Saturday, January 29, 2005
Link via the very famous blogger and best-selling author Amy Welborn.
Friday, January 28, 2005
The Sick Note
Dear Sir I write this note to tell you of my plight,
And at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight,
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly gray.
So I write this note to say why Paddy's not at work today.
While working on the fourteenth floor, some bricks I had to clear.
But to toss 'em down from such a height was not a good idea.
The foreman wasn't very pleased, he being a nasty sod,
He said I had to cart them down the ladder in me hod.
Well clearing all those bricks by hand, it was so very slow.
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below.
But in me haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks is heavier than me.
So when I untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead,
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead.
I shot up like a rocket, until to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.
Well the barrel broke my shoulder as on to the ground it sped.
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with me head.
I held on tight, though numb with shock from this almighty blow.
And the barrel spilled out half its bricks some fourteen floors below.
Now when those bricks fell from the barrel to the floor,
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more.
I held on tightly to the rope as I sped towards the ground,
And I landed on those building bricks that were all scattered 'round.
Now as I lay there groaning on the floor I thought I'd passed the worst.
But then the barrel hit the pulley wheel, that's when the bottom burst.
Well, a shower of bricks rained down on me, I hadn't got a hope.
As I lay bleeding on the ground, I let go the bloody rope.
The barrel then being heavier, it started down once more,
And landed right across me as I lay on the floor.
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and all I have to say
Is that I hope you'll understand why Paddy's not at work today.
While one can never be cavalier about a situation where soldiers are being killed, or even call low levels of loss "acceptable" and get away with it (because it is obviously not acceptable to the families of the brave soldiers being killed), an objective look at our losses in conquering and controlling Iraq, and what we gain by continuing to hold it, shows that we have no reason to be alarmed, and certainly no reason to start screaming "bug out!".
We conquered a country with about the 4th most powerful military in the Third World in less than 6 weeks and at the loss of less than a re-inforced company killed by enemy action.
We have for almost 2 years held the country, controlling everything important, going where we want when we want, arresting almost every member of the brutal old government, and installing one of our choosing, against the determined opposition of every armed Moslem fanatic in the world able to get across the border with an AK-47 or a bomb, at the cost of less than a re-inforced battalion killed by enemy action.
Respected military analysts expected losses in the initial effort to conquer the country to exceed what we have lost in the 18 months+ of conquest and occupation. Losses in the occupation plus conquest might well have passed 10,000.
These losses need to be seen in historical perspective.
Look at other wars. The British lost slightly less men in one afternoon taking a hill in Charlestown in June of 1775 than we have lost holding a large and strategically important country for almost 2 years. Our British allies also lost more than 50,000 men in a single day in World War I, and gained about 10 square inches of ground to show for such losses (and they eventually won the war).
We lost five times as many men taking some Pacific Islands from the Japanese in World War II as we have lost in 18 months+ in Iraq. Patton's Third Army took over 250,000 casualties in the indecisive slogfest it fought with the Germans in Alsace and Lorraine in September, October, November, and December 1945. Then there is the Hurtgen Forest...
We have suffered little, though the loss of a single man is an awful price. But when states and quasi-states like al Qaeda contend, a price in blood will be paid.
Is the control of Iraq worth the losses? Pushing aside secondary considerations, like liberating the Iraqi people from tyranny, Iraq is vital to future US plans for the war on Moslem terrorism.
The creation of a relatively stable and relatively liberal state governing a Moslem population (as in Afghanistan) is vitally important for creating an alternative pole in the Moslem world that will eventually undermine autocratic Moslem and secular governments even in states nominally allied to the US now (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt come to mind). Moslems can live in liberal democratic states with a rule of law other than sharia. It is just that, apart from Turkey, there currently are no such states in the Moslem world. Undermining traditional Moslem governments will greatly aid in cutting off the flow of recruits for anti-US movements like al Qaeda.
The next fronts in this war will be places like Iran and Syria. Control of Iraq is essential for a successful campaign against either of these two pirate states. At the very least, it will make it a lot easier for us to subvert those governments internally and bring them down. Regime change need not mean another massive US invasion. But it does require us to be able to smuggle agents, small special forces teams, propaganda, supplies, etc. across the borders of these two states. A stable and pro-US Iraq must be the platform for these efforts. Control of Iraq allows the US to look to either Syria or Iran next. Control of Iraq, coupled with control of Afghanistan makes the Iranian position particularly untenable in the face of either US invasion or subversion across two long borders.
The problem is that the US government has never been able to clearly state what it is planning to do. If people understood all of this as the necessary, in fact essential, set of actions required to wipe out the scourge of Moslem terrorism and prevent another September 11th by wiping out all the governments inclined to support that terrorism, then we would hear no idle panicky gossip about bugging out of Iraq because of 1,500 body bags, or 10,000. Inarticulate government leaders over the last 3 years has been a major problem in galvanizing support for the war.
Of course, some of the reason for the silent government leaders is that we don't particularly want to show our hand to either our enemies, or our allies. Enemies' knowing what is coming can make effective preparations to resist. Allies tend to be tetchy and legalistic at best, carping and whining at worst. Better to bring them along slowly, and have the infrastructure ready to move on to the next phases of the war. Then, when the time is right, when they can be stampeded behind a plausible casus belli, what we need to wage the campaign will be in place.
