"Islam: A Threat To World Stability":

Intelligence, we like to say, is always speculative. Sometimes, though, speculation is right. Here's a case of that, from US Army intelligence, 1946. (PDF warning--scroll down to page 26)

Mark Twain - Curing a Cold


Doc Russia is sick. As this is the season for it, I offer as a kindness to my readers Mark Twain's "Curing a Cold." Take a few moments to read through it, and see if you can't help him realize his high design:

It is a good thing, perhaps, to write for the amusement of the public, but it is a far higher and nobler thing to write for their instruction, their profit, their actual and tangible benefit. The latter is the sole object of this article. If it prove the means of restoring to health one solitary sufferer among my race, of lighting up once more the fire of hope and joy in his faded eyes, of bringing back to his dead heart again the quick, generous impulses of other days, I shall be amply rewarded for my labor; my soul will be permeated with the sacred delight a Christian feels when he has done a good, unselfish deed.

Having led a pure and blameless life, I am justified in believing that no man who knows me will reject the suggestions I am about to make, out of fear that I am trying to deceive him. Let the public do itself the honor to read my experience in doctoring a cold, as herein set forth, and then follow in my footsteps.

House Democrats claim prayer is 'disrespectful'

A Disrespectful Prayer?

The Arizona Republic has an interesting story today: "House Democrats claim prayer is 'disrespectful'".

The prayer in question was the opening prayer to the state legislator. It was offered by a Republican, Doug Quelland. Apparently it was not his own work, but a prayer that has been around for some time. I had not seen it before:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know your word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:

We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word and called it pluralism.
We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
And we have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. In the name of your son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

House Democrats are said to be outraged. I think they have a right to be. First of all, the opening prayer is not like a prayer at a church. A man in church prays as part of a community of believers. It is indeed disrespectful to address the Almighty with, "We confess," when you know that many you are speaking for do not share your sentiments and would not share your confession. It is disrespectful not least to the Almighty, who deserves better than to be approached with a knowing and willful lie.

Earlier today--well, yesterday, now--I wrote that Southerners like religious men, but prefer forthright ones. This is a fine example of what I mean. If Mr. Quelland feels it is important to pray for forgiveness for America's sins--an occupation for which I certainly have some sympathy--I know where he can find some ready made advice on how it might better be done.

SSDB: Not Subject to the Privacy Act of 1974

The Sarge is Being Clever:

I had a good laugh at Sgt. Stryker's post on the News today:

Stealing a page from the 2000 Election, Democratic Presidential hopeful Howard "Comeback Kid" Dean revealed his new "Winning Through Losing" strategy, saying he "did not have to win any of the seven primary contests Feb. 3 to keep his campaign alive." Dean supporters speculate that if Dean comes in dead last in the next primary, he'll have the nomination locked-up. Other political observers noted that by comparing himself to Bill Clinton, Dean's committed a serious faux pas that has felled many a dorky student running for Class President: artificially appropriating the same nickname as the cool kid.
Meanwhile, Dean has fired his campaign manager and, in a sign of stability, asked staff to defer getting paid for a couple of weeks. Hint to Dean staff: Money up front. In a couple of weeks, the campaign that's supposed to be paying you may dissolve.

Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love: Journalistic Jingoism...


I join Blackfive in condemning the Chicago Tribune, and especially Ms. Spolar. Even the anti-war Human Rights Watch noted, in their report on "Freedom of Expression and the War" that US precedent condemns this sort of reporting:

Eric W. Ober writes: "During the Vietnam War, reporters could go anywhere -- anytime -- often with the military taking us along. There were two basic restrictions in Vietnam. First, that no troop movements be reported prior to engagement. Second, that no faces of dead or wounded soldiers be shown before their families had been properly identified. Both restrictions were totally understandable, and there were virtually no violations of the guidelines by any American news organization.
Emphasis added. Meanwhile, the military takes a dimmer view. Military Law Review (PDF warning--long article) points out that:
[We are] reminded of Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes oft-quoted observation in Near v. Minnesota that the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech does not bar the government from preventing the publication of sailing dates of transports or the number and location of troops. (Citation: Paul D. Kamenar, Media Restrictions Are Necessary to Protect Doops, LEGAL TIMES, Jan. 28, 1991, a t 19-20. See Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 US. 697, 716 (1931).)
The Pentagon's guidelines for the media during the Gulf War included explicitly:
Any information that reveals details of future plans, operations, or strikes, including postponed or canceled operations.
The government ought to act to defend its right to prevent the publication of this information. I will leave it to the lawyers among you to determine the best course for that action.

