The He Decade
: At his briefing yesterday, a reporter said she wanted to ask Donald Rumsfeld a question on a “touchy-feely” topic and he cut her off with laughter, looking at the general to his side, and saying, “You’ve come to the wrong guys.”
Note the trend:
The American flag is back. The military-industrial complex is back. And testosterone is back.
No more Me Decade. No more We Decade. No more Re Decade.
This is the He Decade.
: PBS Frontline counts seven chances to catch the hijackers before they acted, but each was muffed. [via Metafilter]
Rules for safe flying
: 1. Do not rush the cockpit and stick your head into the door doing your imitation of Jack Nicholson doing his imitation of Johnny Carson. You will be hit on the head with an axe.
2. Do not get up to go to the bathroom in the last 30 minutes of your flight. You will go to jail. In either case, you will end up peeing in your pants.
3. Do not smoke crack and have repeated gay sex in the restroom. You will be sent back home.
Olympic ideal? Ha!
: Drugs. Bribery. Corruption.
Crazy after all these years
: A super Thomas Friedman column in today’s NY Times, as insightful as it is amusing. He writes from London that Europe can’t stand Bush’s Axis of Evil and he says the critics are right with various complaints. Nonetheless, Friedman is glad that Bush said it.
Because the critics are missing the larger point, which is this: Sept. 11 happened because America had lost its deterrent capability. We lost it because for 20 years we never retaliated against, or brought to justice, those who murdered Americans. From the first suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, to the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut airport a few months later, to the T.W.A. hijacking, to the attack on U.S. troops at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, to the suicide bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, innocent Americans were killed and we did nothing.
So our enemies took us less and less seriously and became more and more emboldened. Indeed, they became so emboldened that a group of individuals ó think about that for a second: not a state but a group of individuals ó attacked America in its own backyard. Why not? The terrorists and the states that harbor them thought we were soft, and they were right. They thought that they could always “out-crazy” us, and they were right. They thought we would always listen to the Europeans and opt for “constructive engagement” with rogues, not a fist in the face, and they were right.
America’s enemies smelled weakness all over us, and we paid a huge price for that….
Friedman says it is time for us to restore our deterrence and one way to do that is to act not only big and powerful and angry but also a little crazy and unpredictable so the bad guys — the evil guys — actually fear what they unleash. His punchline:
No, the axis-of-evil idea isn’t thought through ó but that’s what I like about it. It says to these countries and their terrorist pals: “We know what you’re cooking in your bathtubs. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to do about it, but if you think we are going to just sit back and take another dose from you, you’re wrong. Meet Don Rumsfeld ó he’s even crazier than you are.”
Finding a good use for newspapers
: A French-Canadian reporter locks himself out of his hotel room — naked — while grabbing the morning paper. He finds his way to the lobby with sections of the paper covering his front and back. Hotel officials in Mormonville unamused; they call the cops; he’s evicted. (Via Romenesko)
Mouth, meet foot
: Ted Turner and AOL Time Warner backtrack from his remark about “brave” terrorists:
“What Ted Turner said in no way reflects AOL Time Warner’s view about this terrible tragedy,” spokesman Ed Adler said.
In a written statement Tuesday, Turner said his comments “were reported out of context, and I deeply regret any pain they may have caused. I abhor violence in any form and wholeheartedly support the campaign to free the world from the threat of terrorism.”
: Laura Bush speaks to the SF Chronicle — or tries to — about John The Rat Traitor Superdoofus Walker Lindh. I can’t make much sense out of what she’s trying to say but I’m amused that they connect her problems with her kids to Lindh’s parents’ problem with theirs:
First lady Laura Bush said the “sad” journey of John Walker Lindh from Marin teenager to Taliban fighter provided both a cautionary tale and “a couple of lessons for parents” and others raising children.
“Certainly . . . make sure your children are mature before you allow them to do certain things,” said Bush, in an interview yesterday with The Chronicle, delivering her most detailed remarks to date on Lindh’s case. “In some ways, it’s sort of the extreme of what American parents want their children to do . . . travel the world.”
Saying the 20-year-old’s parents deserve sympathy, Bush said she believes Lindh’s parents, Frank Lindh and Marilyn Walker “feel terrible — no matter what their responsibility might have been to start with. They feel terrible now.”…
Saying she believes they are “certainly” deserving of sympathy now that their son faces multiple federal charges, Bush said parents must recognize the children’s level of maturity in allowing them the freedom to grow into adulthood.
“As all parents know, there’s a certain time when children are not going to do what their parents want them to,” said Bush, whose own teenagers’ foibles have been the subject of news coverage. “(They) get to a certain age where it doesn’t matter what you say to them.”
But parents fighting against inappropriate influences from the culture, media or television must “just continue to say . . . ‘these aren’t our values, ‘ ” she said.
Tourist meets terrorist
: A Guardian writer’s close encounter with the purported kidnapper of Daniel Pearl.