The Real News of the Month

October 2002
Volume 9, No. 10

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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{{ Material dropped from features or changed solely for 
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  -> Hawks de Plume
  -> Wartime Journal (plus Exclusives to this edition)
  -> Conservatism for Kids
  -> History a la Horowitz
Nuggets (plus Exclusives to this edition)
List of Columns Reprinted


Hawks de Plume
(page 1)

     As war with Iraq looms, I've been reading the battle 
scenes in the ILIAD again. Homer's grim descriptions of 
what men can do to each other with sword and spear are 
nearly unbearable to read; and they prompt even darker 
imaginings of what modern bombers and artillery can do, 
not only to soldiers in the field, but to crowded cities 
full of women and children.

     If the pen is mightier than the sword, the United 
States is assured of victory over Iraq, because the 
hottest advocates of war have far more experience with 
the pen than with the sword. As far as I know, none of 
our leading warrior-pundits has ever set foot on a 
battlefield or intends to grab a rifle and do so now. 
These include George Will, William Safire, Rush Limbaugh, 
Paul Gigot, Charles Krauthammer, Morton Zuckerman, Martin 
Peretz, Cal Thomas, Andrew Sullivan, William Kristol, 
Daniel Pipes, David Brooks, John Podhoretz, Fred Barnes, 
Sean Hannity, and Richard Lowry, to name but a few.

     All of these men passed up their chance to serve 
their country in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, but that 
doesn't mean they want to deny the heady experience of 
combat to younger men today. They may be right in their 
clamor for war, abstractly speaking; still, it's notable 
that they avoid the subject of their own military 

     You might expect some of them to begin their calls 
for war with a personal admission: "Of course I myself 
have never been a soldier, so it hardly becomes me to ask 
others to sacrifice their lives and limbs. Even so, I 
think the United States must stop Saddam Hussein, for the 
following reasons ..." Or: "I should admit at the outset 
that, to my shame, I managed to evade military service 
when I was eligible. But having said that, I believe the 
younger generation should stand ready to do the duty so 
many of my own generation shirked, because ..." But no 
qualms or pangs of conscience seem to afflict our 
journalistic hawks. Their pacific personal lifestyles are 
an embarrassing topic they prefer not to raise at a 
moment when they strongly believe that their country has 
need of their pens.

     President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Defense 
Secretary Rumsfeld likewise contrived to stay out of 
uniform and out of harm's way, apart from some brief 
flirtations with ROTC in college. In fact the only 
prominent member of the Bush administration who is also a 
combat veteran is Secretary of State Colin Powell -- and 
he is well known for his reluctance to send American 
troops into battle. The warrior-pundits, in fact, tend to 
sneer at him for failing to share their belligerence.

     Even if they don't want to discuss their own pasts, 
these hawks might at least face up to the inevitable 
horrors of war. Thousands of young men, American and 
Iraqi, will be killed and horribly maimed; so will many 
innocent noncombatants. Countless lives will by disrupted 
in myriad ways. Homes will be destroyed, populations 
impoverished, diseases spread. But the hawks will hardly 
concede that there is anything regrettable in the course 
they urge, even if the war is as successful as they 
predict it will be.

     As for their "courage," it is purely rhetorical. 
They pose not as soldiers {{ -- which even they know 
would be absurd -- }} but as Churchills, bravely opposing 
the weak and cowardly Chamberlains who want to "appease" 
{{ (the verb is omnipresent in their polemics) }} the 
terrorists. They also serve who only sit and scribble.

Wartime Journal
(page 2)

     Not only has President Bush failed to show any 
connection between Iraq and 9/11; he doesn't dare predict 
that making war on Iraq will in any way diminish acts of 
terrorism. He may even have enough sense to know that his 
war will probably bring on more of them.

*          *          *

     To put it another way: by turning his martial 
energies to Iraq, Bush is tacitly admitting that *his 
"war on terrorism" has already been lost.* A year ago we 
were all obsessed with {{ Osama }} bin Laden, al-Qaeda, 
and Islamic terrorism. They were on every news broadcast, 
every front page, every magazine cover. Now we hear 
{{ almost nothing }} about them, especially from the Bush 
administration, which has been using all its resources to 
create a wholly different obsession with Saddam Hussein. 
The American attention span is notoriously short, but 
this is amazing.