UPDATE: The Federation of American Scientists, of which I am a member, has chosen today to draw attention to this report at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies. Entitled "Laws And Leaks Of Classified Intelligence: Costs And Consequences Of Permissive Neglect," it was originally published in 2002. It proposes a strict standard for dealing with journalists who publish classified data.

[A] close reading of 18 USC 798 (sometimes referred to as the SIGINT statute) and surely 50 USC 451 [sic--421, I think, is the right section.-Grim] (Intelligence Identities Protection Act), will show that journalists are already legally accountable for publishing leaked classified intelligence. But these statutes (too narrowly drawn, and considerable intelligence escapes their purview) are apparently unenforced to date, and remain to be tested in the courts....

Recognize that government leakers and the journalists who publish the classified materials they provide do the equivalent work of spies. Even if their motives differ, the effects are often the same. Through press leaks, unauthorized disclosures can be every bit as damaging as espionage because of the focused exploitation of the US press by terrorists and hostile governments. If leakers and journalists were caught providing some of this classified information clandestinely to a foreign power, they could be prosecuted for espionage. But if they publish in the press--where their leaked sensitive information becomes available to all governments and terrorists, not just one--they derive effective immunity from prosecution under a government that lacks the will to enforce its laws.

I don't follow his assertion that the portions of the US Code he cites say anything of the sort. I am not a lawyer, but the SIGINT statute clearly applies only to cryptographic information. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act will be familiar to anyone following the Plame business. It's strictly limited on what it criminalizes.

That said, the overriding argument is proper, and the US Supreme Cout has plainly said that the government has the right to prevent the publication of exactly this information. If any of you lawyers wish to comment, I'd like to hear what options you see the government having to protect our warfighters from unscrupulous journalists.

Forget the South, Democrats - Stop coddling the spoiled brat of presidential politics. By Timothy�Noah

The South and the Democratic Party:

Slate has today an article by one Timothy Noah, entitled "Forget the South, Democrats - Stop coddling the spoiled brat of presidential politics." We shall here discuss it.

"There goes the South for a generation," Lyndon Johnson is said to have predicted as he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. Actually, it's been two generations, but otherwise Johnson was dead-on.
Insofar as Johnson was right, it wasn't the Civil Rights Act itself, but the use of military force against the South that did the trick. I think that the CRA was less important than Brown v. the Board of Education in that regard. In any event, the South is the only part of the United States that has felt the force of the US military directed against it--twice now, and this last time in living memory.

As I have argued elsewhere, Southerners have come to the point that we ought to admit that things are better in the South in part due to such intervention. Nevertheless--let it be said that I defy the premise of this article, which is that the South is in some way the 'spoiled brat' of American politics. The South provides fully 40% of the US military, and yet is the only region that has had that military used against it. We have served, and we have been struck across the face in our service; and we continue to serve. Therefore is America as strong as she is:

'This blow that I return not
Ten times will I return
On kings and earls of all degree,
And armies wide as empires be
Shall slide like landslips to the sea[.]'
So let us dispense with the notion that the South has been coddled. What else is there in the article?
For 40 years, the Democratic Party begged Southern Democrats to return to the fold. Always undignified, this pleading eventually become futile as well, like Shirley Booth calling for her dead puppy in Come Back, Little Sheba. Now John Kerry, winner of the New Hampshire primary, is taking some heat for saying so. But it's about time somebody did.

"Everybody always makes the mistake of looking south," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a Jan. 24 appearance at Dartmouth. And so they have.

