Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Comic Relief from TBogg

Unfortunately-named "food" product

From TBogg:

Scroll down to where the post reads, "I had to go to Target today. Yeah, I know, but they have something there that I find difficult to find elsewhere, so I just hadda go..."

Did you hear the one...

Two guys who love a free press.

....about the 'free' Afghan reporters being denied permission to attend the press conference in the US because Karzai was worried they might defect? It's a real knee-slapper: (From Debra Pickett of the Chicago Sun-Times)

"The first question dealt with the military's treatment of Afghan prisoners of war. It was full of facts and details and built-in follow-ups, so you could tell the reporter asking it would probably never get called on again. And, after this rocky start, Bush decided to let the American reporters cool their heels for a while.

"Somebody from the Afghan press?" he asked next.

There was an awkward silence, which Karzai gamely tried to fill in by asking, "Anybody from the Afghan press? Do we have an Afghan press?"

Then he spotted the single reporter his government had permitted to travel outside Afghanistan.

"Oh, here he is," Karzai said, as the room filled with the not-quite-warm laughter of people who suspect they might actually be the butt of a joke but aren't sure.

It turned out, National Public Radio journalist David Greene reported later, there were nine other Afghan reporters who were to have followed Karzai on his U.S. visit but, at the last minute, the Karzai government decided to withhold their travel permits for fear the journalists might try to escape their troubled homeland.

Bush seemed genuinely surprised that the Afghan reporters weren't there -- American journalists had been asked to fill in their empty seats -- so it seems that Karzai forgot to mention to his good friend that the whole free press thing has a slightly different meaning in the burgeoning democracy that is Afghanistan.

I imagine they had a pretty good laugh about that one.

And I bet Bush was jealous."

Hat tip to Anne.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Nuclear Option Fraud

Senator Paine shrinks from Senator Jefferson
Smith's wrath in the climatic filibuster scene
in Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

McCain's momentary outmanuevering of Frist notwithstanding, the nuclear option of reducing the cloture hurdle for judicial nominees to 51 votes is still very much on the table.

And true to form, the GOP has once again outflanked the Democrats on the matter of framing maneuvers on the issue of the confirmation of Bush's judicial nominees. The GOP not only successfully painted the Democrats as "obstructionists", but as undemocratic as well: "All we want is an up or down vote!", was the talking point repeated ad nauseam. To the casual observer, and apparently the more astute pundits, this appeared to be a reasonable request -- what is more reasonable than democracy, what is more reasonable than the claim, "majority rules?"

And the hamstrung Democrats came up with nothing. Well, not exactly. They came up with the history of the filibuster and the fact that the GOP had blocked Democratic nominees in committee, all sounding very Kerryish (boring, complicated, nuanced, etc). In short, they lost the talking points part of the battle. The only reason they didn't lose the whole thing, was because the general public, who likes divided government, as well as checks and balances, looked askance at what was a naked GOP power grab, and thus slightly tipped the outcome in the Dems' favor.

We can do better. Here's how:

Let's call bullshit on the Senate GOP's claim that they are the greater lovers of democracy. The numbers are on our side.

There are 54 GOP senators. They represent a population of 136,004,806 based on the 2000 census. How did I come up with that number? Simple. Take a state like South Dakota which has a population of 754,844. There is one GOP senator and one Democratic senator. Each represents a population of 377,422. You could argue that they both represent the larger number but the final math will be the same. Take a state like Virginia, which has 2 GOP senators, so they represent ALL of Virginia's population of 7,978,515.

What are the totals? There are 54 GOP senators who represent a population of 136,004,806. There are 46 Democratic senators (including Jeffords) who represent a population of 144,845,042. There were 280,849,847 people in the US in 2000 (not including the District of Columbia which is not represented by anyone in the Senate). That means the GOP's 54 senators speak for 48.43% of the population (when they stand together) and the Democrats' 46 senators speak for 51.57% of the population. The minority party is representing the majority population of the US.

But go "nuclear" and the numbers are even worse for the GOP. If we take the 136,004,806 people that Republican Senators represent and divide that by 54, we get an average number of people represented per GOP Senator at 2,518,608. Multiply that by 51, the number needed under the nuclear option to end debate on judicial nominees, and you get 128,448.983 .....or 45.7% of the represented population.

