I don’t think Seymour Hersh likes President Bush very much

There aren’t a whole lot of facts in Seymour Hersh’s interview with Spiegel online, but it becomes clear that, while he fears President Bush for being on a mission for God (Seymour’s opinion), Ahmadinejad’s pronouncements that he’s going to destroy Israel and have the bomb soon are totally copacetic. I’ve included some examples of his answers below, but you’d do well to read the whole thing for yourself, assuming you have the stomach for a fact-free, recycling of 1960s tropes (Communists? What Communists?).

As you read the interview, keep an eye on the fact that, in response to direct questions, Hersh is often what we lawyers call “non-responsive.” That is, he’s answering, but he’s not answering the question. Instead, he’s reading off of an endless loop in his own head:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: [Regarding the possibility of a nuclear Iran] Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?

Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he’s not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That’s just their game.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?

Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You’d think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren’t there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?

Hersh: Oh no. We’re going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can’t have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I’d actually be relieved because I’d know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he’s doing God’s work.

Would it surprise you to learn that, seeing things as he does, Hersh is a cut and run kind of guy? He also accuses Bush of “ethnic cleansing.”

Now “ethnic cleansing” is a loaded term and one that Spiegel highlights at the top of the article to catch the reader’s interests. As I understand it, ethnic cleansing means deliberately targeting an ethnic (or religious) group by (a) slaughtering it or (b) forcibly removing it from it’s lands. Hersh has a much looser application. According to him, the sole result of the Surge — and the reason fatalities are dropping — is that people are hunkering done in ethnic enclaves (that would be the Kurds who were doing that all along, especially when Saddam tried to murder them all) or hunkering down in religious enclaves (that would be the Sunnis and Shias, who are moving away from each other, not because American soldiers are killing them, but because they’re killing each other). How does he know this? Simple: “I think that’s a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.” With rock solid research like that, you’ve just got to trust the guy’s conclusions, right?

Incidentally, Hersh is not satisfied with the Leftist rubric that Iraq is Vietnam all over again. That’s too ordinary. He goes further:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?

Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we’ll rationalize it away. Don’t worry about that. Again, there’s no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We’ll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.

It’s possible that Hersh’s conclusions are correct (although I’m inclined to doubt them). But if you were someone actually neutral on the issue, seeking information, would you take seriously a man who has no facts that he can assert, but simply engages in mindless name calling, supported by casual conclusions based on his gut instinct. This is not an investigative reporter. This is a lazy guy who is living in the past and can only recycle tired old ideas without any awareness that he’s not reporting on the same old situation.

UPDATE:  I did a rather facile analysis about Hersh’s tone.  Laer took the time to expose the gross factual errors underlying Hersh’s statements.   If you want to know more about how dreadful Hersh is, you need to read Laer’s post.

Some citizen ID cards are more equal than others

The Democrats and their fellow travelers have been terribly upset since its inception by the Patriot Act, which they see as an infringement of their civil liberties. In that context, one of their chief fears is that the federal government will impose a national ID requirement, which they believe will be used to target illegal immigrants. (This is a good example of that type of thinking.) The Left is also hostile to the idea of a requirement that voters present photo ID in the form of a driver’s license or State ID card, since they believe that poor people lack the mental equipment and minimal life skills to get those types of cards. (And with regard to Democrats’ deep belief that the disadvantaged, especially African Americans, are helpless dodos, did I mention that John Edwards believes that, without his Presidential intervention, all black men will end up dead or in jail?)

Given the Left’s incredible hostility to ID cards, it was with some amazement that I read this impassioned plea for ID cards from Tom Ammiano, one of San Francisco’s most extreme liberals (which sounds redundant, but even by SF standards he’s to the liberal side of liberal):

As a sanctuary city, San Francisco has a responsibility to address the issues facing our community when federal legislators fail to do so. While grandstanding and speeches filled with fear and hate dominate congressional debate, here on the local level we have to address the fallout from continued inaction.

I introduced legislation Sept. 18 to create a municipal identification card for San Francisco residents. . . . This has created a local buzz and national controversy. The ID card is useful for many San Franciscans. . . .

There are two reasons that it is important to all San Franciscans that we issue a municipal ID card. . . : safety in our community and strengthening our community.

