Thursday, May 26, 2005

Are NASCAR Drivers Pansies Now?

Recently I reads a comment from Greg Biffle about the World 600, where he said that NASCAR needs one endurance-type race to test the drivers' stamina and the stamina of the cars, but that other events are too long - he singled out Pocono, saying it would be a better television package if the race was shorter.

This is just the latest example of the decreasing toughness of NASCAR drivers. Whenever drivers mention the SAFER barrier they gush over it and the supposed improvement in safety it brings - never mind that Indianapolis saw Buddy Rice knocked out of the race after crashing into the SAFER, never mind a very serious injury a couple of years ago to Craig Dollansky in an Indy Pro Series race after he hit the SAFER.

Drivers used to never be concerned whether they hit "unprotected" concrete; now they act as if they're going to die even if they so much as brush a concrete wall. It isn't that the SAFER isn't useful, it's the attitude drivers now have that is of concern to me.

It shows most graphically whenever drivers gripe about restrictor plate racing. They always cite "the big one," but that's not what worries them about this kind of racing, because they know it's never the "big" ones that cause injury, but the small wrecks at "safer" tracks that hurt more. What really worries drivers is that in plate racing they have to actually race each other without letup for the entirety of the race. This is by far the most stressful kind of racing there is, and is by far the most competitive.

Whenever drivers criticize something as "too long" or "too competitive," they're giving away a lack of toughness on their part that is reprehensible. They are in much better shape as race drivers when they have to run these 500-mile marathons and they are made to be much better racers when they have to actually fight for the win for 500 miles. 500 miles of nonstop combat for the win is by far the best test of machinery and driving in motorsports.

Pocono says no to shorter races, and they are to be commended for that. Drivers need to get back the toughness they need for this sport.

Why Is Anyone Upset Over Winning A War?

Democrats, Amnesty International, Hollywood types (usually all one and the same), all have vented a lot of spleen because the US is fighting in Iraq, and steadily winning, as shown by recent offensives in Iraq's western desert regions toward Syria made possible by the insertion of "indigs" into towns to keep terrorists out and thus free up American forces for bigger game.

Yet liberals in general have been upset over the war. Of course all of what are now liberal cliches about the war get regurgitated - the US didn't find WMDs in Iraq (the use of the term Weapons of Mass Destruction is a curious holdover term from Soviet Russia), Bush lied about the Iraq threat, etc. It's all tiresome and as is usual with liberals, inaccurate, as any close reading of what the US actually found in Iraq with regard to unconventional weapons indicates - namely that Iraq was streamlining its programs precisely to make people believe it didn't have unconventional weapons. In other words, classic military deception, feigning weakness to hide strength.

Liberals also scream about how the threat of international terrorism has supposedly increased with the war, which is a baffling argument given how suddenly international terrorist groups are seeing their leadership arrested, funding cut, and so forth around the world, two of their largest sanctuaries and armers (Iraq and Afghanistan) are now in Allied hands, and attacks against the West simply haven't happened to the same degree as in the 1990s, when the US demonstrated the refusal to fight back depressingly common to the 20th century.

A big part of the reason (perhaps the primary reason) for liberal angst about the war lies in a quote of an anonymous Bush Administration official in Stephen Hayes' book on Iraq and Al Qaida (this isn't an exact quote on my part, I'm citing this by memory) - "If Iraq was backing Al Qaida.......then the whole counterterrorism policy of the 1990s was a failure." Indeed, what the war has shown is that the whole approach to fighting Islamo-Arab aggression in the 1990s was a failure, and the "failure" to find unconventional weapons points to a larger insecurity with the left - if Iraq was successfully hiding unconventional weapon programs, making it look like they had none, then not only was the whole UN inspection regime a failure, but that regime was NEVER going to succeed no matter what.

Thus is the cherished conceit that an international predator can be "managed" into benevolent behavior taking a severe beating in Iraq. It exposes the left as being fools about such matters and betrays the backward quality of those cherished bumper stickers - War Is Not The Answer? It Is Against Saddam.