April 28, 2003

Our Shared Values

My response to Geoff Smith, an ultra liberal brother of my cousin's husband, an Australian.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are the tenets of America's Declaration of Independence. However, I submit that people in today's Western world, including Australia, America's strong ally, now subscribe to what was then a radical notion that spawned a war(and the French were on America's side). If we can agree we share these values, we can certainly disagree on the means to preserve them.

However, millions do not share these values, particularly extreme Islamists, who instead are driven by a radical theocratic worldview that believes America, and by implication the Western world, must be driven to defeat by any means possible.

While we can disagree on the means to preserve our shared values, if we in the West truly believe they undergird our cultures, we should be able to keep ourselves from each others' throats.

Many of us who have served in the military or traveled extensively realize that the democratic values we share are not self-sustaining. They require vigilance, action, strength, perseverance and, yes, even war.

We cannot change the world of fanatics to our views by reasoning and dialogue alone. In fact, it's foolish to think the world will see things our way. The differences in history, culture and religion are much too stark, not to mention the evil that lurks in the hearts of ALL men (and women).

Nevertheless, when our values are threatened as they surely are now, we must act to preserve them. This is not a political argument, it is a cultural and societal imperative in the face of terrorism by those who would destroy us.

Be encouraged!

A Tall Order

A powerful statement and true, of course, through American and democratic, western eyes, but not necessarily embraced by the world's cultures and religious sects. Each group below would probably define freedom differently. It would be a wonderful exercise to know how each would define freedom. Is it political freedom, or religious freedom, or economic freedom?

"Whether you're Sunni or Shia or Kurd or Chaldean or Assyrian or Turkemen or Christian or Jew or Muslim, no matter what your faith, freedom is God's gift to every person in every nation," Bush said.

April 27, 2003

Thoughtful Canadian

Silver Donald Cameron's letter to Ambassador Paul Cellucci. I insert it here without comment because of it's clear, well written and poignant point of view.

(Silver Donald Cameron is a Canadian writer who lives in Nova Scotia. He was writing in response to a speech given by the American ambassador to Canada, who gave all Canadians a lecture on "friendship". It is very well written and well researched.)
Ambassador Paul Cellucci
Embassy of the United States of America,
490 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

Your recent remarks about Canada's policy with respect to Iraq were inaccurate, inappropriate and offensive.

Prime Minister Chretien is maintaining a delicate balance between U.S. pressure and Canadian opinion - a familiar position for Canadian prime ministers - and he will not tell you to go pound sand. But someone should.

Fundamentally, you argue that the United States would instantly come to the aid of Canada in an emergency, and Canada should therefore participate in your ill-advised attack on Iraq. "There is no security threat to Canada that the United States would not be ready, willing and able to help with," you are quoted as saying. "There would be no debate. There would be no hesitation. We would be there for Canada, part of our family."

Codswallop. And that's being diplomatic.

The primary threat to Canadian security has always been the United States.

A monument in Quebec honours my earliest Canadian ancestor for repelling an invasion from your home state of Massachusetts in 1690. The very first instance of military co-operation among the 13 colonies occurred in 1745 under the leadership of James Shirley, your predecessor as governor of Massachusetts, whose army invaded Nova Scotia and captured the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Thirty years later, during the American Revolution, your privateers sacked our ports. We were at war once more in 1812-15. The birth of Canada in 1867 was prompted by fears of a U.S. invasion. That's why our railroad runs along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, far from the U.S. border.

Do you remember Manifest Destiny, the 1840s U.S. doctrine which held that your country had a God-given mission to rule all of North America? Do you remember "Fifty-four-forty or fight," the slogan that rallied Americans to threaten an invasion in 1902 over the Alaska boundary? Yours is the only country that has ever invaded ours, and it would do so again in a wink if it thought its interests here were seriously threatened.

And how does your sentimental mantra of perpetual willingness to spring to our assistance apply to the First World War, which we entered in 1914, while you stayed out for three years? We went to war against Hitler in 1939, while you were moved to join your sister democracies only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor two years later. A million Canadians fought in the Second World War, and 45,000 died. We need no lectures from Americans about the defence of liberty and democracy.

