But I got high ...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Whenever I pick up The Weekly Standard, I find myself wondering how this week they will deal with the obvious failure of virtually everything they've advocated for the past seven years. Will William Kristol admit that it wasn't just "pop sociology" to predict that Sunnis and Shiites might not get along so hot and that Iraq might not end up a shining beacon of democracy? Might Fred Barnes come to terms with the fact that not everything George W. Bush has ever said and done has proven a smashing success? Will any member of the Kagan family ever accept the fact that even if what they call "the surge" were to succeed, it would not solve Iraq's political problems, which the policies of the magazine caused in the first place, with its cavalier attitude toward invading and attempting to remake a country with thousands of years of historic animosities, without the slightest knowledge of how the place actually worked?

Nahh, the problem, according to this week's cover story by Noemie Emery, is that the left has gone nutty. Emery writes of an "an increasingly unhinged left ... paranoia ... beyond reason ... Panic." To demonstrate how trustworthy her allegedly sensible analysis is, she attacks Al Gore's claims of a consensus on the fact of global warming by quoting Steven Hayward of AEI -- remember, that's the outfit that was offering cash rewards to researchers who would somehow find fault with exactly this consensus, in advance of their research -- and insisting that "Gore and his fans" have compared critics "to Hitler" without, of course, offering up a single example of such a comparison taking place. And, once again, we get the dishonest slander of Gore that says his speeches constitute "less a rational argument than a howl of unrelieved rage."

Meanwhile, over in Kristol-ville, we get: "And all honor to George W. Bush for following in Reagan's footsteps, grasping the nettle, and confronting the real lessons and consequences of Vietnam. The liberal media and the PC academics are horrified. All the better."

In the current City Journal, Bruce Bawer bemoans what he calls "The Peace Racket," which is "opposed to every value that the West stands for -- liberty, free markets, individualism -- and it despises America, the supreme symbol and defender of those values" and is made up of "a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations." I don't have the energy to go further with this, but if you do, be my guest, here.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, The Politico surprised everyone who has previously noticed it with a story in which they go talk to John Dower, the premier historian of the Japanese occupation, whom Bush quoted -- though not by name -- the other day:

"They [war supporters] keep on doing this," said MIT professor John Dower. "They keep on hitting it and hitting it and hitting it and it's always more and more implausible, strange and in a fantasy world. They're desperately groping for a historical analogy, and their uses of history are really perverse."

And:

"I have always said as a historian that the use of Japan [in arguing for the likelihood of successfully bringing democracy to Iraq] is a misuse of history."

And:

"In the case of Iraq," Dower said, "the administration went in there without any of the kind of preparation, thoughtfulness, understanding of the country they were going into that did exist when we went into Japan. Even if the so-called experts said we couldn't do it, there were years of mid-level planning and discussions before they went in. They were prepared. They laid out a very clear agenda at an early date."

Meanwhile, from whatever planet upon which those folks at the White House actually live, we learn that "the president in no way endorses his view of Iraq."

Oh, right, that was the issue.

Quote of the Day:

"There ain't gonna be any farewell tour. That's the only thing I know for sure."

-- Bruce Springsteen

Tour dates are here. (And have I mentioned how much I've always liked and admired people who manage to get extra tickets? Well, I do. Call me ...)

P.S. "Radio Nowhere" is free on iTunes.

Alter-reviews

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Sweet Suite Victory DVD review, by Eve Rose Alterman:

The three episodes have good plots but before I got it, I had seen them all already. They should have new episodes on there to help their selling. My favorite one was probably "election" because it was so competitive. I liked the trivia the best out of all of it. The show I think is for 7-11 year olds. But the trivia was aimed at about 8-9 or sometimes 10 year olds. I think the trivia should be a little more open aged. Otherwise I like it.

Cory in the House: All-Star Edition, by Eve Rose Alterman:

There are four episodes. I like all of them, and one of them I had already seen. My favorite one was probably "Air Force One Too Many" or "Just Desserts" because they were funny and they really had sort of a moral in them. Actually, all the "Cory in the House" episodes have a funny moral in them.

