Friday, September 03, 2004

David Kopel: Follow The Leader

September 02, 2004, 10:15 p.m.
National Review Online Follow the Leader: Israel and Thailand set an example by arming teachers.

Islamist terrorists in Beslan, Russia, are currently holding hundreds of children hostage, threatening to execute them. No one knows how this horrible situation will end; but we do know that it could have been prevented. Decades ago, Israel adopted a policy that swiftly ended terrorist attacks against schools. Earlier this year, Thailand adopted a similar approach. It is politically incorrect, but it does have the advantage of saving the lives of children and teachers. The policy? Encourage teachers to carry firearms.

Muslim extremists in Thailand’s southern provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani have been carrying out a terrorist campaign, seeking to create an Islamic state independent of Thailand, whose population is predominantly Buddhist.
Most teachers are Buddhists, and they have been a key target of the terrorists, who have also perpetrated arsons against dozens of schools.

As reported by the Associated Press (“Thailand allows teachers in restive south to carry guns for protection”) on April 27, 2004, “Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula ordered provincial governors to give teachers licenses to buy guns if they want to even though it would mean bringing firearms into the classrooms when the region's 925 schools reopen May 17 after two months of summer holiday.”

The A.P. article explained: “Pairat Wihakarat, the president of a teachers’ union in the three provinces, said more than 1,700 teachers have already asked for transfers to safer areas. Those who are willing to stay want to carry guns to protect themselves, he said.”
Gun-control laws in Thailand are extremely strict, and are being tightened even more because of three school shootings (perpetrated by students) that took place in a single week in June 2003. Two students were killed.

But though Thailand’s government is extremely hostile to gun ownership in general, it has recognized that teachers ought to be able to safeguard their students and themselves.
Will Thailand’s new strategy work? It did in Israel, as David Schiller detailed in an interview with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Schiller was born in West Germany and moved to Israel, where he served in the military as a weapons specialist. He later returned to Germany, and was hired as a counterterrorism expert by the Berlin police office, as well as by police forces of other German cities. For a while he worked in the terrorism research office of the RAND corporation, and for several years he published a German gun magazine.

Schiller recalls that Palestine Liberation Organization attacks on Israeli schools began during Passover 1974. The first attack was aimed at a school in Galilee. When the PLO terrorists found that it was closed because of Passover weekend, they murdered several people in a nearby apartment building.

Then, on May 15, 1974, in Maalot:

Three PLO gunmen, after making their way through the border fence, first shot up a van load full of workers returning from a tobacco factory (incidentally these people happened to be Galilee Arabs, not Jews), then they entered the school compound of Maalot. First they murdered the housekeeper, his wife and one of their kids, then they took a whole group of nearly 100 kids and their teachers hostage. These were staying overnight at the school, as they were on a hiking trip. In the end, the deadline ran out, and the army’s special unit assaulted the building. During the rescue attempt, the gunmen blew their explosive charges and sprayed the kids with machine-gun fire. 25 people died, 66 wounded.

Israel at the time had some strict gun laws, left over from the days of British colonialism, when the British rulers tried to prevent the Jews from owning guns.
After vigorous debate, the government began allowing army reservists to keep their weapons with them. Handgun carry permits were given to any Israeli with a clean record who lived in the most dangerous areas: Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

All over Israel, guns became pervasive in the schools:

Teachers and kindergarten nurses now started to carry guns, schools were protected by parents (and often grandpas) guarding them in voluntary shifts. No school group went on a hike or trip without armed guards. The Police involved the citizens in a voluntary civil guard project “Mishmar Esrachi,” which even had its own sniper teams. The Army’s Youth Group program, “Gadna”, trained 15 to 16-year-old kids in gun safety and guard procedures and the older high-school boys got involved with the Mishmar Esrachi. During one noted incident, the “Herzliyah Bus massacre” (March ’78, hijacking of a bus, 37 dead, 76 wounded), these youngsters were involved in the overall security measures in which the whole area between North Tel Aviv and the resort town of Herzlyiah was blocked off, manning roadblocks with the police, guarding schools kindergartens, etc.
After a while, “When the message got around to the PLO groups and a couple infiltration attempts failed, the attacks against schools ceased.”

This is not to say that Palestinian terrorists never target schools. In late May 2002, an Israeli teacher shot a suicide terrorist before he could harm anyone.

On May 31, 2002, as reported by Israel National News, a terrorist threw a grenade and began shooting at a kindergarten in Shavei Shomron. Then, instead of closing in on the children, he abruptly fled the kindergarten and began shooting up the nearby neighborhood. Apparently he realized that the kindergarten was sure to have armed adults, and that he could not stay at the school long enough to make sure he actually murdered someone.

Unfortunately for the terrorist, “David Elbaz, owner of the local mini-market, gave chase and killed him with gunshots. In addition to several grenades and the weapon the terrorist carried on him, security sweeps revealed several explosive devices that he had intended to detonate during the thwarted attack.”

People can spend months and years studying the “root causes” of terrorism, and pondering the merits of the grievances of Islamic terrorists in Malaysia, Israel, and Russia. But it’s fair to say that schoolchildren and teachers are not legitimate targets even of people who have legitimate grievances.

No one knows if civilized nations will ever eliminate the root causes of terrorism. But we do know that terrorist attacks on schools and schoolchildren could be almost completely eliminated in a very short time — if every nation at risk of terrorist attacks on schools began following the lead of Thailand and Israel.

Adults have a duty to protect children. In Beslan at this very moment, seven people are dead, and hundreds more are in deadly peril, because the teachers lacked the tools to stop the evildoers. If we are really serious about gun laws that protect “the children,” then it seems clear that — whatever other gun laws a society adopts — every civilized nation at risk of terrorist attack ought to ensure that armed teachers can protect innocent children.

David Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute.

Michelle Malkin: Blog, Soldiers, & The President's Speech


By Michelle Malkin · September 03, 2004 08:31 AM

Rush on the Moderate Myth.
Victor Davis Hanson on momentous months ahead.
Jim Geraghty at The Kerry Spot on the Dems' Ohio bloviations and other amusing observations.
Holzer and Holzer on Kerry's Silver Star "typo."
The New York Post op-ed page.
And, for sobering reminders of what has been happening outside of Madison Square Garden, the Belmont Club is covering the carnage in Russia. More at The Backcountry Conservative.

By Michelle Malkin · September 03, 2004 03:34 AM

Some of the most moving moments of President Bush's convention speech this evening involved his remarks about our brave troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. In one passage, Bush mentioned a letter from an Army specialist:

Our troops know the historic importance of our work. One Army Specialist wrote home: "We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place ... The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq," he continued, "are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."

That young man is right — our men and women in uniform are doing a superb job for America. Tonight I want to speak to all of them — and to their families: You are involved in a struggle of historic proportion. Because of your service and sacrifice, we are defeating the terrorists where they live and plan and making America safer. Because of you, women in Afghanistan are no longer shot in a sports stadium. Because of you, the people of Iraq no longer fear being executed and left in mass graves. Because of you, the world is more just and will be more peaceful. We owe you our thanks, and we owe you something more. We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory...

The letter writer that Bush cited was Army specialist Joe Roche, serving in the 16th Combat Engineer Battalion, who wrote a piece in April for The National Center for Public Policy Research titled "Keep the Faith: A Letter from Iraq" (also cross-posted on The National Center blog).

As the National Center recounts, Roche's piece was published as an op-ed by more than two dozen major newspapers including the Houston Chronicle, San Diego Union-Tribune and Sacramento Bee, and it and similar comments by Roche have been read aloud on-air by major talk hosts including Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan and Tony Snow. And now, by President Bush.

Roche's piece inspired nationwide blog activism, The National Center reported:
As a result of the essay, and thanks in large part to the efforts of talk radio hosts and more than 200 very supportive Internet blogs, a suggestion by Roche that care packages be sent to troops with extended deployments in Iraq resulted in a large number of such packages being sent.

As Roche wrote to talk radio host Kirby Wilbur of Seattle's KVI Radio, whose listeners were especially active in asembling and mailing care packages: "Many many care packages from the Washington state area arrived... some were even sent down in convoys to our soldiers deployed in Karbala and Najaf. I simply can't tell you how important and encouraging the packages were for the soldiers during those difficult months."
Amy Ridenour, The National Center's fabulous blogress, has further comments here.

The blogosphere has revolutioned the dissemination of information from the war front. Our troops have been able to publish their firsthand accounts unfiltered and unedited by the anti-Bush media. Military bloggers, both those serving overseas and those recently returned to the U.S., have lent us their invaluable insights (lists of military bloggers here and here). And soldiers can react immediately to the lies and propaganda being spread on their behalf.

In the same spirit of Joe Roche's letter, here is an excerpt from another soldier's letter that I read the other day on Jen Martinez's invaluable military blog:
We WANT to be here!
Ranger Randy White shares an email from a Soldier in Iraq:

Captain Ron Hayes in Iraq sent us his response to protesters at the GOP convention who want to "Bring our Boys Home!"

It has been interesting to follow the news reports from the Republican National Convention, to include the protests in New York by 10s of thousands of people. I am all for standing up for what you believe, which should include voicing your opinions against wars and against presidents, if that is your calling.

