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Sunday, January 28, 2007

'Midst the trial prep ...

Sometimes one has to set down the Texas Pattern Jury Charge, set aside the stack of proposed trial exhibits, stop (re-)editing the video depositions, and pay attention to family. Tonight I watched a fine performance of a musical play called "All Aboard for Broadway" in which my 14-year-old son Adam played a cranky old codger of a theater stage manager, circa 1917-1919 — culminating in a bit of flag-waving, tap-dancing, and singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "She's a Grand Old Flag."

Adam Dyer as 'Barney' in 'All Aboard for Broadway'

And a couple more, this one with the female lead:

Adam Dyer as 'Barney' in 'All Aboard for Broadway'

Tap-dancing requires lots of concentration.

Adam Dyer as 'Barney' in 'All Aboard for Broadway'

Posted by Beldar at 06:55 AM in Family | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Light blogging forecast

I've just finished a complicated appellate brief that represents several weeks' work, and I'm scheduled to start a jury trial in a week. In terms of personal satisfaction, the trial should be lots of fun — it's one I'm looking forward to with something approaching glee, although its outcome is not, of course, anything approaching a "sure thing" or a foregone conclusion. But if my client consents, I hope to be able to blog about the trial afterwards because I'm keenly interested in how you, gentle readers, would react to the issues the case raises.

In any event, however, that explains why blogging has been light lately, and is likely to remain light for some time yet. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by Beldar at 01:43 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (4)

Everything you need to know about Dubya's SOTU address

About 33 minutes into Tuesday night's State of the Union Address (as measured on the C-Span video; boldface mine):

... The result [of provocations in 2006 by radical Sunni elements sponsored by al Qaeda and Ba'athist remnants of Saddam's government, and by radical Shia elements sponsored by Iran, has been] a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.

When the President of the United States urged our country to "turn events toward victory," Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose not to applaud. Her hands remained folded in her lap:

Speaker Pelosi not clapping

Speaker Pelosi is against victory. There is no alternate interpretation for this image, captured during widespread applause from others just after that line was spoken.

Never mind that a few lines later in the speech, when the magic phrase "support our troops" was spoken, Speaker Pelosi shot from her seat like a rocket. She, of course, wants to "support our troops" — by protecting them, by bringing these "young people" home. And it's true enough that victory in Iraq, or in the broader war on terror, may be impossible to define with precision.

But it nevertheless remains a logical certainty that if you are not rooting for events to turn toward victory, you are rooting for them to turn toward defeat. Only someone willfully blind can fail to see what Speaker Pelosi is rooting against.

Posted by Beldar at 01:35 AM in Global War on Terror, Politics (2007) | Permalink | Comments (13)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

9/11 multiples

In this essay, Victor Davis Hanson is, as so often, eloquent and exactly on the mark (albeit with at least a couple of targets that are only loosely related). I commend it to you in its entirety. But I was particularly struck by these two paragraphs near the end:

So the great disconnect in this present war continues, one that tests whether a sophisticated affluent West that eschews violence and nobly professes its wish to evolve beyond war, capital punishment, and unilateral preemption can defeat an ideology that is openly reactionary and seeks to return to the primordial world of the 8th century when beheading, limb-lopping, sharia law, and half the population in burqas were normal.

This is now a boring topic since 9/11 — our postmodern refinement and their premodern savagery. One final thought though. I used to hear people say, "It will take another 9/11" to come to our senses about our real peril. Now in several gloomy conversations I hear instead, "It will take three or four 9/11s to ..."

I'm not quite sure whether Professor Hanson agrees, but I'm genuinely sad to find myself in growing agreement with those who say that it will likely take "three or four 9/11s to" re-awaken America and the world's genuine, Western-inspired democracies to our peril.

I could not help but be reminded during the late President Ford's funeral ceremonies of how — despite his administration's best efforts in late 1974 and early 1975 — a newly radicalized opposition Congress cavalierly and eagerly broke our solemn promises to our South Vietnamese ally. Our South Vietnamese ally then was certainly a troubled land still, notwithstanding years of our protection, but it was one that had indeed begun to stand on its own feet and likely would have continued to do so — if only the Ford Administration had been permitted by Congress to continue with the financial and military aid we initially provided after our ground troops departed.

Our new Congress seems similarly foolhardy.  And as in Southeast Asia in the mid-1970s, the late-2000s may see hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of innocents dislocated, imprisoned, wounded, and/or killed, in the Middle East and South Asia.

We, of course, won't be doing the slaughtering ourselves. But a critical "but-for" link in the causal chain of those disasters will be closely tied to the fact that something approaching a majority of voting Americans either lack historical perspective, share a ridiculously short attention-span, or else have been successfully misled and deceived by "useful fools" who do fit those descriptions.

I hope those hundreds of thousands or millions won't be Americans. But I do indeed fear that the "two or three 9/11s" of which Professor Davis wrote may be combined into one much, much uglier episode — one in which the number of casualties on American soil will be a multiple of the 3000 lost on 9/11/01, and not necessarily or even likely with a multiplier as low as two or three.

"Remember back when," it will be asked then, "we thought that 3000 military deaths in Iraq was outrageous? Oh, would that we could have limited our latest death tolls to that!"

"Yes," will come the reply, "and remember how innocent and stupid we were when 'global warming' became the signature issue in the 2008 presidential campaigns? What were we thinking? Why ever did we think we could end the war — one we were already in before 9/11, even though almost none of us recognized it before 9/11 — simply by pulling up and going home?"

Posted by Beldar at 01:28 AM in Global War on Terror | Permalink | Comments (9)