When residents don’t have government-issued IDs, it is a serious public safety issue because it reduces crime reporting and increases the number of vulnerable individuals. Without ID, people are afraid to report crimes, meaning that perpetrators are free to strike again. ….

In San Francisco, we do not live in the bubble that many like to say we do; rather, we are an international city with residents from every corner of this Earth. ….

And that is why San Francisco needs to issue a municipal ID card. ….

Our city cannot just stand by while our federal government takes no action to address the safety needs of our community here at home. ….

Clearly, Ammiano thinks a government can best protect its people by issuing them identification cards. He’s also absolutely certain that every citizen is fully capable of applying for and receiving one of those cards. Apparently in San Francisco there are no citizens so poor, felonious or handicapped by blackness (did you hear that, Silky Pony) that they’re unable to head over to City Hall or some equally convenient address to get cards that will help them step towards basic human rights. In other words, Ammiano’s believe in the ability of the poor to get cards, and his faith that the government will handle those cards appropriately, runs entirely counter to the Democratic/Left belief that the opposite is true.

Okay, I’m lying. You’ll notice that the above quotation is filled, just filled with ellipses. Everything that’s in there is exactly what Ammiano wrote. I just left out the real point of his argument, which is that he wants to issue identification cards to illegal aliens because, for reasons unclear to me (and these are reasons Ammiano never explains in his impassioned but entirely incoherent opinion piece), having those cards will protect these immigrants from crime. Let me flesh out a couple of those paragraphs as Ammiano actually wrote them:

I introduced legislation Sept. 18 to create a municipal identification card for San Francisco residents, regardless of immigration status. This has created a local buzz and national controversy. The ID card is useful for many San Franciscans such as the homeless, the elderly, youths, transgender people and others who encounter barriers to accessing government-issued IDs. (But wait, I thought homeless, the elderly, youths and others intimidated by barriers couldn’t possibly be expected to get identification cards, and therefore such cards should never be required as a means to prevent voter fraud.) However, detractors have focused solely on immigrants as the recipients. (I haven’t objected to that fact. In an earlier post I did about Ammiano’s lame-brained proposal, I said I thought it was a wonderful thing for illegal aliens to storm government halls to identify themselves for the benefit of law enforcement agencies. I simply bemoaned the fact that it was entirely unlikely that immigration would take advantage of the fact that illegals were going to start going around carrying badges announcing “I’m illegal.”)

There are two reasons that it is important to all San Franciscans that we issue a municipal ID card, regardless of immigration status: safety in our community and strengthening our community.

When residents don’t have government-issued IDs, it is a serious public safety issue because it reduces crime reporting and increases the number of vulnerable individuals. Without ID, people are afraid to report crimes, meaning that perpetrators are free to strike again. (Nothing Ammiano has said here, and nothing he says later, explains to me why it’s easier to report a crime to the cops when you have an ID card than when you don’t.) This is compounded when these same community members lack the ID needed to access bank accounts. By keeping cash on their person and in their homes, they are further targets of crime. I am working with the treasurer’s office and look forward to collaborating with banks so that this card will be accepted to open bank accounts.

And so on and so forth. You can read the whole thing here, but I guarantee you won’t have any clearer understanding of this proposed law after you’ve read it than you do right now.

While Ammiano’s writing may be muddled, there an entirely deceptive line of thinking underlying all this that is clear as a bell: The Democrats/Left have about ID cards being unfair to immigrants and the poor, whether such cards are used for national security or to protect against voter fraud, are completely bogus. Democrats are happy to issue such cards if they believe it will be for their political advantage and they are confident that the intended recipients of these Democratic issued cards — immigrants, the poor, and the disadvantaged — will be able to obtain them with ease, unhindered by their “downtrodden” status.

UPDATE:  As I was writing this, I knew I’d seen, just a day or two ago, a wonderful post exposing all the fallacies in the Democratic argument opposing picture ID as a prerequisite for voting in order to prevent fraud.  I had an “aha” moment when I finally found it at Big Lizards.  Read BL’s post, and then, just for fun, read once again Ammiano’s incoherent explanation about why it’s great for all the dispossessed to get the San Francisco issued ID card.  When your brain stops spinning, go out and register Republican.  No matter how faulty Republicans can be, they’re still better than the alternative.