*          *          *

     Bush did warn us that we might never know when the 
"war on terrorism" had been won. He left it to us to 
figure out when he would give up on winning it. Turning 
it into a war on something else, with no demonstrable 
relation to the events of 9/11, is our best evidence of 
his unacknowledged change of heart. So much for all those 
brave words about "resolve." Bush is merely resolved to 
find a foe he can defeat -- the one he wanted to attack 
anyway, before 9/11. Al-Qaeda remains afoot.

*          *          *

     Paul Wolfowitz, the hawkish deputy defense 
secretary, has ambitious dreams too. Bill Keller reports 
in the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE that Wolfowitz "has an 
almost missionary sense of America's role" and thinks 
regime change could transform Iraq into "a democratic 
cornerstone of an altogether new Middle East." Keller 
deplores "the offensive suggestion of dual loyalty" made 
by some of Wolfowitz's critics, but {{ on Keller's own 
showing there are grounds for suspicion; and }} offensive 
or not, we have to ask what interests are really served 
by sending Americans to fight in Iraq. After all, 
American politicians constantly seek Jewish votes and 
money by campaigning on the assumption that most American 
Jews put Israel's interests ahead of America's.

*          *          *

     It's almost enough to make you pity Saddam Hussein. 
Since when is refusing to give up all your military 
secrets a casus belli? So the guy defies UN resolutions 
and may be working on nuclear weapons. By these 
standards, Bush should be threatening to make war on 

*          *          *

     We are hearing demands that Congress "unite behind 
the president." Pardon me, but isn't it the president who 
is supposed to execute the will of Congress? And isn't 
Congress supposed to impeach the president if he usurps 
its powers? Or did all that expire back in 1865?

*          *          *

     You don't have to be a football fan (I'm not) to 
feel a pang at the sudden passing of Johnny Unitas, 69, 
the Baltimore Colts' great quarterback who won perhaps 
the most exciting pro game ever, the Colts' sudden-death 
championship victory over the New York Giants in 1958. It 
proved the precedent for countless gutsy performances. 
Even if all his records are broken someday (fat chance!), 
nobody who saw him play will ever forget the way he 
combined finesse and courage. Even when his skills had 
deserted him and Colts fans booed him without mercy, he 
never flinched at tacklers. In retirement, he was 
unfailingly gracious to anyone who approached him. 

Exclusive to the electronic version:

     People used to make sport of Gerald Ford's 
intellectual and verbal clumsiness. Well, we now have a 
president who makes Ford sound like a polymath. He should 
at least acquire a smattering of Hebrew, so he can 
understand his orders from Ariel Sharon.

*          *          *

     The columnist Thomas Friedman of the NEW YORK TIMES 
thinks "the Iraq debate is upside down." He agrees with 
skeptics who think Saddam Hussein poses no real danger to 
the United States. The real and lasting danger, he says, 
will come from angry young Muslims in the Arab world who 
won't be deterred by American military power, and will 
become tomorrow's terrorists. The only solution -- and 
Friedman admits it won't be easy -- is to change the 
political climate of the entire Arab world. Wouldn't it 
be simpler just to stop antagonizing that world?

Conservatism for Kids
(pages 3-5)

     A conservative Rip Van Winkle who had fallen asleep 
in 1965 and awakened in 2002 would be amazed on two 
counts. First, the conservative movement, seemingly 
whipped and marginalized when Lyndon Johnson crushed 
Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election, has 
achieved startling political, cultural, and journalistic 
power. Second, that power has been won at the cost of a 
serious debasement of the movement itself.

     No doubt the two facts are related. An intellectual 
movement, in order to gain power, has to water down some 
of its animating principles, usually to the point of 
alienating many of its original members. Every such 
movement is divided between the "pragmatists" who seek 
success and the "purists" who see no point in success if 
it comes at the expense of their core principles.

