Libertarians: Probe her body for a fetus, not mine for pot

Reading Scott Walker’s defense of his government mandated pre-abortion ultrasounds [they're “a cool thing”], I was struck again by the horrible manipulation involved. Who do these Walker people think they are? Why do they think they can do this to women?

And then I thought, “Where the hell have the Libertarians been?” You’d think the Unfettered Liberty squad would be apoplectic over government mandated trans-organ anything, and the probing of all human orifices. You’d think the Fonzies of Freedom would be out riding Harleys in great trans-continental packs protesting the state violating people’s bodies and taking pictures of their innards.

You would be wrong.

If you have a strong disregard for your own health and safety, you are free to express it in all sorts of ways. You can smoke cigarettes. You can gorge on fast food five times a day. You can go live among bears in Alaska.

You can stagger through the worst part of town at 2 a.m. You can become a trapeze artist. You can join the Marine Corps. But if federal regulators get their way, you will not be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.

But let’s first start with an authentic Libertarian issue: Helmets.

…in three states—Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire—all riders are free to feel the sun on their scalps and the wind in their hair.

This small zone of personal autonomy causes great annoyance at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a federal agency. Last week, it urged that “everyone aboard a motorcycle be required to wear a helmet.”

The same old song. Government shouldn’t encroach upon my freedom.

Said NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart, “It’s a public health issue.”

Oh, no, it’s not. A public health issue arises when masses of people are exposed to illness or injury by dangers beyond their control—contaminated water, sooty air, natural disaster, marauding bands of hyenas—or when I get a serious disease that I may pass on to you against your will…

But riding a motorcycle without a cranial cushion poses no danger to anyone except the rider. Skull fractures are not contagious.

It doesn’t matter a bit that a helmet will save a person’s life. It doesn’t matter that helmets will save the taxpayers millions of dollars in systemic healthcare expenses. What matters is that placing a confining thing over one’s head greatly sucks. Ever tried it? Okay.

Given that, you can imagine how strongly the Fonzies feel about this: Big Brother cramming a doctor’s wand up one of their wazoos. Ask Matt Welch. It’s so awful, he can barely stand to hear it…

I was hoping to make it through life without hearing television commentators repeatedly utter the word transvaginal. Yet that intimate territory is where the country headed in February, and it is where we will increasingly return as long as the government keeps assuming a greater role in our private lives…

Libertarians have their values stomped on by governments every day. My (high) taxes in Washington, D.C., are helping to pay hundreds of millions in debt service for a baseball stadium I fervently believe should not have received a drop in public financing. My local city council members—who work part time, mind you, and often maintain second jobs—receive $125,000 from taxpayers each year, a pay rate second only to the loot commanded by the inept legislators of the last city I lived in, Los Angeles. And the criminal code is a festival of offensive-to-me-value judgments, prohibiting actions I consider perfectly moral and proper, such as traveling to Cuba, smoking marijuana, or paying money to illegal immigrants.

…a mandated medical probe, of course that’s bad. But you know I can’t even smoke pot! And they won’t let me go to Cuba! How much longer must we tolerate totalitarianism? A nuanced take. Here’s another one, A. Barton Hinkle:

Last week the health committee of the Indiana Senate approved a bill to require not one transvaginal ultrasound, but two – one before the abortion, and one afterward – for medical, rather than surgical, abortions…

Perhaps some enterprising lawmaker in another state will require pregnant women seeking abortions to write letters to their unborn children. We eventually might even get around to requiring scarlet letters, too.

This brings up a much broader problem in American politics: Call it the auctioneer effect. Having approved a new law or program to address a circumstance in one year, politicians confront a dilemma in subsequent years: What next? Often – almost always – the problem does not disappear. It wouldn’t do to conclude that, since previous laws and programs have failed, perhaps the problem lies beyond government’s ability to solve.

Well, I understand why the states force women to undergo ultrasounds [abortions yuck]. But then for how much longer? At some point won’t they have to give it up? Some day they’ll have to admit abortion is too difficult a problem to solve via radiating wands and genital probes. As always, the limits of government [sigh].

