June 8, 2017

Trump is Undiplomatic, Ignorant, [and Viscerally Hates Immigrants] But "There's a Lot He Gets Right"

Briton, historian, and columnist for UK Daily Telegraph Timothy Stanley writes, as reprinted by CNN, on Europe and terrorism: There's a lot Trump gets right.

The free world was led for eight years by the sublimely intelligent Barack Obama, who left office with things in pretty much the same disorder. The promise that Trump holds out is to be honest about the situation and take the steps necessary to change it. Where he oversteps the line, the law will hopefully restrain him -- as the travel ban illustrates.

But he is right about the need for a Western-Israeli-Saudi alliance against terrorism. He is right about the basic need to restore control to migration. He is right to project an image of the West that is tough and unashamedly Western. The West should cease apologizing for what it is.

The British Conservative government stands by the President in part because it needs him: Britain voted to leave the EU, and now Trump is Britain's closest diplomatic partner.

The situation recalls Voltaire, asked on his death bed if he'd renounce the devil; he replied: It's a bit late in life to start making enemies.

So, the state visit will go ahead, and there will be protests. But if Trump could only get off Twitter for five minutes and focus on the essentials of the Western alliance, he'd discover that Europe is edging closer to his way of thinking on the most important issue of our time. There is, increasingly, more agreement between us than disagreement.

UPDATE: I have revised my title because, as my blog brother points out, POTUS Trump does have one more important failing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:03 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

I continue to be at a loss over the reaction to Trump's TEMPORARY "travel ban." It's for ninety. freaking. days. During which, recommendations are to be made for new procedures to use when travel. resumes.

End of Civilization! Fascist police state!


Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I dunno, maybe I'm just so used to presidents who get, at best, half of what they do right or, at worst, almost nothing. A guy getting everything right except one, despite being a troglodyte, kinda makes me want to say, "Hell yeah!" I scarcely thought I'd live to see the day. And I'm an optimist.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 11:18 AM
But jk thinks:

You're right and I hope you hear my begrudging acceptance. If you built a time capsule and visited 2016 me with the news that Sen. Rand Paul had been elected and had accomplished the list I just enumerated, then I'd've been a happy boy. "Just kidding," sez you, "that was President Trump!" I'd need a Valium.

But nossir, I am not restricting the entire dangerous side of Trumpism to "a temporary travel ban." He's pulled us out of TPP and directed his folks to look at Nafta, Two GOP legislators have drafted a very restrictive restriction on Visas. Fed funding for "Sanctuary Cities" is threatened and ICE enforcement is way up.

The net effect will be far fewer visas, refugees, trade deals, and a large reduction in immigrant labor. Carrier and Ford have been carrotted-and-sticked to rework production plans. These results are not only not commensurate with liberty, but they are deleterious to prosperity.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2017 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I do hear your begrudging acceptance. And it deserves explicit approbation, which I have not yet given. But how to give it? The main theme of this post and the linked article is, "Hey, that completely useless buffoon has done so many things right that maybe, just maybe, it is through knowledge and foresight and not mere accident." I guess I can only say, I congratulate you for setting aside enough personal vitriol that you are able to recognize said fact. (Which is no small feat given that so many hyperventilating partisans of the left are still not convinced that Hillary Clinton is not the rightful POTUS.)

To your points:

TPP and NAFTA are not unmitigated goods for American prosperity. For the most part since the end of The War (WWII) America has negotiated treaties with the other nations of the world from a position of benevolence. Sort of a built-in Marshall Plan Clause that all such treaties came to always be expected to contain. Hey, you know what? Europe has been rebuilt. Canada and Mexico are fully functioning economic powers in their own right. They may not be as big and as prosperous as America, but they can become more like America if they follow the right policies. Obtaining favorable trade treatment from The Great Satan is no prerequisite. If it were, how did America become the biggest and most prosperous without its own favorable treatment from some other benefactor?

Sanctuary cities are immoral outlaw regimes and should be opposed at every turn. Withholding federal jack is the very least that should be done. ICE enforcement is also long overdue. Most if not all of the consequent hardships are only so sad because of the incredible laxity of enforcement for decades prior. The law exists and should be enforced until it is changed. There is a process for changing laws. I think it's even written down somewhere, for handy reference.

I'm pro-individual, which means I'm also pro-immigration. I'm also pro-safety and anti-redistribution, which means all the laws have to apply to all the people equally. Being outside of "the system" is one more way of rigging it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 1:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I have been insulted before, but I never thought I'd be compared to a CNN reporter. The nerve.

I do not say "that useless buffoon has done some good things," rather "that man of questionable grounding in the principles of liberty has produced outcomes favorable to liberty." And I think I have heard similar tones from you.

It's a vexing conundrum.

I typed the letters T P P and thought that we'd end up discussing individual issues which may not be productive. Yes, TPP has many flaws and is hated by many libertarians and free-market types. However, I do not think those reasons overlap with the President's objections.

One side line worthy -- some sunny day -- of further discussion is Sanctuary Cities. That smells of local control and federalism to this nose. You might not like the outcome, like states vowing to continue Paris Accord goals, but the decentralization is refreshing, nicht wahr?Sheriffs refusing unconstitutional gun laws?

Side chatter. But do know I do not consider the President "a buffoon" though his style is not one I'd program into a Sim Candidate. He has exceeded expectations in some important areas. But his ungroundedness rightfully inspires some skepticism, and just because his opponents are deracinated lunatics, I reserve the right keep my distance and judge each policy and action on its own merit.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2017 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for answering my comment - I was concerned I had laid it on so thick as to harm a friendship (even though I know you can take anything I dish out.)

The "useless buffoon" construct was aimed specifically at the author of the linked post. Others swept up with the broad brush were linked only by their disapproval of POTUS Trump.

I never suggested that the man is a consistent, philosophical American hero, merely that he is the right man for the job America needs done at this moment - to call into question every aspect of our nations governing methodology, from top to bottom. The administrative, or "deep" state is so entrenched that some china must be broken before things can be put on a proper rights-respecting course, for Americans and for the rest of the world. I truly believe this.

And for all his failings I think even the most skeptical observer has to admit, he's purdy good at breaking china.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2017 12:32 PM

January 31, 2017

"Anti-Muslim" Policy Supported by Muslims

An opinion piece by Shireen Qudosi says that pro-reform Muslims support the new executive order on immigration from seven "red-flag states" and hope that he goes farther:

The big picture is that refugee plight is a vehicle for radical Islamic terrorists who easily infiltrate the stream of hard-to-vet victims of war.

Immigration, until President Trump's executive order, was arguably the largest security blind spot for America to date.

President Trump’s security-driven agenda in the first week is a move welcomed by Muslims both domestically and abroad, many of whom have the same security concerns against growing Islamic extremism as Americans.

The whole piece is worth a read, particularly to see what additional steps are recommended by moderate Muslims to defeat Islamic Jihad.

UPDATED to include the link.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:56 PM | Comments (7)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Now, that I'm done HARRUMPing on JK's latest reboot on liberty, let me say this:
[Trump's temporary ban] was also IMO about a 'reset' on an incontrovertibly broken immigration system. The non-temporary ban on Syrians is completely in line with his campaign promise/idea of creating a safe zone over there, instead of uprooting and shipping them across the ocean to a foreign culture. It's an idea with a great deal of merit.

Do I get a prize if we net an ISIS operative in the crop of 109 inconvenienced travelers?

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 31, 2017 11:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

From the comments page at PL:

"This ban is your ban, this ban is my ban
From Somalia, to the Sudan
From the Yemen desert, to the Persian Gulf waters
This ban protects you and me."

David French has the practical view:

Obama’s expansion was a departure from recent norms, not Trump’s contraction.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2017 1:11 AM
But johngalt thinks:

One thousand pardons, sahib, for omitting the link. I have added it in an update.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 10:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And thanks for chiming in, nb. I was starting to look around for my trusty white steed. At home, dagny is calling me "horrible" for my rationalizing. I do think she's happier with Gorsuch than Garland, however, though she hasn't actually said as much.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

I don't think the full text of the linked article constitutes a robust defense of last weekend's dumpster fire.

Yes, Muslims plural, as in more than one, agree with extreme vetting. But I read much concern about perceived overreach and the possibility of counter-productive antagonism of two billion people.

Pace Harsanyi (Wow, memories run short around these parts), I think there are good items and bad items from this administration -- and they are coming at 100 miles an hour.

I'm happy saying that Judge Gorsuch is a great pick, as is Betsy DeVos, Andy Puzder, Riok Perry, and Tom Price. Love "the Stossel Rule" on regulation. The country is better off for the next four years with the mercurial Trump heading the Executive Branch than the dour, collectivist Clinton.

But, not everything is great. There is a huge potential to damage the Conservative and Republican brands. I still fret for the future of the GOP. The bad things will be bad and I am equally disturbed at those who will not admit any flaws as I am with those who cannot see successes.

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2017 12:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think our points of view may be passing in the night, without recognizing one another. You ask that supporters admit flaws, and I hear you making common cause with another friend of mine who, in the wake of "last weekend's dumpster fire" said, "Trump needs to resign" as his first thought on the subject. Maybe it is your characterization of bureaucratic bungling and unwittingly rolling up green-card holders with other immigrant visas as a "dumpster fire" that has me convinced that you personally expect perfection from Trump 1.0 at every turn. Unfair?

Yes, I "admit flaws."

"Flaws" does not equal "dumpster fire."

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 3:18 PM

January 30, 2017

Weekly Media Apocalypse

Investor's Editorial Page sounds like yours truly, commenting on the post below:

This isn't to say that the implementation of Trump's order was without fault, or that he should have been better prepared for what he had to know would be an intense reaction. As National Review's Andrew McCarthy explained, Trump "would've been wise to give government agencies and foreigners time to prepare." Trump also had to modify his order to exempt green card holders.

But let's be clear - implementation hassles are just that, hassles that will be dealt with in due time. And in any case the number of people unfairly hassled was apparently small. These problems have nothing to do with the substance of Trump's order or its merits, about which there is certainly room for reasoned debate.

Indeed, much of the "chaos and confusion" that Schumer complained about was the result not of Trump's order, but the false, misleading and inflammatory claims spread by Democrats, protesters who instantly swarmed into various airports, and the mainstream press that vigorously fanned the flames.

This has, unfortunately, been the pattern since Trump took the oath of office. All the actions Trump has taken so far are ones he promised months ago to tackle immediately, yet they are all treated as shocking developments.

It is hard to see how Trumps' critics are helping their cause when they react to everything Trump does as if it were a world-ending catastrophe.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:52 PM | Comments (7)
But nanobrewer thinks:

This was nothing... a temporary stay on 0.03% of overseas travelers, those from areas clearly proven to have problems with terrorism and major problems with documentation traceability.

So ASI has drunk the cool-aid, too? Good grief:

malevolence of President Trump's Executive Order
This is the most ridiculous thing I've read since Trump declared his candidacy.

Malevolent = "showing a wish to do evil"
Evil is done by keeping my kids safe?!? Evil is done by a TEMPORARY stay on 0.03% of overseas travelers? Evil is done by staging a wake up call: "HELLO!! What's your problem with terrorism?! Ah, you don't have any system of documentation? Well, this isn't Tampico, you need documents, stinking or not."

Trample the rule of law? Ok, Yusupoff has firmly established himself as a constitutional illiterate... I think I shall not visit ASI for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 30, 2017 11:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Toldja not to click.

But now that we are here, I agree it was malevolent. I would accept a lawyerly walk back to criminally negligent, but I think you are underestimating the severity of this and the fundamental disconnect with liberty.

The small percentage does nit include people who were told not to board planes in their native country or told by their employer not to leave the country. But it's far more than numbers. This is an unusual constraint on our freedom to travel.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2017 10:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I followed your advice, and didn't click. Yet somehow I know that his own commenters are running 3-2 against his point of view.

The chief "offense" of the order seems to be the inclusion of immigrant along with non-immigrant visas. Apparently this is how it affects green-card holders. It wasn't even 24 hours before the Administration was insisting that green card holders should not be affected.

Mister Smith has gone to Washington and been elected POTUS. He's filled his administration with businessmen more than bureaucrats. Again, can we judge the act in its revised form instead of the initial, untested version that was implemented without warning for a valid reason? Pull-EEEEZE. I mean seriously.... "high crime?" "misdemeanor?" One might well think so, viewing only the reactions.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2017 12:31 PM
But jk thinks:

It was over the top. Good for you for staying away.

But there is a valid question underlying. I posted David Harsanyi's upbeat suggestion that Conservatives should take the good parts of a Trump Administration and decry the bad. I think that applies equally to libertarians and is generally good advice.

But at some level, you have to ask what you can and cannot accept.

From a tactical perspective, I look at the people he is chasing away. I've watched a few Republican-leaners "lost to the GOP forever" and a serious Republican completely distraught. Moderates? All gone. When the "good parts," the Charter Schools and labor rules some out, will there be any political capital to sustain them?

I'm not talking impeachment. But I'm not your worry.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2017 1:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "impeachment" barb was not directed toward you, brother, but to the blizzards of snowflakes that struck airports around the country over the weekend.

I think I explained Trump's strategy in a comment on the Hirsanyi post. The well-intentioned souls you describe are unfortunate victims of what I will dub, Trump's Media Deprogramming Blitzkrieg. (Maybe not a good choice of terms in a climate where he's being called the modern Hitler, but I'm in no mood for mealy-mouthing it either.)

Yes, it is unfortunate to "drive people away" but I dispute the contention that people who voted for him two months ago are "gone forever" over the green-card fiasco. And he is in the first ten of his first hundred days. Must he consider electoral concerns for 2020 already, before actually saving America from the globalist one-world government dystopia we had been rushing into, headlong, until January 20th, 2017?

There will be risks to Trump's aggressive strategy to defeat that Borg-like future, to be sure. But they pale in my view, in both severity and likelihood - compared to the seat of American government being moved to Brussels or Turtle Bay.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2017 3:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JK: "fundamental disconnect with liberty"
OK, I'll bite; first, show where the constitution specifies the right of an average Fatima or Muhammad to get a visa, or where POTUS does not have the authority to pose restrictions. Now, explain how a 90-day suspension on 0.03% of travelers disconnects from any commonly-held or consistent definition of "liberty." Please save time and remember to refute or modernize Mr. Adam's quote:

America is a friend of freedom everywhere, but only a custodian only of our own.

Also recall what is enshrined in the Constitution: " insure [ensure] Domestic Tranquility" or in other words; keep Americans safe.

While you're rebooting the concept of liberty to bootstrap onto an open borders concept consider this question: what is it about Islam that creates, in the words of political scientist Samuel Huntington, “bloody borders”?

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 31, 2017 11:47 PM

January 19, 2017

The Government Dime

Amanda Macias at Business Insider implies that eight-odd million dollars is too much to pay for two bomber sorties to North Africa to wipe out 80 ISIS murderers. She called the cost "colossal."

But it got me to thinking - what else can government get for eight to sixteen million dollars? Without much effort, I found something comparable. Obama vacation to Hawaii, Africa cost taxpayers nearly $16 million.

And besides, Ms. Macias, it is President Obama's last full day in office. Don't you think the media has beat him up enough over the past eight years? Can't you cut him a little slack? Or even give him credit for working hard the entire time he's on the clock? For shame.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2016

Trump is a WHAT?

A political revolution is an inspiring, yet disorienting, thing to live through. It is a powerful force that creates all sort of unpredictable events, like a former Republican POTUS planning to vote for a Democrat successor, rather than the nominee of his own party, or yours truly quoting Piers Morgan:

Hillary Clinton, as she normally does, tried to be all calm and collected.

This is not a war against Islam, she insisted. We can't blame all Muslims for what's happened, she declared.

She's right, it's not and we can't.

But what neither she nor Obama offers the American people is any kind of plan to combat such attacks.

They talk of how awful it all is, but studiously avoid advocating any real action for fear of upsetting or offending people.

The President doesn't even like using the phrase 'Islamic terrorism', which is utterly absurd given that's plainly what it is.

In the face of such apparently weak, insipid, mealy-mouthed and frankly meaningless rhetoric, it's hardly surprising that Trump emerges as a non-PC, no-nonsense voice of reason to many Americans.

His anger is THEIR anger.

It's real.

I've been down to places like Florida and Texas recently and heard with my own ears many people ranting about the abject failure of their government to tackle ISIS.

In Trump, they see someone at least prepared to say the unsayable, even if it ruffles a few feathers.

Just another reactionary loon, that Piers Morgan. As is anyone who would conclude, or even suggest, that Trump has become "a non-PC, no-nonsense voice of reason to many Americans."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:26 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

For readers whom "voice of reason" doesn't get the job done as a description of Donald Trump, what follows might be more to which you're accustomed (and, by now, comfortably assume to be true):

Donald Trump's a monster.

A vile, hideous, bigoted, nasty, ignorant, deluded, psychotic, ruthless, preposterous, demented buffoon on a collision course to steal the White House and destroy the planet.

Oh, and he's a sexist, racist, homophobic, misogynist pig too, and every other word ending in '–ist' you can think of for that matter.

Actually he's even worse than that; in fact, Trump's the new Hitler – a man who, you may recall, ordered the slaughter of six million Jews.

I know all this because I've been reading those exact descriptions about Trump for weeks in the US media, from a whole phalanx of intelligent, experienced journalists, broadcasters, politicians and pundits.

That from the same Piers Morgan piece. You're welcome.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2016 5:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Heh, that's the Clinton News Network chiming in with what they term "news" eh? don't buy it!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 22, 2016 11:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not just CNN, nb, but "a whole phalanx of intelligent, experience3d, journalists, broadcasters, politicians and pundits."

And they MUST be right - they're on the TEE VEE.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2016 4:09 PM

July 19, 2016

Larry Kudlow, Omnihawk

My impression of Mr. Kudlow has always been that he is a man of the eastern metropolises - a polite way of calling him erudite, elitist, and dismissive of "cowboy" wisdom. That's not the way his editorial reads to me today.

War Hawk-

So when Donald Trump made it clear that this, in fact, "is war," deserving of a declaration of war, he distinguished himself. No one else has done it. Not Congress. Not Obama. Certainly not Clinton.

Jobs Hawk, Prosperity Hawk and Pence Hawk-

In Indiana, which has been hard hit by manufacturing losses, job declines and shrinking wages, Governor Pence combined tax cuts with spending restraint to spur the Hoosier economy. In this important respect he would be an excellent spokesman within the industrial Rust Belt, which includes Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These states have all suffered similarly, but they're states where polling suggests Trump could carry the day in November. Pence helps get him there.

GOP Hawk-

Contributing to GOP unity, Pence is a churchgoing evangelical family man. He believes that "the sanctity of human life is the central axiom of Western civilization." In this respect he will be an important bridge to social conservatives. And he might just soften the opposition of the Never Trump movement.

And finally, if not "Trump Hawk," most definitely Trump-Pence Hawk-

So this was a week where we learned a Trump-Pence ticket will seek to declare and wage war to destroy ISIS. We learned that the GOP ticket is pro-growth, ready for tax cuts and deregulation. And we learned that the ticket will be allied with traditional and social conservatives. With these credentials, Trump-Pence is in position to carry states in November that no Republican has won in decades.

It was also a week where Clinton's polls were like stocks looking for a bottom. Trump-Pence is a winner for the GOP.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:33 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Kudlow has his moments, this is one. Must say, that I've followed a few of his stock picks over time. Luckily, I didn't blow any cash on any of his recommendations. I'm sure some have been good, I've only spot-checked him, but color me unimpressed. Another gaudy and cheesy NY'er...

Now, if he can "unbundle" the overwrought, preening and pedantic commentariat over what can help a company, and the economy as a whole, as DJT's economic spokesperson, then we will have taken a small step forward.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 21, 2016 10:32 AM
But jk thinks:

Kudlow stock picks? He is a buy-and-hold, ETF/index, reinvest your dividends investor, I marveled that CNBC kept him on -- his old Democrat partner, Jim Kramer, was the and the stock picker.

He's an East-coastie. The closest he has been to a firearm is watching "Gunsmoke" on television. But he worked for Reagan in the OMB and has been a tireless advocate for supply-side economics. A lot of his personal friends were in the towers on 9/11, and he has been an indefatigable hawk ever since.

I am still a fan, but I have been disappointed by a lot of people I think should know better. Kudlow is making a quixotic Senate Bid, and I suspect the only enthusiasm a Republican can find in The Nutmeg State is to throw a little red meat at the Trumpians. I don't know.

And, hey, I like Gov. Pence too. I thought that was a solid pick.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2016 3:36 PM

June 13, 2016

Women, Artists, Gays... Who Ya Gonna Call?

If I may attempt to return the focus, away from guns, gays and "Islam is not to blame" back to where it belongs, i.e. Trump v. Clinton, I will at least do it in the context of current events.

Milo Yiannopolous sez:

The Christian Right may not be totally down with homos, and Trump may say things that hurt our delicate feelings, but they aren't going to kill us or put us in camps. Only Islam would do that -- the same Islam that, bizarrely, now stands at the top of the left's hierarchy of victimhood.

And the leading spokesperson for that leftist hierarchy, seeking to grab the baton from a gasping President Obama, is Hillary:

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:58 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I owe you an answer on two thoughtful posts concerning the Presidential contest. I am not ducking you. Here's a short one and I will expand in the future.

There is much time but -- at this moment -- Sec. Clinton is strangely attractive because of her corruption. The corporate interests which "own" her will not allow much of the mischief I fear in a Trump Administration.

"But we will lose all our rights!" Yes. Rights are not going to be protected in the next four years either way. I wish to have the largest possible remnant of a nation and economy for the occupant in 2021 or 2025.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2016 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. That's a novel way of looking at the situation.

What about the Supreme Court? Are you as sanguine about letting either of them botch the nomination of the next 1-n Justices?

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2016 5:05 PM
But Jk thinks:

I do not trust Mr. Trump to make better picks than Sec. Clinton. I did get good reviews on his list, but he backed off it before the ink was dry. Making good picks -- and, more importantly, defending them -- requires conviction. Of which Trump has a paucity.

Posted by: Jk at June 15, 2016 9:03 PM

June 12, 2016

I Shouted Out "Who Killed the Kennedys?"

Obama: 'We' are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for massacre.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:16 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Let me be a little more specific: who killed ROBERT Kennedy? What was his religion and nationality, and what was his motivation?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 13, 2016 10:43 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Are you asking about specific Kennedys? Because if you're just wondering about Kennedys in general, I'd have to guess Mr. Jack Daniels probably had a hand in more than his fair share of their deaths.

Posted by: AndyN at June 13, 2016 8:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Not sure either of those is what Mick & Keef had in mind, but I do love ThreSources.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2016 1:57 PM

January 15, 2016

De Mortuis nil Nisi Bonum


I was a perfect squish on the news of David Bowie's death. I admitted that I own none of his music and could not name five of his songs. Yet I pushed back against the inevitable backlash. He was a true icon. And I do have fond memories of him onstage with Mick Jagger and Tina Turner at some of those kleptocrat-enriching benefit concerts.

In contrast, I was genuinely melancholy to read about Alan Rickman. I don't gush over actors, but so many of his great roles came to mind. (If you have not seen the sleeper hit "Blow Dry" rent it this weekend.) The lovely bride and I saw Ang Lee's 1995 "Sense & Sensibility" last night and were verklempt at his sad Colonel Brandon. What a fine actor.

Salon bears bad tidings:

British actor Alan Rickman died Thursday at age 69, after a battle with cancer. Although perhaps most known for playing the melancholy Professor Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies, Rickman had not only a legendary film and theater résumé, but also a firm commitment to progressive politics, and support for Palestinian rights in particular.

Rickman edited and directed a play in 2005 titled "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," based on the life of a 23-year-old American activist who was killed by an Israeli soldier.

I remember Rachel Corrie. She [while I am speaking ill of the dead] was one of the millions of automaton SJW's our Universities churn out every year. She flew to Israeli territory to stand in a tunnel that soldiers were destroying. The bulldozer won.

No doubt Rickman was a chattering-class BBC bloke. I should be neither surprised nor disappointed. But I am.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (7)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Davie Bowie wasn't so famous an actor as Alan Rickman, but he had his moment.

I've put "Blow Dry" on my to-watch list; consider doing the same with a much younger Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer, and David Bowie as a completely splendid villain, in "Into The Night." Not only is there a long list of interesting cameos most of us will remember, but JK will enjoy the soundtrack, perhaps as much as I do.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 15, 2016 5:17 PM
But jk thinks:

You've forced my hand. I have to admit some deeply embarrassing things to continue the conversation. I *ahem* have not really seen a lot of his villain movies. I think of him as a member of the British comedy clique and was rather convinced he was in Pirate Radio and Kink Boots which he was not. I guess he was bad in Dogma -- that counts.

I always say that the keys to Joss Whedon's artistry are his interesting villains. Knowing Rickman from another side, I can see him using those chops for the dark side.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2016 5:52 PM
But dagny thinks:

My favorites of Rickman are Hans Gruber, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and the Mr. Spock character in Galaxy Quest.

As for David Bowie, I must say the only movie I remember him in is Labyrinth. Bet my kids would like that one.

Posted by: dagny at January 15, 2016 6:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Goblin king?"

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2016 7:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll begin rehab tonight. Either Truly Madly Deeply or Into the Night.

Stick with me.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2016 7:19 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I liked Bowie's cameo in Basquiat as Andy Warhol! IMDB has him with over 400 movie-music credits, and 40 as an actor. I never owned a single or album of his and hated his big hits (China Girl, Let's Dance) nearly as much as he did.

I will really miss Alan Rickman; he was spot on as Severus Snape, terrific as Hans Gruber, the best part of that stupid Costner/R.Hood movie, and outstanding in Galaxy Quest. We can forgive him lionizing Ms. Corrie.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 15, 2016 10:42 PM

December 7, 2015

"a philosophy of national security reflecting the preference of most Americans?"

That's where Ted Cruz is apparently trying to position himself, between the extreme isolationism of candidate Rand Paul, and the extreme interventionism of candidate Marco Rubio.

A Cruz Doctrine would ask of military action:

"How does it keep America safe? If it's keeping America safe, we should do it. If it's making America more vulnerable, we shouldn't do it."

At a recent Iowa town hall, Cruz rejected the choice being between "retreat from the world and be isolationist and leave everyone alone, or we've got to be these crazy neocon-invade-every-country-on-Earth and send our kids to die in the Middle East."

He added: "Most people I know don't agree with either one of those. They think both of those are nuts."

This is comparable to a debate I had with jk in June of 2014. Our differences were nuanced, but generally along the same lines as Cruz v. Rubio.

At the time I said Obama was right not to invade Syria in pursuit of Islamic State. While jk did not disagree, he did stand in support of "some of the excesses of neo-conservatism." Cruz seems to sense that most Americans are no longer willing to endure those excesses.

Instead of nation building, how about a principled realpolitik under which America defeats terrorist regimes with massive force, then swiftly brings the boys home -- making it clear We Shall Return if terrorists are replaced with other terrorists. (...)

Cruz may be the only Republican to explore this apparently verboten notion of having the kind of foreign policy every other civilized country in the world has -- placing our own interests first.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2015

"How can we stop these shootings, togeeeether?"

Gypped from a very good RedState piece, 'This is Why Fox News Continues to Destroy CNN and MSNBC' here is CNN's Carol Costello emoting and John R. Lott Jr. reasoning:

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five ...

Back to RedState:

It's the day after what might be the first major Al-Qaeda attack on American soil since 9/11, and FoxNews is giving people news. MSNBC and CNN are giving people sermons on gun control. And that's why FoxNews is winning.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

But, John. John. John. Surely you are ready to throw away your lifetime of research and science and accept the conventional wisdom...

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2015 3:06 PM
But AndyN thinks:

But CNN and MSNBC both totally beat Faux News to the rummaging through an active, sealed crime scene scoop!

Posted by: AndyN at December 4, 2015 6:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. In the live version of "Dirty Laundry" Don Henley dedicates to "Rupert Murdoch."

Sweet irony.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 7:23 PM

December 3, 2015


Columnist Ruben Navarette says that America is "an unserious country in unserious times." Well, perhaps collectively.

Worst of all, Americans tend not to connect the dots. What our enemies envision as a coordinated global assault, many of us see as unrelated attacks. We witness a terrorist assault in France, and some Americans think it is limited to France.

Our worldview is all wrong. We look at the map and see separate countries. Islamic State militants look at the same map, and the only division they see is between believers and infidels. One group gets to live, the other must die.

Americans know the world is complicated. We don't expect our leaders to have all the answers. But we do want to know that they understand the threat, that they can destroy the enemy, and that they're up to the task of keeping us and our families safe.

But we have to do our part as well. And it starts with being serious about confronting this threat.

And it used to be that seriousness could always be found in the White House.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Short, bitter and powerful; who is this guy? I'd take his theory

Obama seems to be one of those peace-loving souls who are reluctant to give war a chance. I think he has never felt at ease with the United States using military power
to a wholly different level to say: Obama doesn't like America, full stop. He'd love to use the military, but only on the press and the GOP! Like too many faculty-lounge brats, he wouldn't know common sense if a 48-page booklet landed in his golf cart, nor a decent country if it elected him president.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 11:47 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

the comments section is running roughly 7:1 against BHO and his Prog's - if you've lost San Jose... it appears Navarette is a NPR/WaPo/CNN reliable liberal. This is a satisfying crunch!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure but I wondered if he is the same guy who blogs as "Sooper Mexican."

His point is not that our predicament is Obama's fault. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. But it's the electorate's fault, because that cohort collectively decided that he would be a good sort of fellow to be the leader of the free world.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 12:01 PM

November 13, 2015

Let's talk about what "a feeling of safety and community" really means

Recent events on American college campuses notwithstanding, the actions of some people truly do manifest feelings of fear for one's safety - for one's very life.

40 dead. Then 60 dead. Hostages taken, being murdered one by one.

Really, pampered collegians. Grow the f*** up. Wake the f*** up. Pull your entitled, coddled, play-Marxist heads out of your uptight asses.

UPDATE: If Charlie Hebdo was "France's 9/11" then this may have to be considered her Pearl Harbor. But really, the attack last January was the wake-up call:

Now, for the first time for many Parisians, France is on the brink of following in America's footsteps.

"It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday in a speech south of Paris.

On Wednesday, al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, underscored Valls' words by releasing videos mobilizing supporters within France's borders to further terrorize the country.

France has been an active member of the U.S-led coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which has been largely aimed at preventing the militant group from coming to the West. Now, the country must launch its own "war on terror," both internally and externally.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:30 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

And here was Obama on Sunday saying ISIS had been 'contained' (to bombing planes over the sinai?).


Posted by: nanobrewer at November 14, 2015 1:42 AM

October 30, 2015

Jihad is so much fun it kills me!

