7.26.2006

Attn. Democrats: Don't sacrifice Lieberman

Last night on the news I saw a Quinnipiac poll that put Sen. Joe Lieberman 4 points behind liberal challenger Ned Lamont. I have to say that I was disappointed.

Sen. Lieberman, although I do not agree with him on all issues, is a man of integrity and courage. He stands up firmly for what he believes in and in my opinion is among the best in the Senate. If he loses this primary in August it will be the single worst thing the Democrats can do for themselves. To be perfectly honest, the Republicans should not be able to hold both Houses of Congress this year. The Democrats, if they were intelligent, should be able to capitalize on public discontent with the current Party in power. However, they will not.

The Democrats have no hope of taking back Congress for the exact reason of what is going in Connecticut. Rather than getting behind a man who is possibly one of the most respected men in Washington, the Democratic party is allowing him to be thrown to the wolves simply because he is in support of the War in Iraq.

What strikes me most though is the disregard some of the "leaders" of the Democratic Party have shown for their long-time colleague. Al Gore refused to support his former running-mate because Gore apparently does not weigh-in on primaries. Funny, Gore tried to be King-maker in 2004 when he endorsed Howard Dean for President. John Kerry, Lieberman's Senate colleague also claims he does not comment on contested primaries, yet just a month ago was in Virginia campaigning for Senate candidate Jim Webb. Why the sudden change of heart? Is the Democratic Party so closed and vindictive that no difference of opinion can exist among its members?

Consider a similar situation in the Republican Party two years ago. When Sen. Arlen Specter faced a stiff primary challenge from the far-right of the Party, did GOP leaders stay silent? No, they campaigned hard for their friend and colleague. President Bush spent considerable time in Pennsylvania. Sen. Specter's fellow Senator Rick Santorum also campaigned heavily for him, despite many ideological differences. Specter is considered one of the more liberal or moderate Republicans in the Senate yet Santorum, or staunch conservative, gladly campaigned on his behalf. Why? Because despite their differences, Sen. Specter is a capable man of integrity who has served his constituents well.

The Democrats would do well to learn that lesson. The key to political success is not a single a party of only one mind, but a party in which diversity of opinion is accepted. Sen. Lieberman may not agree with the Democratic Party on Iraq, but probably on 75-80% of everything else he does. Isn't it more important to have a person in office that stands up for principle and conviction than simply towing the Party line?

My hope is that the Democratic Party is not so short-sighted as to take its anger at President Bush out on Sen. Lieberman. A man who has devoted his adult life to public service and the Democratic Party deserves much better, and so does this nation.

Carl Brashear passes away

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/25/brashear.obit.ap/index.html

The world lost a great man this week.

"RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Carl M. Brashear, the first black U.S. Navy diver who was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2000 film "Men of Honor," died Tuesday. He was 75...

...Brashear retired from the Navy in 1979 after more than 30 years of service. He was the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation."

!S

7.25.2006

Stop blaming Israel for defending itself

Throughout the coverage of the current violence in Israel and Lebanon, it almost seems as though Israel is the bad guy, and Hezbollah is the one protecting themselves. This is absolutely backwards.

For some reason, we have become unable to say anything negative about a non-Christian religous belief. We cannot call the perversion of a religion wrong or evil, and must therefore find fault in those who dare to fight against them. Well, I would like to say a few things about the real bad guys in this War.

First of all, we are not in a War on Terror, we are in a War on Radical Islamic Fundamentalism. Our enemy in this fight is a small group of fanatics who have twisted a religion to their own selfish goals. These groups possess no compassion or mercy for innocent lives and seek to destroy all who do not share their radical views.

Anyone who doubts this is in denial of the facts. Radical groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, or Iran's Revolutionary Guard all have the destruction of Israel as one of their main goals. They do not want an end to Israeli aggression, but an end to Israel itself. These groups are no different than the ones in Iraq who kill innocent men, women, and children for no reason other than to instill fear and terror. The rocket attacks on Israeli cities by Hezbollah are the same.

True, Israel is responding with a much greater force, but propprtional responses do not work when the enemy is prepared to die for their cause. Hezbollah is entrenched in the civillian population and if Israel wanted to it could have completely destroyed southern Lebanon. Instead, Israel is showing remarkable discipline to only target Hezbollah militants.

It is time that we stop denying who is truly the enemy in this war: it is Islamo-fascists who seek the destruction of Israel and all who do not share their perverse views. We are at war with evil men and it is time to act like it.

7.23.2006

Israel accepts the idea of a multinational force in Lebanon

Very significant update. It seems the international community might actually fufill its legal obligations this time around.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5208446.stm

Israelis back border force plan

Israel has said it supports the idea of a new international force in south Lebanon, as diplomatic attempts to end the Middle East crisis gather pace.

7.19.2006

In the tradition of Brad Vogel...

I will now bash China.