Return to the fold? Sir, Southern Democrats still stand right where the fold used to be. It is the fold that has moved away from us. You have, to extend the metaphor, sought other grazing in pastures you thought from afar would prove greener: socialism, identity politics, abortion politics, judicial activism and its illiberal accomplice, the litigation of every aspect of American life. You have turned free and equal citizens into a hierarchy: lawyers, and subjects of the law. That would bad enough, but you have also encouraged the lawyers who become judges to be legislators, rewriting the law at pleasure. Return to you? You tred ground that shows no sign of any previous human foot: nor will it show yours for long, for it is a morass.

What else?

For two decades, it's been axiomatic that Democratic presidential candidates couldn't win unless they were Southerners.... But it didn't work in 2000 for Al Gore--or rather, it didn't work well enough to counterbalance the Supreme Court's decision to hand over Florida's electors to George W. Bush.
Well, as to that, the Florida State Supreme Court set aside Florida law, Federal law, and the US Constitution in rewriting the recount guidelines. That is an example of exactly what I was talking about just above. If you didn't engage in such foolishness, but respected the law, you would find that Southerners were less likely to have a problem with you.
If he'd taken Florida, which in many ways is not really a southern state, he'd be president. (Some people still argue that he did.) Thus Lesson 2: Democrats don't really need those southern votes.
We will return to the question of whether or not you need those votes in just a moment. For now, note that Florida, though I will agree that it is in character different from the South, is also home to an increasingly large number of military voters (you may remember them? They are the ones whose absentee ballots your Mr. Gore had discarded on a technicality? I assure you they remember, even if you don't). As mentioned, the South provides 40% of military forces. Likewise, the military's relative conservatism, patriotism, and respect for tradition and sacrifice make even non-Southern military men more like Southerners than anyone else in America. I wouldn't count on carrying Florida all that often.
Since 2000, many Democrats have questioned quietly why they should expend so much effort trying to win votes in what is now a solidly Republican region. The Democrats' ceaseless courtship of Southern votes has fostered an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Southerners now consider it their God-given right to supply Democrats with presidential candidates or, failing that, to force non-Southern candidates to discuss Him using an alien evangelical vocabulary. (God doesn't hear the prayers of Episcopalians, Congregationalists, or Presbyterians. No use even discussing Unitarians, Jews, and atheists.)
On the contrary: Southerners like Joe Lieberman pretty well. He's neither a Southerner nor a Christian--one of those Jews you seem to think need not apply. But Jews have always done well in the South: one of the nation's oldest Jewish communities, which was addressed by General George Washington, is in Savannah. The South, divided so badly by black-white racism, has generally not noticed 'internal' divisions: Irishmen, Jews, Germans, and so forth have suffered prejudice elsewhere, but not in the South. The sad reverse of that is the famous "one drop" rule, of course.

In any event, we have never asked anyone to talk about God who didn't want to do so. In fact, speaking for myself, I'd rather you didn't. There is little mroe irritating than listening to an irreligious Yankee suddenly start prattling on about Jesus when he starts campaigning in the South (Howard Dean, call your office). Southerners do like religious men--Jews or otherwise--but they like forthright men more.

Overindulgence has also made the South grotesquely hypersensitive to what non-Southern liberals say about it; to quote a famous witticism about the writer John O'Hara, today's South is "master of the fancied slight." Thus when Vermonter Howard Dean made the perfectly innocent remark that he'd like to win votes from "guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks"--a comment, incidentally, that indicated he did not intend to write off the South--he had to fall all over himself apologizing to Southerners offended by the shorthand.
This part is fair, as far as it goes. The South is an honor-based culture. In that, it is genuinely different from the rest of America. That does provide pitfalls, one of which is pricklishness to insult by outsiders.
The taboo extends to discussing whether the South has enough votes to justify Democratic solicitude. Kerry's remarks prompted Dick Harpootlian, former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, to tell ABC's Jake Tapper, "I'm shocked he would be talking about a strategy of avoiding the South." Tapper also quoted Kerry rival John Edwards, political scientist Merle Black, and Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., emphasizing the importance of the South to the Democrats. But they're all Southerners; of course they think Democrats shouldn't write off their region. (Miller, who's starting to sound like a right-fringe crackpot, has the gall to tell Democrats what to do even though he's already endorsed President Bush.)
It's worth remembering that Senator Miller gave the keynote address when Bill Clinton was nominated for the Presidency. Senator Miller's book, A National Party No More, warns that the otherwise-national Democratic Party seems not to care that it is writing off an entire region, consisting of fully one-third of the voters in the country. Maybe it seems like a winning political strategy to some persons to ceed 1/3rd of the vote, and then fight for a division of the remaining 2/3rds.