Nevertheless, despite the strains of our history, we are probably as close as any two nations in the world. Many Canadians - I am one - have family members who are American citizens. Our two nations fought together not only in two World Wars, but also to repel the invasions of South Korea in 1949 and Kuwait in 1991. And when great catastrophe strikes without warning, our people have indeed been there for each other.

As governor of Massachusetts, you must have been present at the lighting of the Christmas tree in Boston each year-an annual gift from Nova Scotia to commemorate the immediate and massive assistance of Massachusetts after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Our chance to reciprocate came on Sept. 11, 2001, when Canadian ommunities took in, on an instant's notice, 40,000 passengers from U.S. planes forced down by the terrorist attacks. Halifax alone hosted 7,200. We housed them in our homes and schools and churches, fed them and comforted them and treated hem as family. We probably gave more immediate and practical assistance to Americans than any other country. Yet when your president later thanked nations for their help, he did not mention Canada.

The Iraq conflict, however, is not an unforeseen disaster, but a deliberate choice. Your president has squandered a worldwide outpouring of sympathy and solidarity in less than two years-an astounding diplomatic debacle. Your own remarks, with their dark hints of economic revenge, are entirely consistent with the Bush administration's policy of diplomacy by bullying, bribing and threatening.

A huge body of opinion, even in the U.S. and Britain, judges this war to be illegal, reckless and irrelevant to the fight against terrorism. Your government appears to have forgotten Osama bin Laden, and not to have noticed that the Sept. 11 terrorists were mostly Saudi, not Iraqi. They lived not in Baghdad but in Hamburg and San Diego. The Iraq campaign is a side-show, a grudge match, a distraction. It will breed more martyrs, and more terrorists.

Back in Massachusetts, in 1846, a young man was arrested and jailed for refusing to pay taxes, to avoid supporting his government's deplorable policies. He explained this in an essay, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, which has ever since inspired people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. His name was Henry David Thoreau, and no doubt the governor of Massachusetts thought he was a pretty poor American. He was not. Like King, he was a voice for what is finest in American life and values. And the issue on which he took his stand may sound a bit familiar. He was opposed to an imperial war - the unprovoked U.S. invasion which stripped Mexico of 40 per cent of its territory.

Good citizens - and good friends - oppose bad policies. By telling you the truth, they strive to save you from folly. They may be mistaken, but they are not your enemies. That is the message you should take back to the White House, whether or not there is anyone there who will understand it.


Silver Donald Cameron

April 25, 2003

Bush's Opposition

Senator Leahy, fortunately, has been proved wrong. To have made such a statement before the Iraq War is so grossly self serving, almost as if he hoped one of more of these possibilities would occur and the war go terribly wrong. It's as though he is hoping we'd fail. I find this sort of pre-war positioning disgusting. Howard Dean was in the same boat, which seems to be springing leaks, spouting his anti-war rhetoric. Hopefully, his rhetoric and demeanor, which are wearing thin, will lead to the quick demise of his Presidential bid. Since most of this is for their own political gain, I continue to lose respect for both of these politicians who try to be statesmanlike. They don't have the 'stuff' of statesmanship.

Leahy's Statement
"It is possible that the President’s advisers will be proven right, and that a war will be over in a matter of weeks. That the Iraqi army will
crumble like a house of cards. That Saddam Hussein will not blow up his oil wells and refineries. That he will not use chemical or biological
weapons. That our troops will not become bogged down in hand-to-hand urban combat. That there will be few Iraqi civilians killed. That predictions of
massive unrest throughout the Muslim world in protest of a U.S. military invasion of Iraq, and increases in the number of terrorist attacks against
Americans, will be proven groundless. That the ethnic and religious factions within Iraq, some of which hate each other, will put aside their
differences and join together to build a representative, democratic government. And that the President’s grand vision ­ about which we have no
details ­to democratize the entire Middle East, will be off to a successful start.... But it is also possible that any one of these dire predictions could come true..."
-- Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor, 3/3/03
Here's another excerpt from a liberal Salon editor/writer written post war. At least he is honest and open about his ambivalence. But to hope that America would fail in this war and actually take more casualties so as to hurt Bush and his administration is obscene. Have these people no moral compass, no faith and hope in America? Is this person nothing more than an intellect with a word processor adrift from right and wrong? So sad!

