Monday, January 5, 2004 3:06 p.m. EST
Saddam's 'Sex Therapist'
Back in April, the
Boston Globe reports, a "sex therapist" called Susan Block, wrote a lurid pro-Saddam essay (warning: link contains adult
material) in which she likened the liberation of Iraq to rape:
The supreme victory for the rapist is proof that his victim "enjoyed"
it. Though he may force his way into her property, demolish her home,
murder her loved ones, pillage her belongings, though he may terrify and
humiliate her, beat and batter her, break her bones and tear her flesh,
spill her blood, wound her organs and lay waste to her very soul, if, in
the midst of the rape, between tears and shrieks of agony, if his victim
should, for a moment, for some reason, any reason, if she should smile,
or, better yet, orgasm [sic], the rapist is redeemed; he is even (in his
This is why, when the Anglo-American rape of Iraq began, we so
desperately searched the Iraqi faces on our televisions for a
Block's imagery is particularly twisted given that Saddam Hussein's
Baathist regime actually used rape as a tool of political control. But
whatever, she's just another harmless left-wing nut case, right?
Unfortunately, wrong. The Globe reports that Yeni Safak, an Islamist
newspaper in Turkey, cited Block's essay in a "report" that claimed
American soldiers had raped more than 4,000 Iraqi women. The rumor seems
to have incited at least one terrorist attack in Istanbul:
Nurullah Kuncak says his father, Ilyas Kuncak, was boiling about the
rumored rapes just before he killed himself delivering the huge car bomb
that devasted [sic] the Turkish headquarters of HSBC bank last month,
killing a dozen people and wounding scores more.
''Didn't you see, the American soldiers raped Iraqi women,'' Nurullah
said in a recent interview. ''My father talked to me about it.
. . . Thousands of rapes are in the records. Can you imagine
how many are still secret?''
Since Sept. 11, "Why do they hate us?" has been a stock question of the
anti-American left. One reason they hate us is because of the diligent
efforts of homegrown haters like Susan Block.
The Spirit of '76
"Afghans approved a new
constitution on Sunday, embracing a deal shaped in three weeks of
rancorous debate as a chance to cement a fragile peace and push ahead with
reconstruction two years after a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban
regime," the Associated Press reports from Kabul. Think about this. Here
is a country from which, 28 months ago, terrorists launched a brutal
attack against American civilians. How does America respond? By bringing
democracy to a nation that has suffered through a quarter century of
communism, civil war and moonbat Muslim rule.
Similarly, the New York Times reports that "the Bush administration has
decided to let the Kurdish region remain semi-autonomous as part of a
newly sovereign Iraq despite warnings from Iraq's neighbors and many
Iraqis not to divide the country into ethnic states." A stateless people,
oppressed in every country they inhabit (Iran, Syria and Turkey as well as
Iraq), finally has a hope for self-rule, thanks to the U.S. acting to
protect its own national security.
In the 20th century, of course, America also liberated Europe from the
Nazis, Asia from the Japanese and (in a more roundabout way) Russia and
Eastern Europe from communism--not to mention finally making good on its
own promise of equal citizenship. The U.S. may not be perfect, but it's
hard to think of any greater force for good in human history.
Embedded in Reuterville
One U.S. soldier died
when a helicopter went down Friday, the Associated Press reports:
Soon after the helicopter crashed on Friday, the military said
attackers posing as journalists fired assault weapons and
rocket-propelled grenades at American paratroopers guarding the burning
But there was confusion since Reuters news agency reported that its
team at the scene was fired at by U.S. troops and three were later
detained by the military.
Hmm, could it be that the guys at Reuters are getting a little too
close to the story?
"Some 300 female supporters of
Islamic Jihad marched Monday through the streets of Gaza City protesting a
French proposal to bar Muslim women from wearing headscarves in state
schools," the Associated Press reports. A related story comes from al-Jazeera:
Thousands of Muslim worshippers shouted "death to France" during
Friday prayers in Tehran after a sermon denounced a French plan to ban
the hijab in schools.