To me, it sounds like Miller is right: the Democratic party is choosing not to be a national party, unwilling to do what must be done to compete nationwide for the popular vote. If that is the case, it will become plausible for the Democratic party to be replaced by a party that will do what must be done to compete for the nationwide vote. That may be a new political party, but it might be the Republican party.

What does this spell for the future of the Democratic party? Illegitimacy, for one thing. A party that tries to govern America, having little support except on the coasts, will find that even if it wins the occasional election its policies are very hard to enact or to execute.

It is likely to find, over time, that trying to compete with a party that has a national strategy when it has only a regional strategy will cause it to be increasingly marginalized.

Nothing makes this clearer than the example of the Senate. It is barely possible to win the Presidency without the South: if you win 70% of all races outside of the South, you will have just enough Electoral votes to squeak by. You'll be OK in the House, for a while, because the House is apportioned by population. The Senate is not. There are Senate races in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, and South Carolina this year, which could solidify Republican control of that body. If you don't fight for the South, over time all Southern senators will become Republican. California and New York may stand you fine in the House, but they only give you four Senators together, and both states are in play--consider a Guiliani candidacy, for example. Give the Republicans the South, and you'll never hold the gavel in the Senate again. The Senate's consent is required for all Federal judgeships, ambassadors, major political appointments, and--just in case you have forgotten--legislation. Kiss the South goodbye, and you kiss the Democratic platform goodbye. Even on those occasions you manage to win the 70% of non-Southern races, so that you have narrow control of the House and a Democratic president, you will get exactly no legislation that you want: gridlock will be the best the Democratic party can manage. By the way, don't forget the judges. Eventual Republican dominance of the Supreme Court will be assured by the loss of the Senate.

This, mind you, is the best case scenario. This assumes that the Democratic party will be able to continue to win the Presidency on occasion, and that its legislative incapacity won't cause it to become uncompetitive in regions outside the South. A more likely scenario is that the Republicans, dominant in the Senate, and eventually the Supreme Court, will dominate the other branches as well. As the Democratic party will be increasingly unable to enact legislation, people who want legislation enacted will have to go to the Republicans. That means the withering of Democratic political support among unions, lawyers, and businessmen. The only supporters that will remain are those who are so opposed to the Republican agenda that they would rather have gridlock. You'd have had their votes anyway, even if you'd made the adjustments to your agenda necessary to be competitive in the South.

Noah argues at some length that the Democratic Party can make up with Latinos the loss of the South. That is a deeply suspicious argument, as Latinos trend socially fairly conservative and religious. A Democratic party that ejects its last conservative principles in order to run with the wolves is not going to be even as appealing to them as it is now; and even now, Republicans are making gains among Latino voters.

There is more still:

But there's an even longer political history of Southerners whining and wheedling their way into disproportionate and undeserved power.
What follows this line is tenditious in the extreme.* But, the core of truth to it is that the South has always been more politically powerful than its numbers. This is mostly because of the Senate, which the South has frequently dominated due to its cultural unity.

The radical changes of the 20th century were all enacted by Democrats. They were possible because the South was solidly Democratic, and lent their power to the party--sometimes grudgingly, and sometimes with loud protests. Since the South began to go Republican, there has been no political change of any real degree in America. When the shift is complete, radical change will again be possible. Just as before, solid control of the Senate means tremendous power across the system.

