Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, April 11th, 2009.


Bush Policy on Pirates: Um, Good Luck, Sailor

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Bush Administration, Obama Administration

[Update, for people coming here from a right-wing site who plan to yell at me for “blaming Bush”: Please note that in no place in the post below did I blame Bush for Somali piracy or the present hostage situation. Right-wing bloggers who said that’s what I wrote are liars. — maha]

The Right is blaming Barack Obama for Somali pirates, or at least the lack of a response to the Somali pirates. Short version: Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter.

I thought you might like to read a Wall Street Journal story about Somali pirates published while George W. Bush was still president:

In the waning days of the Bush administration, the National Security Council issued a detailed yet little-noticed plan for combating piracy off the coast of Somalia….

…But the vast majority of the tasks laid out in the plan either were aimed at making sure pirates never reached commercial vessels — encouraging ships to travel at night, increasing intelligence sharing, destroying vessels that appear outfitted for piracy — or ensuring that there were consequences for pirates that were ultimately caught.

It was nearly silent, however, on what to do if a ship is taken by pirates and crew members are held captive. And what little guidance it provided was vague. U.S. naval forces were given authority to “terminate the act of piracy and any included hostage situation.” Just how they were to do that was left unsaid.

Pay close attention:

The reason for the plan’s lack of guidance has now been made clear over the last two days off the coast of the Horn of Africa: The choices facing a hulking navy destroyer as it confronts a ragtag group of Somali pirates holding an American seaman hostage in a small, propulsion-free boat are extremely limited.

Pentagon and U.S. Navy officials have been reticent to engage in the kind of hostage rescues that could spring crewmembers from capture at sea, arguing it would set a precedent that would strain an already thinly deployed naval taskforce in the region and, more importantly, potentially lead to more bloodshed.

In other words, President Obama probably is taking the advice of the commanders on the ground, er, water. But does this mean George W. Bush also was Jimmy Carter? I hate to insult Carter so, but let’s not pull punches here.

John Keegan, who has written some of my favorite military history books, says that the one way to stop the piracy is to sink pirate ships on sight. I suspect he’s right about that. However, that doesn’t solve the present hostage crisis, unless we’re willing to sacrifice the lives of the hostages. But then he says European navies would need to be re-equipped to engage in a pirate ship sinking campaign, which seems odd to me. But Keegan knows military stuff better than I do.

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Idiots With Degrees

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Obama Administration

Proof that someone with a law degree can still be an idiot —

The infamous one-child policy paired with the practice of sex-selective abortion has left China with 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls. In Chinese culture, sons are an economic asset and daughters a liability.

Chinese culture has long been grossly oppressive of women (think footbinding). Footbinding has stopped, but there are living women with bound feet, so we’re not talking about something ancient. The practice of footbinding, like female circumcision, reveals women complicit in their own oppression, forcing their daughters to go through what they’d been through because they’d been taught it was right. And cultural conditioning that extreme takes many generations to fade away. Just because the practice has stopped doesn’t mean the subservience and self-abasement that enabled it is also gone.

So, what does this genius have to say about the male surplus story?

In countries where a woman has a virtually unfettered right to choose abortion, the result is that women overwhelmingly choose to abort female fetuses.

How many fallacies can be packed into one sentence? He ignores China’s culture. How many husbands of those women gave them no choice but to abort their daughters, for example?

Second, as I read in an article by Michelle Goldberg just this morning, 60 percent of the world’s population live in countries with liberal abortion laws — 60 percent of the world’s women have “a virtually unfettered right to choose abortion,” in other words. And this has been true for a long time. By this mouth-breather’s logic, 60 percent of the populations on this planet ought to have the same lopsided surplus of males as China.

However, they don’t. I believe the only other nation in which sex-selective abortion is common is India, a place famous for bride burning. Yeah, those women have lots of “unfettered” rights.

Where women are genuinely free to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or not, the male-female ratio in newborns has remained within nature’s “norm” of 106 males to 100 females. Oh, except in some places where the prevalence of environmental estrogens is reducing the number of males somewhat.