You’d think the Sovereigns of Self-Interest would grasp the problem of being self-violated. But they don’t at all, or at least none of the ones I could find at did. Speaking of which, get a load of this:

Why Is That Cop’s Finger in Your Butt?
The war on drugs now features roadside sexual assaults.

Last month the Texas House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that requires police officers to obtain a warrant before probing the anuses and vaginas of motorists during traffic stops…

The fact that the bill was deemed necessary speaks volumes about the way the war on drugs has eroded our Fourth Amendment rights and encouraged cops to inflict outrageous indignities on people they suspect of violating pharmacological taboos.

Well now this is very different. We’re no longer talking about women, and medical procedures. Now we’re talking about men, and the way they exercise their personal liberties. This is a frankly serious issue: The God-given right to smoke pot in your car…

That may be hard to believe, but it is also hard to believe that six troopers in three separate traffic stops thought it was reasonable to explore those private areas on the off chance that there might be some pot there.

With this egregious behavior the government isn’t trying to solve any of society’s problems. No, not any more. They’ve just become the morals police. Treating recreational marijuana users like jailbait, they’re nothing but a bunch of brownshirted dragoons bent on oppressing free men of good will. And let’s be honest – anything resembling a roadside anal-probing amounts to “sexual assault.”

Such judgments can be understood only in the context of a prohibitionist mentality that sees bits of dried vegetable matter as a grave threat to public order.

But what if the bad actors aren’t just a few cops, but entire American states? And what sort of “threat to the public order” is abortion, incidentally? If Libertarians have any essential beliefs or values, it’s not clear what they are.


Scott Walker: Say ‘cheese’ ladies

Scott Walker gets coverage in Salon.

Scott Walker: Women should be forced to have transvaginal ultrasounds because they are “a cool thing”

The Wisconsin governor said a procedure that involves being probed with a 10-inch rod is “lovely”…

Silver-tongued devil, you say.

“Most people I talked to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time that pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, we still have their first ultrasounds. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

Wisconsin’s Great Communicator, eh? So will women voters change their minds about this “cool thing”? Will they perhaps give mandatory ultrasounds another chance? Will many of them now choose to lie back and get probed by the greasy wand of Scott Walker’s Big Government? Remember: Until the Governor mentioned it, they didn’t know they could keep iPhone images of their aborted fetuses.

“The thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea…”

What, crazy? No, it’s heartwarming.


Art Garfunkle, narcissist

Art Garfunkle is 73 years old.

“Will I do another tour with Paul? Well, that’s quite do-able. When we get together, with his guitar, it’s a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So, as far as this half is concerned, I would say, ‘Why not, while we’re still alive?’

“But I’ve been in that same place for decades. This is where I was in 1971.”

He then seems to address not me but his old friend. “How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What’s going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?”

Art still hasn’t noticed how “lucky” Paul has been over the last 45 years. I’ve written before about famous people who happen to be narcissists – Newt Gingrich, for one. And by ‘narcissist’ I don’t mean a person who is arrogant, I mean somebody with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The real deal. My father was one. Art Garfunkle appears to be one.

Actually, another question strikes me. I speculate about whether Paul Simon might have a Napoleon complex. Is there a height thing there, between them?

“I think you’re on to something. I would say so, yes.”

He adds that at school he felt sorry for Paul because of his height, and he offered him love and friendship as a compensation. “And that compensation gesture has created a monster. End of interview.”

Right. Though he was but a 13 year-old schoolboy, Art took pity upon his misfit pal and made him a musical genius. But what did he get for his troubles? Millions upon million of dollars, of course, and fame, as well as glory, eye-popping mansions and a royal life of ease. Sure, all of that – but when did Paul ever say ‘Thank You’ for the melodies and words that Art Garfunkle bestowed upon him? Did he ever mention it was Art’s middle-school mercy that made his career? Or did he merely pretend it was all his own hard work? It’s as if the real genius, the towering tween – bitter and careerless, now sixty years on – had nothing to do with it. Dear.


Maureen Dowd on Uber. The Furies breathing down your neck.

Maureen Dowd and Uber. Maureen Dowd on Uber. Maureen Dowd in an Uber. Maureen around town in an Uber. Maureen thinking about Uber. Maureen writing about Uber. Fuck me.