This time it will be Republicans with that power. What, Noah, do you think they will do? Consider that question for a space, and then consider what can be done to stop it. There is one thing, only: the Democratic Party must return to its roots, and start fighting for the South.

* Tenditious arguments include the following:

-"The South is arguably the most socialistic region in the country; nearly half of all U.S. military personnel are stationed there, and the region was only lightly affected by the post-Cold War base closings of the 1980s and 1990s." The facts are right, but the interpretation is wrong. Insofar as military life is 'socialistic,' it is the socialism of the comitatus, not the commune. There could be no greater difference in the value systems than that.

-"Before that, the South treasonously separated itself from the Union." In fact, the right of states to seceed from the union was taught in West Point textbooks before the Civil War. Besides, the principles of the American Revolution do not make sense if states have no right, ever, to reconsider their association. It was hardly treason to do what Washington himself had done. Unless, of course, you would prefer to consider yourself a British subject, surrounded by a nation of traitors.

-"Before that, the South successfully battled all attempts to end the practice of slavery, which the Founding Fathers well understood was incompatible with the principles of the American Revolution." As to the founders--yes, indeed, although they also did all they could to avoid ending the practice of slavery in their lifetimes. Not one of them released his slaves until his death. As to the South's avoidance of ending slavery--the Confederacy was the first American nation to ban the importation of slaves. Slave ships remained legal in the North for quite some time, and they sailed, as they always had, out of Northern harbors. Their markets were limited to Brazil and the Carribean after the Civil War. The markets there never dried up; it was the British navy that put an end to the slave trade, not an end to the market. Whereas slaves in the American South lived to reproduce, slaves in South America died almost as fast as they could be imported on those Northern slave ships, the ones you'll have read about. So please--if you must dwell on old inhumanities, you might at least do so in an evenhanded way.

-"Of course, without the three-fifths rule, there wouldn't have been a Constitution of the United States--not one that governed the American South, at any rate--because the South wouldn't have ratified it. But that only underscores further the perils of paying the South too much attention." Does it? The three-fifths compromise tells us what, exactly, about the intentions of a Southerner living in 2004? About the quality of his advice? It says nothing at all on either question: it is an ad hominem attack against the region, as indeed are most of the other assertions.


You have probably noticed that Samizdata has a new look. I've been trying to sort out what the pistol is they're using on the top left photo. My best guess is a Sig-Sauer P225, but I think that's wrong because grip isn't the right shape. Anybody want to venture an opinion?

Mudville Gazette: MilBlogs:


I've joined Milblogs. I wasn't sure how they'd feel about a former member of the USMC who was currently in the mercenary service (or shadow forces as Mudville Gazette calls us, though I don't work for DynCorp). Apparently, it's good enough. For what it's worth, I've kept my oath.

Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate


It's marriage day at Arts & Letters Daily. Staney Kurtz of has a piece suggesting that marriage may cease to exist: Consider Sweden. Then, from the Atlantic, there is a piece sort-of defending Dr. Laura's advice on marriage. (I say "sort of" defending her because the author refers to her as a "fishwife," which according to Roget's means:

A person, traditionally a woman, who persistently nags or criticizes: fury, harpy, scold, shrew, termagant, virago, vixen. Informal : battle-ax.
Some defense. Having heard her show only the once myself, I can only say that I tend to agree.)

Meanwhile, there's a piece on Jane Austen's novels on marriage. I have never read an Austen novel all the way through, but when I lived in China, I noticed that they were very popular among Chinese women. On a slightly related topic, I have a post on FreeSpeech on an upcoming marriage between the PRC and the DPRK. Good hunting, lads and lassies.

Trip to Iraq

Winning in Iraq:

The Honorable Zell Miller, Senator of the great state of Georgia, has a new page up on his recent trip to Iraq. You ought to read his remarks, but don't miss the pictures. They used to fly that plane right over my house, back when I lived in the flight path for Hunter Army Airfield.

Other especially worthy pictures: Miller, a former Marine, signs a USMC flag that flies in Iraq. And, of course, there's Saddam's solid-gold Kalishnikov.

