Friday, January 20, 2012

Top 10 Reads of the Week - January 20, 2012

Perry Has a Point About the Marines Video Vs. the Daniel Pearl Video - Asra Q. Nomani [The Daily Beast]
... It's true that using tragedy for political gain may qualify as being in poor taste. But, as a friend and former colleague of Danny's myself, I must admit that I, too, watched the video of the Marines and thought of the horrific video the terrorists had shot of Danny's murder. At that moment I thought to myself: You want to see horrible? Watch the video of Danny's death. I know that, in principle, there is no comparative analysis to be done on abuse, horror, or crime. But the truth is that we are engaged in a very ugly war, and the ruthlessness with which Danny was murdered is an expression of the extent to which our enemies will express their brutality. It was so horrible that a guard in the video, holding Danny down, wretched and was thrown out of the room. Such brutality does not sanction abuse of the Geneva Convention or other codes of military justice, but Perry, a man with whom I agree on not much, is right that the Marines' conduct should be discussed in the context of the larger war... Read the Rest
Why Are President Obama's Defenders So Dumb? - Editors [Investors Business Daily]
A presidential infomercial posing as a news magazine distorts the record to shamelessly shill for a failed administration. Why do we criticize the man who made the high-speed trains run on time? 
Political campaigns call it free media: when candidates can make their case and communicate their message through interviews and outlets that don't cost a dime. 
It helps when a mainstream media sycophant like Andrew Sullivan gets to write a puff piece in Newsweek with the subtle title of "Why Are The President's Critics So Dumb?" The Democratic National Committee couldn't have said it better... Read the Rest

Suicidal Standards for America's Troops - Arthur Herman [New York Post]
Let’s stipulate three things about this video purportedly showing four Marines urinating on the bodies of their Taliban foes. 
First, we don’t know the whole story of how or why the video was made or even the context. Second, if those Marines did do what it shows them doing, they brought dishonor on themselves and have unwittingly given aid and comfort to their enemies. 
Third, there are those who are consciously giving that aid and comfort by using the video to traduce the most civilized and humane fighting force in history... Read the Rest
Not Fade Away - Robert Kagan [The New Republic]
Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power? A great deal depends on the answer to these questions. The present world order—characterized by an unprecedented number of democratic nations; a greater global prosperity, even with the current crisis, than the world has ever known; and a long peace among great powers—reflects American principles and preferences, and was built and preserved by American power in all its political, economic, and military dimensions. If American power declines, this world order will decline with it. It will be replaced by some other kind of order, reflecting the desires and the qualities of other world powers. Or perhaps it will simply collapse, as the European world order collapsed in the first half of the twentieth century. The belief, held by many, that even with diminished American power “the underlying foundations of the liberal international order will survive and thrive,” as the political scientist G. John Ikenberry has argued, is a pleasant illusion. American decline, if it is real, will mean a different world for everyone. 
But how real is it? Much of the commentary on American decline these days rests on rather loose analysis, on impressions that the United States has lost its way, that it has abandoned the virtues that made it successful in the past, that it lacks the will to address the problems it faces. Americans look at other nations whose economies are now in better shape than their own, and seem to have the dynamism that America once had, and they lament, as in the title of Thomas Friedman’s latest book, that “that used to be us.”... Read the Rest
The Mortal Threat From Iran - Mark Helprin [Wall Street Journal]
To assume that Iran will not close the Strait of Hormuz is to assume that primitive religious fanatics will perform cost-benefit analyses the way they are done at Wharton. They won't, especially if the oil that is their life's blood is threatened. If Iran does close the strait, we will fight an air and naval war derivative of and yet peripheral to the Iranian nuclear program, a mortal threat the president of the United States has inadequately addressed. 
A mortal threat when Iran is not yet in possession of a nuclear arsenal? Yes, because immediately upon possession all remedies are severely restricted. Without doubt, Iran has long wanted nuclear weapons—to deter American intervention in its and neighboring territories; to threaten Europe and thereby cleave it from American interests in the Middle East; to respond to the former Iraqi nuclear effort; to counter the contiguous nuclear presences in Pakistan, Russia and the U.S. in the Gulf; to neutralize Israel's nuclear deterrent so as to limit it to the attrition of conventional battle, or to destroy it with one lucky shot; to lead the Islamic world; to correct the security imbalance with Saudi Arabia, which aided by geography and American arms now outclasses it; and to threaten the U.S. directly... Read the Rest