German rapper "Deso (Devil's Son) Dogg" Cuspert turns to Islam, joins ISIL, dies in U.S. airstrike against men who "want your [German] blood" in Raqqa, Syria.

The evolution of "Deso Dogg," the hip-hop star with a chip on his shoulder, into "Abu Talha Al-Almani," a militant with blood on his hands and an airstrike's terrorist target is less unlikely than it sounds. Like so many of Islamic State's western recruits, Cuspert was simultaneously disaffected and indignant, the survivor of a troubled upbringing and a tumultuous adulthood who saw something in jihad -- faith, fulfillment, the promise of redemption -- he lacked at home.

Perhaps it had something to do with some structural inconsistency in his upbringing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2015

Barack Obama was right

Islamic State really IS "the JV!"

"Headquarters of terrorist group and an arms depot were destroyed in the region of Ildib, as well as a militant three-level fortified command point in the region of Hama," Moscow's ministry of defense said.

It also said Su-24Ms and Su-25s, aircraft first put in service by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, made eight sorties against the IS targets, and succeeded in avoiding civilian casualties.

Meantime, the U.S. in over a year and three months can't make meaningful gains against IS.

It looks like Vladimir Putin has finally found a use for Secretary of State Clinton's "reset" button. That was easy!

None of this was imaginable before Barack Obama came on the scene. Russia, while clearly ambitious for more global power under Putin, had apparently permanently lost its standing as a global superpower.

It took a U.S. president committed to revolutionary change in America's role in the world to reawaken the Russian bear and provide an opening for Putin's aggression.

When the U.S. fulfills its role as leader in the world, we are criticized, even ridiculed. But we are respected. Putin's Russia is not about to be loved, but it may begin to be greatly respected if it starts doing things that the U.S. is supposed to do but won't.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

My buddies at Reason and Cato are all onboard the Putin train: let them anger terrorists and disturb ISIS and it is unlikely that they will do a much worse job of picking winners and losers than will President Obama.

My conservative buddies are of course appalled at the lack of US leadership. To their point, I can certainly se this ending badly. But to the libertarians' point, things have occasionally not gone so well in the Middle East with US at the helm.

I'm willing to let them have the run of the place for 16 months. Once President Keith is inaugurated and throws 100% of US support to the Kurds, they'll have to move out or display good intentions.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2015 10:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree with you. No matter how many of Putin's Risk(TM) pieces he moves to Syria, he is still hamstrung by his moribund economy. I'm not terribly concerned about Russian global domination.

My point was more about how easy it is to defeat ISIS. Russia claims to have destroyed a "fortified command point" after a grand total of 8 sorties. Meanwhile, our 7000 sorties (per the linked editorial) have produced what, exactly?

It's almost as if the commander in chief has never intended to ultimately defeat, or even degrade, the bright shiny part of the Shiite Islamist adventurism. Meanwhile, the real activity continues apace in Iran - where POTUS makes concessions and subsidizes the Iranian nuke program with $150bn US of our tax dollars.

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2015 11:14 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, this is an awful muddle that Obama's 'not leading' created (aside: leading from behind is yet another bastardization of our language by the Progs that I refuse to even acknowledge), and now that it's so incredibly FUBAR'd I am _probably_ OK with Russia taking it's swing at things....

I am certainly willing and able to do the 'neener-neener' dance around BHO and hope that this new massively-amplified powerlessness continues to drag the Dem's down (and R's learn to avoid the "ahhh, if only Bush hadn't....").

The worry I have is that Putin succeeds, wildly boosting his sway in the gulf thereby boosting arms sales and gaining some control over oil prices, which would rescue Russian and Iranian economies, of which the immediate affect would be to further drive the Ukraine under his thumb.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 7, 2015 12:13 PM

September 11, 2015

Still missing the forest for the trees

On this 14th sad anniversary of 9/11, as the President of the United States prepares to deliver to the ideological creators of Islamism not bombs, but billions of American taxpayers' dollars, I was inspired by a Facebook meme to revisit Leonard Peikoff's 'End States Who Sponsor Terrorism' advertisement from October 2nd, 2001 edition of the New York Times.

I recalled we had discussed that essay on these pages, and that it was not well received. I see now that much if not all of the blame for that falls on my shoulders. I foolishly suggested that the war against Islamism could be won with superior firepower. It cannot, and Peikoff knows that. He said as much in his essay. It can only be won by the equivalent of the "de-Nazification" of Iran. To my credit, I did at least excerpt that portion of his essay in my 2005 post.

Eliminating Iran's terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended."

The whole piece is worth re-reading, as I did, with nine more years of experience under our belts. Please do so and see if perhaps your judgment of Peikoff's conclusions was as mistaken as was my proposed way forward.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:57 PM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, I seem to recall commenting one time, if not two, that regime change was the only real solution. Sadly, the slow and rocky road to the Arab Spring sort of quashed any momentum we might have had (tho' it didn't stop Hillary from nudging Libya into anarchy).

As a point of order: were the Iranians positively tied to 9/11?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2015 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Iran was not linked to 9/11, legally or militarily. Peikoff's point, however, is that they are linked to it ideologically:

If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.
Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2015 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Two great things about having a blog of such longevity:

-- The fame, income, and influence it affords;
-- I do enjoy reprocessing an old discussion.

I'm going to be a bit stubborn on this one and postpone my rapprochement with Mr. Peikoff for another year. I first am going to push back on his selection of Iran as a singular locus of evil. Evil, yes, but we could hand out a lot of plaques in their neighborhood.

He dates the start of Islamic extremism to the '79 revolution and places Iran at the root node. I do not share that. I remain heavily influenced by Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower." Wright lays a historical, ideological foundation on Sayyid Qtub (a man about whom, Jonah Goldberg says "desperately needs to 'buy a vowel'"). Wright documents Salafist, Sunni origins leading directly to Osama bin Laden.

My second new datum is discussion with blog friend tgreer. We don't always agree but he is steeped in diplomatic/strategic thinking on foreign policy, and is exceptionally learned in that area. Throughout the contretemps over the Iran Deal, he has railed against conservatives, right wingers, republicans and nascar retards in general over Iran hate.

Our friend looks at ISIS, and Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and wonders why Iran has been singled out. I pushed back on this and won't rehash all the arguments here. But he did plant a seed. If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

Ten years ago, I thought I had the answers and I tread a bit more cautiously. But sand into glass does not seem the moral or efficacious way out.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2015 2:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

I'm trying see to which mind you're in; the sentence doesn't make sense to me....

"Iran Hate" is based on their ideological bent, and their $400B economy, with solid reserves of oil and NG and a sophisticated arms industry. Still, I'll wait to hear more from someone well versed in the highly-touted Looming Tower. Yes, the Saudis do fund Salafists, but they don't allow them to get ICBMs, nor to topple other governments.

Syria? You've got to be kidding (I think LT is now out of date on them...); even before their recent donnybrooks they had the economy of New Hampshire, no navy and the Turks leaning over their shoulder... all they can create is refugees. I'm not even that worried about the Norks (49th GDP-wise, were they to be a state); and they HAVE nuke-tipped, ICBMs.... wobblier than their mentally-IL leader.

Sand into glass? No, no, when I say regime change I mean an orange, pink or puce revolution...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 14, 2015 11:30 PM

August 23, 2015

i like memes [updated]

I went with brother JG's suggestion


Also, tell me if anyone else saw stronger statement from IMPOTUS than

While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.

Is it just me, or does he only react to bad news?

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:33 PM | Comments (7)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't find it - PowerLine had done some work scouring headlines and found both French and UK papers proclaiming the young americans as heroes. The AP's was tepid, but the Anti-American weeny award goes to (heh; PowerLine writers' home paper) Minn/St.Paul Star Tribune, "Authorities laud European train passengers for averting attack by heavily armed man" (note mandatory nod to "authorities" -- all hail gov't!!)

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2015 1:17 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm also considering purloining Instapundit's (who might have ripped it from John Kasich) sub-headline with:

"Courage is Contagious: America's got the fever"

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2015 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Has the attack been officially ruled an act of Terrorism yet, or is it "too early to conclude?"

(Im)POTUS has a breathless press statement on the White House website. It's a full paragraph long! The money line:

The two leaders agreed that the three, along with a French and a British passenger, had demonstrated remarkable bravery and acted without regard for their own safety in order to subdue a heavily armed individual who appeared intent on causing mass casualties.

Oh yes, and the title of the statement? "Readout of the President's Call with President Francois Hollande of France" If you aren't actively looking for "Three American Heroes Save French Rail Passengers" and if you don't know the approximate date it occurred, you probably never read this.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2015 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

RE: The Meme

How about "Americans touring Europe"

Eurail pass, Brussels to Paris: $84 euro
Medal of bravery: Free
Taking down Islamist terrorist bare handed: Priceless!

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2015 3:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and the medals were the "Legion d'honneur." France's highest decoration.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2015 3:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, that same statement of a phone call did say:

thwarting what could have been a terrible terrorist attack

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2015 11:29 PM

May 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

"It has everything one would want for a wedding," al-Homsi said of Raqqa--a riverside provincial capital that in the 18 months since IS took control has seen militants beheading opponents and stoning alleged adulteresses in public. Gunmen at checkpoints scrutinize passers-by for signs of anything they see as a violation of Shariah, or Islamic law, as slight as a hint of hair gel. In the homes of some of the IS commanders in the city are women and girls from the Yazidi religious sect, abducted in Iraq and now kept as sex slaves. -- AP
Hat-tip: James Taranto
Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Here we go again - a patriarchal system dictating who may and may not marry... and who may and may not be legally enslaved for sex.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2015 3:54 PM

May 20, 2015

Armchair General

I found this disturbing:

The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.

'If ISIS enters Palmyra, it will spell its destruction... it will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery which we saw in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul.'

But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.

These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.


Posted by JohnGalt at 6:25 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That 130 is a beautiful sight -- unless you're the target. If we only had a Commander-in-Chief who was serious about defeating ISIS...

I do have give a shout-out to another Close Air Support vehicle that I love, though, the A-10. As much as I respect the 130, I can buy seven Warthogs for the same price, and that BRRRRRT sound of her primary weapon is nothing short of iconic. Only a complete traitor would be pushing to decommission the A-10.

My apologies for my scanty participation, by the way -- the day job has really been insistent on having my undivided attention. I've barely had the time to make a nuisance of myself on Facebook, and only during non-paying hours...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 21, 2015 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The A-10 is a great aircraft. Her forte is obliterating armored vehicles, however. "Spooky" and "Spectre" and "Ghostrider" (planned deployment in FY2017) are well suited to anti-personnel duty, in bad weather and at night, in addition to obliterating armored vehicles.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you click through for the video? It's the best I've ever seen. Not only can they visually differentiate between armed men vs. women and children, they can see weapons being carried. Collateral damage = lower.

But I'd already taken up so much column inch with the still shot I linked it rather than imbed. Never let it be said that I lack humility.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:57 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The other thing the C130-based designs have over the A-10 is "linger" time and long-range fire. It can wait anyone out, and I believe with some of it's heavier ordnance (like a 105mm cannon) it can shoot from out of earshot.... giving a whole new meaning of the old term "whispering death."

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 26, 2015 11:58 PM

April 20, 2015

The Real Problem in Iran.

I disappointed blog siblings last week.

Apologies all around, but I cannot see meaningful progress in foreign policy while President Obama is in office. It is not that he is some Kenyan, anti-Colonialist, Socialist plant. He is a bit of an Arabist in the mold of President Carter, a pacifist/appeaser in the mold of the Harvard Faculty Lounge, and he refuses to let foreign expenditures affect his domestic agenda: we'll have no less butter because of guns.

Blog patron-saint Natan Sharansky has a column in the WaPo today which cleaves to the real issue. "When did America forget that it's America?" Sharansky compares the moral certitude of our objection to Soviet totalitarianism to moral ambivalence against Iran:

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides' respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today's postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

You cannot fix this with Corker-Menendez, or a letter to the Ayatollah.

Hat-tip: Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

"When did America forget that it's America?"

I don't believe she did, per se. A majority of the minority of her voting-eligible citizens who actually went to the polls, chose younger/cooler... twice. [Was GWB younger OR cooler than Algore? Hmmm.] It wasn't a conscious decision to elect one of "the declining number of true believers still loyal to their [Soviet leaders] ideology." It just sorta happened. But now, after a hard and sustained tack to port, I am more confident than ever that America's keel is intact, and her moral certitude will return.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2015 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

On topic: I don't think Sharansky believes America has forgotten, the piece at directed at our leadership which has.

Side topic: Merciful Zeus, yes. Governor Bush was two years older than the Vice President, but still a young 54 in 2000. Yet the VP suffered from an inability to project a vibrant personal image. My two favorite recollections from the debates are:

1. His (VP Gore's) weird alpha male attempt to intimidate Bush by standing beside him (I recently saw an interview with a debate coach -- they were actually expecting that).

2. In the middle of an answer by the Governor, the VP interrupted by shouting out "WHAT ABOUT DINGELL-NORWOOD???" in a voice that would have sealed the audition for "Revenge of the Nerds."

The less defensible examples of my theory are probably 1988 (Though Gov. Dukakis had zero coolness in the tank helmet) and 1984 (Mondale was neither young nor cool, but he did give several years to President Reagan.)

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2015 5:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We probably agree that all of these examples require filament bifurcation, as they were a contrasts between two Caucasian dudes. Anyone of any age, who is not either white or male, is automatically more "cool" unless the pale guy is quite young. By the very definition of the word. (Even 'The Fonz' stopped being cool once he hit about 30 or so.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2015 2:19 PM

March 25, 2015

Peaceful Islam?

'Heretic' a new book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, makes a philosophical case for the reforms needed to make Islam a modern faith, compatible with the rest of the modern world. Writing in the WSJ she listed five critical reforms:

1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran. (...) The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

A story in The West Australian quotes AHA from her book:

"It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been 'hijacked' by extremists," she said.

A reformation, similar to that in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, was necessary, Ali wrote.

"We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts."[emphasis mine]

I heard a statement in a news report yesterday that sounded possibly like this, and went searching for it today. It was made by the current President of the Islamic Republic... of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

President Ghani stressed, “We have the capacity to speak truth to terror. Terrorists do not speak for Islam -- we do. And it's the genuine Islam that is interested in dialogue between civilizations and cooperation and endeavor forward.”

He added, “These [terrorists] are not classic national liberation movements; these are destructive, nihilistic movements. And it's essential that we confront them with vigor and determination.”

Perhaps not a direct call for "reform" of Islam, but dialog and cooperation, and trade mentioned elsewhere, are some of the end results of such reform.

His true intentions are further revealed in his remarks on an incident in front of a Mosque in Kabul last week:

No individual is allowed to make oneself a judge and use violence to punish others in degrading manners. Launching personal trials and choosing who to punish stands in clear contradiction to Sharia and Islamic justice.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan condemns yesterday's act of extreme violence and makes it clear that ensuring justice is only the duty of courts and whoever engages in violent acts outside law will be dealt with strongly.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan also condemns in strong terms any action that causes disrespect to the Holy Quran and Islamic values.

We Muslims are all obliged to protect the sanctity of the Holy Quran but only within the instructions and principles of Islam.

Hopeful, perhaps.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2015

So What's the Deal with Obama's AUMF Anyway?

Well, you could read this article from The Hill, or you can just let me explain it to you:

President Obama, under intense public pressure to respond to Islamist State atrocities that have been splashed across American televisions off and on for many months, announced a campaign to "degrade and defeat ISIL" using air strikes and foreign troops trained by American soldiers. He claimed that a congressional resolution from 2001 (you know, after 9/11 when even Democrats were willing to deploy our military) gave him the legal authorization for this new campaign.

Since that half-hearted plan isn't succeeding, congressional Republicans have been critical of the President. To shut them up he has asked them to vote for a new authorization, that he's said he doesn't need, to keep doing the same thing he's already doing. If they approve it, they own his strategy. If they defeat it, they are to blame when the thing he's already doing doesn't work because, he will say, "I asked for authorization to confront ISIL directly and Republicans in congress said 'no.'"

So essentially, it's a complete waste of time for everyone except Obama, who needs a political cover strategy. And it scares the crap out of congressional Democrats who, like Nancy Pelosi, "would hope that we could find common ground to have bipartisan support for how we protect and defend the American people" while at the same time contending that "a provision to bar 'enduring offensive ground combat operations' is too vague and could allow for U.S. troops to be sent into the field." Sure wouldn't want to risk war in the service of "defend[ing] the American people" would we? Nosirree.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Even WaPo's Eugene Robinson, as big a fan of BHO as can be found that gets paid to write, in a large vote of confidence for Boehner, wrote:


[AUMF] explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn’t really tell us how.

Obama has asked to be liberated and constrained at the same time. He wants no geographical boundaries placed on his ability to go after the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces.” But he also asks that Congress rule out “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and wants the war authority to expire after three years.

I would summarize - without contradiction - even further than JG has: since Obama has no idea how to govern, fight wars, create jobs, etc... all he can do is campaign. So, he'll continue to propose incoherent ideas that allow for more speeches and let the MSM fly cover for the bad/unworkable ideas.

PowerLine's Paul Mirgenoff adds to JG's point that there's an intent to constrain his successor, so his incoherence can be hidden.


Robinson finishes off with uncharacteristic brevity: But how urgent is the threat? This is a question Obama seems to want to defer.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Shoot, I messed up, the paragraph following the italicized quote from Robinson is also his.

Can someone hint me the code to imbed URL's in a comment post?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2015 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

We live to serve: Comment HTML

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2015 3:30 PM

February 6, 2015

All Hail Jonah!

Germane to recent posts:

Obama can't help himself. He just can't give a full-throated denunciation of Islamic extremism, or even a tepid one, without doing his creased-pants Niehbur schtick. But look: This isn't complicated. It's really not. If you have to clear your throat for five minutes about the skeletons in our closet before you can feel comfortable denouncing barbarians who bury little boys alive and then go on to rape their little sisters, that is your hang-up, man. I've got my faults, all reasonable people can agree, but I don't feel compelled to list them before I denounce rapists and murderers; "Hey man, I know, I drink too much scotch and I'm sometimes needlessly sarcastic, but you really shouldn't rape little girls or set people on fire." -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:


Just, freakin' ... boom.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2015 7:21 PM

February 5, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

It's an All Hail Taranto! No, it's a Rant!


It is both. I have accused others of tendentious comparison, but I confess that as the video of the Jordanian pilot's being burned alive in a cage went viral, my thoughts turned to Abu Ghraib for the first time in a long time. I elected not to watch the video but am blessed with enough imagine to feel the horror. "Yeah," I thought, "we put some panties on a guy's head..." And apologized and had an investigation and fired some people.

Certainly not suggesting we lower our standards the height of a crushed K-cup, but I also caution folks to remember our moral plane is 10,000 steps up from theirs.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:13 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

If they attack us because we fight back and they attack us when we don't fight back, I choose fighting back. Call me old fashioned. They drew first blood.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2015 11:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I thought of the sad events of Abu Ghraib also, and of the various comments made by people like Kerry and Senator Dustbin, with the thought:

The Khan and Khmer Rouge would have laughed at AG (that's all you got!), but would be favorably impressed with ISIS.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 6, 2015 1:21 PM
But AndyN thinks:

As James Woods tweeted: "If we ever capture the ISIS thug who burned a heroic pilot alive, let's pray we don't pour a cup of water on his face. That would be cruel."

Posted by: AndyN at February 9, 2015 8:39 AM

January 29, 2015

Holy War by Any Other Name Would Smell as Wretched

President Obama's official spokesman as much as said, "the Taliban are not a terrorist organization." His administration refuses to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism (or "extremism") is related in any way to the Islamic religion. But as Investors' Ed page reminds, the Muslim holy war goes way back, to at least 1991:

This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose strategic goal, according to a 1991 memorandum by one of its operatives, is "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

Some serious parsing of the words "eliminating, destroying and victorious" is required to evade the existential threat to human liberty which this portends. This, Muslim religious war with civilization.

Click through on the IBD link to read about how Muslim Brotherhood Egyptians hostile to the pro-western Egyptian army leadership were welcomed to the Obama State Department, while Bibi is shunned. Stunning.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Disturbing. As Hans (or is it Franz?) says "I'm not going to sugar-coat this." I remember sitting at the kitchen table of a friend of this blog in 2008 discussing the forthcoming loss of all the hard fought gains from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We were both proven right -- and I've never been so disappointed.

But the people got what they voted for and that is a facet of democracy with which I must agree. The William Easterly problem with the Iraq War is perhaps that the US cannot count on a long-term commitment. The next bums get to overturn your best laid plans.

Ergo, while I deplore the President's Harvard-Faculty-Lounge foreign policy, he is within his right and I oppose him with little more than eye-rolling. You can't fix stupid and I cannot fix the Administration's worldview.

One can better influence domestic policy -- videlicet The Tea Party, flipping both houses of Congress, and asserting Constitutional limits through the Supreme Court.

What we will need when the bender of the Obama Years wears off is the strongest possible economy, both to project power as needed but more subtly to lead by example and retain confidence.

As bad as it gets, there's just nothing we can do until January 2017 in regards to foreign policy. Hard to fix bad domestic policy -- but not impossible.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2015 2:57 PM

January 28, 2015

Wolves at the door

As a Dish subscriber I was temporarily cut off from access (while Dish and Fox Corp argued over subscription rates to an unrelated Fox network) to any news of military successes around the world. That apparently included the Kurdish rout of ISIS jihadholes in Kobane. Daily Mail:

The video, which ends with the hostage being beheaded, was discovered by Memri TV which translated it from Arabic.

It emerged two days after Kurdish fighters expelled ISIS from the strategic Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border after months of fierce fighting.

The news prompted celebrations among residents who fled across the frontier into Turkey, with thousands gathering at the border in the hope they will be able to return home more than four months after the fighting first started.

The town's recapture marked a key symbolic and strategic blow against ISIS, but officials warned massive reconstruction was needed and the fight would continue for the surrounding villages.

Oh, and the video includes the following jihadhole boasts:

'Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America.'

'Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province.'


The militant's threats do not stop at America, but also include a message for France and 'sister' Belgium.

He says: 'We advise you that we will come to you with car bombs and explosive charges and will cut off your heads'.


The militant then saves his most personal attack for the Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani, who is currently leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

'As for you, oh Masoud (Barazani), you dog, we are going to behead you and throw you into the trash bin of history.

'Know that we are men who fear no-one. We will institute the laws of Allah, may he be exalted and praised.'

So my question is this: If this were reported more widely in the west, who has any doubt of the overwhelming public support for a more aggressive offensive mission to make examples of these jihadholes, thus diminishing the sex appeal of becoming a jihadhole?

And that, friends, is why this isn't reported more widely in the west. Our media is controlled by sheep, not sheep dogs.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2015

Hey Obama...

This is a red letter day. I don't remember the last time I linked to an old BerkeleySquareJazz blog post. And I didn't remember it being that long ago, but I did recall this post (and its awesome photo of a young woman holding the paramount sign from the protestwarrior.com collection) when our president refused to link arms with the rest of the political leaders of the free world last weekend.

What a difference a decade makes. Investors' Ed Page goes into more detail about the new normal in 'France, For Now at Least, Gets Realistic on War on Terror.'

Time will tell whether it is the France of Joan of Arc or of Petain of Vichy that becomes dominant in the global war on terror. But right now, the French get credit for clear thinking. Just as the Resistance made little distinction between Vichy and the Nazis, Le Drian correctly sees no difference between the gunmen killing editorial cartoonists in Paris, claiming affiliation with al-Qaida in Yemen, and the British Jihadi John beheading innocent captive journalists within IS territory.

They, and the Taliban and the Islamofascist regime in Iran, are all components of the same enemy of Western civilization.

At the White House, unfortunately, an attack on a magazine or a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi elicits withholding use of the "T word" for as long as possible.

Our objective in fighting IS isn't victory as soon as possible; it is to "degrade" it and only destroy it "ultimately" -- because the president, our commander in chief, is dead set in his refusal to "involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."

Our missions against terrorists can't be part of the "global war on terror"; they must be "overseas contingency operations," a defanged term the Obama administration began insisting on soon after coming to power.

It is all a devious attempt to disguise that Western civilization faces another world war.

The French, for now at least, have rekindled their recollections of the Nazi occupation: those who pretend it isn't really war are cursed to lose it.

So to France I say, "Thank you, for protecting civilization." At least, for now.

(And I can't resist reposting the pic. Imagine this saying "Hey Obama" and being carried by a Parisienne.)



UPDATE: Michael Ramirez' take

UPDATE II: [jk -- hate to bust in on a brother's post, but we should give equal time to the brave French of yore...]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not quite sure but it seems like you're harshing my pro-France mellow.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2015 7:07 PM
But Jk thinks:

Pardon moi. I just remembered this picture and thought it reflective of French valor.

Posted by: Jk at January 14, 2015 9:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It took me a while to remember - she was protesting the then French President for not joining the coalition, non? So yes, a like-minded contribution. Much thanks.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Errr, ummm... Merci!

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2015 1:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I knew you'd see it my way.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2015 1:31 PM

January 13, 2015

At Least He Did Not Say "Jehovah!"

Sorry, but QUIP is not Charlie Hebdo: QUIP is al Qaeda with a different list of moral objections and a milder set of criminal penalties. Otherwise, like al Qaeda, it's the same unattractive mix of quavering personal sensitivity and totalitarian demands for ideological conformity.

To which one can only reply: tranny-tranny-tranny; Muhammad-Muhammad-Muhammad; de-da-da-da. Free speech--at least speech that is truly free--is always a scandal to someone or other. Chill out and deal with it.

From a superb editorial by WSJ's Bret Stephens. For those of you not sufficiently wealthy or disingenuous to get around Rupert's paywall, it seems Queers United in Power forbids use of the "t-word" causing poor, old 30-somethings like Stephens to whisper about to discern the word he cannot use.

UPDATE: Pursuant to brother jg's comment, my (biological) brother posted this:

Man, my brother really hates the paywall. I had no idear.

UPDATE II: Or maybe it is that time Rupert Murdoch murdered those 317 schoolchildren...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:46 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

So is MRAP. [scroll down to 2008] (Like al Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, Islamism.) "Totalitarian demands for ideological conformity."

Ironically, the "anti-racism" aspect of these laws was likely intended, originally, as a measure to prevent Nazi-like totalitarianism. What was it that fellow said about government "solutions" always generating new problems?

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2015 6:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And who do leading American progressives believe is a threat to be monitored? "The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle" including Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Brigitte Gabriel and Pam Geller.

Hmmm, well, I suppose if they have killed some Muslims. Oh, wait...

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2015 6:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And finally, lest readers take comfort that "French blasphemy laws aren't being advanced in the US" or that "Southern Poverty Law Center's point of view is outside of the mainstream" I give you: Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished.

The Nazis are on the march again today, in the 21st century, but with anti-Nazi slogans and no easily identifiable uniform.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2015 6:57 PM

December 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

Jim Geraghty [subscribe], helping the media discover underlying motivation:

Guys. Guys. If an armed perpetrator brings a black flag with Islamic writing to a hostage situation, and makes the hostages hold it up in the windows so the media can see it . . . it isn't to protest against the Islamic State or Islamic extremism. He's not a confused Oakland Raider fan who really likes cursive writing.

Maybe the guy couldn't stop by the Islamic State Merchandising Shop on his way to the hostage site. Maybe he's not detail-oriented. But Occam's Razor would suggest that a guy who makes hostages hold up an Islamic flag so the media can see it is acting in the name of an Islamist agenda.

Extra points, as always, for an AFC West reference

Posted by John Kranz at 9:54 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2014

The Democrat Torture Report

I guess there is a little neocon left in the old boy after all. I'm displeased but not distressed by the Senate torture report. My libertarian buddies on FBN's The Independents were in full strum and drang mode last night (on their one-year anniversary show -- congrats!) I suspect that they are the target demographic.

Much was made of the poor fellow who died of hypothermia chained up in a cell. That is tragic. That is a horrible picture. Procedures should be revisited. Personnel should be punished. It should never happen again.

But, extrapolating from CDC figures for 2005-2009, from 9/11 to today 11,923 Americans died of accidental drowning. Without in any way condoning the killing of a prisoner, I think some perspective is in order. The nation was at war. Hundreds of thousands were deployed with guns and tanks and grenades. The President blithely (in my opinion) drones people in great numbers. Police -- we are reminded this week -- kill more than 1000 citizens every year.

On this scale, the atrocities documented in the report seem well contained. You may call me callous. Every death is tragic and each overreach is a stain on our identity. But in 13 years of war, this list of CIA overreach, played up for maximum political effect, strikes me as tame.

Two editorials in the WSJ point out the politicization of the report and the post-9/11 environment when these programs were launched.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:48 AM | Comments (14)
But johngalt thinks:

Lest my blog brother (or any other erudite readers) mistake me for a knuckle-dragging tobacco chewer there is one assertion against the CIA that I find troubling: Indefinite Secret Detention. I am loathe to endorse such practices by any administration of any government. I am fine with indefinite detention, so long as it is done in the full light of day. And even with secret detention for short periods of time, with either release or disclosure being required at some point. But is that really what this report is about? It seems not.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2014 2:05 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Let me take a moment to play village idiot and ask how can one NOT condemn such an egregious political stunt?

1. the report was written by a staffer with zero interviews - it therefore brings up zero new information.
2. It's a classic maneuver whereby those engage in poly-ticks to throw the professionals under the bus (for doing things that were completely lawful, and disclosed).
3. in fact, the motive appears to be to ad to the - incorrect, IMO - impression that the techniques employed were ineffective. A quick summary of the talk shows shows this to be having exactly this effect, and even the ever-wobbly McCain is pulled in this direction.
4. It precludes any mention of techniques done during the Clinton years.

I would baldly assert that NOT condemning this plays right into the hands of the Dick Durbin/John Kerry/HRC crowd (and all those who compare the CIA to the Khmer Rouge).

Leaving that aside, please tell JK, what analysis of the tree bark can you provide that the release of this report had any positive effect? I'll take even one...

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 11, 2014 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

And lest nb think me NOT a knuckle-dragging-tobaccy-chewer -- I, too, am aghast at the bad motives behind the report's release. I was trying to say that the fiery contents exposed do not disturb me as much as they should.

As you say there is not much new info in there -- I think anybody truly surprised lacks imagination. Nope, it was a cheap trick and I'll fulsomely condemn its release.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Looks like it's my turn to lob the kumbaya grenade.

Kumbaya, we've solved another one!

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2014 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Damn, we're good.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 6:06 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Not disturbing b/c there was nothing new: we knew all of this. It's simply Feinstein playing CYA and playing to her sympathetic crowd; a room full of moral cowards who like to kick the giant they know will not kick back.

The "new" part was debated 8-10 years ago, during which I established a full definition for what constitutes torture.

