Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Just a bruise? Next time, sharpen the stake.

Babble on.

Even a blind squirrel stumbles across an acorn on occasion. So too with Heather "And Your Little Dog Too!" Mallick:

What I most admire about the Lee Valley Tools people is their talent for seeing danger where I believe none exists, right up to the moment of injury when I curse myself for not having bought the gadget that would have saved me.

On this point, I agree with her. Too bad she can't apply that lesson beyond her own bruised ribcage - a predictable symptom of her obvious self-obsession. In fact, that line of reasoning is why I would vote Republican in November were I an American citizen. You see:

What I admire about the Republicans is their talent for seeing danger where I believe none exists, right up to the moment when I use my dying breath to curse myself for not having paid nearly enough attention to fundamentalist Islamoterror.

Seeing threats where others don't is truly a talent, and a much needed one in today's chaotic and unpredictable world. Lee Valley isn't the only organization that does it well.

Babble off.

USeless Today

Babble on.

When Ann Coulter got canned by USA Today:
Coulter told Human Events: "Apparently, USA Today doesn't like my 'tone,' humor, sarcasm, etc. etc., which raises the intriguing question of why they hired me to write for them in the first place. Perhaps they thought they were getting Catherine Coulter." Coulter was hired in a sort of package deal, with leftist hatemonger and fantasy filmmaker Michael Moore offering bile from the Republican convention next month. "My guess is they will 'get' his humor," said Coulter.

Apparently she was right. From the bulging, overflowing, positively bursting at the seams "What Liberal Media Bias?" file: Ann Coulter gets spiked, Michael Moore gets published.

Babble off.

Count the money, count the bodies

Babble on.

Somebody explain to me why every international decision absolutely must be approved by the UN Security Council to be considered 'legitimate.' And while you're at it, remind me why it would be a good thing for U.S. influence to wane when countries like Russia and China are still heirs-apparent to the mantle of 'superpower.'

Because I still don't get it.

Babble off.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Warren Kinsella, cheap shot artist

Babble on.

For a guy who decries bloggers playing to type, Kinsella sure plays to type. Today he's cobbled up the latest in a string of unsolicited campaign slogans: "President George W. Bush - just another drunk driver."

Pardon me for playing to type, Warren, but wouldn't that make John Kerry just another Vietnam war criminal?

I thought lawyers were trained to avoid ad hominem attacks. Oops, I guess that would be playing to type too, and we know how much you hate that.

Babble off.

I have misunderestimated The Times

Babble on.

I found a great deal to like about this article by Tim Hames in The Times. Not only does he make some thought-provoking assertions about the upcoming U.S. election and prognostication about a Bush second term, but he does it with humour:

GEORGE W. BUSH’S political ally may be Tony Blair, but his linguistic soulmate is surely John Prescott. Like the Deputy Prime Minister, the President has a relationship with the English language that might be kindly described as experimental. It is akin to that which a tribesman from the depths of the Amazonian rainforest might have with a mobile telephone. Buttons will be pressed, but what emerges is basically a mystery. Mr Bush is thus perhaps the first President of the United States to require an interpreter when addressing an audience that consists entirely of his fellow citizens.

I must confess, guiltily, that I too prefer to read Bush's speeches rather than listen to them. And before I get the WTF comments from my rabid right-wing readers (I'll have you know I now have to take off my socks to count them), no, I am not Bush-bashing just because I admit he's not a world-class orator.

How did I turn this post into a discussion of public-speaking in American politics? Before I wander even further afield from my intended point, I'll remind you to read the whole article and ask yourself if Bush will break the 'lame duck' pattern as he's broken so many others in his short political career.

Babble off.

If a tree falls in the woods...

Babble on.

Carol Goar is one of the few columnists at Pravda Canada I can actually read without triggering my gag reflex. Today she raises some interesting questions about BMD, and specifically about Canada's role. Her opening line is particularly on-point:

You probably know more about John Kerry's war service in Vietnam than his position on the multi-billion-dollar missile defence system being developed by the Pentagon. So does your Member of Parliament.

While Goar lays out some reasonable concerns, she somehow manages to gloss over what I believe is the biggest issue for Canadians: the 'who cares?' factor. As in, 'we're not contributing anything, and they'll go ahead without us anyhow, so who cares what Canada thinks?' It looks increasingly like the U.S. will deploy a system with or without our support. We hold no veto over U.S. defence policy. So what's to decide, other than whether or not we want to bolster our anti-American credentials?

As Cosh said awhile back, if all we're being asked to provide is "cosmetic political cooperation with a military plan that we don't have to pay for or devote resources to, that is purely defensive, that has a bipartisan consensus behind it in the U.S., and that could enrich potential Canadian military and engineering contractors" then I say we offer the requested cosmetic support. If I was a U.S. taxpayer, I'd certainly have more questions first (like how much is this going to cost, how effective will it be initially, and when will it be up and running at full capability?). But given the fact that it's not my tax dollars being spent, why would I want to annoy the U.S. yet again by disagreeing with something they're going to do anyway?

Oh, I keep forgetting: because the 'weaponization of space' is evil. More evil than the weaponization of land, air, and sea, that's for sure.

Of course, what none of the anti-BMD-crowd ever mentions is that we're not the ones who get to decide if space becomes a battleground - the Chinese do. Ask yourself if you want them unopposed up there, then ask yourself if freeloading on an American program is such a bad idea after all.

Babble off.

Update: we're already funding China's space-weapons program. Every CIDA dollar they get lets them throw more cash into their nuclear-armed military and aggressive space-weapons program. Bet you won't hear a peep out of the Liberal Women's Caucus about that, though.

Aldini, all the time

Babble on.

One of these days Jerry should write down all his 'rules of thumb' for easy reference. The latest titbit of concise wisdom:

Here's a rule of thumb for you: any law that seeks primarily to address a "perception" of anything is intrinsically horseshit.

Stop beating around the bush, Jerry, and tell us how you really feel. The rest of his piece on campaign finance and freedom of expression is equally meandering, obscure, and long-winded. And, needless to say, worth the read.

Babble off.

Rock. French. Hard place.

Babble on.

As usual, Kate's right: it will be extremely interesting to see which way the French jump on this issue.

Note to the addlepated douchebag: more proof Islamofascists don't give a rat's ass about missile defence. Unless we're willing to issue burkhas to every Canadian female, we're on their target list. (Although the idea of Parrish covered head to foot has its own appeal. Do they make those outfits with a built-in gag?)

Babble off.

Irresponsible Liberals...but I repeat myself

Babble on.

This is why Barry Cooper gets paid to talk about the military, while I blog in the wilderness.

Only in Canada would the government tell its army to turn a workable anti-aircraft missile into an anti-tank weapon. If an army needs an anti-tank weapon, a responsible government would order them to buy it. (Bold by Babbler)

I could have said the same thing. Really, I could. It just would have taken me five paragraphs of babbling to do it.

By the way, read the whole article. Barry's right: helicopters are just the tip of the iceberg.

Babble off.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A Minority of Two (count me in)

Babble on.

You must read the new guy on the block (listen to me, the seasoned one-month veteran). Oh, but put down your drink before you start. Snorting a mouthful of Coke out your nose as you read is good for neither your keyboard, nor your nose. Not that I have any personal experience, but I've been told it's painfulllllllllllllllll (damn sticky L).

On the bright side, it's highly unlikely such a blabbermouth [Parrish] will get a cabinet post anytime soon. Loose lips really do sink ships, you know, just as your grandmother told you.

Really? And Sheila "Daughter of Frankenstein" Copps? How many cabinet posts did that thing hold? Fried Hedy?...It is perfectly reasonable to imagine that the blabbermouth will get a cabinet position one day. Hey, she brings in the vote. It's her third term. She's part of the Liberal furniture. Get used to it, she ain't goin' away any time soon, unless it were to the ambassadorship in, oh, i don't know, Denmark? She gives Paulie cover on his anti-Americain moonbat lefty flank, not to mention that is she is rumoured to be very effective at bringing in the Islamist vote. In a few years, we'll read in the major newspapers about how she's earned her shot at a cabinet post through her long years of dedicated public service. Take it to the bank.

Fried Hedy? Daughter of Frankenstein? The man is downright cruel: I love it. And so the blogroll continues to grow...

Babble off.

My idiotic idea

Babble on.

The more I think about a "Coalition of the Idiots", the more I wonder who should really qualify. Obviously the addlepated douchebag leads the list. Baghdad Beaumier is also a sure pick. Although some might think he's a bit of a sleeper, I think Tom Wappel certainly makes the cut.

