October 30, 2004

Winston Review, No. 17


A charge to keep I have,
a God to glorify,
a never-dying soul to save,
and fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age,
my calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage
to do my Master's will!
- Charles Wesley, 1762 (Lev. 8:35)


September 11, 2001 is a blur and the world seemed upside down for some time to follow. Consequently I cannot remember if it was the next day or over the following weekend that a friend called in a panic because CNN had gone off the air. In that moment it was all to easy to believe some fresh hell had been let loose on the people of Atlanta and our only clue was to be static at CNN, static at TBS, static... static...

CNN came back. It had been an unremarkable problem with the local cable company or perhaps a momentary defect in the web of electronics between Toronto and Atlanta. An everyday problem. Prosaic. And in that world turned upside down it was leant a sinister meaning. We may as well have heard news of flashes of light on the surface of Mars followed by excited word of a meteorite landing in Grovers Mill, New Jersey.

Here is the catch: the Martians of September 11, 2001 were all too real and it was a fin de siecle forgetfulness that had been the illusion. Thousands of men taken aside and butchered as a Dutch UN force directed traffic in Srebrenica. Hundreds of thousands put to the sword in Rwanda or burned to death in those few churches that would shelter them. The only shocking thing is that any of us should have the capacity to be surprised that September morning. That evening I made my way to see friends and neighbours as they tried to make sense of something apparently senseless. Some blamed global poverty and some suggested militia groups and almost unananimously the nebulous problem of American foreign policy provided a safety blanket under which to hide from the blindingly obvious: there was no excuse that made sense of what we saw any more than there was an excuse for the unmarked graves of Bosnia or Rwanda.

Weeks later I spoke with a friend on the eve of the war to liberate Afghanistan. The words "infinite justice" provoked spluttering outrage from someone who could speak with complete impassivity at the motivations of men who had the moral incapacity to fly passenger airliners into office buildings. My friend's apoplexy was brought about by the characterization of such men as evil. How simplistic. How unhelpful. When you thought about it, she flatly asserted, it was just this sort of language that made people do the things they did.

We have been confronted time and again with this blinkered, obscene logic in the years that followed. Somehow the only people who are never to blame are the men who actually hijacked the planes, murdered their crews and turned the rest into bombs with which to kill countless more. Even such overt delectation in death and suffering was insufficient to raise the hackles of those made deranged by a Texan accent. But it did not end. The sight of children shot in the back as they fled from the rapists who had held them captive. Of aid workers pleading for their lives lest their heads be sawn from their necks for the amusement of cable viewers. Of women scrambling through the dust of Iraq for some scrap of clothing that might connect them to a lost family even as their murderers are described as Minutemen. None of this. None of this has yet to convince some that the attacks of September 11 even happened let alone that these and their like should be the work of those men who proudly claim them while their followers caper and squeal and toss candies to children in celebration.

There is a word for such acts and a word for the men who do them: evil. No wishful thinking, nuanced analysis or change of subject can alter the fact. The Winston Review is a Flea-feature intended to offer spirited, uplifting alternatives to the defeatists and apologists of the mainstream media. This week's Review is dedicated to the right man at the right place at the right time. The man who could rise past his Ivy League education and the privilege that has incapacitated all too many of our elites. I believe in President Bush we find a man delivered to us by Providence to do the job that must be done, to bear the burden that must be carried, and even to suffer the petty words of lesser men who lack the wit or wisdom to say "Thank you." I am not an American citizen and I do not have a vote in this week's election. But I can offer my thanks to the man who has struggled to bring fifty million souls the promise of liberty and some hope that my home does not disappear in a fiery flash leaving some last blog entry and with it the echo of sneering words that somehow Toronto deserved its fate.


This week in the Red Box:

Willpower: Ace of Spades HQ asks "If you were only a supporter of this war given the assumption that it would be very brief and almost casualty-free, what the hell were you doing supporting the war in the first place?" (via The Jawa Report).

Trying to reason with the unreasonable...: Dusty of Argghhh!!! writes to a three times over Marine Corps mom.

Look at Bush's enemies: they are the reason why he deserves re-election: Gerard Baker of the Times of London offers a convincing, if back-handed, rationale, "If you think for a moment about those who would really be upset by a second Bush term, it becomes a lot easier to stomach" (via The Shotgun).

Medienkritik's Endorsement: Vote: Davids Medienkritik "will never forget what many in the German media have already forgotten: The United States of America liberated Germany from fascist tyranny and stood by our nation as both friend and protector for over four decades in the face of Communism until the Berlin Wall that divided our nation at its heart finally came crashing down."

I Want My GI Son To Serve Under Bush: Steve Dunleavy says Senator Kerry is giving comfort and succor to the enemy, "And don't forget that Tokyo Rose got jail time for it after World War II, and Jane Fonda, Kerry's soul mate, should have during Vietnam" (via Argghhh!!!).

The Power of Will: Victor Davis Hanson says of the jihadi strategy that, "Not our power, but our will, is the target."

Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush: Christopher Hitchens is asked, "How do you like your new right-wing friends?" Many of us have faced the same question (via Kathy Shaidle writing at The Shotgun).

Campaign 2004: High Stakes: Paul Johnson argues President Bush "the moral right to ask American voters to give him the mandate to finish the job he has started."

Is Bush the World's Worst Leader?: ˇNo Pasarán! has the answer (via Davids Medienkritik).

The real scandal about the Black Watch: Sarah Sands writing in the The Telegraph quotes Lt Col James Cowan of the Black Watch as they move to central Iraq: "There has been much sensationalist talk about the threat we will face. Frankly, this regiment beat Napoleon, beat the Kaiser and beat Hitler.''

Live from Holy Blossom: Taylor & Company reports on Michael Oren's recent lecture at Toronto's Holy Blossom Temple and "a marvellous reversal of Israel's fortunes in the past few years."

Humalia Akrawy: An Iraqi Woman Speaks Out: Winds of Change tells the story of a hero. This is one of Iraq's real Minutemen (via INDC Journal).

Your courage. Your cheerfulness. Your resolution.
Will bring us Victory.

Posted by the Flea at October 30, 2004 08:33 AM | TrackBack

At the risk of indulging in a little schadenfreud, I believe Kerry would be to the War on Terror as Clinton was to the '90's economic recovery: he will "talk Left, and do Right". Kerry will talk the acceptable talk, the kind that reassures the progressives, leftists, and other such children. At the same time, I believe he will carry out the war on terror in substantially the same form as Bush is carrying it out.
All that's really needed is repackaging...most people of any political orientation really are that shallow.

Posted by: Demetrius at November 1, 2004 08:24 AM

This is something we will have to revisit if Senator Kerry should win the presidency. I do not believe he will but, should he do so, I can only hope you are right.

Posted by: Flea at November 1, 2004 09:18 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?