Let's just hope the idea posed on PowerLine takes root: the motives and mores presented by this release will not be lost on the professionals in the CIA.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 13, 2014 12:01 AM

November 24, 2014


Military campaigns should be constrained, to the extent practicable, to declared wars. And in this country, Congress declares war. Not the POTUS. To wit:


This joint resolution may be cited as the "Declaration of War against the Organization known as the Islamic State".

Thank you candidate, err, Senator Paul.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2014

Vigilamus pro te!

No embed, but click on over and enjoy 1:38 of ovation for Canadian hero, Sergeant of Arms Kevin Vickers.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

So he killed another man with a gun, eh? And they're giving him an ovation. What's the deal? Guns are BAD. Right?

I heard the mayor of Ottawa say in an interview how terrible it was that an unarmed Canadian soldier had been killed while guarding a monument. What is it with western nations that makes us want to keep our soldiers unarmed all the time? Thank the Sergeant at Arms the he didn't stand for that guff.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2014 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, and did you see PM Stephen Harper? Hoss. I suggested to the lovely bride that if they'd trade us Mr. Harper for President Obama, they could have one other of their choosing.

"What about Patrick Roy?" she asked.

Very slowly I answered "yes, my love of country is total. They can have Coach Roy and the President for PM Harper.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2014 4:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Harper-Netanyahu 2016

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2014 4:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Harpers-Vickers 2016? Perhaps is Quebec secedes, they could annex the US.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2014 5:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The love of your life certainly does know your most sensitive pressure points, doesn't she. And your patriotism is sans precedent.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 11:48 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at October 24, 2014 12:35 PM

October 17, 2014

Tweet of the Day

Jonah Goldberg suggests "At some point we must ask, 'Why do they hate our breakfast beverages?'"

Posted by John Kranz at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

What is "Zionist Juice?" Wait. Don't answer that.

Posted by: johngalt at October 17, 2014 3:55 PM

September 30, 2014

All Hail Insty!


Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2014

Tweet of the Day

We are all and each entitled to complex opinions on this president's foreign policy and war leadership.

But -- anybody not like this a whole lot?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm no expert on Islam but it does seem that a jet pilot helmet should count as a "head covering." Who could complain?

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2014 6:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Praise be his holy name.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2014 6:48 PM

September 23, 2014


My Facebook buds at Being Classically Liberal mean this with a different velocity of scorn than I. But what's a little nuance between allies?


Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Too bad Islamism didn't make the same promise.

Can we now finally dispense with the meme that the rest of the world only hates us when our President is a Republican?

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2014 2:11 PM

September 11, 2014

War on Terror = War on Collectivism

On this 13th Anniversary of 9/11 I will post a 9 year old article by Atlas Society Founder David Kelley (who is also a Consulting Producer on the Atlas Shrugged films, the third of which premieres nation wide tomorrow.) The Ideas That Promote Terrorism. Hint: It is not, primarily, religious faith. I will excerpt rather liberally:

The war on jihadist terrorism is a battle of ideas, a battle against the ideology of Islamism from which the terrorists emerged.

Though Osama bin Laden and other terrorists constantly invoke the Islamic past, their ideology is actually a modern one. It has more in common with fundamentalist movements in other religions, and with secular totalitarian ideologies like Marxism, than with any historic school of Islamic thought. What all of these movements have in common is a hatred for the values of modern liberal society, values that we in America tend to take for granted because they are so much a part of our culture.

The Islamists, like the communist and fascist totalitarians, hate individualism. There is no room in their worldview for individual freedom of thought, or for the pursuit of individual happiness. Mawlana Mawdudi, founder of Jama`at-i Islami in India and Pakistan and one of the most important and influential theorists of Islamism, advocated a theocratic state in which, as he said, "no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private. Considered from this aspect the Islamic state bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states." The Islamists want a society of rigid orthodoxy and censorship, just as communists sought to enforce Marxist dogmas and punish deviants.


Ultimately, Islamism is not a positive vision of a good society. Beyond the slogans of imposing sharia and the fantasy of restoring the caliphate, Islamists have no real political philosophy or program, and in the few places like Afghanistan where their ideas have been put into practice, the result has been chaos, poverty, and oppression. Islamism is essentially a negative movement, a movement of hostile opposition to the modern world. And, at the extreme, it descends into sheer nihilistic destruction and cult of death, the glorification of killing themselves as well as others, the reveling in gruesome bloody spectacle that is more decadent and degraded than the worst filth coming out of Hollywood.

Those are the ideas that spawned the terrorists: the hatred of individualism, of reason, of progress, of capitalism, of freedom and secular government. Those are the very sources of modern civilization, the sources of all the benefits that we enjoy in America, the benefits we would like to see enjoyed by people everywhere. This is not a conflict between Islam and the West. It is a conflict within the Islamic world, and within the West, between those who accept the values of modern civilization and the nihilists who reject them.

In return for my bald-faced theft of so many paragraphs for their unauthorized reprinting here, I have left a comment on the linked article. The subject: Islamists' claim that they "love death for Allah, like our enemies love life."


In this 2-week old article from Fox News, contributor Walid Phares gets the problem correct, but the solution all wrong.

"The problem in Western liberal societies... is that we don't act against ideology, we don't have legislation against ideology as the Germans or French have against Nazism, for example," Phares said. "And because we haven't had this possibility, we are waiting - law enforcement are waiting for [Choudary] to make a mistake, to make a mistake with the law."

The correct response to bad ideological speech is good ideological speech, not censorship.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2014

All Hail Taranto!

Meanwhile Barack Obama, who has been given to fatuous pronouncements like "The tide of war is receding" and "I was elected to end wars, not start them," is about to give a speech making the case for renewing the war on terror. If it lives up to its billing, it will amount to a repudiation of what we hawks used to deride as "the Sept. 10 mentality." And on Sept. 10, no less. -- James Taranto
Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I don't expect this speech to call for renewing the war on terror, precisely because that would amount to a repudiation of his entire foreign policy. I expect it to call for more of what many view as the least effective part of the preceding counter terrorism strategy in Iraq - essentially, nation building. Rather than swiftly and certainly "breaking things and killing people" in the pirate camps that fly the Islamic State flag, the president instead seems intent on a long, vague and expensive program of training and equipping "moderate" Syrian militias. The emphasis here, is on the expensive.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2014 5:13 PM
But Terri thinks:

I thought for certain you would be detailing this quote today which I thought was brilliant.

"A rejoinder to this evaluation is that the fateful decision was made not by Bush but by Obama--that it was he who transformed hard-won victory into disaster by precipitously withdrawing all troops in 2011. We think that's true, but it's not a counterargument. Instead it is further evidence that the intervention was strategically flawed in overestimating the durability of public support for the war effort. By 2008 opinion had turned decisively against the war. Had it not, it's unlikely Obama would have been a serious presidential candidate."

Posted by: Terri at September 10, 2014 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Yours is true, trenchant, and important, Terri. But mine was funny.

Thanks. I've shared my confliction but Taranto -- and your exact quote -- describes where I find myself exactly. No one has 20/20 foresight, but had President Bush and VP Cheney tried to sell a pair of 11 year nation-building exercises with flakey and corrupt partners, some of those votes would have been more narrow.

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2014 7:18 PM
But Terri thinks:

Spot on there. And yes, yours had me laughing. All Hail Taranto!

Posted by: Terri at September 11, 2014 8:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Taranto is ironical here, and "on Sept. 10, no less" had me chuckling. But if you want funny, look no further back than "Beware foreign glazing entanglements" on His Refugeeness' latest post.

Yes, it is true. I kill me.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2014 12:40 PM

September 6, 2014

The Terrorists Have Won

You'll remember the Bush-era joke "...then the terrorists will have won." If Britney Spears cannot do a lewd dance at the VH1 Music Awards... It was useful and entertaining. Yet a perusal of the Cato blog today (I subscribe on Kindle and enjoy a whole week on Saturdays) has me down. One more time -- who won?

How is that rebuilding project going, umm, 13 years after the destruction? Chris Edwards cites it as an example of "Edwards' Law: Large government projects often double in cost between when they are first considered and when they are finally completed."

The most expensive train station in the U.S. is taking shape at the site of the former World Trade Center, a majestic marble-and-steel commuter hub that was seen by project boosters as a landmark to American hope and resilience.

Instead, the terminal connecting New Jersey with downtown Manhattan has turned into a public-works embarrassment. Overtaking the project's emotional resonance is a practical question: How could such a high-profile project fall eight years behind schedule and at least $2 billion over budget?

An analysis of federal oversight reports viewed by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with current and former officials show a project sunk in a morass of politics and government.

I think I can hear OBL and Satan chuckling over that. And TSA screenings.... How's that Department of Homeland Security shaping up? Some folks worried it would be sclerotic and bureaucratic. Nicole Kaeding examines an audit of its vehicle fleet:
The federal government owned or leased 650,000 motor vehicles in fiscal year 2012. DHS's fleet was the government’s second largest, consisting of 56,000 vehicles. This armada of cars and trucks cost taxpayers $534 million in 2012. Given the large expense, the IG reviewed a portion of the DHS fleet, 753 vehicles, "to determine whether, for FY2012, the Department met requirements to right size the composition of its motor vehicle fleet, [and] eliminate underused vehicles."

The IG found that DHS vehicle management is poor. Vehicle identification numbers were not listed correctly for 39 percent of vehicles. Fifty-four percent of acquisition dates did not match other department records. The most damning finding was that 59 percent of vehicles were underused, meaning they were driven less than 12,000 miles, the governmental standard, in one year. Apparently, DHS has far too many cars and trucks, even assuming that the vehicles are used for efficient purposes.

The IG found that DHS does not purge unnecessary vehicles. Eighty-six percent of the underused vehicles were still owned by the department a year later. DHS was unable to provide documentation justifying vehicle retention and the additional expense.

Somebody else gotta be blog optimist today. I just am not feeling the love.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

There's a challenge to making a pithy comment on this post as it is two, two, two stories in one post.

The WTC paean to modern urbanism? We didn't build that - government did. How could it happen? See: "The Big Dig." Can't we just go back to private ownership of these things and let "Robber Barons" make "obscene profits" instead? Oh wait, that would entail "theft from the public." Riiiiight.

And the federal government motor pool - 650,000 vehicles nationwide or an average of 13,000 in every state of the union - could, I guess, be much worse. Imagine if there weren't commuter trains.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2014 11:40 AM

August 22, 2014

Quote of the postwar era

I do not feel that my choice of title is overwrought.

The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS throughout the depth of its holdings, and we should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give - and the most to lose - if the Islamic State’s march continues.

From a must read article by General John R. Allen, USMC retired. He gives the President great credit for actions taken in the theater thus far, but makes a profound plea for his annihilation of Islamic State immediately.

For its part, the White House has finally unleashed the "t-word."

"When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters. "That represents a terrorist attack against our country, against an American citizen, and I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers."
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2014

"Never Again..."

A Facebook friend compared the Islamic State movement [ISIS] to Nazism in 20th century Germany. Given the wholesale mass murder that both ideologies engaged in, I think the comparison is a good one, and completely leaps over Godwin's Law. I replied with the following comment:

The analogy between "ISIS" (Islamic Statists) and NAZI Germany is apropos, but I think there is a more timely analogy for IS - namely, the Ebola virus. Islamism is an ideological virus comparable to the biological virus. Both viruses kill or make carriers of the majority of people which they contact. Both are merciless, and have no goal but their own propagation. Both pose a threat of spreading to every nation on Earth. They are impervious to reason or "negotiation." - So why does Ebola warrant emergency efforts by our NIH and deployment of our latest experimental "weapon" the ZMAPP drug, while the rapidly spreading Islamic Statist movement is met only with "limited airstrikes?"


Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Michael Moynihan deliberately mentioned and then contravened Godwin's Law on The Independents last night, saying "This is Babi Yar."

Strong but undeniable words. There are no examples contradictory to equivalence.

I would certainly back the President on a forceful response, but I mistrust his judgment sufficiently to hope for caution. "Limited Air strikes" have been somewhat effective. A clandestine arming of the Kurds could be good politics and good policy.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2014 5:31 PM

Where'd I Put that Neoconservatism Again?`

A stupid Facebook meme touched a nerve today. A brit friend (Britons of all political stripes are united in their hatred of President George W. Bush -- he truly is a uniter) posts a screenshot of the ice bucket challenge: Laura is pouring the bucket on George and the caption reads: "That awkward moment when ... you realize you just reminded everyone of your career waterboarding people."

Queue up the worlds smallest "heh."

Marine Brian Welke (rank not given) has a guest editorial in the WSJ today where he answers a frequent question.

Was it worth it? That's a question I've been asked no fewer than five times since large portions of Iraq have fallen to the murderous Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. As a Marine veteran who served a tour of duty in Ramadi in 2005-06, I understand that people are genuinely interested in how I now feel about my military service in Iraq.

When that question, which every veteran is inevitably faced with, rears its head, I respond with the same four words, albeit with the first two reversed: It was worth it. In my heart and mind, the answer doesn't matter whether Iraq stands on its own or collapses into a sea of blood and hate. It isn't an answer I have to hold for the future--to wait and see. A sacrifice's worth is not determined by outcomes.

I'll let the Randians the last sentence, but Welke stirs a little latent Sharanskyism, with a reminder of a majority's choosing self-direction.
It was in the sands of Ramadi that I learned most people want to be masters of their own fate. When we were providing area security for a week-long recruitment drive to re-establish the Ramadi police force, the turnout was overwhelming. More than 1,000 applicants stood in line when death approached in the form of a suicide bomber. The blast killed more than 60 and wounded at least 50. On that day, as on many days before and after, Americans and Iraqis were killed by the same enemy. They fell in pursuit of freedom. One for the other's; one for his own. No matter how things turn out, there was a time when Americans and Iraqis stood united against hate and evil.

You want fries with that big bowl of conflicted, jk?

What I do know is that if the "guy who made a career out of waterboarding" were President, we would not be seeing ISIS's territorial gains. You folks who want to celebrate that on Facebook, go right ahead.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Dubya would have intercepted ISIS, I have no doubt, but in the service of what goal? The rallying cry in Gulf War II was "democracy" for Iraq. That legacy has had a lukewarm reception from Iraqi's and utter disregard and contempt by ISIS (they and I call them simply "IS" or Islamic State[ists].)

Does it assuage your internal conflict to view Dubya's "adventure" as the right action for the wrong purpose? The stated objective should have been freedom, liberty, individual rights, not this BS weasel concept "democracy." Democracy is two Islamists and a Jew deciding how everyone has to pray.

But the power void left in Iraq has had a positive consequence, and I use the word "positive" advisedly. The utter savagery of IS, culminating with the decapitation murder of an American journalist, does more harm to the Islamic Caliphate movement than a million smart-bombs. It has almost completely destroyed any semblance of a moral justification for Islamism. "Conform or die" might even get the French to send troops this time. - And so, the toppling of Saddam was an unmitigated good, as were the various random Islamists who were killed in the aftermath. But the misguided and doomed effort of "nation building" should never have been attempted. Colin Powell was wrong: We should have broken it and left them to clean up the pieces, themselves, in complete self-determination.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2014 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I forgot to discuss "sacrifice." If our military efforts had been expended in defense of their proper goal, they would not have been sacrificial. We properly fight in foreign lands to protect not merely "innocents" but a principle: The idea of fundamental birthright human liberty.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2014 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I am with you on "break it and run like hell." Keep me out of Pottery Barn.

But I was not sure about your separation of Democracy and individual rights. On Facebook, I am happy to confront my friends' sloppy use of "Democracy." It is dangerous to think that majority rule somehow is responsible for the liberties and prosperity we enjoy. And I'm not the least bashful correcting another free individual on the finer points.

But I am completely comfortable with Natan Sharansky or President Bush using it as shorthand for self-directed government that respects individual rights and rule of law. Whisky, Democracy, Sexy remains a flag I can fight under -- in Iraq. In Colorado, we need remember that superior numbers do not supersede property rights.

Had W pushed for individual rights, I don't see a different outcome. Like the Chinese in Helen Raleigh's book, I worry that there is insufficient philosophical appreciation for individual rights to find purchase. The celebrated moderate and peaceful Muslims reject violence and beheadings but do they reject government's telling people how to pray?

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2014 5:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree that "individual rights" is on a higher plane of understanding than what one should expect to encounter in the third world. That's why I also included freedom and liberty in my formulation. My problem with "democracy" is it is a package deal concept - freedom and liberty for certain things, majority rule for the important stuff. It trades the authoritarianism of Allah and his Quran for the authoritarianism of Uncle Sam and his Code of Federal Regulations. The concept of "your rights end at the tip of my nose" is the principal one we must advance.

"Be democratic" sounds too much like "trade your culture for ours." Unfortunately, at the present, that is a case of the blind leading the blind.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2014 5:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Liberty. Whiskey! SEXY!


Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2014 5:51 PM

June 25, 2014

Can we go with the least crazy guys?

I had been thinking about "The Kurds." As the US tries to choose between the Sunni and Shia to find the lesser-crazy partner in Iraq -- I thought, is there not another? Did not the Kurds establish pluralistic zones of modernity in the North and pump oil even during wartime?

Brother Keith brought it up on Facebook. He has some personal experience and travel as I understand and thinks very highly of them. I just thought in the loony-bin that is Iraq, they were most capable of answering the phones when the Doctor was in conference. (Sorry to be ThreeSources's own Rudyard Kipling, but few in the region have behaved with distinction.)

William Galston calls for Kurdish Independence on the WSJ Ed Page today.

The lines British and French diplomats drew on a map in 1916 never corresponded with ethnic and sectarian realities on the ground, and now the lines of the Sykes-Picot agreement are unsustainable. "Iraq" and "Syria" are names, not nations.

By contrast, the Kurds are a distinct people. They have their own language, culture and history. They have been oppressed by every country in which they have languished as a minority. They were promised independence in 1920, only to have that promise rescinded three years later. They have made wise and patient use of the autonomy they have gained in Iraq. It is hard to think of a people who more deserve their own state.

The case for Kurdish independence is more than moral. Despite persistent corruption in Iraq, the Kurds there have governed themselves effectively and have attracted significant foreign investment. Their army has proved to be disciplined and effective. With the Kurds' recent takeover of Kirkuk, they have what they have long regarded as their true capital, their Jerusalem. And the Iraqi Kurds' entente with Turkey allows them to export oil without Baghdad's cooperation, securing their economic independence.

I'm all in.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I thought this post was going to be about Tom Tancredo coming in second in the CO governor GOP primary. But on that or Kurdistan, I'm all in too.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2014 12:42 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

After seeing the House clasp hands and sing "We Shall Overcome" this week, I was guessing from the title that the post was about the kerfuffle over House leadership...

Yes, I do have a lot of affection and respect for the Kurds, and jk, thank you for including the text from the article where they were cheated out of having their own country. I shared with jk a little something that I'm doing that includes an interesting vision for Kurdistan in the future.

I'd add that Turkey has also recently done an about-face on the issue, and for two reasons: first, it's bad enough having to share a border with Syria, and with Iraq suddenly jumping onto the crazy train, having a peaceful Kurdistan on that border instead of Iraq would be one less thing to worry about. Second, they hope the Kurds living in Turkey would pack up and move there without tearing off a piece of eastern Turkey in the process.

When I'm elected President, my second major foreign policy action will be to publicly recognize Kurdistan's sovereignty. The first, of course, would be to serve a thirty-day eviction notice on the United Nations in New York, but I suppose that would be for another post entirely...

Anyway, I'm all in on this issue, and have been for a long time -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 25, 2014 1:09 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Here is what the WarNerd had to say about the Kurds this week:

The Kurds, who’d come through a nightmare century with remarkably little hatred for anyone, as far as I could see, didn’t buy this at all. My Kurdish students, as fine a group of people as I’ve ever met, used to say at every opportunity, “I have Christian friends! I have Yazidi friends! I have Turcoman friends! I have Shia friends!”

I guess if you’re a middle-class American, “I have [minority-sect] friends” sounds sort of patronizing. At least, when I told people back home about my students’ boast of inter-community friendships, the kewl leftists among them sneered a little, like “Oh that’s just like whites saying ‘my black friends.’”

Which, frankly, made me want to break a latte glass over their heads and cut their throats with the broken base. No, it isn’t like that slack Berkeley clichĂ© about “my black friends”; it isn’t like that at all. I just wish Americans would stop assuming every place is like us. Let me tell you, for a Sunni Kurd to say, “I have Shia friends, I have Christian friends” is about as brave and radical as it gets, short of suicide, in the Middle East. I never heard any of my Saudi students say anything remotely like it. Well, how could they? By law, Shi’ism and Christianity are banned in the Kingdom. So they didn’t have the opportunity, even if they’d had the mindset (which they didn’t).

Something wonderful came out of the horrors of 20th century Iraq, among the Kurds of the Northern hills. They became the only non-sectarian population in Iraq, and perhaps the only such group between Lebanon and India.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 26, 2014 11:43 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Memo to jk: when the Kurds to get their own country (which ought to include Mosul and Kirkuk, for the record), we need to send them a link to this post - one of those "you heard it here first" kind of things. So they know who their friends are.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 26, 2014 12:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd give them from Israel to India, were I drawing the maps. You think they have the humor to appreciate the Kiplingesque condescension? I might clean the post up just a smidgen.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2014 1:32 PM

June 20, 2014

This time Obama is right

I've been in unfamiliar territory this week as I find myself approving of President Obama's decision to NOT start shooting and bombing "ISIS terrorists" in Iraq. The novelty here is the agreement with the president, and disagreement with most hosts and callers on talk radio. One notable exception is Jason Lewis, who says we have no business risking blood or treasure in the latest Iraq violence.

"Because Iran will if we don't" is no reason to insert ourselves in Iraq's civil war. Nor is "because Russia will if we don't" a reason to use force in Syria or Turkey. (We can have a conversation about Ukraine.)

Perhaps I'm following a recent trend of taking contrarian views without sufficient reflection and if so, I welcome those who may correct me. But first I want to warn you that my side includes Wednesday's "From the Right" editorialist on IBD's Ed page, Doug Bandow.

It is time for Washington to stop trying to micromanage other nations' affairs and to practice humility. This wouldn't be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. But our government's expectations should be realistic, its ambitions bounded. American officials should abandon their persistent fantasy of reordering the world.

Obama's foreign policy may be feckless. But that's not its principal failing. As long as Washington tries to dominate and micromanage the world, it will end up harming U.S. interests.

Yes, that was from the right, a place not occupied by Neocons like McCain, Graham and Cheney.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:23 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Tentative agreement, though I think we are coming from different perspectives.

A blog named after a Natan Sharansky quote must come to terms with some of the excesses of neo-conservatism. I have quietly revised some views since 2003, but I am not in the camp of Rand Paul's WSJ Editorial today. And I suspect, I am neither in the camp of brother jg.

An older, wiser, hindsight-enabled jk looks back and concludes:

1) The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was worthwhile. War opponents are correct to point out bad current conditions, but they never compare those exigencies to 11 more years of Saddam Hussein's rule. Some good things happened in Iraq -- and some good things happened in other mideastern nations; Sharansky was vindicated.

2) I don't agree with Ambassador John Bolton everyday, but he was on The Independents last week. Facing a triple barrel of hostile, Libertoid snark, he held firm that invasion, good, nation-building bad. We deposed Saddam in nine days. With all respect to Sec, Powell, it wasn't Pottery Barn. We could have left it broken and done it again if the new government was not more amenable. Folks came in and looted the museums? Sorry 'bout that.

3) I recall talking with ThreeSourcers in 2008. It was obvious that then Senator Obama was going to win and we knew he would squander the hard-fought gains. We knew he'd telegraph a retreat; hell, he campaigned on that. Thucydides warned about long engagements and Democracies.

4) A projection of strength would have gone a log way in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq. President Obama so obviously wants to focus on Domestic issues that the would world knows they may act with impunity. We were the house with the "proudly gun free!" sign out front and now we're surprised we were robbed.

5) At this point in time, I do not trust the President's commitment, discernment, or competence to intervene. The Electoral College chose him, he chose disengagement, we are where we are -- blustering our way in there now has little upside and tremendous downside.

BUT: I'll quibble with Bandow's "As long as Washington tries to dominate and micromanage the world" and Rand Paul's "We will do ourselves no favors if we simply recommit to the same mistakes and heed the advice of those who made them in the first place."

I sure wish the world did not require US influence and that Pax did not require Americana. But I do not believe it for a second. David Boaz and Rep. Ron Paul assert that they'll leave us alone if we leave them alone. People used to tell me that about wasps -- and they always stung me.

Bringing me to: 6) Elect a competent and tough C-in-C in 2016. Until then, world, you're on your own.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good reply. It seems I'm not too far in the weeds but brother BR hasn't chimed in yet.

I agreed with 1) and 2) at the time, and I agree with them still, albeit stronger on 2) than 1).

A big problem with a foreign policy of "projecting strength" is that someone might call your bluff. Islamists are generally inclined to do this in spite of self-interested reasons not to. They're kinda old fashioned playground toughs that way. But take Bandow's point about Iran and the Shah back in '53. What if we'd left them alone then? We'd still be a Satan for supporting Israel but there would be fewer grievances for sustaining anti-American fervor.

Here's the rub: I don't advocate isolationism, rather diplomacy with carrots instead of sticks. Just as I don't agree with government force as a tool for reducing drug use or abortions, I think we'll do better with the nations and peoples of the world when they try things on their own and find out we were right when we needled and cajoled and incentivized our way than if we bomb their asses for disobedience. Or even just install our own puppet regimes.

I'm really curious where you quibble with "Washington ... dominate and micromanage the world." Are you happy when Washington does that to Colorado? We are all TEA Partiers now!

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I should admit that 2) has been a point on which I've evolved ("Hey, jk, you misspelled 'cravenly inconsistent!'") I would not have argued against a quick withdrawal, but sticking around and teaching them the finer points of Democracy seemed plausible. I believed Sharanshy that all hearts yearn for liberty and I wept at purple fingers. All that seems rather naïve today.

We're both Occidentalists in different ways. I think their self-interest shines more brightly in preservation than incentive. So put me down for "sticks."

Don't like "dominate and micromanage" because it implies that all US influence is bad or wrong. I like when we meddle with Iran and generally torque off North Korea, neither are protected by the Tenth Amendment.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 7:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I may not be on record about it but I disapproved of the post war plan as "nation building." I might not have said it, but I believed it.

"Sticks" must be used only in defense, whether that be of the homeland, of our citizens, or even of minority populations in foreign lands on occasion. In Iraq, some are proposing that we use our force to protect the majority population from a minority. Sorry, that's their own job.

I don't read Bandow as saying that all US foreign policy seeks domination and micromanagement, but that when it does go that far it is contrary to our interests.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2014 10:44 AM

May 21, 2014

Libertas est in lege prohibitum

In an IBD editorial Campus Intolerance Endangers America's Free Speech. Economics Hoss Walter E. Williams treads the same waters of western illiberalism that we discussed May 9th regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Readers may recall I drew a simile between western "liberals" and central Africa's Boko Haram ["non-Muslim teaching is forbidden"].

Williams quotes Charles Murray to explain what the academy used to be all about, at least when it was devoted to science instead of indoctrination: "The task of the scholar is to present a case for his or her position based on evidence and logic. Another task of the scholar is to do so in a way that invites everybody into the discussion rather than demonize those who disagree."

But today, every challenge to the orthodoxy of the illiberal left is met with precisely the opposite reaction - demonization. Williams summarizes in elevator-ese:

Western values of liberty are under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America.

So confident are they in the Righteousness or "purity" of their egalitarian socialist ideals that there is no limit - in their minds - to the legitimate infringement of the rights of others, if those others question the validity of their "pure" ideal. So damn the Constitution, damn the First Amendment, damn the free speech of the Academic Infidel.

In the example of Boko Haram we may suggest a name for the post-modern academics and the politicians, talking heads, environmental cultists and Facebook Friends who take this path. "Teaching Liberty is Forbidden."

Fortunately, Americans have never taken kindly to being told what to do.

UPDATE: Changed the title to Latin from the original, and ambiguous, French: "La liberté d'enseignement est interdit." Thanks to my father for the translation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I summarized this post in an email to family members and thought that was worth sharing:

To summarize the point of the article, I quote economist Walter E Williams on American college professors' hostility to the freedom of western societies. (He wrote about the war on free speech on college campuses.) I submit that that they hold their goal "egalitarian socialism on a worldwide basis" as so good and ideologically 'pure" that they are justified, in their minds, in violating rights of others - "Academic Infidels" I called them - in furtherance of their crusade.

In essence, the philosophical justification used by America's academic elite is the same one used by Islamic terrorists - the righteousness of their respective "pure" ideology. So we now must ask, who made this philosophical leap first? Who learned it from whom? Is the philosophy of our academic elite responsible for the rise of terrorism?

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2014 3:02 PM

May 9, 2014

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

One for brother jg:

I am often told that the average Muslim wholeheartedly rejects the use of violence and terror, does not share the radicals' belief that a degenerate and corrupt Western culture needs to be replaced with an Islamic one, and abhors the denigration of women's most basic rights. Well, it is time for those peace-loving Muslims to do more, much more, to resist those in their midst who engage in this type of proselytizing before they proceed to the phase of holy war.

It is also time for Western liberals to wake up. If they choose to regard Boko Haram as an aberration, they do so at their peril. The kidnapping of these schoolgirls is not an isolated tragedy; their fate reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a mortal threat to the rights of women and girls. If my pointing this out offends some people more than the odious acts of Boko Haram, then so be it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (giants walk the earth in smaller forms) meaningfully corrects the translation of "Boko Harem:
The translation from the Hausa language is usually given in English-language media as "Western Education Is Forbidden," though "Non-Muslim Teaching Is Forbidden" might be more accurate.

More importantly and reminiscent of jg's post, she calls for some (what is the Arabic word for cojones?) from moderate Muslims and western apologists.
How to explain this phenomenon to baffled Westerners, who these days seem more eager to smear the critics of jihadism as "Islamophobes" than to stand up for women's most basic rights? Where are the Muslim college-student organizations denouncing Boko Haram? Where is the outrage during Friday prayers? These girls' lives deserve more than a Twitter hashtag protest.

A superb piece -- holler if you'd like it emailed.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (10)
But johngalt thinks:

There happens to be an immediate example of "egalitarian-socialist teaching" that is worthy of translation. How about "non-Common Core teaching is forbidden?" Translation: U.S. Department of Education.

George Will:

"This is a thin end of an enormous wedge of federal power that will be wielded for the constant progressive purpose of concentrating power in Washington, so that it can impose continental solutions to problems nationwide."

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2014 12:12 PM
But Jk thinks:

Common Core is the topic of Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons Monday night. Creek don't rise, the lovely bride and I are there.