I have more in mind, but I thought it might be fun to take nominations from my loyal and highly intelligent readers (we should all get together for cribbage again soon - it's my turn to bring the danishes). To qualify, nominees must be sitting politicians capable of and predisposed to fitting both feet in their mouth at once (we'll have some fun with the Naomi Kleins and Noam Chomskys of the world some other time).

That's it. Have at 'er.

Babble off.

Update: I'm also taking side bets on how long it will take one of the lefties to nominate "BUSHITLER" in a primal Deanesque comments-scream.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Empty threat

Babble on.

The Globe and Mail has revealed that the weapon Tony Brookes held to the head of his hostage outside Union Station on Wednesday was jammed. That's why he used it to beat his estranged wife instead of using it to shoot her.

Does this mean the police actually murdered this man? The sawed-off .22 was essentially useless. The cops could have walked up to this guy and wrestled him to the ground with no loss of life. They could have continued to negotiate with him, convinced him to put the gun down. It turns out he wasn't a threat at all, was he?

I'm waiting for those enlightened Torontonians who have gloated about the failure to find WMD's in Iraq; those who have called the Bush administration liars and murderers; those who have argued that Saddam Hussein posed no real threat, that he had been contained, that inspections were all that was required, to apply the same empty arguments to Tony Brookes. I'll be watching for the letters in the Star.

Babble off.

Carolyn who?

Babble on.

This line from Carolyn Parrish illustrates yet again just how disconnected she is from reality.

Ms. Parrish said she won't apologize for being passionate about issues close to her heart, nor will she change the way she speaks. She frequently pointed out that 28,000 constituents support her style (it was actually 26,444 in the June election). "They know I'm colourful."

I doubt half of the 26,444 people whose votes this blinkered idiot collected could pick her out of a lineup, let alone name her. Some of them would have voted for Bingo the Chimp if he'd received the Liberal nomination. Some of them believed the Liberal hate-ads and voted for "not Conservative." Some of them were told who to vote for by a family or ethnic community leader just before they hit the voting booth.

For Parrish to state they voted for her because they like her style is evidence of an ego out of control. The woman is a walking advertisement for euthanasia: please put her out of my misery.

Babble off.

Extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy - Part V

Babble on.

Below are the citations for two more Canadian VC recipients from World War I.

I don't want to minimize in any way the heroism of these two men, but I must confess I was somewhat surprised they were awarded the Victoria Cross - the Commonwealth's highest honour for bravery - for these particular actions. Here is what I have only recently learned:

In 1856 the Victoria Cross was the only way to reward acts of battlefield bravery whilst this century has seen the introduction of a wide range of lesser awards (in terms of the VC) for meritorious service or gallantry (the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Military Cross (MC) for officers and the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and the Military Medal (MM) for other ranks). These have been awarded for deeds which earlier might have merited a VC.

It is worth remembering that many servicemen who merited the Victoria Cross never received it because their actions went unnoticed, or the witnesses were killed, or whose self-sacrifice resulted in a lonely death in an unmarked grave. This is true no matter what the nationality of the person and is the reason why the tomb of a nation's unknown warrior usually has the highest gallantry decoration bestowed upon it.

With that, I give you two courageous Canadians whose actions didn't go unnoticed:
Lieutenant Colonel William Hew Clark-Kennedy (24th Bn., Quebec Regiment (Victoria Rifles), Canadian Expeditionary Force)
On 27/28 August 1918 on the Fresnes-Rouvroy line, France, the brigade of which Lieutenant Colonel Clark-Kennedy's battalion was a central unit suffered heavy casualties. At this juncture the colonel encouraged his men and led them forward, then by controlling the direction of neighbouring units and collecting stragglers he enabled the whole brigade front to advance. Next day he was severely wounded, but despite intense pain and loss of blood, he refused to be evacuated until he had gained a position from which the advance could be resumed.

Lieutenant Charles Smith Rutherford (5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Bn., Quebec Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force)
On 26 August 1918 at Monchy, France, Lieutenant Rutherford, commanding an assaulting party, found himself a considerable distance ahead of his men and at the same moment saw a fully armed strong enemy party outside a pill-box in front of him. By masterly bluff he managed to persuade the enemy that they were surrounded and the whole party of 45, including two officers and three machine-guns, surrendered. The lieutenant then observed that gun fire from another pill-box was holding up the assault, so with a Lewis gun section he attacked it capturing another 35 prisoners and their guns.

November 11th shouldn't be the only day we remember.

Babble off.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Again with the laughtrack

Babble on.

I swear I'm not getting ready to hit Jerry up for a loan or anything. But I have to give him credit for linking to this absolutely brilliant piece.

Given the fact that there's no mention of a running-mate, I nominate Col. Flagg. It's a little known fact that he was a CIA operative in the late 60's, and lost his hat on a covert mission into Cambodia.

Burns/Flagg in '04!

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Oh, my sides hurt!

Babble on.

After my most recent trip to Indigo, where I was looking in the Politics section for a Jack Granatstein book called “Who Killed the Canadian Military?” and had to wade through (baby finger to corner of mouth) one MILLION Bush-bashing tomes to get to it, this Lileks piece made me laugh and laugh and laugh. (nod to Jerry the Faker)

Between this, and Satan's Cabana Boys (I can't even type that without chuckling), it's been a fun day!

Babble off.

Open mouth, insert foot

Babble on.

From Satan's Cabana Boys (I'm still laughing, Mr. Jané).

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Judy Sgro said, "I think [Parrish] should have kept her mouth shut."

Really? How insightful. And how hypocritical. Judy's sage advice could apply to any of her Liberal Womens Caucus colleagues - including her.

I wonder what Wells would say?

Babble off.

Update: Scraping jaw off floor. Check out unlikely neo-con Warren's opinion on Parrish. What's next? Cats sleeping with dogs? When I agree with Kinsella, it's a sure sign of the coming Apocalypse.

Need. More. Gulag.

Babble on.

Do you ever find yourself wishing some bloggers would post more? The world needs more Monger. I went into withdrawl when Tarantino took a week off.

And I don't know about you, but I need more Gulag.

Babble off.

The world needs more Canada

Babble on.

Anyone interested in the prospects for Canada's military under a Paul Martin minority government should read Dave Rudd's article in its entirety. I'd like to focus, however, on two points I found particularly fascinating.

The first is that Rudd, without fanfare or fuss, completely disregards all propaganda spewing from the mouths of politicians - elected and uniformed alike.

General Henault's denial of a major re-alignment is unlikely to survive his final year as CDS. The cuts are coming -- perhaps not next year, but soon after. They will be driven by the imminent obsolescence of major equipment sets and competing fiscal priorities.

Given the history of General-speak out of NDHQ supporting Liberal-speak out of Parliament, Rudd's casual, offhand cynicism is wholly justified. (To offer a personal example, as a cadet at the Royal Military College in the early 90's, I remember a Commandant trying to stamp out persistent rumours he was simply punching his ticket at the College on his way to the top. He told us he would never get another promotion because he wasn't willing to compromise his principles or play politics. His name was Jean Boyle, and he resigned three full ranks higher as Chief of the Defence Staff - in disgrace.)

The second point goes to the heart of the Liberals' thoughts on national defence. Rudd speculates the Liberals believe Canadians - deep in their heart of hearts - don't really want a military capable of operating internationally.

Does this notional realignment of Canada's armed forces reflect a hidden strategic agenda, an effort to surreptitiously re-orient the Canadian military toward a domestic or, at best, continental defence posture? Perhaps. Ottawa may be betting that 'safe' tasks -- sovereignty protection and the policing of our maritime approaches -- are all that Canadians want their military to do. (Babbler's emphasis)

It's a credible line of thought, but I think the issue is a little more complex. I think Canadians want to be players on the world stage - inspiring, independent, and influencial. Witness the popularity of Indigo's "The world needs more Canada" slogan. I just don't think anyone has forced my fellow citizens to consider the price of influence. It's a coherent foreign policy that addresses our national interests through foreign aid, commerce, diplomacy, and military force. And it's a foreign policy that we pay for. John Manley put it quite well when he said "You can't just sit at the G8 table and then, when the bill comes, go to the washroom." (Steyn thinks so too.)

Canadians still haven't figured that out, largely because the Liberals and our leftist-establishment media elite don't want us to make the connection. Why not? Because then we'd be forced to make some tough decisions, instead of blithely running off in all directions at once. We'd be forced to acknowledge the fact that the mostly-Liberal federal governments of the past forty years have gutted our military to the point where our foreign policy options have been severely and irreparably curtailed for at least the next decade, and our pompous, derelict media has studiously ignored this issue of vital national interest.

