The Terminology War

By Thomas Krehbiel

Here’s a pet peeve of mine: Calling the War in Iraq a “war.”

The way I see things, the “war” ended a long time ago. It took the U.S. military about 27 minutes to destroy Sadaam’s mismanaged army and roll into Baghdad. Political theatrics aside, I never found Bush’s much-maligned “mission accomplished” banner to be misleading because at that time, we had, in fact, beaten the crap out of Sadaam’s army and wiped out his regime. Which was the mission. Hence, it was accomplished.

At that point, in my opinion, the “war” turned into an “occupation.”

Liberals have always been saying it, but it seems like a lot of conservatives are now suddenly popping up saying the “war” in Iraq is a failure, too. (By “a lot,” I mean Bill O’Reilly and William F. Buckley — those are really the only two I can think of offhand.) Just today, I read Glenn Greenwald’s Latest Iraqi war casualty — conservative belief in “personal responsibility” on Unclaimed Territory. One part of Greenwald’s piece in particular bothered me:

The cost of our little adventure is incalculable and will be with us for a generation, at least – the destruction of American credibility; the indescribable weakening of our military which leaves us vulnerable to real threats and enemies; and the staggering cost in both money and lives.

I’ll grant our global credibility is down, but it bugs me when people diss the U.S. military, especially in the context of Iraq. There’s nothing “weak” about our military. They are clearly handcuffed in Iraq because they’ve been reduced to the status of a defensive police force. They have no offensive goals. Our military excels at aggressively pursuing an enemy, not standing around waiting to be shot while U.S. and Iraqi politicians jockey for position.

Perhaps if everyone stopped looking at the situation as a “war” and started looking at it as an “occupation,” they might feel better about our accomplishments in Iraq.

The fact that Iraq has not completely self-destructed after the post-Sadaam power vacuum seems like a good indication that the “occupation” is working pretty well. Can we stop every Iraqi kid with an AK-47 from taking potshots from the rooftops? Nupe. Neither can our police force keep American kids from shooting each other in our own classrooms. Can we keep roving gangs of Islamic terrorist thugs from picking off an American here or there? Nupe. Neither can we keep inner city street gangs from capping the occasional police officer.

Do steadily rising American casualties mean we’re failing in Iraq? I don’t think so. But that doesn’t mean I think we should stay there indefinitely, either. We’re morally obligated to put the critical infrastructure back together–power and water and oil and all. But after that, we ought to get the hell out of there, no matter what the Iraqi military status is. I don’t see why the Iraqi army needs any training anyway; the average insurgent can’t hit the broad side of a barn unless he blows himself up in the process.

And after we’re out of Iraq, we can turn our attention to the jihadists running amok in Iran.

Tuesday Smogasbord – Feb 28

Winner of today’s most disturbing look into the life of a typical Palestinian, via. Little Green Footballs: A Mother from Hell. This woman is actually disappointed that her daughter failed to become a suicide bomber (she was caught before her bomb vest went off). I have a pretty good imagination, but that is just incomprehensible. The whole Arab-Israeli conflict is so alien to me that it might as well be taking place on Venus.

Winner of today’s most delusional Americablog quote: “On average, I’d say, the top liberal blogs are not far-left, nor are they conservative Democrats. The top bloggers tend to be middle of the road Democrats (or liberals) who occasionally veer left and right of Democratic center depending on the issue…” The media, politicians, and academics do NOT understand who bloggers, and what blogs, are. You have GOT to be kidding me. Clearly that author does not consider Americablog to be a top liberal blog, then.

Politicians with a sense of humor should be encouraged: Just Say No to Republican Adoption.

Articles on the rise of politically correct euphamisms are always amusing, even if they’ve been done a hundred times before and betray the author’s essential laziness: John Leo: Awash in euphemisms.

