Friday, June 17, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Yes, it's time for another of my weekly angry rants.

There has been no shortage of subjects this week. I could discuss the travails of modern air travel; the death of Corporal Carrie French and the uninvited "guests" at her funeral; the continued poor judgement of Amnesty International's leadership; or whine about the fact I'm still hopelessly single.

Today, however, I have decided to talk about something else: a US Senator comparing the actions of American soldiers to the Nazis. Senator "Dick" Durbin, D-Illinois, has behaved in such a way as to demonstrate why the name "Dick" has taken on the pejorative meaning it now possesses. Senator Dick,
in his own words:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings.
The terrible things done? Oh, the prisoners had to endure too much air conditioning or 100 degree plus tempertures as part of their interrogations. Since you are apparently unclear on the concept, let me spell it out, Dick: making a terrorist wannabe stand in the corner is not - IS NOT - equivalent to a national policy of murdering all members of unwanted ethnic groups. It is not equivalent to hooking up electrodes to genitals, dripping nitric acid on naked prisoners, or imprisoning children. And it demeans the suffering of those who died and those few who survived to make such asinine comparisons. These prisoners are not POWs, Dick, they are terrorists. Men who volunteered because they thought war would be fun. Men who deliberately target civilians because they cannot shoot back. Admit it, Dick - this is about politics, not prisoners.

Elsewhere on the web:

VDH has new column, discussing growing American impatience with the Middle East.

Jonah Goldberg discusses stem-cell research and federalism.

The latest Impromptu from Jay Nordlinger.

Remember Leon Askin, the actor who played Gen. Albert Burkhalter on Hogan’s Heroes? He died the other day, at 97. (An obit is here.) He was really Leo Aschkenasy, a Viennese, and, yes, his parents were killed in a Nazi concentration camp. Somehow, he made it out. In 1994, he re-established residence in Vienna, and kept working in cabaret there.

The actor who played a Nazi general in a sitcom, the son of Holocaust victims . . . The stories of life are not uninteresting.

And California has had four significant earthquakes in less than a week. The big question is - what does that mean? Is it just a coincidence, or a run-up to The Big One? Odds are, this is just a coincidence. Two of the quakes happened off the coast near Eureka, and are related (one was an aftershock of the other); and the other two were in Southern California. But Californians are understandably nervous right now. Heck, I would be. Anyone remember the Cape Mendocino earthquakes of 1992? That quake series spawned three major quakes in two days. Truth is, we know all too little about how quakes work, especially in the complex fault zones of the San Andreas Fault and the Juan de Fuca plate.

Thought of the Week:

"Truth is the cry of all, but the game of few." - George Bishop Berkeley

Churchill Quote of the Week:

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to the House of Commons, June 18, 1940


At 11:13 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Two thoughts:

First: The Jonah Goldberg article is great. Everyone should read it!

Second: One word for Californians..."Repent!" Just kidding. I'm not a religious zealot who thinks that God is about to smite us with impending doom. However, repentance is good advice for all of us.


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