Pop culture with depth

It’s shamefaced confession time: I love ABBA, and always have. Back in the 1970s, in the vinyl era, I bought several of their records and had many hours of listening pleasure. And then vinyl went away and my ABBA records, along with the rest of my collection, went into boxes, never to be played again. What I’ve noticed over the years, though, is that whenever I hear ABBA music (on Pandora, the radio, etc.), it just makes me feel really happy. I decided to stop seeking random opportunities to hear ABBA, so I splurged on four of my favorite CDs: Arrival, Voulez-Vous, The Visitors, and Super Trouper. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or pathetically juvenile, but I enjoy the discs as much as I ever did.

What I’m also enjoying are the tracks I’d never heard before that have been added to the discs as bonus features. The one that triggered this post is “Cassandra.” You may be familiar with the name. In Greek Mythology, Cassandra was cursed, not only with the gift of prophecy, which is burdensome enough, but with the inability to make people believe and prepare for her grim forecasts. It was she who warned the Trojans of their coming doom, only to be derided or ignored. She escaped Troy only to be forced into becoming King Agamemnon’s concubine, with the inevitable result (this is Greek tragedy, after all), that Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra, killed her. Whew!

Anyway, back to the ABBA song. Aside from having really a lovely melody, the lyrics are beautiful too, being both poetic and very apt to the age we live in. You can find them all here, but I particularly liked this part:

Down in the street they’re all singing and shouting
Staying alive though the city is dead
Hiding their shame behind hollow laughter
While you are crying alone in your bed

Pity, Cassandra, that no one believed you
But then again you were lost from the start
Now we must suffer and sell our secrets,
Bargain, playing smart, aching in our hearts

Sorry, Cassandra, I misunderstood
Now the last day is dawning
Some of us wanted but none of us could
Listen to words of warning
But on the darkest of nights
Nobody knew how to fight
And we were caught in our sleep
Sorry, Cassandra, I didn’t believe
You really had the power
I only saw it as dreams you would weave
Until the final hour

I sometimes feel as if we, on the right, are Cassandras, and can only hope that the citizenry will wise up before our cities our dead, and the few survivors sail away, to God alone knows what fate.

UPDATE: As I’m pulling a half nighter (I hope to be finished by about 3), I can only say that I’m thrilled with my ABBA, since it’s got the kind of bouncing energy that keeps my fingers and brain engaged when the rest of me really, really wants to stop. I’m getting too old for these weeks where I’m up before dawn with the kids, work all day, shlep the kids around all afternoon (or, on soccer weekends, all day), cook, clean, fold laundry, and then work again into the wee hours.

UPDATE III am not alone.

Good news about “Al Qaeda that doesn’t exist in Iraq”

We’ve heard it before (’cause the NY Times says it’s so) that Al Qaeda has nothing to do with Iraq. Apparently someone forgot to tell either AP or Al Qaeda:

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed more than 60 insurgent and militia fighters in intense battles over the weekend, with most of the casualties believed to have been al-Qaida fighters, officials said Sunday.

The U.S. Embassy, meanwhile, joined a broad swath of Iraqi politicians — both Shiite and Sunni — in criticizing a nonbinding Senate resolution seen here as a recipe for splitting the country along sectarian and ethnic lines.

U.S. aircraft killed more than 20 al-Qaida fighters who opened fire on an American air patrol northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

The firefight between U.S. aircraft and the insurgent fighters occurred Saturday about 17 miles northwest of the capital, the military said.

The aircraft observed about 25 al-Qaida insurgents carrying AK-47 assault rifles — one brandishing a rocket-propelled grenade — walking into a palm grove, the military said.

“Shortly after spotting the men, the aircraft were fired upon by the insurgent fighters,” it said.

The military did not say what kind of aircraft were involved but the fact that the fighters opened fire suggests they were low-flying Apache helicopters. The command said more than 20 of the group were killed and four vehicles were destroyed. No Iraqi civilians or U.S. soldiers were hurt.

