Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama's Speech

Obama's speech was competently written and delivered. No more, no less. It was also doctrinaire Democratic Party liberalism. There was nothing McGovern or Mondale could have disagreed with. It will be interesting to see if America has changed enough that an overtly social-democratic platform can win a national election.

Governor Palin seems like a good choice in theory. Whether she will be up to the rigours of national politics is not something I claim even Internet-rules expertise on. Who knows?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Offer NATO membership to Georgia - (South Ossetia + Abkhazia)

And back it up with nukes.

Choice of Biden Insane

HRC was the obvious choice. It was folly to pick anyone else. But "anyone else" would have been better than Biden.

Veeps may not matter, but terrible judgment matters.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pelagians for McCain!

Some careful readers may have detected a preference on my part during the primaries. And despite my pretence of careful neutrality as one of Her Majesty's subjects, I must say I was generally pleased with how things worked out in both major parties.

The general election is a bit tougher. I'm more with Obama on foreign policy (excluding trade) and more with McCain on domestic matters. My ideal world would probably have Obama as President and Republican control of Congress -- but that is not going to happen. In light of his age and the opposition's control of Congress, McCain would be a very weak president generally -- which is doubtless a good thing.

But theological issues are primary. And on those issues, McCain shows just what a crazy heretic he is. It is really unfair to Manicheans and Pelagians to compare them to him. Here's Obama's answer to the question of the existence of evil at the Saddleback Forum:

Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely, and one of the things that I strongly believe is that, now, we are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil from the world. That is God's task, but we can be soldiers in that process, and we can confront it when we see it.

Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil's been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil.


OBAMA: In the name of good, and I think, you know, one thing that's very important is having some humility in recognizing that just because we think that our intentions are good, doesn't always mean that we're going to be doing good. `

Perfectly orthodox, and perfectly sensible. Here is McCain's demonic nationalist answer:

WARREN: How about the issue of evil. I asked this of your rival, in the previous debate. Does evil exist and, if so, should ignore it, negotiate it with it, contain it or defeat it?

MCCAIN: Defeat it. A couple of points. One, if I'm president of the United States, my friends, if I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get bin Laden and bring him to justice. I will do that. And I know how to do that. I will get that done. (APPLAUSE). No one, no one should be allowed to take thousands of American -- innocent American lives.

Of course, evil must be defeated. My friends, we are facing the transcended challenge of the 21st century -- radical Islamic extremism.

Not long ago in Baghdad, al Qaeda took two young women who were mentally disabled, and put suicide vests on them, sent them into a marketplace and, by remote control, detonated those suicide vests. If that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is. And we're going to defeat this evil. And the central battleground according to David Petraeus and Osama bin Laden is the battle, is Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Iraq and we are winning and succeeding and our troops will come home with honor and with victory and not in defeat. And that's what's happening.

And we have -- and we face this threat throughout the world. It's not just in Iraq. It's not just in Afghanistan. Our intelligence people tell us al Qaeda continues to try to establish cells here in the United States of America. My friends, we must face this challenge. We can face this challenge. And we must totally defeat it, and we're in a long struggle. But when I'm around, the young men and women who are serving this nation in uniform, I have no doubt, none.

For McCain, evil is totally external. It can be defeated temporally, and by the nation state. In any well-ordered society, the Holy Office would say so and hand him over to the secular arm. The Applause just shows that many American evangelicals actually worship the state.

Update: The Lutheran Zephyr makes many of the same points, but better. It's spooky.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In memoriam: Literatus on the Murder of Shirley Case and Jackie Kirk

A missive from the literatus:

The thing about atrocities, colleagues, is that they tend to harden observers' political positions; there is an angry I-told-you-so component to each possible interpretation of an event like this.

So I got angry on the news; not just righteously angry at the Enemy and his jackals, but pissed at the Talib excusers, pacifi-fundamentalists, and Quiet Lifers, the whole fellow-travelling fuckin' pack of 'em, our ideological opponents, for whom any international action beyond well-digging, school-building and child-vaccinating is too inappropriate to consider, even while the unabashed Enemy poisons the water, burns the classrooms, and shoots the doctors in the face.

There's been little talk from these misbegotten left-internationalists, I notice, about the moral necessity of a UN role in Iraq since August '03. Which was when, you'll recall, the great guarantors of multi-lateral understanding established their Baghdad mission, whereupon the Enemy immediately murdered them all. (RIP, Sergio de Mello, and RIP your gentle, hopeful, sophisticated way of thinking.)

It is the same Enemy that executed our fellow-citizens in the Rescue Committee convoy, I think we agree, comrades...? (I capitalize the E 'cos I acknowledge that the jihadi is essentially one man -- the arsonist and exterminator of Allah's staff, Mohammed's wingman and butcher, get it --? In all his many manifestations.)

The peculiar response from Stopland on this matter is not to recommend the hunting down of these killers of women, nor the extirpation of the permanent threat they pose to Afghanis, women, Shia Moslems, Pakistanis, homosexuals, Israel, Western idealists, etc., etc... naw, near as I can tell, the massacre's political meaning, over in Leftland, is this:

It's the West's fault. Ottawa and CIDA and the Forces should guarantee the safety of every Canadian, esp. aid workers, who steps into the 'Stan, voluntarily or not, and should be held civilly liable, ie vulnerable to lawsuits, if any civilian Canuck should get killed by the Enemy, or by accident. I ain't kidding.

I cannot see that as a reasonable response to the machine-gunning of our Sisters of Mercy, frankly. I suppose a better person than me might try to find forgiveness, somewhere in the nobility of the human spirit, for the understandable frustration of the marginalised post-colonial subject who bashed in the IRC car's window with the butt of a cheap machine gun and blew away a nice lady named Shirley who was culturally sensitive and wanted to help the poor. Probably he shot her to death mostly for being female.

Well, he was Taliban; they say they'll do such things, they do them, and if they live, then they do it again. What is the point of forgiveness and dialogue, under such circumstances? The massacre proves, underlines, demonstrates, clarifies and establishes beyond a doubt that the Enemy must be destroyed wherever he is found. Doesn't it?

I could argue with some of the Manichean phrasing. But I don't feel like it.

Update: There seems to be some confusion on the subject in the comment box, so I should clarify that I am not the literatus. He is an old character in these parts, and one I usually argue with. My brief description is "a right-wing bastard sickened unto death with the leftist pieties usual among Canadian writer types".

But while intending no endorsement, I do share an impatience with people who can muster a lot of indignation about "overbroad generalizations" and stereotyping that they can't seem to summon for murdering do-gooding unarmed middle-age women.