Even in the land of movie stars, you could feel like a movie star when your Uber chauffeur rolled up. Standing in front of the Sunset Tower Hotel, I tapped my Uber app and saw five little cars swarming around my location.

The guy next door – pardonne moi, les petites sans importance – the chauffeur, he pulls up before her and vaults out of his Hyundai with a Panavision camera on his shoulder and a press gaggle in tow. And everybody knows everything about Maureen and can’t stop asking pointed personal questions because the Hollywood! No wait – the internet! Whatever mon readers, what a berserk freewheelin’ world it is, unspooling right before your pot-dabbling correspondent’s eyes. One of these Google Instagram webdrivers could pull out a samurai sword – really!

“Do you know why no one wanted to pick you up?” he asked. “Because you have a low rating.”

(Uber drivers see your rating once they accept the request and then can cancel.)

I was shocked. Blinded by the wondrous handiness of Uber, I had missed the fact that while I got to rate them, they got to rate me back.

Bumbling! Humility! How could you not love her?


Hello darkness, my old friend

Hello Rudy.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me.”

Hello Fox News.

The new poll also finds the numbers saying Obama is patriotic, honest or a strong leader have all declined in the past few years.

More Americans feel they love the United States than think Obama does: 83 percent think the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. Just 64 percent believe Obama feels the same way.

Hello Twitter.

Hello Mr. President.

No doubt, this is the greatest country in the world.


James Dean was never this crazy

Law-writin’ guy Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker, on the President’s latest future failure: “Obama’s Game of Chicken with the Supreme Court.”

Sometime next month, the Supreme Court will decide King v. Burwell, and the conventional wisdom about the stakes in the case appears to have shifted.

By the title you’d think the African Usurper and the Catholic Diocese Of East Virginia were careening at each other in a couple of ’55 Bel Airs. But no, the Republican effort to strip millions of their health insurance isn’t so safe, or fair, a game. Toobin breezes by the destitute cancer patients and insulin-starved diabetics and goes right to the problem: The conventional wisdom is wrong, and everybody will blame Obama for everything.

…that’s the theory: millions will suddenly be uninsured, and will blame Republicans. As Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, put it recently, “I don’t think they will [win the case]. If they do, that’s a problem that the Republicans have.”

No, it’s not. If the Obama Administration loses in the Supreme Court, the political pain will fall almost exclusively on the President and his Party. To paraphrase Colin Powell and the Pottery Barn rule, President Obama will have broken health care, so he owns it. …if millions lose insurance, they will hold it against Obamacare, and against Obama.

Yes that’s all un-well and good, and utterly typical. People are selfish and petty, we know. But where does this game of “chicken” come in? In what way is the President playing life-or-death with the Supreme Court?

Better than anyone, Administration officials know the scale of the problems that would be created by a loss in the Supreme Court. Advertising this possibility makes sense as a litigation strategy; Obama officials don’t want to make it easy for the Supreme Court to rule against them.

Advertising this possibility might make sense as a “reality” strategy, too. Untimely and ultimately life-threatening reversals can bring on anxiety, and stress – even beyond the law or blogging in the New Yorker! Perhaps some of us should be prepared. But let’s ignore the trivial and play along with Jeffrey, shall we? So…?

In testimony before Congress and elsewhere, Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (and the defendant in the case), said that the Administration has no contingency plan for an adverse ruling in the Supreme Court. But playing chicken with the Justices only works if it works. If the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidies, the Administration will also have to answer for why it didn’t prepare for this possibility.

Obama is playing with fire. Instead of conjuring up a second Affordability Care Act, he’s daring the Supreme Court to strike down the first one. The goodwill (and…ease) with which he passed the original law begs for another, but for some reason he’s just not up to the task. Tsk, tsk. Someone could die playing a game like this.


Whatever you say, Toots

The New York Post suggests to us something strange and surprising yet oddly liberating. To wit: Never mind what they tell you, women don’t really like modern life. The remarkable truth is your lady friends would rather go back to the days when they were something like domesticated pets.

Critics have consistently lauded [Mad Men], not just for its entertainment value but also for exposing the dark underbelly of a prosperous, conservative era. Yet I can’t help but wonder if in some ways life wasn’t easier back then — especially for single, marriage-minded women.