Posted by: Jk at May 11, 2014 7:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder if the speaker will touch on any of this most notably the connections between Common Core's creators and one Bill Ayers, education "reformer", Chicago. Perhaps you've heard of him?

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2014 2:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If the word of a blogger isn't good enough for some folks, here's an exhaustive piece from The New American. It doesn't mention Ayers but does reference John Stuart Mill's "despotism over the mind" warning about government schools.

This also caught my eye:

Another controversial non-profit involved in Common Core is the Carnegie Corporation of New York, an establishment powerhouse that funds everything from the Council on Foreign Relations to the Atlantic Council.

Unsurprisingly, the CFR itself has been a staunch proponent of the standards.

Let's start asking all of our FB Friends if we really want to have the schools that the Carnegie Corporation wants us to have. Also, CFR support explains why some Republicans support this disastrous plan.

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2014 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I read most of the "Parallel Lives" article. Very good, but page three is remarkably long and I had to skip over some.

It is very good. Two takeaways: Firstly, perhaps I too need to love all of my fellow men, including the Islamists and the World Socialists - yet redouble my hatred for Islamism and World Socialism. I proudly note I've begun that journey with the phrase, "I like President Obama but I hate his ideas." Secondly, 'The Columbian Orator' is still in print, and in a Kindle edition to boot. $6.99 I hope to soon read it to and with my young children.

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2014 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I started a new post for Common Core. And coughed up the seven bucks for Columbian Orator, thanks for the tip.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2014 3:46 PM

August 20, 2013

Friends like U.S.

As the pro-western Egyptian military declares, through its actions, that it is with George W. Bush and not the terrorists, America's government treats them like pariahs. If I didn't know better I'd think our President was with the terrorists. But there is scant evidence to the contrary. IBD editorial:

In 2009, his grandiose speech in Cairo apologized for America's historical role in the Middle East and snubbed Mubarak, setting the stage for the Egyptian president's overthrow by the mob.

When the worst-case scenario happened and an operative for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president, Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, went to Cairo and personally coddled him.

President Obama's foreign policy is reminiscent of his domestic economic policy, where he uses the power of government to punish winners and reward losers. With friends like him, Egypt (and American business) don't need enemies.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I certainly agree it was bungled. And I'm not above blaming the President's ego. (Too bad Egypt had to try and get by for 5,000 years without his awesomeness).

But now that we're in the soup, I'm not sure fulsome support of the Military is a slam dunk. Bret Stephens presents it as the least-worst option, which I might buy. But al-Sisi as sort of a Dick Cheney with better aim . . . I'm not sure I'm buying that.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2013 5:25 PM
But jk thinks:

OTOH: Ambassador Marc Ginsberg was on Kudlow last night and made a solid case for this.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2013 2:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"McCain and Graham, the little Bobsey twins..." LOL! He walked it back, but still.

I'm not sure, but it sounded like Ambassador Ginsberg said the Egyptian army is racist. Isn't that what "displeasure with the Obama Administration" means?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2013 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Damned Egyptian Army Racist Teabaggers!!!

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2013 3:48 PM

July 26, 2013

Chris Christie: libertarianism "very dangerous"

At the Republican Governors Association gathering in Aspen, CO this week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sounded the alarm against the danger of too many people having too much freedom.

"As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought," Christie said.

Christie's statement was in the context of the narrowly defeated bill that would have reduced funding for NSA collection of Americans' phone records, a subject that Christie dismissed as "esoteric."

Rand Paul tweeted a response:

Christie worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional.

But what I really want to know is, where the hell is the libertarian streak that's going through the Democrat party right now?

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:08 PM | Comments (10)
But AndyN thinks:

I once encountered a young leftist (who didn't think he was a leftist) arguing that Anthony Weiner isn't a leftist, he's a left-libertarian. Yeah, I know, it makes about as much sense as claiming that George W Bush was a serious conservative based on his campaigning on compassionate conservatism. Unfortunately, that's about as deep as most people's political understanding runs - if you say you think people should be allowed to get stoned and engage in consequence-free sex, you're a libertarian regardless of how much big government intrusion in our lives your actions actually support.

Posted by: AndyN at July 27, 2013 1:14 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN; That's why I find primaries to be more fun; the IQ skips up at least a few points. But the GOP needs to pick somebody who can be sold to the low-information voter. That may or may not come to play in this, but Christie may enter as "the guy who won twice and big in a very blue state." That is ignored at liberty's peril.

@jg: Do we differ much? I'll go with the Gutfield quote and even admit that I am under-educated on Paul's foreign policy. My data points are an absolutism on NSA and a rush to pull foreign aid. Both are pretty popular-to-populists but I am willing to endure a little more nuance. Perhaps President Rand Paul will grow in office as Obama did and end up at a perfect place.

Both Paul and Christie are extremely effective explainers of liberty. No doubt I'll disagree with both, but I'd be happy with either.

My point, contra Gutfeld, is that the libertarians are running for the exits a few months early this season. They wonder why they have no political power, but they can't play like grownups. The second somebody says something "impure" they'll vow never to vote for him/her again -- off to Gary Johnson 2016 and we have not even had the midterms.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2013 5:54 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I am reading this slightly differently.


I think Gov Christie's remarks need to be placed in context. Two things happened this week that serve as the immediate context for his remarks.

1. The vote on the NSA funding amendment, as JG notes

2. A great deal of the conservative literati have been writing/debating about "reform conservatism", and the phrase "libertarian populism" keeps popping up.

Isolationism was not part of this context. Nor was it explicitly part of his remarks. One can oppose NSA without opposing isolationism.

The NSA vote was interesting because you had a coalition of radical liberals and radical conservatives strongly united (there was some pretty heated rhetoric on the House floor before the vote - directed by members of one party at their own party members!) against the establishment. It was a very clear divide and ti gives lie to many of the 'hyper partisanship' stalemate stuff we hear so much.

There is a large section of the Republican party, which Christie has termed libertarian, that wants to make this a central issue. The fact so many Democrats voted for the issues suggests that these concerns are open political capital no one has managed to capitalize on yet.

Thought leaders, wonks, and the more prominent politicians (like Mr. Rand) who are part of this wing have been working rather hard over the past few months to get their agenda crystallized and to force a debate about the future of the Republican Party. Two Presidential defeats in a row and the GOP has to do some soul searching. These men are ready to mount a fight for the Republican Party's soul.

NSA and civil liberties is part of this. Other topics of note are drones and secret assassinations, crony capitalism, the revolving door between executive agencies, lobbyists, and industry positions, and ending the drug war and all of the evils that come with it. Foreign policy takes a back seat in this discussion.

As I see it, Christie is fighting back against the NSA push specifically and the general "libertarian populist/reform conservative" movement generally. This is not where he wants the party to go and he has carefully chosen a place to make his stand against the movement in the most dramatic yet risk free way that he can.

Jk faults the libertarians for being spoilers and giving up on the GOP and going out of their way to drudge up men like Christie. Maybe. But from my view point, the libertarians have - for once - gone out of their way, think-tank, interest group style, to create a platform for the Republican Party - to change the party instead of just protesting against it. And that is exactly what Gov Christie is fighting against.

The libertarians have due reason to be upset.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 28, 2013 3:07 AM
But jk thinks:

Libertarians of all case always have good reason to be upset. I get upset with them because they punch so far under their weight in politics. Their tantrums are not effective though far less populous and engaged groups drive the debate and policy.

jg and tg make good points as to context, but might be overthinking a bit. I think Governor C is playing the long game. He purposefully campaigned just enough in 2012 to get the GOP aching for the candidate they couldn't have so that he could be the front runner in an open seat year. He then campaigned for a landslide in New Jersey, knowing that is his ticket.

Executing a multi-year plan for the White House (think not Machiavelli but Henry Clay), I don't think he is reacting to a Senate speech or a couple opinion articles in an odd numbered year. There is clearly a war for the party brewin' (I suggest, like Angel, the Republican Party has no soul as it were to fight over).

Christie is laying down his position as the standard bearer of a traditional, hawkish, law-and-order, Republican Party. He's got bits of Eisenhowerism that will drive Tea Partiers crazy, but Eisenhower won elections. Larry Kudlow is with him on guns, the WSJ Ed Page is with him on NSA snooping, Bill Kristol will prefer his foreign policy. The sum is a formidable hunk of the GOP from which to wrest the nomination.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2013 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes but it is the crusty old "establishment" hunk. It is the hunk that is on a serious electoral losing streak with up and coming voters. It is the hunk that appeals to old white guys. Well, it doesn't appeal to this old white guy anymore.

If there is a "soul" of the Republican party it is "thou shalt oppose abortion at every turn." To the point that I'm getting right to life mailers in the name of Rand Paul. So in that respect Paul is not abandoning traditional planks, much to my chagrin. But it's wise to win the primary first, and that seems where he's focusing - Iowa.

A great analysis by TG helped me see the bigger picture: The strain of libertarianism that Christie calls "dangerous" is most dangerous to establishment politicians, be they R's or D's. The establishment power base is on the coasts, particularly the east. They rigged the game to suit themselves and anything that diminishes government power doesn't suit them. A President Christie would be another President Bush, but with fewer principles (2A). I'd rather continue a reform effort that has anti-government corporatism appeal than elect another president who will maintain the big spending, big taxing, big regulating status quo. Freedom is at stake. I stand with Rand and his ilk.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2013 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I ended this post by asking where are the libertarian Democrats? While I have serious trust issues with the senior senator from Colorado (and this is an election year for him) he does sound here like he might be listening to the junior senator from Kentucky.

So that's why it's important to have this debate. We're having it in the Congress. Moderates, liberals, conservatives, all are sharing concern about the reach of the NSA's bulk collection program. Let's change it. Let's reform it. Let's narrow it.

OOOOOOhh. "Dangerous."

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2013 4:42 PM

June 21, 2013

O Say, Can You See?

Is there an Afghani Francis Scott Key? NYTimes reports on a hurdle in the Taliban Peace Talks:

Diplomats were still engaged in discussions about how the Taliban are presenting themselves at their new office here. After Afghan officials angrily announced they would not participate in the talks because the Taliban raised their flag along with a banner reading "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," American officials asked the Qataris to get the Taliban to remove such emblems of legitimacy.

The banner was removed by Wednesday night, and the flag -- on a pole in the compound of the Taliban office -- disappeared from view around the same time. But Thursday morning, in better light, it became apparent that their flag was still flying, albeit on a flagpole that had been shortened a couple of yards so the flag could not be seen above the wall by the general public. It could be seen only through gaps in the high wall -- which is where Afghan Embassy officials were seen Thursday morning, snapping photographs of the scene.

Not quite the drama of Fort Henry, but we work with what we have. Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg "Anyone Notice We Lost a War?"

But even under the rosy scenario -- under which we leave having accomplished . . . Something To Be Specified Later other than having successfully completed the process of "Afghanization" (AKA Vietnamization) --- all that will stand between us and defeat will be Hamid Karzai. I used to like Karzai. I loved the outfits. He always dressed like he was leading a diplomatic delegation on Star Trek; all he needed were a few ridges on his forehead and maybe some cat eyes. But now he inspires as much confidence as a paper-maché submarine.

The opening of the Taliban office in Qatar said it all. They hung up a shingle declaring themselves representatives of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" -- the name they used for Afghanistan before their rule was so rudely interrupted by the Arsenal of Democracy. The notion that they have any intention of giving up their Talibannish ways strikes me as beyond fanciful. They are Aesopian creatures. The scorpion stung the frog because that is what scorpions do. The Taliban enslaves women, persecutes religious minorities, and mutilates children because that is what the Taliban does. If and when the Taliban stops doing these things, it stops being the Taliban.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

How long until America's president is condemning the Afghan president in support of the Taliban's "Afghanistan Spring?" #TwilightZone

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2013 11:28 AM

May 6, 2013

Not Very Neighborly


"The FBI believed there was a terror attack in its planning stages, and we believe there would have been a localized terror attack, and that's why law enforcement moved quickly to execute the search warrant on Friday to arrest Mr. Rogers," FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said Monday.

These PBS guys...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:12 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Numerous calls to Mr. Greenjeans for comment went unanswered.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2013 11:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Doh! Make that Mr. McFeeley. I'm a failure.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2013 11:24 AM

May 2, 2013

Why now?

News today that the FBI has placed Joanne Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorists list. The closest the FBI comes to an explanation why this fugitive, who was broken out of prison by armed confidantes 34 years ago and was put on the US government terrorism watch list in 2005, is now a "most wanted terrorist" is ... the 40th anniversary of her crime.

"Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style," said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of our Newark Division. "Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster's death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice."

Well, they've known she's been under sanctuary in Cuba for almost 30 years. Why not do this on a prior anniversary? Not knowing any better, I'll speculate it is related to her movement to the terrorism watch list 8 years ago. No other information is given by the FBI, except that Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur (Tupac's aunt) "is only the second domestic terrorist to be added to the list." The first appears to be Daniel Andreas San Diego, a vegan eco-terrorist accused of bombing a San Francisco biotech company in 2003, for whom the "information leading to arrest" reward is $250,000. Chesimard's reward - $2,000,000.

And why did I include this in the Obama Administration category? For this, from the ABC News story: The rapper Common told her story in "A Song for Assata," which caused a stir after Michelle Obama invited him to a White House poetry slam two years ago. Rashid "Lonnie" Lynn a.k.a. 'Common', who traveled to Cuba to meet with Shakur prior to recording the song, has been associated with Progressive Hip-Hop as early as 2000.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2013

Ten Seconds or All Night?

I'm a big fan of Judge Napolitano and his civil libertarian principles, especially since reading his book 'Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks its Own Laws.' But I occasionally disagree with things he says. Like this:

Napolitano explained that the public safety exception was only supposed to be 10 seconds, according to the Supreme Court, but was expanded to 48 hours by Attorney General Eric Holder "on his own."

Ten seconds? The ten second interrogation is the one where Jack Bauer tells the suspect, "Tell me where the dirty bomb is planted or I'll break your fingers, one each second, until you do." How long can a citizen be arrested and detained without charges being filed? Isn't it 48 hours? So if the FBI doesn't want a judge involved after just 19 hours, don't file the charges! On this part I agree with the judge. As for the "public safety exception" however, I'm with Attorney General Eric "Richard" Holder.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think the Miranda warnings are rendered moot by the real question of "are civilian court proceedings appropriate?"

The only real problem is admissibility of evidence discovered outside of Miranda warnings, and that was not significant here.

I am remarkably squishy on this for an opinionated guy. I'm leaning towards agreeing with AG Holder (a ThreeSources favorite, it seems!) that these are American Citizens and entitled to full protections of civil courts.

Had they declared him an enemy combatant, however, I would not have joined my buddies at Reason in declaring a new Martial State.

Other ThreeSourcers feel more strongly?

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2013 3:48 PM
But Terri thinks:

I'm with you. He's a citizen. Treat him like one.

Posted by: Terri at April 26, 2013 8:10 AM

April 22, 2013

Maher: "That's liberal bullshit right there"

Yes, that Maher. Bill. Just when you thought it was safe to dismiss him as a completely nonsensical political thespian he calls out a defender of Islam for ignoring the facts of the world we all now live in.

Click through for video and excerpt.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2012


In a comment to last week's Hope-a-Dope post, brother Ellis made a reference to 'Have Spacesuit - Will Travel.' It pained me that I couldn't come up with a clever acknowledgement of his obscure reference. But this morning, the events of September 11, 2012 led to my recollection of another passage from that title. It speaks to the practice of exposing oneself to a visibly unprotected life amongst others who have proven by their past behavior to be hostile to your very existence - for the misguided purpose of showing that you "trust" and "respect" those others, and seek to live happily ever after in coexistence with them. That was, it now appears, the intention of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton's foreign policy in Libya.

We lived like that “Happy Family“ you sometimes see in traveling zoos: a lion caged with a lamb. It is a startling exhibit but the lamb has to be replaced frequently.

--RAH 'Have Spacesuit - Will Travel' (1958)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:34 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Spot. On!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at September 13, 2012 4:56 PM

September 12, 2012

Islamists Wag the Dog?

The catalyst for riots and embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya yesterday, resulting in the deaths of four American diplomats, reportedly was a low-budget film that "appeared on the internet" and "insulted Islam." Demands by Egyptian citizens that the Egyptian president "take action" have apparently borne fruit as he asked the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to take "all legal measures" against the makers of the film.

But first there is the problem of determining who the makers of the film really are.

A high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles on Wednesday said that after numerous inquiries, it appeared no one in the Hollywood film industry or in the local Israeli community knew of a Sam Bacile, the supposed director-writer of the incendiary film “Innocence of Muslims.”

The official expressed some doubt that a person by that name actually existed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

DOESN'T MATTER. The American government, like the government of any free nation, isn't in the business of allowing or disallowing the published free speech of any of its citizens. The savage goatherds of Egypt and Libya don't seem to understand how that works.

Several lefties I know responded to my statement "this is an act of war" with "the attack on our embassies wasn't done by their governments, but by individuals who are not part of government; you can't hold their whole countries and their governments responsible for the actions of a few."

Why not? The purported reason for the attacks and murders was a film produced not by the American government, but by a handful of individuals in America not affiliated with the US government. If the film justifies an attack on our sovereign soil, how does the attack not justify the reverse?

OBAMA OWNS THIS WHOLE SCREW-UP, PART AND PARCEL. He and his administration fostered and encouraged the whole "Arab Spring" mess, putting Islamists in charge. We supported the Brotherhood in Egypt; we sponsored the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and enabled the new regime ("We came, we saw, he's dead." Anyone remember that?). Syria is now in slow-motion freefall; Turkey has moved from moderation to the Islamists; Afghanistan is a fly's eyelash from becoming a proxy state of Iran, which has made it clear they intend war on Israel. This administration has turned the Middle East into a powderkeg, and the SCOAMF is sitting on it to light up a joint.

The SCOAMF no-showed the entire last week of his daily intelligence briefings. But that's okay, say his mouthpieces, because even if he doesn't attend in person, he reads the written reports daily. REALLY? Then how is it he and his administration got caught flat-footed? Why was the Benghazi compound unprotected, and the nearby safegouse compromised.

"Foreign Policy President," my muscular buttocks...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 12, 2012 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You make a rational point KA. However, American public opinion would never support military action against Libya in response to this act of war on the part of al Qaeda. Nor should it. We should, however, "hold their whole country and their government responsible" in every civil means possible. One of these is to not post an ambassador without a metric buttload of marines. Hell, we don't post an ambassador in Great Britain without a detachment of marines. THAT, among many many other failures, is on the president.

Yes, Obama "owns" this, as I wrote in the previous post. And not only because of his policy failures but also because he "spiked the football" at least 21 times at the Democrat convention last week alone, capped by his vice-president's suggestion that Obama's killing of their leader should be on a bumper sticker: "Osama's Dead. GM's Alive."

If al Qaeda sought revenge it was generally against the United States, but specifically against a president who told them one thing but did quite another.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 5:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If Obama has not attended a single briefing in the week leading up to 9/11 (especially following the killing of OBL), then THAT is a scandal!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 12, 2012 6:53 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Demands by Egyptian citizens that the Egyptian president "take action" have apparently borne fruit as he asked the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to take "all legal measures" against the makers of the film.

Wow, I wish all demands by foreign governments were that easy to resolve. All legal measures against an American accused of apostasy have already been taken.

Posted by: AndyN at September 12, 2012 7:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yup. So long as the Egyptian president didn't mean sharia-legal.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2012 7:31 PM

There's Still a War Going On

Mideast popular opinion, we were told by candidate Obama, is anti-American because they see us as meddlers in their local affairs. We based our troops in the land of Mecca, which was supposedly the final motivation for Osama bin Laden to found al Qaeda and target America, Americans and the World Trade Center on 9/11. President Obama promised to change all of this by bringing home the troops and extending an olive branch to Islamic states and shadow groups alike.

As long ago as 2010, when General Stanley McChrystal was recalled from the effort to "liberate" Afghanistan, the president sought to apply his strategy to the mideast conflict:

Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America's enemies.


Some Afghan policy specialists are sceptical about whether negotiations would succeed. Peter Bergen, a specialist on Afghanistan and al-Qaida, told a US Institute of Peace seminar in Washington last week that there were a host of problems with such a strategy, not least why the Taliban should enter negotiations "when they think they are winning".

At the same time he offers to "talk to America's enemies" he has intensified efforts to eliminate terrorist leaders, including a top al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi. Killed by a U.S. missile in June, Senator Ben Nelson today suggested that Ambassador Christopher Stevens' killing yesterday in Libya may have been meant as revenge.

Did the president really believe he could conduct covert operations throughout the middle east without incurring the same kind of backlash his mentor Jeremiah Wright claimed to be the cause of 9/11? Whether it is better to fight terrorists or talk to them is less at issue with this administration than the schizophrenia that leads them to attempt both at the same time.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2011

Whither Emmanuel Goldstein?

Frank Fleming has a funny post today on America's need for a more sophisticated enemy. After defeating Britain, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the porn-addled cavemen in nowheresville don't seem to measure up.

Yes, they have a plan of world domination, but does anyone really take it seriously? Do they even take it seriously? I mean, if they did somehow conquer the West -- and it's hard to even come up with a science fiction scenario in which that would be possible -- where exactly would they get their porn from? The Taliban? They might eventually make some of their own porn, but then they'd stone to death all the women involved, which would make it a hard industry to keep going.

And after ten years, what was the new plan of Osama bin Laden, the great terrorist mastermind? Orchestrate another attack on U.S. soil to get America to leave the Middle East. Yeah, because 9/11 totally made America say to itself, "Let's leave the Middle East alone." Didn't Osama pay even the slightest attention to the outcomes of his previous schemes, or was he just non-stop preening himself for new videos and watching pornos? He had all this time, and the plan never evolved past:

PHASE 1: Randomly blow stuff up.
PHASE 2: ???
PHASE 3: Islamic domination of the world.

Beneath the humor, as I hope sometimes around here, there is a point. And I am not sure Fleming is actually voicing it. But is our 21st Century military the right tool for anti-terrorism? I'm finding myself drawn to the Penn Jillette view: live freely, celebrate the loss of free life to terrorism as heroic. Modified to include the Fleming Doctrine:
As for Islamic terrorists, they'd be back to their normal position as a persistent, annoying side threat that we're already well familiar with how to handle: shoot 'em in the head, chuck 'em in the sea, confiscate their porn.

Hat-tip: Insty (Welcome home, Professor!)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

I did Mister Jillette no favors with that paraphrase. If I may clarify, the question is the loss of liberty associated with airport security.

"No one can make any form of travel 100 percent safe. We'll take our chances. As for the victims of a security-free transportation system? Let's consider those terrorism victims heroes," [Jillette] writes. Let's say they died for freedom. They didn't die for us to have our phones tapped and have our time wasted at airports."

For the larger, current question of the Afghanistan and Iraq missions: I would happily point out that we took out a huge hunk of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership, not just OBL after ten years.

As for prosecuting it non-militarily, I would point out that the Embassy Bombings were followed by the Cole attack, The first World Trade Center attack by 9/11. Yet, after sending the military instead of Detective Clouseau, the attacks on American territory were choked to a trickle.

But brothers, I have lost confidence in the efficacy of our nation's extended engagements, especially in Afghanistan. Would it be a lot worse if we had left the week Hamid Karzai was elected?

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 3:54 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

GD, my non-sequitur reference was more the leap of logic than the posting under which it is located. I'm specifically referring to Dr. Paul's attempt to walk back his statement that he would not have authorized the attack on ObL (which is killing his campaign faster than two bullets to ObL's head).

To paraphrase my understanding of his position: "Since we did not get him 10 years ago, I would not have authorized getting him now. But if it had been me 10 years ago, I would have gotten him then. Killing him 10 years ago would have been justice, killing him now is illegal military adventurism that is destroying our liberty." Say wha...??? I'll admit that this is something of a thought montage, but it seems to capture the neck-snapping contortions of logic that he is trying use to remain relevant.

I seem to recall Sen. Kerry, when campaigning against GWB, said that he would have handled Iraq and the war on terror "smarter." Sounds like Dr. Paul is taking a page from the Kerry campaign playbook. The unprovable statement that "Everything would have turned out great with me 'cause I'm so much smarter than the other guy," sounds a lot like someone who does have a clue, IMHO.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 17, 2011 4:40 PM
But gd thinks:

BR, I must admit that I am really struggling with your interpretation of what Ron Paul has said:

"Since we did not get him 10 years ago, I would not have authorized getting him now. But if it had been me 10 years ago, I would have gotten him then. Killing him 10 years ago would have been justice, killing him now is illegal military adventurism that is destroying our liberty."

I do not interpret what he had said as such. I think Paul believes we should follow the rule of law. He believes attacking a sovereign country is an act of war and we should follow the rule of law when it comes to war, which is why he proposed H.R. 3076 back in 2001.

And let’s not make the mistake of thinking that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan as a recent or shocking revelation (see link attached). Just because Ron Paul understood this does not mean he was equipped to resolve it by himself.


Dr. Paul has been the one consistent voice in our Congress for the past 30+ years. He consistently votes “No” on anything that he sees as unconstitutional. Many may disagree with his foreign policy, but those who deem it unworthy of consideration given that we will have spent multiple trillions of dollars is what concerns me most as an economist; especially when I am still not convinced that all of our meddling actually makes us safer or freer. What good is freedom if it comes at the price of economic freedom?

The GOP race is still in the very early stages. Ron Paul may have made a mistake when he criticized the bin Laden assassination so soon after it happened. To render him clueless at this stage, however is myopic, especially when he is still the only candidate that has a proven history of standing for sound monetary policy which I consider to be perhaps the most important issue facing our country today.

Posted by: gd at May 17, 2011 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

GD, you put your finger on the maddening, irreconcilable frustration point between ThreeSourcers in general and Dr./Rep. Paul. I don't talk about us collectively very frequently but I think you'll find wide agreement with his "No" votes, strict adherence to the Tenth Amendment, Limited Government, and principles of liberty.

Yet we come where I started with my book review. I believe that Paul believes his plans for dealing with bin Laden and terrorists in general are superior. But I believe he is mistaken. There were a hundred positive outcomes of our military response. I'll accept debate on which of them were worth which cost, but I do not accept that everything would have been swell.

The most difficult parts of Paul's are when he ridicules the idea that "they hate us for our freedom." Paul cannot accept this has ever happened once, they are all just mad because of American Imperialism and Empire. I'd suggest he might read Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower. Guys who put chicks in bags and then watch porn all day may not be the rational political actors Paul imagines.

But yeah, the Constitution stuff. Yeah! You go, man!!

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2011 7:43 PM
But gd thinks:

Jk, it sounds like Dr. Paul's convictions on foreign policy are going to prevent him from garnering any of the ThreeSources vote. I think he and many of his followers believe it is hard to spread a religion through an anti-survival means such as suicide, but the psychology of a terrorist is probably something none of us can fathom. While Mr. Paul has my full support when it comes to economic policy and limited Federal government, I do have questions about his foreign policy. I think his position has some merit, but so does the other side. I have not interpreted Ron Paul's foreign policy as a panacea. I would still be comfortable giving his way a chance.

Posted by: gd at May 17, 2011 10:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dr. Ron Paul's convictions on foreign policy are at odds with my convictions on foreign policy. In a nutshell, that policy is: America is a free country of free men conducting free trade with other free men of the world. As a nation we have inalienable rights and legitimate interests and we bear no shame in defending them from any person or state who threatens them. We claim a moral right to intervene in non-free states on behalf of subjugated individuals, but accept no moral duty to do so.

The Libertarian Dr. Paul, on the other hand, has "plagiarize[d] Ayn Rand's principle that no man may initiate the use of physical force, and treat[s] it as a mystically revealed, out-of-context absolute..."

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 3:57 PM

May 12, 2011

Ron Paul 2012: Why Bother?

Pick your headline. Whether it is Politico's Ron Paul wouldn't have approved Osama bin Laden operation or Fox News' Ron Paul: I Would Not Have Ordered Bin Laden Raid or CBS News' Ron Paul: I wouldn't have killed bin Laden, the Libertarian Republican from Texas' newest campaign for the GOP nomination is over before it has begun.

"I don't think it was necessary, no. It absolutely was not necessary," Paul said during his Tuesday comments. "I think respect for the rule of law and world law and international law. What if he'd been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters in to London, because they were afraid the information would get out?"

But we obviously wouldn't need to send black helicopters to erase the world's most wanted man hiding in London because the British government WOULD have arrested him and turned him over, which the Pakistani government failed and/or refused to do for at least five years and probably longer that he was in their country.

President Bush's now forgotten doctrine to the sovereign nations of the world was, "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists." Pakistan was with the terrorists but President Bush stuck by the Paul plan of "work[ing] with the Pakistani government instead of authorizing a raid." President Obama, beneficiary of the knowledge of that failed strategy, exercised the Bush Doctrine. It's the one good thing he's done. For Paul to be critical now, even with the knowledge that the raid was successful, puts him further left on defense policy than even the Democrat president. His chances of winning the nomination just went from zero to negative infinity.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:15 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Funny story. I am halfway through Paul's book. Like Jeffrey Myron's "Libertarianism from A-Z," it is presented as essays on topics. Start with Abortion, I made it a little past Empire.

I suggested to my lefty brother and niece that we should all read it, and I think everybody's in. There are a bunch of essays where I will be outnumbered by family and kooky libertarian gadfly.

It is painful, jg, but the man is nothing if not consistent. He says that we create terrorists by meddling (Serenity, anybody?) and says that the model for a free country is Costa Rica. They don't bug anybody and nobody bugs them.

What was an impossible sell in 2008 becomes an extremely hard sell in 2012. Ever the Deepak Lal-ist, I disagree fulsomely with Rep. Paul. But the jg who appreciates consistency and reason has to admire Paul's serious and heartfelt exhortations against military adventurism.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2011 3:54 PM
But gd thinks:

First off, I love what you guys do with the site. Keep up the great work!

Second, if Ron Paul had been our President we would not be in two quagmires in the Middle East and would have saved trillions of dollars.

Dr. Paul believes that when good people with good intentions ignore the rule of international law (or the Constitution), it sets a precedent for bad people with bad intentions to do the same. Dr. Paul also believes that it is more important for America to lead by moral example than to enforce "good" around the world.

Feel free to disagree, but realize that you do so at peril of losing the concept of freedom as the fundamental base of your argument.

Posted by: gd at May 13, 2011 1:10 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

GD, thanks for participating in the debate; a fresh voice is always welcome.

We will likely agree to disagree on some aspects of the roll of the US in the world but agree on others, so I want to hone in on one thing. That is, the idea that we must uphold "international law." I've heard Rep. Paul use the term and now you. Yes, we should uphold our end of international agreements. But by upholding international law, does he mean that we must submit to the dictates of the United Nations? Is the Second Amendment invalidated if the UN bans individual gun ownership? Does it mean that our national leaders can get hauled in front of the international court in The Hague if Kim Jong Il doesn't like something that they did?