For the temporal warriors among you, here’s an interesting (if somewhat verbose) piece on the moral implications of time travel, found on Jimmy Akin’s Catholic blog: The Temporal Prime Directive. It loses credibility points for referencing Star Trek in the title, though.

In the continuing “debate” on the cartoon controversy, here are two conservative articles echoing Mark Steyn’s “liberals need to wise up quick” rallying cry: We should fear Holland’s silence and Dennis Prager: Why the Left doesn’t blame Muslims for Muslim violence. (Like Steyn, neither offers a solution.)

Bear Mom Speaks

By Thomas Krehbiel

After bear bite, boy said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’

I guess I’m not mad at the mom and the poor kid who inadvertently got the Maymont bears euthanized anymore; now I just feel sorry for them. The whole incident is just heartbreaking. It has Hallmark Made For TV Movie written all over it. I wonder how she got Michael Morchower as a lawyer? I would have thought he’d be, ah, somewhat pricey. Maybe he’s donating his services for the publicity.

Comment-Spam Policy

I deleted an obvious spam comment today. Oddly enough, it linked to what appeared to be a free fundamentalist Christian book. I wonder if Jesus would consider spam an appropriate evangelical tool?

Anyway, just so there’s no confusion, from now on, anything that even remotely looks like comment spam, especially of the automated, search-rank boosting variety, will be deleted as soon as possible. As soon as I figure out how, I will also report spammers to whatever appropriate authorities there are. Yes, even Christian spammers.

My definition of comment spam, in case it’s not obvious, is any comment that contains a link to another site, along with an obvious list of search keywords. Such a comment has no purpose other than boosting the spammer site’s search ranking. More heinous variations of the comment spamming crime include comments without any substance, links to commercial endeavors (particularly endeavors that I don’t want to succeed), and not adding a reciprocating link back to my blog.

For comparison, I don’t consider Victoria Marinelli’s comment on Bears Pay For Parental Negligence to be comment spam. It’s relevent, and she was kind enough to put a link to my article on her site. That’s perfectly fine, as far as I’m concerned. Ya’ll can do that as much as you want. :)

Here’s a comment spam example:

Thank you for your thoughts. I look forward to following your interesting blog. Are you interested in topics about the apocalypse, end times, the end of the world, eschatology, last days, the horsemen of the apocalypse, the beast, prophesy, prophesies, revelation, 666, bible prophesy, prophets, Canaan, Canaan’s land, Land of Canaan, or the Christian future? If so you may enjoy reading “**BOOK TITLE DELETED WITH GREAT JOY**” This is a free online book. The Link is **LINK DELETED WITH GREAT JOY** Let me know what you think.

Monday Smorgasbord, Feb 27

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker writes about an Islamic domination angle that I hadn’t heard before: The Islamist Attack on Intellectual Property. A world without intellectual property sounds pretty bleak, and not just because my whole career is based on it. Wait, nevermind… it is because my whole career is based on it.

Virginia Centrists tries to rank the Top 100 Guitar Solos of All Time. Nice try, but no way does Stairway to Heaven rank 20 positions higher than Comfortably Numb. That’s just crazy talk!

These United for Peace and Justice folks truly deserve the label of “moonbats” for staging this kind of protest: Storm the White House. Any platform from any group that accuses the U.S. of “torture, occupation, and genocide” should automatically be ridiculed. I mean, I can see how someone might come up with torture and occupation, but genocide?

Puzzling question of the day: If the Iraqi Interior Minister knows that kidnapped reporter Jill Carroll is okay and where she is, why exactly hasn’t there been any rescue effort in all this time? Iraqis optimistic on kidnapped US reporter.

Dubai continues to be a popular topic of interest in the blogosphere, though many are just reporting about Port Fatigue. (I myself am no longer against the sale; now I’m just ambivalent about it.) In other news, William F. Buckley recently decided America failed in Iraq, and this is major news, because everyone from left to right has mentioned his article in the last few days. Also, comment spam sucks. Why oh why do blogging services provide automated APIs??

