Friday, March 04, 2005

3-4-05 Lunchtime Reading

Yes, it's what you start your mid-morning with -- The Monk's list of Lunchtime Reading (even though I only make about two of these posts per week). So here are some good bets for interesting reading:

First and foremost from today's papers, Gerald Baker in The Times of London on "What Have the Americans ever done for us?" Here's a nice excerpt:
One of my favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the People’s Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” he asks.

“Well, there’s the aqueduct,” somebody says, thoughtfully. “The sanitation,” says another. “Public order,” offers a third . . . then steadily, and with increasing enthusiasm, his men reel off a litany of the good things the Romans have wrought with their occupation of the Holy Land.

By the time they’re finished they’re not so sure about the whole insurgency idea after all and an exasperated Reg tries to rally them: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

I can’t help but think of that scene as I watch the contortions of the anti-American hordes in Britain, Europe and even in the US itself in response to the remarkable events that are unfolding in the real Middle East today.

Next, The Australian's Greg Sheridan examines the clash of civilizations that threatens Kemal Ataturk's great achievement of erecting a Westernesque democracy in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer warns against American complacency whilst the democratic revolutionary movement runs forward in the Middle East: we need to keep the fires burning.

Next, two don't misses from National Review: (1) Victor Hanson on how Europe is just like a grumpy teenager (something for the Wongdoer to look forward to in August 2014: the Europeanization of his daughter); and (2) Michael Ledeen's eulogy of Peter Malchin, whom I noted here.

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