     Of course the pragmatists always offer their own 
principle, which is that half a loaf is better than none. 
The question is, a loaf of what? And the real answer, 
rarely admitted, is always: a loaf of power, with only a 
slight leavening of principle.

     Since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, movement 
conservatives have ruled the Republican Party and have 
increasingly become Republican partisans, albeit hostile 
to the Republican "moderates" who have also been hostile 
to them. At the same time, the conservatives -- and 
especially the largely Zionist "neoconservatives" -- have 
become prominent in the media.

     In fact, the old conservatism, the kind I knew in 
1965, is pretty much gone now. Neoconservatism has 
swallowed it up. It would take a keener eye than mine to 
detect substantive differences between THE WEEKLY 
STANDARD and NATIONAL REVIEW. Both are pragmatic, 
obsessed with political victory and military power, and 
oriented more to Israel than to Europe. Neither regards 
Europe as very importantly related to America; both jeer 
at Europe for failing to support American imperialism 
("global leadership") and accuse Europeans of cowardice, 
cynicism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism. Neither 
really opposes the welfare state -- at least, not very 

     Neoconservatism came into being in the late Sixties 
when a group of anti-Communist liberals, mostly Jewish 
and Zionist (though this was downplayed at first), broke 
with McGovernite liberals. They thought the welfare state 
had gone far enough, though they had no objection to it 
in its essence; they merely doubted that any new 
redistributive programs could work, and warned that they 
might do more harm than good. But they had come to terms 
with the New Deal and the Great Society. They had no 
moral objections to democratic socialism, as long as it 
was anti-Communist.

     In 1965, the New Deal was still a recent horror, and 
conservatives hated the memory of Franklin Roosevelt both 
because he had created the American welfare state and 
because he had formed an alliance with the Soviet Union 
during World War II. The large agenda of conservatism in 
those days was to defeat (not just contain) Communism and 
to repeal New Deal legislation, though conservatives were 
becoming more and more pessimistic about actually 
achieving either goal. Given their defeats at the polls, 
they were also pessimistic about democracy.      

     This may sound {{ like a gloomy outlook, }} but it 
was actually invigorating. Conservatives prided 
themselves on having no illusions about life. Expecting 
no political victory in the foreseeable future, they 
contented themselves with philosophical reflection of a 
kind now absent from conservative journalism. Today it is 
easier to imagine the editors of NATIONAL REVIEW 
attending a Bruce Springsteen concert than reading Edmund 

     That is what I am most struck by in the young 
conservatives: the absence of meditation. In 1965 
NATIONAL REVIEW was interested in more than the topical 
and ephemeral. In its early years it featured such 
reflective writers as Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, James 
Burnham, Thomas Molnar, Henry Hazlitt, Whittaker 
Chambers, Hugh Kenner, Willmoore Kendall, and the young 
Garry Wills. They knew their Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, 
Aquinas, and Burke. They discussed and debated first 
principles; Frank Meyer once had an extended argument 
over Lincoln with Harry V. Jaffa, and a similar one with 
Brent Bozell over whether the purpose of government was 
to preserve liberty or to promote virtue. As late as 1975 
the magazine ran a long essay by the great British 
political philosopher Michael Oakeshott.

     Such thinkers probed endlessly for the roots of 
conservatism and tried to define it. Many of their 
answers were provocative, but they never fully agreed on 
a definition. They differed on just what it was 
conservatism was trying to conserve. British and American 
conservatives wanted to conserve the old orders of their 
own countries, but of course these were two very 
different things, and defining either of them was hard 
enough. Still, all of these men, in their diverse ways, 
were earnestly and intelligently trying to purify 
conservative thought -- something hardly anyone would 
think to do nowdays. Such combatively principled 
individualists, some of them seminal thinkers, have 
vanished from the movement today; and they would be 
unwelcome in it if they still existed. It is hard to 
believe that NATIONAL REVIEW was once a magnet for them.