Ayat Allah Ahmad Jannati called on Islamic countries to "threaten
France with cancelling contracts and to reconsider their relations with
France" over the issue. . . .
Jannati assured worshippers that all that was necessary was "a roar
from Muslims, and the French would back off."
Could it be that even little girls are too formidable a foe for the
Dean Goes Job Hunting
Why did God give Howard
Dean a mouth? So he'd have someplace to put his foot. The
foaming-at-the-mouth front-runner continues to say idiotic things about
religion, as Reuters reports:
He said a trip to Israel in December 2002, when he had already been
to Iowa a couple of times looking into a possible presidential bid, had
a particularly dramatic effect on him.
"If you know much about the Bible--which I do--to see and be in the
place where Christ was and understand the intimate history of what was
going on 2000 years ago is an exceptional experience," he said.
Asked to name his favorite book in the New Testament, Dean cited
Job--which is in the Old Testament.
In a Republican debate back in 1999, George W. Bush was asked to name his
favorite "political philosopher or thinker." He answered: "Christ, because
he changed my heart," then elaborated: "When you turn your heart and your
life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your
heart. It changes your life. And that's what happened to me."
One might complain that Bush didn't answer the question, since Jesus
Christ was not in fact a political philosopher. Then again, if you watch
any of these debates, you'll see the candidates almost always dodge the
question and say what they want to say. And Bush's nonanswer answer was
pretty smart, for it deftly accomplished what Dean is now trying to do:
let Christian voters know he's one of them.
Dean has talked an awful lot about how he plans to talk about his
faith, but on the rare occasions when he actually does talk about his
faith, you get the impression that he thinks Jesus really was a
political philosopher. On Christmas Day the Boston Globe quoted Dean as explaining why he left the
Episcopal Church to become a Congregationalist: "I didn't think [opposing
the bike path] was very Godlike and thought it was hypocritical of me to
be a member of such an institution."
Today's Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, quotes Dean as asking a
group of voters: "Don't you think Jerry Falwell reminds you a lot more of
the Pharisees than he does of the teachings of Jesus? And don't you think
this campaign ought to be about evicting the money changers from the
temple?" One wonders what George Soros thinks of the latter idea.
The contrast between the Bush and Dean approaches to religion is
instructive. To Bush, religion is a source of personal strength and
guidance. To Dean, by contrast, it dictates policy: God told me to
build a bike path. Dean has criticized his Democratic opponents as
"Bush lite," but he seems to be Pat Robertson lite.
What Would Pat Robertson Do Without God?
Robertson: God Says Bush Will Win in 2004"--headline, FoxNews.com,
A long New York Times magazine
article on Democratic foreign policy contains this quote from Howard
"The line of attack [on President Bush] is not Iraq, though there'll
be some of that. The line of attack will be more, 'What have you done to
make us feel safer?' I'm going to outflank him to the right on homeland
security, on weapons of mass destruction and on the Saudis,'' whom Dean
promises to publicly flay as a major source of terrorism. ''Our model is
to get around the president's right, as John Kennedy did to
Will this approach work? Well, ponder this question: Whom would Osama
bin Laden rather have in the White House, George W. Bush or Howard
One man who doesn't buy Dean's JFK analogy is George McGovern, the 1972
antiwar candidate. "McGovern recently said that he is a big fan of Howard
Dean, whose campaign reminds him very much of his own," the Times reports.
Meanwhile, Time's Joe Klein likens Dean to another candidate who tried to
get to Nixon's right:
Watching Dean on the stump these past few weeks, I tried to remember
the last Democratic politician who was so joyously vituperative.
