Jewish World Review April 14, 2003 / 12 Nisan II 5763

Thomas Sowell

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Random thoughts on the passing scene | Even though Saddam Hussein's regime has been toppled, there are still pockets of resistance -- not only in Iraq but in Paris, Berkeley, and in the editorial offices of the New York Times.

These die-hards may hold out for years. The many richly deserved tributes to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan focused on his rise from a poor shoe-shine boy to the highest pinnacles of government. What also needs to be said is that America is a very fortunate country to be able to tap the brainpower, talents, and insights of people in all walks of life, instead of limiting itself to what is thought and believed by some narrow elite, whether of money, blood, or ideology.

Sometimes life seems like Italian opera music -- beautiful but heart-breaking.

It is amazing what complicated lies some people will believe, even when the truth is simple and obvious. Indeed, the truth is often rejected as "simplistic" by those who are dedicated to some complicated lie.

While it was heartening to see Iraqis waving American flags in Baghdad and in Dearborn, Michigan, I have still never seen an American flag on a single home in all my visits to Berkeley.

France has never gotten over the fact that it was once a great power and is now just a great nuisance.

The political left often acts as if it has discovered and exposed the evils of our times and our society, when what they have really done is twisted and distorted the evils of the ages and of the whole human race to make them seem like something peculiar to our times and our society -- even when these evils have been far worse elsewhere.

What impressed me most about the American bombardment of Baghdad were not the many huge explosions but the residential neighborhoods that remained unscathed while Iraqi government facilities were devastated.

All of us are ignorant, if not misinformed, on vast numbers of things. What makes experts different is that they dare not admit it. That is also what makes experts dangerous.

Anyone who cannot understand why the United States could not have waited before going into Iraq should read The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill. It is not about Iraq. It is about what happens when you allow a ruthless dictator to keep violating the treaties that were meant to keep his growing power in check.

While it is true that you learn with age, the down side is that what you learn is often what a damn fool you were before.

I never thought I would get hooked on the Travel Channel. But after 48 hours of not seeing Samantha Brown, I could feel myself going into withdrawal.

There has probably never been a war that was so successful on the battlefield and at the same time so criticized in the media. It took years of futility before criticism of the Vietnam War reached the level reached in the first two weeks of success in Iraq.

From all my years of living in New York and following the Yankees religiously, I cannot remember an opening day at Yankee Stadium that was cancelled because of snow. Yet there is not a word out of those who have been hysterical about "global warming." Incidentally, recent studies indicate that the world was warmer during the Middle Ages -- and nothing terrible happened.

As far as the liberal media are concerned, there are only two ways that the police respond to riots -- either they let the situation "get out of hand" or they "over-react" and use "excessive force." Nothing that the cops can do will fall in between, as far as the editorial office heroes are concerned.

Ask anyone who is suffering the agonies of some terrible disease whether he believes that there is such a thing as reality, or whether he thinks it is all just a matter of "perceptions." The pompous but silly notion that it is all a matter of how you choose to look at things is an indulgence for those who are insulated from suffering, from accountability, and from reality.

Although I seem to be one of the few people around who is not a military expert, I find it hard to believe that the Pentagon's war strategy went according to plan. Did they really plan to be in control of Baghdad in three weeks?

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JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, "Controversial Essays." (Sales help fund JWR.)


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