The Triumvirate: a Weblog

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME

Tom Daschle and the Democrats have been "posing questions" about "exit strategies" for the War on Terrorism.

Winston Churchill answered most of Mr. Daschel's "questions" sixty-two years ago:

"You ask, What is our policy? I will say; 'It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.' You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

(May 13, 1940, address to the House of Commons.)
posted by Michael 5:38 AM

Thursday, February 14, 2002

THE CANADIAN NAVY

A Canadian warship captured a tanker and its cargo of smuggled Iraqi oil in the Arabian Sea. The shocking part is: Canada has a warship!

They don't just have a warship, but a whole navy! There's even a secret submarine base in Edmonton, Alberta.

Could this be part of some diabolical scheme for Canadian world domination?
posted by Michael 2:30 PM

Monday, February 11, 2002

THE FIRST DRAFT OF HISTORY

On the five-month anniversary of the September 11, 2001 surprise attack, I decided to reread some of the writings about the attack which made the greatest impression on me. Here is a partial list of the best writing to come out of that terrible day:

John Derbyshire, "Steel and Fire and Stone," National Review Online -- There was a lot of good writing in NRO in the days after the attack (which can be accessed through the "NRO At War" archive), but this is far and away the best of the lot. Written within two hours of the WTC attack (posted 11:40am ET 9/11/01), it is a work of searing immediacy built off the Rudyard Kipling poem "For All We Have and Are." It is also remarkably well-constructed, a worthy example for the freshman composition class.

The final paragraph is stirring (and, one hopes, prophetic): "Let nobody think that Americans are incapable of facing this foe and defeating him. Let nobody think that this country is any less able to 'face the naked days' than she was in 1861, in 1917, in 1941 and 1950. We shall rise to this. We shall take our revenge. We shall absorb these blows, and strike back a hundred times harder. Let America's enemies crow today: Tomorrow they will tremble, and weep."

Daniel Henninger, "I Saw It All. Then I Saw Nothing," WSJ Opinion Journal -- A powerful eyewitness account, one of several which the Wall Street Journal (whose editorial office was across the street from the WTC) published in the days after the attack. See also:

Mary O'Grady, "Waking Up to a Nightmare"

Jason Reilly, "Taking Refuge Under, Then in, a Van"

Brian McGurn, "Grounded: my escape from the 55th floor"

A freelance photographer named John Labriola was attending a business meeting on the 71st floor of 1 WTC when the plane hit. His account of his escape is posted on his company's website. It was originally accompanied by a portfolio of photos taken in the building's stairwell; these can now be found here on CNN's website.

Peggy Noonan, "What I Saw at the Devastation," WSJ Opinion Journal -- Peggy Noonan is the English Language's greatest living essayist. This is the first column she wrote after the attack. It's not an eyewitness account of the attack itself, but an essay on how New York, and the Mighty Peggy herself, responded emotionally.

In the same vein is the "City Diary" series by Richard Brookhiser in National Review Online. The first entry appeared September 12.

"Common Valor," WSJ Opinion Journal -- One of the first, and most moving, of the many tributes to the heroes of the FDNY.

Vincent Druding, "Ground Zero: a Journal," First Things -- A moving account of the rescue/recovery operation at the WTC site in the first days by a volunteer participant.

Karen Breslau, Eleanor Clift & Evan Thomas, "The Real Story of Flight 93," Newsweek -- The most complete reconstruction yet of what happened when what one leading blogger called "a pickup team of American heroes" led the first U.S. counterattack up the aisle of a hijacked Boeing 757. It still amazes me that a random sample of air travellers could display the sort of heroism and determination worthy of Napoleon's Old Guard or the Black Watch Highlanders. A gripping account, and the inspiration for Neil Young's tribute song, "Let's Roll!"

Angie Cannon, "The 'Other' Tragedy," U.S. News & World Report -- The tragedy and heroism at the Pentagon on September 11 has gotten less attention than it deserves. This cover story goes a long way to redress this.

Finally, the recent Washington Post series "10 Days in September," on how the White House reacted to the September 11 attacks, makes for fascinating reading.

There were a number of other excellent essays that, unfortunately, are no longer available on line. Andrew Coyne wrote a very moving piece on the heroism of Flight 93 and the FDNY in Canada's National Post in the week after the attack; unfortunately, the Post purges its online archives at regular intervals, so it is no longer available. That unfortunate practice has also made unavailable several excellent pieces by Mark Steyn and Elizabeth Nickson. Jimmy Breslin (of all people!!) wrote a heartbreaking essay on the human cost of September 11--about a woman he used to encounter on his morning walk who apparently died at the WTC--that used to be available at Jewish World Review, but is no more; the Newsday archive doesn't go back far enough to pick it up either. Yet another vivid eyewitness account (the experiences of firefighter who is an NFL player's brother) appeared in, of all places, Sports Illustrated, but it is not available online.
posted by Michael 6:24 PM

Triumvirate member Norman Kincaide reacts to Jonah Goldberg's essay "Impoverished Ideas" from Friday's National Review Online.