If Paul Martin and his gang of elected crooks truly want Canada to have "A Role of Pride and Influence in the World" then turning the once-formidable Canadian military into a glorified corps of border guards is the last thing they should do.

Babble off.

New Olympic Sport: Taking the Trash Out

Babble on.

In the spirit of the Games in Athens, I've been trying to figure out which of my favourite blogs has done the best job of raking the odious Carolyn Parrish over the coals. The competition has been fierce. Although Penny and Jaeger made the podium, Paul at Agitprop has won the gold. Here are some super-slow-mo highlights of Paul's medal-winning performance:

"Did I really say idiots? Please guys don't put that on tape," [Parrish] said. "I already got into trouble once."

I'm amazed that Satan's Cabana Boys over at the CBC weren't willing to do her that little favour.


Some MPs at the meeting asked the prime minister to delay his decision on the controversial program until after the U.S. presidential elections in November.

Let me see if I understand this: if Bush remains in office, BMD will be an eeeevil tool of Amerikkkan imperialist oppression or the Darth Ashcroft Anti-Peace Prophylactic, but if John Fonda Kerry wins, it'll suddenly become the North American Democracy Shield in the eyes of the Liberal Party, right?

Satan's Cabana Boys. North American Democracy Shield. I abso-freakin-lutely LOVE it.

Babble off.

How to get rich in Canada: charge service fees

Babble on.

PolSpy's Sean McCormick doesn't think investing in Canadian companies is wise. I guess he hasn't heard about the banks.

Babble off.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

How do I say this without looking sexist?

Babble on.

Anytime a group of women get together, it's impossible for a man to criticize them without some of them branding him chauvinist pig. So be it.

But before the hail of nastygrams begins, let me point out that I don't disparage the Liberal Women's Caucus because they're women, I disparage them because they're idiots. Male idiots or female idiots, I'm an equal opportunity disparager.

Actually, I've got a better idea: rather than bore you with paragraph after paragraph of long-winded Babbling, I'll link you to Colby Cosh, who thoughtfully provides a concise summary of what I would have written had I any writing talent whatsoever:

Alexander Panetta's CP story on the unanimous stance of the Liberal women's caucus against Canadian participation in continental missile defence provides a ringing answer to all those questions about why Paul Martin didn't elevate more females to cabinet: he got stuck with a bad batch.

Panetta could locate no Liberal women MPs who support cosmetic political cooperation with a military plan that we don't have to pay for or devote resources to, that is purely defensive, that has a bipartisan consensus behind it in the U.S., and that could enrich potential Canadian military and engineering contractors.

Yeah. What he said.

I'm curious to see if Kate or Shannon will pick up on this and offer a uniquely conservative-female 'don't pretend to speak for me' smackdown. Ok, I'm more than curious. I'm asking them to take Carolyn Parrish, Colleen Beaumier, and the rest of these XX-chromosome Liberal twits out back and BTVS their sorry asses around the blogosphere.

Babble off.

Neither fish nor fowl

Babble on.

The lawyers have already weighed in. Penny. Tarantino. Kinsella. As one of the dwindling number of bloggers not employed in the legal profession (in a defence of the Charter SD inadvertently comes out of the closet), I don't know that I have anything of value to add to the Supreme Court Justice selection debate.

But I wouldn't be much of a blogger if I wasn't willing to jump in anyhow.

As usual, the Liberals have tried to be all things to all people and so have produced a process that is neither fish nor fowl. And thus they are excoriated from both Left and Right.

The editors at Pravda Canada (aka The Toronto Star) extricate heads from rectums long enough to pontificate:

In his rush to protect his minority government and appease a restive Parliament, martin has conceded too much to the Conservative campaign for "accountability." The Supreme Court decides controversial and groundbreaking cases, such as gay marriage, according to the laws and Constitution of Canada, not shifting political winds. Martin must ensure these hearings aren't the first step on a slippery slope that would strip a prime minister of his authority to appoint the court's two new members on the basis of their qualifications, and keep politics out of it. (Babbler's incredulous bold)
Andrew Coyne, on the other hand, rightfully acknowleges that politics have always been a part of the appointment process:

Previous appointments, God knows, had been political -- (example: Michel Bastarache, Liberal strategist and co-chairman of the Yes campaign in the Charlottetown referendum) -- even without taking into account the ferocious backroom lobbying that has traditionally attended these affairs. And certainly ideological considerations have never been far from any prime minister's mind as he hovered over the list of candidates. The notion, implicit in Chief Justice McLachlin's remark, that hitherto the court had been free of such taint could only be sustained by an immense effort of will. But ideology until now has been more or less taken for granted: It was expected that any appointee would subscribe to the approved pieties and the expansive view of the state's role that has come to dominate the law schools and the courts in recent decades. The vetting process was to screen for any outriders who might threaten the liberal consensus.

How the Star can delude itself into thinking the Liberals have "conceded too much to the Conservative campaign for 'accountability'" is beyond me. The nominees don't appear before the committee. The committee can't veto the PM's decision. This is too far down the road of 'accountability'?

Babble off.

Update: Note to self: always read Paul Wells before posting.

Increasingly invertebrate

Babble on.

There is no principle Tony Blair will not sacrifice in his desperate scramble to save his political hide. This much has become evident watching his Labour government vacillate on the Sudan file.

Mr Blair had previously warned that he ruled out "absolutely nothing" and the head of the British Army talked of sending a force of 5,000 soldiers. But yesterday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "At no point were we considering a UK military deployment. We are not in a position where we are considering any UK deployment."

The UK is one of the few international powers with the ability to do something constructive in Sudan, and they are abdicating leadership on the world stage. How far they have fallen.

Babble off.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Michael Moore's new job

Babble on.

I don't know if Michael Moore is actually working for the North Korean government, or if they're just taking inspiration from him. Read this, and decide for yourself:

"He is a political imbecile bereft of even elementary morality as a human being and a bad guy," said the [North Korean] spokesman, quoted by the official KCNA news agency. The spokesman accused Bush of trying to topple the legitimate government of North Korea, branding him "a tyrant that puts Hitler into the shade" as well as "an idiot, an ignorant, a tyrant and a man-killer."

With one fell swoop, the North Koreans have stolen the thunder from the next MoveOn.org ad campaign. Back to the drawing and quartering board.

Babble off.

Fair game

Babble on.

From Tod Lindberg's column in the Washington Times:

Did Mr. Kerry, or the Kerry campaign, really think that nobody was going to use the audio about American war crimes from his congressional testimony against him? Is he somehow under the delusion that because he went to Vietnam, Vietnam veterans will support him (or at least shut up) quite regardless of what he said when he got home? Did he miss the part of the subsequent decades in which the rest of us learned that one of the things certain (pardon my French) pour pisser a certain sort of Vietnam veteran was being called a war criminal? Does he really think that it would take the evil genius of Karl Rove to think to use it against him?

It's possible both to have served bravely, and to have exaggerated your service. It's possible to be a veteran, and still be unfit for command. It's possible to have fought in Vietnam, but not be representative of those who fought with you.

John Kerry and the American public are both figuring that out right now.

Babble off.

"I don't think the world is seeing the complete picture"

Babble on.

This article in the International Herald Tribune, written by Marine helicopter pilot Maj. Glen G. Butler, is worth reading in its entirety. Maj. Butler is currently engaged in the fighting in Najaf.

One line in particular from his article stands out for me:

I haven't had time to catch much CNN or Fox News, and although I've seen a few headlines forwarded to me by friends, I don't think the world is seeing the complete picture. (Babbler's bold)

I know the mainstream media has an editorial agenda. So when I hear a front-line soldier say the situation in Najaf isn't what the press is telling us, I know who to believe.

Babble off.

Kill 'em all and let Allah sort 'em out

Babble on.

Reports like this portraying the Al-Sadr thugs holed up in the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf as battling the mighty American behemoth to a standstill drive me nuts, because they don't recognize the fact that the U.S. is fighting voluntarily with one hand tied behind its back.

Fighting from within a mosque because you know your enemy is too decent to retaliate in kind is cowardice, pure and simple.

I know the larger strategic realities prohibit it, but a little part of me would like to see the U.S. make the following announcement:

"A flight of B-1 bombers recently took off from Tinker AFB with a load of precision munitions intended to reduce the Imam Ali shrine and all those who fight from within its walls to small pieces. The aircraft will be overhead in precisely two more hours. Anyone who wishes to leave the shrine is welcome to do so, provided they leave all weaponry behind, and publicly swear never to take up arms against the Iraqi government again.

Make no mistake: if any fighters remain inside the shrine in two hours time, we will turn the site into a deep, smoking crater.