But, it really makes me mad when I see people with signs that say things like, "Bring our Boys Home!" There have been several pictures published of protesters carrying flag-draped coffins, and carrying these types of signs.

I have news for you.

The soldiers in Iraq, and Afghanistan do not want your sentiment, or your voice that would have the lives of those already lost dishonored by not finishing the job.

Regardless of how you feel about why we went to war, America made a commitment. It's time we see the job through to fruition. Lack of resolve by many U.S. citizens is the main reason for a lack of trust on the part of those being liberated.

Iraqi citizens are waiting for our resolve to crumble, and see us depart before adequate Iraqi security is established. Al Qaida does not have to beat America in a fight in order to win, they just have to get us to go home.

Ask yourself, what would happen to Iraq, if America were to take your misguided advice and went home before finishing the job?

So, put down your coffin ... put down your sign, and have some American resolve to finish the job we started. We have brought the fight to those who wish to bring the fight to American soil, and we are making great progress...
Captain Ron Hayes2nd BN 147th FASouth Dakota Army National GuardCedar II, Iraq

The New York Times would never have quoted Army specialist Joe Roche or Captain Hayes (yes, I checked) on its front page. But who needs the New York Times? As many of our outspoken men and women in uniform have discovered, they no longer need to depend on the mainstream media to get their message across to families, friends, and even the president. Thanks to the blogosphere, getting pro-America military voices heard is a mere mouse click away.

Ann Coulter: The Unsubstantiated Heroism of Hanoi John

Ann Coulter
September 2, 2004

The New York Times has a new typewriter key for the Swift Boat Veterans story that reads: "the unsubstantiated charges of the Swift Boat Veterans."

Unsubstantiated? It was Kerry – not the Swift Boat Veterans – who told The Washington Post: "I wish they had a delete button on LexisNexis." The Swift Boat Veterans haven't been forced to retract any of their story. Meanwhile, John Kerry has been issuing about a retraction a day since the Swift Boat Veterans started talking.

Most recently, Kerry has had to backpedal on the circumstances surrounding his first Purple Heart. Kerry has described the action on Dec. 2, 1968, for which he received a Purple Heart as his "first intense combat." The Swift Boat veterans say Kerry came under no enemy fire that day and that his injury, such as it was, resulted from the ricochet of a grenade fired by Kerry himself. (This rules out the Purple Heart but does qualify him for another "Boy, is my face red" citation, with clusters.)

Among the eyewitnesses who say Kerry came under no enemy fire on Dec. 2, 1968, is John Kerry himself. According to Douglas Brinkley's book, "Tour of Duty," Kerry wrote in his diary nine days later, on Dec. 11, 1968: "We hadn't been shot at yet." His campaign is still trying to figure out how to claim that Kerry couldn't have known this because he wasn't even on his own swiftboat at the time.

A Kerry campaign official first explained the discrepancy by essentially explaining that it depends on what the meaning of "we" is. Kerry, the official said, apparently had a nontraditional understanding of the word "we" to mean: "others not including me." "We": another two-letter word successfully parsed by a Democrat!

Another Kerry campaign official, John Hurley, has since admitted that it is "possible" that Kerry's first Purple Heart came from a self-inflicted wound.

The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam archive, including his journals and letters, saying that the senator was contractually bound to grant Kerry hagiographer Doug Brinkley exclusive access to the material. But then Brinkley said the papers are the property of the senator and in his full control. Still, no records.

On the bright side, the Kerry campaign is considering releasing the director's cut of Kerry's own filmed re-enactments of his war "heroics" – which, by the way, makes Kerry the first person ever to form a war re-enactment club during the actual war.

Kerry had long maintained that he did not attend the 1971 meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Kansas City, Mo., where the assassination of U.S. senators was discussed. Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade said, "Kerry was not at the Kansas City meeting." Later, FBI files showed Kerry was at the meeting. Now Kerry admits he was there.

So I think that means John Kerry attended as many V.V.A.W. meetings at which the assassination of U.S. senators was discussed as he did meetings of the Senate Intelligence Committee on which he later sat.

And let's not forget that Kerry was caught telling a big, dirty, stinky lie about being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968. What kind of adult tells a lie like that? (Answer: The kind who carries a home-movie camera to war in order to re-enact combat scenes and tape fake interviews with himself.)

One of the principal witnesses for Kerry's version of his heroics in Vietnam is Jim Rassman, who says Kerry "saved his life" after a Viet Cong mine knocked Rassman off his boat. Though Kerry would have us believe that – in addition to being baby killers – his fellow servicemen were planning on leaving Rassman to die, several eyewitnesses say another boat was about 20 yards behind Kerry's boat in getting to Rassman. (Kerry's boat was positioned slightly closer to Rassman because the moment the mine exploded, Kerry's boat fled the scene and returned only when Kerry was certain there was no enemy fire.)

It is indisputable that other men were being pulled out of the water right and left after a Viet Cong mine blew one of the swiftboats four feet in the air. How come none of those guys got Bronze Stars? Did they pull men out of the water in a less heroic way?

The way Kerry and Rassman tell it, you would think Kerry saved Rassman's life by staging a daring, high-speed commando raid on a prisoner of war camp. I was pulled from churning surfs a dozen times before I was 10 years old, each time exclaiming, "YOU SAVED MY LIFE!" but I'm not seeking out the people who fished me out of the water and demanding that they run for president.

In determining whose memory is more accurate, it's worth mentioning that Kerry and Rassman can't even get their stories straight about whose boat Rassman was on. Among the many accounts out there are these:

In his own Aug. 10, 2004, Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rassman says he was on Kerry's boat: "The second blast blew me off John's swiftboat, PCF-94 ..."

But according to the Kerry campaign press release: "On March 13, 1969, Rassman, a Green Beret, was traveling down the Bay Hap river in a boat behind Kerry's when both were ambushed by exploding land mines and enemy fire coming from the shore."

On Page 106 of the book "John F. Kerry, The Official Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best," Rassman is on a boat behind Kerry's.

In his Kerry campaign pamphlet, "Tour of Duty," hagiographer Brinkley resolves the conflicting accounts by having Rassman fall off both the boat that hit the mine (PCF-3) and Kerry's boat. (What would we do without historians?)

Another account has Rassman on the S.S. Minnow stubbornly insisting that Kerry's service in Vietnam consisted of just a three-hour tour ... a three-hour tour ...

Perhaps like the many and various meanings of the word "we," liberals use the word "unsubstantiated" to mean "tested repeatedly and proved true."

Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Scrapbook: Arachno-Terrorism

From the September 6th, 2004 issue of the Weekly Standard:

With a nod of thanks to the always invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute and its team of translators, THE SCRAPBOOK hereby calls your attention to yet another news story the corporate-controlled establishment media proved too timid to report: the one about how an army of giant, hairy, Islamic spiders has descended on Iraq and is currently slaughtering U.S. troops in Falluja and elsewhere. You hadn't heard about that, had you?

Iraqi Sheikh Mahdi Saleh Al-Sumide'i, identified as a participant in the Battle of Falluja, was interviewed by Syrian television on August 23, as follows:

SUMIDE'I: [W]e believe that Allah protects the believers, and indeed, Allah stood beside Falluja, and I'd like to mention some miracles Allah performed in Falluja. It is possible that the media does not know about them. The first miracle that occurred in Falluja took the form of spiders that appeared in the city--each spider larger than this chair, or about the size of this chair.

The American soldiers left, holding the legs of this spider, and I too, in one of the Friday sermons, held up a spider, with all its magnitude, in front of the satellite channels and in front of the world. This spider also had thick black hair. If this hair touches the human body, within a short period of time the body becomes black or blue, and then there is an explosion in the blood cells in the human body--and the person dies. This is one of the miracles performed in support of Falluja, and the Jihad that took place in Falluja. . . .

INTERVIEWER: According to your personal knowledge, are the casualties in Iraq of the American forces and their allies much greater than what the U.S. admits?

SUMIDE'I: By Allah, I would like to say something. I swear in the name of Allah on this issue. If the American mothers, sisters, and wives--and this is a message directed at the American people--if they knew what was happening to their children in Iraq, no woman could sleep in her bed at night, and you would see women and children in the streets of America, down on their knees, throwing dirt on their heads because of what is happening to the American forces in Iraq. . . .

INTERVIEWER: Sheik, what do the Americans do with all these casualties? Some say that there are special mass graves for the mercenary forces the Americans brought to Iraq and no one is allowed to photograph them. . . .

SUMIDE'I: This is the truth. We too followed this issue. A mass grave was created in a desert area near the Saudi border for the American soldiers killed. There is also a lake near Al-Sa'diya. The Americans place the casualties inside white or black bags, seal them and toss them from a plane into the lake.

Seymour Hersh will want to get on this right away.

Michelle Malkin: It's Miller Time

From Michelle Malkin's Blog:

September 02, 2004 08:46 AM

Headline: UN Condemns Terrorist Attacks and Executions


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday strongly condemned terrorist attacks in Israel and Russia and the gruesome murder of 12 Nepalese civilians in Iraq. The UN Security Council condemned the Israeli suicide bombings and “all other acts of terrorism.”

