- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2007

Sucker punches

“In the realm of grand strategy and politics … it is the sucker punch unleashed outside your peripheral vision that often lands with the most bone-crunching impact. Such strategic blows have the power to shatter carefully crafted political narratives and game plans, and to make a mockery of Washington’s conventional wisdom. …

“Truly strategic surprises are beyond manipulation … and they are outside the control of even the most powerful leaders on earth. Recall John F. Kennedy riding the razor’s edge of the Cuban missile crisis, or Lyndon B. Johnson in the terrible thrall of the Tet offensive in Vietnam. Think of Richard Nixon undone by a Watergate burglary, Gerald Ford consumed by the seizure of the Mayaguez, or Jimmy Carter buffeted by the maelstrom created by an angry mob of Iranian students. Consider Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra scandal, George H.W. Bush and the fall of the Berlin Wall, or Bill Clinton fighting off impeachment in the midst of the Kosovo war. Remember George W. Bush on September 12, 2001. Game changed.”

James Kitfield, writing on “Game Changers,” in the Sept. 7 issue of National Journal

Virtual suicide

“You might fantasize about your funeral. Will your ex-boyfriend finally realize just how much of an idiot he was and sob by your casket? Will old friends — from as far back kindergarten — come to pay respects? … LiveJournal users, inventive and insecure creatures that they are, have found a way to capture the attention rewarded to the dead without ever crossing over: they commit Internet suicide. …

“Six years ago, ‘Flashman’ used the 9-11 disaster as a way to kill his LiveJournal. …

“Hoaxes overshadow very real and very sad incidences of people who have used Web sites to compose suicide notes. It is the simplest way to reach the most people at once and the only way to alert online friends.”

Joanne McNeil, writing on “The Web Is the Worst Place to Grieve,” Sept. 4 in Brainwash at


‘Grotesque’ right

“Bravo to the Pope and his recent plea that abortion should never be deemed a ‘human right.’ There is no more grotesque construction than positing the destruction of an inchoate human being as a right intrinsic to one’s mature condition as a sentient human. …

“There is no greater irony, perhaps in all of history, than the modern ‘liberal’ persona being associated with abortion. …

“[E]ven among the most refined people today it is acceptable to announce that ‘I choose not to have children.’ Neither open derision nor silent disdain greets such a pronouncement. Contrast that with the Bible stating that the first, most endemic, responsibility of mankind is to be fruitful and multiply.

” ‘Fruitful’ is a wonderful image, one the English language relishes in such corollary words as fertility and fecundity. A child is a fruit that grows from your tree, with external beauty and internal substance that somehow emanates from your own inner essence. …

“Having children is a way of smuggling your soul out from inside the hangman’s noose in manageable installments.”

Jay D. Homnick, writing on “The Benediction of Children,” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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