Phil Carter’s new (and excellent) post on genocide has the absolute best title ever written:
A 21st Century raison d’etre for the United States
Yes! Yes! Exactly! In a post-Cold War world, the world has drastically changed for the better. Our new unipolar world order has resulted in a massively safer world where cataclysmic wars such as World War II will likely never occur. However, genocide has proliferated, resulting in millions of deaths in the last decade. But, with no large threats tying it up, the U.S. military is finally able to prevent such massacres, as well it should. Phil said it better than I ever could, though. Massive kudos his way.
I was in Cambodia…but Kerry wasn’t!
Meanwhile, John O’Neill — Mr. uber-Swift, he wrote the book, etc. — has been going on all the shows for weeks saying that John Kerry never could have been in Cambodia on a black mission. It was impossible because there were all sorts of precautions in place to prevent any border crossings and that he would have been “court-martialed” had he done so (see this column for excerpts from his book and his appearance on ABC’s This Week program last Sunday.)
Now CNN has come up with tapes of O’Neill telling Richard Nixon in 1971 that he himself had been on missions inside Cambodia. From last night’s Aaron Brown show …
O’Neill said no one could cross the border by river and he claimed in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself, had never been to Cambodia either. But in 1971, O’Neill said precisely the opposite to then President Richard Nixon.
O’NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.
NIXON: In a swift boat?
O’NEILL: Yes, sir.
JOHNS: Now, O’Neill may have an explanation for this but he has not returned CNN’s calls. What does seem clear is that a top member of the swift boat group is now being held to the same standard of literal accuracy they’ve tried to impose on John Kerry — Aaron.
So there you go. It really seems like O’Neill has been going on all these shows lying right through his teeth. Not misremembering some date, not having a conflicting recollection of some battle action, but telling everyone that none of the Swift Boats crossed into Cambodia when, in fact, he himself appears to have done so routinely.
Of course, the underyling facts here aren’t in dispute. As Fred Kaplan points out here and many others have as well, it is well known that the US military — and Swift Boats in particular — made covert ventures into Cambodia.
But, again, right from O’Neill’s own mouth — Mr. Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth.
From Josh Marshall, who I should point out is the web’s best source on all things Swift Boat.
What’s worse, saying you were in Cambodia when you were, or saying you served in the U.S. Air Force when you didn’t?
In 1978, Bush, while running for Congress in West Texas, produced campaign literature that claimed he had served in the US Air Force. According to a 1999 Associated Press report, Bush’s congressional campaign ran a pullout ad in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that declared he had served “in the US Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard where he piloted the F-102 aircraft.”
Bush lost that congressional race, but twenty-one years later, the AP questioned him about the ad. The news outlet had a good reason to do so. Bush had never served in the Air Force. He had only been in the Air National Guard. But when AP asked Bush if he had been justified in claiming service in the Air Force, Bush, then the governor of Texas and a presidential candidate, said, “I think so, yes. I was in the Air Force for over 600 days.” Karen Hughes, his spokeswoman, maintained that when Bush attended flight school for the Air National Guard from 1968 to 1969 he was considered to be on active duty for the Air Force and that several times afterward he had been placed on alert, which also qualified as active duty for the Air Force. All told, she said, Bush had logged 607 days of training and alerts. “As an officer [in the Air National Guard],” she told the AP, “he was serving on active duty in the Air Force.”
But this explanation was wrong. Says who? The Air Force. As the Associated Press reported,
The Air Force says that Air National Guard members are considered ‘guardsmen on active duty’ while receiving pilot training. They are not, however, counted as members of the overall active-duty Air Force.
Anyone in the Air National Guard is always considered a guardsmen and not a member of the active-duty Air Force, according to an Air Force spokeswoman in the Pentagon. A National Guard member may be called to active duty for pilot training or another temporary assignment and receive active-duty pay at the time, but they remain Guard members.
Via Taegen Goddard. This isn’t just some random ad from twenty-six years ago. This is something that he’s defended, and reasserted, repeatedly. It baffles me that anyone in the military can support this man.
