June 19, 2004


I went out to dinner last night and Oda Mae outted me: now everyone knows I'm a blogger. I had my own version of this conversation, and we all had an interesting discussion about current events and the news.

I came home after 2300 and hit the button on the answering machine: "Hi. I know you're at dinner, but I was just upset. Those son of a bitches just beheaded that Paul Johnson who was in Saudi Arabia." Even though I was tired enough to fall asleep in the hallway, I got on the computer. I looked at the pictures. And I started thinking before I went to bed.

Besides studying the French Revolution, I had never really given beheading much thought. And now in the past month I've learned of three beheadings. Nick Berg. Sieng Padkaew. Paul Johnson. I never in my life thought I'd see someone's head being held up for the camera, or someone's head sitting in the small of his back. That's footage for Kill Bill, not reality.

But that's really happening in the world. I think we do need to face the music. We need to be honest with ourselves about how our enemy plans to win this war, and we need to start telling it like it is.

Seppo wrote Thursday about war propaganda (Thanks, Bunker) and its role. By ignoring the growing threat that these Islamists pose, by turning a blind eye to the videos and photos they themselves take of their murders, I too fear we might ultimately lose the War on Terror. Or not have the fortitude to see it through. As Seppo said: "What is it that the networks believe we've lost in 60 years? What values and strengths held by my grandfather do I not have? And who in the hell gave them the right to make that judgement for me?"

I read Nick Schultz' article on Saddam's torture tapes this morning. I have a stomach of steel for these things, but I gasped out in fright as I read the descriptions of torture. I covered my eyes and cringed, and that was just reading the description. Then came the ending that made me take notice:

I must confess that in recent weeks I had begun to harbor some doubts about a war I had supported. And I was not the only war supporter to begin second-guessing recently. We doubting Thomases had been perhaps most perplexed at President Bush, steadfast in the wake of mounting Coalition deaths, the Abu Ghraib scandal, and other bad news. Did this man not see what we were seeing?

There is no doubt that he had. But President Bush — along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has also remained resolute despite withering and unfair criticism at home — had also seen things that we had not. Seeing this footage helps one better understand the mindset of President Bush and of his stalwart British ally and explains their resolve in the face of tremendous difficulties and setbacks. Seeing these films and ones like them out there, will, I believe, make any fence sitter shed his doubts about the appropriateness of destroying Saddam's regime. If anything, they make one wonder, almost shamefully, how and why it took the civilized world — or at least part of that world — as long as it did to rise up against it.

The enemy makes videos of beheadings to rally terrorists and feed their bloodlust. I think we need to see these images -- face this reality -- so that we don't lose sight of how our enemies plan to win.

And then we need to make damn sure they don't succeed.

Posted by Sarah at June 19, 2004 11:45 AM

Oops!!! I thought you'd already told people! Sorry, let's just hope they don't remember how to spell "grok" and you're safe.

Posted by: Oda Mae at June 19, 2004 04:47 PM

We need to change our thinking. Islam is not a religion, but an ideology that is tyrannical and fascist and our goal should be is to throw it on the ash heap of history just like Nazism and communism. Islam uses God as a footstool just to subjucate and control people, especially women, minorites and others not like them. We need to help the Muslim people leave Islam because it is an ideology aimed not in saving their souls, but in imprisoning them here on earth.

Posted by: Moor at June 19, 2004 05:18 PM

Oda Mae,

"let's just hope they don't remember how to spell 'grok' and you're safe."

Unfortunately, Google does have that helpful "did you mean" feature. Then again, it doesn't kick in for "grock" (sic).

Posted by: Amritas at June 19, 2004 07:03 PM

You have an unfortunate typo in your post:

"I read Nick Schultz' article on Saddam's tortue tapes"

Posted by: Donna at June 19, 2004 08:08 PM

Moor: I would hardly say that Communism is in the dust bin of history. Keep in mind most people still consider the Peoples Republic of China, with its population of 1.3 billion people, to be a communist state.