     Politically, NATIONAL REVIEW stood for anti-
Communism and the free market. But anti-Communism came 
first, and the magazine dropped such Old Right figures as 
John T. Flynn, Garet Garrett, Frank Chodorov, and Albert 
Jay Nock down the Memory Hole because they had opposed 
the Cold War. It is reasonable to ask whether this purge 
of the Old, anti-war, "isolationist" Right helped set the 
stage for the later decline of the conservative movement. 
{{ (We should note that Robert Nisbet, one of the most 
trenchant American conservative thinkers of his 
generation, never wrote for NATIONAL REVIEW; perhaps 
because, as his book THE PRESENT AGE later attested, he 
deplored the militarization of America.) }}

     Still, the magazine, and conservatism generally, had 
an openness, a depth, a readiness to entertain unresolved 
questions, that were unusual in both politics and 
journalism. Apart from agreeing on a few practical 
issues, conservatives were a varied lot, and conservatism 
was intellectually nutritious. Liberalism was gray and 
dull by comparison; a program for power, nothing more. 
Conservatives thought of society as a habitation for the 
soul, formed by unfathomable history and tradition; 
liberals thought of it as a product of calculation, a way 
of regimenting soulless beings efficiently, with no need 
of tradition.

     Even so, liberalism pretty much enjoyed a monopoly 
of public discourse, and conservatives were treated as 
marginal, even slightly disreputable. According to 
liberal mythology, conservatism was chiefly a 
rationalization of atavisms which history had not yet 
managed to eliminate.

     I was ready to believe that conservatives were 
fighting for lost causes, but I also felt deeply that a 
good cause, even if doomed, was worth fighting for. What 
I really hated about liberalism was that it was so 
*ignoble.* As King Lear asks, "Is man no more than this?" 
The very fact that man had imagined Lear contained the 
answer. Even in my years of religious doubt and 
confusion, I knew that conservatism, as a general outlook 
on life, was on Shakespeare's side of the question. 
Liberalism was basically crass, and in my mind its 
crassness made it the enemy of everything that was really 

     Aristotle says that man is a political animal. 
Liberalism agreed, but saw man as *only* political. Its 
whole tendency was to crush the private self -- the human 
soul, whatever it might be -- out of existence. The more 
it professed to liberate, the more it oppressed. If the 
state was our savior, I preferred not to be saved, thank 

     Mind you, in 1965 liberalism was still relatively 
sane. It had not yet cut its moorings to the moral 
traditions of the West as it since has. Even Communism -- 
the sincerest form of liberalism -- had not yet 
discovered that sodomy was normal. Feminism was still 
embryonic -- that is, not yet hostile to both the 
feminine and the embryo.

     But the further the Left moved leftward, the further 
the Right moved leftward. Conservatives began conserving 
less and less. Politically it was safer to move toward 
the shifting center, under cover of conservative 
rhetoric. The media kept saying, throughout the Reagan 
years, that the country was moving rightward, but this 
was the opposite of the truth. Conservatives were winning 
more elections, but only by quietly abandoning 
conservatism as it had been previously understood.

     By the mid 1990s, leading "conservatives" -- 
NATIONAL REVIEW, Rush Limbaugh, Jack Kemp, George Will, 
Cal Thomas, the neoconservatives -- were in perfect 
alignment. It was said that the neoconservatives had 
become genuine conservatives, when anyone could see the 
obvious: that the so-called conservatives had become 

     With the collapse of the Soviet Union, liberals who 
had always jeered at anti-Communism now jeered that the 
conservative movement no longer had an enemy to hold it 
together. There was some truth in this, but the movement 
responded by finding new enemies. Conservatism became 
militarism. Without a principled creed to define it, it 
was ripe for takeover by the neoconservatives whose only 
principle was militarism.

     And this is exactly what happened. New enemies, 
potential mortal threats to the United States (or at 
least its vaguely defined "vital interests"), were 
sighted everywhere: Panama, China, Iraq, Iran, Syria, 
even North Korea. At least the Soviet Union, a military 
superpower, had been a plausible threat; its nuclear 
arsenal could have destroyed several major American 
cities. None of these new "enemies" could threaten 
anything more than regional hegemony -- that is, taking a 
chunk out of American global hegemony. The movement 
press, led by THE WEEKLY STANDARD, frantically warned 
that China was on the verge of achieving dominance in 
southeast Asia, and throughout the 1990s wailed that the 
Clinton administration was not only ignoring but abetting 
this "threat" through lax security. The Chinese were 
stealing our high-tech military secrets!