In separate statements, the UN’s leader and most powerful body denounced those who take innocent lives.

“The secretary-general strongly condemns all hostage-takings and killings of innocent civilians, which no cause can ever justify. He calls once again for the immediate release of all hostages in Iraq and appeals to all parties to adhere strictly to the fundamental precepts of human rights and respect for human life,” said a statement from Annan’s spokesman issued after the Nepali murders...

Yeah, that'll stop Islamofascism in its tracks.

By Michelle Malkin · September 02, 2004 08:01 AM
Zell, Zell, Zell!

1) The whole speech. So many stirring lines. These were some of the best:

What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?

I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.

It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.

Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan (news - web sites) rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home...

2) The Hardball interview. (Courtesy of Media Bistro.) Video also up at The Daily Recycler.

More at The Media Drop and Wizbang, who gives us some of the night's zingiest Zellbites:

"Look at his record. A man's record is what he is"

"I didn't question their patriotism, I question their judgment"

"That was a metaphor, do you know what a metaphor is?"

"Get out of may face. If you're going to ask a question you let me answer."

"I wish we lived in the day that I could challenge you to a duel."

"You are not going to do to me what you did to that young lady the other day, browbeating her to death.

"Are you going to shut up after you ask the question?"

Thank you, Sen. Miller, for showing The Caveman how a true gentleman thinks, speaks, and acts.

Update: More from the Washington Dispatch. And Ace of Spades HQ. And CultureShockTv.

Update II: Before Sen. Miller delivered his convention address, Tacitus reported last night at Red State on a disturbing rumor--that there was a battle going on between Sen. Miller and "the people in charge" of the convention over his text, which was deemed "too conservative."

Unbelievable. Tacitus reported after Sen. Miller delivered the speech that it had been "toned down." As Tacitus noted:

Takes your breath away to imagine the original.


Ron Brownstein: It's the Terrorism, Stupid

September 2, 2004

NEWS ANALYSIS: GOP Locks In on Theme, and Opens Fire on Kerry

The Los Angeles Times

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By Ronald Brownstein, Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — It's the terrorism, stupid.With their relentless, double-barreled attack on Democratic nominee John F. Kerry on Wednesday night, Vice President Dick Cheney and keynote speaker Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) reduced President Bush's case for reelection to virtually a single argument: Bush would be tough and resolute in the war on terrorism and Kerry would be neither.

Cheney, more than Miller, also sought to present Bush as a visionary leader who had reconstructed America's foreign policy to confront global terrorism, much the same way President Truman and his advisors built a new international order after World War II.

But such positive arguments were overshadowed by an attack on Kerry far more sustained and ferocious than anything Bush faced during prime time at July's Democratic National Convention in Boston.

As striking as the heated tone was the narrow focus: Apart from fleeting references to education and the economy from the vice president, Cheney and Miller confined their speeches almost entirely to national security.

That followed the pattern set by earlier speakers such as former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who lavishly praised Bush's strategy in the fight against terrorism and staunchly defended the war in Iraq, but said almost nothing about the president's domestic record.

The emphasis on national security has been every bit as determined as the economic focus in 1992 that led Bill Clinton's campaign to summarize its strategy in the ringing phrase: "It's the economy, stupid."Sources familiar with Bush's acceptance speech, to be delivered tonight, insist he will promote a second-term domestic agenda built around encouraging ownership and reforming government. But that appears likely to register as only a minor chord in a convention that has vividly dramatized the Bush campaign's belief that its best hope of victory is to burnish confidence in the president's ability to protect the nation — and to heighten the doubts about whether Kerry is up to the job.

With only one night left, the Republican convention increasingly looks like the mirror image of the Democratic gathering. During their four nights, Democrats devoted the most effort to polishing Kerry's credentials as a potential commander in chief and to questioning Bush's strategy in the struggle against terrorism. Republicans are putting almost all of their energy into undermining Kerry's credentials to be a commander in chief and defending Bush's national security decisions.

The pile-driver attack on Kerry's national security credentials at the Republican convention — following the assault on his military record from a group of Vietnam veterans over the last month — has created twin challenges for the Democrat: maintaining his credibility as a potential leader and finding ways to shift more attention to domestic issues, such as the economy and healthcare, where polls show he holds an advantage over Bush.

Senior Kerry advisors said they believed the attacks Wednesday were so heated that they would backfire with swing voters. But the intensity of the GOP assault this week could increase the pressure on Kerry from Democrats who believe his campaign has not been nearly aggressive enough in criticizing Bush and presenting a case for change.

Yet the convention's never-give-an-inch defense of Bush's strategy since Sept. 11, culminating in his decision to invade Iraq, also could seed dangers for the president later in the race.

In effect, the GOP has spent this week suggesting to voters that if reelected, Bush will not deviate from an approach to national security that has divided the nation.

Bush receives strong marks in polls for his response to terrorism. But in recent surveys, including a University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Survey released Wednesday, about half of Americans say the war in Iraq has not been worth the cost.

"It's nice to be firm in what you believe in, unless of course it's the wrong direction," said Madeleine Albright, secretary of State under President Clinton and a Kerry advisor. "At those times, resolute can be translated as stubborn and uncompromising."

Resolute might also best describe the way Wednesday's speakers focused on national security and pressed their case against Kerry.

Cheney diverted from the theme only long enough to breeze through three quick paragraphs defending the administration's record on education, the economy and healthcare. Miller sent some clear cultural signals to religiously devout voters by twice underscoring the president's faith.

But mostly, Miller and Cheney encouraged voters to place national security at the top of their priority list by presenting the threat from terrorism in the starkest terms. Cheney called it "the greatest challenge of our time" and, echoing neoconservative thinkers, presented Islamic terrorism as a danger comparable to that posed by the most massive military machines the United States has confronted.

"Just as surely as the Nazis during World War II and the Soviet Communists during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction," Cheney said.

Having defined the threat, Miller and Cheney moved in fierce and unrelenting language to portray Kerry — and the Democratic Party — as incapable of meeting it.

Miller's martial, confrontational speech might have been the angriest at a national convention since Patrick J. Buchanan's "culture war" address to the GOP in 1992. But in substance, Miller's speech seemed more directly a descendant of a memorable convention address 20 years ago from another former Democrat. In 1984, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, President Reagan's U.N. ambassador, electrified the GOP convention when she said that her former party wanted to "blame America first."

Miller, though still a nominal Democrat, presented Democrats in the same light. "In their warped way of thinking, America is the problem, not the solution," he said. "They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy."

Both men reprised, albeit in even sharper language than usual, the Republican charges that Kerry was indecisive and weak. Miller insisted that Kerry's attitude toward defense spending would leave the U.S. military armed with "spitballs."

Both men also echoed Giuliani in seeking to turn Kerry's principal foreign policy argument against him. Throughout the campaign, Kerry has argued that Bush has weakened America's security by alienating traditional allies and isolating the United States; the Democrat pressed that case again in his speech to the American Legion on Wednesday, condemning Bush's Iraq strategy.

But Cheney and Miller presented Kerry's pledge of greater cooperation as a sign of weakness. "Sen. Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve, as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics," said Cheney, whose style was as understated as Miller's was impassioned.

Democrats dismissed those criticisms as a misrepresentation of Kerry's views.

While Kerry has pledged to consult more closely with allies, he has also repeatedly said that he would never give other nations a veto over American security, and also had not ruled out the preemptive use of military force against terrorist threats.

"The bottom line is he has flat-out said he would not give up authority to the United Nations," Albright said. "But there are times that one has to recognize that we are stronger if we are able to take action in cooperation with others."

Yet even with the inevitable hyperbole and distortion, the parallel charges from the two sides — the Democratic claim that Bush has alienated allies, and the Republican charge that Kerry would capitulate to them — point toward a central choice facing Americans in November.

Kerry has made clear that he would give allies greater input into American decisions, hoping it would yield greater cooperation in Iraq and the war on terrorism more broadly. Bush, with his emphasis on preemptive military action and "coalitions of the willing," has devised an approach to foreign affairs that generally places American freedom of action as a higher priority than international consensus.

For more than a year, virtually every leading Democrat has argued that America will be more secure in a world where it is respected rather than resented. This week, by contrast, Republicans have repeatedly belittled the United Nations and presented foreign criticism of Bush as proof of his determination to protect America.

In the uncompromising words that have flowed from the podium this week, the GOP seems to be betting that in a dangerous world, Americans would rather be feared than liked.

John Podhoretz: He Gave Them Zell


September 2, 2004
The New York Post

I don't think there's ever been a speech like last night's keynote address by Georgia's Democratic senator, Zell Miller.

First, it's unprecedented for a senator of the opposing party to deliver the most important remarks at a convention besides those of the presidential and vice-presidential nominee. Second, and even more important, it was astonishingly harsh — and harsh about Democrats and the Democratic Party in a way that no major Republican politician would dare to be.

If a Republican said, as Miller just did, that "our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief," he'd sound whiny and defensive at the very least.

It's simple political manners for leaders of one party to allow as how the other guys do mean well, kind of. Zell Miller doesn't need to stand on niceties. He's a lifelong Democrat who came to political prominence when he was propelled into the Georgia governorship in 1990 by the brilliant campaign strategy of a then-unknown Democratic political consultant named James Carville.

