- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

An old friend, Boris Johnson, is now a very grand personage in British culture. He's a Tory MP and editor of the Spectator, one of the house organs of London's chattering conservative classes. So, I was thrilled to see him turn up on the New York Times' op-ed page last Sunday, with a peppy, funny piece about Tony Blair.
This Thursday, in the Spectator, he unloads on the experience of being edited under the PC auspices of 43rd Street. A quip about throwing money at the president of Guinea had to be changed to the president of Chile. Why? "Uh, Boris," said Tobin, the editor of his piece, "it's just easier in principle if we don't say anything deprecatory about a black African country, and since Guinea and Chile are both members of the U.N. Security Council, and since it doesn't affect your point, we would like to say Chile."
Tom Wolfe couldn't make this stuff up. Then, there was the problem of Boris' lead sentence, which was a sarcastic reference to Donald Rumsfeld's ham-fisted dis of the British military effort in Iraq. The piece began: "Gee, thanks, guys."
After some too-ing and fro-ing, Tobin "revealed the true concerns of his multitudinous line editors and page editors. 'OK, Booris, I'll tell you what the problem is. Our problem is that "Gee" is an abbreviation for Jesus. For a century this has been a Jewish-owned paper, and we have to be extremely sensitive about anything that might offend Christian sensibilities. 'We can say "God," "God" is fine, but we have to be very careful about anything that involves the name of the Lord and Saviour.' 'Jesus H. Christ,' I said, 'this is insane. This is utterly insane.'" No it isn't, old chum. It's the New York Times.
Quote for the week
"It is not an easy decision to send America's young men and women into harm's way. As I said before, some of them will not be returning. But to somehow assert, as some do, that the people of Iraq and the Middle East are not entitled to those same God-given rights that Americans and people all over the country are, that they do not have those same hopes and dreams and aspirations our own citizens do, to me, is a degree of condescension. I might even use stronger language than that to describe it. So I respectfully disagree with the remarks of the Senator from West Virginia. I believe the President of the United States has done everything necessary and has exercised every option short of war, which has led us to the point we are today." Sen. John McCain, responding to Sen. Robert Byrd's remarks that he was ashamed of his country as we went to war.
Raines watch
A series of headlines from the March 20 Chicago Tribune. Notice the cumulative effect: "Bush launches pre-emptive war to oust Hussein" page 1. "Protesters prepped for the anti-war" page 3. "Higher-tech bombs still not perfect" page 4. "Al Qaeda allegation is the weakest link in justifying the war" page 5. "Scholars hardly in accord on Bush's legal justification" page 15. Get the picture? And this was on Day One. Can you imagine what the coverage will be like if things go wrong?
The changing left
Here's an e-mail I got this week that cheered me up:
"I live in San Francisco. My mildest dissents from the party line [on the war] have most often been met with a two-pronged response: 'You are far too intelligent to consider such a thing' and 'Is something going wrong in your emotional life?' I am in fact far too intelligent not to notice the combined condescension and abdication of thought therein expressed. And my emotional life is indeed in difficulty: Muslim terrorists want to destroy the civilization that makes my very existence possible and they blew a hole in my hometown.
I come from a strong Catholic background, was a lifelong Democrat and I am a 60's boomer. So appeals to 'Justice and Peace' seemed to me only the Natural Form of Righteousness. Now I see that what is lacking there, and in almost all the Left, is 'Freedom.' I have watched with increasing dismay as most of the idiots and the savants of the Left have lined up against President Bush's response to September 11. Not that his strategy is unassailable and without risk (what, in this world, could be?) But, the smug and self-satisfied contempt with which they respond, especially to him as a person, has pulled the mask off. (Apparently cultural sensitivity does not extend to Texans and the maligned standard of IQ suddenly is back in vogue.) None of them show anything near such a feeling for the Islamist thugs who slaughtered 3,000 of their countrymen and women in a single morning.
I am afraid that my generation learned too well to love their enemies without ever learning how to stop hating their fathers. So that now, hatred of the father takes the form of love of the enemy. And inside all that is a toxic self-hatred that appalls me."
Maybe, out of this horror, some new kind of Western self-understanding will emerge. Here's hoping.

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