8 Simple Rules: The Complete First Season, by Eric and Eve Rose Alterman:

Eve Rose thought the episodes we watched were "good" and "funny." Eric thinks it's not bad as sitcoms go, better than most, at least if you have a daughter, but not in the category of say, The Office. The thing about John Ritter, however, is that he looked weirdly exactly like Columbia J-School dean Nick Lemann, though I don't know if that's a problem for most viewers. Also, he dies during the show, but we're not up to that part yet.

Correspondence Corner

Name: Ken
Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ

With regard to LTC Bateman's commentary on the Maine Appalachian Trail Conference fighting wind turbine installation, I have to disagree. To be clear, I understand where he is coming from, and I think any rational person has to agree that, whenever and wherever we can, we should be encouraging the use of all forms of alternative energy. However, having said that and with all due respect, the good LTC needs to learn a bit more about what the Appalachian Trail is and why it is truly one of the most amazing things, not only in the United States, but in the world before he so callously campaigns for its destruction. Where else on this planet, can one walk continuously for over 2,000 miles from the nearly subtropical southern reaches of this continent right on through the Great North Woods of the Maine Wilderness, in one stretch passing within 50 miles or less of each of the cities of the Eastern megalopolis and, with almost no exceptions, never leave the confines of a protected, natural environment where, from almost every overlook one can see this nation only as it was when.... well, even before it was a nation.... with nothing but mountains and forests interspersed with the occasional small town and farm? From the Appalachian Trail, you are much more likely to see a bear or moose or a porcupine or hear a loon or an owl than one is to see a road or hear an automobile, let alone experience the more obtrusive aspects of 21st century society, and that is something we should not only be proud of, but something we should treasure for ourselves and, more importantly, for all future generations. Quite simply, something like this does not exist anywhere else in the world and certainly not anywhere else so close and so accessible to so many people who otherwise never see the natural world beyond their bird feeder or the squirrels in the local park. More importantly, something like this can never be created again. Thankfully a group of visionaries created and fought for the Appalachian Trail at a time when it was still possible to create it. So, yes, I believe this is something we should... something we MUST.... preserve for our children, and not preserved in a half-ass, incomplete, compromised way, but in full. Our children and our children's children deserve the right to see at least one little sliver of this great land as it was, not as it will be. If that means we make a concerted effort to keep things like enormous wind turbines out of the "view-shed" of this narrow stretch of paradise, then I am all for it. This a BIG country and 99.99+% of it is NOT in the Appalachian Trail view-shed and can readily support wind turbines without ruining something we should be saving.

Name: Joanne
Hometown: Santa Barbara CA

Maybe it is just me, but I am sad to see the dude go. It was such fun watching him commit perjury, kiss up to W and make us long for the days of John Mitchell (who, by the by, dropped dead on a street in Georgetown and was discovered by a kid on a skateboard). As my violin teacher says, Bush is a superlative president, the worst ever. Abu played a big part in that. At least he has some meat on him. The guy they are talking about now is Chertoff, who looks like a patient at the Sansum Clinic Radiation Center and has done such a bang-up job at the cryptically-named Homeland Security. We can do worse, folks.

Name: Don Hynes
Hometown: Portland

Hi Eric,

Bush and Co. have worked the politics of fear to no end since 9-11, colored alerts, terrorists in every doorway, etc. Fear is the stimulus.

Give the man credit for his recent speech. It actually is something new and different, the politics of shame. We threw in the towel during the Vietnam War, if only we'd stay longer, had the courage for more sacrifice (not Bush's, but we all know that story).

He's accusing the country of cowardice and he's got plenty of apparatchiks in the media to step up and endorse his game.

It's one thing to falsely rewrite history, it's another to shame the country you are supposed to be leading. God bless America indeed.

Name: Destiny Land
Hometown: Oakland, CA

The D.C. madam finally broke her silence -- and to by-pass the mainstream the media, she went straight to the web!

http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2007/08/27/the-dc-madam-speaks/

There's two new bombshells. She says it was a "Homeland Security terrorist watch" program that the Justice Department used to pick up her transfer of $70,000 in escort money to Germany. And she also is raising suspicions about the timing of her bust. (She was under surveillance for 31 months, but the Justice Department waited until four weeks before the 2006 election.) "I was sitting on something -- or they thought I was sitting on something."

Her comments offer a perfectly-timed perspective for the Larry Craig scandal. She says, irrefutably, that "I do share the same mindset as Larry Flynt: expose the hypocrites."

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