     This alarmism never produced the hysteria it hoped 
to inspire, but it did keep the Christian conservatives 
distracted from their principles -- or rather, the 
principles their forebears had espoused. It solidified 
their merger with neoconservatism. Gone was any concern 
with limited government or constitutional law. Gone too 
was any sense of a vital connection with Europe and 
European culture; the conservatives now ape the 
neoconservatives in sneering at Europe, accusing it of 
cowardice, cynicism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism. 
Today NATIONAL REVIEW actually prefers Israel to Europe; 
its editorials {{ simply }} repeat Zionist propaganda 
about the Middle East, and many of its writers also 
appear frequently in COMMENTARY.

     This surprised me more than it probably should have. 
I had always assumed that if the United States survived 
and won the Cold War without serious material damage, 
conservatives would favor a huge reduction in military 
forces that were no longer needed for defense. After all, 
there could be no new threat comparable to the Soviet 
Union. If it was really necessary to fight lesser 
enemies, that could be done with a fraction of the 
military forces and spending we had become accustomed to 
since 1945.

     No such thing. By 1990 conservatives had become 
addicted to foreign intervention. They would no longer 
settle for mere defense, or even for American military 
supremacy; they wanted global hegemony -- the very thing 
they had accused the Soviets of coveting. So they joined 
the neoconservatives in inflating every annoyance abroad 
into a threat to America's "vital interests," defining 
the term ever more loosely. "Vital" interests, after all, 
are those that affect survival itself; and what on earth 
could possibly threaten American survival after the 
worldwide demise of Communism? Yet the conservatives 
followed the lead of the neoconservatives like hounds at 
a fox-hunt. Israel's enemies were now their enemies.

     All this would have astonished James Burnham, 
NATIONAL REVIEW's resident geopolitical thinker during 
its first two decades. A brilliant Cold War strategist, 
Burnham favored maximum American power to counter the 
Soviet threat to the West; but for him the West meant 
Europe as well as America and did *not* embrace Israel, 
toward which he was always skeptical and suspicious. As a 
former Communist of the Trotskyite school, he was also 
well aware of the Jewish intellectuals who had 
transferred their loyalties from Communism to Zionism, 
and by the 1970s he felt that conservatives should be 
wary of their new neoconservative "allies" whose real 
allegiance was to Israel. The neoconservatives also 
mistrusted Burnham; they knew he was on to them.

     Yet Richard Brookhiser, a senior editor of NATIONAL 
REVIEW, has recently called Burnham "the first 
neoconservative." This is a gross falsification. 
Brookhiser himself has assimilated to neoconservatism 
without missing a step, but Burnham never did or would 
have done so. If he were alive (he died in 1984), he 
would still be opposing the Zionist subversion of the 
conservative movement as strongly as he once opposed the 
Communist infiltration of liberalism.

     The Zionists have even tried, with considerable 
success, to purge anti-Zionist conservatives from the 
movement. Patrick Buchanan, Russell Kirk, Samuel Francis, 
and I have been among their targets; no open critic of 
Israel is now permitted in the conservative press. I know 
many discreet heretics who have survived the Zionist 
purge only by refraining from saying what they really 

     Brookhiser's claim of Burnham for the neocons shows 
how totally today's conservatives have forgotten not only 
American history, but their own past. They see their own 
Zionist-oriented militarism as a direct development of 
conservatism, when it is in fact a total departure from 
the old conservatism, which always placed American 
interests ahead of any foreign interest. The America 
First movement even saw World War II as a European fight 
in which America had no dog.