Or, another way of looking at the same principle: (A) If Senate seats were allocated on a proportional basis in the manner they are in the House i.e. in a more direct, pure democratic fashion, AND, (B), the vote was 51 Republicans vs 45 Democrats, plus one Independent, plus 3 GOP defectors, THEN what would appear to be a majority victory for the stalwart GOP by the margin of 51-49, would actually a majority victory for the Democrats and their allies 54 - 46 --- that's a ten-point swing -- a pretty significant shift in basketball and politics.

This is the kind of faux majority that wants control of lifetime appointments to the federal bench to put God-knows-what spin on the Constitution.

How democratic is that?

(Here's the spreadsheet with the numbers if you're interested.)

Unfortunately, I don't see a Democrat in the Senate today that I could cast as Jimmy Stewart's fabled Jefferson Smith. The other casting decision was a cinch:

SENATOR????: I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Frist. All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Frist does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain, simple rule. Love thy neighbor. And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust. You know that rule Mr. Frist. And I loved you for it just as my father did. And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than any for any others. Yes, you even die for them. Like a man we both knew, Mr. Frist. You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well I'm not licked and I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Bushies and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody'll listen to me. Some...(collapses)

FRIST : I'm not fit to be a Senator. I'm not fit to live. It's for me. It's for me, not him. The nuclear option is a fraud. It's a crime against the people who sent me here. And I committed it. Every word that boy said is the truth. Every word about Bush, and me and the lies about how we never held up Democratic judicial nominees. And the rotten political corruption in my party. Every word of it is true. I'm not fit for office. I'm not fit for any place of honor or trust.

Listen here.

And, again, why the war isn't worth it...

From Think Progress:

"But according to Charles Duelfer, the Bush administration’s hand-picked weapons inspector, the sanctions - and the status quo - were working very well. Here’s a summary of the Duelfer’s finding from the 10/7/04 Washington Post:

"Duelfer said one of Hussein’s main strategic goals was to persuade the United Nations to lift economic sanctions, which had devastated the country’s economy and, along with U.N. inspections, had forced him to stop weapons programs."

Let’s be clear. According to the definitive report produced by the Bush administration, had the sanctions remained in place, Saddam Hussein would not have been able to acquire WMD. Had the administration chose sanctions instead of war, Iraq would still not have had WMD and more than 1600 American troops killed in Iraq would be alive today."

Rooney's Memorial Day Essay

Obie Slingerland and Andy Rooney were best friends
and co-captains of the high school football team.
(Photo: CBS/60 Minutes)
Andy Rooney's Memorial Day essay, presented on last night's 60 Minutes, sums up my feelings about most American wars perfectly.
"There is more bravery at war than in peace, and it seems wrong that we have so often saved this virtue to use for our least noble activity - war. The goal of war is to cause death to other people. "

Friday, May 27, 2005

Maybe France was right....

Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC)
BEFORE 1,650 Americans died in Iraq.

From the Guardian via the Raleigh News & Observer:

"Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".

Representative Jones continues:
"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."
Damn straight!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Haloscan Switch

At the suggestion of Brother Campbell of Enrevanche, I have switched over to Haloscan for comments and trackbacks. Either because of my ineptitude or I just didn't understand the switching directions, the old comments were unceremoniously dumped. Please accept my apologies and come back often and post -- especially if you disagree.

I was able to capture the lengthy thread regarding my Prison Abuse assignment, so that discussion can continue uniterrupted if the interested parties desire...



"One 'Culture of Life' sandwich, please, hold the lettuce, tomato, and bun."

Love, Infinity, Sperm and Egg by John Farah

You really have to love it when W's spokesman gets caught defending his boss's inconsistent and thus incoherent, "Consistent Life/culture of life/seamless garment" position.
As you know, W has co-opted the Catholic phrase, "culture of life", which, to an orthodox Catholic, means no abortion and no euthanasia -- positions the President supports. However, the orthodox "culture of life" position also entails no war, no death penalty, working to eliminate poverty, and no contraception -- the first three positions being those where the President becomes a "cafeteria Catholic", deftly leaving those behind for one more pious than he. But what about contraception? Where does he stand on that one, in a time when some pharmacists are loathe to dispense birth control pills?
We don't get much help from today's press conference, but it would have been fun to see McClellan squirm:

Q There are news reports this morning that parents and children who were guests of the President, when they visited Congress, wore stickers with the wording, "I was an embryo." And my question is, since all of us were once embryos, and all of us were once part sperm and egg, is the President also opposed to contraception, which stops this union and kills both sperm and egg?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has made his views known on these issues, and
his views known --

Q You know, but what I asked, is he opposed -- he's not opposed to contraception, is he?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and you've made your views known, as well. The President --

Q No, no, but is he opposed to contraception, Scott? Could you just tell us yes or no?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think that this question is --

Q Well, is he? Does he oppose contraception?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think the President's views are very clear when it comes to building a culture of life --

Q If they were clear, I wouldn't have asked.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and if you want to ask those questions, that's fine. I'm just not going to dignify them with a response.

