Ben Steyn on Memorial Day

Ben Steyn, in the American Spectator[*1] :

They print a story on the front page about Marines killing civilians in a town in Iraq and if they did, it was wrong. But the big media never report a MARINE throwing himself on a bomb to protect an Iraqi child, or a Marine giving his life to rid a town of murderers or a Marine or an Army man or woman or a Navy Seal or a Coast Guardsman offering up his life so that Iraqi human beings can have the same freedoms and rights we take for granted here in America.

(via Instapundit[*2] )

Hitchens on Memorial Day

From OpinionJournal[*1] , Christopher Hitchens ruminates on Memorial Day:

“Always think of it: never speak of it.” That was the stoic French injunction during the time when the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine had been lost. This resolution might serve us well at the present time, when we are in midconflict with a hideous foe, and when it is too soon to be thinking of memorials to a war not yet won. This Memorial Day, one might think particularly of those of our fallen who also guarded polling-places, opened schools and clinics, and excavated mass graves. They represent the highest form of the citizen, and every man and woman among them was a volunteer. This plain statement requires no further rhetoric.

Would that so many people talk less and remember more.

Rep. Murtha and Rushing To Judgment

A letter from the Washington Post[*1] , found at Winds of Change[*2] :

A year ago I was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and with other war crimes related to my service in Iraq. My wife and mother sat in a Camp Lejeune courtroom for five days while prosecutors painted me as a monster; then autopsy evidence blew their case out of the water, and the Marine Corps dropped all charges against me [“Marine Officer Cleared in Killing of Two Iraqis,” news story, May 27, 2005].

So I know something about rushing to judgment, which is why I am so disturbed by the remarks of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) regarding the Haditha incident [“Death Toll Rises in Haditha Attack, GOP Leader Says,” news story, May 20]. Mr. Murtha said, “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

No reasonable American wants our armed forces to participate in a massacre, and I think we all expect that anyone found guilty of this will suffer the harshest of punishments.

But how damaging is it for a U.S. Representative to be pronouncing the incident a “massacre” before the initial investigation is even completed, before charges can even be filed?

If Rep. Murtha were truly interested in the truth and the honor of the U.S. Armed Forces, he would be more circumspect in his rhetoric, until the facts were known. But facts appear to be irrelevant to Murtha and his ilk. It is transparently obvious that he is interested in short-term political gain at the expense of the U.S. reputation in the world, like so many “anti-war” zealots.

As we honor our fallen on this Memorial Day, we are faced with the uncomfortable question of who in the long run is doing the most damage to this country? The Marines at Haditha, who are answerable to the UCMJ, or Murtha, who is seemingly answerable to no one at all?

Indonesian Earthquake Kills Over 5,000

From Yahoo News/AP[*1] :

BANTUL, Indonesia – The death toll from a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia rose by more than 800 Monday to 5,137, according to the government. Meanwhile, emergency aid began arriving, but officials said the supplies were not reaching survivors quickly enough.

The government’s Social Affairs Ministry said the revised death toll included previously uncounted bodies buried in mass graves immediately after the quake.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Kansas City Pathetics!

The Kansas City baseball franchise laughingly referred to as “Major League” continues its slide into history.

A competent organization would actually fire it’s current general manager before offering his job to someone else.

Not the Pathetics, however, as the Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski[*1] writes:

David Glass has done one impressive thing. He has offered his general manager’s job to Dayton Moore. True, you would have liked to see Glass mention something about this to his current general manager first. But in any case, Moore is admired throughout baseball. He would make a terrific choice. Many people around the game are impressed (and stunned) that Glass was even able to get Moore to listen to a Royals offer.

Update: The Pathetics lost today (Sunday) to the Yankees, 6-5.

Regular blogging to resume Monday, May 29th

That would be Memorial Day.

Stories we’re watching include:

The Haditha Incident[*1]
Rep. Jefferson and Congressional Hubris[*2]
The Woeful Kansas City Royals[*3]
Mid-Continent Conference Expansion[*4] and South Dakota State U.[*5]

Plus we’re working on a feature travelogue of our recently completed cruise to Hawaii and Tahiti.

So You Think You Know What Happened?

Three items in the news today have a single common thread.  Can you guess what it is?

Item 1:  Michael Barone is probably the single best political commentator in the field today.  His article in US News[*1] reports on the state of the U.S. economy.  It’s not quite what you’d think it was if your sole source of news is the Today Show:

But if we look at some other numbers, we’ll findthat we are living not in the worst of times but in something muchcloser to the best. What do I mean?

First, economic growth. In 2005, as in 2004, the world economy grew by about 5 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, and the IMF projects similar growth for several years to come. This is faster growth than in all but a few peak years in the1980s and 1990s, and it’s in vivid contrast to the long periods ofstagnation or contraction in history. The great engine of this growth is, of course, the United States, which produces more than one fifth of world economic product and whose gross domestic product has been growing at around 4 percent–4.8 percent in the latest quarter. Other engines are China and India, each with about a sixth of the world’s people, and with economic growth of 10 and 8 percent, respectively. But other areas are growing, too: eastern Europe (5 percent), Russia (6 percent), East Asia (5 percent), Latin America (4 percent), even the Middle East (6 percent) and sub-Saharan Africa (5.5 percent).

Item 2:  Lou Dolinar writes in Real Clear Politics[*2] about something I had not heard about until today:  did you know that the National Guard headquarters for the Katrina disaster response was at the Louisiana Superdome?  Neither did I . . .

“The Coast Guard, the National Guard, the military in general performed heroically,” said Sen. Robert Barham, R-Oak Ridge, who monitored the Superdome operation from Baton Rouge as head of the Louisiana State Senate’s Homeland Security Committee. His opposite number in the Louisiana House, Rep. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, said,”They (the Guard) did a yeoman’s job.” Both said they were getting very different pictures from TV than they got from the Guardsmen at the Dome, and the state fish and wildlife department, another key player in the rescue operation.

“TV of the Superdome was perplexing to most folks,” Thompson said.”You had them playing the tapes of the same incidents over and over, it tends to bias your thinking some, you tend to think it’s worse than it really is.” Official estimates at this point suggest the Guard, working from the Dome, saved 17,000 by air and uncounted thousands more by boat.

Let’s try that again: The cavalry wasn’t late. It didn’t arrive on Thursday smoking a cigar and cussing. It was there all along.

Item 3:  Last, and least surprising, Peter Wehner, an assistant to the President, tries once again in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal[*3] to speak truth to media power:

Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations–the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn’t possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so–and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them. Let me examine each in turn:

And so he does, de-bunking yet again each of the myths.  The problem for Wehner and the Bush Administration is that nobody cares about the truth.

So, can you guess what the single common thread is?  What could possibly explain these three egregious abuses of public trust (and I’m not talking about elected office here–oops, that’s another hint).

Oh, that’s right, it’s these critiques which are not true.  We know the only infallible instuitution in modern society, don’t we?  They never make mistakes, and they always get it right.  That 90% of them vote for the minority party is of no consequence.  (Of course, they always get everything right, don’t they?)

Yup, nothing to see here, folks, move along.

Hat tips:  Power Line[*4] , Instapundit[*5] , Free Republic[*6] .