Hang on, Heather will get to it. There’s a massive multi-modal Kinsey-esque effort to be divulged here, with hundreds of thousands of women queried over millions of hours in research facilities…

New York City career women in their 30s and 40s told me this week that in some ways life seemed easier back then for single women, and love was easier to find during our mothers’ day than it is now.

Or, perhaps. Heather just talked to two of her friends.

“It’s like we’ve become this commodity where men can pick out what they want whenever they want,” said Alicia, 37, who works in advertising and lives downtown.

Says Ellie, 42, a student on Manhattan’s East Side who used to work in publishing, “Technology is supposed to bring people closer, but especially in the context of dating it pushes people further apart. It used to be a guy had to call and leave a message and you called him back and you made a date.”

And there’s your data set. Taking Ellie into account (and Alicia too – don’t forget her) we calculate the p-level for “Today’s males are MEN” to be, hmmm, less than 5%. This is some good news for

…online dating sites and “hookup culture” — or decreased stigma around no-strings-attached sex between strangers — means that immature men’s playground is no longer just the halls of their office buildings. It’s the entire city.

So the Big Apple has become a sexual kindergarten. You and your pals would prefer to cell-phone or text women whenever you please (or not at all), and Will Geer wants to punch you in the face. Confronted with the chivalry of Don Draper, modern ‘man’ is sorrowfully exposed.


(Jeb Bush) Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

Jeb has got the family’s deep generational and criminal ties to the right-wing machine, so no one is dismissing him this early in the going. The 2016 Bush campaign has already raised about $100 million, which is a helluva start. But this isn’t doing him any good:

On Monday, Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked Bush, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

“I would have,” Bush answered, “and so would have Hillary Clinton. just to remind everybody. And so would have just about everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that they got.”

Knowing that ISIS will eventually take it over and slaughter tens of thousands of civilians, Jeb still believes the invasion of Iraq is a swell idea. You can see why he’s ‘The Smart One.’

“I emailed [Jeb] this morning and I said to him, ‘Hey, I’m a little confused by this answer so I’m genuinely wondering did you mishear the question?’” Ms. Navarro said in the interview. “And he said, ‘Yes, I misheard the question.’”

In the interests of fairness, let’s once again look at it. Jeb was asked “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Sixteen syllables, and it threw him for a loop: “YES.” And saying that he got confused won’t make rank and file Republicans feel any better. It won’t exactly set him apart from his brother. “What know now, do invasion?” Is that really better? Don’t laugh – in this fopo panel of Alley Oop Jeb replies with a “Hnngh” and his mammons shovel him another $25 million.

She said that when people heard the “entirety” of his answer it would be clearer.


“I interpreted the question wrong, I guess,” Mr. Bush said.

Being tossed a Bush family skeleton will do that to a guy. Sean, we were only talking foreign policy. And I’d just begun to tell Megan my plans for world peace when suddenly I heard…‘Iraq’ NIAGARA FALLS. Slowly I turned…

When Mr. Hannity asked about the 2003 Iraq invasion again, in yes-or-no fashion, Mr. Bush said he did not know what the answer would have been, saying, “That’s a hypothetical.” Then, he seemed to go out of his way to absolve his brother, former President George W. Bush, who ordered the invasion: “Mistakes were made, as they always are in life,” Mr. Bush said.

Yes let’s go with that. A hundred thousand dead, two million refugees on the run, the Middle East a mess and life is hard.


Greetings from Stone Mountain…

Funny thing about Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Kenneth Parcell is a perpetually cheerful NBC page…who hails from Stone Mountain, Georgia (a reference to the hometown of 30 Rock writer Donald Glover, who also hails from Stone Mountain), where his father was a pig farmer.

A less funny thing about it:

The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons at Stone Mountain, outside Atlanta, with fifteen “charter members”. Its growth was based on a new anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, prohibitionist and antisemitic agenda, which developed in response to contemporary social tensions.

You’d think white folks there would want to avoid acting like jerks lest we assume they’re pig-farming rubes or card-carrying Klansmen. But no.

In the past students have alleged that the school, and it’s founder Nancy Gordeuk hold disparaging views towards people of color, and at yesterday’s graduation ceremony they unexpectedly received validation.