We know this policy represents a dramatic shift for the United States. But we believe it is unfair to our soldiers and to the majority of peace-loving Iraqi citizens to allow this revolt to continue because we refuse to fight on the insurgents' terms.

So from now on, we will accord religious sites precisely the same respect as our opponents do. If they avoid mosques, so will we. But we will obliterate any building which they choose to make a base of operations, religious or not.

We encourage any who have influence on these fighters to exercise it now, for once the shrine is gone, it will be too late for intercession. Do not doubt our resolve."

Babble off.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Bit by bit

Babble on.

Like most of us, I'm pulling for a free, prosperous Afghanistan. Like most of us, I understand that gains made will be painfully slow and inevitably incremental. Modest progress like this is encouraging.

Babble off.

Extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy - Part IV

Babble on.

Hill 70 near Lens, France, saw a great deal of Canadian bravery in August of 1917.

Acting Corporal Filip Konowal (47th Bn., British Columbia Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force)
For most conspicuous bravery and leadership when in charge of a section in attack. His section had the difficult task of mopping up cellars, craters and machine-gun emplacements. Under his able direction all resistance was overcome successfully, and heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy. In one cellar he himself bayonetted three enemy and attacked single-handed seven others in a crater, killing them all.
On reaching the objective, a machine-gun was holding up the right flank, causing many casualties. Cpl. Konowal rushed forward and entered the emplacement, killed the crew, and brought the gun back to our lines. The next day he again attacked single-handed another machine-gun emplacement, killed three of the crew, and destroyed the gun and emplacement with explosives. This non-commissioned officer alone killed at least sixteen of the enemy, and during the two days' actual fighting carried on continuously his good work until severely wounded.

In related news, we've finally got his VC back.

November 11th shouldn't be the only day we remember.

Babble off.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Kudos to Howard Dean

Babble on.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I am in the wholly surprising position of having to express my admiration for uber-Democrat Howard Dean for this article (via Bob). It verges on statesmanlike.

Europeans cannot criticize the United States for waging war in Iraq if they are unwilling to exhibit the moral fiber to stop genocide by acting collectively and with decisiveness...Every day that goes by without action to stop the Sudan genocide is a day that the anti-Iraq war position so widely held in the rest of the world appears to be based less on principle and more on politics. And every day that goes by is a day in which George Bush's contempt for the international community, which I have denounced every day for two years, becomes more difficult to criticize...My challenge to the U.N. and Europe is simple: if you don't like American diplomacy under George Bush, then do something to show those of us in opposition here in the U.S. that you can behave in such a way that unilateralism is not necessary.

If only the rest of the left-wing community were as intellectually honest as Dean is on this issue. Unilaterlism is only required when multilateralism fails. Regrettably, multilateralism seems more suited to making international law than to enforcing it. And enforcement is what is desperately needed in Darfur right now.

I must - bitterly - admit that Canada has nothing of substance to contribute to a military intervention. So I am doing the one thing I can: writing Pierre Pettigrew. I'm not naive enough to think an international-calibre poseur like Pettigrew would actually squander some of his precious image as a sophisticated Euro-wannabe on this issue, but I can't sit idly by just because I know he will.

I hope you can't either.

Babble off.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Criticism from a foot-soldier in the War on Terror

Babble on.

Today's Guardian has an interesting interview with Mike Scheuer, the CIA analyst who anonymously wrote Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror. If you look past the Guardian's editorial axe-grinding, and take into consideration the fact that Scheuer may be overly critical given that his career has gone precisely nowhere in the past five years, there are some thought-provoking points made.

If his assessment of the CIA's work on bin Laden is accurate, it is damning criticism indeed:

Scheuer says that nearly three years after the September 11 attacks the US intelligence team dedicated to tracking down Bin Laden is still less than 30 strong - the size it was when he left in 1999. The CIA claims that the Bin Laden team is hundreds strong, but Scheuer is insistent that the apparent expansion is skin-deep. "The numbers are big, but it's a shell game. It's people they move in for four or five months at a time and then bring in a new bunch. But the hard core of expertise, of experience, of savvy really hasn't expanded at all since 9/11."

Scheuer's indictment of the political leadership that failed to kill bin Laden years earlier when the U.S. had the opportunity is a familiar story. The rebuttal is insightful, however:

"Mike's is the viewpoint of the soldier versus the viewpoint of a general," argues Vincent Cannistraro, a former chief of operations at the CIA's Counter-Terrorist Centre. "There are political judgments made at a higher pay grade. I've been at both sides of that equation and they are difficult judgments to make."

The tension between tactical and strategic decision-making never goes away, because it's always better to 'lose the battle but win the war.' The question is whether the war is being won. And Scheuer challenges those who believe it is:

"I don't think they get it yet. I still think there's a large group in the American intelligence community who talk about the next big attack but really believe 9/11 was a one-off," he says. "I think they believe their own rhetoric that they've killed two-thirds of the al-Qaida leadership, when they killed two-thirds of what they knew of."

One of the reasons I'm inclined to listen to Scheuer's points is that he understands the one fundamental truth that escapes so many other critics of the U.S. war on terror:

Ultimately, "we only have the choice between war and endless war".

Babble off.


Babble on.

Penny's talking car-racing again. Blegh. Tarantino's rehashing the backless g-string story. Not that I don't want those images to stay top-of-mind for as long as possible, but you can only look at pictures of women modeling skimpy lingerie for so long before your wife disowns you. Aldini's on drinking games, Meat's talking basketball, Shannon's ranting about the Olympics, PolSpy is shredding The Star for restricting web-access.

Is there no news out there?

Ah, Occam's Carbuncle on Ibbitson's idiocy regarding Atlantic Canada:

We're happy to have immigrants, but we poor white folk would be just fine all on our own if we could get the infantilizing socialist policies of our federal and provincial governments off our backs. Can you do that for us, John? I bet the immigration numbers would pick up. Then maybe we'd be multicultural enough to warrant the blessings of our comrades in the Centre of the Universe.

Journalist blood in the water. That's much better.

Babble off.

More fuel for the Zionist conspiracy fire

Babble on.

In case you weren't already aware how unspeakably evil it is to trade tactics among allied professional military personnel, The Times makes it clear:

U.S. forces fighting in Iraq have been accused of secretly training in Israel, where they have been taught tactics used over the past four years against Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Babbler's bold)

Because it's common to accuse countries of following the standard, intelligent practice of taking instruction in a particular area - like urban warfare, or counter-insurgency - from those who have expertise in that area.

Apparently this is yet another part of the great Zionist conspiracy. You know, I'm getting quite tired of the Zionist conspiracy. Wake me up when the Jews control the world. Until then, I don't want to hear any more about it.

Babble off.


Babble on.

Yet another dabbler on other people's blogs has been sucked into the all-consuming vortex of starting her own. If you've read Andrew Coyne's blog - especially in the run-up to the election - you'll recognize serial comment-writer SD. Now you can read her daily at Shenanigans (I still think SmackDown would have been a funnier title - but what do I know about funny, eh Shannon?).

You'll want to check out Shannon's letter to Paul Martin (which she appropriately titles "A Wasted Effort") regarding the CRTC/ThoughtPolice decision to shut down CHOI. It ends in typical SD no-beating-around-the-bush style:

Given the Liberal government’s long history of stalling and inaction on most issues, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for you to make these changes. I would, nevertheless, be pleasantly surprised if you were to prove me wrong on this.

And it's written in PINK!

Babble off.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Speaking of backbone...

Babble on.

Maybe Tony Blair needs to spend some time with Ayad Allawi. It seems the Iraqi interim Prime Minister might have some backbone to spare.

In addition to disarmament, the Iraqi government demanded that Mr. al-Sadr sign a statement saying he will refrain from future violence and release all civilians and Iraqi security forces his militants have kidnapped. In addition, Mr. al-Sadr must hold a news conference to announce he is disbanding his militia...

I don't want to jinx anything, but it looks like they're not going to let al-Sadr slither out the back door this time, just to start the whole mess all over again. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.

Babble off.

Extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy - Part III

Babble on.

On August 19, 1942, 6,100 men landed on the beaches of Dieppe, France for a raid against German positions. 5,000 of these troops were Canadians, the remainder being British Commandos and 50 American Rangers. The raid was supported by eight Allied destroyers and 74 Allied air squadrons (eight belonging to the RCAF).

The raid was not an unqualified success.

