Monday, May 08, 2006
When Mark Steyn's Funny...
...which is most of the time (while he nevertheless has some vital points to make).
Have a look at this column in The Australian, for example:
Here's the lesson of the past three years: The UN kills.Ouch. Unfortunately, the man's dead right. President Bush has been reviled, as few modern Presidents have been reviled, in large part for his authorization to invade Iraq with only 17 UNSC resolutions. Who can blame him, now, for refusing to restart the whole circus again in Sudan?
In 2003, you'll recall, the US was reviled as a unilateralist cowboy because it and its coalition of the poodles waged an illegal war unauthorised by the UN against a sovereign state run by a thug regime that was no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders, which it killed in large numbers (Kurds and Shia).
Well, Washington learned its lesson. Faced with another thug regime that's no threat to anyone apart from selected ethnocultural groups within its borders which it kills in large numbers (African Muslims and southern Christians), the unilateralist cowboy decided to go by the book. No unlawful actions here. Instead, meetings at the UN. Consultations with allies. Possible referral to the Security Council.
And as I wrote on this page in July 2004: "The problem is, by the time you've gone through the UN, everyone's dead."
But Steyn really goes to town with John Kerry, the self-lampooning Democrat whom Republicans love to cite. (Yes, Democrats have a lot of fun with Bush's malapropisms; so does Bush, by the way. But according to the Democrats, Kerry really is smart enough to know better... so what's his excuse?)
In particular, Steyn has fun with Kerry's widely-disseminated misquote of Thomas Jefferson: "No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: 'Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.' " :
Close enough. According to the Jefferson Library: "There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes are: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' "(My apologies for the lame blog-post title.)
. . .
It was the Aussie pundit Tim Blair who noted the Thomas Jeffefakery. American commentators were apparently too busy cooing that "Kerry may be reflecting a new boldness on the part of liberals to come out and say what they believe and to reclaim the moral high ground on patriotism" (CBS News) to complain that KERRY LIED!! SCHOLARLY ATTRIBUTION DIED!!! Instead, KERRY MISQUOTED!! MEDIA DOTED!!!
Indeed, America's hardboiled newsmen can't get enough of the Thomas Jefferbunk. The Berkshire Eagle used it as the headline for last year's Fourth of July editorial. Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press thundered: "We need to stop slicing this country in half, and saying those who support this act or this politician are 'good' Americans, and the rest are not. Sometimes 'dissent is the highest form of patriotism.' I didn't make that up. Thomas Jefferson did."
Er, no. You made up that he made it up. But former Georgia state Rep. Mike Snow uses it, and Miranda Yaver of Berkeley wore it on a button to the big anti-war demo in Washington last year, and Ted Kennedy deployed it as the stirring finale to his anti-Bush speech...
UPDATE: On the subject of funny, today's final item in James Taranto's Best of the Web made me laugh:
Regular or AB-Negative?Never thought I'd see the day when that slogan would actually mean something...
"There's an unusual sign catching drivers' eyes on South Main Street in Las Cruces [N.M.]," reports KFOX-TV of El Paso, Texas:It reads "donate plasma for gas money."How long before the antiwar moonbats start parading around outside the clinic holding NO BLOOD FOR OIL signs?
It's caught the eye of many passers-by including Erin Scott, who told KFOX she's stopped driving her Suburban to save money.
"You just sit here and pump your hand to get the blood flow and you get paid and you can use it for gas money," Scott said.
Employees of Las Cruces Biologicals told KFOX they're seeing more drivers coming in for gas money.