Sunday, August 21, 2005

American Honor at Yale

In the next couple of weeks I will be on vacation from the blogosphere, making my move to the college campus and establishing yet another beachhead in the war against the receding tide of liberalism. (I plan to be back to blogolytical brilliance on the second Monday of September.)

I will leave you with an inspiring story from my future college campus. Unfortunately, some of the details no longer survive, but the story can still be told.

Yale University’s Political Union (a debate society) is made up of six parties: the leftist Liberals, Progressives, and Independents and the right-wing Conservatives, Tories, and the Party of the Right. Our story is about the Tories, who are perhaps the classiest political party, and have in particular one truly extraordinary moment they can look back on: on May Day, 1970, they rescued the American flag.

In the 70s, America’s college campuses were hotbeds of left-wing anti-Americanism (which has now moved from the students to the faculty). In 1969, under pressure from the Left, Yale had stopped allowing academic credit for ROTC. On May Day, 1970, the radicals on campus made a grab for something Americans hold dear – the flag.

Rioting liberals pulled down the flag hanging from Yale’s ROTC building, planning to burn it while other leftists prepared to burn an American flag in Beinecke Plaza. A small group of about ten Tories managed to rush in and save both flags.

Three photographs preserve the ROTC event.

The first shows a rabble of four hundred radicals ripping down the flag.

In the second, the Tories (in ties and jackets) have charged in to fight the libs, managing to beat them back and wrestle the flag free. I noticed in an enlargement of the second photo one protestor looking at the struggle from the steps of the ROTC building. Hand on his chin, he must be wondering what sort of affection could possibly have possessed this tiny group of students. What makes that piece of cloth so dear to them?

Finally, Tories triumphant, Stars and Stripes safely in hand. Holding the flag in the last photo are Kevin McKeegan, Yale '71(left) and Pat Quinn, Yale '72. The photographs belong to McKeegan, who wrote of the event:

"For Tories these were glorious days. On their shoulders rested the task of organizing resistance at Yale. During the awful first week of May, 1970 the Tories saved the American flag from desecration both at Beinecke Plaza and at the ROTC building. This defeat of some four hundred by ten probably better points up the physical weakness of the Left than the immense vitality of the Right. Still, let it be remembered with fondness."

My thanks to the Tories for having nobly and brilliantly done their duty. I hope to become one of them myself this fall.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Iran Problem

Iran rejected last week a proposal by the E-3 (Britain, France, and Germany) that would have promised it all the uranium fuel it would need (and access to peaceful nuclear technology) provided it promised to return spent fuel rods so they could not be enriched for bomb making purposes.

News reports tell us that Iran is building a heavy-water reactor, ostensibly for peaceful purposes, that could be completed in as little as four years. Heavy-water reactors can use non-enriched uranium ore; the spent fuel can have weapons-grade plutonium extracted from it. Iran’s reactor could produce enough material for one bomb per year. The reactor site, by the way, is encircled by anti-aircraft guns – no doubt intended to stop the peaceful aircraft that may come to visit Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

Iran’s move to reject the E-3’s too-generous proposal (which probably could and would have been cheated on) leaves no doubt that Iranian officials are lying when they say they want peaceful nuclear power – just as they lied when they assured us they were temporarily halting enrichment, and lied before that in claiming that they didn’t even have a nuclear program (which they kept secret for nearly two decades and revealed in 2003). Letting an evil government such as Iran’s get nuclear weapons would be catastrophic; do we doubt that such weapons would be sold to terrorists (or even used directly) to attack the US, Israel, the UK, and other targets?

We should stop offering Iran rewards for dropping its nuclear program. Iran has demonstrated that negotiations merely buy more time for the Iranian nuclear program, and that the Mullahs sign and break treaties indifferently. It is time to deliver an ultimatum (force is the only diplomat a tyranny respects). We should tell Iran: stop your nuclear program, or we will stop it for you.

Of course Iran will not accept this ultimatum, and the US with therefore have a chance to fulfill its responsibility to undo the damage the Carter administration allowed.

Iran’s government has admitted to hating the United States (“the Great Satan”). It believes that its policies run no risk. We ought to show Iran that this belief is false. Iran is ripe for a counter-revolution – the Islamic government is unpopular and its grip on power is tenuous. There are plenty of Iranians who would participate in such a revolution, but they need our help to get things started. We could use missile strikes to destroy the government’s communications network and plunge Iran into chaos. (And certainly the loss of Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be no disaster). From this chaos would emerge a new popular government, friendly to the US (and without nuclear weapons).

A nuclear Iran would pose an unprecedented threat to the region and the world, and a democratic Iran could produce equally great benefits. This is a great opportunity, but it will take political guts (the rarest kind). We are living at a time when there is a solution to the Iran problem. Fomenting a popular revolution in Iran may not guarantee success, but doing nothing will guarantee failure. We must take on Iran now, while the solution still exists.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Celebrating the Bomb that Ended WWII

On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets, dropped the uranium bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. It did exactly what it was supposed to: killed 66,000 people and injured a similar number. Three days later, on August 9, BocksCar dropped the plutonium bomb “Fat Man” on Nagasaki, killing 40,000. The Japanese emperor decided early the next day that Japan would surrender.

Nowadays the revisionist view that we were unjustified in dropping the bomb is popular, especially in America’s public school system – notwithstanding the fact that it is wrong, as Donald Kagan explained in his brilliant Sept. 1995 Commentary piece.

60th anniversary documentaries tend to show Japan as the victim, ruthlessly attacked by the United States; footage of Japanese seeking medical treatment for horrible radiation burns is played again and again.

Revisionists argue that Japan was on the verge of surrender – even actively seeking to surrender – and that America dropped the bomb anyway, perhaps merely as a show of force to intimidate the Soviets.

Declassified Ultra intercepts from the last days of the war now reveal that Japan had no intention of surrendering unconditionally, and that the Japanese hoped to make a land invasion so costly to the US that we would be forced to settle for peace terms that would have preserved Japan’s militaristic old order.

We now know too that Operation Olympic, the land invasion of Japan, would probably not have gone ahead. As Richard Frank writes in his August 8 Weekly Standard piece, “Why Truman Dropped the Bomb,” this was not because the invasion “was deemed unnecessary, but because it had become unthinkable.” An invasion would simply have cost too much. But of course without an invasion, we’d have been left with no way to the end the war – except for the atomic bomb.

Americans have a natural tendency to feel sorry for people, even bad people. They also have a tendency to forget. We must remember that you win wars by killing the enemy. We must also remember that we were fighting one of the most cruel, brutal, bestial regimes the world had ever known. (See Arnold Brackman’s The Other Nuremberg). The final and total destruction of this regime by means of atomic weapons is an achievement in which Americans can take pride.

The aggressor nation obviously bears the responsibility for the damage it suffers – just as if someone rear-ends you on the highway, the damage to his own car is his fault. If the Japanese were not prepared to accept the consequences of war, they should not have started one.

In a few days, on August 15, we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of VJ day – victory over Japan. We cannot begin to imagine what this day would be like had there been no victory to celebrate. It is easy to say self-righteously in retrospect that ‘we should have found another way to win the war.’ What other way? And how would you explain this to a soldier who would have been ordered to land in the first wave of the invasion that never had to take place? We won the war in the best way we could have – with the fewest American casualties – and that’s a blessing.