…Gordeuk accidentally ended the ceremony without allowing the valedictorian to make their speech. When she became aware of her mistake, she asked all the graduating seniors to come back inside the hall for the final speech…

That’s when a frustrated Gordeuk took to the mic and announced:

“You people are being so rude, to not listen to this speech. It was my fault that we missed it in the program. Look who’s leaving… all the black people!”

At that point the crowd erupted in anger and everyone started to leave.

You’d think a professional educator would want to come up with a proper apology lest we think she’s an illiterate weasel. But no.

The facts are the rude booing from my perspective facing the audience condoning the actions of this man, are coming from the younger people in the audience. What if ten or twenty persons came and started videotaping the audience in the middle of a speech. Is that disrespect to the person trying to make his speech?…

I take a personal interest in the success of every student that comes through our doors without regard to their race, religion or ethnicity. My main concern for each is to provide them with an education and high school diploma to be able to continue on the pathway toward adulthood to become a successful member of society.

You’d think a racist’s son would want to shut the hell up before he goes and makes everything a whole lot worse.

If anyone has somthing to say about my mom and how she ran her graduation come say it to my face… Yall niggas ain’t talkin about shit so if u got something to say come see me face to face.

But no.


The National Review is racist? Whut?

Kevin Williamson’s a dork. Here he goes again: “Inequality warriors vs. the family and the individual.” He tells us that when a french-fry drudge at McDonald’s gets a raise exceptionalism and the American family suffer.

The enduring nature of economic inequality may be a political blessing for progressives — it provides a perennial source of discontent…

But let’s talk politics first. The enduring nature of poverty may be a blessing for progressives. The enduring nature of rape may be a blessing for progressives. N’est–ce pas? Repeat it enough and it sounds like a Laurie Anderson song.

…but it is a problem, too, for one very important but under-appreciated reason: The main sources of economic inequality are not matters of public policy. They are instead rooted in the individual — including in the physical facts of the individual — and in the family, both of which have traditionally been considered outside of the public sphere.

The ‘physical facts of the individual’? Heavens. The Medievallian Williamson believes that habitual criminality, inner-city promiscuity and the scourge of murky bodily humours are all matters of one’s birth. If you happen to be born with a cleft palate, he is entitled to eat your lunch. I don’t much cotton to this bastard.

Brainpower is another matter entirely. The implicit conclusion of the work done by Charles Murray and others on the relationship between hereditary intelligence and socio-economic outcomes makes our elites uncomfortable…if intelligence is mainly hereditary, then being really smart is no more a personal accomplishment than being really tall or being really pretty…

Reichademic Charles Murray? Race hustling, once again.

Affirmative action has been one way of refusing to deal with that reality.

Science says colored people are stupid. You can’t handle the truth! Thanks, man.


It’s as if you’d prefer to first-person shoot ME

The latest victim of America’s anti-Christian campaign.

“I decided to go down a path that most developers are afraid to go down: to piss these people off by making the most overly offensive game possible to these idiots to prove a point.”

Because ‘these people’…what?

“These people that think if you are even remotely homophobic, you are ‘hateful’ and a ‘bigot,’ and do everything they can to destroy you in every vicious way possible…”

Randall may have a point there. So he went to Steam’s website and downloaded their software. After a few hours of work, he posted his own first-person shooter game called “Kill The Faggot.”

The resulting YouTube video revealed a crude game that has players aim a bullseye to shoot and kill people who say such things as, “Can I put my weiner in your butt?” and “Whoops, I just dropped the soap.” …It’s hard to make a judgment call about the “most” offensive thing in this game, but we were particularly disturbed to hear the game’s announcer celebrate a kill by saying, “AIDS carrier eliminated.”

As you might guess, with its narrator calling “Fag down!” Randall’s diversion violated Steam’s terms of service (note: this may have been by design). So “Kill The Faggot” was promptly taken offline. Game over man, God’s XBoxer proved his point.