There are many positions taken by Rep. Paul that I find problematic, but let's focus on this one for now. Look forward to hearing your response.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 13, 2011 10:48 AM
But gd thinks:

Refugee, I think you will find that we agree on many topics which is probably why I enjoy the site so much (jk is an internet rock star for me).

I am not going to say that I completely agree with Dr. Paul on the specific issue of going into Pakistan to raid Osama bin Laden's villa, capture, and kill the evil terrorist. I usually give Paul the benefit of the doubt when he says something that at first appears controversial because Paul is about the only congressman I am aware of that consistently postulates freedom as the basis for his decisions. His modus operandi ("M.O.") is not to win a popularity contest which is tragically why he probably will not win the Presidency. His M.O. is to spread the idea of freedom through reason rather than force. Someday many years down the road our children and grandchildren will read stories about the visionary that was Ron Paul. Unfortunately sometimes we trade our heroes for ghosts so his genius likely will not be fully appreciated until his time has passed. I think the good Doctor realizes this as much as anyone which is why he is worthy of my utmost respect. He is truly a man of principle.

From what I have read the drone strikes in Pakistan are continuing and I firmly believe that this is wrong. If true, it sounds like we are getting ourselves involved in yet another difficult situation that many consider debatable as to whether it makes us more or less safe (see: Central Intelligence Agency's theory of "blowback").

And I am not sure that I would equate obeying international law as it pertains to invading a sovereign nation with compromising our country's core values in the Constitution such as second amendment rights. I am also not sure that rescuing a national from the clutches of an evil dictator is akin to killing an evil person. I must also admit that I do not know exactly what our Constitution allows for this type of situation (the Constitution is where I would turn first; it is the document that represents our value system).

All that said, I do think that when one plants ice they're gonna harvest wind.

Posted by: gd at May 13, 2011 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words, gd. I was going to respond but my swelled head no longer fits in the space in front of my monitor. Like the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the animated movie, my arms no longer reach the keyboard...

While I cannot join Rep. Paul in wishing we had never set foot in Iraq or Afghanistan, I do believe it is time to rethink the hundreds of thousands of troops in Europe and the Pacific Rim, the NATO action in Libya, and a serious reappraisal of our footprint in the Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have a hunch Rep. Paul will not be the 2012 GOP nominee nor the 2013 President. I think the idea of freedom versus empire is a valuable conversation.

Posted by: jk at May 13, 2011 6:20 PM

May 2, 2011


For those who are interested in this sort of thing, here is a photo purported to be that of the dead terrorist bin Laden. It comes from Mumbai's TV9 - "Maharashtra's No. 1 News Channel"

Hat tip: Peter Boyles

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

Otequay of the Ayday

The surprise ending from an ABC News story titled Osama Bin Laden Burial Breaks With Islamic Tradition, Say Scholars

"As one who is devoted to Islam and its ideology, it makes me nauseated and sick that someone would make sure he had a religious rite given to a man like this because he was an evil barbarian who declared war against our nation." -- American Islamic leader Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"'Dumping the body into the sea is not part of any Islamic ritual,' said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a physician of internal medicine. 'Koranic scripture says God created him and he must return to the earth.'" Fine, Zudhi; you go fetch him, and give him whatever ritual or ceremony you want. My thought: we showed more respect for his carcass that they do for ours - no beheadings, no dragging through the streets. In some parts of that world, they celebrate jihad actions by cheering and passing out candy. When we counter by sticking bin Laden's head on a pike at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge and giving each other bacon in the streets, he can talk.

Some say the burial in the world's ocean was to prevent Islamofascists from turning his burial site into a martyr's shrine. Maybe it's also to give Americans and other freedom-loving people the opportunity to take a day at the beach and urinate on his grave.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 2, 2011 3:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wrong preposition, KA. Millions of fish, and quite a number of four-year-olds, are pissing IN his grave.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 2, 2011 8:06 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I'm also going out on a limb and say that bin Laden was not greeted by 72 virgins, but I hope they cut his balls off just in case.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 2, 2011 8:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In a just afterlife, if he were to be greeted by said virgins, they would all look like they play on the offensive line for the Redskins, and use bacon fat for lube.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 2, 2011 9:54 PM

March 5, 2011

The Right Conclusion

Victor Davis Hanson calls out President Obama for his "confused" foreign policy in the face of the Mideast unrest.

Until only recently this administration did not have a consistent policy of promoting nonviolent evolution to constitutional and secular government across the Mideast. Can't we oppose Iranian theocracy or Libyan thuggery with the zeal we showed in castigating the Mubarak dictatorship?

But despite the uncertainty we face as Middle East autocracy reshuffles the deck chairs, Hanson articulates the obvious path for America to take right now.

Meanwhile, to preserve our autonomy and options, we need to stop borrowing money and drill like crazy for oil and natural gas, as we fast-track coal and nuclear power. Anything less is near-criminal negligence.

Near criminal indeed. Those who call for the impeachment of President Obama over his birth certificate or the Defense of Marriage Act would better serve the future prosperity of the United States by refusing to stand by while oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy are throttled in the name of supposed economic viability for wind, solar, biogas, and sundry other "magical unicorn fart" energy make-believe.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2011

Who is "Responsible" for the Tucson Shooter?

(This is not a court of law, so I need not include the superfluous term "alleged.")

From Atlas Shrugged, Part III, Chapter 7 - "This is John Galt Speaking"

"Man's life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man -- for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life."

Like the mysticism of fundamentalist Islam teaches the Jihadi, one of the western mysticisms taught a young Jared Loughner that his life on earth is not of value to him, that existence on earth should not be his goal, or that such an existence does not depend on his choice of actions. He was not prepared to live a happy and prosperous life. He was "a metaphysical monstrosity."

"Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain."

Why is it so common to find a man who is depressed and confused and desperate to discover some "meaning" for his life? Because those who purport to give him that meaning do nothing of the sort. Whether the self-described "moralists" tell man that he needs no morality or that self-sacrifice is morality's greatest virtue, they do so in contradiction with reality. When man's rational faculty attempts to resolve this contradiction it must either abandon faith, abandon reason, or self-destruct.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at January 18, 2011 5:03 PM

October 12, 2010

Hailing Harsanyi

And it's not even me this time.

Blog friend tg shares a link in a continuing effort to get me riled about the dispatching of Anwar Awlaki, a US Citizen who was deprived of his 5th Amendment right to life without due process.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I have to wonder: If a president -- any president -- has the authority to order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without oversight, what exactly can't a president do?

Now, as a matter of foreign policy, I am quite comfortable when Islamic extremists, militants and terrorists meet their atomized ends through the work of unmanned flying contraptions operated remotely by the U.S. government.

Then again, I can also unequivocally state that the thought of an American citizen being placed on one of these terrorist hit lists without due process of law or any oversight is a precedent that I find disconcerting.

It's a fair cop to ask why I can wax poetic about Chrysler's preferred debt holders yet am silent in the face of execution without trial.

My answer was that we each pick our own battles. I don't disagree with my great blog friend, but if I could restore respect for the Constitution on domestic issues, that there would be a foundation for using Constitutional principles to restrain government on other fronts.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I read the Harsanyi piece differently: If killing enemy combatants made our last president "Bushitler" then why do the same acts not make the current one "Obamitler?"

At least this is the clear implication of his closing paragraphs.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2010 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

He clearly wonders where all the moral preeners on the left have gone, but I don't think that takes away from the piece as a clear refutation of the Awlaki assassination.

Posted by: jk at October 12, 2010 5:36 PM

August 23, 2010

My New Pal

Meet my new buddy, Gary Phaneuf. Like me, he thinks that our freedom is sacrosanct and that we have to allow the mosque to be built, even though it is distasteful to some.


Gary and me. Two peas in a pod...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2010

Free Society vs. Fear Society

Sharansky lives. Even though he pulled the rug out from President Bush, I could not get a second to change the blog name to "Nascar Retards." Good for you guys.

The WSJ Ed Page takes a somber, serious look at our future in Iraq. I thought of Sharansky, and President Bush, and our nation's achievements when I read this line:

Iraqis admit the shortcomings of their new order—from electricity brownouts to unemployment, corruption and sectarian violence. But one would be hard pressed to find any Iraqis—Sunni, Shia or Kurd—who don't cherish their ability to criticize without fear inside the Arab world's freest democracy.

We can argue for 100 years whether it was proper, or worth the blood and treasure (Mexican War anybody? Spanish-American?) But we transformed a "Fear Society" into a "Free Society."

They end with some unexpected props:

Mr. Obama earned this victory lap by taking political heat from the Democratic left and staying the Bush course in Iraq. "The hard truth," he said yesterday, "is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq." It is also true that because of that sacrifice, a major terror threat is gone and Iraq's people have a path forward.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2010

Islam's Nowhere Men

In this very important column by Fouad Ajami he explains how the Times Square Bomber's motiviations are not as simple as Mayor Bloomberg's health care hate or the misfortune of his home mortgage being foreclosed.

This is a long twilight war, the struggle against radical Islamism. We can't wish it away. No strategy of winning "hearts and minds," no great outreach, will bring this struggle to an end. America can't conciliate these furies. These men of nowhere—Faisal Shahzad, Nidal Malik Hasan, the American-born renegade cleric Anwar Awlaki now holed up in Yemen and their likes—are a deadly breed of combatants in this new kind of war. Modernity both attracts and unsettles them. America is at once the object of their dreams and the scapegoat onto which they project their deepest malignancies.

No suggestion is made of how the struggle may be ended, however. Just let me add one more tactic that won't work: More welfare. (And this last message is as important as any of the rest.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 6, 2010

See, It Was Not Health Care

Silly Mayor Bloomberg thought that the Times Square bomber was "upset about health care." Jeez, what a dope. The real issue was aid to homeowners.

This guy is like string theory for the media: He brings together the seemingly incompatible stories that drove the past decade. That said, you of course don't want to speculate on why someone "really" did something. The hearts of men are opaque, and motives are complex. But it's a reminder that foreclosures generate an enormous amount of misery and anxiety and depression that can tip people into all sorts of dangerous behaviors that don't make headlines but do ruin lives. And for all that we've done to save the financial sector, we've not done nearly enough to help struggling homeowners -- Ezra Klein.

From WSJ's "Notable & Quotable."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The (dominant, liberal, mainstream) media is fixated on the idea that foreclosure with the cause and radicalism was the effect. The Refugee postulates that it's the other way around. Because he was radical and knew that he was going to blow up a bomb and flee the country, he concluded that there's no reason to continue paying his mortgage. Moreover, those mortgage payments came in mighty handy when paying for trips to Pakistan.

Sometimes it takes a simpleton like The Refugee to see the obvious.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 6, 2010 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Any o' you simpletons out there care to explain how this guy "is like string theory?" I don't speak "Klein."

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2010 2:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

String Theory is one of several competing theories which attempt to integrate our understanding of all of the forces in the universe, from the largest to the smallest, from the scale of galaxies to the scale of subatomic particles (among other things). The analogy is the goal of integrating every known fact and idea in physics or, in Klien's case, in media.

Now, br, I think the evidence shows that TSB's first ambition was to enjoy the fruits of western civilization, from college education to well paying career, home ownership, family, plasma TV, etc. The big fly in the ointment was when he couldn't sell said home and, being worth less than he owed (or for whatever precise reason) the bank forclosed. He contacts relatives in Pak about moving back there and makes a few visits, sends his family ahead, and someone, somewhere along the line, gets the bright idea to "teach America a lesson" as his parting shot at the "land of plenty" which failed to provide for his every need.

I trust you saw my musings along these lines yesterday [fourth comment.] The difference between my speculation and Klein's is that I lament that government efforts to "provide" for us all led to the market failure, while Klein thinks government just isn't meddling enough.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2010 2:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, yes, saw that comment as well as the one about cynicism getting pretty deep around here!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 6, 2010 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sarcasm! :)

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2010 8:52 PM

May 4, 2010

WOW! He's MidEastern!

Never would have seen that coming.

WSJ has an interesting "portrait:"

"He was very disappointed that he wasn't getting his house sold," Mr. DelVecchio said.

Igor Djuric, a broker who showed Mr. Shahzad the 1,356-square-foot home he eventually bought, said he remembered that Mr. Shahzad was quiet about himself, but was openly critical of President Bush in the aftermath of the Iraq war.

"I didn't take it for anything, since a lot of people didn't like Bush," Mr. Djuric said, "but he was a little bit strong about expressing it."

The only thing strange about Mr. Shahzad that next-door neighbor Brenda Thurman could remember was his habit of going jogging at night wearing all black. He told her he didn't like the sunlight, she said.

At home, he sometimes wore ankle-length traditional Muslim garb, said Ms. Thurman, who lived next to Mr. Shahzad for more than three years, but he wore a shirt and tie to work. He would leave the house in the morning in a burgundy Nissan and come home in the evening.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:26 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I was certain it was a Teabagger, or at least someone who didn't like the Healthcare bill.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2010 2:18 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

OK, so he didn't like Bush. But now that Obama is president, shouldn't it be kumbaya instead kaboom-bye-you?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 5, 2010 11:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Yeah! I thought everybody was going to love us!

Actually, a few years of this President and we'll have to worry about British, Australian, and Israeli terrorists...

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2010 11:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The picture of this man that is coming into focus is not so much a militant religious zealot, but a frustrated young householder who fell prey to the housing bubble. It isn't so much President Bush he should blame, or even the Wall Street bankers who forclosed on his home. It's presidents Carter and Clinton, the Community Reinvestment Act, ACORN and Congressman Barney Frank. Had they not distorted the mortgage industry into an unsustainable vestige of a lending mechanism then the recent market collapse would likely not have happened. Then he and his young family could have remained "fat, dumb and happy" as it were and going about their peaceful everyday lives enjoying Everybody Loves Raymond and Friends.

Chances the talking heads will make this connection? 1.66E-24.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2010 3:12 PM

February 16, 2010

Who is Mullah Baradar?

Let's ask Wikipedia.

Baradar fought with the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War and afterwards operated a madrassa in Maiwand, Kandahar Province alongside his former commander, Mohammad Omar (the two may be brothers-in-law via marriage to two sisters). In 1994 he helped Omar found the Taliban.

There's also a reference to accounts of his recent capture 8 days ago. But then, there were also reports he was confirmed killed in 2007.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | Comments (0)


Military recruits do it. Now a correspondent from Playboy.com does it. It's called - woooooo - "waterboarding."

So we're "torturing" our own citizens, on U.S. soil. Quick! Somebody alert John McCain!

Let's put this in perspective: Men who kill people and break things are attempting to obtain information to thwart other men who kill people and break things from killing people and breaking things. Isn't waterboarding the most humane act you could think of in this situation? For Senator McCain, a man who endured genuine torture, to denounce waterboarding gives tremendous and undeserved aid to those who reject a forceful defense of American lives. Character 1, judgement 0.

Hat tip: Mike Rosen on 850 KOA Denver.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:20 PM | Comments (6)
But T. Greer thinks:

JG, I have argued with you on this one before, and I'll do it again.

Two points-

1. Yeah... waterboarding is torture. Chris Hitchens has written the best piece on this one, so I will not repeat his arguments here. (He went through waterboarding as well, FYI.)

P.S. When you realize that waterboarding is not done in isolation, but in conjunction with other "enhanced interrogation techniques" and not by people who you trust and are willing to explain things to you all nice like.

2. "Men who kill people and break things are attempting to obtain information to thwart other men who kill people and break things from killing people and breaking things."

See the problem here? All you have are men who kill people and break things - you can switch around the two groups and you have the exact same equation. But that leaves us with a dilemma, doesn't? By torturing others (or, to your favored euphemism, "forcefully defend" ourselves against captives who are under our complete control), then those other guys breaking things have just as much right to "forcefully defend" as well. Do you want to see our servicemen exposed to all the stuff outlined in point 1? Heck, as the rest of the wold doesn't draw a line between "forceful defense" and "torture", any time we do the former we rubber stamping approval for the latter as well.

Which is sad. Sometimes one has to draw a line. I like nuance as much as the next guy (quite a bit more than most guys actually), but every once in a while you have to throw out the shades of gray and see the world in black and white.

In the midst of the Cold War, James Burnham said that America's greatest strength was her moral authority. Are you so ready to throw that away? Shall you cede our values for security? Are those ready to do so deserving of either?

Posted by: T. Greer at February 17, 2010 10:39 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

TG: can you give us your definition torture? Forgive me for missing earlier postings, if I'm asking for a repeat. IMO, without that, any such debate simply devolves into a version of 'neener-neener'.

Here's mine: torture causes physical or mental mutilation.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And mine is: torture is the infliction of excruciating pain. According to the hooded man in the video, waterboarding inflicts excruciating panic.

Brother tg's definitive source, Mr. Hitchens, writes "if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture." But then he suggests, "Waterboarding not getting results fast enough? The terrorist’s clock still ticking? Well, then, bring on the thumbscrews and the pincers and the electrodes and the rack." Doesn't this suggest that waterboarding itself is something less than "torture?"

I have more confidence than this in the professionalism of our clandestine services. I trust their capacity to resist the sinister impulses brought about by performing the waterboard method, as though it is some kind of "gateway drug" to genuine torture.

Hitchens is a gifted wordsmith but his citation of text from a legal liability release as evidence for his case betrays his status as a creature of the civilized world with little capacity to comprehend the depths of human savagery. Hell, my wife requires such signatures before letting friends ride her horses.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 12:37 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I like Hitch, but found this article fraught with emotional tones both high and low. That is not a good foot on which to start: 'this is what torture is.'

The disclaimer was interesting, but probably boilerplate. If people cannot take this for more than a minute or so, there's no way irreparable (e.g., mutilating) harm could be done.

Note that my definition of torture does include sleep deprivation when it becomes debilitating (e.g., Saad Edin Ibrahim's stroke). Soooo, I guess that's a half a Neener to brother JG? :-)

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 19, 2010 12:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Well unlike Senator McCain I'm willing to say, putting it crudely, "Shit happens." We all take a risk by getting out of bed in the morning, or crossing the street. Certainly its reasonable to concede a slightly elevated risk to those who i) engage in terror acts; ii) advocate for terror; iii) decline to denounce terror in the name of one's faith; iv) act like one of the above in the presence of our military (following absurdly restrictive rules of engagement in the name of protecting "innocents") and find themselves detained at Gitmo.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I've been enjoying this one from the sidelines. If I'm silent it's because Brother jg has said everything I believe.

I highly, highly recommend Prof Glenn Reynolds's interview with Mark Thiessen. Great line: "Hard to imagine Christopher Hitchens complaining about the introduction of liquids..."

Senator McCain -- a true, bona-fide American hero beyond any of his politics -- was tortured. He still cannot raise his arms. He walks funny (look who's talking). He had things done to him that obviously had life-long consequences. I accept sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and even the occasional, limited circumstance use of the Barney theme song because of the very low risk of permanent physical damage. If it goes away when you stop, it's not torture.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2010 4:01 PM

February 4, 2010

So This is How 9/11 Happened!

Yesterday's Investor's Business Daily lead editorial is Bare Warning.

A chilling spectacle just took place before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked, "What is the likelihood of another terrorist-attempted attack on the U.S. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low?"

And one by one, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller all agreed an attack was "certain."

But log onto the Department of Homeland Security's Web site and all seems fairly calm. The first news item listed says, "Secretary Napolitano Announces More than $23 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Fire Station Construction Grants." And three of the other four news items on the main page tout the ways the department's $56.3 billion fiscal year 2011 budget request would be spent.

The go on to make a larger point about counter-terrorism strategy but the first thing that occurred to me was hey, at least Secretary Ridge suggested we stock up on duct tape!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I like to help up-and-coming bloggers. There's this guy in Tennessee has a respectable blog...

Seriously, watch Instavision today. Mark Thiessen on waterboarding, but most notably on the different approaches to terrorism from the Bush and Obama administrations.

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2010 4:04 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"...Blair... Panetta and... Mueller all agreed an attack was "certain - and highly confident the intended target is San Francisco..."

I'd have said that just to see her reaction.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 4, 2010 4:14 PM

January 20, 2010

Waterboarding wins in Liberal Massachusetts

Marc Thiessen at NRO's Corner:

Andy McCarthy has it right in his excellent article, "It's the Enemy Stupid." Scott Brown spoke out forcefully in favor of enhanced interrogation, and won — in Massachusetts. He said of waterboarding, "I do not believe it is torture. America does not torture . . . we used aggressive, enhanced interrogation techniques." And his own top strategists say their polling shows his victory was not in spite of this public stance, but because of it.

Here's hoping that Brown's leadership inspires other GOP candidates to "grow a pair."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2010

Abdulmutallab Knows More

So we negotiate.

The U.S. Government is offering the suspect charged with attempting to bomb an aircraft on Christmas Day, Omar Abdulmutallab, some kind of incentives to share what he knows about Al Qaeda, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Sunday.

Asked why Abdulmutallab should cooperate given his right, as criminal defendant, to remain silent, Brennan replied: "He doesn't have to but he knows there are certain things that are on the table... if he wants to engage with us in a productive manner, there are ways he can do that."


Instead of strapping this guy to a board and pouring water down his throat till he talks, we get this.

(tip to Ace)

Posted by AlexC at 5:24 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Look, first class back to Yemen is out of the question. Business class is the best we can do. Now, we can't help you at all with your request for a kilo of yellowcake, but maybe we can work something out in C4?"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 4, 2010 10:40 AM

November 24, 2009

I Fear for Our Republic

Three Navy SEALs recently captured a "most wanted" terrorist in Iraq. In the process, he apparently sustained a bloody lip. The (hero) SEALs are now to be Court Martialed for assault.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Can the civil suit and charges of racial bias be far behind?

I weep for our Republic.

UPDATE: Here is some background on "Objective Amber" from the same story:

The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that "Objective Amber" planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and "they had been tracking this guy for some time." ...

The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.

Bloody lip? Are you kiddin' me?!?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:22 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith thinks:

The unspoken rule in the field is quickly going to become "stop taking prisoners."

Which is fine by me. A little field justice under Rule .308 will prevent unnecessary show trials to bash American policy in New York.

Posted by: Keith at November 24, 2009 5:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I just hope they didn't hurt the widdle tewwowist!

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2009 12:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

More fallout from the decades of hard work by the "American Criminal Liberties Union."

If we must endure four years of anti-war show trials in return for no appreciable achievements on any of President Obama's other leftist policy goals, that is a trade I am willing to make.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2009 1:17 PM

August 5, 2009

Bermuda Uighers: The Gophers are Done For

Poor guys.

Four Guantanamo prisoners who were released to Bermuda in June have been given jobs tending a public golf course on the tiny Atlantic island.

The four members of China's Muslim Uighur minority began working last week to help prepare the lush, seaside Port Royal course to host the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in October.

Well, they do have some prior coursework which might come in handy.

Posted by AlexC at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2009

Passengers' Rights

I saw this sign the other day at an airport I was traveling through.

It pissed me off to no end.

What about my rights?

Posted by AlexC at 5:46 PM | Comments (6)
But GK thinks:

Oh,crud, this will probably upset you more, but remember alkieda (misspelling intentional) is ultimately responsible for this being a sign of the times, and deserves full blame for it.
I enjoy blaming them for everything, because they deserve that, also.

Posted by: GK at July 15, 2009 6:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What rights would those be, AC? The right to remain standing? The right to be searched? If you choose not to be searched, the right to be detained without cause?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 15, 2009 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

A fresh glove for every search...

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2009 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Your safety is our second priority."

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2009 9:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Rights? RIGHTS?! These are the punks who feel you up, who terrorize little old ladies while they'd let Abdul through with a scimitar for fear of offending him. Once at San Francisco, I noticed this attractive young woman up ahead in the security line (hey, I was single then), and I just knew she'd be singled out for the thorough search. God, how I wanted to slug that bastard.

And it isn't just the TSA. Airline employees also love to milk this for all they can get. Several years ago when TWA was still in business, their incompetence stranded me in St. Louis for several hours. We were assured that there would be agents waiting at the arrival gate to help us with getting on the next flight. Damn them all for that flat-out lie. I had to stand for over an hour in the regular check-in line, where I confronted the so-called "agent" -- a 400-pound Aunt Jemima type. But hey, what temerity I had to demand a level of service.

I was understandably upset at my 7-hour wait for the next flight, but I never yelled at or threatened her. Yet she said, "Sir, you're scaring me." Even in pre-9/11 days, I knew where this was going: she was egging me on. If she could get me on something, agents could detain and possibly arrest me, and that would be her revenge for my daring to question her.

On the other hand, for our trips to and from Asia, my family uses Cathay Pacific. Fabulous service at very comparable prices, and I've see their agents waiting right at the gate to give new boarding passes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 16, 2009 3:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I honestly believe that I have been a victim of racial profiling by the TSA. In the 2002/2003 timeframe, I flew >100,000 miles per year. At the time, TSA "randomly" gate-screened five passengers per flight. With approximately 120 passengers per flight, I should have had more than a 1 in 24 chance of being selected in fact, I was chosen for 1 in 5 flights. You see, they could pull out a middle age white guy wearing a sportcoat without fear of "profiling" allegations. Of course, I was not alone; little old ladies were over-represented as well. Never did see anyone of apparent Middle Eastern decent pulled out of line.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 16, 2009 6:25 PM

June 12, 2009

I Donno, for $23M, I Might Take a Couple Uighurs...

It seems the good people of Bermuda did not get the message of Hope and Change®:

"People are outraged in this country," says Crockwell. "I've never seen the people in this country get so exercised so quickly over an issue."

Crockwell tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Bermudians are very concerned about the potential threat the Uighurs pose to the security and economy of Bermuda, and outraged by the secretive and unilateral manner in which Bermuda's premier Dr. Ewart Brown decided to accept the detainees.

"There's a great deal of anxiety right now," says Crockwell. "We have not received any information at all in terms of who these individuals are."

Hat-tip: @mkhammer

Posted by John Kranz at 2:33 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith thinks:

I have no idea why the Bermudians are so concerned. I'm sure the Uighurs will fit right in - you know, open a couple of touristy, authentic-Uighurian restaurants, get modest but honorable jobs. Sort of like a great big international Witness Protection Program. Seein' how they'll just blend right in with the locals and all.

I'm sure they'll learn the language, develop local accents, and vote Tory.

Posted by: Keith at June 12, 2009 3:58 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Obviously a bunch of racist Islamophobes.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 12, 2009 11:50 PM

May 9, 2009


Follow the link or "Continue Reading." The embed autoplays and drives me mad. But trust me, you really want to see this.

Hat tip: Tom Elia via Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 5:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2009

Dialog is for Infidels

Here I offer a direct contrast to the enlightened ideas of brothers jk and cyrano's Dr. John Lewis speech at the 4-15-09 TEA Party in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was posted last month and is roughly the same length as the Lewis video.

This serves as a timely reminder that the war with radical Islamists is not over. "President Obama, are you listening?"

Credit to my brother (the one by birth) for passing this on to me.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:51 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is a great post, JG, but apparently you didn't get the memo. All we have to do is go over there and apologize to them, maybe bow a few times, tell them how "We're not going to repeat the mistakes of the failed policies of the past," and everything will be solved. We just need to take the time to listen and understand what we did to make these people hate us.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 20, 2009 3:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sarcasm noted.

If one really wants to know why "these people hate us" they could read Walid Shoebat's book by that name. I have not read it but from what I heard him say Sunday night on Bill Cunningham's show it is directly analogous to Nazi ideology, replacing purity of race with purity of faith. He said that muslims are now going through the same process as the Nazis did, or something to that effect.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2009 4:07 PM

January 15, 2009

Just in Time

For years, the American left has been breaking President Bush's balls about warrantless wiretapping.

About that...

A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, issued a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a specific court order, even when Americans’ private communications may be involved.

The court decision, made in August 2008 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, came in an unclassified, redacted form.

The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers.

How 'bout that.

Posted by AlexC at 10:57 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

And courts have ruled that certain human beings are property. Courts have ruled that governments can force people to sell their homes to private developers. The list goes on.

Just because a court makes a ruling does not mean the ruling is moral or correct.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 16, 2009 11:05 AM

November 5, 2008

Obama's Inaugural Speech

"My fellow Americans. Our nation is at a crossroads in history. We must choose, together, whether to continue the foreign policy goals of the past or to pursue a new course - one which considers the welfare of nations beyond just our own.

Now, with this historic election behind us and a hopeful future ahead, I have spent countless hours receiving the counsel of the man who knows more about the state of affairs in this world than any other American, President George W. Bush. By now everyone understands my priorities and beliefs, and to those I have added significant insight into the importance of events in our recent history. As a result I now pledge to the armed forces of the United States, the American people, and to the world that this nation will not abandon the cause of freedom that has been served for the past five years in Iraq. America will remain a steadfast ally of the Iraqi people and will enter into a joint forces pact with their government.

Let there be no confusion in the capitals of Iraq's neighbors as to the commitment and determination of the American people to prevent tyranny and militancy from ever regaining their former positions in this important part of the world."

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2008

Weather Underground: Kill the "die hard capitalists"

From LGF: Bill Ayers' Terrorist Group Discussed Genocide of Americans (includes video)

Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:

"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious."

I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.

Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Population planning, from abortion to forced sterilization, has always been part of the liberal/collectivist agenda.

"In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate three hundred and fifty thousand people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it." No one batted an eye when Jacques Cousteau said this completely contemptuous thing.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 26, 2008 2:23 PM

September 11, 2008

Always Remember

Has it been seven years?

Posted by AlexC at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008

Sept 11 Pictures

My brother sent me this MS Powerpoint presentation. I am not certain of its origins or authenticity. It contains many stark photos of Ground Zero that I had never seen before.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:27 PM | Comments (2)
But John thinks:

broken link?

Posted by: John at June 11, 2008 9:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Hmm. It works for me. It is a Microsoft Power Point file. You'd need to have a player set up with .pps as a MIME type. Let me know if you'd like it emailed (jk at threesources dot com)

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2008 10:12 AM

May 23, 2008

Lying to Win

Pa Congressman Paul Kanjorski:

"I'll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we...the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn't say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government would know that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts...and people ate it up."

Democrats lying about the war for electoral gain? You're kidding!

Read the whole post, and watch the video.

(tip to Ace)

Posted by AlexC at 12:04 PM

March 11, 2008

God's good graces

Blind obedience to faith or manipulative rationalization? You decide: Gaza Hamas leader thanks God for his son's death in Israeli air strike

"This is a part of our people's path and, God willing, our people will achieve victory," Khalil al-Haya said.

He has himself escaped assassination attempts, including an Israeli strike last May that killed two of his brothers and six other relatives gathered at a family home. Al-Haya was not in the building at the time.

