Posts from November 2003

Iraq: a liberal cause

Iraq: a liberal cause
: Tom Friedman, bless him, finally comes out today and says what I’ve been saying for a long time:

The ouster of the tyrant Saddam Hussein was a liberal and humanitarian cause.

And the rebuilding of Iraq is a liberal cause.

But liberals don’t know it.

…this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don’t know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot….

On Iraq, there has to be more to the left than anti-Bushism….

For my money, the right liberal approach to Iraq is to say: We can do it better. Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, “Thanks, Mr. Bush. We’ll take it from here.”

Try telling that to the liberals running for president.

: UPDATE: Jack Balkin, good liberal, agrees with Friedman that we must fix up Iraq but then he cops out, saying that Bush will not listen. Jack, when did that ever stop anyone from putting pressure on? That’s what we should be doing. Instead of continuing to carp, we should be demanding the best path to democracy in Iraq:

: Putting pressure on to have more troops, not fewer, to bring security to Iraq.

: Putting pressure on the U.N. to send more troops from more nations to show support for democracy in Iraq.

: Putting pressure on companies to be ready to invest in Iraq.

: Putting pressure on Arab nations to disavow the terrorism — yes, terrorism — that is targeting Iraqi civilians and not only military but also civilian workers from other countries.

Rather than just carping, liberals should be demanding that the president — but first, their presidential candidates — do more to grow democracy and civilization in Iraq and the Middle East.

There’s plenty we can do, Jack, plenty.

The speed of blog

The speed of blog
: Way back on Nov. 19, Hit & Run’s weblog broke the silly master/slave meme (in which a doofus California bureaucrat who should be unemployed by now sends out a memo instructing people involved with computers not to call devices masters or slaves because it violates the supreme law of the age — it’s offensive).

The story finally got picked up by the AP — and, in turn the Chicago Tribune — today.

See, guys, if you’d been reading weblogs, you could have stolen that story far sooner.


: I’m flattered to be plotted in the map of the Commonwealth of Blogosphere States.

A deft touch

A deft touch
: I never cease to be amused at the utter lack of humor, subtlety, and irony in Larry Lessig’s “work.” The mere title of his latest book says it all: “Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity.” I’m working on my biography: “Lawrence Lessig: How a Professor Manages to Use a Sledgehammer To Keep Beating Home The Point That He Just Hates Media and Will Not Stop Until The Horse Is Dead, I Tell You, Dead, Really Dead.”

Dating myself

Dating myself
: Kind of a sad night. Well, poignant. Yes, poignant, that’s it. I turned on the local PBS station and there we had This Land Is Your Land: Trini Lopez with back-up singers who each weighed as much as any three backup singers in their heyday.

On the drive back from Hershey, I saw one guy with an anti-Bush bumpersticker and as I passed him (going slowly in his van), I saw he had a beard the size of a bush. Cliche, I said. Then I passed another car with another such bumpersticker. This guy had on a fisherman’s cap. Gawd, don’t they know they’re breathing cliches, I thought. Were we all like that?

And then I turned on PBS again and here is the Grateful Dead from the closing of Winterland in 1978.

I was there.

Yes, my children, I was there.

I covered the event for my column in The Examiner. I pissed off Bill Graham when I asked readers for the memories of the place and I dared to include drug-induced vomiting.

I seem to remember cosmic brownies that night.

I do remember legend Herb Caen pulling out a silver cigarette case stuffed with joints.

Mellow. Damn, I miss mellow.