Conflicting assessments of the value of the raid continue to be presented. Some claim that it was a useless slaughter; others maintain that it was necessary to the successful invasion of the continent two years later on D-Day. The Dieppe Raid was closely studied by those responsible for planning future operations against the enemy-held coast of France. Out of it came improvements in technique, fire support and tactics which reduced D-Day casualties to an unexpected minimum. The men who perished at Dieppe were instrumental in saving countless lives on the 6th of June, 1944. While there can be no doubt that valuable lessons were learned, a frightful price was paid in those morning hours of August 19, 1942. Of the 4,963 Canadians who embarked for the operation only 2,210 returned to England, and many of these were wounded.

There were 3,367 casualties, including 1,946 prisoners of war; 907 Canadians lost their lives.

Two Canadians involved in the Dieppe raid were awarded the Victoria Cross. I must say the story of Rev. Foote's extraordinary courage is one of the most compelling I've ever read or heard.

Lt. Col. Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt (The South Saskatchewan Regiment)
'For matchless gallantry and inspiring leadership whilst commanding his battalion during the Dieppe raid on the 19th August, 1942. From the point of landing, his unit's advance had to be made across a bridge in Pourville which was swept by very heavy machine-gun, mortar and artillery fire: the first parties were mostly destroyed and the bridge thickly covered by their bodies. A daring lead was required; waving his helmet, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt rushed forward shouting, "Come on over! There's nothing to worry about here." He thus personally led the survivors of at least four parties in turn across the bridge. Quickly organizing these, he led them forward and when held up by enemy pillboxes he again headed rushes which succeeded in clearing them. In one case he himself destroyed the occupants of the post by throwing grenades into it. After several of his runners became casualties, he himself kept contact with his different positions. Although twice wounded Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt continued to direct the unit's operations with great vigour and determination and while organizing the withdrawal he stalked a sniper with a Bren gun and silenced him. He then coolly gave orders for the departure and announced his intention to hold off and "get even with" the enemy. When last seen he was collecting Bren and Tommy guns and preparing a defensive position which successfully covered the withdrawal from the beach. Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt is now reported to be a Prisoner of War. To this Commanding Officer's personal daring, the success of his unit's operations and the safe re-embarkation of a large portion of it were chiefly due.'

Honourary Captain Rev. John Weir Foote (Canadian Chaplain Services, The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry)
'At Dieppe on 19th August 1942, Honourary Captain Foote, Canadian Chaplain Services, was Regimental Chaplain with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. Upon landing on the beach under heavy fire he attached himself to the Regimental Aid Post which had been set up in a slight depression on the beach, but which was only sufficient to give cover to men lying down. During the subsequent period of approximately eight hours, while the action continued, this officer not only assisted the Regimental Medical Officer in ministering to the wounded in the Regimental Aid Post, but time and again left this shelter to inject morphine, give first-aid and carry wounded personnel from the open beach to the Regimental Aid Post. On these occasions, with utter disregard for his personal safety, Honourary Captain Foote exposed himself to an inferno of fire and saved many lives by his gallant efforts. During the action, as the tide went out, the Regimental Aid Post was moved to the shelter of a stranded landing craft. Honourary Captain Foote continued tirelessly and courageously to carry wounded men from the exposed beach to the cover of the landing craft. He also removed wounded from inside the landing craft when ammunition had been set on fire by enemy shells. When landing craft appeared he carried wounded from the Regimental Aid Post to the landing craft through heavy fire. On several occasions this officer had the opportunity to embark but returned to the beach as his chief concern was the care and evacuation of the wounded. He refused a final opportunity to leave the shore, choosing to suffer the fate of the men he had ministered to for over three years. Honourary Captain Foote personally saved many lives by his efforts and his example inspired all around him. Those who observed him state that the calmness of this heroic officer as he walked about, collecting the wounded on the fire-swept beach will never be forgotten.'

November 11th shouldn't be the only day we remember.

Babble off.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy - Part II

Babble on.

Most Canadians can't name a single military hero from our country. Even those of us interested in military affairs hesitate once we get past Billy Bishop, and start fumbling about for the McKenzies and Dallaires in yesterday's newspaper.

That's why I intend to profile Canadians awarded the Victoria Cross in an ongoing series of posts to this weblog.

Major Okill Massey Learmonth (2nd Bn., Eastern Ontario Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force)
For most conspicuous bravery and exceptional devotion to duty. During a determined counter-attack on our new positions, this officer, when his company was momentarily surprised, instantly charged and personally disposed of the attackers. Later he carried on a tremendous fight with the advancing enemy. Although under intense barrage fire and mortally wounded, he stood on the parapet of the trench, and bombed the enemy continuously and directed the defence in such a manner as to infuse a spirit of utmost resistance into his men. On several occasions this very brave officer actually caught bombs thrown at him by the enemy and threw them back. When he was unable by reason of his wounds to carry on the fight he still refused to be carried out of the line, and continued to give instructions and invaluable advice to his junior officers, finally handing over all his duties before he was evacuated from the front line to the hospital where he died.

Sergeant Frederick Hobson (20th Bn., Central Ontario Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force)
During a strong enemy counter-attack a Lewis gun in a forward post in a communication trench leading to the enemy lines, was buried by a shell, and the crew, with the exception of one man, was killed. Serjt. Hobson, though not a gunner, grasping the great importance of the post, rushed from his trench, dug out the gun, and got it into action against the enemy who were now advancing down the trench and across the open. A jam caused the gun to stop firing. Though wounded, he left the gunner to correct the stoppage, rushed forward at the advancing enemy and, with bayonet and clubbed rifle, single-handed, held them back until he himself was killed by a rifle shot. By this time however, the Lewis gun was again in action and reinforcements shortly afterwards arriving, the enemy were beaten off. The valour and devotion to duty displayed by this non-commissioned officer gave the gunner the time required to again get the gun into action, and saved a most serious situation.

Major David Vivian Currie (29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment)
In Normandy on the 18th of August 1944, Major Currie was in command of a small mixed force of Canadian tanks, self-propelled anti-tank guns and infantry which was ordered to cut one of the main escape routes from the Falaise pocket. This force was held up by strong enemy resistance in the village of St. Lambert-sur-Dives, and two tanks were knocked out by 88 mm. guns. Major Currie immediately entered the village alone on foot at last light through the enemy outposts to reconnoiter the German defences and extricate the crews of the disabled tanks, which he succeeded in doing in spite of heavy mortar fire. Early the following morning, without any previous artillery bombardment, Major Currie personally led an attack on the village in the face of fierce opposition from enemy tanks, guns and infantry, and by noon had succeeded in seizing and consolidating a position half-way inside of the village. During the next 36 hours the Germans hurled one counter-attack after another against the Canadian force, but so skillfully had Major Currie organized his defensive position that these attacks were repulsed with severe casualties to the enemy after heavy fighting. At dusk on the 20th August the Germans attempted to mount a final assault on the Canadian positions, but the attacking force was routed before it could even be deployed. Seven enemy tanks, twelve 88 mm. guns and forty vehicles were destroyed, 300 Germans were killed, 500 wounded and 2,100 captured. Major Currie then promptly ordered an attack and completed the capture of the village, thus denying the Chambois-Trun escape route to the remnants of two German armies cut off in the Falaise pocket. Throughout three days and nights of fierce fighting, Major Currie's gallant conduct and contempt for danger set a magnificent example to all ranks of the force under his command. On one occasion he personally directed the fire of his command tank on to a Tiger tank which had been harassing his position and succeeded in knocking it out. During another attack, while the guns of his command tank were taking on other targets at longer ranges, he used a rifle from the turret to deal with individual snipers who had infiltrated to within fifty yards of his headquarters. The only time reinforcements were able to get through to his force, he himself led the forty men forward to their positions and explained the importance of their task as part of the defence. When, during the next attack, these new reinforcements withdrew under the intense fire brought down by the enemy, he personally collected them and led them forward into position again, where, inspired by his leadership, they held for the remainder of the battle. His employment of the artillery support, which became available after his original attack went in, was typical of his cool calculation of the risks involved in every situation. At one time, despite the fact that short rounds were falling within fifteen yards of his own tank, he ordered fire from medium artillery to continue because of its devastating effect upon the attacking enemy in his immediate area. Throughout the operations the casualties to Major Currie's force were heavy. However, he never considered the possibility of failure or allowed it to enter the minds of his men. In the words of one of his non-commissioned officers, "We knew at one stage that it was going to be a fight to the finish but he was so cool about it, it was impossible for us to get excited." Since all the officers under his command were either killed or wounded during the action, Major Currie virtually had no respite from his duties and in fact obtained only one hour's sleep during the entire period. Nevertheless he did not permit his fatigue to become apparent to his troops and throughout the action took every opportunity to visit weapon pits and other defensive posts to talk to his men, to advise them as to the best use of their weapons and to cheer them with words of encouragement. When his force was finally relieved and he was satisfied that the turnover was complete he fell asleep on his feet and collapsed. There can be no doubt that the success of the attack on and stand against the enemy at St. Lambert-sur-Dives can largely be attributed to this officer's coolness, inspired leadership and skillful use of the limited weapons at his disposal. The courage and devotion to duty shown by Major Currie during a prolonged period of heavy fighting were outstanding and had a far-reaching effect on the successful outcome of the battle.