Ronald Reagan used to say, more in sorrow than in anger, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me." Zell Miller, still a Democrat, spoke not a syllable in sorrow and spoke thousands of words in anger.
Indeed, an enraged David Gergen dared to compare Miller to Lester Maddox, the segregationist governor for whom Miller worked more than 40 years ago. Gergen said Maddox was "a man of hate," and that Miller was "a man of hate" too.

Well, Miller certainly hates what leading Democrats have been doing and he wants them to pay for it by helping to re-elect George W. Bush.
"What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?" he said. "I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny . . . Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today. Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator."

Pundits last night screamed that this was simply untrue, and Miller's rhetoric was certainly wildly exaggerated. But it can't be so easily dismissed. Take the views of the two longest-serving Democrats in the U.S. Senate, both of whom are considered heroes by their party.

In a 2003 speech on the Senate floor, Robert Byrd said: "Our emperor says that we are not occupiers, yet we show no inclination to relinquish the country of Iraq to its people."
And as for the idea that U.S. forces are liberators, Sen. Ted Kennedy said earlier this year: "To the people in the Middle East, and too often today, the symbol of America is not the Statue of Liberty, it's the prisoner standing on a box wearing a dark cape and a dark hood on his head, wires attached to his body, afraid that he's going to be electrocuted."
This appears to be a view with which Sen. Kennedy concurs.

Where Miller erred is that Democratic leaders are actually far more moderate and responsible on these matters than, say, the Democratic delegates to last month's Boston convention. Those delegates almost certainly believe that America is an occupier of Iraq rather than a liberator.

And it's important to remember that their folk heroes, Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, believed and believe that the war to liberate Afghanistan and rout al Qaeda was nothing more than an imperialist aggression.
Now the question is, How big a deal will Democrats and the media make of this? In their shoes, I'd be careful. Can't they take a little heat from an angry member of their own family?


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

David Frum's Diary: September 1, 2004


Crazy in the Streets

Yesterday the protests in New York turned violent. A plainclothes policeman was badly beaten; the broadcaster Chris Matthews was reportedly manhandled by protesters; and some 900 law breakers were arrested.

For many Republican delegates, however, the most unpleasant memories of the convention will not involve the lurid troublemaking of the street anarchists but the casual offensiveness of overly politicized New Yorkers.

Delegates tell stories of theater matinees that start late because the performers at the last minute refused to perform for supporters of George W. Bush, of being insulted by passers-by, of garbage being tossed at the busses that move them from place to place. How true are these stories? The ones I have heard come second- or third-hand: “My friend in the California delegation told me about something that happened to her friend from Georgia...” On the other hand, you do hear enough of them that you have to wonder whether these urban incidents are merely urban legends.

Look, it was a great idea to hold this convention in New York, and not just because of the memories of 9/11. New York symbolizes how Republican government – the mayorship of Rudy Giuliani – could transform a frightened, dying city. I lived here from 1989 until 1994, the Dinkins years. I remember the crime, the car alarms that screeched all night, the casual disorder, the dirt, and above all the universal feeling that tomorrow would be even worse than today. Now I am staying in a hotel just across the street from the Greyhound bus terminal – an area that was once one of the very nastiest in all Manhattan – and the area is thronged with happy tourists on their way to the new Madame Tussaud’s.

The Republicans chose New York as their convention site to show solidarity with the wounded and recovering city and its indomitable spirit. Nobody expected that gesture to win many New York votes. But it would have been nice if New Yorkers showed more appreciation for the gesture.

Star Power

Arnold’s speech was one of the wonders of the convention: funny, charismatic, touching, and did I say – funny? The tribute to Ronald Reagan is scheduled for tomorrow night, but I wonder whether the authors of that tribute will have anything more compelling to offer than Arnold’s story of life during the days when the Soviets occupied part of Austria.
And Laura Bush’s speech was perfect: good but not too good. It’s obvious that she is not comfortable on a podium – which is of course exactly why America likes her.
In between, unfortunately, were the Bush twins. About the best that can be said of them is... well, their performance may cause future conventions to rethink this emerging custom of letting the candidates’ children speak.


Despite the occasional moment of tenseness with the locals, this is a positive convention. Republicans disdain John Kerry, but they don’t dislike him – certainly they feel nothing like the animus the Dems feel. At Boston, the Dems all seemed to be clenching their teeth and insisting with bulging eyes, “No, we are not ANGRY. No, we do not HATE that lying, vicious, moron. No, we love our candidate, what’s-his-name.” Maybe it’s because I’m staying in the same hotel as the Mississippi delegation, but the Republicans just seem to be filled with pleasanter feelings. Overheard in the elevator:

FIRST REPUBLICAN WOMAN: “Did you go to the Laura Bush event?” – referring to a private reception with the First Lady earlier in the day.
SECOND REPUBLICAN WOMAN: “Yes, wasn’t it lovely?”
THIRD REPUBLICAN WOMAN: “Lovely was just the word for it. And isn’t she lovely?”

New Bush Lead

I did a radio program yesterday on WBUR in which the head of Gallup polling was also interviewed. He said on air that his polls now show Bush with a six-point lead on the question, “Who will do the best job handling Iraq?” I haven’t seen that figure in print anywhere yet. Iraq, you’ll recall, is supposed to be George W. Bush’s greatest point of vulnerability in this election.


Can we now turn our eyes from New York to the grief and horror unfurling itself in Russia? Hostage-takings in schools, suicide bombings in the subway, the claims that terrorists destroyed two airliners and killed all aboard – August 2004 has been Russia’s season of terror.
Let's stipulate that Russia’s conduct in Chechnya has been appalling almost beyond description – stretching back to the time when Stalin deported half the Chechen population to Central Asia. But this Chechen terror counter-campaign is as horrible as anything done by al Qaeda, Hamas, or Hezbollah. 09:00 AM

John R. Lott: Media Bias Against Guns

Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

John R. Lott, Jr., a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles.He has been a senior research scholar at the Yale University School of Law, a fellow at the University of Chicago School of Law, a visiting fellow at Cornell University Law School and a Hoover Institution fellow. He has taught at the University of Chicago, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, Rice University and Texas A&M University. In 1988 and 1989, he was chief economist for the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He is the author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on May 25, 2004, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Seattle, Washington.

People are very surprised to learn that survey data show that guns are used defensively by private citizens in the U.S. from 1.5 to 3.4 million times a year, at least three times more frequently than guns are used to commit crimes. A question I hear repeatedly is: "If defensive gun use occurs so often, why haven't I ever heard of even one story?"Anecdotal stories published in newspapers obviously can't prove how numerous these events are, but they can at least answer the question of whether these events even occur.
Here are a few examples of the 20 cases that I found reported in newspapers as occurring during the first two weeks of May 2004: Lawrenceville, Georgia - At 3:00 a.m., an estranged former boyfriend kicked in a woman's front door. She had received a protective order against the ex-boyfriend because of "a history of drug addiction, violent behavior and threats." He was shot four times as he entered the apartment. Police said that the attacker, if he survived his injuries, would likely face charges of burglary and aggravated stalking.

Albuquerque, New Mexico - At just after 5:00 a.m., a homeowner called police saying that someone was trying to break into his home. Police reported that while waiting for help to arrive, the homeowner defended himself by shooting the intruder in the arm. Louisville, Kentucky - As a robber tried to hold up a Shelby Food Mart, he was shot by a store clerk. The judge who heard the case said that the clerk had acted responsibly and that he "was viciously attacked by this animal." Raceland, Louisiana - A man and his girlfriend offered two men a ride. One of the hitchhikers drew a gun and told the girlfriend to stop the car. The man then drew his own gun, fatally shooting the hitchhiker who was threatening them. Toledo, Ohio - A store employee wounded one of two men who tried to rob a West Toledo carryout. The employee had received his concealed handgun permit just three days earlier. The employee's father said, "My son did what he had to do . . . . Money can be replaced; lives can't."
These life and death stories represent only a tiny fraction of defensive gun uses. A survey of 1,015 people I conducted during November 2002 indicates that about 2.3 million defensive gun uses occurred nationwide over the previous year. Larger surveys have found similar results. Guns do make it easier to commit bad deeds, but they also make it easier for people to defend themselves where few alternatives are available. That is why it is so important that people receive an accurate, balanced accounting of how guns are used. Unfortunately, the media are doing a very poor job of that today. Though my survey indicates that simply brandishing a gun stops crimes 95 percent of the time, it is very rare to see a story of such an event reported in the media. A dead gunshot victim on the ground is highly newsworthy, while a criminal fleeing after a woman points a gun is often not considered news at all. That's not impossible to understand; after all, no shots were fired, no crime was committed, and no one is even sure what crime would have been committed had a weapon not been drawn. Even though fewer than one out of 1,000 defensive gun uses result in the death of the attacker, the newsman's penchant for drama means that the bloodier cases are usually covered. Even in the rare cases in which guns are used to shoot someone, injuries are about six times more frequent than deaths. You wouldn't know this from the stories the media choose to report.

