The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

When I was growing up I asked my grandfather what he did in World War II. He was sent to eastern India with US forces that were guarding the border with Japanese-occupied Burma. He didn't do anything glamorous -- he maintained weaponry in fighter planes -- and was never gung-ho about his adventures. In fact, he didn't like to talk about the war.

Jeff Goldstein posted about Attorney General John Ashcroft's testimony before the 9/11 commission. Oliver Willis, who I put on my blogroll when he was interesting and iconoclastic, rather than a predictable Democratic party hack, had this to say:

I'd take Ashcroft's accusations more seriously if I didn't feel he secretly admires Mullah Omar.

A few days ago I was going to post about John Ashcroft's "war on pornography," which I thought was silly and a waste of time. I had heard that John Ashcroft claimed that porn "invades our homes persistently though the mail, phone, VCR, cable TV and the Internet," which is kind of like saying that french fries and beer invade my body through my mouth. I went to Google News to get myself some juicy quotes that I could mock.

But when I read the news article I linked above, here is what I found out about Ashcroft's "war":

The department's most closely watched case involves "extreme" porn producer Rob Zicari and his North Hollywood company Extreme Associates. The prolific Zicari is charged with selling five allegedly obscene videotapes, which he now markets as the "Federal Five," that depict simulated rapes and murder.

Now, I do think that this stuff should be legal on libertarian grounds. But the DOJ's "war on porn" isn't quite the same as a blanket indictment of all men who read Playboy in the bathroom last week, is it?

Does Ashcroft secretly admire Mullah Omar? You couldn't tell it by his actions. Ashcroft indicts people for violating civil law and brings them to trial in front of a jury. If the jury acquits, he's helpless. If the law is changed, no more trials. And if the defendants are convicted, they are fined or placed in prison.

Omar accused and convicted people for violating his interpretation of Islamic law. The Koran was the law. Period. There was no way around the Koran's proscriptions, no mercy, no appeals. And when he did find people guilty, he subjected them to barbaric punishments. The Taliban crushed homosexuals under falling walls. When the Taliban caught people listening to music or watching Western television, they would break the offenders' spines.

Tell me, has Ashcroft ever called for beating wrongdoers? Has he ever indicted someone for wearing makeup? For flying a kite?

"What did you do when radical Islam attacked America, grandpa?"

"I tried to convince my countrymen that there was no difference between elected officials who operated under the rule of law, and vicious religious fanatics who recognized no laws other than themselves."

You know, I hear a lot of insults from the anti-war side about how the militant bloggers are "chickenhawks" and the "101st keyboard brigade." "Why don't you sign up yourself," they sneer. But at least the pro-war side is willing to be serious about the situation. Lots of people who snipe at warbloggers aren't raving Indymedia moonbats. They don't object to the war on principle; they just object to being on the same side as a slightly nutty attorney general who likes to be anointed with oil and sing religious songs. They object to a debate that can't be won by being hip and ironic. They'd rather score points off their opponents then worry about whether some Islamic nutcase will detonate a nuclear warhead in Boston.



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