November 11th shouldn't be the only day we remember.

Babble off.

Blair's backbone?

Babble on.

Some would say Tony Blair never had a backbone, that he simply borrowed one for the Iraq intervention and has since returned it to its rightful owner. Continuing reports out of Britain of severe military cutbacks certainly seem to support this accusation.

Former Chiefs of Staff relate how, after visiting the Prime Minister to persuade him of service needs, they have won his agreement but been told that they must persuade the Chancellor.

Passing the buck to a subordinate is the antithesis of leadership. And turning defence policy over to a bean-counter amidst blossoming threats at home and abroad is dangerously short-sighted.

Besides, as John Keegan so astutely observes, it's not like they're really 'saving' any money.

Defence economies merely save money to be wasted elsewhere.

If you're getting an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu, it's because this is textbook Chretien/Martin from the 90's.

Jack Granatstein has an interesting explanation for Canada's unwillingness to invest in defence that may lend insight into the current problems in Britain.

I suggest that Canadians have never lost the Colonial attitude that they had at the foundations of European settlement and well into the 20th century. I regret to say we are a people who ordinarily expect someone else to do the fighting for us. First France. Then Britain. Now the United States. Protected by three oceans. Linked with the great powers. Except in the two World Wars and in the unique decades of the early Cold War Canadians have always been prepared to let someone else make the strategic decisions, pay most of the bills and do most of the dying. This by definition is a Colonial attitude.

Which leads me to wonder: has Great Britain subconsciously become a colony of the U.S.?

I sincerely hope not. The U.S. - and in fact, the West - has no need for American sattelite states. What are required are strong and independent friends and allies. Great Britain has filled that role admirably for sixty years, and shouldn't demur now. Tony needs to grow a backbone of his own.

Babble off.

Where are the Muslims of the West?

Babble on.

Last week I posted about the Arab silence surrounding Darfur. This piece by Salim Mansur philosophically follows Khouri's article, and makes a couple of further points.


The diplomatic manoeuvres of the Arab League are predictable. It exists to defend the interests of Arab states -- meaning regimes in power -- and not the Arab people.

I believe this disconnect between people in the Middle East and their governments is one of the biggest obstacles to peace and prosperity in the Arab world.


Arabs and Muslims, however, now live in growing numbers in cosmopolitan centres of the West, and enjoy freedoms denied their people elsewhere. Here they came out in unprecedented numbers, protesting American-led wars to liberate Afghans and Iraqis from despots. But in their unconscionable silence over Darfur, they disclose how selective is their outrage.

'Unconscionable' is an excellent word to use here. 'Disgusting' and 'hypocritical' would also apply. Where are the Muslims of the West?

Babble off.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Credit where it's due

Babble on.

Rosie DiManno has written a fantastic article on the Iranian judo disgrace. Which makes me wonder how long she has left at a rag like The Toronto Star.

I can just imagine:

"Our policy is not to recognize the Zionist regime in any international event sports column," Abdollah Ramanzanzadeh Haroon Siddiqui, a spokesperson for the Iranian government Toronto Star, told a news conference in Teheran Toronto yesterday.
"We cannot accept the presence of anyone in international events our newspaper under the flag of who doesn't viscerally hate that regime." The Star's editorial board will be issuing a fatwah against DiManno later this afternoon.

Babble off.

Just go hire a few Majors

Babble on.

The Martinite Liberals want us to know they're [announcer voice on] doing something [announcer voice off] about the HR meat-grinder we call the CF right now.

"There is no question that the core commitment of an increase in the Forces to the tune of 5,000 will be upheld," said Scott Reid, a senior adviser in the Prime Minister's Office.

Yeah, Scott, but not any time soon. Kudos to the Times-Colonist for seeking out Col (ret.) Howie Marsh for a reality-check.

Defence analyst and retired colonel Howie Marsh said he believes it will take at least a decade before the Canadian Forces can boost its ranks by 5,000. That's because over the next six years it faces an exodus of experienced personnel who will reach early retirement, noted Marsh, a senior analyst with the pro-military lobby group, the Conference of Defence Associations.

In addition, the military's existing training is not capable of handling a large influx of new recruits, he said. Troops who should be instructing new soldiers are finding themselves shipped off to overseas missions, he added.

"I don't think much can happen before 2012," said Marsh. "A fully manned and equipped fourth brigade by 2020 is a realistic goal."

Not enough experienced personnel, combined with an increased operations tempo, means nobody to train Martin's promised new recruits. A fifteen year timeline means our people are going to be burning out for years to come.

You can't just hire a few infantry Majors with three tours of peacekeeping experience from the private sector. Or Chief Petty Officers familiar with the electronic intricacies of naval weapons systems. You have to grow them. That takes time.

There are no quick fixes to years of neglect of our Armed Forces. We should not allow the Liberals to insult our intelligence by suggesting otherwise.

Babble off.

Extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy

Babble on.

Eighty-seven years ago, Canadian troops were engaged in battle with German troops in France. In the space of three days, two of those Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross for "extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy."

Private Harry Brown (10th Bn., Alberta Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force)
After the capture of a position, the enemy massed in force and counter-attacked. The situation became very critical, all wires being cut. It was of the utmost importance to get word back to Headquarters. This soldier and one other were given the message with orders to deliver the same at all costs. The other messenger was killed. Private Brown had his arm shattered but continued on through an intense barrage until he arrived at the close support lines and found an officer. He was so spent that he fell down the dug-out steps, but retained consciousness long enough to hand over his message, saying "Important message!" He then became unconscious and died in the dressing station a few hours later. His devotion to duty was of the highest possible degree imaginable, and his successful delivery of the message undoubtedly saved the loss of the position for the time and prevented many casualties.

Private Michael James O'Rourke (7th Bn., British Columbia Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force)
During the period 15/17 August 1917 at Hill 60 near Lens, France, Private O'Rourke, who was a stretcher-bearer, worked unceasingly for three days and nights bringing in the wounded, dressing their wounds and getting them food and water. During the whole of this period the area in which he worked was swept by heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and on several occasions he was knocked down and partially buried by enemy shells. His courage and devotion in carrying out his rescue work in spite of exhaustion and incessant heavy fire inspired all ranks and undoubtedly saved many lives.

November 11th shouldn't be the only day we remember.

Babble off.

Monday, August 16, 2004

"Sink the suckers."

Babble on.

Just in case Adscam, the Long-Gun Registry, and the CRTC shut-down of CHOI aren't enough to convince you, here's more evidence the Liberal nanny-state bureaucracy is out of control.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation - a federal agency - drove Canadian manufacturer Amertek out of business in order to avoid embarrassment for it's own previous ineptitude.

I say again, government bureaucrats bankrupted a Canadian business to cover their own asses.

The judge wrote Amertek and its two investors were the unsuspecting victims of "shocking behaviour on the part of federal civil servants, behaviour that would cause the reasonably informed person to lose confidence in a Crown corporation and a department of the federal government."


"Sink the suckers. They are out on the plank. Let's keep them walking," one CCC bureaucrat wrote, urging his bosses to drive Amertek into bankruptcy.

In my mind, this is far worse than Adscam. But the ruling against the CCC was handed down last summer, and I suspect I'm not the only person learning of this for the first time. Where was the media coverage back then? Where was the outrage? Were we all drugged until Adscam shook things up?

This incences me. It makes me want to fire every single government worker, dynamite all government buildings, line the politicians up against the friggin' wall, and start all over again. I know that's unfair to all the competent, dedicated public servants out there - but, my god, they should be as disgusted with this as I am.

This is abuse of government power at its most egregious.

Babble off.

Either way, Venezuela loses

Babble on.

It looks as though the dictator in populist clothing, Hugo Chavez, has survived the recall vote he tried so desperately to prevent. Given his overwhelming and ill-informed popularity with Venezuela's poverty-stricken masses, I suspect the opposition's cries of electoral fraud are simply sour grapes.

Chavez is a thug. He led a coup attempt in 1992, and only gained public office after being pardoned by a previous regime. His first major act as president was to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution to his own benefit. His first foreign visits were with dictators in Iraq, Libya, and Iran. He has intimidated the judiciary, the press, and the labour unions. He has mismanaged the Venezuelan economy, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, to the point where GDP is shrinking year over year, and inflation is in the double digits. If you want to know more about Venezuela's political and economic woes, this article offers a good primer.