A Case Study in Bias

But much more than a bias toward bad news and drama goes into the media's selective reporting on gun usage. Why, for instance, does the torrential coverage of public shooting sprees fail to acknowledge when such attacks are aborted by citizens with guns? In January 2002, a shooting left three dead at the Appalachian Law School in Virginia. The event made international headlines and produced more calls for gun control. Yet one critical fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars. The fast responses of Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges undoubtedly saved many lives. Mikael was outside the law school returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started shooting. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start. When the shots rang out, chaos erupted. Mikael and Tracy were prepared to do something more constructive: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns, then approached the shooter from different sides. Thus confronted, the attacker threw his gun down. Isn't it remarkable that out of 218 unique news stories (from a LexisNexis search) in the week after the event, just four mentioned that the students who stopped the shooter had guns? Here is a typical description of the event from the Washington Post: "Three students pounced on the gunman and held him until help arrived." New York's Newsday noted only that the attacker was "restrained by students."
Many stories mentioned the law-enforcement or military backgrounds of these student heroes, but virtually all of the media, in discussing how the killer was stopped, failed to mention the students' guns.A week and a half after the assault, I appeared on a radio program in Los Angeles along with Tracy Bridges, one of the Appalachian Law School heroes. Tracy related how he had carefully described to over 50 reporters what had happened, explaining how he had to point his gun at the attacker and yell at him to drop his gun. Yet the media had consistently reported that the incident had ended by the students "tackling" the killer.

Tracy specifically mentioned that he had spent a considerable amount of time talking face-to-face with reporter Maria Glod of the Washington Post. He seemed stunned that this conversation had not resulted in a more accurate rendition of what had occurred. After finishing the radio show, I telephoned the Post, and Ms. Glod confirmed that she had talked to both Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, and that both had told her the same story. She said that describing the students as pouncing, and failing to mention their guns, was not "intentional." It had been due to space constraints. I later spoke with Mike Getler, the ombudsman for the Post. Getler was quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying that the reporters simply did not know that bystanders had gotten their guns. After I informed him that Glod had been told by the students about using their guns, Getler said, "She should have included it." But he said that he had no power to do anything about it. He noted that readers had sent in letters expressing concern about how the attack had been covered. But none of these letters was ever published. It was not until February 28, 2004, after the preliminary hearing where testimony verified again what had happened, that the Washington Post published one brief sentence containing the truth: "[The killer] was subdued without incident by armed students." The Kansas City Star printed a particularly telling interview with Jack Stokes, media relations manager at the Associated Press, who "dismissed accusations that news groups deliberately downplayed the role gun owners may have played in stopping" the shooting. But Stokes "did acknowledge being 'shocked' upon learning that students carrying guns had helped subdue the gunman. 'I thought, my God, they're putting into jeopardy even more people by bringing out these guns.'" Selective reporting of crimes such as the Appalachian Law School incident isn't just poor journalism; it could actually endanger people's lives. By turning a case of defensive gun use into a situation where students merely "overpowered a gunman," the media give potential victims the wrong impression about what works when confronted with violence. Research consistently shows that having a gun (usually just brandishing it is enough) is the safest way to respond to any type of criminal assault.

Evidence of Unbalanced Coverage

I conducted searches of the nation's three largest newspapers - USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times - for the year 2001 and found that only the Times carried even a single news story on defensive gun use. (The instance involved a retired New York City Department of Corrections worker who shot a man attempting to hold up a gas station.) Broadening my search to the top ten newspapers in the country, I learned that the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune each managed to report three such stories in a year. During 2001, the New York Times published 104 gun crime news articles - ranging from a short blurb about a bar fight to a front-page story on a school shooting - for a total of 50,745 words. In comparison, its single story about a gun used in self-defense amounted to all of 163 words. USA Today printed 5,660 words on crimes committed with guns, and not a single word on defensive gun use. The least lopsided coverage was provided by the Washington Post, with 46,884 words on crimes committed with guns and 953 words on defensive stories - again, not exactly a balanced treatment. Moreover, the few defensive gun-use incidents that received coverage were almost all reported locally. Though articles about gun crimes are treated as both local and national stories, defensive uses of guns are given only local coverage in the rare instances they run at all. In the full sample of defensive gun-use stories I have collected, less than one percent ran outside the local coverage area.

News about guns only seems to travel if it's bad. This helps explain why residents of urban areas favor gun control. Most crime occurs in big cities, and urbanites are bombarded with tales of gun-facilitated crime. It happens that most defensive gun uses also occur in these same cities, but they simply aren't reported. The 1999 special issue of Newsweek entitled "America Under the Gun" provided over 15,000 words and numerous graphics on the topic of gun ownership, but not one mention of self-defense with a firearm. Under the heading "America's Weapons of Choice," the table captions were: "Top firearms traced to crimes, 1998"; "Firearm deaths per 100,000 people"; and "Percent of homicides using firearms." There was nothing at all on "Top firearms used in self-defense" or "Rapes, homicides, and other crimes averted with firearms." The magazine's graphic, gut-wrenching pictures all showed people who had been wounded by guns. No images were offered of people who had used guns to save lives or prevent injuries.

To investigate television coverage, I collected stories reported during 2001 on the evening news broadcasts and morning news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC. Several segments focused on the increase in gun sales after September 11, and a few of these shows actually went so far as to list the desire for self-defense as a reason for that increase. But despite over 190,000 words of coverage on gun crimes, a mere 580 words, on a single news broadcast, were devoted to the use of a gun to prevent crime - a story about an off-duty police officer who helped stop a school shooting.Another sign of bias is in the choice of authorities quoted. An analysis of New York Times news articles over a two-year period shows that Times reporters overwhelmingly cite pro-gun control academics in their articles. From February 2000 to February 2002, the Times cited nine strongly pro-control academics a total of 20 times; one neutral academic once; and no academic who was skeptical that gun control reduces crime. It's not that anti-control academics are non-existent. In 1999, 294 academics from institutions as diverse as Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA released an open letter to Congress stating that the new gun laws being proposed at that time were "ill-advised." None of these academics was quoted in New York Times reports on guns over a two-year period.

Misleading Polls

While polls can provide us with important insights about people's views, they can also mislead in subtle ways. In the case of weapons, poll questions are almost always phrased with the assumption that gun control is either a good thing or, at worst, merely ineffective. The possibility that it could increase crime is never acknowledged.

Consider these questions from some well-known national polls:

Do you think that stricter gun control laws would reduce the amount of violent crime in this country a lot, a little, or not at all? (Pew Research Center/Newsweek)
Do you think stricter gun control laws would reduce the amount of violent crime in this country, or not? (ABC News/Washington Post)
Do you think stricter gun control laws would, or would not, reduce violent crime? (CBS News)

I reviewed 17 national and seven state surveys and found that not one offered respondents a chance to consider whether gun control might increase crime. This omission of a "would increase crime" option creates a bias in two different ways. First, there is an "anchoring" effect. We know that the range of options people are offered in a poll affects how they answer, because many respondents instinctively choose the "middle ground." By only providing the choices that gun control reduces crime somewhere between "a lot" to "not at all," the middle ground becomes "a little." Second, when the possibility that gun control could increase crime is removed from polls, this affects the terms of the national debate. When people who hold this view never even hear their opinions mentioned in polls and news stories, they begin to think no one else shares their view.There are other subtle biases in the construction of these surveys. When a survey questions whether gun control will be "very important" for the respondent at the voting booth, the media often hear a "yes" answer as evidence that the person wants more gun control. Rarely do they consider that someone might regard a politician's position on gun control as important because he or she opposes it. This blurring of opposite positions in one question causes gun control to be ranked more highly as an election issue than it should be.

Debunking the Myth of Accidental Shootings

A final area strongly affected by the media's anti-gun bias is that of accidental shootings. When it comes to this topic, reporters are eager to write about guns. Many of us have seen the public service ads showing the voices or pictures of children between the ages of four and eight, which imply that there is an epidemic of accidental deaths of these young children. Data I have collected show that accidental shooters overwhelmingly are adults with long histories of arrests for violent crimes, alcoholism, suspended or revoked driver's licenses and involvement in car crashes. Meanwhile, the annual number of accidental gun deaths involving children under ten - most of these being cases where someone older shoots the child - is consistently a single digit number. It is a kind of media archetype story to report on "naturally curious" children shooting themselves or other children - though in the five years from 1997 to 2001 the entire United States averaged only ten cases a year where a child under ten accidentally shot himself or another child. In contrast, in 2001 bicycles were much more likely to result in accidental deaths than guns. Fully 93 children under the age of ten drowned accidentally in bathtubs. Thirty-six children under five drowned in buckets in 1998. Yet few reporters crusade against buckets or bathtubs. When crimes are committed with guns, there is a somewhat natural inclination toward eliminating all guns. While understandable, this reaction actually endangers people's lives because it ignores how important guns are in protecting people from harm. Unbalanced media coverage exaggerates this, leaving most Americans with a glaringly incomplete picture of the dangers and benefits of firearms. This is how the media bias against guns hurts society and costs lives.

Copyright © 2004. Permission to reprint in whole or part is hereby granted, provided a version of the following credit is used: "Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the monthly journal of Hillsdale College ("

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Guiliani Praises Bush at RNC

By FrontPage August 31, 2004

Below we publish excerpts from Rudy Giuliani's speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention on Monday, Aug. 30, 2004 -- The Editors.

