because having a man at home made her ineligible for welfare. 

 

"If I could go back and change the 60s, I would do things a little better. First, instead of expanding the welfare rolls to correct for past discrimination, I would eliminate all welfare. And to create economic opportunity for blacks, I would have forced all those Democratic Party controlled unions to open up to blacks. Affirmative Action in the construction trades would have helped more blacks financially, than all the college admission double-standards. Just my two cents."

***

 

Paul Krugman, the NYT op-edster, comes in for a lot of criticism for his unvarying anti-Bush partisanship. But Krugman's notoriety points out that he is the exception that proves the rule that conformity is now found more on the right side of the pundit spectrum. (When I was young, Krugmans were a dime a dozen.) So, I'd like to celebrate a few conservative pundits who stand out for their independence of mind -- the ones you can't tell ahead of time what they are going to say.

 

The Weekly Standard doesn't pretend to be open-minded, but two of its oldtimers -- Christopher Caldwell and David Brooks -- definitely stand out from the Standard's hectoring crowd, and are normally well worth reading. It helps that they actually have particular interests (France and upper middle class sociology, respectively) that they know more about than their readers.

 

For pure pundit talent, it's hard to argue that anybody is better than Mark Steyn, although he's gotten duller since the Iraq thing came along. I'd say that young Colby Cosh, however, is Steyn's peer in ability, is more surprising, and may well surpass him in the long run. By the way, the power of physical location in making it in this business is shown by how obscure Steyn, who lives in small-town New Hampshire, remains in America. The almost completely unknown Cosh, who lives in an igloo in Nunavut (or something like that), is of course the strongest example of how you need face time to make it big no matter how much funnier, smarter, and wiser you are than all your gladhanding competition in New York and D.C.

***

 

Bringing Down the House - Steve Martin and Queen Latifah - This seemed to delight the mostly white, middle-aged Hollywood and media folks with whom I saw it. Personally, I found it aggressively stupid and annoying. I almost always like Steve Martin, but here he didn't write the script and is just mugging with those same expressions you've seen for 25 years. If you like catfights, which I gather is practically everybody these days except me, this one includes a fistfight between Queen Latifah and some blonde actress that goes on longer than Mike Tyson's last four fights combined. Eugene Levy is very funny, though, as a middle-aged lawyer whose philosophy of life is "the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice."

***

 

A little Swedish history from a woman who lives there:

 

"First of all, in 1935 a very large portion of the Swedish population, about 70%, were somehow connected with farming, either as tenant farmers (sharecroppers), statare (people who permanently lived on farms in a kind of indentured servitude that was abolished first in 1948), or as seasonal migrant workers. At the beginning of the thirties when the Great Depression hit Europe, many of these people flocked to the cities or to the mill-towns where they could get work. Besides a common culture and outlook, what united most of them in body as well as spirit was centuries of grinding poverty and a complete lack of opportunity to better themselves. As a population, the Swedes were as homogeneous as peas in a pod, and needless to say, the Welfare State, which offered the promise of all good things to every man, was welcomed like the Second Coming. Almost everyone with the exception of the rich and the upper middle classes embraced it unconditionally, and its universal success was guaranteed. ...

 

"Distinctions based on differences in people's attitudes have always been glossed over by liberal elitists, who tend to believe that their own sense of moral rectitude and social justice will supplant the atavistic Me first! attitudes so evident in the primitive types that they are trying to uplift. To a great degree, this succeeded in Sweden, and Sweden's neutrality in the Second World War helped enormously in consolidating the ascendancy of the Welfare State. United we stand, divided we fall is a very persuasive argument, especially when butter, meat and gasoline are being rationed, and innocent strangers are being shot to death less than two hours drive from your hometown...

 

"The Welfare State was able to live and thrive until about the mid-70s, when everything in Sweden started going downhill. At this point, we're pretty much in free fall. I personally know, for example, about half-a-dozen able-bodied people under the age of 45 (including XXX, my daughter-in-law-from-hell), who have become experts in manipulating the system. They know which corridors to haunt, which forms to fill in, which bureaucrats to terrorize, which instances to complain to if they are denied so much as a red cent of what they perceive as their right to be coddled and accommodated by the State. In general, they all have in common that they are in their late thirties and have occupied jobs sometime in their late teens and early twenties, but since then they have learnt all the wisdom of fakirs who get cobras to kiss them and ropes to levitate unaided into the air. If they work at all, they work black (no receipts, no taxes, no nothing), all the while claiming indigence and raking in welfare checks, housing subsidies, child benefits, sick-leave payments, State-sponsored loans for further education, and God only knows what-all. Believe me, they get by."

 

Greg Cochran laughs, "It took Swedes 40 years to figure out how to corrupt the modern welfare state. It took Sicilians about 40 minutes."

***

 

Charles Krauthammer is willing to fight to the last South Korean.

***

 

The Wall Street Journal deputy editor Daniel Henninger is foaming at the mouth.

 

It's fascinating how the Internet has made international hatred more convenient. Before the Internet, to become outraged by what he says, non-Americans would have had to buy an expensive paper copy of the WSJ, then photocopy Henninger's article and mail it around. Now, a few clicks and people from Vancouver to Vladivostok can feed their hunger for Ugly Americanisms to justify their anti-Americanism.

***

 

In contrast to the pundits, on the local TV news tonight, the President's remarks declaring war imminent (with Iraq, not North Korea ... yet) was the #5 item covered. I used to think that the nation's attention would finally turn to Iraq as soon as Joe Millionaire was over, but clearly I was wrong. The number of Americans who care strongly about war, one way or another, is strikingly small.

***

 

A particularly thoughtful, even-handed essay by Robert Locke: "Decline of the WASPs Revisited." Growing up Catholic in suburban LA, I just never paid much attention to WASPs, not the way they are an obsession to Eastern writers.

***

 

David Plotz, Slate's best writer, has a seven part series going on new medical technologies to enhance vision, muscles, memory and the like.

***

 

Film of the Week: 'Tears of the Sun' by Steve Sailer

For decades, Hollywood saw Africa as a sunny setting where white folks like Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn or Robert Redford and Meryl Streep could enjoy outdoor adventure and romance. As anti-colonialist sensitivities hardened, however, nostalgic portrayals of glamorous and benevolent settlers have become politically unacceptable.

***

 

Want Ad: "The American Conservative seeks Summer Intern. Excellent verbal skills, reactionary views, Stakhanovite worth ethic, trust fund a plus. Send resume and writing samples to khopkins@amconmag.com"

***

 

My Santa Barbara readers can see me on Mark Green's "Flashpoint" talk show on Channel 17 on Thursday, March 13th at 8:00 p.m. and the next day at 4:00 a.m. and noon. Critiques of my style, such as it is, would be appreciated.

***

 

NYT: Diseases Common in Ashkenazim May Be Random
By NICHOLAS WADE
"At least some of the hereditary diseases that are relatively common in Ashkenazi Jews exist as a matter of chance, not due to a mutation's hidden advantage."

 

I dunno. I can't say that I can follow the logic of this argument. Can anybody explain it to me? 

***

 

John Derbyshire criticizes Kevin MacDonald's "Culture of Critique" in The American Conservative.

***

 

New VDARE essay up at left.

***

 

A young gold digger marries an elderly widower. She returns from the honeymoon haggard and walking funny, saying to her friends, "When he told me he'd been 'saving up' since his wife died, I thought he meant his money."

 

Greg Cochran jokes that that's the neoconservative explanation of why Iraqis will suddenly become model democrats after 5,000 years of being emphatically non-democratic: "The Iraqis have been saving up!"

***

 

 

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