“Coalition forces have dealt significant blows to Al-Qaida Iraq in recent months, including the recent killing of the Tunisian head of the foreign fighter network in Iraq and the blows struck in the past 24 hours,” military spokesman Col. Steven Boylan told The Associated Press.

Iraq’s Defense Ministry said in an e-mail Sunday afternoon that Iraqi soldiers had killed 44 “terrorists” over the past 24 hours. The operations were centered in Salahuddin and Diyala provinces and around the city of Kirkuk, where the ministry said its soldiers had killed 40 and arrested eight. It said 52 fighters were arrested altogether.

The ministry did not further identify those killed, but use of the word “terrorists” normally indicates al-Qaida.

In a separate operation, U.S. forces killed two insurgents and detained 21 others during weekend operations “to disrupt al-Qaida in Iraq networks in the Tigris River Valley.”

Did I just see a pig fly by?

Actions tomorrow will speak louder than words today, but something interesting came out of the mouth of a UN representative — namely, the admission that the UN is focusing a disproportionate amount of its attention on condemning Israel. You don’t believe me? It’s true:

The UN Human Rights Council has failed to handle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a balanced fashion, the council’s chair Doru Costea said in an interview published Saturday.

Costea suggested in the interview with the daily Le Temps that the council was concentrating too much on human rights abuses by Israel, adding that he was dissatisfied.

“On this point, the council has failed,” he said, days after US President George W. Bush attacked the body for perceived anti-Israeli bias.

“The council must remain simple, and concentrate on the human rights dimension, but it must look at the stance of all sides, not only one country.”

Costea said that the majority of the 47 seats held by Asian and African countries on the council “gives a certain power, but that does not mean that this power is always used wisely.”

It’s entirely possible that President Bush had something to do with this, since it was he who said:

This body has been silent on repression by regimes from Havana to Caracas to Pyongyang and Tehran while focusing its criticism excessively on Israel.

Hear!  Hear!  And maybe, just maybe, someone in the UN heard! heard!

Because, when you live in a dangerous world, what better thing to do?

The world is currently a place of roiling international tensions. The British Navy recently distinguished itself for being undistinguished in a confrontation with Iran that turned into a national humiliation for England. Under those circumstances, there’s really only one thing to do, right? Yup, destroy your Navy:

Ministers have drawn up confidential proposals to slash the number of ships in the Royal Navy, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

The expected reductions follow a fierce row between Service chiefs and the Treasury over defence spending.

The Ministry of Defence has produced a plan to decommission five warships from next April, which would reduce the Navy’s capability to the level where it could carry out only “one small-scale operation”.

Separate documentation from inside the department suggests that the total number of ships in the Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary could fall from the present level of 103 to 76 in 2017 and only 50 in 2027 — a reduction of more than half.

The information has been supplied in an email from a whistleblowing official inside the MoD, who has given details of a row between senior officials in the department and Andy Burnham, the Treasury Chief Secretary, over the allocation of money to the MoD over the next three years.

***

In what is likely to be a “worst-case” scenario, with no further commissioning of ships, total numbers of what the MoD terms “platforms” is slated to fall steadily from 103 to 50 within 20 years.

The number of submarines would be cut from 13 to 11 in 2007-08 while there would be two aircraft carriers rather than the present three. Frigates would be cut from 17 to nine, while the number of destroyers would go up, from six to eight, but only because more have already been commissioned.

There would be no minesweepers or patrol ships, while the number of landing vessels would be cut from eight to six.

That high pitched spinning sound you hear is Nelson rolling at warp speed in his grave. At this rate, Great Britain couldn’t be a future ally even it wanted to be.

And by the way, haven’t I heard this song before, in the 20s and 30s, when both America and Britain decimated their Armed Forces, all the while watching slack jawed and uninterested as the Axis powers steadily increased their military capacities?  Had the Allies kept up their forces, it’s unlikely the Axis powers would ever have acted.  Even if they had been foolish enough to act, the war would almost certainly have ended swiftly, with the Allies having the ability to call what would have been, for the Axis powers, a big bluff.

As it was, for each country (the U.S. and Britain), its first full year of war was marked by desperately treading water as it tried to restock its own war machines.  That year was marked by hundreds of thousands of lost lives worldwide and, almost certainly, contributed to the war’s length.