New York was the first capital of our great nation. It was here in 1789 in lower Manhattan that George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States.
It was here in 2001 in lower Manhattan that President George W. Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center and said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, "They will hear from us."

So long as George Bush is President, is there any doubt they will continue to hear from us until we defeat global terrorism.

On September 11, this city and our nation faced the worst attack in our history.
Our people were so brave in their response.

At the time, we believed we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, "Thank God George Bush is our President."
And I say it again tonight, "Thank God George Bush is our President."
On September 11, George W. Bush had been President less than eight months. This new President, Vice President, and new administration were faced with the worst crisis in our history.

President Bush's response in keeping us unified and in turning the ship of state around from being solely on defense against terrorism to being on offense as well and for his holding us together.

For that and then his determined effort to defeat global terrorism, no matter what happens in this election, President George W. Bush already has earned a place in our history as a great American President.

But let's not wait for history to present the correct view of our President. Let us write our own history. We need George Bush now more than ever.

President Bush decided that we could no longer be just on defense against global terrorism but we must also be on offense.

On September 20, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, a still grieving and shocked nation and a confused world and he did change the direction of our ship of state.

He dedicated America under his leadership to destroying global terrorism.

The President announced the Bush Doctrine when he said: "Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there.
It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

And since September 11th President Bush has remained rock solid. It doesn't matter how he is demonized.

It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.
They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan.

But like President Bush, they were optimists; leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom.
Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership.

President Bush has the courage of his convictions.

And in times of danger, as we are now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.

President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is.
John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision.
This is not a personal criticism of John Kerry.

But it is important to see the contrast in approach between the two men; President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts, and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often even on important issues.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.

Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for President, he voted for the war in Iraq.
And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.

He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
John Kerry's record of inconsistent positions on combatting terrorism gives us no confidence he'll pursue such a determined course.

President Bush will not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history and failed for over thirty years to stand up to terrorists, to dissuade us from what is necessary for our defense.

He will not let them set our agenda. Under President Bush, America will lead rather than follow.

I remember President Bush coming here on September 14, 2001 and lifting the morale of our rescue workers by talking with them and embracing them and staying with them much longer than originally planned.

I also remember the heart wrenching visit President Bush made to the families of our firefighters and police officers at the Javits Center.

I remember receiving all the help, assistance and support from the President and even more than we asked.

For that I will be eternally grateful to President Bush.

And as we look beyond this election - and elections do accentuate differences - let's make sure we rekindle that spirit that we are one - one America - united to end the threat of global terrorism.

Certainly President Bush will keep us focused on that goal. When President Bush announced his commitment to ending global terrorism, he understood - - I understood, we all understood - - it was critical to remove the pillars of support for the global terrorist movement.

In any plan to destroy global terrorism, removing Saddam Hussein needed to be accomplished.

President Bush is the leader we need for the next four years because he sees beyond today and tomorrow. He has a vision of a peaceful Middle East and, therefore, a safer world. We will see an end to global terrorism. I can see it. I believe it. I know it will happen.
We have won many battles - at home and abroad - but as President Bush told us on September 20, 2001 it will take a long-term determined effort to prevail.

God bless all those defending our freedom.

God bless America.

GOP Convention: "Police Blotter"

The "peaceful and disciplined" protesters in Manhattan. by The Scrapbook, The Weekly Standard 08/30/2004 9:15:00 PM

THE SCRAPBOOK congratulates the organizers of Sunday's omnibus anti-Bush march for their spectacular success in persuading major print and broadcast outlets to describe the protesters as "peaceful and disciplined" for the most part.

THE SCRAPBOOK also congratulates the New York City Police Department for the series of highly informative convention-related press statements it's been releasing since late last week-which together make the PR success of the protest organizers seem all the more spectacular. "Peaceful and disciplined," they call this? From the good offices of New York's finest:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 26. Total arrests: 22. For instance: "At 8:38 a.m., officers from the Midtown North Precinct responded to individuals who had suspended themselves from the Plaza Hotel which is located at 5th Avenue and Central Park South. The suspects were attempting to hang a protest banner. Officers arrested the duo and also arrested two other suspects who were helping them from the roof of the building. During the course of the operation, a sergeant from Midtown North sustained a severe leg injury and was taken to Bellevue. The arrested were charged with assault. . . . At 5:25, an individual who had been speaking for the group was arrested for criminal facilitation."

FRIDAY, AUGUST 27. Total arrests: 264, each involving a "mass bike demonstration" Friday evening.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 28. Total arrests as of 6 p.m.: 25.

SUNDAY AUGUST 29. "Approximately 253 arrests were made, including nine for felony assault on police officers who attempted to arrest a 10th individual charged with arson. . . . The persons
arrested had secreted road flare-like smoke bombs and ball bearings inside cardboard poles that were authorized for signs. The same 'Black Block' group hurled police barriers into police lines at 34th and 6th. Others threw bottles. A police officer was hospitalized at St. Vincent's hospital after being struck above the left eye with a projectile. In addition, one of the police officers involved effecting the arson arrest received 3rd degree burns to his hand. . . ."

Cumulative number of convention-related arrests made by the New York City police department even before the opening gavel had swung: 547.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Dave Molinari: Lemieux Outshines Canada's All-Stars

World Cup: Lemieux outshines Canada's all-stars
Monday, August 30, 2004 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The NHL's reigning MVP and scoring champion will play for Canada in the World Cup tournament.

So will the Vezina Trophy winner and the guy who earned the Norris Trophy.
The playoff MVP is on the team, too, along with the Selke Trophy recipient.
Most rosters for the World Cup, which begins with a game between the Czech Republic and Finland in Helsinki today, are generously sprinkled with stars. Not Canada's. Its lineup is an absolute galaxy.

Martin St. Louis is there. So are Martin Brodeur and Scott Niedermayer. Same with Brad Richards and Kris Draper. Those guys combined to claim many of the NHL's most treasured hardware for the 2003-04 season.

They figure to be in uniform when Canada opens the tournament against the United States at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Montreal. Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley and Vincent Lecavalier, among others, should be there, too.
But for all the breathtaking talent on Canada's depth chart, all the brilliant individuals, only one holds an undisputed spot among the premier players in hockey history. Only one ranks among the career leaders in virtually every offensive category of consequence. Only one is in the Hall of Fame.

Only one Mario Lemieux.

He is Canada's captain, and unquestioned leader. Lemieux wasn't always universally loved in Canada -- his rivalry with Wayne Gretzky contributed mightily to that -- but he has become a cultural icon in a country where hockey is an integral part of the social tapestry.

And his mere presence draws out the little boy lurking in some of the world's finest players. Guys such as St. Louis and Richards, Stanley Cup champions who were his linemates when Canada opened training camp.

"It's awesome," St. Louis said. "For me, it's the opportunity of a lifetime. Never once did I think I'd play on the same team, let alone on the same line."

Lemieux took St. Louis and Richards golfing, just to affirm his place as a linemate, not a legend. Indeed, much as he has done with the Penguins since coming out of retirement in 2000, Lemieux has made a concerted effort to establish himself as simply another member of his club.

"He doesn't feel above everybody else," Canada winger Ryan Smyth said. "Even though he is."

And while Lemieux's leadership and intangibles are obvious assets -- "He deflects a lot of pressure off these guys," said Gretzky, executive director of Team Canada -- Canada is counting on other contributions from him.

"I expect him to score," Canada coach Pat Quinn said. "He's the kind of guy who will score big points for us. He'll put in some strong minutes. ... Guys with his skill will eventually make big plays for us."

This tournament might well be Lemieux's final international competition and is his first since helping to lead Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. Despite a hip problem that impeded him in Salt Lake City, Lemieux's performance there provided a template Quinn plans to follow during the World Cup.

"We are still going to approach this as a high-tempo thing," he said. "I don't want him out there hanging around. He's going to be playing for us like he did in the Olympics. He was the leader that allowed us to get our tempo up, because he was willing to sacrifice his ice time in the sense of cutting his time down so he could play at a higher tempo. He's going to play that same way again."

Lemieux's Olympic statistics -- two goals and four assists in five games -- were fairly modest by his standards and a by-product of the hip trouble that required surgery shortly after the Games. He enters this World Cup two years older, but healthy, well-conditioned and highly motivated.

"I'm sure Mario is going to expect big things from himself," Draper said. "Come tournament time, you just expect that Mario's going to be Mario."

Which is to say, a force like few others. And one of the primary reasons Canada is a heavy favorite to win the World Cup.

(Dave Molinari can be reached at 412-263-1144.)

Thomas Sowell: TAE Interview

"Live" with Thomas Sowell

The American Enterprise
September 2004

A senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, economist Thomas Sowell has written extensively on race, culture, and economics. While most economists focus on rational man, Sowell has shown a particular interest in irrational man--man in the grip of visions he refuses to test because he has an emotional investment in them. Among his 34 books on topics ranging from immigration to Marxism to childhood education, it is hard to know where Sowell has had the most impact. He considers his most important work to be A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, which examines the ideas that lie behind the main political controversies of the past two centuries. In it, Sowell warns that utopian views have caused much misery in our time.

