- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

No war without the U.N.?

You've heard the argument now hundreds of times. It's especially prevalent in the positions of such senators as Wellstone, Biden and Levin. Funny, then, that NATO's bombardment and invasion of Kosovo not so very long ago was enthusiastically endorsed by all three. A reader tracked down what Mr. Levin said in June 1999 about a military campaign that had no U.N. backing and was conducted mainly with the help of the Brits: "This [Kosovo war] was fought for truly great principles and values … This was a war which showed that under some circumstances, modern air power with precision munitions could significantly destroy a military opponent's capability, but which showed again that implementing the peace that follows such an air campaign still requires heavily armed ground forces …This was a war which history will show was fought for a just cause and was carried out with great determination and principled leadership by the leaders of the NATO alliance, including President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair. And if it becomes known as Clinton's War as some of his most partisan critics labeled it, it will be a badge of honor." Change the name of the war and the president, and it sounds like Rummy, doesn't it? Of course, the Iraq war could be more difficult than Kosovo. But if U.N. involvement wasn't necessary then for a badge of honor, why is it so essential now? Could it have anything to do with the fact that we now have a Republican, rather than a Democratic, president?

Europe's thought police:

It's easy to forget at times the benefits of being a writer or polemicist in the United States. The First Amendment protects everyone from the hate-monger to the well-paid purveyors of conventional wisdom. Not so in Europe. Last week saw two truly disturbing consequences of the combination of leftist do-goodery with the force of the state. A British man got into a verbal fight with some Muslim Brits on the street when they averred that the Americans who perished on September 11 "deserved to die." Provoked by that obscenity, the man burst into what was an unfortunate diatribe against Islam. He now faces jail time under a new British law that forbids the insulting of anyone else's religion. The Muslims face no such liability, of course. Hating Americans is not forbidden under the new religious hate-crime laws. I guess if it were, there'd be precious little space left in the jails. Meanwhile, in Paris, the lively liberal polemicist, Oriana Fallaci, is also facing criminal charges for writing a book highly critical of some of the more extreme currents in contemporary Islam. A while ago, it was just the Ayatollahs who issued fatwas against writers challenging Islam. Now it's Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac. One small but wonderful detail: Miss Fallaci's lawyer is the exquisitely-named Christophe Bigot.

No hairdressers need apply

One of the central arguments of the Democratic Party, when addressing gay voters, is that the Democrats are the only party free of anti-gay bigots. Now and again, that image slips. Bill Clinton's enthusiastic support for the Defense of Marriage Act was capped by his boasting about it on Christian radio in political ads. Sen. Robert Byrd is one of the most dogged opponents of gay civil rights in the Senate. Now we have the shenanigans of the Montana Democratic Party which yesterday forced the withdrawal from the Senate race of the Republican candidate, Mike Taylor. According to the Billings Gazette, Mr. Taylor withdrew after the Democrats ran an ad, showing Mr. Taylor on a television show decades ago, demonstrating hair-care products. Mr. Taylor once ran a hair-care company. The ad shows Mr. Taylor "applying lotions to the face of a man siting in the barber chair and discussing techniques. The ad shows Mr. Taylor, then slender, sporting a full beard. He is wearing a tight-fitting, three piece suit, with a big-collared open shirt a la John Travolta in 'Saturday Night Fever.' Mr. Taylor's top two or three shirt buttons are unbuttoned, exposing some bare chest and a number of gold chains." Get the message? Montana's ranchers did and the polls showed a steep drop in Mr. Taylor's popularity. The key thing to watch here is how the national Democrats respond: Will they disown their Montana operatives? Will they apologize? Or will they do anything they can to win?

Another acceptable prejudice:

"The Roman Catholic Church is one of the forces for evil in the world, mainly because of the powerful influence it has over the minds of children … Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place."

Richard Dawkins, British atheist and celebrated evolutionary scientist, quoted in the Dubliner.

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