Wednesday, September 03, 2003

only a brief fart this evening

I got home too late to work on calligraphy last night, so I'm planning to do some this evening.

Am still contemplating a reply to the Naked Villain's opus on "Homosexual Marriage, Equality, and the State." In the meantime, there's this Washington Times article, courtesy of a link I saw on Andrew Sullivan: a conservative speaks out against a constitutional amendment to prohibit recognition of gay marriage:

Conservatives should squelch a rash constitutional amendment pending in the House of Representatives to prohibit states from recognizing homosexual marriages and thus place the issue off-limits for popular democratic discourse. The amendment would enervate self-government, confound the cultural sacralization of traditional marriage and child-rearing, and clutter the Constitution with a nonessential.

Sullivan's comment is brief and eloquent:

The arguments are rock-solid. George Will and Bob Barr have been there already, of course. Opposing a measure that would trivialize the constitution and destroy states' rights should be a no-brainer for conservatives.

Republicans need to rediscover a measure of self-consistency, I think, in this matter of states rights and the power of the government. Sullivan is on target here.

In other news, I discovered that one of my Three Readers appears to be The Infidel Himself, because he's devoted quite a lot of space to a topic about which he is continually dismissive: Korea!

This is an honor. I really like the Infidel's blog, even when I think he's full of shit. He knows stuff, a lot more than I'll ever know. I just disagree with what he does with his knowledge. In his long reaction to my brief remark, the Infidel makes excellent points, so I recommend you read the above-linked post, and a more recent entry.

This frees me to harp on the Infidel's small-mindedness in reacting so voluminously to my Pollyanna remark. I mention this purely as a function of my own immaturity and insect-torturing sense of play.

He writes:

Because the Korean Peoples' Army is an adversary, it deserves respect, but not unwarranted adulation.


I do not need to lectured by you about the lethality of North Korean artillery; I learned what you picked up second-hand by direct observation. It took American public opinion decades to learn that old rag, and now, it is old.


Pyongyang deserves equality at the negotiation table, but nothing more. Seoul is cowardly and treasonous, but Americans, who wail about North Korean artillery and nukes only, are Chicken Little, albeit fools for questionable causes (i.e. South Korea and American incompetence).

He also writes:

For those like BigHo, SDB, and Drezner who quiver at the sound of Pyongyang's arrogance, I should remind them that this sort of behavior epitomizes a regime which stalled negotiations because of the length of flagpoles and table legs and planted insurgents within the ranks of a POW population to start a riot.

In philosophy, this is called reductio ad testiculum, or the My Balls Are Far Larger and Heavier Than Your Balls Argument. The technique is generally employed when the insecurity that underlies preceding bluster is too much to bear.

We all resort to this at some point. Even women, pushed too far, may begin to claim their balls are bigger than yours. I'm sure that, when I'm as old as the Infidel and as far away from current danger as he is, I'll be brazenly waving my scrotes about, too.

Seriously, though, man... I agree with most of what you're saying. If you read my previous posts you'll see that, in most cases, you and I are arguing for much the same thing (and your anticipation of NK's about-face was already anticipated by a few of us... so now who's got the bigger balls, eh!? EH!?).

When I did my research in reply to Captain Scarlet (how DOES he live with that moniker?), I found the results rather sobering. I don't think we can afford to repose our confidence in the delapidation of NK equipment, the lack of training for its army, and other such factors. The implication of your line of thinking seems to be: if push comes to shove, it's all gravy for the US. I don't buy this. Meantime, of course I agree that for the moment it all comes down to diplomacy. This is painfully obvious. Mr. Spock said it in "Star Trek 6": "It resides in the purview of the diplomats." Dammit, SPOCK SAID IT! If it's a given that no one wants to see war break out, then what other options do we have?

So we agree here. We agree that the US would win a war on the peninsula. Where we don't agree, apparently, is in whether a victory would be clean or pyrrhic. Mainly because I think underestimating the opponent is unwise, I vote "pyrrhic" barring conclusive proof to the contrary-- which you don't have. Does this mean I'm sitting here paralyzed with fear? Dude, I'm the one near the artillery right now, and most of the time don't give it a second thought, except when blogging. Your confidence seems sourced in the idea that we would roll into NK and kick ass, end of story. This strikes me as Iraq Hypnosis: all victories will be like Iraq. And since the Iraq question isn't close to being settled, I say: Dream on. What also worries me about your attitude is how it seems to ignore the very real possibility of South Korean casualties. I mean, you're constantly claiming this peninsula isn't worth the discussion, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised, eh?

But I don't want to leave you with the impression that a cautious attitude should lead to limp diplomatic rhetoric on our part. It shouldn't. I'm right beside you when you say we should accord NK equality at the negotiating table and nothing else. That makes eminent sense. And I'm also for playing whatever head games are necessary to keep NK buzzing and agitated-- whatever generates the heat to make the meltdown happen sooner. Pressure on China? We agree here as well. Be happy: the State Department will be losing Colin Powell the next presidential term, and Rumsfeld will still be holding the reins at the Pentagon. You're about to get everything you want, especially if Bush is reelected.

Well, now I've crapped a pile to match yours. I highly recommend the corn and peanuts. Avoid the kimchi flecks.

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