[Other Articles in This Issue
How to Make an American Fact, Fable, and Darwin The Media's Fear of God]

Sowell's latest book is Applied Economics, a companion volume to his earlier Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. He is currently working on two books: Affirmative Action Around the World, a study of preferential race policies, and a book on black education. Sowell was interviewed for TAE by Los Angeles journalist David Isaac in Palo Alto, California.

TAE: You started as a Marxist.

Sowell: Yes. The first time I read anything really serious about him was when I was about 19. I remember buying an old, secondhand set of encyclopedias for a dollar and 19 cents. (Amazing how you remember details from important events!) In it was a long piece about Marx with all these quotations from him, and it all seemed to ring so true. Fortunately, even during my period of Marxism I had respect for evidence and logic, so it was only a matter of time before my Marxism began to unravel as I compared what actually happened in history to what was supposed to happen.

TAE: In your 1982 book, Marxism, you show that Marx's thought has been misunderstood by followers and critics alike, but also that Marx's contribution to economics "can be readily summarized as virtually zero." What, if any, are the positive contributions of Marxist thought to other fields?

Sowell: He taught us to see changes in the social environment as influencing the political part of society. He reacted to John Stuart Mill's notion that you could explain social changes by the general progress of the human mind--the idea that as time went on, people, particularly the leading intellectuals who served as guides for the rest of society, had a better and better understanding of things.

Marx argued, "No, you need to understand the social environment in which diverse ideas flourish." Different classes, because they see the world from different angles, will believe different things. The clash of those classes will then help explain some of the changes that occur in society. The great negative aspect of all this is that it makes the surrounding environment seem almost omnipotent. It exalts external causes and extinguishes internal causes.

A simple example. Italian and Jewish immigrants arrived from Europe at about the same time, lived on the Lower East Side of New York, were side by side in the same schools. But their trajectories were completely different. Jewish kids did a lot better. More graduated from schools. The Italians, even when they rose up the socio-economic scale, as they eventually did, tended to rise in different areas, in different occupations, than Jews. The immediate surrounding environment really was no different for the two, but they had very different cultural histories that Marxism would have a hard time explaining.

TAE: Several of your books have been devoted to showing how culture has determined capabilities--you range across history, continents, and a wide variety of societies to demonstrate this.

Sowell: People compare blacks and whites, but there are many differences within the black community alone. A disproportionate number of successful black people come from the West Indies. People talk about the legacy of slavery. Well, there's just as much legacy of slavery in the West Indies as the American South. Yet West Indians do so much better in the United States. They didn't get the cultural legacy that's been such a handicap for the other blacks.

A study was done about the leading black professionals in Washington, D.C. The characteristics of these people, particularly what their grandfathers did, make it clear that these were the descendants of the half million free persons of color who were freed prior to the Civil War. They had cultural advantages. A disproportionate number of them were in fact the offspring of slave owners. One of the classic cases was Senator Blanche K. Bruce of the Reconstruction era. Bruce was educated by tutors alongside the master's son, or, as some would say, the master's other son. So even in the era of slavery there were cultural differences that showed up in later eras.

TAE: You once said that you write when you have something to say. Or you'll see something that riles you up. In your preface for The Quest for Cosmic Justice you say the impetus for the book was the sophomoric remarks of a colleague. Are your critics in this sense an asset?

Sowell: There's a lot to get riled up about these days, and I would say that half or more of the things I've written were written, one, because I thought they needed to be said, and two, because I thought most people had better sense than to believe what the experts were claiming.

TAE: You point out that the inefficiency of political control of an economy has been demonstrated more often in more places in more conditions than almost anything outside the realm of pure science. Yet such control continues to be exercised again and again. Is there any hope of reason winning out in other areas if it cannot make a dent here?

Sowell: Reason has made a dent. Ronald Reagan started to privatize. Socialists started to privatize. China--the communists--started to privatize. So if reason doesn't lead us there, experience sometimes will.

It happened with me. When I first read Friedrich Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society," assigned in class by Milton Friedman, I just didn't see the relevance it had to anything. Three years later, I began my teaching career at Douglass College, and because I'd written on Marx, they thought I could teach a course on the Soviet economy. I had to start at square one. I read tons of stuff about all these weird things that happened in the Soviet economy, and I began to see the relevance of what Hayek said. Up to that moment it had just seemed like a bunch of statements, but once you begin to see the concrete links, then you say, "Oh my goodness, why are they doing this?" Such as the fact that the Soviet central planning commission actually set 24 million prices.

The problem is that the people who do these things often think only about the goals they're pursuing. I used to have a friend who was a big leftist. And when he'd propose some utopian scheme I would say, "Yes, but how would you actually do this?" And he'd say, "Tom, we'll leave that to the technocrats."

TAE: Is this your friend Al, whom you talk about in your autobiography, A Personal Odyssey?

Sowell: Yes. My radical friend Al. I remember once I was in Maryland with Al and Walter Williams. It turns out they're both from Philadelphia. Walter says, "Ah, you must know so-and-so." And Al says no. "Well, what about what's-his-name?" And Al says "No." These questions go on and I see that Al is getting more uncomfortable and Walter is getting more puzzled. Finally Walter says, "Where did you live?" Al tells him (it's a fancy neighborhood) and Walter says, "My God, I didn't know any black people lived there!"

Yet Al is regarded today as the authentic black. When he taught at Hunter College, the department chairman had to tell him to be sure to let in the regular students who needed his course to graduate, because so many fashionable housewives from Park Avenue were crowding in to hear him denounce this fascist, American society.

TAE: Have you written about that phenomenon?

Sowell: The two most controversial pieces I've written were in the Washington Post in 1981, called "Blacker Than Thou" and "Blacker Than Thou II." Oh, the fury. An entire page of the Post was devoted to letters attacking me. Patricia Roberts Harris said something like, "People like Sowell and Williams are middle class. They don't know what it is to be poor." So I proceeded to point out that not only was Patricia Roberts Harris not poor, but that I never saw Patricia Roberts Harris at Howard University when we were there at the same time because she was in a sorority that would not admit dark-skinned girls.

TAE: In one of your books you expressed your belief that double standards and political correctness are opening up a gulf between favored minorities and the rest of the population, with explosive future potential. How do you see the situation now?

Sowell: Oh, I think the resentment is there. Affirmative action and so on are great recruiting items for racist organizations. The terrible thing is that the Left doesn't seem to regard polarization as something to be avoided. Polarization enables them to be on the side of the angels. They're not going to suffer the repercussions down the road. Nor will most of the black elites. If we should ever, heaven forbid, reach some kind of race war in this country, the "black leaders" are going to be safely removed from the friction points. The people in the middle of the ghetto who never got anything out of preferences are going to be the ones left to suffer the consequences.

TAE: Your 1992 book, Inside American Education, is a devastating indictment of everything from the way we train teachers to political correctness to the deceptive way ideological fads are foisted on an unsuspecting public. Have these trends changed at all in the decade since you wrote the book? Have there been improvements?

Sowell: There's a recent case in Fairfax,

Virginia in which irate parents got one of these programs removed from their schools, something called the International Baccalaureate Curriculum. It's internationalism, socialism, the usual nonsense, which among other things, aside from being wrong, takes up a lot of time that could be spent on real subjects.

The people who are running this stuff are saying, "Our children will change the world." Well, the thought of these poorly educated people taking it upon themselves to change the world…. Better I should try to rebuild the World Trade Center with my own hands.

But there are pockets here and there of people fighting back. Among blacks it is quite clear there are countertrends, though the crazies are still in charge. Someone teaching a high school class recently asked me for writings by black conservative authors so his students could hear both sides. Thirty years ago that would have been an easy question to answer because it would have been Walter Williams and me, but today there are more black conservative writers than I could possibly keep track of.

There are black talk show hosts all across the country, from Armstrong Williams in Washington to Ken Hamblin in Denver to Larry Elder in Los Angeles and all kinds of people in between. And these are typically younger individuals. I don't see many new Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons coming along. In the long run there's a good chance for a turnaround. On the other hand, between now and then, a lot, probably millions, of young blacks will go right down the tubes because of bad ideas promoted by today's black leadership.

TAE: You note in Races & Cultures the tendency of some economically triumphant minorities like Jews to favor the political Left, and suggest that it is worthy of further research. What reasons do you think account for it?

Sowell: I don't know. That's why it's worthy of further research. It's only in fairly recent times that you get a serious, politically conservative Jewish intelligentsia. Raymond Aron in France. Milton Friedman here.

TAE: How would you begin to study such a subject?

Sowell: I'd have to consult someone who's much more intimately familiar with these communities. My suspicion is that it's really the later generations that turn left. It's not the street peddler who turns left but his grandchild who's sent off to Harvard or City College of New York--partly because his parents and grandparents are a tough act to follow.

That's one of the reasons that so many heirs to fortunes bankroll left-wing movements. You can imagine the heirs of David Packard. He started in a garage rented with borrowed money. You can't get more shaky that that. And here are all these rich heirs, who will never have to work a day in their lives, finding nothing better to do than bankroll the environmental movements making life miserable for many working people.