How unfortunate for mister al-Haya that God frowns upon him so, and denies him the glory of martyrdom. Many others in his family were apparently in good graces with Him, however.

"I thank God for this gift," Khalil al-Haya said. "This is the 10th member of my family to receive the honor of martyrdom."

Man, that's a lot of virgins!

Seriously though, if Islamists really believed that being blown to bits by Israeli helicopters in the "conflict with Israel" was a gift from God they'd be lining up with targets on their heads.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:43 AM

February 12, 2008

Bravely Voting "Not Present!"

The roll call on the FISA Bill shows two profiles in courage: Senators Obama and Clinton, when asked to decide important issues about the balance of civil liberties with homeland defense -- well, they continued with their campaigns of course!

The NYTimes calls it "a major victory for the White House," and Senator McCain made it to vote Yea. But the Democratic candidates did not vote. Lindsey Graham was the only other Senator not voting [insert punchline].

The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote on the overall bill was an almost identical 68 to 29.

The House has already rejected the idea of immunity for the phone companies, and Democratic leaders reacted angrily to the Senate vote. But Congressional officials said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.

Is this what they mean by change?

UPDATE: The WSJ Ed Page points out that Senator Obama did make it in to vote Yea on Sen. Dodd's Amendment to deny immunity from lawsuits to companies that cooperated with anti-terrorism efforts.

It says something about his national security world view, or his callowness, that Mr. Obama would vote to punish private companies that even the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee said had "acted in good faith." Had Senator Obama prevailed, a President Obama might well have been told "no way" when he asked private Americans to help his Administration fight terrorists.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:49 PM

October 12, 2007

This Calls For a Pointless Gesture!

AlexC rightly ridiculed the importance of a "Sense of the Senate" resolution, and over-reaction to it from left-of-center bloggers. Our legislators must be "Animal House" fans -- they seem to always have time for pointless gestures.

Speaker Pelosi, however, gets a prize. As political payback for Armenian constituents, she will thumb her nose at an important ally to redress, for the third time, a 92 year old event. John Fund writes in the Opinion Journal Political Diary:

More Turks have died in Iraq than any other foreign nationality, because it's Turkish truck drivers and logistical workers who bring in so much of the material used by U.S. troops there. The U.S. Air Base at Incirlik in Turkey channels 70% of all air cargo going into Iraq and one-third of the fuel U.S. troops use in Iraq comes through the Turkish port of Adana.

All this makes it all the more inexplicable why the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27 to 21 this week for a controversial resolution condemning the 1915 Armenian genocide, in which Ottoman Turkey -- then an ally of Imperial Germany -- was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians as it expelled them from the country. The measure now goes to the House floor for a vote that will take place by mid-November.

Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO and is a key U.S. ally, can't understand why the resolution is being brought up now at a most sensitive time in Turkish politics, when the country's secular democracy is under pressure from Islamic radicalism. Many in Turkey still bitterly dispute the nature of the 1915 internal upheaval in their country, claiming many Muslim Turks died alongside Christian Armenians in inter-ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the resolution yesterday, chiding critics for presumably believing "it's never a good time" to commemorate the mass killings of Armenians. Many of the descendents of the victims now live in the U.S., where they form a potent political lobby. In what the Fresno Bee at the time called "a vivid case of targeted ethnic politicking," just before the 2006 midterm election that cleared her path to the speakership, Ms. Pelosi herself gave a prominent Armenian newspaper publisher a written statement promising her support for a genocide resolution.

But the House passed a similar resolution against the Armenian atrocities in the 1970s and another in the 1980s. Bluntly put, why is another necessary now? Congress is undermining relations with a key U.S. ally largely to satisfy domestic political concerns. It's too much to expect that politics should stop at the water's edge these days, but Congress ought to be responsible enough to set aside another vote on the resolution until a time when U.S. troops aren't so dependent on Turkey's key support for their mission in Iraq.

The gavel of speaker really is in the hands of America's children.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:46 PM

October 11, 2007

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Iran

John Morgan, liberal progressive blogger is bent out of shape that Bobby Casey voted to ... well let him explain...

Senator Robert P. Casey is trying to explain his vote on the Lieberman/Kyl Amendment granting George W. Bush the authority to begin military combat operations against Iran. He sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton meaning our most esteemed representatives in Washington are completely susceptible to brainwashing and are utterly incapable of reading an actual text before voting.

The overwhelming majority of blogospheric traffic about this is on the left, and it's generally dripping with hysterics.

Meaning it's likely a mountain out of a molehill.

Indeed, despite doing a good job of posting the scary text of the bill, he does so without a) providing a link b) providing a few more paragraphs of context... probably because it would blow the outrage right out the door.

The words he (along with the rest of the liberal bloggers) neglected to post: "It is the sense of the Senate".

Sense of the Senate (or House) aren't very "toothy" declarations of anything!

But don't believe me. Believe C-SPAN.

SENSE OF THE SENATE is legislative language which offers the opinion of the Senate, but does not make law.

Bed wetting is so tacky once you're older than two or three.

Posted by AlexC at 11:29 AM | Comments (2)
But John Morgan thinks:

The text of the entire Amendment and a link are contained in an earlier article about the vote which my regular readers are familiar with.

Posted by: John Morgan at October 11, 2007 12:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

You linked, but did you read?

Surely you would have noticed the Sense of the Senate text?

Isn't that rather important to the imminence of the invasion?

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 12:35 PM

October 9, 2007

Democrats Cut and Run!

Congressional Democrats rode anti-war sentiment to victory last fall — but they are staking their success in the final months of this year’s calendar on more traditional domestic issues amid concern that the war may not be the potent political issue it once was by Election Day 2008.
Martin Kady II writes in Politico that defeat may not be a path to victory after all.

Hat-tip: Insty, who links it with this awesome comparison to 1864.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM

September 23, 2007

Gathering of Eagles

I don't have the audio, but I understand this ad will start running in the Philly area shortly.

Last week, George Soros’ shadow political party Moveon.org, acting in concert with the New York Times, launched a despicable character assassination against one of our country’s most decorated and respected military leaders.

I’m Chris Hill, an Army Veteran and National Director of Operations for Gathering of Eagles. Our mission is to publicly confront these treacherous assaults on the integrity of our fighting men and women and expose the anti-American sources behind them.

Not only did this leftist faction call Gen. Petraeus a liar, but they arrogantly stated he betrayed the very country he has selflessly served for over 33 years. These outrageous attacks from the likes of Moveon.org, Code Pink, and ANSWER must not go unchallenged! An entire generation of patriots returning home from Viet Nam faced similar abuse and suffered the emotional scars for decades.

Please help us combat these hateful attacks on our military heroes by these well funded groups who wrap themselves in the bogus refrain, “we support the troops but not the war”.

Please contribute whatever you can at gatheringofeagles.org that’s gatheringofeagles.org to combat these lies and distortions. We will act as trusted custodians of your generous donations. Thank you.

For as deep as MoveOn.org step in it, you think more Democrats would stand up and denounce their "fellow travellers"... instead we get silence or tacit approval.

This Saturday, September 29th there will be a "counter"-protest in West Chester, at the Chester County Courthouse (High & Market Sts) from 11am to 3pm.

Posted by AlexC at 1:31 PM

September 20, 2007

POW Habeas Corpus

It really breaks my heart when bills in the Senate can't hit the supra-constitutional 60 vote cut off.

Really, it does.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would have allowed terrorism suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to petition federal courts claiming that they're being held in error.

The 56-43 vote in favor of the bill fell short of the 60 votes needed to cut off Senate debate, blocking the legislation. Both Washington state senators voted for the measure.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., would have given military detainees the right of habeas corpus — the right to challenge one's detention in court, rooted in English common law dating from before the Magna Carta of 1215 — which serves as a check on arbitrary government power.

Posted by AlexC at 1:51 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, I would support such a measure: even "enemy combatants" should be allowed to prove, if they can, that they're innocent. There's evidence that some were turned over to U.S. forces by their neighbors, because of family feuds.

But on the flip side, if we prove we captured them for a good reason, we should just execute them summarily.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 21, 2007 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

They deserve some process, which I understand that they get. But the full panoply of the US understanding of habeus corpus is too much.

We cannot allow a captured, foreign terrorist to demand to learn how evidence against him was collected and to see the full evidence. For an American citizen, this would and should be required.

You nail the alternative -- if the hallal rice pilaf at Gitmo is not up to epicurean standards, enemy combatants can always be (quite legally) shot. Wanna reconsider, Ahmed?

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2007 3:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It wouldn't have to be the full process, just a military tribunal where they can present evidence and, if they were seized in a raid, find out what the evidence was. Not all were captured on the battlefield, and I'm troubled because some circumstances were questionable. If a neighbor rats you out as a terrorist, is it true, or the result of a feud? So I think we should give them a good chance to prove their innocence, even if it demands they question how we knew they were terrorists.

On the other hand, I don't think any process should be given to anyone captured in battle -- American citizen or not. John Walker Lindh should have been shot where he was found, and it would have saved us a lot of headaches.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 22, 2007 10:55 AM

September 10, 2007

"Worked out"

So I was flipping through the channels and landed on an interview with Helen Thomas on CN8, the Comcast Channel.

She was talking about Iraq and the need to pull out, using references to Vietnam. She eventually said, "We left the Vietnamese eventually, and let themselves work it out."

Sure did.

Posted by AlexC at 2:19 PM

September 9, 2007

"I, Osama, was surprised that Kidney Failure could cause ED"

Send out a seven day free sample pack of Cialis®

WASHINGTON - Seemingly taunting Osama bin Laden, President Bush's homeland security adviser said Sunday the fugitive al-Qaida leader is "virtually impotent" beyond his ability to hide away and spread anti-American propaganda.

I watched that interview and smiled when she said that. Yahoo/AP picked it up as a news headline. I hope it makes the rounds.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:31 PM

September 5, 2007

We've Always Been at War with Eurasia!

John Fund finds an unusual omission from the DVD shelf in today's Political Diary.

Did Sandy Berger Steal this DVD?

As the sixth anniversary of 9/11 looms, it's beyond curious that last year's five-hour ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11," which drew more than 28 million viewers, hasn't been released on DVD.

Normally, repackaging the film for the home video market would be a no-brainer. After all, it recently received seven Emmy nominations. But Cyrus Nowrasteh, who wrote the screenplay, is convinced that Hollywood suits are keeping the film under wraps for political reasons -- namely to protect Bill Clinton's presidential legacy and, by extension, the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Mr. Nowrasteh told the Los Angeles Times he was bluntly informed by a top executive at ABC Studios: "If Hillary weren't running for president, this wouldn't be a problem."

Mr. Nowrasteh says everyone should be concerned if that's the case. "This is a bad precedent, a dangerous precedent, to allow a movie to be buried," he says. "I think this town needs to stand up."

Certainly, Clinton loyalists put enormous pressure on ABC to drop the film last year, which ultimately led most advertisers to avoid supporting the project. Some Democrats saw the film as a biased effort to pin blame for not stopping Osama bin Laden on the Clinton administration, including a memorable scene in which then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger hesitates to order a strike against bin Laden. Mr. Berger was later convicted of removing original documents relating to anti-terrorist efforts -- for which there may not have been copies -- from the National Archives when the official 9/11 Commission was investigating the history of U.S. policy.

Mr. Clinton himself also got into the act indirectly, engaging in a finger-wagging tirade against Fox News' Chris Wallace shortly after "The Path to 9/11" aired. The former president accused the mild-mannered Mr. Wallace of performing a "conservative hit job" on him by asking about his administration's failed efforts to kill or capture bin Laden.

For its part, all ABC will say is that it "has no release date at this time" for Mr. Nowrasteh's movie. Meanwhile, almost every anti-Bush movie made in the last few years, including Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," is readily available for rental or purchase on DVD.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM

August 21, 2007

Influential Democrat Senator calls for overthrow of elected leader

Pity the poor Iraqis. They are going to learn about democracy from the likes of Senator Carl Levin. One can question the competence or efficiency of PM Nouri al-Malaki, but he is the first freely elected Prime Minister under the new self-directed Constitution on a free Iraq. WaPo: Senator Calls for Malaki's Ouster

Levin is understandably cranky that the American troops are doing so well -- but it is still irresponsible of him to call for the ouster of an elected leader in a sovereign nation.

Declaring the government of Iraq "non-functional," the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said yesterday that Iraq's parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.

"I hope the parliament will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and more unifying prime minister and government," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said after a three-day trip to Iraq and Jordan.

But the Democrats are conflicted. Is defeat their goal or should they be content to whack President Bush through any victory? We'll have to convene some focus groups, but in the meantime, there's division.
Still, Democrats have quietly begun to voice a view that Maliki must go; Durbin said he told White House national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley that last week. But they acknowledge that they do not know what would happen next. If it appeared that Maliki had been ousted at Washington's behest, his replacement would be seen as a U.S. puppet -- a "kiss of death" in the region, Durbin said.

And Democratic leaders might feel compelled to ease their antiwar position to allow a new government to take root.

"Imagine if we have to step in with a brand-new leader and a new government," Durbin said. "How many more months would we have to wait?"

I hate being such a partisan hack, but the conduct of the Democratic leadership is so much at odds with our nation's -- and the world's -- interest, I cannot ascribe any good motives.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | Comments (2)
But KYJurisDoctor thinks:

Should Bush not second the call for Al-Maliki's ouster by parliamentary means?


Posted by: KYJurisDoctor at August 21, 2007 10:29 PM
But jk thinks:

No sir. I am having a tough time opening your link (Google problems, I think the link is fine).

We pushed for Democracy in a land that has not seen much liberty. We cheered as they held purple fingers aloft. I cheered as they boycotted, yelled and walked in and out of legislative sessions as opposed to shooting each other.

PM Maliki is not, perhaps, the incarnation of Alexander Hamilton in our century. But he was FREELY ELECTED by free Iraqis under their own Constitution.

It sends a bad signal to have Senator Levin (and whomever is on your list) call for a supra-Constitutional "do over" because the PM is not popular in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I wish Senator Levin were as interested in removing Assad in Syria or Ahmadinejad in Iran as he was the freely elected leader in-between them.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2007 10:33 AM

August 16, 2007

They Can't All Be Beauchamp

Great dispatch from Iraq in The Corner.

Along the op route, we stopped by the house of a poor Iraqi family with at least seven small kids — beautiful, smiling children (girls and boys, none more than 10-years-old) all wanting to hold my hand, and wear my sunglasses and helmet. Of course, I let them. One of them — a smiling boy of about eight— was sitting on the floor, naked, his lower body partially covered by a sheet. At first I noticed his little hand when he reached up for mine: His left index finger was gone and the dirty remaining nub was somewhat ragged looking.

That depravity of war thing. If you can read this coast to coast without tearing up, you have no pulse.

Thanks to all who serve.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Nope, not a drop of extra moisture from me. Some might say it's because I'm a sick, jaded bastard, and at least one of those is true, but, I am Locutus of Borg. The experience of the human...jk...had prepared me.

So where are the bloodthirsty American troops we keep hearing about, the ones that would have killed the kid for fun, let alone a mercy killing, after raping the mother and daughter?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 16, 2007 3:07 PM

July 30, 2007

Good News from Iraq

An op-ed in today's New York Times entitled "A War We Just Might Win" proclaims:

VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

I thought Harry Reid already said we lost?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:59 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Merciful Zeus. That is as upbeat a report on "the surge" as I have read on a milblog or in the Weekly Standard -- on the Ed Page of the Grey Lady!

HB didn't say it, but I will. Read the whole thing. Read it to your Senator.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2007 11:33 AM
But AlexC thinks:

When a major political party stakes it's electoral victory on military defeat abroad, is it anyone that when they win, they don't/won't notice what's going on?

"We won! It's cause we're losing! Yay!"

Posted by: AlexC at July 30, 2007 11:45 AM
But jk thinks:

Before you conclude that the NYTimes has joined the forces of light and modernity, read Don Surber.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2007 12:36 PM

Iraqi Sports News

The WSJ Ed Page says "An old saw has it that the best proof of a man's loyalties lies in the sports teams he roots for." As many Democrats and Republicans have called for splitting Iraq into Kurdish, Sunni, and Shia nations, the editorial (paid link) uses the pride in the team's 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia to say that Iraq is not "a notional country."

It is easy to get carried away by the symbolism of a single soccer victory. Still, it was remarkable that the winning team -- known as the "Lions of the Two Rivers" -- was Iraqi in the broadest sense of the word. Younis Mahmoud, the team captain who scored the winning goal, is Turkman. Teammate Hawar Mulla Mohammed, who put the ball into position, is Kurdish. Goalkeeper Noor Sabri is Shiite Arab.

No less remarkable were the circumstances in which the team had to train and compete. Coach Jorvan Vieira of Brazil had to move the Iraqi players beyond their political differences. The team, which could not train on home turf, went from match to match in economy seats. (Their Saudi rivals traveled more comfortably.) The celebration of their previous victory, over South Korea, was cut short by a suicide bombing that killed 50.

Yet for everything they lacked, the Iraqis had a powerful if intangible asset over their more pampered rivals: a country to fight for. Perhaps their victory will give all Iraqis a taste of what they may yet achieve together.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM

July 28, 2007

Second Link

ExcaliburBlog seeks to use an Army of Davids/Wisdom of Crowds approach to military, national security, and counterinsurgency development. I doubt I will be submitting any aircraft designs, but it is an interesting read and a good source for non-mainstream views and news about the War

Hat tip to Terri, who is credited as the first link to the blog.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM

July 25, 2007

Patton '07

(tip to Patrick Ruffini)

Posted by AlexC at 5:27 PM

June 25, 2007

Rage Boy

Slate Magazine uses this photo to illustrate a general character Christopher Hitchens calls "Rage Boy."


My favorite is still "Behead Those Who Insult Islam."

Hitchens is rightfully concerned that by fear of offending or inciting "Rage Boy," we allow him to set the rules of debate. Neither Hitchens nor I am too keen on avoiding any topic that offends him, because he looks rather easy to offend. Is it me, or does he look a little angry right now?

Over the last few years, there have been innumerable opportunities for him to demonstrate his piety and his pissed-offness. And the cameras have been there for him every time. Is it a fatwah? Is it a copy of the Quran allegedly down the gurgler at Guantanamo? Is it some cartoon in Denmark? Time for Rage Boy to step in and for his visage to impress the rest of the world with the depth and strength of Islamist emotion.
This mental and moral capitulation has a bearing on the argument about Iraq, as well. We are incessantly told that the removal of the Saddam Hussein despotism has inflamed the world's Muslims against us and made Iraq hospitable to terrorism, for all the world as if Baathism had not been pumping out jihadist rhetoric for the past decade (as it still does from Damascus, allied to Tehran). But how are we to know what will incite such rage? A caricature published in Copenhagen appears to do it. A crass remark from Josef Ratzinger (leader of an anti-war church) seems to have the same effect. A rumor from Guantanamo will convulse Peshawar, the Muslim press preaches that the Jews brought down the Twin Towers, and a single citation in a British honors list will cause the Iranian state-run press to repeat its claim that the British government—along with the Israelis, of course—paid Salman Rushdie to write The Satanic Verses to begin with. Exactly how is such a mentality to be placated?

The whole piece is superb. Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 4:46 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

How dare you call us an angry and violent people! You must die!

Posted by: AlexC at June 25, 2007 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This same expression is found in the Primate Panorama at the Denver Zoo. It looks like this.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2007 3:40 PM

June 10, 2007

Remember Me

Do you remember me? Do you know who I am? I'm your son daughter brother sister husband wife father mother uncle aunt nephew neice grandson granddaughter boyfriend girlfriend cousin best friend fiancee neighbor. Aren't you proud? Are you still there? Did I do something wrong? Did I make you angry? Aren't you missing me? Because I miss you. I need you to support me. To be behind me. I need you to tell me that you'll be waiting for me. Why? You're what I'm fighting for. I want to come home to smiling faces. But if I don't... I need to know That you love me And that you'll miss me. I do my job. I don't ask for much. Some people hate me. But I don't complain. All I want is for you to say, "I'm proud of you." "I remember." I am lucky and grateful to have you in my life. I love you. I miss you. I'll be home soon.

These are the words of Lizzie Palmer's YouTube video that while profound, are not nearly as moving in plain text as in her video presentation.

The clip is sweeping the internet (11.7M views and counting) and made Lizzie Chris Wallace's "Power Player of the Week." [Not a permalink]

Chris Wallace said Lizzie plans to join the army when she graduates from high school. I'm taken by the maturity of this 15 year-old, and her ability to grasp the power and value of abstract ideas despite her likely education in public schools. Commenters on messages.snopes.com think it is a "Glurgey piece of crap."

You decide.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I had seen it but had no idea it was the product of a fifteen year old. What an honor to share a country with a young lady like Ms. Palmer.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2007 5:57 PM

March 20, 2007

WSJ Imitates Tom Tancredo

I'm afraid JK ain't gonna like this... (and no, it's not about illegal immigration.)

Way back in July of '05 Tom Tancredo was asked, "Worst case scenario, if they do have these nukes inside the borders and they were to use something like that, what would our response be?" Tom's response can be paraphrased as, "Nuke Mecca."

On this morning's WSJ editorial page, board member Bret Stephens writes:

What would a sensible deterrence strategy look like? "Even nihilists have something they hold dear that can be threatened with deterrence," says Max Singer, a collaborator of the great Cold War theorist Herman Kahn. "You need to know what it is, communicate it and be serious about it."

Would it hinder Islamist terrorists if the U.S.'s declared policy in the event of a nuclear 9/11 was the immediate destruction of Mecca, Medina and the Iranian religious center of Qom?

Twenty months ago JK found such a suggestion "completely off the table" and that it's "irresponsible to discuss it."

About this Stephens says, "One needn't have answers to these questions to know it requires something more than pat moralizing about the terribleness of nuclear weapons or declaring the whole matter "unthinkable." Nothing is unthinkable."

I fully agree with Stephens that, "the question of what to do after a nuclear 9/11 is something to which not enough thought has been given. We urgently need a nuclear doctrine--and the weapons to go with it--for the terrorist age."

For my part I still stand by The List.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:58 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

jk's tougher than you think.

I liked Stephens's article and agree that we need a strategy going forward. I supported the development of small, tactical nukes, and the idea of modernizing the current inventory sounds reasonable and proper.

Though it is a small part of the article, I cannot disagree with your interpretation that Stephens has joined the "Nuke Mecca Club" (Dick Cheney Nuked Mecca -- and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!)

I must disagree with both Stephens and Rep. Tancredo that there is any tactical value to an explicit threat to destroy a holy site if it matches the religion of a terrorist.

A holy site in Iran for Iranian involvement would be a valid target but Mecca and Medina are in the sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia -- a soi disant ally in the War on Terror.

I think Stephens does a disservice to his goal of starting reasonable dialogue with the inclusion of that out-of-the-mainstream suggestion. WE should discuss 21st Century nuclear weapons, deterrence and strategy. I don't see "Nuke Mecca" fitting in to that discussion.

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2007 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I appreciate your well drawn distinction between applying a nuclear deterrent strategy and where those weapons are targeted. The critical point is that in the discussion of pre-defined targets (pre-defined for their deterrent value) EVERYTHING which these nihilists hold dear must be "on the table."

Since Islamists consistently threaten our very existence (unless we abandon our principles and adopt theirs) how could it be irresponsible to threaten a few of their religious totems? (Or even to discuss it?)

Posted by: johngalt at March 20, 2007 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Many -- as in Billions of people -- hold these sites dear and no control over the terrorists who threaten us or our way of life.

To draw upon the distinction I made, the Iranian is sadly culpable for living in a country ruled by the Mullahs and Mr. Ahmadinijad. If they provoke us and we bomb them or a venerated religious site that is sad but just.

If a Pakistani, or German, or British, or American Muslim whacko commits an act of terrorism, I don't think that all Muslims are responsible and I cannot condone taking it from them.

Posted by: jk at March 20, 2007 5:33 PM
But El-Visitador thinks:

France is ahead of the U.S.:

Jacques Chirac, France’s president, has threatened to use nuclear weapons against any state that supported terrorism against his country or considered using weapons of mass destruction.

I predict with absolute confidence that the first 10,000-plus-victim terrorist attack will not happen against France.

The value of nukes lies in the other guy thinking you are trigger happy. Unfortunately for us, and fortunately for the French, only the French have made it clear they are trigger happy.

Posted by: El-Visitador at March 22, 2007 1:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

EX-actly right. 'Bush the cowboy' was much better in this regard than is 'Bush the best buddy.'

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2007 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the cowboy as well.

I suspect, however, that we are losing track of the original concern: France (Mon dieu!) will nuke "any state" that supported terrorism or defamed croissants or thought that the new Airbus was unwieldy...

Rep. Tancredo was not threatening a state but rather threatening important religious sites. I still consider that off the table (as Stephen Fry might say, it's on "the top shelf of a locked cabinet").

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2007 4:04 PM

February 20, 2007

Victory or Blow?

Headline: Court blow for Guantánamo prisoners

Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay cannot challenge their imprisonment at the US detention facility, a US appeals court said on Tuesday, delivering a significant legal victory to the White House.

The DC court of appeals ruled 2-1 that recent legislation precluded inmates at the Cuba-based prison from contesting their detention in US civilian courts.

Congress passed the Military Commissions Act last year after the Supreme Court ruled that the original structure of the military commissions created to try prisoners at Guantánamo Bay was unconstitutional.

While the MCA restructured the commissions to comply with US and international law, it also stripped detainees of habeas corpus – the right to appeal against their detention in the US civil court system.

In dismissing the case, Judge Randolph Raymond wrote that the detainees had provided arguments that were "creative but not cogent" and that accepting them "would be to defy the will of Congress".

Victory against terrorists or blow for prisoners. You be the judge.

Posted by AlexC at 5:36 PM

January 25, 2007

Senatorial Surrender Monkeys

First the Democrats...

US Senate panel opposes plan to send more troops to Iraq
"The committee adopted the measure by 12-9 vote with one Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, breaking ranks to join the 11 Democrats on the panel in approving the resolution."

Then the Republicans...

Senate showdown looms for troop buildup in Iraq
"The Foreign Relations Committee approved the resolution Wednesday on a vote of 12-9, with Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, joining 11 Democrats in supporting the measure."

Key GOP senator opposes Bush's Iraq plan
"Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, is one of four principal sponsors of a compromise that would express the Senate's opposition to the additional deployment, but avoid calling it an "escalation" of the four-year-old war."

Brownback could back rival resolution against troop increase

War stage set: Congress v Bush
"And, with several Republicans advancing their own resolution opposing the president's troop deployment, Democrats are negotiating for a common wording that could lead to a bipartisan vote against the war."

All of this about-facing and navel gazing is nauseating, and unseemly for a stately body such as the United States Senate. But it does remind me of the way I felt back in 2003 when another group of surrender monkeys was wringing its hands. Here's what I said then and here's

what I say now.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:44 PM

Perspective On The Surge

[Then] Maj. Greeley responded to a post on my old Berkeley Square Blog and we have kept up an intermittent email conversation ever since. Greeley played high school football with Paul Gigot of the WSJ Ed Page. Though retired, he went back to Mosul, Iraq to train troops on safety.

I haven't heard in a while, but he sent me a unique view of Gen Petraeus and the surge:

I hope you are well,

UP Date... Well the Adm is our GRANT and LTG Petraeus is our Sherman...

We knew we had it right back in the first days.. GEN Petraeus called the ball... well now they are asking him to do the impossible he thinks he can.. and we all need to support him and those being sent to make it happen.

Life as we know it may very well hang in the balance.

Retired and still serving on Active Duty

Thanks to all who serve.

UPDATE: Our friend was promoted to LTC. He retired on Sept 9 and was called up again on Sept 10 (not a lot of time for golf...) He was transferred from Baghdad to Wash DC and active duty was extended another year.

Thank you, Colonel, for your service.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM

January 19, 2007

I'm Not Surprised

Many are surprised by the results of a new Fox Poll. MichaelW at A Second Hand Conjecture links and points to the shocking question:

19. Do you personally want the Iraq plan President Bush announced last week to succeed?

——————————– Yes —- No — (Don’t know)
16-17 Jan 07 ————- 63% — 22 — 15
Democrats ————— 51% — 34 — 15
Republicans ————– 79% — 11 — 10
Independents ———— 63% — 19 — 17

Forty-nine percent of Democrats polled either want us to fail or don't care; 37% of the public at large.

I'll side-step the party-line question, juicy as it is. But I cannot feign surprise that a little over a third want the mission to fail. A little over a third do not believe in American exceptionalism and see the projection of power, American values and American-style governance as a mistake.

I've long felt that is what divides war supporters from war opponents. Thirty-three to 37% seems about right, and a sizeable chunk of them registering as Democrats is not befuddling either.

While I strongly disagree, I cannot say that their opinion is illegitimate. "I like America but do not choose to make Iraq more like America." Again, I disagree, but I cannot say that idea has no merit.

UPDATE: Dean Barnett has a letter from the 37% that confirms this belief.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:14 PM

January 11, 2007

Surging into Iran

Larry Kudlow agrees that the focus of the new strategy and surge is Iran. In The Iranian Card he pulls the relevant quote:

No question now that Iran is squarely in President Bush’s sights.

One of the big pieces in his speech last night was an aggressive warning to Iran:

“We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
This is tough stuff.
Indeed. The same post details "U.S. troops raided Iran’s consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil," "Secretary of State Condi Rice warned Iran this morning that "the United States is not going to simply stand idly by," "another aircraft carrier group is moving into the Persian Gulf," and "the Treasury Department barring Iran’s oldest bank from American financial markets."

All this and a "swabbie" heading CENTCOM. Even the lefty blogs are getting it, tough they're not quite on board as Kudlow is. Meanwhile the MSM seem rather focused on the President's having admitted mistakes. Talk about burying the lede: The President admitted making mistakes in Iraq as he declared war on Iran. This is thought to be the first time he has admitted...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM

January 7, 2007

What's behind the "religion of peace"

Many, myself included, believed that American appeasment of mideastern terrorists began with the Iranian hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Examination of this historical timeline shows that it began at least as early as July 26, 1956.

7/26/56 Suez Canal nationalized; Egypt blockades Straits of Tiran. France, Britain and Israel take the canal. US pressures them to withdraw (November).

This wasn't, however, the worst example of surrender on the part of America's government, nor was the aforementioned hostage crisis. But this one is in the running.

(I can't effectively excerpt this article. There's just too much valid information. I have copied it all to "continue reading" to make sure it doesn't get lost.)

Is it too late to try President Nixon for treason?