Now, Chavez says: “Those who voted for the ‘yes' should not feel defeated. I want us to send them our respect.” Interesting, but not credible coming from the same man whose government fired workers for signing the petition to recall him.

The real problem for Venezuela is that the opposition is fractured, disorganized, and sometimes verifiably nutty. As this opposition leader states, there doesn't seem to be much of an alternative to Chavez.

The problem of the referendum for the opposition is that it does not present alternatives; it is only an anti-Chávez referendum and, considering that there is a good part of the 40% that, although it does not like the Chávez government, will not vote against it until it knows what is going to happen afterwards...At least, we know at this moment that there is a certain leadership capacity in Chávez, which keeps society in order. Right now, and at times it seems silly, we have in Venezuela very strong anarchical tendencies and the fundamental factor that keeps them under control is the Chávez government...the opposition hasn’t presented any credible proposals, nor does it have a language that resonates with the popular [poor] sectors, nor does it have a clear leadership, it is evidently in a position of great weakness, even if it wins the referendum.

In all of this, only two things are certain: things are going to get worse in Venezuela before they get better, and the Left is going to continue to use any corrupt regime available to vilify GWB and the United States.

Babble off.

User fees for wiretaps?

Babble on.

I'm all for law and order, and I don't have any problems with user fees. But this suggestion from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police misses the mark.

Wiretaps are an important crime-fighting tool, and they cost money. Someone needs to pay those costs - taxpayers, customers, or shareholders. I say it should be taxpayers. User fees are appropriate only where the benefits of the service accrue mostly to those users. I don't see that only phone company clients benefit from wiretaps.

The costs of wiretaps should come out tax revenues.

Babble off.

The high ground

Babble on.

Just in case anyone's forgotten which country in the middle east holds the high ground, here's a column in the Jerusalem Post by a Palestinian journalist advocating allowing Al Jazeera to resume reporting in Iraq. Find the equivalent in an Arab newspaper: the pro-Israeli viewpoint of a Jewish journalist. Go on, I dare you to waste your time looking.

Free democracies don't wage war on each other. This is yet another glaring example of who's ready to live peacefully with their neighbours in the region, and who's not.

Babble off.

Update: Peace? Read Penny's posts here and here. Some of these Arab nations won't even play games against Israelis. It's pathetic.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Babble on.

I am a
Bug on the Windshield
in the
Small Dead Animals necrosystem.

But mark my words, people, one day I'm gonna be the Moose That Caves In The Roof Of Your Frickin' Truck. In the meantime, I'm working my way up to Sparrow Wedged In Your Front Grill. Eat your heart out TTLB!

Great find by Kate on blogging, the mainstream media, and the search for credibility by an increasingly cynical and jaded audience.

Babble off.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Say it ain't so, Geoff

Babble on.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary for Tony Blair's Labour government is apparently planning significant cuts to the British military.

Some 20,000 military and civilian jobs will go, and with them four infantry battalions (out of 40), three Royal Air Force squadrons and a dozen surface warships. Of these losses, the one most troubling to Americans should be the cuts to an army that, at 102,000 men and women, will number half what it did in 1980.

Traditionalists will be especially upset to learn the bureaucrats intend to "turn all 19 of the army's oldest free-standing regiments into battalions in regional super-regiments." This would include such storied units as the Black Watch and the Royal Scots.

This all sounds depressingly familiar to anyone familiar with Canada's military woes:

"The forces see themselves doing a bloody good job and see themselves getting the politicians endlessly out of trouble, and their reward is to be cut," [Major-General (Ret.) Julian Thompson] said. "Well, it’s just bonkers...The way the armed services are being used as a political football between the Chancellor [Gordon Brown] and the Prime Minister is an absolute bloody disgrace."

Under the heading of 'misery loves company', I welcome our British friends to the through-the-looking-glass world inhabited by the Canadian Armed Forces under seemingly-perpetual Liberal rule.

Babble off.

Arab silence on Sudanese atrocities

Babble on.

Read Rami Khouri's take in the Beirut Daily Star on why Arabs haven't been chanting in the streets to stop the massacres in Darfur (hat tip to Armies of Liberation).

A troubled Arab citizenry's silent acquiescence in violence and passivity in the face of homegrown atrocity, is today the single most important, widespread symptom of the malaise that plagues this region. It would be a terrible mistake to misdiagnose the Arab silence on Darfur as reflecting some Arab, Islamic or Middle Eastern cultural acceptance of violence. This is, rather, a troubling sign of Arab mass dehumanization and political pacification at the public level, which are largely our own fault due to our acceptance of poor governance and distorted Arab power structures over a period of

That's certainly a reason, but not an excuse.

Babble off.

Sanctuary must have limits

Babble on.

If you don't read Belmont Club, you're missing out. Today's piece on the ongoing battle in Najaf is typically perspicacious.

The real metaphor for the terrorist war on civilization is not wide-bodied aircraft crashing into the twin towers. It is mortars firing from the courtyard of the Imam Ali Shrine by men who don't even sandbag their positions, secure in the knowledge that they can slay men too decent to fire back.

The fact that they withdraw into the shrine, not to take sanctuary, but to renew their attacks from holy ground shows how morally bereft these people truly are.

Babble off.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Babble on.

Boo fell asleep snuggling with me on the couch tonight. Which gave me a great excuse to cement my butt to the cushions for an evening, and relax ("Hon, I can't get up, or I'll wake him."). If you've never had a small child fall asleep on your chest, you're missing out. Go borrow someone else's little one if you need to, 'cause it's the coolest feeling.

Anyhow, having my torso turned into a toddler bed allowed me to catch two very funny, but very different shows: Corner Gas, and Last Comic Standing. Needless to say, I'm recommending here. And quoting from memory, so none of you smart-asses out there will score any points finding the transcripts on geektranscripts.com and pointing out the inevitable errors.

Corner Gas is that rarest of rarities: a truly funny Canadian sitcom. In this episode, the tiny prairie town of Dog River was looking for a way to boost tourism, and decided to build "the World's Biggest....Hoe" to commemorate Dog River's agricultural history. Of course, this being a small, insular prairie town, all of three people got the joke.

"Where are we going to build it, on a steet corner?"

"No, in a field."

"Great, so it's going to be the World's Biggest Dirty Hoe."

I doubt you're laughing as hard reading this as I am typing it and remembering. Oh well, just watch the show. Trust me.

Last Comic Standing is simply a reality contest show for stand-up comedians. Some are funny, and some aren't. Tonight, they were all funny. Especially good was Ralphie May, brought back from Season 1 to do a cameo set. After he placed second in last year's contest, Ralphie went over to Iraq to support and entertain the troops. Some of his lines are politically incorrect, but man do I laugh.

"You know where all the dirt goes when you vacuum? Iraq. I got sand places I'll never get out. I'm making a pearl right now, I swear."

"So the terrorists are threatening to blow up St. Louis? Man, you do NOT want to do that. Interrupt the flow of Budweiser? When people realize the King of Beers has been assasinated, you will see a fury of mullets bring Armageddon down on those terrorists. 90,000 bass-boats humming across the Atlantic. Nothing will stop them, not even a three-day NASCAR event."

OK, maybe it's the delivery.

Babble off.

Four months in Vietnam

Babble on.

This editorial in the Washington Post captures what I believe to be the relevant points on the issue of John Kerry's Vietnam service and throws some well-deserved cold water on the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans.

Democratic nominee John F. Kerry has made his tour of duty in Vietnam -- a stint in which he earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star -- a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. To the extent, then, that there are legitimate questions about Mr. Kerry's behavior -- either in Vietnam or back home as a prominent antiwar activist -- those are fair game. (Babbler's bold)

To be clear, I have no qualms with people who feel National Security is the most important issue in the upcoming campaign, and want to know more about John Kerry's qualifications in that regard. I wonder, though, why people want to give four months in Vietnam over thirty years ago more weight than twenty years of votes in the U.S. Senate.

Could it be that Kerry's four months on the swift boats was the apogee of his public service career?

Babble off.

Update: I think one of the 'legitimate questions' referred to above is where LTJG Kerry was on Christmas Day 1968. Not because where he was is intrinsically important, but because lying about it thirty-six years later in order to get elected POTUS indicates something about the man's character. And remember, he's the one who has made his Vietnam service the central issue in this campaign.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Colby Cosh

Babble on.