And then, read his remarks to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. You can skip the parts about Georgia economics if it doesn't interest you. The rest of it is magnificient.

It begins with a recitation of the successes of armies of free men against armies designed in tyranny. It demonstrates just how we fit into that tradition. Senator Miller does not shy from the debt the South owes the rest of the country for continuing to be a part of that tradition--he praises Abraham Lincoln. Yet he does not hesistate to remind the nation of the debt it owes the South in turn. He holds high the flag of war, but does not turn from its cost. It is, I think, one of the finest pieces of political writing I have seen in the modern age.

It is too long, and too fine, to excerpt. If you want a Jacksonian party, this is the way it should sound.

New Links:

I've added two new links to the "Other Halls" section: Bloodletting, another Marine blog, and Liberty Dad.

Both of these are blogs who have linked here first. I figured this out by checking site traffic and whatnot. It's been a while since I've said it, though, so let me say it again--I believe in reciprocal hospitality. If you link here, odds are I'll link you. Drop me a line.

By the way, I notice that Bloodletting is calling for the establishment of a Jacksonian political party. If that interests you, you might want to read the first-draft manifesto I wrote for The Jacksonian Party.

The Liberal Conspiracy - Satire, Informed Commentary and 9-11 Research

Bad Conspiracy Theorist! Down!

Sovay McKnight reduces another 9/11 conspiracy theory to dust.

The Corner on National Review Online

Dean Campaigns in NH:

From The Corner, we have a glimpse at Dean's campaign in New Hampshire:

I arrived home from shopping today to find a large yellow manila envelope in my mailbox. Sealed with a giant Dean campaign sticker, the envelope contained:

*1 DVD titled "Howard Dean for America--Fulfilling the Promise of America"

*1 nicely designed trifold color brochure proclaiming that "This is a campaign to unite and empower Americans . . .to move the insiders out and let the people in!" The brochure features such positive messages as "I know what's wrong with America." My favorite excerpt: "As a medical doctor, I have been trained to diagnose an illness and prescribe the proper treatment. I have frequently applied the same techniques as a Governor."

Quite apart from whether or not this line of argument is apt to be successful, I want to remark that it is entirely mistaken. Chesterton wrote on the topic extensively; I quote here from What's Wrong with the World Today. Chesterton was especially prophetic, and what he saw wrong in his day often not only proved to be wrong indeed, but developed into greater wrongs on just the lines of which he warned.

In any event, the very first chapter of this work is entitled "The Medical Mistake":

The fallacy is one of the fifty fallacies that come from the modern madness for biological or bodily metaphors. It is convenient to speak of the Social Organism, just as it is convenient to speak of the British Lion. But Britain is no more an organism than Britain is a lion. The moment we begin to give a nation the unity and simplicity of an animal, we begin to think wildly.... Now we do talk first about the disease in cases of bodily breakdown; and that for an excellent reason. Because, though there may be doubt about the way in which the body broke down, there is no doubt at all about the shape in which it should be built up again. No doctor proposes to produce a new kind of man, with a new arrangement of eyes or limbs. The hospital, by necessity, may send a man home with one leg less: but it will not (in a creative rapture) send him home with one leg extra.
The proper shape of society is not, as Chesterton goes on to point out, a thing as certain as the proper shape of a man.
But exactly the whole difficulty in our public problems is that some men are aiming at cures which other men would regard as worse maladies; are offering ultimate conditions as states of health which others would uncompromisingly call states of disease. Mr. Belloc once said that he would no more part with the idea of property than with his teeth; yet to Mr. Bernard Shaw property is not a tooth, but a toothache. Lord Milner has sincerely attempted to introduce German efficiency; and many of us would as soon welcome German measles. Dr. Saleeby would honestly like to have Eugenics; but I would rather have rheumatics.
Dr. Dean would have you believe that society is sick, and that he is going to cure it. It is wise to be wary of all such men. Another point for Chesterton; it's a pity that no one is keeping an honest account of the score.