Socrates could not have done any better -- the irony of choking on the "culure of life."

Cycles of Recrimination

From the Collection of the United States Postal Service

As Memorial Day is this coming Monday and as I have a few servicemen visiting this blog, I thought it appropriate to provide a link to a paper I wrote a few years ago -- "Cycles of Recrimination: The Re-integration of the Vietnam Veteran Into American Society from 1969 -- 1974."

There's no question that the paper is poorly edited, though I hope not poorly written nor researched.

Here's the last page:

As I completed the research, I found a series of websites about dogs who had served in Vietnam as sentries, as well as for minesweeping and tunnel searches. At the end of the war most of the handlers wanted to bring their dogs home. The military refused to allow them to come back to the United States. Most heartbreaking was a story of a handler holding and stroking his German Shepard as the animal was injected with a green shot of death. Most compelling though was this official response from the Marine Corps to a handler who wanted to spare his dog this fate:

“A militarily trained dog is conditioned to operating in a noisy, violent, and sometimes confusing environment. Experts in the field of training such dogs have stated that a military dog cannot be completely detrained. The danger always exists that, while a dog may appear docile, a loud noise or other outside stimulus may cause the dog to react in a violent manner thereby resulting in severe injury to persons in the immediate vicinity. To place such an animal in a civilian community would be most hazardous and could ultimately lead to serious human injury or death.”

The letter continues to talk about the possibility of dogs bringing home unknown diseases. Substitute the word “soldier” every place where “dog” is found and I believe that is a fair assessment of how we saw and continue to see the Vietnam vet. Maybe we don’t see him as crazed or drug addicted anymore. But the strange disease he carries can’t be cured — that of fighting in a war we lost.

If one accepts the premise that all Americans had a hand in the war either as direct participants, as taxpayers, or as citizens, then we all lost. Since we can’t give ourselves or the veterans the green shot, we try to inject it into our collective memory to both kill it and allow for the invention and perpetuation of new stories of spat upon soldiers, of a feminized military, a left-leaning electorate, a spineless Congress, two derelict presidents (Johnson and Nixon), a savior president shot before he could end the war, and so on. But the stories don’t heal and so we are left with nothing but endless recrimination.


Give 'em Hell Senfronia!

Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston, TX)

As Molly Ivins, notes in her most recent column, the less-than-enlightened Texas State Legislature was debating an amendment which would ban gay marriage in the state (it passed the House and now is before the Texas Senate), when a voice of reason and courage confronted the body. I wish I could have been in the Texas House to hear this speech and to watch the expressions on her colleagues faces.

"I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about; this is the politics of divisiveness at it's worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

"Members, this is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

"Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP [Children's Health Insurance Program] who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

"Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination... When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about 'protecting the institution of marriage' as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree... Fifty years ago, white folks thought interracial marriages were 'a threat to the institution of marriage.'

"Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, 'Gay people can't marry.' I have never read the verse where it says, 'Thou shalt discriminate against those not like me.' I have never read the verse where it says, 'Let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination.' Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness -- not hate and discrimination.
"I have served in this body a lot of years, and I have seen a lot of promises broken... So... now that blacks and women have equal rights, you turn your hatred to homosexuals, and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag -- brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what?

"Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this state now. Texas law does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this state -- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

"If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing -- but the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way. This is obscene...

"I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors' pensions and stem cell research to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

"Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids -- sweet little vulnerable kids -- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. "I have listened to the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap... I want you to know that this amendment [is] blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry."

Democrats would do well to familiarize themselves with this speech.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Modern Crusade, Part 1

We're getting filled with the Holy Spirit up here in the mountains. First, we had Chan Chandler in Waynesville, NC, who told his flock last fall they should repent or resign if they planned to vote for John Kerry. Fortunately, the saner Baptists prevailed, and God called Chandler to other pursuits. And now, we've made the news again with a mountain church who thought Newsweek, factually correct or not, had the right idea about allowing Koran-Commode marriage.

