Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

Volume 0.0 The “Pre-View” Issue February 4, 2002

This View’s Featured Webpages

Recent columns, essays, and news articles

Bush Budget Links Dollars to Deeds With New Ratings (NYT)
“The $2.13 trillion budget plan that President Bush will send to Congress on Monday for the first time formally assesses the performance of government agencies and programs and to some degree links their financing to the grades they receive, administration officials say.”

A Merciful War (Nicholas Kristof)
“Our experience there demonstrates that troops can advance humanitarian goals just as much as doctors or aid workers can. By my calculations, our invasion of Afghanistan may end up saving one million lives over the next decade.”

Terrorists Noted Flaws in Security, Report Says (LAT)
“The intelligence report, reviewed by The Times, revealed that U.S. personnel in Afghanistan have discovered an Al Qaeda-linked computer hard drive containing a congressional study that exposed startling shortcomings in security at U.S. government facilities.”

Accountants Won’t Fight Consulting Ban (WP)
“The auditors are supposed to be independent watchdogs and do their best to make sure investors can trust corporate financial statements.”

Harboring sinners — and criminals. (John O’Sullivan)
“What has shocked Catholic Boston still more has been the apparent willingness of church officials, including two cardinals and five bishops, to allow priests whom they knew to have abused children to return to their parishes, or to be assigned to new ones, after the most cursory period of psychological ‘treatment’ and without informing either the police or, on one occasion at least, the parish priest who would be supervising their pastoral work.”

The problems with young love (Betsy Hart)
“It’s clear to us there is no good thing that can come from young adolescents pairing off in an exclusive romantic relationship. Even if sex is not an issue, there is still nothing positive that can ultimately come from two teenagers wrapping their innocent hearts around each other. Not because such attachments are a bad thing, but precisely because they are a good thing.”

Unassuming bush may be world’s oldest living thing (SB)
“Radiocarbon tests now under way may reveal the unassuming creosote bush sprouted 11,000 or more years ago, the scientist said, meaning it could rival in age another creosote bush growing 50 miles away in the Mojave Desert.”

Arrests on Border Fall After 9/11 (LAT)
“Authorities in Washington and along the nearly 2,000-mile-long border say that, while the sputtering U.S. economy and increasing optimism in Mexico have contributed to the surprising decrease, the growing specter that the United States is no longer a haven likely is playing a significant role.”

Black History Month: Why? (Jonah Goldberg)
“Anyone who’s looked through a college syllabus or high-school textbook in the last decade cannot honestly say that black history doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.”

Of more permanent interest

The Trouble With Self-Esteem (Lauren Slater)
“‘There is absolutely no evidence that low self-esteem is particularly harmful,’ Emler says. ‘It’s not at all a cause of poor academic performance; people with low self-esteem seem to do just as well in life as people with high self-esteem. In fact, they may do better, because they often try harder.’”

Why We Don’t Marry (James Q. Wilson)
“Marriage was once a sacrament, then it became a contract, and now it is an arrangement. Once religion provided the sacrament, then the law enforced the contract, and now personal preferences define the arrangement.”

Managing Us: We’re So Easy (Fred Reed)
“First, people will watch any television rather than no television. Second, sooner or later they will begin to imitate what they see on the screen. Third, while you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, you can fool enough of them enough of the time, especially if you are a lot smarter than they are, and do it patiently, calculatedly, over time, like water eroding stone. And that is all it takes.”

Wrong Turn (Roger Kimball)
“The most delicious news to emerge from the art world this year [2001] came in October, courtesy of the BBC. Under the gratifying headline ‘Cleaner Dumps Hirst Installation,’ the world read that ‘A cleaner at a London gallery cleared away an installation by artist Damien Hirst having mistaken it for rubbish. Emmanuel Asare came across a pile of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays and cleared them away at the Eyestorm Gallery on Wednesday morning.’ I hope that Mr. Asare was immediately given a large raise. Someone who can make mistakes like that is an immensely useful chap to have about.”

Losing our religion (Theo Hobson)
“It has become unthinkable for a Church leader, or any public figure who is a Christian, to speak as if the gospel of Jesus Christ is superior to other creeds; to talk about Christianity as an exceptionally, uniquely good thing. In public, at least, such talk is taboo. Some of the bishops might still say this sort of thing in their pulpits; maybe the Blairs tell their children. But it is not for public hearing.”