"And so, at this moment, as the Mordor shadow of Saddam Hussein, a truly evil man who, like a sociopathic murderous husband, killed everything that he could not control, lifts from the long-suffering people of Iraq, all of us, on the left and the right, Democrats and Republicans, America-lovers and America-haters, Syrians and Kuwaitis and Israelis and Palestinians, owe it to our common humanity to stop, put aside -- not forever -- our doubts and our grief and our future fears, and for one deep moment, celebrate."

"I have a confession: I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings."

Gary Kamiya

"morally sensitive" is a poor description for people who would think this.

April 23, 2003

Slanted Journalism by Brian Knowlton

ASHINGTON, April 23 — French officials responded brusquely today to an assertion by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that France would be made to suffer for its opposition to the war in Iraq.

This is not what Colin Powell or anyone in the Administration actually said. This is a reporter/journalist slanting and exaggerating the comments that were made, probably to churn the waters and stimulate reader interest. Poor job, Mr. Knowlton and to your editors...Wake up!

Friedman is Right

Friedman is right in proposing that action in the Israeli - Palestinian impasse is necessary by the key world players to give the Iraqi regime formation process a decent chance to work. Arafat must be out and a workable Palestinian cabinet installed for negotiations to begin.

One caveat that must be adopted by all who wish to see this conflict abated: Israel's right to exist. Until that foundation is set and announced publicly by all Arabs, little forward motion is possible.

Oil for Food Program Has $14 Billion Bottled Up

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 — The United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq has little prospect of releasing even $1 billion of its approximately $14 billion for emergency food and medical aid before its authorization runs out on May 12, the program's director said in an interview today.

The chief trading partners chosen by Iraq are revealed in this quote:

The Iraqi government did the contracting for the program, offering billions of dollars worth of business to companies from countries with which it wanted to trade. In the seven years since the program began, one Security Council diplomat said today, Russian companies did twice as much business as any other country's firms — $7.3 billion in oil purchases and the sale of other goods since 1996.

Other leading trading partners were Egypt, at $4.3 billion, and France, at $3.7 billion. Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and China each did more than $3 billion in business through the program, the diplomat said.

Follow the Money!

April 22, 2003

Food and Marches

Why do we not hear about the hunger of the hundreds of thousands of Shiites walking to the sacred city of Kerbala for a religious celebration ? Must be plenty of food available for these pilgrims along the way or they brought their own or Kerbala has plenty. Seems a disconnect given all the talk about massive amounts of relief needed??

Krauthammer Pulls No Punches

CK says the UN Security Council is a morally and politically bankrupt organization that should be forced to vote on a simple resolution to lift the sanctions and end the 'food for oil' UN program. France suddenly strikes a more conciliatory tone because my guess is the US quietly threatened to do just that. France, Russia and Germany should wake up soon to realize the sad state of their diplomatic morals (is that an oxymoron or are Chirac, Putin and Shroeder just morons?)

The Rest of the Story

Why this sudden flip-flop on the part of France and Russia? The cynical me believes France and Russia want a piece of the reconstruction action in post-war Iraq. Could the reason they opposed the war be they were among the biggest customers/vendors in the old 'oil for food' program? If they continued opposing lifting the sanctions, their financial shenanigans could be exposed by US pressure. I think they cut a deal with the US. Can't wait for the rest of this story to spill out! France's motives deserve close scrutiny.

April 21, 2003

Tough Talk from Safire

If these billions have been skimmed by Hussein, then we should take tough action to recover them. I do not favor giving France a red cent from this rebuilding effort until and unless Chirac cooperates fully to find the Saddam dollars stashed who knows where.