(Josh Humphries/Daily Courier)

Here's Keith Olbermann with some details:
"About 65 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina, in Forest City, greetings of—greeting parishioner on the Danieltown—of the Danieltown Baptist Church, plus any motorists who happen to be driving past it on U.S. 221 south, this greeting from Reverend Creighton Lovelace, the pastor of the church, “The Koran needs to be flushed!” Despite protests from some Muslims in the area, and disavowals from the head of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Reverend Lovelace isn‘t apologizing. "

Olbermann interviews Lovelace:

OLBERMANN: Is it possible that that book, the Koran, can be as holy or sacred to Muslims as the Bible is to you? Is that not a precept of your religion, that those—both of those things might be true?

LOVELACE: Well, actually, God, into his revelation to man, in the Book of Revelation, Genesis to Revelation, and he said, If any man adds to the word of this book, I will add unto him the plagues that are listed inside of this book. And if any man takes away from the words of this book, I will take away his part out of the Book of Life. (I guess Mormons are going to Hell for adding to the New Testament, along with the Jews who don't accept the sequel to the Tanakh -- jd) And but the Muslim faith, they do hold the Koran to be holy. But yet we must remember, in this world in which we live, there are absolute, there is an absolute. There is a right way to heaven, and there is a wrong way, which would lead people to hell.

OLBERMANN: But—but...

LOVELACE: (INAUDIBLE) -- I‘m sorry, go ahead, sir.

OLBERMANN: Yes, sir. I‘m just wondering, is that not what they say about your religion too? Is that not what the Muslims believe? Is that not part of the problem of their religion sort of spiraling off into this area of violence and terrorism?

LOVELACE: Well, that‘s—they claim that they trace their lineage back to the Holy Scripture. But yet if one would merely look at the Koran and look and see the stories that are taken from God‘s word, for example, they state that Esau, or Jesus, was born by the Virgin Mary under a palm tree. Now, Luke chapter two, verse seven, says Jesus, our Lord and our Savior, was born inside of a stable. And so as far as I can see, the Koran is merely another tool used by Satan to deceive people around the world. We don‘t hate Muslims. We don‘t hate Islamic people. I merely am commanded by God‘s word, the Holy Bible, to tell my people what is truth and what is not, and to hopefully, by our statements and standing firm on God‘s word, that people will hopefully look and see, Well, what is—is the Koran right? Is the Bible right? Hopefully they will—people will begin to look at this issue for themselves.

OLBERMANN: What if they look at it in the same way that the “Newsweek” story was looked at? I mean, we all know about this supposed connection between the story about the Korans in the toilet, and the rioting in the Middle East, and the way news travels around the world today on the Internet and other ways. If people in the Middle East see or read about your sign, and there‘s a riot, and some of those people are killed, how will you feel?

LOVELACE: Well, I, of course, I would be very sad that these people have lost their life. But yet again, the Bible teaches that we have free will. And if someone riots and takes up a weapon to attempt to murder someone because of just, of this story, they are the ones that have chosen to do this. And the Koran teaches the Islamic people, jihad, or a holy war. And the Bible stresses that we are—Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."

I frequently read and I am strongly admonished, that the war on terror emphatically DOES NOT have a significant religious component on the American side. I am told and I read that the homicidal impulses which are rooted in religious bigotry are exclusively found on the Muslim side. I don't buy this argument. I'm not arguing that Rev. Lovelace is a homicidal maniac who spends his Saturdays looking for the three remaining Muslims in Rutherford County to dispatch. But I am saying that he supports a war on Islam with religious fervor, with his pulpit, and his vote. He and his ilk are, in a very real sense, authorizing the war.

Is Rev. Lovelace and his ilk authorizing war on Muslim civilians? No. He says he would be "very sad" that people had or might have lost their lives. And then spinning on a dime, he makes the intonation about "vengeance" in a manner that suggests whatever it is that Islam has done, justifies whatever it is we are doing. For Lovelace and his ilk, there are right ways and wrong ways, one true path to Heaven, many paths to Hell. And certainly Islam falls into this category, if for no other reason, than its holy book was authored by Satan himself. Are we truly saddened if the followers of Satan fall, be they insurgents or "collateral damage" - 20,000 and counting in the latter category?

Isn't it the case, that crucial support for this war comes from the camp who believes the war is prosecuted in the name of Christian righteousness, in the quest of vengeance, to defeat the people who are led by a book authored by Satan?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Ethics of Covering Prisoner Abuse

I’ve recently discovered a most worthy foil for my conventional wisdom - the estimable “Chap”, of Chapomatic, referred to me by my old buddy Barry Campbell, who maintains the most eclectic and entertaining Enrevanche. A conversation/debate Chap and I had over the past week, served as the inspiration for the final assignment for my AP US history class.

