Venereal Disease Hansen

This week’s perusal of the trashbin of Right Wing thought leads us to one of the more troubling figures of American media: one Victor Davis Hansen. Hansen is currently behind interviewed on my favourite wonkish programme, TVO’s The Agenda.

Now, Hansen can sound reasonable at times, such as in this article about Obama’s liberalism. But the reason Hansen pisses me off so much is that he hides behind his academic creds too much. See, Hansen is a genuine scholar of medieval warfare. In that field, he is rightly untouchable, a dynamo of research. But he has used that status to, in my opinion, disingenuously offer intellectual heft to arguments of pro-imperialism and neoconservative aggression, without drawing a clear analytical link to his areas of expertise. Sort of like me claiming my bloggings about politics should be taken more seriously because I have a PhD in epidemiology; see the disconnect?

Hansen has argued, for example, that the “real problem” with Abu Ghraib wasn’t the “American mistreatment” — which he said was the work of a “single rogue jailer” — but the “serial release” of Iraqis, whom he calls “Islamic murderers.” He wrote this last summer, years after everyone else had accepted that the actions at Abu Ghraib were part of systematic US policy, and not the acts of a disobedient few. Seems his politics trump his research.

Hansen’s military analysis expertise is baffling, especially since he constantly predicts that the US actions in Iraq will be won within 6 months. He did it here and here and here and in other places. Victor, we’re 7 years into the war!

The strangest thing about Hansen, though, is the way he comes across on TV. The dispassion and detachment is both eerie and sickening, especially when his topic of choice always seems to devolve into advocacy for bombing Muslim civilians.

Today, he argued that the assumption of the asymmetry of terrorism is incorrect; it’s not a matter of a heavily armed US soldiers battling tribesmen in cloth and knives. Rather, he said. “terrorists” (not insurgents or resistance) are geared with bullet proof jackets, modern training, gas masks and modern rifles, taking down half million dollar robots. I thought the latter was sort of a weird thing to say.

Meanwhile, that trove of intellectual wonder that we call the Western Standard Blog surprisingly had a good entry today, this one on the travesty of Canada deporting Iranian children into US prisons. That’s right, pre-pubescent children are being held in US prisons, even though they have committed no crimes. Indeed, many of these children were born in Canada, and are therefore Canadian citizens; it’s their parents who are being deported.

So I give credit to the fellow who posted on the Western Standard for finally getting a story right. But no, it does not end there. The regular Standard readers just had to comment on this sad tale. Here’s a taste:

“Break out the violin. The problem is Iran not Texas or Canada. If monkeys weren’t in charge of Iran those people would have been able to stay home and have a life without laying guilt trips on us.” –John West


“Not my problem. Iranians are savages.” –Philanthropist

Yep. That, my friend, is the nature of humanity and reasonableness amongst the so-called conservatives of Canada.

On another topic, Sneh sends us this remarkable video:

More info on the matter is here.

In Other News…

Got some more articles:

-a review of the new TV show Moonlight.
-a review of the new Doctor Who spinoff, The Sarah Jane Adventures