April 20, 2003

BFP Correct About Education Quality

High academic standards, thorough testing and school choice are the tools needed to improve our education system in VT. The quality component has received a great deal of quiet attention for a number of years in Vermont and the academic standards have been defined around the question " What Every Child Should Know and Be Able To Do." Our content standards (Vermont's Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities) are the result of a great deal of hard work by many teachers and others seriously interested in education. Now the accountability tools need to mature to support these standards: continuous, thorough testing and school choice.

Yet the cost side of the education must be constrained because we simply cannot afford the spiraling education costs even if all the quality goals were met . These are not incompatible choices.

New York Times Rant

This editorial from the 'paper of record' displays the rancor it holds toward President Bush's domestic agenda. Their liberal bias is smothering to read. Their desired alternative would be a massively huge government leading to the American entitlement society toward which we have already inexorably moved.

Bush is right to constrain the growth of government, stimulate the economy and allow people who pay taxes to retain more of the money they have earned.

April 18, 2003

Where are the WMD?

Now that the major fighting phase of the war in Iraq is finished, the really difficult work begins, including finding the WMD. While nation-building ramps up and looting ramps down, in my view finding the WMD is a critical task. I note that a special task force of 1000 will be sent from the US to tackle the job.
Unless WMD are located, either in Iraq or Syria or wherever they're hiding, the job is incomplete and one of the two bases for the war will have a false premise. The WMD must be found for me to justify the war.

Really Cool

An aerial view of my house is seen in this URL. A neat tool from Microsoft.

April 7, 2003

The Golden Egg

Act 60 is on trial in Vermont. While painful for many, this is a good thing. Since enactment in 1997, Act 60 has been the lightning rod for all that’s wrong with Vermont’s tax policy, education funding, escalating education costs, property values and the quality of education, all in the context of declining enrollment. Fixing this problem requires the riveted attention of the best minds in Vermont and hard choices by our leadership at all levels.

As the Legislature and Governor Douglas attempt to negotiate and legislate an answer to the crisis, the options are few and solutions difficult. They become more difficult because the discussion focuses on funding without adequately considering cost containment, let alone quality. With a 40% increase to a billion dollars in the education budget since 1997, both sides of the financial equation require concerted action.

On the funding side, the House identified recently a goose that some suggest may be ready to lay a golden egg that would help solve the education funding crisis.

Here’s the promised egg: The future possibility that Vermont sales taxes, a big part of the House funding formula, can be levied and collected by all merchants in the US on catalog and online sales of goods and services to Vermonters. However, this egg requires the goose to waddle through many obstacles before deciding to nest.

Today, catalog and online merchants are required to collect and remit sales taxes only in states where they have a substantial physical presence, called a tax nexus. This means that if a merchant has no such presence in a state, they are not required to collect or remit state sales taxes.

Here’s an example: Resolution has many clients that sell goods in all states, yet they have a physical presence in only one, or at most, a few. Because our clients store their goods in Resolution’s warehouse and Resolution takes orders and ships those items from Vermont, a physical presence exists. Accordingly, Resolution collects sales taxes from Vermont consumers and sends these taxes to the Vermont Tax Department for our clients.

The responsibility to pay sales taxes on items purchased online from a merchant with no Vermont nexus rests with the person who buys the product online or from a catalog, not the merchant. This has been true since 1992, when the US Supreme Court decided to prevent a state from requiring a merchant without a physical presence in that state to collect sales and use taxes. The Supreme Court in the Quill decision said that requiring catalog and online businesses to collect taxes for all states was an unreasonable business burden, thus an unacceptable infringement of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Vermont’s personal income tax instructions require a declaration of the value of these purchases and payment of taxes due, yet few people actually pay them. Although we are legally obligated to pay, no Vermont collection enforcement mechanism exists.

Because revenue is needed to fill budget shortfalls and online and catalog sales continue to grow, some 38 states, including Vermont, have allied to tap this potential sales tax revenue source. Ten states have signed on to a “Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement,” a 70 page document adopted in November 2002 whose purpose is: “to simplify and modernize sales and use tax administration in the member states in order to substantially reduce the burden of tax compliance. The burden referenced is the burden on merchants who will be expected to collect the taxes for the 7,500 plus taxing jurisdictions in the US.