Hat tip: Dr. John Lewis

Jewish World Review Jan. 2, 2007 / 12 Teves, 5766

With the quiet release of a 33-year-old US State Department cable, a good chunk of the edifice of the longest-running big lie was destroyed

By Caroline B. Glick

Time for world to admit it was duped to the tune of billions of dollars

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yasser Arafat was a master of the big lie. Since he invented global terrorism with the founding of the Fatah terror organization in 1959, Arafat successfully portrayed himself as a freedom fighter while introducing the world to passenger jet hijackings, schoolhouse massacres and embassy takeovers.

To cultivate the myth of his innocence Arafat ordered his Fatah terror cells to operate under pseudonyms. In the early 1970's he renamed several Fatah murder squads the Black September Organization while publicly claiming that they were "breakaway" units completely unrelated to Fatah or to himself.

In 2000, as he launched the current Palestinian jihad, he repeated the process by renaming Fatah terror cells the Aksa Martyr Brigades and then claiming that they were completely unrelated to Fatah or to himself. This fiction too, has been successful in spite of the fact that all Aksa Martyr Brigades terrorists are members of Fatah and most are members of Palestinian Authority official militias who receive their salaries, guns and marching orders from Fatah.

Last week, with the quiet release of a 33-year-old US State Department cable, a good chunk of the edifice of his great lie was destroyed.

ON MARCH 1, 1973, eight Fatah terrorists, operating under the Black September banner stormed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan during a farewell party for the US Embassy's Charges d'Affaires George Curtis Moore. The terrorists took Moore, US ambassador Cleo Noel, Belgian Charges d'Affairs Guy Eid and two Arab diplomats hostage. They demanded that the US, Israel, Jordan and Germany release PLO and Baader-Meinhof Gang terrorists, including Robert F. Kennedy's Palestinian assassin Sirhan Sirhan and Black September commander Muhammed Awadh (Abu Daud), from prison in exchange for the hostages' release.

The next evening, the Palestinians brutally murdered Noel, Moore, and Eid. They released their other hostages on March 4.

Arafat denied any involvement in the attack. The US officially accepted his denial. Yet, as he later publicly revealed, James Welsh, who served at the time of the attack as an analyst at the National Security Agency, intercepted a communication from Arafat, then headquartered in Beirut to his terror agents in Khartoum ordering the attack.

In 1986, as evidence of Arafat's involvement in the operation became more widely known, more and more voices began calling for Arafat to be investigated for murder. As the New York Sun's online blog recalled last week, during that period, Britain's Sunday Times reported that 44 US senators sent a letter to then US attorney-general Edwin Meese, "urging the American government to charge the PLO chief with plotting the murders of two American diplomats in 1973."

The article went on to note that the Justice Department's interest in pursuing the matter was making senior State Department officials uneasy: "State Department diplomats, worried that murder charges against Arafat would anger the United States' friends in the Arab world, are urging the Justice Department to drop the investigation."

As late as 2002, in spite of President George W. Bush's pointed refusal to meet with Arafat, the State Department continued to protest his innocence. At the time, Scott Johnson, a Minneapolis attorney and one of the authors of the popular Powerlineblog weblog, inquired into the matter with the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. In an emailed response from the bureau's deputy director of press affairs Gregory Sullivan, Johnson was told, "Evidence clearly points to the terrorist group Black September as having committed the assassinations of Amb. Noel and George Moore, and though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established."

So it was that for 33 years, under seven consecutive presidential administrations, the State Department denied any knowledge of involvement by Arafat or Fatah in the execution of its own people.

Until last week.

THE CABLE released by the State Department's historian states, "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy."

Although clearly skilled in the art of deception, Arafat could never have succeeded in creating and prolonging his fictions and with them, his crimes, without the cooperation of the US government and the media.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

In this vein, the release of the State Department cable raises two daunting questions. First, how is it possible that the belated admission of a massive 33 year cover-up of the murder of senior American diplomats spanning the course of seven consecutive presidential administrations has been ignored by the US media? A Google news search for Cleo Noel brought up but a handful of stories - none of which were reported by the major news networks or national newspapers.

On the face of it, the released cable, which calls into question the very foundation of US Middle East policy for the past generation is simply stunning. The cable concludes, "The Khartoum operation again demonstrated the ability of the BSO to strike where least expected. The open participation of Fatah representatives in Khartoum in the attack provides further evidence of the Fatah/BSO relationship. The emergence of the United States as a primary fedayeen target indicates a serious threat of further incidents similar to that which occurred in Khartoum."

The media's silence on the issue does not merely raise red flags abut their objectivity. By not availing the American public to the knowledge that Fatah and the PLO have been specifically targeting Americans for 33 years, the media has denied the American people basic knowledge of the world in which they live.

The media's abject refusal to cover the story raises an even more egregious aspect of the episode. Specifically, what does the fact that under seven consecutive administrations, the US government has covered up Arafat's direct responsibility for the murder of American diplomats while placing both Arafat and Fatah at the center of its Middle East policy, say about the basic rationale of US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians? What would US Middle East policy looked like, and what would have been the results for US, and international security as a whole, if rather than advancing a policy that made Arafat the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House during the Clinton administration, the US had demanded his extradition and tried him for murder?

How many lives would have been saved if the US had not been intent on upholding Arafat's big lie? How would such a US policy have impacted the subsequent development of sister terror organizations like Hizbullah, al-Qaida and Hamas, all of which were founded by members of Arafat's terror industry?

Sadly, the release of the cable did not in any way signal a change in the US policy of whitewashing Fatah. In contravention of US law, for the past 13 years, the State Department has been denying that Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority are terrorist organizations, and has been actively funding them with US taxpayer dollars.

This policy went on, unchanged even after Fatah gunmen murdered three US embassy employees in Gaza in October 2003. This policy continues, unchanged still today, as Fatah's current leader, Arafat's deputy of 40 years Mahmoud Abbas works to form a unity government with Hamas. Indeed, the central component of the US's policy towards the Palestinians today is the goal of strengthening Fatah by arming, training and funding its Force 17 terror militia.

In a November 14, 2006 interview on Palestinian television, Ahmed Hales Abu Maher who serves as Secretary of Fatah in Gaza, bragged of Fatah's role in the development of international terrorism. In his words, reported by Palestinian Media Watch, "Oh warrior brothers, this is a nation that will never be broken, it is a revolution that will never be defeated. This is a nation that gives an example every day that is imitated across the world. We gave the world the children of the RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenades], we gave the world the children stone [-throwers], and we gave the world the male and female Martyrdom-Seekers [suicide bombers]."

Imagine what the world would have looked like if, rather than clinging to Arafat's big lie that he and his Fatah terror organization were central components of Middle East peace, the US had captured and tried Arafat for murdering its diplomats and worked steadily to destroy Fatah.

Imagine how our future would look if rather than stealthily admitting the truth, while trusting the media not to take notice, the US government were to base its current policies on the truth, and the media were to reveal this truth to the world.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:17 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Both Natan Sharansky and Christopher Hitchens refer in their books to mock war crimes trials for Henry Kissinger. Toss in Nixon -- and Dulles for his role in the Suez Canal if you want.

The real trouble is not that they weren't tried, the problem is that their intellectual progeny fill the State Department, MSM and Washington "establishment" thinking. Arabist, detente, realist appeasers are the flavor of the month.

President Bush was brave and true to reject and oppose this thinking but the seconds are ticking off the clock. If Iraq does not improve soon, the Scrowcroft-Zbrenski axis of appeasement will claim they were right all along, and America will not act again for freedom in any of our lifetimes.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2007 11:26 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I'll have to cross-post this!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at January 8, 2007 8:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now THAT'S a reaction I can celebrate! Thanks Medic!

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2007 4:13 PM

December 11, 2006

Then & Now

As a companion piece to the previous post 'RESOLVE' I give you this Cox & Forkum cartoon, "Then & Now."


What made them the Greatest Generation? When they were compelled to go to war, the weren't afraid to kill the enemy, sack his capital, and WIN.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Can I light the flamethrower?

I think that those who attack the President as being not aggressive enough on pursuing the war should be very careful not to overstep their bounds. The choice in 2006/7 is NOT Bush vs. Macarthur but rather Bush vs. Murtha-Kerry-Pelosi-Rangel.

Responsible critiques from those who want a more vigorous prosecution of the war are, of course, legitimate. (Dissent is patriotic and all). This cartoon, humiliates the President and undermines his ability to pursue his policies.

Destroy his credibility and more GOP Senators will fly out of orbit and give advantage to the Sens. Dodd-Levin axis.

I don't think that will make Misters C&F much happier.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2006 6:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fret not, fellow Bush fan. This cartoon does not humiliate the president so much as it derides the state of American popular opinion. (See "RESOLVE" below.)

As I said, the 'Bush Doctrine' was brilliant. Even if he didn't write it, he said it, and I believe at the time he meant it. The problem is that the intelligentsia was given too much time (and too few military accomplishments in exemplary rebuttal) to make their postmodern case that "war is never the answer." (For the too few accomplishments failure I blame Colin Powell and the State Department apparatchik.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2006 1:19 AM
But jk thinks:

Okay, but "the state of popular American opinion" is not shown with its ears shaped to match Tojo's and Ahmadinijad's.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2006 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, I didn't say the cartoon doesn't humiliate Bush AT ALL, did I? For failing to stand up for the policy he articulated, he's earned this portrayal.

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2006 1:00 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And not a single word of comment about the ideas behind this cartoon, expressed in the RESOLVE post. And I even put "burn that regime to the ground" and "The Islamic State" in boldface.

Where're them lefty peaceniks when you wanna pick a fight?

Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2006 1:04 AM


The "Bush Doctrine" was a brilliant moral statement by the president. Unfortunately, it's become a glittering jewel of squandered opportunities. What the world needs now is... Harry S. Truman in the White House. From The Potsdam Declaration, July 26, 1945, adapted to remove references to Japan:

The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the enemy armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the enemy homeland. . . .

The time has come for the enemy nation to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought them to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason. . . .

Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay. . . .

There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world. . . .

Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established. . . .

We call upon the enemy to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative is prompt and utter destruction.

These words, delivered to the Japanese Empire in 1945 by America and Great Britain with the endorsement of Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek, are equally relevant to the budding Islamist Empire whose center of power and influence is Teheran, Iran.

As the Declaration states, "The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the enemy armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the enemy homeland..." If anything, our military power is only greater in strength and capability. What has suffered since the departure of President Truman is "our resolve." We no longer believe, as a people [evidenced by who we elect to represent us] that the only thing more terrible than fighting in a war is failure to win it.

John Lewis, the author of the excerpt above as part of a brilliant piece entitled “No Substitute for Victory” The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism ends with this:

The best thing Americans did for themselves (and, incidentally, the kindest thing for the Japanese) was to burn that regime to the ground. So it is today. The Islamic State—Totalitarian Islam—must go. And it is the moral responsibility of every American to demand it.

As I said, it is brilliant. Read the whole thing! (18 pages when printed) You'll be glad you did.

It's worth recognizing at this point that then, as now, the USSR (nee Russia) makes noises about solidarity with the free world and does... nothing (at best.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:45 PM

December 7, 2006

Iraq "Surrender" Group Report

" . . . more than six people cannot agree on anything, three is better -- and one is perfect for a job that one can do. This is why parliamentary bodies all through history, when they accomplished anything, owed it to a few strong men who dominated the rest. Never fear, son, this Ad-Hoc Congress will do nothing . . . or if they do pass something through sheer fatigue, it will be so loaded with contradictions that it will have to be thrown out." --Bernardo de la Paz, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, pg 162 [Robert A. Heinlein]

I've been waiting all week for someone to blog the celebrated Iraq Study Group report, for I have a comment I'd like to make about it. Alas, nobody has obliged on these pages. But with each passing day I've come to realize that the real blogging is taking place on the front pages of the major dailies. They took the slap dash 97 page report as their kernel and proceeded to concoct every sort of meaning from it in their headlines. Every one, that is, except for making the world safe for liberty. Well, here goes.

Let's start with part I, subpart D: Achieving Our Goals:

We agree with the goal of U.S. policy in Iraq, as stated by the President: an Iraq that can “govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself.” In our view, this definition entails an Iraq with a broadly representative government that maintains its territorial integrity, is at peace with its neighbors, denies terrorism a sanctuary, and doesn’t brutalize its own people. Given the current situation in Iraq, achieving this goal will require much time and will depend primarily on the actions of the Iraqi people.

It is critically important to understand that, with Saddam gone, Iraq matters little in the present war between civilization and archaic totalitarianism. Re-read the passage above and replace "Iraq" with "America." An America that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. [...] Given the current situation in America, achieving this goal will require much time and will depend primarily on the actions of the American people."

And where America represents civilization in this war, the seat of archaic totalitarianism today is... anyone? anyone? Bueller? That's right: Iran. Now re-read the passage above replacing "Iraq" with "Iran." In our view, this definition entails an Iran with a broadly representative government that maintains its territorial integrity, is at peace with its neighbors, denies terrorism a sanctuary, and doesn’t brutalize its own people.

Now, what actions of the American people can do anything to help Iraq "govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Speaking for myself, I was so happy that the report wasn't worse. I think it significantly undercuts the cut and run crowd and can be used more to the President’s favor than his detractors.

The idea of using Iran and Syria seems tedious but there is an interesting context. I don't know if you saw Brit Hume's panel discussion on this (you get kicked out of the VRWC if you don't watch 4x a week) but Secretary Baker believes that Syria might be incentivized to help us and the Sunnis. "Flip Syria" he said to Brit as they were packing up their cameras.

It's a long shot and I hate to think of the price but it is not necessarily "nuts."

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2006 7:33 PM
But AlexC thinks:

They want peace in the middle east. That's a bold vision.

How much did we pay for this, again?

Posted by: AlexC at December 7, 2006 11:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And now, my long awaited comment. With respect to diplomacy with Iran, or even Syria:

"Do steers sign treaties with meat packers?" -Robert A. Heinlein

I agree with John Murtha. It is time to redeploy coalition forces to "another region in the Middle East." TEHRAN

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2006 8:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I also resent the implication that ThreeSources was behind in commenting on the ISF. We hit the idea of Syria help on November 21.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2006 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Credit duly noted. And that post also reminded us what we get whenever we employ "realpolitik" when killing people and breaking things is in order.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2006 3:09 PM

November 21, 2006

Syrian Help

Gov. Dean, Senators Kerry and Levin and quite a large hunk of the WashDC Conventional Wisdom brigades are pretty hot on the idea of working with Iran and Syria to extricate ourselves from Iraq.

If our President were not so bellicose, we're told, we'd talk with Iraq's neighbors, certainly sign a piece of paper someday, and use diplomacy to end the violence.

At the risk of shading my sunny optimism, might I suggest that these folks might not share our ambitions for the region?

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- Pierre Gemayel, an anti-Syrian politician and scion of Lebanon's most prominent Christian family, was gunned down Tuesday in a carefully orchestrated assassination that heightened tensions between the U.S.-backed government and the militant Hezbollah.

Anti-Syrian politicians quickly accused Damascus, as they have in previous assassinations of Lebanese opponents of its larger neighbor. Gemayel, 34, an outspoken opponent of the Syrian-allied Hezbollah, was the fifth anti-Syrian figure killed in the past two years and the first member of the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to be slain.

The assassination, in Gemayel's mainly Christian constituency of Jdeideh, threatens further instability in Lebanon at a time when Hezbollah and other parties allied with Syria are planning street protests unless Saniora gives them more power.

The United States denounced the killing, calling it ''an act of terrorism.'' The U.N. Security Council said it ''unequivocally condemns'' the assassination as well as any attempt to destabilize Lebanon.

On an equally pessimistic note, I can find no fault with Christopher Hitchens's suggestion that Sec. Baker is the wrong choice to lead Iraq policy. Hitch starts with a warning about Lebanon that looks pretty prescient:
The summa of wisdom in these circles is the need for consultation with Iraq's immediate neighbors in Syria and Iran. Given that these two regimes have recently succeeded in destroying the other most hopeful democratic experiment in the region—the brief emergence of a self-determined Lebanon that was free of foreign occupation—and are busily engaged in promoting their own version of sectarian mayhem there, through the trusty medium of Hezbollah, it looks as if a distinctly unsentimental process is under way.

Worse, he reminds the country of some 15-yaear old history.
n 1991, for those who keep insisting on the importance of sending enough troops, there were half a million already-triumphant Allied soldiers on the scene. Iraq was stuffed with weapons of mass destruction, just waiting to be discovered by the inspectors of UNSCOM. The mass graves were fresh. The strength of sectarian militias was slight. The influence of Iran, still recovering from the devastating aggression of Saddam Hussein, was limited. Syria was—let's give Baker his due—"on side." The Iraqi Baathists were demoralized by the sheer speed and ignominy of their eviction from Kuwait and completely isolated even from their usual protectors in Moscow, Paris, and Beijing. There would never have been a better opportunity to "address the root cause" and to remove a dictator who was a permanent menace to his subjects, his neighbors, and the world beyond. Instead, he was shamefully confirmed in power and a miserable 12-year period of sanctions helped him to enrich himself and to create the immiserated, uneducated, unemployed underclass that is now one of the "root causes" of a new social breakdown in Iraq. It seems a bit much that the man principally responsible for all this should be so pleased with himself and that he should be hailed on all sides as the very model of the statesmanship we now need.

I don't fault President GHW Bush for not deposing Hussein. He clearly lacked a mandate. While it would have been a benefit to us today, I throw no fault for not rolling into Baghdad. Sitting still while Hussein massacred the Shia and Kurds right after the war, however, was a failure of catastrophic proportion, and Sec. Baker's hands are still dirty on that account.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM

November 16, 2006

NYTimes: Don't Cut and Run.

The News Pages at the New York Times give favorable coverage to the generals urging against imposing a timetable.

Michael R. Gordon, in a bylined article titled "Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say" points out that even some retired generals who have been critical of Secretary Rumsfeld are not signing up for a timetable for troop withdrawal.

This is the case now being argued by many Democrats, most notably Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who asserts that the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq should begin within four to six months.

But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

Zinni goes on to say “Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence.”

The article is thoughtful and well balanced, which made Josh @ EverydayEconomist wonder (he sent the link in an email) why they didn't provide this information before the election. I'd call that a fair question.

Even the Brooking Institution is not on the Murtha track:

Kenneth M. Pollack, an expert at the Brookings Institution who served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, also argued that a push for troop reductions would backfire by contributing to the disorder in Iraq.

“If we start pulling out troops and the violence gets worse and the control of the militias increases and people become confirmed in their suspicion that the United States is not going to be there to prevent civil war, they are to going to start making decisions today to prepare for the eventuality of civil war tomorrow,” he said. “That is how civil wars start.”

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus asks the same question: "Now they tell us, Part XXVIII"

Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM

October 26, 2006

Wiretap Dancing

The Washington Times editorial board picks up on Bob Casey's "direct answer" to the Philadelphia Inquirer on wiretapping.

    The one thing Sen. Rick Santorum's backers and critics agree upon: Everyone knows where he stands on the issues. Then there's Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., who was for warrantless surveillance of terrorists before he was against it. Or something like that.

Calling his evasive answer Kerryesque, they continue...
    Mr. Casey's position is not clear -- not at all.

    We call on Mr. Casey to tell voters what he really thinks about surveillance. At present he is tiptoeing around the subject because commonsensical Pennsylvania voters want one answer while his liberal campaign funders at Moveon.org insist upon another. Whatever Mr. Casey says is bound to antagonize somebody. The fact that he can't answer at all should give everybody pause. If he can't make a hard decision like that now, imagine what kind of senator he would make.

We can call on Mr Casey to answer the tough questions, but he won't. In fact, the Santorum campaign and the blogosphere has been doing that on any number of issues. Even in the primaries, the left blogosphere was doing the same thing.

He has two weeks to keep his mouth shut. What makes anyone think he'd do otherwise? He managed to say very little during four debates. Being a stealth candidate is all about waiting the other guy out.

He's not going to start now (and definately blow it).

Posted by AlexC at 12:11 PM | Comments (3)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

You know, I have not heard a peep out of Specter. You would think that the RINO would make a nice gesture towards Santorum after all the support he got .... but then again ...

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 26, 2006 3:56 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I happened to drop by Santorum HQ today to pickup some signs. There was a mailer being assembled with Specter on it.

But Specter support is a mixed blessing.

1) Santorum's conservative base hates him. Especially the Santorum choosing Specter over Toomey.

2) Specter is popular with moderates, independants and some Democrats. See number 1.

Posted by: AlexC at October 26, 2006 4:00 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

While a Specter endorsement wouldn't send REAL Republicans over to Casey's side, his endorsment, plus $2.60 gets me two SEPTA tokens, OK?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 26, 2006 10:47 PM

September 28, 2006

Looking Through Western Eyes

If you read one thing today, make it Fouad Ajami's Featured Article on OpinionJournal.com.

Ajami stresses that we must look at Western and coalition actions as they are seen by the residents in the MidEast. Read the whole thing, but here's a taste:

But this brutal drawn-out struggle between American power and the furies of the Arab-Islamic world was never a Western war. Our enemies were full of cunning and expert at dissimulation, hunkering down when needed. No one in the coffeehouses of the Arab world (let alone in the safe houses of the terrorists) would be led astray by that distinction between "secular" and "religious" movements emphasized by the Senate Intelligence Committee. They live in a world where the enemies of order move with remarkable ease from outward religious piety to the most secular of appearances. It is no mystery to them that Saddam, once the most secular of despots, fell back on religious symbols after the first Gulf War, added Allahu Akbar (God is great) to Iraq's flag, and launched a mosque-building campaign whose remnants--half-finished mosques all over Baghdad--now stand mute.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM

September 15, 2006

The History of Appeasement

John Hawkins writes about one of Dr Seuss' gigs.

Political cartoonist.

    The funny thing about cartoons like this one is that if you change the foe from the Nazis to the terrorists and their backers, these cartoons are every bit as applicable to the Democrats today as they were to the isolationists back then:

    I will say one thing in defense of the isolationists like Charles Lindbergh: after Pearl Harbor, almost all of them changed their minds. In my book, that puts them ahead of the liberals today who still aren't serious about fighting terrorism even after 9/11.

Round after round after round after round of round of "diplomacy" with some of these guys gets you where exactly?

Just look at Iran. They've bought themselves time. Time and again more time. There isn't going to be a lollypop or carrot tasty enough one day.

NewsMax adds...

    The United States and its European partners "should end phony negotiations" with Iran over its nuclear program, an influential U.S. senator up for re-election this November said Thursday.

    Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who has been trailing his Democratic challenger, Bob Casey, in opinion polls until recently, said the United States should "increase sanctions" on Iran and "fund, promote and support the pro-democracy movement, both inside and outside Iran."

    Speaking with Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Reza Pahlavi, son of the former shah of Iran, Santorum called for "free and fair elections" in Iran, and blasted the Iranian regime for "continued action against our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

There's actually a whole collection of Dr Seuss' work at this site.

Imagine if someone drew one like this for Abu-Ghraib or Gitmo?

Posted by AlexC at 12:44 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Awesome post! My mom had a book of his cartoons "for grownups" that I liked. Many were anti-tax (a guy tying his shoes with a long moustache to avoid taxes on laces).

Looking at his portrayals of Hitler and Tito, I wondered what he might have done with the Prophet Mohammed?

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2006 11:26 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I agree! Awesome post and new materials sources!

Imagine Dr. Seuss in Muslim countries: Green Eggs and Ham! HAM??? Ahhh! You insult Allah! Death to Seuss! Death to America!!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 16, 2006 11:43 AM
But AlexC thinks:


Posted by: AlexC at September 16, 2006 6:39 PM

September 12, 2006

The Liberals' War

As I can only provide a paid link, I am going to excerpt heavily. Bret Stephens has an excellent column in the WSJ today. Eloquently saying what I've heard Chrostopher Hitchens explain. The real beneficiaries of a war against Islamofascism are liberals

This may be reading too much into Ms. [Rachel] Newman's essay. Yet after 9/11 at least a few old-time voices on the left -- Christopher Hitchens, Bruce Bawer, Paul Berman and Ron Rosenbaum, among others -- understood that what Islamism most threatened wasn't just America generally, but precisely the values that modern liberalism had done so much to promote and protect for the past 40 years: civil rights, gay rights, feminism, privacy rights, reproductive choice, sexual freedom, the right to worship as one chooses, the right not to worship at all. And so they bid an unsentimental good-bye to their one-time comrades and institutions: the peace movement, the pages of the Nation and the New York Review of Books, "the deluded and pathetic sophistry of postmodernists of the left, who believe their unreadable, jargon-clotted theory somehow helps liberate the wretched of the earth," as Mr. Rosenbaum wrote in the New York Observer in 2002.

Five years on, however, Messrs. Hitchens, Bawer et al. seem less like trendsetters and more like oddball dissenters from a left-liberal orthodoxy that finds less and less to like about the very idea of a war on Islamic extremism, never mind the war in Iraq. In the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows, formerly Jimmy Carter's speechwriter, argues that the smart thing for the U.S. to do is declare victory and give the conflict a rest: "A state of war with no clear end point," he writes, "makes it more likely for a country to overreact in ways that hurt itself." Further to the left, a panoply of "peace" groups is all but in league with Islamists. Consider, for instance, QUIT! -- Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism -- a group that, in its hatred for Israel, curiously fails to notice that Tel Aviv is the only city in the Middle East that annually hosts a gay-pride parade.

An instinct for pacifism surely goes some way toward explaining the left's curious unwillingness to sign up for a war to defend its core values. A suspicion of black-and-white moral distinctions of the kind President Bush is fond of making about terrorism -- a suspicion that easily slides into moral relativism -- is another.

But there are deeper factors at work. One is appeasement: "Many Europeans feel that a confrontation with Islamism will give the Islamists more opportunities to recruit -- that confronting evil is counterproductive," says Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born, former Dutch parliamentarian whose outspoken opposition to Islamism (and to Islam itself) forced her repeatedly into hiding and now into exile in the United States. "They think that by appeasing them -- allowing them their own ghettoes, their own Muslim schools -- they will win their friendship."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM

September 10, 2006

Abu-Graib BACK to Iraqi Control

... and wouldn't you know, they want the Americans back in charge.

    Access to the part of the prison containing terrorism suspects was denied, but from that block came the sound of screaming. The screaming continued for a long time.

    "I am sure someone was being beaten, they were screaming like they were being hit," the witness reported. "I felt scared, I was asking what was happening in the terrorist section.

    "I heard shouting, like someone had a hot iron on their body, screams. The officer said they were just screaming by themselves. I was hearing the screams throughout the visit."

    The witness said that even in the thieves' section prisoners were being treated badly. "Someone was shouting 'Please help us, we want the human rights officers, we want the Americans to come back'," he said.

Reminds me of Gitmo. The prisoners wanted to stay instead of being sent back to their country of origin.

Posted by AlexC at 5:34 PM

September 7, 2006

Profiling and Economics

Josh at The Everyday Economist makes an economic case against profiling. While many call for more scrutiny of, say, young Arab males in the wake of the London thwarting, Josh is not sold.

The dismal science teaches us that individuals respond to incentives. For example, the government allows individuals to deduct mortgage interest from their taxes. This occurs because the government wants to encourage home ownership. Thus they provide an incentive for individuals to take out loans to purchase a house.

Profiling is no different. It provides terrorists with an incentive to change their behavior.

Screening every Arab male that attempts to board a plane will eliminate the aforementioned correlation, but not the endeavor. In other words, a policy of profiling on the basis of race, religion, and sex gives the terrorists a strong incentive to recruit and train individuals that do not fit the profiled description.

Those who argue that the terrorist organizations would not be able to do so have obviously forgotten John Walker Lindh, who certainly did not fit the profile of a Taliban member. Similarly, is there any reason to believe that females are incapable of carrying out attacks? Tell that to the Israelis.

A commenter on the site makes my point that it will at least make it more difficult. Now that "Underperformin'" Norman Mineta is leaving his DOT post, I was hoping that profiling would be added to the toolbox. Josh is correct that it would be dangerous to over-rely on profiling, but I think it is equally foolish to pretend that all those guys on the news the past few years did not have some common physical features.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:26 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And the number of white westerners who've turned Taliban can be counted on one hand, with three fingers tied behind your back. And of those two, neither has committed a suicide attack.

I was actually thinking about this as I drove down the street today, doing some "people watching" and considering the clues to geographic and ethnic origin that can be deduced from a person's appearance. While it's true that all "middle-eastern males aged 18-40" are not terrorists, there's a phenomenal correlation between that group and the smaller group that is willing to kill themselves if they can kill others in the process.

To say that obvious evidence for suspicion must ALWAYS be ignored is a rather simplistic and dogmatic attitude, isn't it?

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2006 3:38 PM

September 4, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust!

"And another one's gone, and another one's gone. Doop doop doop da doop!"
Al-Suaidi mug shot.jpg

From Australia's Herald Sun:

US and Iraqi forces have arrested the second most senior figure of al-Qaida in Iraq and killed 20 fellow militants.


"Hamid al-Suaidi led a group that kidnapped people. He ordered bombings and mortar attacks that killed a number of our armed forces and our citizens. Al-Qaida in Iraq is severely wounded," Rubaie [Iraq's national security advisor] said.

"After his arrest he gave critical and important information and we ended up killing 11 militants of the second tier of leaders and nine of the lower tier," Rubaie said of Suaidi.

I had to scroll through the "all 825 news articles" Google link to find one from Australia in order to avoid liberal media bias in the report. For example, the ITV [Britain] version that I took the photo from waited until the fifth of seven paragraphs before mentioning the captured man's name, and even then did it thusly:

Hours after an "embarrassed" US military again postponed a ceremony to hand command of Iraqi troops to the government, the national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie summoned reporters to a news conference to announce that Hamid Juma Faris al-Suaidi had been seized some days ago.

So after starting the story with, "Security officials [no mention of whose] claim [as it's apparently in dispute] to have arrested the second-in-command of the terror [what, no scare quotes?] group al-Qaeda in Iraq," they morphed this news item into a slanted report on the so-called occupation of Iraq by the US military. In the process they inplicity question Washington's sincerity to "let Americans go home."

If you still wonder why the majority public opinion is that things are going "badly" in Iraq, here's your answer.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Al-Qaida in Iraq?

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2006 10:48 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Is it me,..or does that green thingy under his chin look like the bottom of a gallows??

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 5, 2006 12:59 PM
But jk thinks:

What is that? I've seen that picture a hundred times and never quite got it.

The New Republic today says that this guy wasn't important and that the London explosive guys weren't really dangerous. Even our wins are losses.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2006 1:14 PM

August 20, 2006

Free Market Airline Security

UK's Daily Mail

    The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight overheard two men of Asian appearance apparently talking Arabic.

    Passengers told cabin crew they feared for their safety and demanded police action. Some stormed off the Monarch Airlines Airbus A320 minutes before it was due to leave the Costa del Sol at 3am. Others waiting for Flight ZB 613 in the departure lounge refused to board it.