. . . I realized that he reminded me of George Wallace--a
liberal version, to be sure, and without the theatrical racism. But
Wallace was about a lot more than racism. He was about the inanities of
Washington, the "pointy-headed intellectuals who can't park their
bicycles straight." He was a little guy too, with the same chestiness,
the same rolled-up sleeves as Dean. He was congenitally pugnacious, a
former boxer (Dean was a wrestler). He claimed to provide a voice for
the voiceless--albeit a set of alienated Americans very different from
Dean's affluent Net surfers. Wallace voters were, well, white guys with
Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. And he was a formidable
We'd say if Dean gets the nomination, he has a pretty good chance of
exceeding the 13.5% of the popular vote Wallace got as the American
Independent Party's nominee in 1968. Matching Wallace's 46 electoral votes
may be a taller order.
Hey, here's an idea for how Dean could get to Bush's right. On a Web
site called BrandChannel.com, one Viejo Hytti, a goofy-looking Finnish consultant, argues
that the president is actually antibusiness:
Looking at the top ten brands, the images of Coca-Cola, Microsoft,
IBM, GE, Disney and Ford are strongly rooted in American heritage. For
some of them, country of origin, is the strongest single factor
affecting the brand image and brand value. . . . We've seen
many cases already where American brands have been injured by politics,
such as Mecca Cola against Coca-Cola, Chinese competitors against
Microsoft, and McDonald's struggle with social responsibility. If the
Bush Administration continues its foreign politics strategy, I can
guarantee there will be more difficulties for US companies and brands to
maintain their market share in foreign markets.
May we suggest this Dean slogan: Iraqi lives aren't worth a single
point of Coke's market share!
The Terrorists Have Won, and So Has Dean
Cites Terror Alert as Vindication"--headline, Associated Press,
And We're Throwing Our Own Surprise Birthday
"Dean to Make Surprise Visit to N.H."--headline, Boston
Globe, Jan. 5
The New Republican
Election Day is still 10
months off, but Republicans have already picked up a Texas House seat as a
result of a GOP gerrymander that replaced the old Democratic gerrymander.
Eighty-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall, a conservative who was first elected to
the House as a Democrat in 1980, has filed to run in the Republican
primary. "I think I can get re-elected much easier if I run as a
Republican," the Associated Press quotes Hall as saying.
Party-switching from Democrat to Republican has been fairly common in
recent decades; among those who've made the switch, as an outdated CNN list notes, are former and current senators
Strom Thurmond (S.C.), Phil Gramm (Texas), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and Ben
Nighthorse Campbell (Colo.) and representatives Bob Stump (Ariz.), Nathan
Deal (Ga.), Billy Tauzin (La.) and Virgil Goode (Va.), though Goode was an
independent for a time before he became a Republican.
GOP-to-Dem switches are far rarer; the only one CNN lists is Rep.
Michael Forbes of New York, who jumped in 1999, then lost a primary to a
candidate who in turn lost the 2000 general election to a
Republican--though the Democrats picked up the seat in 2002.
The U.S. Senate Web site, meanwhile, has a list of senators
who've switched parties since 1890. (Gramm doesn't appear because he
actually made the change while in the House.) Interestingly, not a single
senator went directly from the Republican to the Democratic party, though
two (Henry Teller of Colorado and Fred DuBois of Idaho, around a century
ago) became "Silver Republicans" and then Democrats, and one (Wayne Morse
of Oregon, at midcentury) became an independent and then a Dem. And of
course the last senator to switch parties was Vermont's Jim Jeffords, who
became an independent and started voting with the Democrats even more than
he did as a nominal Republican.
By the Way
Over the weekend the Washington
Post published a groundbreaking story on John Kerry, the haughty,
French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who turns out to have served in
Vietnam. "The Vietnam War was the defining event in Kerry's life," the
Post informs us, although the paper reports that "he does not dwell on
it"--which makes the paper's scoop all the more impressive.