The GOP's Suicide March - Charles Krauthammer [Washington Post]
...What’s the incumbent to do? He admits current conditions are bad. He knows that his major legislative initiatives — Obamacare, the near-trillion-dollar stimulus, (the rejected) cap-and-trade — are unpopular. If you can’t run on stewardship or policy, how do you win reelection? 
Create an entirely new narrative. Push an entirely new issue. Change the subject from your record and your ideology, from massive debt and overreaching government, to fairness and inequality. Make the election a referendum on which party really cares about you, which party will stand up to the greedy rich who have pillaged the 99 percent and robbed the middle class of hope... Read the Rest

A Lose, Lose, Lose, Lose, Lose Proposition - Victor Davis Hanson [National Review Online]
As he did with his probably illegal “recess” appointments, President Obama picked a politically advantageous time to cancel the Keystone pipeline project — while the media is obsessed with the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich’s second wife, and Mitt Romney’s investments. Yet it is hard to remember a presidential decision that had as many negatives as this one... Read the Rest
Obama's Keystone Pipeline Rejection Is Hard to Accept - Editors [Washington Post]
ON TUESDAY, President Obama’s Jobs Council reminded the nation that it is still hooked on fossil fuels, and will be for a long time. “Continuing to deliver inexpensive and reliable energy,” the council reported, “is going to require the United States to optimize all of its natural resources and construct pathways (pipelines, transmission and distribution) to deliver electricity and fuel.” 
It added that regulatory “and permitting obstacles that could threaten the development of some energy projects, negatively impact jobs and weaken our energy infrastructure need to be addressed." 
Mr. Obama’s Jobs Council could start by calling out . . . the Obama administration... Read the Rest
A Question of Priorities - Jonah Goldberg [Townhall.com]
For three years, the Obama administration and its cheerleaders have tried to claim that they stand for the same can-do spirit. Administration officials have a rare form of Keynesian Tourette's syndrome whereby they blurt out phrases like "Infrastructure!" ... "Spending multiplier!" ... "Shovel ready!" ... "Nation-building at home!" ... "Investment!" almost as often as they draw breath. Just last week, Obama's own handpicked jobs council -- perhaps looking at the fully employed and booming oil state of North Dakota -- advised that the U.S. must embrace an "all-in approach" to the energy sector, including the pursuit of "policies that facilitate the safe, thoughtful and timely development of pipeline, transmission and distribution projects."
Obama himself has insisted time and again he cares only about "what works" and not about ideological or partisan point scoring. Nary an utterance from the president doesn't include some claim that his "top," "chief," "first" and "number one" priority is to create jobs and get America working again... Read the Rest
The Circular Firing Squad - Fred Barnes [Weekly Standard]
The Republican death wish is back. It’s the habit of Republicans to do something crazy or stupid that diminishes their election prospects. Think of Watergate in the 1970s. In the 2006 midterm elections, the disclosure of Florida congressman Mark Foley’s flirtation with Capitol pages turned a defeat into a landslide loss. A few unelectable candidates denied Republicans a shot at winning the Senate in 2010.
Here we go again. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, with their attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, have gone far toward poisoning the well for Republicans this year—and not only in the contest against President Obama. The endless TV debates have trivialized the race for the Republican nomination. And maladroit moves by congressional Republicans have let Obama pose as a born-again tax cutter... Read the Rest
The Funniest Thing I Saw This Week

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