Fences to keep the unwanted out work

Apparently the feds, after going through all the bureaucratic steps, are fence building like crazy along our Southern border. An even better thing is the fact that, where the fences have already gone up, the number of illegal immigrants has gone down:

New barriers have had an effect in San Luis, once one of the busiest crossing points in the nation. Immigrants by the hundreds would jump over the steel-mat fencing and disappear into nearby neighborhoods.

That route is now blocked by two new layers of fencing: a 15-foot-high steel-mesh secondary barrier and a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

The number of illegal immigrants apprehended daily in the area has dropped from 800 to as low as 15, according to Border Patrol officials.

If you read further, you’ll see that a number of those immigrants simply shifted their efforts elsewhere, which is why a longer fence is better than a shorter fence. I’m just pointing out that, where fences lie, they work, something the Israelis have discovered as well.

Watcher’s results

The results are in at the Watcher’s Council and I have to admit to being pleased, since my post Cosmic Ironies came in first. This was the post in which I looked at my Dad’s family history in pre-WWII Germany and thought about the little twists of fate that saw some live, and some die. It is a personal reminiscence, but I thought it was a useful antidote to the Holocaust baiting Ahmadinejad periodically brings to center stage.

Second place went to Big Lizard’s for The Human Touch, which urged the State Department to stop trying to find a one size fits all philosophy for deciding whether people from terrorist sponsoring nations can immigrate to America. BL points out that many of these immigrants are trying to escape tyranny, and they can be useful agents in the fight against terror. He acknowledges that enemy governments could certainly use a more open immigration policy to plant spies and agents but says that, instead of blanket ban because of this risk, State should to actually look at the people involved and use its human resources to make the more difficult immigration decisions, a la the Israeli approach.

A third place that came in so close to tying for second that it deserves mention here in the “winner’s circle” is Cheat Seeking Missiles’ Gates’ Iraq Agenda Short On Democracy, which notes that, while we are making military strikes in Iraq, we need to start focusing — really hard — on building a Democratic friend in that nation, so that we can secure our gains there for the long term.

The other Council written articles are, of course, excellent even though the votes were too spread out to give any one of them a commanding lead. I urge you to read them, and you’ll find the links here.

Things were also good on the non-Council side. The winner was Rafael Medoff: Columbia “Invites Hitler to Campus” — As it Did in 1933, which spells out in detail the premise of the title, which is that Columbia, with the recent Ahmadinejad idiocy, was just playing to type. Second place was a very scary Dr. Sanity post, Islam and Marxism — A Marriage Made In Allah’s Socialist Paradise. Again, the title says it all, and the post just does an excellent job of filling in the blanks. It’s a horrifying confluence, and it’s already happening, as each of those two totalitarian ideologies uses the other to make advances against old fashioned Western Democracy and freedom.

Truly silly stuff

The following is James Taranto’s entire take, at today’s Best of the Web, on Reuters’ most recent journalistic innovation:

The Lone Reuter

From Reuters:

By Noor Mohammad Sherzai

BATI KOT, Afghanistan (Reuters) – At least one U.S. soldier opened fire to scatter a crowd of civilians and police on Thursday after failed suicide bomb attacks on a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military and witnesses said. . . .

“I saw the fire brigade vehicle rushing to the area at top speed. Somehow its brakes failed and hit one police vehicle and coalition vehicles, then the Americans started firing,” said Reuters correspondent Noor Mohammad Sherzai.

That’s right, Noor Mohammad Sherzai is quoting himself! (Or herself, as Noor apparently is an epicene name.)

We thought this was odd, but we wanted a second opinion. So we spoke with veteran journalist James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal. “You’re right, it is odd,” he told us. “But it’s another example of Reuters’ journalistic innovation. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter? One man’s monologue is another man’s interview. Oh wait, but who’s the other man?”

Taranto added that Sherzai “obviously had to do some legwork for this story. He tried to get a phone interview with himself, but every time he called, the line was busy.”

We asked Taranto if using oneself as a source entails any special ethical concerns. “There could be a tendency to quote yourself in ways that reinforce your own unconscious bias,” he said. That hadn’t occurred to us, but what a great point!