Posted by: rfidtag at June 19, 2004 08:11 PM

Where to begin?? Sarah all this did is make me more convinced this president and his "henchmen" put us in the wrong fight, at the wrong time. If I were to prioratize our needs from "A" to "Z" Saddam would have been somewhere around "K" thru "M", there were more pressing needs, in my view. If you feel safer now than 4 years ago you are one of very few, I thought this "war" on terror was to make the whole world safer, looks like just the opposite has happened. About the latest beheading, what is it with these guys being in orange "prison" jump suits? When Daniel Pearl was beheaded a couple years ago he was always shown in street clothes. I could go into all the "tinfoil-hat theories" but I am staggered at now having two people with in a 50 mile radius of my home killed in such a barbaric manner.

Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at June 19, 2004 08:12 PM

Bubba, if this were a left-wing site, someone would have asked you to go there and make it three. Aren't you glad we don't take such an approach? We don't want to see anyone killed, let alone in such a brutal manner. I simply hope people like yourself might actually now understand who we are fighting against. And leaving them alone certainly didn't stop the attacks on the US.

On a list from A to Z, what would have been your pressing needs between A and M?

Posted by: Mike at June 19, 2004 11:55 PM

Well Mike my list A-F would have been little things like, creating jobs, corporate reform, increasing intelligence gathering vis-a-vis Al Qaeda (Qaida?), bringing a more statesman like pressure on terrorist harboring nations, my military would be in need of some tweaking, and the last of my first six priorities would be to end the era of "unfunded mandates". Saddam could have been on the back burner for at least those six action items. I also would have restructured the government contract regulations making it illegal to move off-shore to avoid paying taxes and still receive government contracts, which is a sub-heading of corp. reform, but one that needs a seperate addressing IMHO. I began reading this site last week as a result of a link from Eschaton, I keep returning as I see Sarah as slightly right of center, but mostly a centerist, I am mostly a centerist my self, maybe a tad left of dead center, and have a real strong libertarian/contrarian streak in me. I stay here and post in order to find people that, while differing from my view, can have a rational/reasoned discussion about those differences, and perchance to find some common ground. That is the essence of learning as I see it, to be able to think about an issue from a stand point of those that think differently than you. Being a centerist I equally loathe the reactionary bilge being spewed by both the "far right"- christian fundalmentalists (or as I call them the Robersonian/Fallwellians), and the "far-left"-Kennedy liberals. Point of fact I loathe fundalmentalism of any stripe, a de-ranged mullah is a threat whether in Kabul Afghanistan, or in Lynchburg Virginia. You may well be correct in your assertion in a different thread that BOTH large scale and "elite" force ops might be necessary to end the evil that is fundalmentalist terrorism. I keep thinking of the Israeli raid on Entebbe Airport tho, and see that as the model of how to attack a terrorist camp. I don't remember if I saw it here or on one of Sarah's links, but I read recently a ridiculous attack on a "slogan" Kerry is using. The gist of the attack was that the slogan came from a Langston Hughes poem,and Hughes was an avowed "communist". Now I don't know how much US history you know, but indulge me for a few more moments. Langston Hughes was black, and in the 1930's in this nation a black man was pretty much subject to being lynched at the drop of a hat, especailly an intelligent black man. So in-light of that and add in the fact that it was during the time of the "great-depression" and you too might have tried communism as an alternative to the social injustice you were experiencing. It is specious "logic" like that, that drives me insane. Have we done that piss-poor a job of teaching our own history? I will continue to read and occasionaly post on this site, as I have been seeking something from the "right" that didn't come across as totally regurgitated RNC spin points. That is the reason I still read Eschaton regularly, he points out the articles and lets you decide, I have given up on most other blogs except for one that calles himself "The Staunch Moderate". I have probably run on entirely too long and do apologize for that, but I have been wanting to "say" some of this here for a few days now. To all of the active duty members and their spouses, and families I wish you a speedy reunion, and a heartfelt thank you, for being willing to risk life and limb.

Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at June 20, 2004 01:17 AM

Mike, I feel that you comment is fairly thinnly veiled. Essentially, you *did* passively suggest that "you to go there and make it three". *Nobody* I know on the Left or Right I know would seriously say suggest such a thing.

It is funny, because I thought that maybe I had found a possible oasis of people in the blogosphere where I could have a genuine discussion with right leaning Americans without it disintegrating into a flame-fest of gross generalizations...

Posted by: rfidtag at June 20, 2004 02:06 AM

We need to change our thinking. Islam is not a religion, but an ideology that is tyrannical and fascist and our goal should be is to throw it on the ash heap of history just like Nazism and communism.

You forgot to add: "Yeee-hawwww! Get along, dogies!"

Posted by: burrow_owl at June 20, 2004 02:31 AM

rfidtag, people at left-wing web sites do say such things, and Sarah has endured her share of that here. Those of us who frequent her site have become accustomed to rational discussion. But of late, there have been some pretty raunchy things said to her. So I may be a bit defensive about it. And I understood the possible subliminal context, which is why I explained further.

Bubba, I am also libertarian. But some things you mentioned as needing to happen first may already have happened. They involve things we will never know about. If made public, they would fail. So all we have is conjecture regarding things such as improved intel.

Corporate reform is always a hot topic. But as a libertarian you should know the government has no business in business per our Constitution. You mention the offshore tax benefit, but most people don't understand it. Companies who move offshore do not quit paying taxes. They continue to pay taxes on profits made in business within the US. The reason they move headquarters is to avoid paying taxes on profits made overseas. Any profit they make in Germany is taxed by Germany, and also taxed by the US. On the other hand, a German company can make a profit here but is taxed only in Germany.

I don't want to fill up Sarah's comments, but would be pleased to continue the discussion. Just go to my site and hit the contact link.

Posted by: Mike at June 20, 2004 06:17 AM

the first comment in response to somebody is "thank god you weren't over there, they would have wished you dead!"

umm ok.


sure thing.

way to be logical.

for what?

just for being?

'cause left-wingers really hate "people".

or 'cause you're an asshole?

I have no idea if you are or not, but that's what left-wingers would say.

Maybe you are.

Maybe you're not.

But I think it's sure that you're a whack-job.

I know, because that's what a right-winger would have said.

Or is it a left-winger?

Oh crap, I'm so confused now.

Maybe I'm a crackhead.

No, I'm not.

Maybe I'm drunk.

No, I'm not.

Maybe I'm an asshole.


Does it bother me?

Not really.

Does it bother you that I'm an asshole?

Does it bother you that you're an asshole?

It bothers me that you're an asshole.

Oh wait, I'm still reserving judgement on that.


No, I've decided.

You are.


Posted by: syrup at June 20, 2004 06:41 AM

Tsk, tsk, Moor, that's no way to conduct a discussion here, at this oasis of good manners and rational debate.

Posted by: Kolo at June 20, 2004 09:02 AM

On the other hand, a German company can make a profit here but is taxed only in Germany.

Actually, it was way past my bedtime when I wrote that--party going on next door.

What it should have said is "On the other hand, a German company can make a profit here but is taxed only in the US for those profits."

Posted by: Mike at June 20, 2004 04:23 PM


You strike me as one of those people that like to sit back and talk about changing the world. But that's all you do - sit. Forget having a rational discussion about creating jobs and all the other bull you put on your priority list. There are men and women in uniform defending your right to say the things you say. I'm sure it makes you feel good to have such lofty political ideas, but what are you doing about it? I have no respect for people like you when I know and love so many people enduring the hardships of deployment in order to keep your ass safe. And how dare you say that creating more jobs is more important than defending basic human rights.

Posted by: Erin at June 22, 2004 01:15 AM