Okay Steyn, Now What?

By Thomas Krehbiel *

Mark Steyn’s latest is Needing to wake up, West just closes its eyes.

I didn’t care too much for the other two Steyn pieces I wrote about (see below), partially because of the content, and partially because I just didn’t like his writing style. They seemed like first drafts, rambling and winding all over the place, in need of serious editing. But Steyn is much-quoted in the conservative blogosphere (especially this time around–seriously, it’s getting tiresome seeing so many “you’ve gotta read Steyn’s latest!” posts), so I gave him another shot. And to his credit, this time he crafted a pretty good “final draft” essay.

Unfortunately, the topic of this latest piece is exactly the same as the last two. That being that the West (by which, of course, he usually means the multiculturally-tolerant liberal left) needs to “wake up” before Islamic law takes over the world.

What he fails to mention–again–is what to do about the impending takeover. So okay, I’ll admit there’s a real threat to Western society from radical Islamists… now what? It would seem that we’re not doing so great at winning the “hearts and minds” of moderate Muslims, and they aren’t doing much to police the radicals in their midst anyway. And for the more hawkish types out there, it’s kind of hard to find a target to throw missiles at, since the radical Islamists like to hide in caves and behind innocent women and children and so forth.

(Speaking of Islamic cowards, I saw today that Sadaam quit his 11 day hunger strike “for health reasons.” Har-har.)

Steyn doesn’t give us a solution, and I don’t have one either. But I do think one of the things we should not be doing is falling all over ourselves to avoid cartoons of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). I understand the whole “no graven images” thing, but I can’t imagine what sort of person might accidentally worship a cartoon drawing. Overall, I think it would be better for everyone if we (and they) spent more time criticizing Islam. For one thing, it will clearly delineate the moderates from the radicals, and then maybe it will be easier to target those missiles!

Just kidding. Mostly.

Insensitive Mark Steyn
Reviewing Mark Steyn

* I’m adding my name at the top for the search engine gods.

Bears Pay For Parental Negligence

There’s nothing interesting happening nationally, so I thought I’d mention a local outrage here in Richmond.

Two black bears at Maymont Park were just euthanized to examine their brain tissue for the possibility of rabies after one of them bit a 4-year-old boy.

Sounds pretty straightforward right? Not quite. Apparently, one of the boy’s parents helped him climb over a 4-foot wooden fence–ignoring the clearly posted warning signs–so he could get closer to the bears. Then the boy put his hand through a chain-link fence, and one of the bears bit him. It is thought that the child either had an apple or had the scent of apples on his hands. The boy was taken to a hospital and treated for scratches. He didn’t even get stitches.

Unfortunately, fearing rabies, the hospital was obligated to report the animal bite incident to the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. They in turn went to Maymont, who hadn’t even known about the bite. Despite neither bear having shown any signs of rabies, everyone involved decided that the bears had to be put down so they could examine their brain tissue for the (extremely remote) possibility of rabies.

Neither bear had rabies.

If I were those boy’s parents, I would strongly consider moving to a different state. The general feeling around Richmond is that they should, at the very least, be investigated by Child Protective Services. A lot of people are calling for Maymont to bring a lawsuit against them for damages. I tend to favor just lynching them in the street. (Hey, it works for Muslims.)

Luckily for them, the boy’s name hasn’t been publicized yet. But I can’t wait until some reporter tracks them down and sticks a microphone in their faces and asks, “so how does it feel to know that the entire city of Richmond thinks you are horrible, horrible people and wants you to pay dearly for causing the deaths of two completely innocent black bears in a public park?”