“There are also interesting issues of confidentiality,” Taranto said. “On the one hand, you’re less likely to have misunderstandings about just what is meant by ‘off the record,’ ‘background,’ and so forth. But on the other hand, if it comes down to it, are you willing to go to jail to protect your source? And if you go to jail and your source is yourself, are you really protecting your source?”

A source close to Taranto, speaking on condition of anonymity because he thought it would be good for a laugh, said, “I don’t think [Taranto is] entirely serious about this.”

We concluded our chat with Taranto by telling him that we were thinking of mocking Noor Mohammad Sherzai by writing an item based on our own self-interview. Although we were the one interviewing him, Taranto replied with a question:

“What do you mean ‘we,’ Kemo Sabe?”

Ward and June Cleaver revisited

Back in December 2004, I wrote a post over at my old blog site about how difficult life is in the 21st Century for June Cleaver. Since Blogger posts, after a certain period of time, lose all formatting, I’ll reprint it here, in an easy to read format:

I’ve been looking around at friends’ marriages, and wondering what makes some happy and some unhappy. And I keep thinking of Ward and June Cleaver, who have always typified for me the classic American division of male/female roles in a “married with children” relationship. She maintains the house; he pays the bills. They are polite to each other. She is the first line of defense for matters involving the children, but he is the final word, and all defer to him.

One could argue that, at least from the woman’s point of view, it’s a dreadful division, since she works hard, but he holds ultimate power. What’s weird, though, is that the couples I know who have returned to a Ward and June life-style have very happy marriages. Each knows his or her area of responsibility within the relationship, and that seems to take away from, rather than to add to, stress.

The other happy couples I know are those where they’ve truly mixed-and-matched the Ward and June roles. That is, both work, but both share equally in household management. Each seems to respect the other and there is a health give-and-take for responsibility. I know only two couples who have achieved this, so it seems to be a real rarity, at least in my circles.

The most angry marriages are those where the man clings to the Ward role, but expects his wife to be both June (household manager) and Ward (breadwinner). These are the households where the woman holds a full- or part-time job, and is also the primary caregiver for the children (when they’re not in school), as well as the chief shopper, cook, laundress, and house cleaner. Sadly, this is also the dominant model in my community, and I think it goes a long way to explaining the very resentful women I know.

The problem I’m observing is nothing new. Fifteen years ago, Arlie Hochschild wrote a book called The Second Shift, which examined relationships in which both man and woman work. I haven’t read the book since its publication, but my memory is that the women who carried the heaviest load were the yuppie wives whose husbands paid lip-service to an “equal” relationship in the marriage — a dynamic that precisely describes the married couples in my world.

What Hochschild discovered is that those husbands — even while claiming that, just as their wives added the Ward role to their June role, they too added the June role to their Ward role — were creating an elaborate fiction themselves. Their “equal” role in the house amounted to toting out the garbage once a week, or picking up the occasional milk. Those who laid claim to all responsibilities outside the house’s walls (that is, yard work), essentially mowed the lawn weekly. Meanwhile, their wives, who also held paying jobs, were handling shopping, cooking, cleaning, childcare, and all other miscellaneous stuff.

Ironically, those husbands who were most likely to provide real help around the house were the old-fashioned men who bitterly resented the economic necessity that forced their wives into the workplace. It was they who placed the most value on their wives’ work, and were therefore most likely to recognize the women’s sacrifice in leaving the home for the workplace. “Modern men,” with their views of equality, seemed to see traditional women’s work as valueless and were unwilling to sully their hands with it.

It’s interesting that, 15 years after I read that book as an unencumbered single, I look around my world and see that the book could just as easily have been written today, ’cause nothing’s changed. Apparently Ward and June were on to something….

It turns out Arlie Hochschild’s 18 year old conclusions and my three year old observations are still right on the money. More and more research is showing that, while men still enjoy a Ward Cleaver level of “life is good” satisfaction, augmented by more gadgets and better health than Ward could ever imagine, women are increasingly unhappy because of the burdens their Ward and June expectations impose on them:

Two new research papers, using very different methods, have both come to this conclusion. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, economists at the University of Pennsylvania (and a couple), have looked at the traditional happiness data, in which people are simply asked how satisfied they are with their overall lives. In the early 1970s, women reported being slightly happier than men. Today, the two have switched places.