Herman claimed that he received e-mails “wishing physical harm on me” in response to the game, though he did not quote any of those e-mails to clarify what those threats were. He called the game development industry “overly sensitive and easily offended…”

Please note that Bible-man has his own line of kicks:

what would jesus wear

Hello my name is Randall and I just started a Christian show company called Devotor Footwear. It is the first Christian skate shoe company that aims to spread the gospel through the action sports industry. I want to get your opinions on the shoes, and help spread the word of this company so I can then spread the words of Christ.


Walter Russell blow me

Walter Russell Mead, author of the seminal foreign policy tomes “Hard Power, Soft Power” and “Creamy Power, Sticky Power”, as well as the masterful dialectic “Team Brad Power, Team Jen Power”, not to lessen in any way the landmark “My Gal Is Red Hot Power, But Your Gal Is Doodly Squat Power”, levels some of his harshest criticism, maybe ever, at Barack Obama.

walter's a fricking genius

But, first. You might find cause to note Walter’s haphazard attempts at English language, with its cryptic rules about using only so many letters to spell particular words, and changing other words (verbs) to meet the whimsical demands of their subjects. Nonetheless he’s obviously smart:

Once again, be very glad we don’t have a Republican president right now. If we did, we would be treated to a merciless media pounding, night-and-day, on the series of strategic failures, mistakes and false starts that have characterized America’s war strategy in Afghanistan since 2009.

And once again – right? As if, talk to the hand. There’s a good reason why we don’t have a Republican president right now, and it’s because candidate Barack Obama differed so strikingly from the warmongers in his opposition to the War in Iraq. He promised to end that nightmare, and so the electorate voted for him in droves, and now the war is over. But I see no reason why that should hold the slightest meaning or relevance for the great Walter Russell Firebomb.

We’d be getting constant reminders of how the President, who repeatedly said that this was a just war that America had to win, and who told us that we should vote for him because he wouldn’t let anything distract him from the vital task of winning said war, hasn’t managed to win it, or even end it, after six long years.

And lies. Obama never promised anything about winning ‘said war’:

During last year’s campaign, Barack Obama stressed that while he wanted to withdraw from Iraq, he was no pacifist. “As president,” he said on July 15, 2008, “I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”

He promised to focus on the war against terrorism. Instead. He also promised to end the War in Afghanistan in 2014, and whaddaya know it’s now pretty much over. We had 110,000 soldiers there back in 2011, and now there are only about 6,000. So what the hell is Walter whining about?

Oh wait, let me answer that. Walter is whining about the same thing he’s always whined about: More War. Obama won’t sacrifice his Marines to smoke every psycho jihadi out of his clapboard shack in Farflungistan, therefore spineless pussy loser you’re no Teddy Roosevelt, Sir. Yeah well fuck you, Yalie. You couldn’t lift a replica rifle to your shoulder, blubberboy.

Remember this, Walter back in 2003? My golly he did some sober thinking, and then he managed – somehow! – to come down on the side of Bush and Cheney…eight days before the invasion. This is what you call courage under fire:

Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow | March 12, 2003

Those who still oppose war in Iraq think containment is an alternative — a middle way between all-out war and letting Saddam Hussein out of his box.

They are wrong…

Each year of containment is a new Gulf War.

Saddam Hussein is 65; containing him for another 10 years condemns at least another 360,000 Iraqis to death. Of these, 240,000 will be children under 5.

Walter said that our sanctions were killing too many children, so it was time to go in and kill many, many more. What a sweetheart.

The link is clear and direct. Since 1991 the United States has had forces in Saudi Arabia. Those forces are there for one purpose only: to defend the kingdom (and its neighbors) from Iraqi attack. If Saddam Hussein had either fallen from power in 1991 or fulfilled the terms of his cease-fire agreement and disarmed, U.S. forces would have left Saudi Arabia.

But Iraqi defiance forced the United States to stay, and one consequence was dire and direct. Osama bin Laden founded al Qaeda because U.S. forces stayed in Saudi Arabia.

This is the link between Saddam Hussein’s defiance of international law and the events of Sept. 11; it is clear and compelling. No Iraqi violations, no Sept. 11.

Walter told us there was a terrible “clear and direct” link between September the Eleventh and Saddam Hussein. But Wally also said there was an upside in that we could invade his country and slaughter a hundred thousand or so civilians. So we did, and look how much better off Iraq is now. What a guy.

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