Saturday Morning Musings
The Political Scene
This article by Russ Smith in the New York Press is a very readable, dispassionate review of the position of both parties heading into GWB's second term. A tantalizing excerpt:
. . . while it's early to speculate about the president's successor, remember that shortly after Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in '96, Republicans were already looking to Bush for 2000. The GOP has a very weak bench for '08—Bill Frist? Chuck Hagel? George Pataki? All non-starters who'd get trounced by a moderate Democrat from any region but the Northeast.Falluja: What's Next?
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney vs. Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh: That's the race to watch.
Meanwhile, Mackubin Thomas Owens writes about Falluja in The Weekly Standard. He observes, regarding news media reports that have already begun to second-guess the success of the operation there:
An equivalent headline in June 1944 would have read: "Massive U.S. Casualties on Omaha Beach; Hitler's Reich Remains Intact, Defiant." Such stories fail to place Falluja, Mosul, Tal Afar, and other cities in northern Iraq in context. The fact is that Falluja is part of a campaign, a series of coordinated events--movements, battles, and supporting operations--designed to achieve strategic or operational objectives within a military theater. Falluja is just one battle, albeit an extremely important one, in a comprehensive campaign to stabilize the Sunni Triangle.Owens goes on to discuss the military's apparent plans in Iraq based on compelling logic and experience. He is a professor of national security at the Naval War College, and his piece reflects his expertise: It's a fine example of hard-headed, careful strategic military thinking (not something we will see much in the news media, I fear).
By the way, is anyone else wondering how it is that within a three-day period, an NBA basketball player can charge into the stands and start beating up fans, then be suspended for the rest of the season, then appear on the Today show hawking his rap CD and downplaying the beating incident with the comment, "Stuff happens?"
And while I am asking questions, here's are a few about the new evening soap opera "Desperate Housewives" (which I am planning never to watch, thank you): Why is it that Hollywood types think that they need to tell the "truth" about the suburbs? None of them would ever descend to the level of actually living in the suburbs, although they may have when they were kids, so what qualifies them to produce programming about what it's "really like" out there? (The Movie "American Beauty" comes to mind. I never saw that one either but I sure did read a lot of reviews with quotations from Kevin Spacey and Annete Bening about how they "know" what it's like in suburbia and it's about time a movie forced us all to confront what goes on there.) Do those folks really think that spending their teen-age years in places like Chatsworth, California, qualifies them to write about the lives of adults in such places, and to portray those neighborhoods as hellish mini-societies full of cynical, selfish, or clueless morons? Do others besides me recognize that these suburban tales are really simple-minded caricatures of a large and important part of American society?
Oh, well, Hollywood's contempt for "regular" people has become pretty widely recognized. I'll stick with Biography. At least it's about real people.