However, this agreement cannot be implemented by any state until Congress enacts legislation that would effectively undo the Supreme Court decision. To do so will require solid evidence that the burden of collecting taxes by all merchants, large and small, has diminished. Otherwise, a legislative challenge to the Supreme Court’s Quill decision may fail. Perhaps consumers will agree that the tax-free days are ending, but many online and catalog businesses may not agree they can accommodate this ‘streamlining.’ Very sophisticated software will be required and this may not be affordable for small businesses.

States will be required to pass legislation to meet a complex set of requirements tat results in simplification so that merchants pay only one state tax jurisdiction under a common set of criteria.

Although Federal legislation may be proposed this summer, the goose is far from nested and the golden egg of windfall sales tax revenue is several years away. Vermont should not count on it for the short term. Meanwhile, Vermont’s legislature searches high and low for new sales and income taxes to reduce dependence on property taxes to fund Act 60, when education costs are the basic problem.

WMD Found?

If tests on the barrels of chemicals found near Kerbala prove conclusive, America will have the hard evidence it needs to show the world that Saddam is a maniacal liar.

April 6, 2003

General's Description of Armchair Generals

Best description yet of the TV military analysts not smart enough to know what they don't know.
The three-star general (Air Force Lt. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley) said he found it "humorous" that some former military officers and pundits have criticized a war plan "that they have never seen."
"I grew up in Texas, and I'm amused by the way that they critique it. But in the end it's a whole lot like listening to a cow pee on a flat rock — it just doesn't matter," Gen. Moseley said.

Required Reading from Donald Kagan - Yale

Donald Kagan's lecture at Yale in November 2001 should be required reading for all educators, particularly those relatavists and revisionist who would divide us in this hour of need for national unity. We have a generation of educators who do not understand the honest search for truth and the simultaneous need for students to understand the necessity in our democracy of a unifying culture. This must change. In fact, we may need a litmus test for K-12 educators to protect our culture and our democracy.

Perhaps we should call it patriotism.

Bill Bennet Excerpt

This from Why We Fight Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism. If we don't believe this asa core principle of out American culture, then we don't understand our history. Misunderstanding our history leaves us open to the ravages of all sorts of cultural theories and mis-directed ideologies.
By studying our history, by learning about its heroes, by examining and understanding its failures as well as its incomparable achievements, we grasp the value of our political tradition and what distinguishes it from others.

Our country is something to be proud of, something to celebrate. Why should we shrink from saying so? A sober, a sophisticated, study of our history demonstrates beyond cavil that we have provided more freedom to more people than any nation in the history of mankind; that we have provided a greater degree of equality to more people than any nation in the history of mankind; that we have created more prosperity, and spread it more widely, than any nation in the history of mankind; that we have brought more justice to more people than any nation in the history of mankind; that our open, tolerant, prosperous, peaceable society is the marvel and envy of the ages. (p. 162-163)

April 5, 2003

Professors are Out of Touch

(The whole article is reprinted here because the New York Times is severing links to its articles after 30 days or so)

This article, (Thank's Kate for writing it with balance and fairness), suggest's what's wrong with our education system. Anti-war, perhaps even anti-American intellectuals, the same crowd that pushed Political Correctness, has seen better days. Young people understand the threat to America demonstrated by 9/11. Many of their professors have analyzed the event incorrectly and I'm pleased to see students challenging their teachers' views and motivations.

If we probed deeper, I believe we'd see the same beliefs held by teachers in our high schools and in the elementary grades. Balance is needed, not brainwashing.

Professors Protest as Students Debate

April 5, 2003

AMHERST, Mass., April 4 - It is not easy being an old lefty
on campus in this war.

At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, awash in antiwar
protests in the Vietnam era, a columnist for a student
newspaper took a professor to task for canceling classes to
protest the war in Iraq, saying the university should
reprimand her and refund tuition for the missed periods.