This View’s Column

“Take Our Prisoners!”

For a few weeks, we were treated to tidbits of outrage from European dilettantes who are upset by our treatment of the al-Qaeda “detainees” in Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay.

“Torture!” “Sensory deprivation!” “Barbaric treatment!”

That’s what they had been saying. I didn’t see any cry of “Cannibalism!” But maybe I missed it.

These outcries seem to have been sparked by the release, by the Pentagon, of photos of the “detainees” soon after arrival, before they could be separated, sorted, and placed individually into their holding cells. Indeed, one photo shows the “detainees” kneeling on the ground, shackled, with hoods and blacked-out goggles. Recklessly dangerous individuals should have been transported thus, for safety’s sake: why would that need to be explained or defended? What should have been explained was that, indeed, the “detainees” had been transported that way, and were soon relieved of excessive restraints. Such an explanation may have forestalled the criticism that ensued.

But our European critics wasted no time in taking one scene and drawing the worst conclusion they could muster. (Excluding cannibalism. As far as I know.) I cannot, in this instance, think of any excuse for concluding the worst from the least evidence possible — though I think the reason is that they haven’t felt able to bash America since 9/11 and, poor babies, they couldn’t hold out any longer.

My first thought was, Keep it up and our military leaders might just decide to adopt a Take No Prisoners policy. Officially or otherwise. Why not? If we get grief from our European “friends” for our treatment of the worst of the worst of captured battlefield combatants, why not decide to Take No Prisoners?

Anyway, it’s too late to apply such a policy to the “detainees” at Gitmo. They number 158, the last count I heard. (I call them “detainees” because that seems to be the euphemism of choice right now.) We could, however, apply another policy to them: I would call it Take Our Prisoners.

I did not notice any cries across the pond of “Send them to us! We’ll treat them better!” Surely, lack of an offer to host the “detainees” must have been an oversight.

The outraged Europeans must number at least 158, even if we only counted talking heads on the telly, editors and reporters at the daily rags, and government employees. We need not even begin to count the scions of immensely wealthy families who hate the rich (especially Americans) and love the poor (especially from a considerable distance).

We could assign one “detainee” to each outraged European, and send him off to occupy a spare room. We could even be generous and provide an annual stipend adequate for upkeep of each “detainee”.

And, to get the “detainee” to his new home, we could subsidize commercial airline fare for each outraged European (round trip) and for his assigned “detainee” — sans shackles, hood, and goggles, of course.

Yes, we could be the shouters: “Take our prisoners!” Think we’d get any takers?

© ELC 2002

Pot Shots

Shot One. Speculation (accusation, rather) still abounds that President Bill Clinton ordered bombing overseas to distract the U.S. media from Monica Lewinsky’s grand-jury appearance.

Apparently, some folks are eager to pin similar motivations onto the Bush White House. Look what the New York Time’s Bill Carter snuck into a recent article, TV’s Interest in Arraignment of Taliban Fighter: “Though no network news executive openly suggested that the Bush administration had timed the [John Walker] Lindh hearing [Jan. 25] to coincide with the start of the Enron hearings, several executives said they would not be surprised if Bush officials had planned it that way.”

I guess Carter and those executives failed to note that, though the president can indeed schedule a bombing by U.S. military, a hearing is scheduled by the judge and his court.

Shot Two. What did he say?

On Wolf Blitzer Reports, Jan. 21, the CNN correspondent remarked on the international uproar over the alleged mistreatment of the Gitmo “detainees”. Some media reported his words as “an international human cry”; others as, “an international U.N. cry ”. What Blitzer had actually said was, “an international hue and cry”.

Say what? The once-commonplace “hue and cry” goes unrecognized, to be replaced by phrases that don’t make much (if any) sense.

What other kind of cry could Blitzer have been talking about? An animal cry? A mechanical cry? And how could a “U.N.” cry be anything but international?

Psychologically astute, and literate, William Congreve (1670-1729) knew better than to call his famous poem “A Human Cry after Fair Amoret”. See This View’s Poetry.

© ELC 2002

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This View from the Core © E. L. Core 2002

Cor ad cor loquitur — J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”