     In short, the conservative movement I knew in 1965 
has all but ceased to exist. Fugitive remnants of it may 
be found in a few journals like CHRONICLES and MODERN 
AGE, but these have no real connection to the political 
movement called conservatism, which is not interested in 
conserving anything except American military power and 
its own control of the Republican Party. Its style is not 
one of aristocratic reflection and caution, but of crass 
populist bluster. It has become as soulless as 

     In fact, as I wrote last year, today's conservatism 
is hardly anything more than a variant of the liberalism 
it pretends to oppose. It offers almost nothing to 
attract a thoughtful young man, as witness the brash 
{{ but timid }} young men who are now its spokesmen. 
Nobody has ever accused them of being purists; lost 
causes and defying prevailing trends hold little interest 
for them. They are exactly the sort of men you would 
expect to survive a purge.

History a la Horowitz

     David Horowitz, I was advised, had attacked me. I 
wasn't surprised at that, but I was slightly surprised to 
hear that he'd done so in his book UNCIVIL WARS: THE 
debate I'd assumed we were both on the same side of.

     Horowitz was one of the leaders of the New Left at 
Berkeley during the Sixties. I'd hardly noticed him at 
the time. I started paying attention to him during the 
Eighties, when he and his pal Peter Collier had both 
defected from the Left and became combative 
neoconservative Reagan Republicans, exposing the Left in 
brilliantly vitriolic polemics. {{ They also collaborated 
on a series of best-selling, unsparing sagas of the 
Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Ford, and Kennedy families. }}

     More recently Horowitz has put himself at the center 
of the debate over reparations. A couple of years ago, 
with tactical shrewdness, he wrote a full-page, ten-point 
ad blasting the whole idea, which he tried to place in 
campus newspapers from coast to coast. It quickly became 
notorious, at least to the campus Left. Most of the 
papers he approached flatly refused to run the ad, 
calling it "racist" and "bigoted." A few that did run it 
also attacked it editorially. Horowitz contended that he 
was being smeared and cited the reaction as proof of the 
Left's refusal to debate. He was entirely right, of 
course. UNCIVIL WARS is his account of his experience.

     Like most neoconservatives, Horowitz is really an 
old-fashioned liberal who deplores "McCarthyism" and 
Communism, accepts the New Deal, is glad the United 
States got into World War II, regards Martin Luther King 
as a hero, {{ and knows }} and cares little about the 
Constitution. But he favors "color-blind" law and regards 
reparations as a vicious distortion of King's legacy.

     So how do I come into this? On page 115 of UNCIVIL 
WARS Horowitz cites Lerone Bennett Jr. and me as (in Jack 
Kemp's phrase) "assassins of Lincoln's character." He 
quotes Frederick Douglass's praise of Lincoln (ignoring 
Douglass's more critical remarks about him) as sufficient 
refutation of my (and Bennett's) views. He also 
approvingly quotes Harry V. Jaffa: "One might epitomize 
everything Lincoln said between 1854 and 1861 as a demand 
for recognition of the Negro's human rights, as set forth 
in the Declaration."

     In other words, Horowitz implies, Lincoln stood for 
a color-blind America, would have supported the civil 
rights movement of the Fifties and Sixties, and would 
oppose racial reparations today. This Lincoln saw only 
individuals, not races.

     In fact, Lincoln *did* favor reparations -- though 
not quite the kind Horowitz has in mind. He wanted 
"gradual" emancipation of the slaves -- but with 
"compensation," paid by the government, to *their former 

     {{ If Lincoln were among us today, his logic might 
demand that reparations be paid to the descendants of the 
slaveowners (at least those of the nonseceding border 
states) who were so suddenly stripped of their property 
by the Thirteenth Amendment. }}

     Lincoln did offer reparations, of sorts, to the 
former slaves. Horowitz may not know (though Jaffa surely 
does) that Lincoln favored the voluntary deportation of 
the freedmen outside the United States. From 1852 on, he 
was a passionate advocate of "colonization," a cause 
espoused by his hero Henry Clay. He also approved 
Illinois's {{ notorious }} black code, which denied free 
Negroes the right to vote, serve as jurors, or marry 
whites. In his plan, the Federal Government would pay for 
colonization; he even asked Congress to adopt a 
constitutional amendment authorizing this.