Irvine Valley College in Southern California sent faculty
members a memo that warned them not to discuss the war
unless it was specifically related to the course material.
When professors cried censorship, the administration
explained that the request had come from students.

Here at Amherst College, many students were vocally annoyed
this semester when 40 professors paraded into the dining
hall with antiwar signs. One student confronted a

protesting professor and shoved him.

Some students here accuse professors of behaving
inappropriately, of not knowing their place.

"It seems the professors are more vehement than the
students," Jack Morgan, a sophomore, said. "There comes a
point when you wonder are you fostering a discussion or are
you promoting an opinion you want students to embrace or
even parrot?"

Across the country, the war is disclosing role reversals,
between professors shaped by Vietnam protests and a more
conservative student body traumatized by the attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001. Prowar groups have sprung up at Brandeis
and Yale and on other campuses. One group at Columbia,
where last week an antiwar professor rhetorically called
for "a million Mogadishus," is campaigning for the return
of R.O.T.C. to Morningside Heights.

Even in antiwar bastions like Cambridge, Berkeley and
Madison, the protests have been more town than gown. At
Berkeley, where Vietnam protesters shouted, "Shut it down!"

under clouds of tear gas, Sproul Plaza these days features
mostly solo operators who hand out black armbands. The
shutdown was in San Francisco, and the crowd was grayer.

All this dismays many professors.

"We used to like to
offend people," Martha Saxton, a professor of women's
studies at Amherst, said as she discussed the faculty
protest with students this week. "We loved being bad, in
the sense that we were making a statement. Why is there no
joy now?"

Certainly not all students are pro-war or all faculty anti.
But "there's a much higher percentage of liberal professors
than there are liberal students," said Ben Falby, the
student who organized the protest at Amherst only to find
that it had more professors than students.

On campuses like Yale and Berkeley, professors say their
colleagues are overwhelmingly against the war. By contrast,
students polled by The Yale Daily News are 50-50.
Interviews elsewhere find students' attitudes equally

fractured. Some are solidly for the war. Some are against
it, but not to the point of protest.

"Protesting is a niche activity," said Prof. Michael Kazin,
co-author of "America Divided: The Civil War of the
1960's." "There are some people who do drama, some people
who do protest, other people who drink too much."

At Georgetown, where Professor Kazin teaches history, a
handful of antiwar students had a sleep-in last weekend on
Red Square, named for the color of the bricks, not the
political sentiment of those who gather there. Other
students expressed disgust, so much that Professor Kazin
said to his students that they seemed more upset about the
encampment than the war.

He hears similar accounts in academic e-mail chains across
the country. One example was a campus protest that drew 40
students, maybe 60.

Amherst's history should make it predictably antiwar. The
Vietnam protests were so spirited that in 1972 they swept
up the college president, John William Ward, who was

arrested in a sit-in at nearby Westover Air Force Base. The
protest included 1,000 students, 20 faculty members and the
president's wife.

Now, the departing president, Tom Gerety, is firmly
antiwar, as are most professors. The students, however,
have yet to be swept up. Last month, the Progressive
Students Association asked the student government to ask
the faculty to take 15 minutes in class to discuss the war.
The government refused. Some professors chose to take the
time anyway, but many did not, having seen the reaction to
the dining hall protest.

"There was a sense this is a different world," said Austin
Sarat, a professor of political science who was active in
antiwar protests in 1970 as a graduate student in Madison,

Students opposed to the war say they appreciate the
professors' sentiments.

"It's a lonely place to be an antiwar protester on the
Amherst campus," said Beatriz Wallace, a junior. In the
dining hall, students have set out baskets of ribbons, some

yellow, some red, white and blue.

Prowar students say they feel just as alienated. "The
faculty, and events, has a chilling effect on discussions
for the prowar side," said David Chen, a sophomore.

In a discussion, Professor Sarat began with the proposition
that if you love the United States, you must, as an act of
patriotism, oppose the war. Students took exception.