No, Most of Us Are Born in Hospitals
everybody's born on a level playing field. You've got to help lift people
up and give them a chance, and that's what affirmative action does. And
it's not just about race; it's also about sex."--Wesley Clark, quoted by
the Associated Press, June 5
This Just In
"Daschle Unlikely to Run for
President"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 2
What Would Lebanon Do Without Famous
"Famous Clairvoyant Predicts Gloomy Year for
Lebanon"--headline, Daily Star (Beirut), Jan. 3
What Would We Do Without
"Researcher Links Obesity, Food
Portions"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 3
They Were Expecting Miami Beach?
Mars Show Rocky Landscape"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 4
Rush to Judgment
In the Los Angeles Times, Ann
Louise Bardach names the "Moron Top 10 of 2003." No. 4 is Rush
For years, liberals have said Rush Limbaugh's daily radio show
sounded like the ravings of a drug addict. In October, they were shocked
to learn they were right. It turned out that the talk show king had been
vacuuming up some 30 OxyContins a day, a drug known on the street as
"hillbilly heroin." Previously, Limbaugh had condemned drug addicts as
"defining deviancy down" and urging that we finally "be rid of them!"
Finally, a lucid moment of self-reflection.
You'd think someone in the business of naming morons would make an
effort not to look like one herself. It was the late Daniel Patrick
Moynihan, not Limbaugh, who coined the phrase "defining deviancy
The Palm Beach Post reports that Limbaugh "says prosecutors
are unfairly targeting him with a prescription fraud charge known as
'doctor shopping' because he is a famous political conservative":
In fact, a records search by the Clerk of Courts Office revealed only
one case in the past five years in which Palm Beach County prosecutors
charged a defendant with illegally acquiring overlapping
prescriptions. . . .
Doctor shopping, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years
in prison, is duping at least two doctors into prescribing the same
controlled substance in a 30-day period.
Limbaugh, who hasn't actually been charged yet, isn't the only Rush
with legal problems in Florida. The Associated Press reports that the guitarist for the
Canadian rock band that shares the radio host's Christian name "skirmished
with sheriff's deputies, spat blood on one and was arrested on New Year's
Eve after his son refused to leave the stage at a fancy hotel, authorities
Deputies said they had to use a stun gun on 50-year-old Alex
Zivojinovich--known on stage as Alex Lifeson--for what they described as
drunken, violent behavior at the Naples Ritz-Carlton
Let that be a lesson in what happens when you can learn to resist
anything but temptation.
Happy New Year
The vast majority of Americans
are happy, according to a new Gallup poll. The survey finds that a 55%
majority describe themselves as "very happy"--the highest total since
Gallup started asking the question in 1956. Another 40% say they're
"fairly happy," and only 4% say "not too happy." One percent have "no
It appears, however, as though 7% of Americans are hopeful yet
discontent. That's the percentage who described themselves as "somewhat
dissatisfied." Fifty-eight percent said they were "very satisfied" and 30%
"somewhat satisfied." Only 4% are "very dissatisfied," and they try and
they try and they try and they try.
(Elizabeth Crowley helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to
Michael Segal, Jerome Marcus, Derek Ayame, Barak Moore, Naftali Friedman,
Alex Makowski, Zev Safran, Rosanne Klass, Yehuda Hilewitz, Dave Hauck, Tom
Linehan, Tom Keller, Michael Nunnelley, Thomas Crimmins, William Demas,
Doug Levene, Paul Hartwick, Chris Stetsko, Scott Garland, Gadi Niram, Joel
Goldberg, Rick Richman, Steve Roberts, Roger Heinig, David Flanagan,
George Bushwaller, Thomas Dillon, Abe Beyda, Peter Melvoin, Jack Connelly,
Michael Rydelnik, Jeff Fuller, Paul Ruschmann, Alex Robson, Patrick Baker,
Roger Johnson, Evan Graham, Dan Friedman, Kevin Brouillette, C.E. Dobkin,
Nick Ianuzzi and Jim Orheim. If you have a tip, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and
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