I was talking to one of my favorite clerks down at a photography place in Palo Alto. He mentioned that he'd read a column of mine recently. I said, "Wait a minute, there's no column of mine that appears in any newspaper within 50 miles of here." He says, "I live in Tracy."

"You live in Tracy? That's a long haul from here," I observed.

"Well, I certainly can't afford to live in Palo Alto," he said.

Wealthy elites have nothing better to do than make life miserable for people like this guy, who has to spend a couple of hours each way on the congested freeway. Extreme environmentalists have helped drive people of moderate income out of the Bay Area. They've especially driven out people with children, and they've driven out blacks. All the while espousing these great pieties.

TAE: Do you think the public will turn on the environmentalists? Will there be a point where people just get fed up?

Sowell: I hope so and I'm doing everything I can. I have three columns on my Web site now on this issue. One of them features a couple who own 18 acres of land and want to build a house on it. They have jumped over many hoops in a year and a half, and they've only just recently gotten the first permit to allow them to go and get the other permit.

TAE: In San Luis Obispo in California people have to worry about some kind of federally endangered snail. If someone wants to build, and finds it in his backyard, it spells all kinds of trouble.

Sowell: I don't believe in vigilante action but I'm tempted in my daydreams to organize a group of guys in combat fatigues to go out there at night and pick up those snails so people can get on with their lives. There was some butterfly that was holding up building up in San Bruno. It's a crushing burden. In this area, from San Jose up to San Francisco, the average price of a home is over half a million dollars. We're not talking mansions. We're talking little nothing houses jammed together.

TAE: At the end of Applied Economics, you explain that it's impossible for different parts of the world to have equal development. Yet economic disparities often lead to claims of "exploitation" and solutions built on controlling people's lives.

Sowell: There's something Eric Hoffer said: "Intellectuals cannot operate at room temperature." There always has to be a crisis--some terrible reason why their superior wisdom and virtue must be imposed on the unthinking masses. It doesn't matter what the crisis is. A hundred years ago it was eugenics. At the time of the first Earth Day a generation ago, the big scare was global cooling, a big ice age. They go from one to the other. It meets their psychological needs and gives them a reason for exercising their power. Many intellectuals' preoccupation with the poor is very much the same thing. The thing that gives it all away is that after they say, "We must have this program because the poor can't afford medicine, or can't afford housing," they will splutter if you say, "OK, let's have a means test so it really goes to the poor." If they were really concerned primarily about the poor, they would agree to it. But they are bitterly opposed to that, because the poor are a lever to reach other, political, goals.

Walter Williams figured out some years ago that the amount of money needed to move the poor out of poverty would be trivial compared to the amount of money that's spent on these damn programs that are supposed to help the poor but usually don't. But the poor are being used as human shields in the political battle. You put the poor up in front of you as you march across the battlefield and enemy troops won't fire, so you can expand your power, and raise taxes, and so forth.

TAE: In a recent column, you mentioned that Democrats are running out of poor people as a useful tool.

Sowell: Yes, they inflate the numbers. One way is by counting persons who don't have real problems but temporarily lack income, like students. When I first started studying poverty some 20 years ago, I was astonished to discover how many people among the official ranks of the poor had air conditioning, which I didn't have! Thousands of poor people with swimming pools? I didn't have a swimming pool! I'm sure there were years when Donald Trump was not making money because things weren't going his way. Technically, he was down there among the poor.

TAE: Will we ever go back to a political vision that accepts mankind's limits, or will future politics be dominated by people who claim men are perfectible, and just need another program or law to bring about heaven on earth?

Sowell: That's the $64,000 question. I take heart from people who fought the good fight regardless of what the odds looked like. I often think of Whittaker Chambers, who left the communist movement at a time when he thought he was leaving the winners to go join the losers. I think of people in World War II landing in these God-forsaken islands out in the Pacific. They must have wondered, "What does anyone want with this miserable piece of land?" They went ahead and fought and many of them died for it. And eventually from those islands came the planes that put an end to World War II. But they had no way of knowing that when they were storming the beaches. They knew they had a job to do and they did it.

I'm old enough I probably won't live to be disappointed. It's just a matter of going on and fighting the fight, realizing of course that I wouldn't be here if my predecessors hadn't fought their fight. And they had a hell of a lot more to put up with than I do. I'm always embarrassed when people say that I'm courageous. Soldiers are courageous. Policemen are courageous. Firemen are courageous. I just have a thick hide and disregard what silly people say.

TAE: In A Conflict of Visions, you wrote, "the concept of 'nation building' is a fundamental misconception. Nations may grow and evolve but cannot be built." In Iraq we're attempting to build a democratic society. Is that an example of an unconstrained vision at work?

Sowell: Yes. It may be that the Bush people are trying to appeal politically to people with utopian visions. I'm not privy to what the inner circle is saying. Before the Iraq war I was quite disturbed by some of the neoconservatives, who were saying things like, "What is the point of being a superpower if you can't do such-and-such, take on these responsibilities?" The point of being a superpower is that people will leave you alone.

An argument can be made that the war in Iraq was the right thing, with or without the weapons of mass destruction, because we needed to send a message to the terrorists, and, more important, to the people who are harboring the terrorists, that we will act. Everyone knew all along that the United States had the power to wipe out any nation on the face of the earth. I remember my sister saying, "What could they be thinking coming over here and attacking the World Trade Center, knowing what the power situation was?" I said, "They knew all that. They didn't think we had the guts to do anything."

Bill Clinton, among other Presidents, had given them that impression. Our intellectuals had given them that impression. Those people who fought the hijackers and made them crash out in Pennsylvania did a great thing, not only in and of itself, but in letting people know that Americans are not a bunch of wimps. People don't know you will fight until you actually do.

TAE: You recently wrote, "If it comes down to a battle between the wimps and the barbarians, the barbarians will win." You point out that in previous periods there were far fewer members of the liberal intelligentsia in the West than we have today, and they had less impact.

Sowell: Absolutely. The tragedy is that the Left has never understood the importance of incentives in general or power in particular. That power is the only thing that deters power.

The only thing terrorists care about is their power. Depriving them of their power is the only way to change them. When they see the Taliban replaced in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein ousted in Iraq, that's a strong message. I don't think it's coincidental that Qaddafi decided that he would try to be a little more reasonable now than he was in the past.

The Left's silly crusade against guns is another classic example--claiming that the way to stop gun crime is to disarm law-abiding people. It's hard to imagine anyone who grew up in a tough neighborhood believing that. But these people on the Left have often grown up in very sheltered environments.

I remember a highly educated man in San Francisco who didn't think police really had any effect on crime, that he would be just as safe without them. He never felt the need for police to defend him--no one bothered him! That's a vision that pervades a large section of the intelligentsia.

TAE: You have warned that the notion of justice that comes from following established processes is being replaced in our judicial system by a more cosmic and arbitrary and emotional notion of justice, and that this amounts to a silent repeal of the American Revolution.

Sowell: There are a few holdouts. With luck Justice Janice Rogers Brown may get confirmed in the next Congress. She's really a fine judge. What's ironic is that liberals say she's unqualified. The real problem is she's too qualified. She's qualified enough that she may well become a factor not only on the District Court but a candidate for the Supreme Court, so they're going to try and cut her off at the pass. And if they have to lie to do it, that's a small price to pay because they have paid it many times before. Senator Kerry's attack on Judge Charles Pickering really turned my stomach: "Pickering became an advocate for a cross burner." Pickering's objection to the sentencing was actually that the guy was not a cross burner yet got a longer sentence than the guy who was. Pickering stood up to the Ku Klux Klan when it was literally a danger to your life to do so in Mississippi. When they integrated schools down in Mississippi, Pickering sent his child to a school with black kids, which is more than most white liberals ever do today.

TAE: How would you assess your impact after these many years of writing, so much of it against the dominant orthodoxies of our time?

Sowell: I'm not sure anyone can assess his own work. I certainly wouldn't have the objectivity. I'm always pleasantly surprised by the people who have read what I've written. I remember some years ago, I was waiting in an airport in New Delhi when somebody walked by with a copy of The Economics and Politics of Race. More recently Shelby Steele came back from Poland, and said, "At the university there, people were all asking, do I know you?" Basic Economics has been translated into Polish. You just never know. I'm sure that at least 95 percent of the people in this country have never heard of me, and that's the way it should be.

Someone's impact is often hard to see. I think of Friedrich Hayek. People who never heard of him, who never read a word he wrote, are nevertheless strongly influenced by his ideas on economic liberty. There are think tanks in Australia and Jamaica and South America based on Hayek's work that are now directly reaching the public who have no idea who the source is.

TAE: What in your career are you most proud of?

Sowell: As an intellectual achievement I would say A Conflict of Visions or Say's Law. In terms of something useful to other people, Late Talking Children. The parents of children who were delayed in speaking have been very generous in their expressions of gratitude for what I've done, which really has been quite modest. The most important thing I did was put these people in touch with one another through the group that I formed.

TAE: How would you like to be remembered?

Sowell: Oh, heavens, I'm not sure I want to be particularly remembered. I would like the ideas that I've put out there to be remembered.

Published in One America September 2004
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