I asked the students to grapple with the ethical issues confronting newspaper and broadcast media editors when information comes to light regarding possible and demonstrable abuse by American soldiers towards detainees in their custody.

Here's the assignment:

The following assumptions were posed by me, and stipulated to, by the class:

1. The US is a democracy
2. The
US has a free press.
3. American citizens have an exceptionally strong belief in a vigorous free press.
4. Transparency of government action is essential to informed decision-making and voting.
5. Stories of prisoner abuse and/or atrocities towards civilians tend to overwhelm, in the public mind, stories of military and/or humanitarian progress.
6. Stories of prisoner abuse and/or atrocities towards civilians tend to diminish essential public support for the
US’s military/geopolitical objectives. Such stories can also inflame the enemy, causing him to fight harder and longer than he otherwise would.

Given the above, as a newspaper editor or television news director, what is your responsibility when you uncover or are handed credible stories of abuse and/or atrocities. Do you print the story? Downplay the story? Make sure that it is only running along a more positive story? Please discuss with your parents.

The students were given a copy of the most recent prisoner abuse story, that being the NY Times story last Friday, May 20th, detailing abuse at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan, resulting in deaths of two detainees.

Yesterday, we circled up to compare notes. Here's what they came up with, with yours truly trying not to steer, and only asking clarifying questions:

Of the 24 students, 12 thought the Bagram story was legit material for the front page, excepting terminology they felt was biased and/or needlessly inflammatory. Several in this group thought that the story’s lead was over the top and not reflective of the broader facts in the story. Bottom line for this group: run the story, run it on the front page, but no “yellow journalism.”

The next largest group, 6 students, said they would have run the story as is, on the front page. The two biggest reasons were their hope that publication of the abuse would lead to immediate corrective action. They also felt that the public had an inherent right to know.

Four students would have run the story essentially as written, but thought the story should not have been on the front page citing that there are a lot of deaths in the world everyday, and that the deaths of the two detainees, while noteworthy, didn't deserve the front page of the most prestigious newspaper.

Two students would have run the story only when they could have found a more positive story about American servicemen's actions to run along side of the negative story.

Then, trying as hard as I could to get them to move to a decision to not print, none of the students would budge, much less adopt Pat Buchanan's recent position that the printing of such stories, true or not, constitutes sedition.

My head and my gut tell me that the distribution I got in my class would be very close to a poll of the public at large, though I believe 2 – 5% of the American public would go along with Buchanan’s call, and another 10% or so would have not run the story on the grounds that it was damaging to broader American interests even if it wasn’t actually seditious.


Chap fleshes out the assignment nicely with his suggestions here. Look out philosophy class -- you're about to learn about narrative frames and memes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

My Kind of Teacher

I watched HOWARD ZINN: YOU CAN'T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN last night. Well-done, moving, informative.

One new term I learned by watching it was Operation County Fair.

From Zinn's book: "Early in 1966, a new pacification technique was developed by American soldiers. It involved surrounding a village, killing as many young men as could be found, and then taking away the women and children by helicopter. The [soldiers] called this procedure "Operation County Fair."

Here's the 9th Marine's own perspective of the same operation:

COUNTY FAIR was a combination of military, civic, and physchological-warfare {sic} actions to reestablish Vietnamese control over the populace of a given area. It was designed to flush the Viet Cong from the community in which they were a parasite, while at the same time insuring that the populace was not alienated towards the government. Military actions were accompanied by a vigorous civic action program which attempted to convince the population that the Government of Vietnam was interested in the welfare of the people and that a government victory against the Viet Cong was inevitable. The 9th Marines' participation in COUNTY FAIR operations consisted of cordoning a target area (village or hamlet) in order to isolate it for the duration of the operation (normally two days) and providing limited medical and logistical assistance. To the largest extent possible, Vietnamese military, police, and civil authorities performed the task of searching the target areas and handling the populace. This was considered an essential element of COUNTRY FAIR operations, since one of its primary purposes was to restore the populace's confidence in the Vietnamese governmental structure and to instill a sense of trust and loyalty towards duly appointed officials.

Vietnam is not a template for what's happening in Iraq. But all too frequently, the parallels are as striking as they are ominous.