Colby Cosh writes red meat for those of us on an all-protein political punditry diet. So when he announced his output at the National Post was being scaled back to once column per week, I was left with an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Why has the otherwise sane Post management taken this ill-conceived step? To make room for Sheila "Nobody's-Baby-But-Everybody's-Braying-Leftist-Twit" Copps. If you're shaking your head in puzzlement right now, you're not alone.

Which brings me to my point: if enough of us are shaking our heads, and if we tell The Post we're shaking our heads (and our wallets), do you think we could get them to reconsider? I can see you shaking your head again, and you're probably right.

Still, I've always believed some battles you fight because you can win, and others you fight because they need fighting. Here's how to contact The Post's Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Fraser. Keep it polite (put the baseball bat down, SD) - they didn't escort Colby to the door carrying his desk contents in a box - but let Fraser know how you feel.

Babble off.

Small arms and small minds

Babble on.

Surprise! More tripe from the Globe and Mail! This time it's academic Robert Muggah telling us that aid workers and peacekeepers around the world are dying because of the availablitity of small arms, and that the solution is to regulate the international and domestic arms trade.

Right. Because the people pulling the triggers are incidental to the violence. Take away their firearms, and they'll pick daisies for the aid workers. And there are currently no restrictions on guns and ammo internationally or here in our country. In fact, I'm headed out for lunch now, and I think I'll pick up a newspaper, a pack of gum, and an AK47 from my corner store on the way back to work.

Listen. Read. Watch. You can't escape the message, so stop trying. Guns are the problem. Guns are the problem. Guns are the problem. Guns are ALWAYS the problem.

North Korean 're-education facilities' have nothing on the mainstream media and their Svengalis in academia in this campaign to vilify the gun.

The hard and sad fact is that the areas where peacekeeping and humanitarian aid are required are generally dangerous. The soldiers tasked with peacekeeping missions understand this. The humanitarian-aid doctors should too. The problems in these violent areas stem directly from the people, not the guns. If murderous thugs don't have a gun, they'll use a machete or a club or their bare friggin' hands.

The lefties talk about 'root causes' but they refuse to look past the weapon to the person firing it.

Babble off.

Jumping to conclusions?

Babble on.

The anti-Bush crowd has been harping on about the administration's "incompetence or worse" in revealing the name of Pakistani Al Qaeda mole Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan.

But a piece in today's Slate wonders if we're jumping to conclusions. It seems the NYT is the one who dug up Khan's name from a source in Pakistani intelligence, and at most, the administration may have confirmed it. As for why each of the key players said what they did, the conspiracy theories are popping up like mushrooms as I type this.

Personally, I think the simplest explanation is probably true: "It's not as if there aren't officials who sympathize with radical Islamic fundamentalism in the Pakistani intelligence service."

From a journalistic integrity standpoint, however, I'm curious to see whether the NYT is introspective enough to pursue the possibility it has been used as a pawn by a terrorist group.

Babble off.

The CRTC - protecting us from ourselves

Babble on.

I don't pretend to be the online expert on the CHOI story. That distinction probably belongs to Radio Weisblog, although Andrew Coyne has also weighed in quite effectively.

Having said that, I refer you to the Globe and Mail:

"Granted, in this case, there is an audience for CHOI – there's no doubt about that," Mr. Raboy said. "But the record shows that there is a history of abusive comment on the air, and I think this is precisely the CRTC's role."
That's right, this bureaucratic abomination spawned by the Liberal nanny-state thinks its role is to protect 380,000 Quebec City listeners from themselves.

Babble off.

Update: Trudeaupia has a must read on yesterday's demonstration at Parliament Hill.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Eyes wide shut

Babble on.

The capacity to delude oneself knows no political boundaries. The Bush administration convinced itself Iraq would embrace peace, freedom, and democracy immediately after the fall of the Baathist regime. The anti-American left convinced itself Afghanistan would be the new Vietnam...no, actually they meant Iraq would be the new Vietnam, or maybe Baghdad would be the new Stalingrad...OK, lots of people will die, and it's all Bushitler's fault. Both sets of predictions have proven wildly inaccurate.

The latest idea that qualifies for the You're Kidding Yourself Hall of Fame is that Iran will give up its pursuit of WMD's if we ask them nicely enough. Predictably enough, Pravda Canada has published a column today that espouses exactly that position.

Addressing the political considerations behind states' nuclear programs — Iran's fear of a resurgent Iraq, for instance — could produce better results by leading, at least, to the containment of both official and unofficial nuclear powers within a broader diplomatic framework.

But here's the problem: Iran's theocrats don't care about infidel diplomacy. I refer you to the Kazemi incident for the most recent glaring example of that fact. Canadian diplomats talked themselves blue in the face, and it accomplished precisely nothing.

Furthermore, many in the Star's camp have opined that the Bush administration has inadvertently caused the recent proliferation rash by backing away from voluntary restrictions on the Big 5 nuclear powers. This position ignores the realities on the ground - namely that India, Pakistan, and North Korea all developed a nuclear arsenal during the Clinton 'let's play nice with the UNSC' years.

The uncomfortable fact is that some people, including the fundamentalist thugs who rule Iran, don't respond to anything except violence or the immediate and credible threat of violence. Those who suggest otherwise need to open their eyes.

Babble off.

Update: From The Guardian (via Belmont Club): "Hawks say the nuclear issue is too urgent to brook further delay. And therein lies the rub. Bringing Iran in from the cold is a time-consuming business. But the Bush administration, as usual, is in a hurry." Translated, Simon Tisdall is saying "Lalalalalalala...I know you're building an atom-bomb and you sponsor Islamist terror, but I can't heeeaaaar youuuuuuuuu!...lalalalalalalala...."

Spying the political laughs

Babble on.

Talking about Dalton McLiar, we get this fantastic line from Ray at Polspy:

Some people say ‘Well, maybe you made too many promises McGuinty,”’ the premier said last week during a luncheon speech in Markham. “Maybe I did, but I’d rather be accused of being overly ambitious for Ontarians than to side with the cynics.”

Perhaps. But maybe if he didn’t make such a spectacle of getting his ambitious ass elected, it wouldn’t be in the cynical sling it’s in.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a Rayzilla-sized smackdown, in typical Polspy style.

Babble off.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Cry wolf, please - Part III

Babble on.

As I was driving home from work tonight, CFRB 1010 switched from their normal programming to a radio network out of the U.S. To be honest, I was paying more attention to the traffic on Hwy 400 than I was to the radio. That changed when I heard the interviewer say that his guest was going to be Bill Clinton.

The first question thrown at Clinton was whether or not he thought the recent terror alert put out by the Bush administration was a political manoevre. His answer was a strong 'no.' In fact, he went on to say that those questioning whether the recently-gathered intelligence was dated and therefore unreliable were off-base.

The interview moved on, and Clinton subsequently questioned the war in Iraq, applauded Kerry's voting record, and generally shilled for the Democrats. But this arch-Democrat was completely unwilling to question the terror alerts. Why? Because for eight years he sat and listened at the security briefings, he reviewed the data on the terrorists, and he went to bed with the weight of responsibility for America's safety on his shoulders.

Clinton knows the hated Republicans aren't exaggerating this threat to score cheap political points, because even pre-9/11 the intelligence made a reluctant convert out of him. The danger is real. And it's long past time the Warren Kinsellas and Lawrence Martins of the world woke up to that fact like the rest of us adults have.

Babble off.

Slogan for the New Urban Left: "Say for pay"

Babble on.

In today's Pravda Canada (aka Toronto Star), Gordon Chong and Roger Maloney make the following surprising statement:

Large urban areas like Toronto transfer billions of dollars to Ottawa and Queen's Park annually. They should have greater say over how some of those funds are spent. "Say for pay!" Who can argue that he who pays the piper shouldn't call the tune? (emphasis by Babbler)

Is this really the argument the New Left wants to make? Because according to Statistics Canada:

In 2002, families in the highest after-tax income quintile paid on average $33,500 in income taxes, or just over half (53%) of the aggregate amount of income tax paid by Canadian families.

Are Chong and Mahoney also going to advocate that the 20% of our population who paid the most in income taxes be allowed to "call the tune" for the rest of us? Sauce for the goose, and all that.

If the Left aspired to any sort of consistency at all in their policies, Jack Layton would make the following announcement on City TV News at 6: "Cites like Toronto can afford to give up a little tax money to places like Come By Chance, Newfoundland. The Canadian tradition of redistributing wealth, whether by a progressive income tax or by equalization payments among the provinces, is in keeping with Canadian values. We believe that rich cities, like rich individuals, should pay more because they can."

Yeah, I didn't think so. But when you're an urbanite activist, you use any argument that comes to hand, no matter how hypocritical.

Babble off.