I found this not too long ago.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/19/huangyangtan_mystery/

Apparently China has constructed a giant to scale meticulously detailed map of territory it disputes with India. Why they did it (to train pilots?)... I have no idea, but it certainly does make me suspect some very distinctly targeted war planning... Hopefully it doesn't mean Sino-Indian War round II in the near future. The world already has enough strife to deal with at the moment...

A job for the UN if its member nations want the UN to do its job...

The UNSC should pass a resolution enforcing resolution 1559 (passed in 2004) calling for the disarming of Hezbollah by sending a multiple brigade sized ground force into Southern and Eastern Lebonon (I have read that the US and UK would take part and that France, Saudi Arabia, and Russia would consider taking part in such a force on the condition of an Israeli cease fire) with the legal authority of the UN to shoot and kill any member of Hezbollah who will not disarm in accordance with 1559 to be executed until all members of Hezbollah are disarmed.

OR the UN and its member nations can watch the organization prove absolutely useless at enforcing its own mandates once again... All while watching Israel attempt to do its dirty work for better or worse...

If I had to gamble, I'd wage UN impotence for the nth time...

7.11.2006

Barrett should have been fired

First, I want to apologize to the loyal readers of this blog for the lack of postings recently. There is no excuse for it and I promise you that I will post at least once a week from now on.

Now, onto Barrett. I am all for intellectual diversity and the marketplace of ideas, but this is just wrong. It is one thing to debate the causes of historical events like the Civil War or the two World Wars or even why the terrorists flew their planes into the World Trade Center, but it is another thing entirely to question if an event even occurred. That is exactly what Barrett is doing.

Islamic fundamentalists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field. Those are facts, not beliefs or interpretations, but actual events that really did happen. To suggest that it is a government conspiracy is ridiculous and irresponsible of a University instructor. Not only has Al Qaeda taken responsibility for the attack, but we have had a commission investigate the intelligence breakdown and countless media reports on the attacks. The sheer scope of the cover-up that would be involved is enough to disprove it, let alone the facts.

My problem with Barrett is not that he has "alternative" beliefs to mine, but that he is presenting lies as fact. If someone is willing to believe such an insane theory on the 9/11 attacks, it calls into question his ability to think critically and I believe his whole take on history. If the University were to hire someone to teach European or Jewish history that believed the Holocaust never happened, would we allow him to teach because he challenged his students to think critically, or think outside their comfort zones? Absolutely not. Such a person would be wholly unqualified to teach history, and quite frankly, so is Barrett.

It is not a question of Free Speech. Barrett has every right to hold the crackpot ideas he does, but he has no right to parade them around as fact in the classroom. For some reason we are unwilling as a campus community to tell people on the Left when they are wrong.

We have become paralyzed by the fear of being labeled as intolerant or unenlightened and are now unable to stand up for truth.

We have no problem condemning people who believe in conspiracies on the right side of the political spectrum, such as Pat Robertson saying Sharon brought his stroke on himself, but as soon as someone attacks the President or his administration, no matter how insane the theory is, we cannot question it because we would be stifling Free Speech.

Free Speech gives you the right to say whatever crazy thing you believe, it does not make anything you believe right. Nor does it give you the right to teach whatever you want in a classroom, especially when what you believe is a lie.

This story is not about intellectual diversity or Free Speech, it is about the intellectual credibility of UW-Madison. If we allow instructors to teach conspiracy theories with no basis in fact, then how much credibility do we have as a serious institution of higher learning?

7.10.2006

Diplomacy won't work in North Korea without China

While I appreciate President Bush's repeated attempts to rely on diplomacy to resolve the current North Korean "crisis," I honestly don't think diplomacy will work with Kim Jong Il.

The Clinton administration tried two-party talks back in 1994. Kim Jong Il agreed to halt all missile and nuclear research and development. While at the time it was hailed as a great accomplishment, it is obvious now that he had absolutely no intention of abiding by his word. Why then should we trust him now or enter into two-party negotiations as some have called for?

The current UN resolution does nothing either. Economic sanctions on a country whose economy hasn't advanced much beyond the mid-1950s. Although it's nice for the international community to condemn the North Korean missile tests, what are they really going to be able to do?

The answer is nothing...Without China.

China is the only nation in the world that can lean on North Korea hard enough to bring about any true change in Kim Jong Il's attitude. To the administration's credit, it appears as though they are going to stick to six-party talks and lean a little bit more on China to take the lead. I am glad to see it. As an insurance policy, however, Japan has raised the stakes.

By threatening to bomb the missile sites in North Korea, Japan has pressed not only Kim Jong Il, but also China, into a corner. Japan has every right to respond to N. Korea's blatant aggression and defend itself. China, however, is not going to want any military response and will likely do whatever it takes to avoid one.

The ball is in China's court now, they say they are our friend and now it is time to prove it.