"President Bush has taken an imperial position," Professor
Sarat insisted.

Michael Valentine, a sophomore, replied: "I don't think
it's the dominance of the United States. It's the security
of the United States that's at issue. They're saying the
only way we can ensure the security of our citizens is to
go in there."

"And to make the Middle East safe for democracy," Professor
Sarat interjected.

"Professor, that's only because a regime poses a security
risk," Mr. Valentine said.

Professor Sarat said the change in tone reflected a larger

"The notion that campuses are awash in political

correctness," he said, "is given the lie every day in my

Still, he and others expressed wistfulness for days gone

"In Madison, teach-ins were as common as bratwurst," he
said. "There was a certain nobility in being gassed. Now
you don't get gassed. You walk into a dining hall and hand
out an informational pamphlet."

The students' attitudes have many possible explanations.
There is no draft this time. Students on small liberal arts
campuses like this one are more diverse than those of the
60's and 70's. More receive financial aid, and many are
more concerned about their careers than about protesting.
But the students have also been pulled toward a more
conservative mainstream than their parents.

"The most left president they know is Bill Clinton, running
on, `I'm tough on crime,' " Professor Sarat said. "The
Great Society is to them what the New Deal was to me."

John Lewis Gaddis, a professor of history at Yale, agreed,

saying: "These are the kids of Reagan. When I lecture on
Reagan, the kids love him. Their parents are horrified and

This generation is also shaped by Sept. 11. When Gary J.
Bass, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton,
asked his class on "Causes of War" how many students were
in R.O.T.C., two raised their hands. The rest applauded.

"I had asked the question before Sept. 11 and not gotten
that response," Professor Bass said. "I definitely hadn't
expected it."

A nationwide survey of freshmen by the University of
California at Los Angeles over the last 37 years reflected
other shifts from Sept. 11. This year, more students called
themselves conservative than in other recent surveys, and
45 percent supported an increase in military spending, more
than double the percentage in 1993.

At a teach-in at Yale, the president, Richard C. Levin,
announced that although he was against the war, the
speakers were chosen to represent a range of opinions.

At Amherst, Prof. Barry O'Connell, too, tries hard. As he
sits in a discussion group with students, he patiently
listens to those who argue in favor of the war, even though
he remains adamantly against it. Across the hall, a mug
shot of Henry A. Kissinger is posted outside his office
with the heading "Wanted for Crimes Against Humanity."

"My job is not to get my students to agree with me,"
Professor O'Connell insisted.

Still, he conceded, `There is a second when I hear them,
and my heart just falls."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

April 4, 2003

Thanks, Mohammed!

A brave man instigates the daring rescue of Jessica Lynch.

Inside the room with her was an imposing Iraqi man, clad all in black. Mohammed watched as the man slapped the American woman with his open palm, then again with the back of his hand. In that instant, Mohammed recalled today, he resolved to do something. The next day, when the man in black was not around, Mohammed sneaked in to see the young woman.

"Don't worry, don't worry," he told her. He was going to help.

As he recounted the events today, that decision set in motion one of the most dramatic moments in the first two weeks of the war in Iraq. Five days after Mohammed located U.S. Marines and told them what he knew, Black Hawk helicopters swooped in under cover of darkness, touching down next to the six-story hospital, and a team of heavily-armed commandos stormed the building. With hand-scrawled maps from Mohammed and his wife, the commandos quickly found the injured Pfc. Jessica Lynch and spirited her away to safety.

April 3, 2003

Finally! A Concise Military Status Assessment

This author provides a 4/2/03 crisp analysis of the status of the siege of Baghdad. A significant improvement over the barrage of information from the TV news channels.

April 2, 2003

O'Sullivan's Reasonable Hypothesis

John O'Sullivan opines that Saddam's Baath loyalist thugs will dissipate when the regime cracks and the fear of retribution shared by ordinary Iraqis is gone. Simultaneously, the power of the ruling Baath party will evaporate. This may be so, but threats of suicide bombings by the radical Islamists may be a painful harrassment. Certainly, more 'civilians' will be killed.