No, we are in Iraq for a reason. The Ted Kennedys of the world have never understood power and how the US uses it to fulfill its national security requirements. We are forunate that al Qaeda struck us in a way we had to effectively respond to at a time when liberals were not in power. Conservative foreign policy icons are Metternich, Bismarck, Churchill, and Kissinger. Liberal foreign policy icons are the Berrigan Brothers and Jane Fonda. The liberal wing of the Democrat Party has been reflexively anti-military, anti-national security, some might even justifiably say anti-American since at least the 1960s.
They (and Ted Kennedy has been one of their most consistent spokesmen) have been wrong about so much for so long, that it is hard to see why anyone would listen to them any longer. They told us we had an inordinate fear of communism, when Soviet Communism had murdered some 50 million plus people and would have, if it could have, invaded and conquered Western Europe. They said that we ought to just let the Soviet Union do what it wanted to do, and that we ought to trade with it freely, when the stranglehold of the US emabrgoes eventually brought down the Soviet Empire. They insisted that we ought not re-build, restructure, enlarge, or modernize our armed forces, just because the Soviets were doing so. They said that we ought to leave the Sandinistas in peaceful control of Nicaragua. They said that we ought to just make friends with Castro. They said that we ought to appease North Korea. They said we ought not build any kind of defense against nuclear missiles.
When they were in power, they responded to terrorist attacks by bombing aspirin factories, and then letting it go. They thought indicting Osama bin Laden and treating him like a domestic criminal, an over-ambitious mafia don with a Koran under his arm, rather than as an armed and dangerous enemy with the support of many enemy governments, was the way to handle al Qaeda. They used the US military as if it were Meals On Wheels with guns in Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, and Serbia. And they were more concerned with making it possible for gays and women to serve in combat than with making the US military really deadly for our enemies.
So it is no wonder if Ted Kennedy is calling for a bug out today. He and his allies always have and always will. And he is wrong, just as he and his allies always have been.
Of course, if their unbroken record of error is brought up in public discourse, they claim to be the victims of McCarthyism. Well, if this is McCarthyism, then long live McCarthy!
Without his testimony, the case fails, because Shanley's other victims have decided to sit on their hands. If he does not return to the stand, a mistrial is inevitable.
Update: Shanley's victim is back in court today.
But with tempertures maxing out at around 18 today, this is no time to be savoring the slightly longer daylight. Keeping frostbite, hypothermia, and pneumonia at bay are more the requirements. The days have not yet come when one can go outside to enjoy a leisurely cigar.
But with Red Sox Spring Training opening in 2 weeks or so, the annual supply of seed catalogues to peruse, and the return of some migratory birds in a month or so, there is hope that even this cold and snowy winter will eventually give way, though it may yet plague us for some time.
Pray for her and her family. Perhaps some miracle may yet intevene to save her from judicial murder at the hands of her husband. Pray hard.
Stay up to date with this story at Life Matters!
Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quae sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subiicit,
Quia te contemplans, totum deficit.
Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur;
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius,
Nil hoc verbo veritatis verius.
In Cruce latebat sola Deitas.
At hic latet simul et humanitas:
Ambo tamen credens, atgue confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro paenitens.
Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor,
Deum tamen meum te confiteor:
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.
O memoriale mortis Domini,
Panis vivus vitam praestans homini:
Praesta meae menti de te vivere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.
Pie pellicane Iesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo Sanguine:
Cuius una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.
Iesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud, quod tam sitio,
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beatus tuae gloriae.
Here is a decent English translation.
Since a good part of the audience is learning this kind of thing for the first time (you don't know how many times I've been asked both in comments and privately off line what Septuagesima, Rogation Days, Ember Days, etc. are; so awful has been Catholic education over the last 30 years that even cradle Catholics have never been introduced to these basics) here is the tune in Midi format.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
I may add more as time goes on.
Just Go to "Files," "Catholic Prayers," and "Lenten and Passiontide Prayers. "
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
That has been the pattern for the last ten days, snow, then dangerous cold, then more snow. January may go down in the record books as Boston's snowiest ever. As I have said before, January 10th-February 20th is traditionally the worst of a Boston winter (not that mid-November to mid-March is a picnic).
Despite all the snow and cold, there is one sustaining thought: Red Sox Spring Training opens in under 3 weeks.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
The Globe has more details here.
But the good news is that traitorous piece of filth Michael Moore received no nominations this year.
Deeper purples, I think, will appear when Lent starts.
It hardly seems possible that Christmas is already a month in the past, and that Septuagesima Sunday is also past.
Lent is practically here. I'll be publishing some suggested reading for Lent next week.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Boston did get over 2 feet of snow from Saturday evening until Sunday afternoon. The city is quite buried, as one would expect. And the temperatures are frigid still. The National Weather Service says Salem got 38 inches, topping its total from last winter's St. Nicholas Day blizzard.
The professional sports pundits love to dis the New England Patriots. After all, they are an AFC team, and one with a long history of being losers. But two Super Bowl championships in 3 years would, one would think, transform them into favorites. But no. Anyone they play is expected to beat them.
Well, the Pats showed the football establishment who is boss, taking down the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers in convincing fashion in Pittsburgh's own stadium.
On to the Super Bowl in 2 weeks!