     Remember, Lincoln wanted a united *white* America. 
He thought total segregation would be best for both 
races, he spoke of the Negro as "the African," and the 
only reparation he offered the freed slave was a free 
ride to his "native land" or a reasonable facsimile 
thereof -- provided it was outside the United States. 
Color-blind he was not.

     One may say that Lincoln shared some of the 
prejudices of his time. {{ And so he did. }} But to admit 
this is to admit that he didn't transcend those 
prejudices; in some ways he took them further than most 
whites of his time, who realized that colonizing four 
million fast-breeding Negroes was a nonstarter. (So did 
the Negroes, who had no intention of leaving their 
"native land" -- America.)

     Horowitz quotes only those historians -- Jaffa and 
James McPherson, for example -- who suppress Lincoln's 
actual views on race. He naively describes the Civil War 
as a war against slavery, ignoring Lincoln's plain, 
repeated denials that his purpose was anything but to 
"save the Union" (as he stressed in his first inaugural 
address and his famous letter to Horace Greeley). 
Lincoln's target was secession, not slavery. He wouldn't 
have called off his war if the South had freed every one 
of its slaves while continuing to claim independence. He 
spoke of "saving the Union" constantly -- hundreds of 
times. He spoke of attacking slavery only as a possible 
means toward that end, never as the purpose of the war 

     Horowitz is right to oppose racial reparations, but 
his reasoning illustrates the neoconservative tendency to 
reduce history to a few convenient slogans. He 
misrepresents both the white supremacist Lincoln and the 
Marxist King, supposing that they both shared his facile 
color-blind liberalism. Neither would thank him.


GERIATRIC NOTES: One sign you're getting old is that you 
keep finding the records that once made you feel hip and 
rebellious moved into the Easy Listening section.
(page 8)

QUERY: Are we fighting the Axis of Evil, or the Axis of 
Oil? (page 8)

element to its society pages: formalized homosexual 
unions are now being announced along with weddings. You 
don't have to be "straight" to wish that the Paper of 
Record would stick to the code of impartial reporting, 
instead of sticking its oar into the culture war on 
traditional institutions. (page 9)

just like everyone else -- and equally litigious. Some of 
them are now suing fast-food chains like McDonald's, 
blaming them for their excessive avoirdupois. One wag has 
noted that automobiles are already equipped with a 
calorie-avoidance device. It's more commonly known as the 
steering wheel. (page 10)

IS THIS TRIP NECESSARY? If Iraq is such a threat to the 
planet, why are its immediate neighbors all begging 
President Bush not to attack it? Europe agrees. The 
Israelis are quick to react to any threat in the region, 
real or supposed, yet even they (in striking contrast to 
their Amen Corner in this country) aren't preparing for 
war with Iraq. Draw your own conclusions. (page 11)

KEN BURNS, TAKE NOTE: Think how much trouble could have 
been avoided if Lincoln had been impeached in 1861. It 
could have averted the Civil War, saved the Constitution, 
and prevented Lincoln's own violent death. (page 12)

Exclusive to the electronic version:

AT LEAST THEY'RE HONEST ABOUT IT: A Frenchman went into a 
bookstore and asked for a copy of the French 
constitution. "I am so sorry," he was told, "we do not 
sell periodical literature."

YOU AGAIN! Alan Dershowitz, America's Number One Pest, 
has written a new book on how to fight terrorism. Among 
his recommendations: the government should issue "torture 
warrants," authorizing such measures as sticking needles 
under the fingernails of suspected terrorists. Yes, this 
is "Alan Dershowitz, famed civil liberties activist." (At 
least that's what the press called him when his chief 
passion was defending pornographers.) It sometimes takes 
an effort to remind oneself that under our legal system, 
no defendant may be presumed guilty just because 
Dershowitz is representing him. 


* Making the World Democratic (August 20, 2002)

* Sticking with the Mets (August 29, 2002)

* Bad News from Troy (September 3, 2002)

* Anniversary Thoughts (September 5, 2002)

* The First Saddam Hussein (September 10, 2002)

* A Call for World War IV (September 12, 2002)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran. 

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All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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Copyright (c) 2002 by The Vere Company -- 
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