Saturday, October 19, 2002

Just got the latest helping from Sp!ked Central, chock-full o’ nuts as usual. Take the first off the rank: Bush is Losing the Culture War at home. Yes. The President is lying awake at night fretting about how to raise the haiku ratio of his crack 101st poet-trooper regiment. Deep in the War Room, anxious generals declare “we can’t invade without the approval of the Writer’s Guild! I will not see my boys return home like so many unsolicited manuscripts!”.

This article is too loopy to bother going through at the moment, if ever. But I would like to give you a sample of the hoops they had to jump through to get to their conclusions.
Since traditional notions of American superiority became publicly indefensible, the new politics of human rights have provided just about the only way for the USA and the West to justify their foreign interventions. Even the conservative Bush felt obliged to stage humanitarian gestures to legitimise his war in Afghanistan last year, dropping food parcels on the locals at the same time as bombs. But the White House has found it far harder to present any plausible humanitarian case for invading Iraq.

I thought the opponents of the war were the ones talking about how badly off the Iraqis were. Must have missed something.

In the aftermath of 11 September, America once more seemed united under the Stars-and-Stripes, and the few voices of dissent were choked off as US forces launched their 'war on terror' in Afghanistan. Yet a year later, the Bush administration seems to have lost much of that goodwill.
In fact the cracks in the consensus were there to be seen almost immediately after 11 September. The lack of certainty about America's role in the world was starkly evident in ambivalent public attitudes towards Islam.

“Choked off”?

The article goes on to talk about the official Poet Laureate of New Jersey, Imamu Amiri Baraka, and although Sp!ked acknowledges that Baraka’s claim that US forces new September 11 was coming is “nonsense”, the writers attach some approving significance to the fact that New Jersey appointed Baraka after he wrote the poem. Naturally, Sp!ked skips the news that New Jersey is trying to sack him but is actually unable to by law.

Under the heading “The Vietnam experience has undermined the effectiveness of the US armed forces”, the article declares
The calling into question of America's traditional values has had a corrosive effect on every institution, even including the US military.

As exidenced by:
For some years there has been a shortage of recruits willing to fight for their country.

How do you define “shortage”? Incredibly, Sp!ked uses two articles to support this claim. The first admits that:
the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force surpassed their recruiting goals for the 2002 federal budget year

And the second confirms it:
Military officials and others who track recruitment trends say the number of candidates seeking to join the four military branches appears largely unaffected by the terrorist attacks.

Jeez. When even your own sources and citations don’t back you up, perhaps the game is not worth the candle anymore.

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