Idealistically, the affair bugs me because the world has now seen the value of being an ally of the United States. You can be confident if you make an alliance with the U.S.A. that if your sovereign territory is invaded, your civilians bombed, and your nation nibbled off piece by piece, you will get Condi Rice on a plane on the scene within a week or so to cluck her disapproval loudly.
Realistically, we do not want to be at war with Russia, have no logistical way to wage war with Russia even if all our troops had been sitting around idle next to transports in Seattle and Boston, and let's face it, the Russians ran a pretty good campaign to quickly seize their objectives because they, unlike us, have infrastructure right there. So I understand that clucking our disapproval loudly is all we could have done in the short term.
I did not see McCain threatening an immediate military response or indeed a military response at all. Had he been in the White House, his rhetoric would have led to the imposition of economic sanctions as a form of diplomatic pressure to return to the status quo ante; sanctions which may or may not have worked but would have let diplomacy draw out for long enough to get us something back for our allies in Tlbisi.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 16.08.2008 @ 08:44
It should not be news to anyone here that the PRC is a repressive, brutal regime which is the largest and most dangerous relic of the twentieth century's sad history of bloody political extremism. And it should not be particularly surprising that the Olympics Committee, with its unique and intense blend of foolish idealism and tawdry corruption, would delude itself into thinking that it could have made things better somehow. So the Olympics are there this year and the Chinese have performed exactly as we would have feared, demonstrating competence only in the brutal suppression of dissent. The question is, what can and should we do about it? China has become too important economically, and is too strong militarily, to be confronted directly about changing its murderous ways. As I see it, we had the following options:
A) Boycott the Olympics entirely. That did us a lot of good back in 1980.
B) Attend but have our government put public political pressure on the PRC to reform itself in the form of trade sanctions and statements of political condemnation. This would embarrass and anger the PRC, but not directly change anything. And why should we wait for the Olympics to do this if it's the right thing to do anyway?
C) Attend but the athletes make some spontaneous protests, like entering the opening ceremony with the athletes putting on black armbands and carrying the flag upside down as a signal of distress and danger -- which the rest of the world would see as a protest. This too would embarrass and anger the PRC, but it wouldn't be seen as coming from the government.
D) Recognize that the Olympics are a showpiece event anyway and resign ourselves to the idea that no meaningful change is going to result from them, other than new answers to trivia questions in the Guinness Book.
Personally, I kind of favor answer "C" and I hope (and expect) that our athletes have the stones and the smarts to pull it off.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 2.08.2008 @ 13:00
One word of advice for you, Rick: DECAF.
John Adams' son became President, too. So did Harrison's grandson. And TR's nephew -- who was President for so long there were some people who thought that was his first name. There's little doubt that JQA and FDR both earned their Presidencies on their own political merits. (The second Harrison, maybe not so much.)
Besides, we have at least four years of interregnum coming up before we need to worry about the possibility of a third Bush Preisdency. And by 2012, Jeb Bush will be old news.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 18.06.2008 @ 11:10
When I'm sixty-six feet away from the pin, I'm saying to myself, "F--- the groundskeeper trying to keep the apron flat, I want my nine-iron." Time and again, Tiger has done things beyond belief, showing excellence in action. But hey, at least some props to Rocco Mediate, too -- he managed to hang with Tiger for another 18 holes to go to sudden death. He made Tiger earn it.
Rocco put Tiger through the wringer today. Too bad one of them had to lose.
ed.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 16.06.2008 @ 15:35
I don't think it's particularly "feminist" or un-conservative to note that in previous generations, this would not have been possible. And if a woman runs for President in 2012 or 2016, her gender will be unremarkable to anyone, in part because we've been through the Clinton 2008 campaign, and she's proven her mettle in a way that Patty Schroeder's and Carol Mosley Braun's halting candidacies did not.
I also don't have any particular problem with her continuing to run. For one thing, it only helps McCain that she do so. For another, it's her campaign and she's the one who gets to decide when it ends, not the media and not her opponent and not Howard Dean and not all the wide-eyed Obama Groupies and not Andrew Sullivan.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 14.05.2008 @ 12:17
You know, you can never really rely on anything a prisoner tells you unless you torture waterboard them first.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 11.04.2008 @ 16:02
Retire05 -- I know full well the quality of the barbarains who would make war on us. They are not our teachers.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 3.04.2008 @ 12:19
Retire05 -- I know full well the quality of barbarians who would make war against us. They are not our teachers.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 3.04.2008 @ 12:13
I am always made heartsick when other members of my profession labor so hard to twist the law to so perverse a result.
One thing to remember about legal opinion memos like this is that the desired conclusion of the opinion is usually well-understood by the author when the assignment is given. For things like insurance coverage opinions, this is usually acceptable; what is really being requested is whether a pre-desired action can be justified at all. But at high levels of governmental policymaking that kind of mentality is not always appropriate. It may not always be easy to know when that line has been crossed, but by the time you get to justifying torture, that should be a signal that you've crossed it.
Conservatives, particularly those who claim to be conservative because of moral issues, should not be so eager to defend stuff like this. Conservatives ought to to be wary and skeptical, at least, of any proposal that diminishes individual freedoms and enlarges governmental power (particularly power deposited in the hands of a very few individuals).
Just imagine if the author of that memo had been Janet Reno (who had no qualms about ordering tanks to shell a religious compound because there were unlicensed guns inside, or to tell her jackbooted thugs to stick an automatic rifle in a four-year-old's face so that he could be sent to Cuba) and its audience had been the Clinton Administration. Come on, dudes -- would you have trusted Bill Clinton and Janet Reno with this kind of power?
Torture is bad policy because:
1. It is inherently immoral.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 3.04.2008 @ 00:45
2. Doing it encourages our enemies to torture more Americans than would otherwise be tortured.
3. Engaging in torture deprives America of the much-needed moral high ground when our enemies torture Americans on their own.
4. A torture victim will say whatever he thinks his torturer wants to hear to make the pain stop, regardless of the truth of his statement, so any information gained from torture is inherently unreliable.
5. The prisoner who is tortured will never again trust his captors and cannot later be converted into a reliable source of information.
6. Administering the torture takes a moral toll on the torturer that can only be healed with great difficulty.
7. It potentially exposes both the torturer and the nation to a variety of economic, legal, and political sanctions, regardless of whether they are fairly or justly imposed.
8. Finally, at least in this case, it was accompanied by advocacy for a disruption in the balance of power that tends to diminish individual freedoms and the power of the people to control the government.
Good point, Rick. Never ascribe to malice that for which stupidity provides a complete explanation.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 11.02.2008 @ 16:02