Todd Zywicki has discovered the Family Guy Files. Welcome to the club, Todd. The funniest show on or off the air deserves a quality website devoted to it. And that’s what the Family Guy Files is. I’ve been visiting it for months, and it has countless resources, including deleted scenes (ones even more offensive than those included), an episode guide, and, best of all, a reference database. You see, Family Guy is one of those shows that tries to shove in as many obscure references as is humanly possible. In FG’s case, these allude mostly to mindless ’80s TV shows, like Facts of Life, or Who’s the Boss? (Peter, the main character, has demanded that a statue of Mrs. Garrett of Facts be erected, and thought up the winning theme for the town float contest: “That episode of Who’s the Boss where Tony sees Angela naked in the shower”). If you are a healthy, stable, human being, you will most likely not get most of these references. This database is committed to changing that. It’s wickedly funny, and makes you appreciate the show even more. Again, welcome to the club, Todd, and have fun.
P.S. Sorry for the triple-post. It’s fixed now.
Phil Carter notes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has decided to uphold [PDF] the military’s gay sodomy ban in the aftermath of Lawrence vs. Texas:
Update III: The court reaches its ultimate verdict against Eric Marcum in a very interesting way. Lawrence, according to the CAAF, protects consensual sexual activity. Here, the jury did not convict Marcum of forcible sodomy. However, the rank difference between him and his sexual partner obviated any consent, and created a situation (within the military social environment) where “consent was not easily refused”. Here’s what the court says at 26-27:
While servicemembers clearly retain a liberty interest to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct, “this right must be tempered in a military setting based on the mission of the military, the need for obedience of orders, and civilian supremacy.”
* * *
As the supervising noncommissioned officer, Appellant was in a position of responsibility and command within his unit with respect to his fellow airmen. He supervised and rated SrA Harrison. Appellant also testified that he knew he should not engage in a sexual relationship with someone he supervised. Under such circumstances, which Appellant acknowledged was prohibited by Air Force policy, SrA Harrison, a subordinate airman within Appellant’s chain of command, was a person “who might be coerced” or who was “situated in [a] relationship where consent might not easily be refused.” Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 578. Thus, based on this factor, Appellant’s conduct fell outside the liberty interest identified by the Supreme Court.
Well, certainly. I don’t think that any right-minded court in the nation is going to find rape bans to be unconstitutional. But the question remains: why should consensual sodomy still be banned? Why can’t a sergeant sleep with a sergeant? Constitutionally, there’s no argument to maintain the ban: it obviously violates the Equal Protection clause, as the Supreme Court has already ruled that gays and lesbians are protected under that section (see Romer vs. Evans). There’s no more of an argument when the question is framed as a legislative issue. Unit cohesion isn’t affected; that’s been confirmed in study after study [PDF]. And anyone with a basic understanding of biology knows that STDs can be transmitted just as easily among heterosexuals as among homosexuals. These concerns certainly do not justify banning ten percent of the population from the military. And yes, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a ban – after all, if there’s any evidence of someone’s homosexuality, that person will be put on trial. Discrimination is only justified when the benefits are incredibly great; here, as in all other gay rights cases, there are no benefits.
So it appears that Pat Buchanan is back in the news. That got me reading his ’92 speech, which I had downloaded a few years ago. While extremist, laugh-out-loud funny, and at times anti-Semitic, it’s a very well crafted speech: forceful, and even eloquent at times. And while his claim that we’re in a culture war has been mocked and dismissed repeatedly by liberals like myself, I happen to agree. We are in a culture war, and it is one that will force us to take sides on the fundamental issues that define us: life, love, and God. While this will no doubt be different from similar struggles, it does have a model: the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s. The players and events are already taking shape. Goodrich vs. Department of Public Health is serving as the new Brown vs. Board of Education. Rick Santorum is quickly becoming this generation’s George Wallace. Why, even Gene Robinson could take up the helm as our religious leader, à la Martin Luther King, though I doubt he wants it. Though it is clear that we will win in the end, the struggle will be fierce, and will divide us as deeply, if not more so, as the civil rights conflict did. The North and South will become even less alike; those against equal rights will drift quietly towards the right side, while maintaining their inner bigotry. But if this conflict is to be as short as humanly possible, we on the left must recognize that it exists. We can’t just sit down and refuse to see what’s right in front of our faces. We must see the battle, and engage. Only then will we be able to recover fully.
I am very sorry for the lack of posting over the last week; I went on a short vacation. I am extremely sorry that I forgot to notify you of this. However, I should note that posting will be a good bit lighter until next June. While I hope to be more prolific than I was this winter and spring, I won’t be posting as much as I did this fall. Sorry.