What’s really hysterical about Mr. Idiot’s conclusion is that he has a bleeping law degree, or so he says. He also wrote:

Supporters of unrestricted abortion, such as the Center for Reproductive Rights, support China’s efforts to ban sex-selective abortions, based on principles of non-discrimination against women. But it seems as if the CRR and other pro-choice groups are trying to have it both ways. If a woman has a right to choose, then who is the CRR or the government to decide what is the right choice? Or is this Western hypocrisy at its worst, giving women in wealthy Western countries choices of which women in poorer countries are deprived?

He links to a page of the CRR, which carries this statement:

Our shadow letter underlined many areas of concern, including: harmful effects of the one-child policy such as forced abortion, coerced sterilization, and increased trafficking and abduction of women; limited access to infertility treatment; maternal mortality; sex-selective abortions; and deficiencies in sex education. The Committee, through its Concluding Observations, expressed concern over rights violations ensuing from these practices. It advised the Chinese government to investigate and prosecute instances of forced sterilization and abortion and to strengthen and enforce existing laws outlawing sex-selective abortion and female infanticide.

In other words, women in China have very little to say about their own reproduction. They are forced to have abortions and sterilization procedures they don’t want, for example. We do not know what percentage of Chinese women freely choose sex-selective abortions, compared to those who are not given a choice by their husbands and culture to abort girls. But “freedom” and “China” are not words that fit into the same sentence, as a rule.

Mr. Idiot clearly is anti-choice and anti-women. He is also anti-brain. One wonders how some people manage to learn to tie their shoes, never mine get advanced degrees.

Update: Captain Ed twists CRR’s statement into approval for male infanticide. I’m not kidding.

Update: Are righties congenitally unable to think? Don’t answer that. Here we have Sister Toldjah in a post called “Coming Soon to America?” Does she think the U.S. is about to enact a “one child” policy?

Anyway, the main point seems to be to pick apart the CRR statement calling for China to “enforce existing laws outlawing sex-selective abortion and female infanticide” as an inconsistency, since us evil libruhls are known to oppose any restrictions on abortion. However, the pro-abortion rights Alan Guttmacher Institute has funded a lot of research into the problems caused by China’s policies going back several years. This is what happens when extreme male dominance meets abortion technology — lots more boys than girls.

What the troglodytes don’t get is that widespread sex-selective abortions are not happening because women have been given the right to make the choice. They happen because a culture so devalues women that they are treated as disposable. And under no definition of the words “rights” or “freedom” can anyone say Chinese women enjoy reproductive rights. Clearly, they do not.

Update: Great minds, thinking alike. See Kathy at Comments From Left Field. In short, the whole concept of “free will” seems to elude the Right.

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The Big Tea(se)

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conservatism

Andrew Sullivan points out that the astroturf “tea parties” being organized and promoted mostly on Faux Nooz don’t seem to have a coherent purpose. They’re tea tantrums, not parties, he says.

What are they protesting? Tax hikes? Most of the people who will show up for the parties have just had their taxes cut. So scratch that. The big budget spending proposals and bank bailouts? Dudes, none of us likes running up the deficit and bailing out banks. It’s painful. It’s going to be hard to pay off that debt. But what are your workable alternative proposals to stimulating the economy and preventing the collapse of the banking system?

Cue: cricket chirps.

Finally, illegal immigration. A serious issue, but what did the Boston Tea Party have to do with that?

The Right Blogosphere responded to Sully mostly by calling him names (you guessed it; he’s not a “real conservative”) and throwing more tantrums. The most substantive response I could find still did not address much of what Sully wrote.

The Right expects a world-record tea party turnout on April 15, but just in case the parties fizzle, they’ve got an excuse ready — sabotage by ACORN infiltrators. I swear, ACORN is the new bogeyman.

John Cole:

The best part about all the attention the tea parties will get the next couple of days is that it will all be on film. The usual suspects are already trying to do damage control, pretending that they will have been infiltrated by no-gooders (who else- Soros funded ACRON!), but that is pure nonsense, and the country is going to get a good look at some pure, undiluted, right-wing crazy.

Pass the popcorn.

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