Hundreds remember Maymont bears

Maymont bears test negative

Park’s two bears killed after bite

Revised Mission Statement (2006.02.24)

I originally started this blog as a response to Greg Krehbiel’s Crowhill Weblog. GK is a conservative Roman Catholic. That by itself wouldn’t be enough for me to start a public blog, but the Crowhill Weblog ranks fairly high in a Google search for “Krehbiel,” so anyone searching for information about the Krehbiel family name would find Greg Krehbiel and his blog to be one of the first ambassadors of the surname. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but that didn’t feel right to me. I felt it was important to show the world that there are more moderate Krehbiels around who don’t necessarily agree with Crowhill’s outlook on the culture war.

And now that I’m into my second month here, I’ve widened my mission scope a little. I don’t just look at Crowhill anymore. Dozens and dozens of political and religious blogs now run through my news reader every day, so I have a huge selection of items to comment on. My favorite cultural topics are conservative Christian dogma, Islamic clashes, Intelligent Design, media censorship, traditional and non-traditional families, women’s roles in society, and that ever-popular standby, abortion. I might throw in something else now and then if it’s funny or interesting. But you won’t find anything about my job on here, because that could get a person fired.

This blog also serves my own twisted purposes by forcing me to write more (not to mention pay better attention to current events). I despise blogs that try to pass off a sentence and a link as a blog entry (“Look what I found”), so I strive to find items that I can opine about for a few paragraphs or more. As always, expect to find my world-famous irreverent dry wit in whatever I write.

I’ve given up trying to highlight the achievements of other Krehbiels on the Internet; that got pretty tedious in a hurry. So if you’re interested in that, I would invite you to do a Google News search for “Krehbiel.” You might also try, a free service which lets you search blogs.

If you are a current or potential employer deciding whether to hire or fire me based on information in this blog, shame on you.

“Gobbley” Quotes

I just reconfigured the blog to use the ISO-8859-1 charset so those silly “smart” quotes work right. I’m always having to change them back to “dumb” quotes and half the time I forget when pasting text so weird gobbley characters get into my writing. It’s a real pain. Just to test the new charset out, this post has several smart quotes, both of the single and double variety.

Friday Smorgasbord

No one story has jumped out at me today, so here’s a link-fest of random cultural interests.

First up, an amusing commentary on Arizona Senate’s Committee on Higher Education’s vote to let university and community-college students “opt out” of required reading that they find offensive: Opting out of education. I like his idea that if students are going to opt-out of reading something, they should have to explain their specific reasons in front of the class. Say in the form of an oral book report.

Robert Camp writes that an informal email survey of biologists at research universities reveal all but 1 respondent felt there was no scientific controversy about evolution: Turn out the lights, the “Teach the controversy” party’s over.

Stephanie Coontz gives a “pop quiz on marriage,” basically arguing that traditional marriage is dead: A Pop Quiz on Marriage. (I finally caved in and registered with NY Times in order to read it, because:) Then Maggie Gallagher blasts Stephanie Coontz and gives a diametrically opposing “pop quiz on marriage,” arguing that traditional marriage is better than ever: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Marriage. It’s an All Out Marriage Pop Quiz Deathmatch!

Reading Greg Gutfeld’s jibes against super-extreme-left-wing blog commenters requires a lot of patience, but they’re quite funny: The Huffington Post Style Guide for Writers and Editors and The Universal Huffington Post Auto-Responder. I like “NeoConDalsleazy Liceface,” personally. (The super-extreme-left-wing commenters didn’t like any of this very much.)

For arts lovers, here’s a good article on the history of artwork depicting Muhammad: In museums, portraits illuminate a religious taboo. Apparently there are lots of “illuminations” of Muhammad buried in various museums. (Don’t tell the Middle East.)

Speaking of Denmark, a rally of support (or a display of sammenhold, if you read Michelle Malkin) spearheaded by blogger Chistopher Hitchens occurred at the Danish embassy in Washington today: A Rally for Freedom. This better be on the news tonight!

Lastly, this just in… a planned boycott of the infamous Southpark “Bloody Mary” episode in New Zealand actually increased the show’s viewership by 6 times: Boycott backfires: South Park gets record audience. I guess it’s time to start burning Kenny effigies.