Mr. Krueger, analyzing time-use studies over the last four decades, has found an even starker pattern. Since the 1960s, men have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more.

Over the same span, women have replaced housework with paid work — and, as a result, are spending almost as much time doing things they don’t enjoy as in the past. Forty years ago, a typical woman spent about 23 hours a week in an activity considered unpleasant, or 40 more minutes than a typical man. Today, with men working less, the gap is 90 minutes.

These trends are reminiscent of the idea of “the second shift,” the name of a 1989 book by the sociologist Arlie Hochschild, arguing that modern women effectively had to hold down two jobs. The first shift was at the office, and the second at home.

But researchers who have looked at time-use data say the second-shift theory misses an important detail. Women are not actually working more than they were 30 or 40 years ago. They are instead doing different kinds of work. They’re spending more time on paid work and less on cleaning and cooking.

What has changed — and what seems to be the most likely explanation for the happiness trends — is that women now have a much longer to-do list than they once did (including helping their aging parents). They can’t possibly get it all done, and many end up feeling as if they are somehow falling short.

Mr. Krueger’s data, for instance, shows that the average time devoted to dusting has fallen significantly in recent decades. There haven’t been any dust-related technological breakthroughs, so houses are probably just dirtier than they used to be. I imagine that the new American dustiness affects women’s happiness more than men’s.

For women, it seems to be damned if you don’t have the choices and damned if you do.  Either way, the to-do list is too long, and the rewards for effort are too small.

More on military solutions that work

Yesterday I blogged about the fact that, in Israel, the military solution is working against the Intifadah. Today, Roy Robison points out that the same is true in the war against Al Qaeda. (He also notes that there is no truth to the anti-War charge that the Bush Administration is so busy in Iraq that its ignored Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.) After describing the trap that is closing on Al Qaeda in the Tora Bora area, and the successful military tactics used to set and trigger this trap, Robison articulates the same conclusion the Israelis have discovered — against terrorists, who use the tools of war against us, it works to respond with bigger and better tools of war:

Despite liberals’ claims that al Qaeda terror cells are a bogey-man of the Bush Administration used to scare people to vote Republican, we can now see a direct case in which a terror cell was activated for a specific purpose: to save their jihadist buddies dying at Tora Bora.

The claim that fighting a terrorist is “giving them what they want” is one of the greatest fallacies of our time. When they attack us, it is for a specific purpose. When we do the exact opposite of what they want, they lose. They want us to disengage in the places they want to control, and then go home. Fighting them militarily, politically, economically, and diplomatically is the only way to defeat them. Giving in to them only makes them stronger.

On the playground, his conclusion would get a “Duh,” response because it’s obviously the way to treat aggressors.  In the real world of post-Colonial, post-Communist, multi-culti geopolitics, it’s no so obvious, and it’s great how clearly Robison has laid it out.

You always discover the “thinkos” later….

I wrote a lengthy article about a week ago, and submitted it to the American Thinker. It got published today. In it, I opine at length about the disconnect between the new name liberals have given themselves — “Progressives” — and the actual regressive nature of so many of their views. It’s an okay article, so I won’t be shy about having you read it. The problem for me is that, when there’s that long lag time between writing and publication, when I finally get around to reading the article, I see all sorts of little writing errors, such as using the word “quickly” twice in two sentences. These aren’t “typos,” because they’re not mistakes my fingers made; they’re “thinkos,” because they’re careless writing mistakes my brain made. Sorry.

UPDATE:  Thomas Lifson, who edits American Thinker, and is a gentleman in the best, old-fashioned sense of the word, sent me an email apologizing for his editing mistakes.  Let me state here and now that the mistakes I wrote about above were all mine.  As I noted, there were no obvious typos, which are, in fact, the kind of mistakes it’s helpful to have an editor catch.  Instead, the mistakes were thinking, stylistic mistakes, and rested purely on my shoulders.  The nature of American Thinker is not such that the editor should, or should be expected to, rewrite the lengthy posts that have to go up with such a rapid turnaround time.  Any awkward prose is my responsibility, not his, which is why I apologized here and why he shouldn’t have to.