17 June 2004

My God, I'm Still in Baghdad…

No, that is not The Doors you hear in the background…

Rather an interesting day around the blogosphere (and blawgosphere) today. In no particular order:

  • Terry Jones of Python fame tells us more than we really want to know about parenting teenage boys. And, of course, just how far parents may go in extracting their whereabouts after choir practice from them. I will not spend much time pointing out that the Republican party generally views a "paternal government" as a bad thing. Not much.
  • Professor Leiter comments on the possibility of the reappearance of the draft. Before everyone gets too enthusiastic about using a draft to force military pay even lower than it already is—right out of college, I made less than many private-school teachers in return for the privilege of being shot at—I suggest looking up the term "frag" in a good history of Vietnam, and pondering whether we might have to increase the number of members of the military in order to have enough of them to maintain their increasingly sophisticated weapons and equipment.

    I spent too much time as a commanding officer to believe that a draft is the answer. National service, in the sense of doing things for the national good, is another question; a much harder one, but not really the same one.

  • Professor Leither also muses on the intellectual dishonesty of the Inscrutable Design movement—and more particularly on the law-professor members thereof. Actually, I wouldn't even give Johnson recognition as a "scholarly mediocrity": of those writings of his that I've had a chance to read, none of them rise to the level of mediocrity.
  • Last for now, but far from least, Professor Balkin has provided two exceptionally well-done refutations of some of the conventional wisdom. First, he notes that those naughty activists in the judiciary Senate violated the [Yoo/Walker memo's view of] the Constitution when they attached an antitorture rider to the defense authorization bill currently in Congress. Second, he notes that there may well be personal consequences to the memo writers:

    In the Bush Administration, ambition and syncophancy have trimphed over professionalism, sound judgement and moral seriousness. The corruptions of power have brought us to a sorry spectacle in which intelligent lawyers, many with impeccable credentials, have argued vigorously for an Imperial Presidency that is above the law and for the right to abuse and torture fellow human beings. This failure of moral imagination and professional scruple makes the participants unfit for judicial office, and no one should hesitate in saying so. Put another way, if the torture memos have made these very bright and talented lawyers radioactive, it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys.

    "Radioactive Judicial Candidates" (17 Jun 04). This is actually stiffer than real professional regulation: They might pay a significant (aspirational) price for gleefully subverting their duty to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. <ProfoundInsincerity> Schade. </ProfoundInsincerity>