The idea of poverty and being poor are two distinct notions. My grandmother Ruth (McMickell) Duncan, who grew up on a homestead in Kansas had no idea that her family was poor until somebody else said so. And what do some of these "poor" people do? I have been organizing a lot of family correspondence and family papers since December, putting them in document boxes and labeling them. Yesterday I was going through the box with the oldest letters (1910-1960) and found the last letter sent to my Grandmother Ruth by her mother Minnie (Roberts) McMickell in April 1945; in it was the last picture of my Great Grandmother and there was a small clipping from an El Dorado, Kansas newspaper. My great grandmother had made a quilt to be sold at auction to raise money for war bonds. It must have been a most beautiful quilt for the bidders carried the bid to $1500.00. Here was this elderly woman, who had worked hard all her life and probably never saw more than one or two hundred dollars at a time and in the last year of her life created a beautiful quilt to support our nation's war effort. So who could have called her impoverished or even poor? Poverty is indeed a state of mind perpetuated by those who wish to control the victims of poverty. But wealth cannot be measured soley by the contents of a bank account or property. Who could say that Kenneth Lay is a wealthy man? My great grandmother probably gave more to this country than he ever will.

posted by Michael 9:09 AM

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Just so Afghanistan won't feel left out of the Olympics - I have a modest proposal for how they might contribute to the festivities.

The Taliban and al-Qaeta have run the country for the past four years. A high ranking member of the Taliban ought to be allowed the privilege of lighting the Olympic flame - with a twist - of course. His beard will be soaked in bacon grease, lit with the Olympic torch, and he can swan dive into an Olympic cauldron filled with a slurry of jet fuel and hog fat.

From a viewer ratings standpoint - I think this would make the final episode of MASH look like a snooze. Advertsers such as Hormel, Kahn's, or Eckridge could bid for this advertising segment. The proceedings would go towards the widows and orphans of the September 11th atrocity.

There's still time!

Write the Olympic Committee.

Contributed by Triumvirate member Paul Perkins

posted by Michael 6:10 AM

Saturday, February 02, 2002

AXIS OF EVIL UPDATE

Their self-esteem damaged by President Bush's failure to mention them as part of the "Axis of Evil" in his State of the Union address, the governments of Lybia, China, and Syria form the Axis of Just-as-Evil.

My prediction: the governments of France and Canada, and the editorial board of the New York Times announce formation of the "Axis of Insufferable Intellectual Arrogance."
posted by Michael 6:27 AM

THE STATE OF THE UNION: A FANTASY

Part 1: President Bush's Address

"My fellow Americans, it has been four months since our nation was attacked by the forces of Osama bin Laden's al-Quaida terrorist network. In the weeks and months since September 11, our military has liberated the country of Afghanistan from the cruel regime of the Taliban and destroyed al-Quaida's terrorist camps. We have killed thousands, and captured thousands more, of our enemies. All of us have reason to be proud of these accomplishments. And yet, many of you have expressed to me, in your letters and in personal conversations, that while these victories are impressive and a source of pride, you will not be truly satisfied short of seeing Osama bin Laden's head on a silver platter.

"Earlier today, General Tommy Franks of United States Central Command visited the White House. He presented me with a very special delivery, one which I'd like to share with you now."

The President reaches under the podium and pulls out a football-sized object wrapped in an Army shelter half, placing it atop the podium. He unwraps it, and the audience gasps in astonishment. There, on a silver platter that has been in the Bush family for three generations, sits the severed head of Osama bin Laden, its features frozen in a death mask of despair.

As they say on the sports pages, the crowd goes wild!


Part 2: The Democratic Response, by Dick Gephardt

"I asked a friend of mine, who runs a postal workers' union, how he was doing. He said, 'Dick, I'm really disgruntled about this anthrax thing.'

"I got the hell out of there."




posted by Michael 6:21 AM

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

HOW WE DID IT

Interesting New York Times news article on how our Special Operations troops won the ground war in Afghanistan. Thanks to Lake Effect for pointing this one out.
posted by Michael 6:30 PM

Saturday, January 19, 2002

RESPONDING TO THE "WE HAD IT COMING" CROWD

"The United States, it is said, has itself injured and outraged other nations and peoples, and so lacks the moral authority to exact retribution when it is itself injured and outraged in turn. This argument seems to me to be entirely fallacious. The authority of the government to to protect the law-abiding and impose penalties on evil-does is not a reward for the government's virtue or good conduct. There is nothing in the scriptural account which suggests that this authority is contingent on merit or desert. The protection of citizens and the execution of penalty on peace-breakers is the commission which constitutes government, not a contingent right which it must somehow earn. . . . A government which refused to safeguard citizens and exercise judgment on wrong out of a sense of guilt for past crime would only add the further crime of deriliction of duty to its catalog of offenses."

The quote comes from "Just War: Reflections from the Lutheran Tradition in a Time of Crisis" by David S. Yeago, in the Fall 2001 issue of Pro Ecclesia. I picked it up from a mention in the February 2002 issue of First Things; specifically, in Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' monthly "printblog" column "The Public Square." FT does not post any content from its most recent issue online, but the website features a comprehensive archive from the immediate past issue back to 1993, and is well worth a visit by anyone interested in religion, philosophy, or contemporary politics.

The most recent issues of FT have featured several comments on the war that are worth reading:

"Good Wars," by Darrell Cole, on the theory of "just war" in Catholic doctrine; an article which coincidentally came out in print the week after the WTC attack.

"In a Time of War," the December '01 house editorial.

"Ground Zero: a Journal," by Vincent Druding, a moving account by a participant in the recovery efforts at the WTC site.

"Hard Thoughts in Wartime," by James Nuchterlein, from the January '02 issue--not online yet, but should be soon.
posted by Michael 6:01 AM


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