    The incident fuels the row over airport security following the arrest of more than 20 people [what kind of "people"? -AlexC] allegedly planning the suicide-bombing of transatlantic jets from the UK to America. It comes amid growing demands for passenger-profiling and selective security checks.

    It also raised fears that more travellers will take the law into their own hands - effectively conducting their own 'passenger profiles'.

Here's a crazy idea. TSA and airport security do their job (ie not-profiling), and encourage the passengers do the final round of security. Like this flight.

These two passengers raised enough concern (right or wrong) that the other passengers held the plane up. The passengers (and the crew, natch) have their own safety intimately in mind. Let them make the call.

The logistics of it might be tricky. (Does each seat have a "protest a passenger" button?)


Posted by AlexC at 4:09 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

It's free market, but it is not really grounded in rule-of-law. It appears that these folks were guilty only of looking Asian, speaking Arabic, and wearing Jumpers on a hot day.

I've no problem with further empowering of the security crew. (Here's a blogger scoop, how many pilots are armed now? What institutions are holding them up?) But this is a little too unstructured for my tastes.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2006 7:53 PM
But AlexC thinks:

The "Survivor(tm)-method" of passenger screening would be at the discretion of the airline.

If you're shopping for safe (non hijacked/terrorized) flights, and you know that one airline allows passengers to vote other passengers off "for whatever reason", and you're looking to fly safe, that's a good reason to fly those "friendly" skies.

On the flip side, if you're looking to cause trouble, you might steer clear of that airline.

It'd be safer, wouldn't it? Army of Davids theory, perhaps.

Posted by: AlexC at August 20, 2006 8:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Airlines slowly, gradually, grudgingly, but ultimately universally, banned smoking on aircraft. Banning middle-eastern males aged 18-40 from aircraft would increase market share for every airline with the balls to do it.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2006 3:29 PM

August 11, 2006


More details on as mentioned yesterday...

    The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications. Which leads us to wonder if Scotland Yard would have succeeded if the ACLU or the New York Times had first learned the details of such surveillance programs.

    And almost on political cue yesterday, Members of the Congressional Democratic leadership were using the occasion to suggest that the U.S. is actually more vulnerable today despite this antiterror success. Harry Reid, who's bidding to run the Senate as Majority Leader, saw it as one more opportunity to insist that "the Iraq war has diverted our focus and more than $300 billion in resources from the war on terrorism and has created a rallying cry for international terrorists."

Sad, but true.

(tip to the professor)

Posted by AlexC at 9:31 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I usually don't use "magnanimity" and "Sen. Ried" in the same sentence, but has he none? I am stunned by the lack of appreciation for Scotland Yard.

Dan Henninger pointed out the bad timing of declaring yourself as the anti-war party on Tuesday, and this on Thursday, but why couldn't Ried have thanked those foiled the plot and said "this shows the importance of international alliances that are being squandered by this..." or some equally vacuous Riedspeak.

I hope everybody reads the whole editorial, regardless of party affiliation. It is damning to the Democratic party but they deserve it.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2006 12:14 PM

August 10, 2006

Terrorists Foiled

The NYTimes Europe reports

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — American intelligence officials said today that they and their British counterparts had been tracking terrorists for months before the schemers were rounded up in Britain, and that they could not say positively that all the plotters had yet been caught.

Am I the only one around here who is worried that some of their civil rights may have been violated in this surveillance? Why didn't the New York Times alert these poor people in time?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:51 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

I too, have concern for the terrorists. I mean, did we intercept their phone calls? Library withdrawls?

Posted by: AlexC at August 10, 2006 10:56 PM

August 4, 2006

Prosecute Nasrallah

I have called America's European Allies and some domestic Democrats "unserious." You may accuse me of name calling, think I don't go far enough, whatever.

An article in TCS today supports my case.

Authors J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss wonder when the human rights organizations will hold up MidEastern war criminals to the scrutiny applied to, say, Don Rumsfeld (my example, not theirs).

Accordingly, groups like Human Rights Watch, which issues press releases accusing Israel of war crimes following the death of civilians in Qana, mentions Hezbollah's offenses (which of course include using the Qana residents as unwilling pawns) only as an afterthought. In so doing they knowingly sacrifice consistency and integrity for "relevance" (ephemeral publicity) and "solidarity" (political correctness).

What happens when we apply the standards of the recent jurisprudence of international criminal tribunals to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah? Our conclusion is that he could easily be indicted under at least nine broad indictments -- with potentially thousands of individual counts -- of crimes against humanity, violations of "common Article 3" (of the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II), and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Herewith, then, our indictment of Mr. Nasrallah:

The article then lists eight infractions which are war crimes, violations of the Geneva Convention, or crimes against humanity. Nasrallah is clearly guilty of every one.
In short, the case for prosecuting Hassan Nasrallah as an international criminal is open-and-shut. However, we are not holding our breath for the usual international justice advocates and NGOs to protest audibly -- or even to be vexed -- when the eventual United Nations-mandated "resolution" does not include any provision for proceedings against Nasrallah. Those who hope for an accounting may have to rely on a more elemental -- though no less righteous -- justice, such as the targeting mechanism of an Israeli missile system.

It is unserious of Israel's critics to ignore this. Yet they will.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:11 PM

July 31, 2006

More GITMO Abuse


    The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons, Pentagon reports say.

    Incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press indicate Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by "cocktails" of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.

    They've been repeatedly grabbed, punched or assaulted by prisoners who reach through the small "bean holes" used to deliver food and blankets through cell doors, the reports say. Serious assaults requiring medical attention, however, are rare, the reports indicate.

Oh wait, it's Americans. Where do I check my outrage? At the door?

Posted by AlexC at 9:53 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Whew. For a moment there, I thought you had a news story...

A ThreeSources salute to the men and women who serve down there. That's gotta suck. Serve in the heat, get human waste thrown at you, and endure physical abuse. The slightest retaliation would be an international incident. The BBC, Democratic Party, and Sens. McCain and Graham think you're criminals.

But they are keeping us safe. Thanks.

Posted by: jk at August 1, 2006 11:45 AM

July 29, 2006

Seattle Shooting

A Pakistani man goes into a Jewish center in Seattle, shoots six women, kills one, and says "I'm a Muslim-American. I'm angry at Israel." To the MSM, he is a lone wacko, his ethnicity is not important.

Can I be the social conservative today? The public's right to know includes secret government plans to monitor terrorist finances overseas, but we can't handle knowing that the War on Terror has had a skirmish in Seattle, Washington?

Gerard at American Digest reports: it was, like Sept 11, a normal day:

I SIT BEHIND a shaded window in a small bungalow on top of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. It's a smooth summer day. It began chill but warmed. In front of my porch, the lawn sprinkler makes slow sweeps. Across the street, the school playground plays host to a pick-up game of half-court basketball and a passel of kids on bikes and skateboards, all protected by the helmets and pads modern American parents feel compelled to encumber their children with; that no fall should result in a bruise or a scrape or a moment's discomfort to otherwise mar their standard "perfect" childhood in our standard broken home. It is as if we knew that, not being able to protect our children from our own selfish self-absorption, we have compensated by protecting them from falls.

Hat-tip Roger L. Simon, who reminds us of a Trotsky quote. "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Isn't it curious just how much more important it is to the MSM when women and children die accidentally after failing to flee from a war zone, versus women and children deliberately attacked and killed in a community center in the "peace and security" of a U.S. city. In fairness though, I'm sure the Times would have fully devoted the front page had the gunman been a white male screaming, "I hate gay black illegal-alien medicaid recipients who reflexively vote Democrat!"

In seriousness, this post prompted the one above called "BB'see' No Evil." A chilling tale.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2006 5:05 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Hmmm,..not a high enough body count to warrant much press. Imagine a militant Zionist like Kahane walking into a mosque and doing the same thing. The MSMSNBC crowd would be all over that!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at July 30, 2006 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Sadly, we're all thinking the same thing. Alter the ethnicities of the killer and victim and the "body count" doesn't matter. The murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. didn't lack for coverage. They supported the MSM narrative; this one does not.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2006 12:38 PM

July 19, 2006

World War?

I thought the DNC talking points after the renewal of combat in Lebanon included the line that "This is World War III." I surmised that they wanted to be able to claim that World War III began under Bush's leadership... that warmongery begets warfare.

I just listened to former supreme commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark in an interview with a local talk radio show. The first questions for the general were, "Who is our enemy and what is the name of the war we are currently in." Simple enough questions, right? Fat chance.

Clark said only Republicans like Newt Gingrich or (can't remember the other guy) call this "World War III" or "World War IV" respectively. Alternately, the General says we are not even engaged in a war. Instead, we have a "loose conglomeration of individuals trying to pursue their own ends." He admitted that they use terrorism as their method, but his solutions were all "law enforcement." The natural question then is, "Whose laws?"

The big picture of the Clark interview is that he can't see the big picture in human events. Doesn't he read the Australian newspapers? (Or he sees it but is forced to deny it because Bush named it first: Axis of Evil.) Those who deny any link between al Qaida and Iraq also deny any link between either of them and Hamas or Hezbollah. Or Iran.

In answer to the questions the General never answered:

OUr enemy is every nation, organization, or "loose conglomeration of individuals" who practice Islamofascism and attempt to impose it on others by force.

The name of the war is "The Islamist War."

There, now let's go win the frackin' thing.

UPDATE: On last night's show, Bill O'Reilly said, and I paraphrase, "Regarding the war on terror, Americans can be divided into three camps: One says bomb the crap out of them, the second says it's all America's fault, and the third says I don't want to hear about it, let's go to the beach." Dagny and I are proud members of the "bomb the crap out of them" camp.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:57 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page suggested that September 11, 2001 was the start of World War IV, WWIII being The Cold War. This Republican is happy with that terminology. I worry more that people forget there is a war than they think it started under President Bush.

The World War appellation ties in 9-11, London, Madrid, Mumbai, and the current Israeli two front conflict.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 11:19 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

The Islamist War ... a bit like our 2 conflicts with Iraq ... seems to be an extension of the Crusades. A clash of ideologies.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at July 19, 2006 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

Bill O'Reilly would be another good reason not to get AlexC's 103" plasma screen. I favor a muscular response but would be loathe to characterize it as "bombing the crap out of 'em."

We've said some harsh words about President Bush over the years but I have to say that I am bursting with pride. His unwillingness to reach moral relativism, his unscripted comments with PM Blair that were caught on mic -- he is doing it right and we are very lucky to have him in the White House.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 12:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like I said, I was paraphrasing. I think "bomb the crap out of them" was just the way I remembered it.

As for the president, I very much agree. (I'm biting my tongue now to prevent mention of the pending stem-cell bill veto. Let's debate that in a separate thread.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2006 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I missed the paraphrase bit, mea culpa.

I would still suggest that there is more nuance in the BTCOOT demographic. Israel will lose ground as Reuters and the BBC highlight civilian casualties over the campaign.

(New post above for stem cells, BTW)

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 1:31 PM

July 16, 2006

Iranian Nukes? We'll Soon Know

We knew this was coming sooner rather than later when we witnessed the "elections" of Ahmadinejad in Iran and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. When the "imperialist" American administration and the "Hitler" and "Ghengis Khan" like Israelis did nothing to provoke open warfare with Iran, those swell Iranian mullahs grew tired of waiting. As Robert Tracinski writes, "If, in the face of repeated threats and provocation by an aggressive dictatorship, you refuse to go to war, the war will eventually come to you." Two years after the 'forward strategy of freedom' swept the Syrian army out of Lebanon, Hezbollah was under growing pressure to leave as well. No reasonable person should have expected them to leave peacefully. (What do you think they are, pluralistic democrats? No, they're Islamofascists you fools!)

A timely example of such a fool is Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who said on Fox News Sunday this morning that, essentially, it's Bush's fault! Dodd attributes the military action in south Lebanon to diplomatic failure:

"It seems to be that you have to go beyond just understanding the friendship, which is important, but for Israel's benefit and our own, we have missed, I think over the last number of years, the ability to really engage in the kind of diplomatic efforts in the middle east. From 1967 up until the end of the Clinton administration, every administration has remained very, very engaged in the middle east. This administration unfortunately has seen the word diplomacy and negotiation as somehow a favor to your enemies. I think unfortunately we've allowed this time to elapse over the last several years, the resolution 1559 was adopted two years ago, and the administration's done nothing in my view to really insist that the Lebanese rid southern Lebanon of Hezbollah and so this time has gone through without really engaging in the process thus we find ourselves today, Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. What it's doing is absolutely necessary. If Lebanon and Syria will recognize that those soldiers need to be returned and also Hezbollah has to get out of southern Lebanon then I think you could bring a cease-fire about."

To be fair, it has been nearly five years since Islamofascists unilaterally slaughtered 3000 American civilians with airliners. But despite this, why is Dodd still endorsing the realpolitik appeasement cum stability strategy of the past thirty years? Does he genuinely believe that it will lead to regional and worldwide peace if we just give it another decade or three to work itself out?

I can't say whether it is a symptom or a cause of America's confusion in general, or Dodd's in particular, but there is clearly a filter in place between the events of the mideast and the front pages of America's news media. Compare some recent news excerpts in America to those in, notably, Australia:

WSJ- 'World Leadership Reacts To Escalating Mideast Violence'
"Haifa was hit with at least 20 rockets fired by Lebanese guerillas, in retaliation for a wave of bombings by Israeli airplanes early Sunday morning when about 18 powerful explosions rocked southern Beirut."

AP (via Houston Chronicle)- 'Hezbollah rocket barrage kills 8 in Haifa'
"Hezbollah's firing of at least 20 rockets at Haifa and 30 elsewhere came after Israel unleashed its fiercest bombardment yet of the Lebanese capital, starting after midnight Saturday."

And, in the most offensive of my three examples,

Chigago Tribune- '2 dead on Israeli warship; jets attack Lebanon anew'
"A draft resolution under consideration, from Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, demanded the release of Lebanese captives and detainees in Israeli prisons, and supported Lebanon's right to "liberate them by all legitimate means."

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes renewed attacks on Lebanon early Saturday, targeting bridges, fuel depots and gas stations in the east and south, security officials said."


""You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a taped statement broadcast Friday. He vowed to strike even deeper into Israel with rockets."

The clear message to American voters: The "cycle of violence" continues and Hezbollah/Lebanon are defending their sovereignty from Israeli aggression.

In contrast, Australians read the following headlines:

The Australian- 'Militants' missile hits ship with Iranian troops' help'
"Israel says the troops involved in firing the missile were from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, an elite corps of more than 200,000 fighters that is independent of the regular armed forces and controlled by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."


"A military official said the group was also believed to have longer-range projectiles that could hit the Israeli commercial hub of Tel Aviv."

The Australian- 'Strikes to intensify in four-stage strategy'
"In the first stage, which began shortly after the Hezbollah incursion across the border last Wednesday, Israeli warplanes attacked missile caches in south Lebanon and elsewhere, particularly those housing long-range missiles.

Fifty caches, some hidden underground and in private homes, were reportedly destroyed. It is unclear what percentage of the 13,000 missiles known to be in Hezbollah hands that accounts for."


"In the second stage, which began early on Friday, warplanes attacked the heart of Hezbollah power, shattering high-rise buildings in south Beirut housing the militia's command structure as well as the home of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who was reportedly trapped for a while in the underground command centre when the building above it collapsed."

"The third and fourth stages are still secret. However, the sources said the operation calls for each of the four stages to be more powerful than the previous one."


"Israeli officials say the international community will not force Israel to stop before its goals are achieved."

Sydney Morning Herald- 'With US backing, Israel determined to go for the kill'
"Israel's goal is to either eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat, or altogether. The broader goal of the US is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush Administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East.

Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants - with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike."


"Israel and the US would like to hold out until Hezbollah is crippled. "It seems like we will go to the end now," said Israel's ambassador to the US, Daniel Ayalon. "We will not go part way and be held hostage again. We'll have to go for the kill - Hezbollah's neutralisation."

These stories give a far different perspective on the current munitions exchanges: Israel is under attack by Iran-sponsored terrorists embedded in a third nation, Lebanon. Hezbollah rockets target Israeli civilians while Israeli laser-guided bombs target, Hezbollah rockets. Contrary to the protestations and accusations of one Christopher Dodd, the Bush adminstration has clearly been working in concert with regional and world governments to lay the groundwork for Israel to help Lebanon exorcise Hezbollah from its cities and countryside without manic diplomatic attempts to protect the terrorists.

Dodd warns that, "This could spin out of control to such a degree that we have a major, major war in the middle east." The reality is that the cold phase of that war has been raging since at least 1979, with Iran's Islamic revolution. Iran has decided it is time to turn up the heat on this war and it certainly appears that Israel, the Bush adminstration and key western governments anticipated it, were prepared for it, and are in the process of winning it.

There is little reason for concern that Israel's defense forces will fail in this effort. The two areas of concern are that diplomatic failures will allow allies like France and Russia to reverse course and, more ominously, that Iran's threat that attacking Syria " ... will definitely face the Zionist regime with unimaginable damages" portends their possession and imminent detonation of a nuclear bomb. Let us hope that western intelligence and military authorities have this matter as well in hand as they appear to have Hezbollah's rockets.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:59 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I hate to respond to a thoughtful post with an anecdote, but I have been thinking about Senator Dodd all week. I did not know he was on FNS, I have that TiVoed and will watch it soon.

I have been considering the Senator from Connecticut who is still respected by his party because I purchased some Contra Cafe coffee on July 4, and it recently showed up. The coffee is great and is grown by former freedom fighters in Nicaragua.

I think of Senator Dodd because I remember his fighting President Reagan tooth and nail. I think of he and Kris Kristofferson as leading the pro-Sandinista movement in the US. Rather than admit he was wrong, Dodd -- 20 years later -- opposed the nomination of Otto Reich to be Assistant Secretary of State. His crime? Supporting democracy against communism in the Western Hemisphere.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2006 2:27 PM
But jk thinks:

And one quibble. I would disagree with conflating the Iranian and Palestinian elections. The election in Iran was a farce and remains worthy of scare quotes. The election in palestinian-controlled-Isreal, however, was legitimate.

I'm not happy that they chose Hamas, though people should remember the other choice was Fatah. They were, however, real and legitimate elections and their constituencies are getting the government they deserve.

I include their number in my accounting of folks living under self elected government.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2006 5:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I hesitated to group them together for the reasons you mentioned, but I was trying to economize on words in this post, believe it or not. In defense I'll point out that when your democratic choices are limited by force or by "belief in unproven things" it is not a free election in either case.

I can live with this quibble though. My charming bride said she wasn't sure she shares my sanquinity that western intelligence and military authorities have this matter "well in hand."

That comment forced me to consider the source of my optimism. I re-read my own post to find the answer: The unprecented combination of Israeli resolve to "to to the end now," and not go "part way and be held hostage again," coupled with supportive words from key Arab leaders. The Israelis are implementing the Bush Doctrine and no one of consequence - not the multiculturalists of Old Europe nor the Islamic apologists of Egypt or Saudi Arabia - dares, strike that, chooses, to stand in their way. Selfishly, they all want Hezbollah "crippled" or, better yet, "neutralized."

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2006 7:33 PM

June 29, 2006

Making Lemons

John Hawkins @ Right Wing News wants to make lemons of this morning's Gitmo SCOTUS decision.

    So we can't put them in front of a military tribunal, but we can still hold them indefinitely.

    Also, if the reasoning here is supposed to be that Congress hasn't approved of military tribunals, then let's put it up for a vote. My suspicion is that most Democrats would favor putting these terrorists through the American court system, which would mean long drawn out trials, the risk of classified intelligence sources being revealed, and lots of acquittals. On the other hand, Republicans would favor military tribunals, which would sidestep all of those problems.

    So basically, we'll have the Democrats who'll be so concerned about the terrorists rights that they'd favor letting them beat the system and get loose to kill more Americans. On the other hand, the Republicans won't be very concerned about the right of foreign terrorists and their first priority will be protecting America. Protecting the rights of Al-Qaeda or protecting America?

That would make one hell of a 2006 campaign issue.

Posted by AlexC at 1:32 PM

June 25, 2006

Palestinian WMDs

Plenty of WMD's in the news this week.

    The Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced on Sunday that its members have succeeded in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons.

    In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, said the weapons were the result of a three-year effort.

Ed Morrissey @ Captain's Quarters writes on what might happen next.
    Once the first chemical or biological weapon gets launched against Israel, that decision will have been taken out of their hands. The Israelis will almost certainly launch a massive strike against the Palestinians in both directions -- and while Hamas and Fatah do moderately well at targeting unarmed civilians, the IDF will slice through them like butter. And if the Palestinians expect the West to stop them, they will have miscalculated badly.

    The question will be where they acquired these weapons. They do not have the research facilities to have developed WMD on their own. If they actually do possess them, it seems a probablility that someone supplied Fatah with WMD.

    Who has WMD? What country stocked them, until three years ago? And where does Hamas and Islamic Jihad, at least, have themselves established? Syria -- who has long rumored to have received the Iraqi stockpiles in 2002 and 2003, just ahead of the American invasion.

    The Palestinians have just tipped us off to where the WMD went, and now we know where at least some it may have ended up. The Israelis may not be alone in marching through Gaza and the West Bank.

No telling what prompted the Palestinian terrorists to reveal their posessions, (it's a stunningly stupid bluff) but it's been a busy week on the WMD front.

Posted by AlexC at 7:16 PM

June 24, 2006

Supporting the Troops

Next time a liberal huffs and puffs about Ann Coulter sticking her foot in her mouth, point to this "cartoon" in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.


(tip to Blonde Sagacity)

Posted by AlexC at 11:55 AM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Lukovich and Tony Auth must have been separated at birth (and their mother oughtta be slapped!)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 25, 2006 10:13 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ugh. Tony Auth. I forgot about him.

Posted by: AlexC at June 26, 2006 1:49 AM

June 21, 2006

Iraqi Withdrawl

Eventually Murtha and Kerry will hit the withdrawl with their ever extending list of "six months."

Iraq's National Security Advisor has an op-ed in the Washington Post about coalition withdrawl.

    Nobody believes this is going to be an easy task, but there is Iraqi and coalition resolve to start taking the final steps to have a fully responsible Iraqi government accountable to its people for their governance and security. Thus far four of the 18 provinces are ready for the transfer of power -- two in the north (Irbil and Sulaymaniyah) and two in the south (Maysan and Muthanna). Nine more provinces are nearly ready.

    With the governors of each province meeting these strict objectives, Iraq's ambition is to have full control of the country by the end of 2008. In practice this will mean a significant foreign troop reduction. We envisage the U.S. troop presence by year's end to be under 100,000, with most of the remaining troops to return home by the end of 2007.

Posted by AlexC at 1:23 PM

June 18, 2006

The Subway Un-attack

Jeff Goldstein writes about the potential Al-Qaida NY Subway attack.

    My preliminary thoughts are these: whatever you happen to feel about George Bush, one thing is clear: when it comes to defending the homeland against al Qaeda, he has not hesitated to act in a decisively proactive way once he and his advisors have settled on what they believe is the proper course of action. To that end, he has proven himself unafraid to use substantive military force and has proven himself largely immune to the opinions of both the western media and international elites.

    Whether or not any of this factored into Zawahiri’s thinking is dubious, I realize; but I have long suspected that one of the reasons we haven’t seen the kind of attacks on US soil that we see in, say, Israel, is that the US, should it ever decide to go on full offensive, simply cannot be effectively restrained, particularly if public opinion shifts toward a desire to see the enemy eradicated—and even if doing so requires a shift in the collective moral calculus of the nation.

My question is, "full offensive against whom?"

On September 12th, it was pretty obvious that Afghanistan was the problem. But today? Yes, al-Qaida is in Iraq. But we're already going after them.

Going against "radical Islam" is a pretty tall order, only because they can be found everywhere.

Saudi? Iran? Not to mention London, Frankfurt and Paris.

Posted by AlexC at 11:17 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Goldstein is right in that we could turn it up. If I can be forgiven an amp metaphor, they're dimed, creating all the chaos that effete luddites in a cave can produce without being seen.

We have headroom. We could triple the force used if the C-in-C felt it served American interests.

Sorry, I just watched Flight 93. It was a horrific attack and showed some bravery and thought. But after years of planning, and the sacrifice of lives from the key players, a group of ordinary Americans figured it out before it was even over. A weak horse and a strong horse, Mr. Bin-Laden, I'll let people choose...

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2006 1:04 PM

June 15, 2006

The Media Enablers

To most this is self-evident.

Unless you're a member of the press.

    "Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

    The researchers counted direct references to terrorism between 1998 and 2005 in the New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a respected Swiss newspaper. They also collected data on terrorist attacks around the world during that period. Using a statistical procedure called the Granger Causality Test, they attempted to determine whether more coverage directly led to more attacks.

    The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.

A message not lost on the remains of Zarqawi and the remainder of his group.

All kinds of terrorist attacks take place in Baghdad, because that's where the cameras are.


Posted by AlexC at 4:47 PM

June 12, 2006

Let Them Hate ...

... so long as they fear.

    In Nablus, a young man is kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists — who then set him free on learning he is an American because they don’t want to end up like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi so recently did.

    I am irresistibly reminded of a piece of cynical wisdom from the mouth of the mad Roman emperor Caligula, born of experience in dealing with the barbarians of his day: Oderint, dum metuant: “Let them hate, so long as they fear”.

    It is best of all to be loved, of course. But Islamists will never love the khufr; not even the most self-abasing of the postmodern Left’s bootlickers can make that happen. The next best thing is that jihadis should crap their pants when they think about the death-from-above consequences of molesting Americans.

    I would actually prefer to have them fear molesting “all civilized people”, rather than just “Americans”. Unfortunately, I don’t see the will to instill the required level of fear anywhere but in the U.S., and I don’t consistently see it here. Not a single Democrat is willing to talk about making the active enemies of our civilization fear its wrath, which is one of several reasons I can no longer consider voting Democrat.

Posted by AlexC at 10:34 PM

The Angry Left

Michael Barone

    It comes down to this: A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W. Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there -- a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women -- and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.

    Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over; the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored.

    In all this they have been aided and abetted by large elements of the press. The struggle in Iraq has been portrayed as a story of endless and increasing violence. Stories of success and heroism tend to go unreported.

It's ashame that parts of one of America's oldest political parties has positioned itself that good news from Iraq is bad news for them.

Posted by AlexC at 5:24 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

That's been a Rush Limbaugh line since the Saddam statue fell in Baghdad.

The left's confusion is easily explained. They saw their ideals fail when attempted in the real world laboratories of the Soviet Union, DPRK, Cuba, France and, to a lesser extent, most of western Europe. Why wouldn't they expect capitalism and individualism to fail when nut jobs like Reagan and Bush attempt to realize their ideals both here and abroad?

Silly Democrats. Selfishness works!

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 2:50 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Too well I'm afraid. Sunni selfishness, Shia selfishness, etc. The nut jobs I am worried about are the ones on the receiving end of our largesse. Johngalt said it best when he claimed that freedom and liberty only work when they are the most important ideals, above religious dogma, political constructs and other quests for power.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 3:30 PM

June 11, 2006

Laying Blame


    A lawyer for Saudi nationals imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay said on Sunday he held U.S. authorities responsible for the deaths of two Saudi prisoners who hanged themselves at the U.S. naval base.

    Saudi Arabia, a staunch U.S. ally, said it was stepping up efforts to repatriate all nationals held at the base in Cuba.

    An Interior Ministry statement identified the two Saudis as Manei al-Otaibi and Yasser al-Zahrani but gave no further details about them. A Yemeni man also committed suicide.

Those meddling Americans (and their dog)! Let's blame them for the suicides.

I'm mean if it wasn't for those two buildings in New York, and that building in Washington (and the "potential" one).... let's not forget to blame the Americans for meddling in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Let's blame the Yanks.

Posted by AlexC at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Well, perhaps if we followed the enlightened retention and interrogation procedures of, say Saudi Arabia, this kind of thing wouldn't happen. We should aspire to be more like them.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 9:31 AM

June 10, 2006

Haditha Hoax?

The American Thinker...

    Evidence accumulates of a hoax in Haditha. The weblog Sweetness & Light has done an estimable service gathering together the articles which cast substantial doubt on the charge of a massacre of civilians at Haditha . Because the blog is too busy gathering and fisking the news, I offered and the publisher accepted my offer to put what he has uncovered in a narrative form.

    Having done so, I can tell you that the story has a whiff of yet another mediagenic scandal like the TANG memos or the Plame “outing.” While the Marines quite correctly will not comment on the case pending the outcome of their investigation, I am not bound by those rules, and I will sum up the story for you.

Posted by AlexC at 10:19 AM

June 8, 2006

Roll Ups


    a few hours ago, while an Al Jazeera journalist was interviewing Abu Kadama, Zarqawi's brother-in-law in Zarqa, Jordan, the broadcast was suddenly interrupted, most probably by Jordan. Because when the journalist came back on the air, he said that Abu Kadama had just been arrested by Jordanian services. Then a second sudden interruption occured, and when the Al Jazeera anchor appeared, he announced that his journalist colleague had also been arrested by Jordan.

I'll be darned. Bad day for jihad, today is.

Posted by AlexC at 5:58 PM


The New Republic's The Plank.

    there's the guy who called into the "Diane Rehm Show" this morning and choked up with tears as he recounted, "I woke up this morning and learned my country had dropped a bomb on someone's head...." Meanwhile another caller wanted to know how many innocent civilians had been killed in the raid (not an unreasonable question, I hasten to add--but this caller, too, displayed roughly zero enthusiasm for Zarqawi's demise).

Decision 08 has a bunch of quality quotes.


    I’m supposed to give the obligatory “YAY USA!” cheer here, but while it’s good to get the bad guys I don’t really think it’s going to improve much. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Steve Benan:

    [W]hile it’s no doubt good news that Zarqawi is no more, it’s worth remembering that Bush wasn’t willing to hit this known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location based on air-tight intelligence before the war even began.

Posted by AlexC at 5:34 PM

About Those WMD Documents

Captain Ed points us toward a recently translated document from Iraq.

    We received information that state the following:

    1. A team from the Military Industrialization Commission when Hussein Kamel Hussein was conducting his responsibilities did bury a large container said that it contains a Chemical Material in the village (Al Subbayhat) part of the district of Karma in Fallujah in a quarry region that was used by SamSung Korean company and close to the homes of some citizens.

    2. The container was buried using a fleet of concrete mixers.

How 'bout that?

Can we go check that out? You think that would be easy to narrow down.

Posted by AlexC at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

We might find Jimmy Hoffa.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2006 9:44 AM

June 2, 2006

You First

Why must it always be "You guys go first"?

    The US must abandon its "war on terror" to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, according to the former United Nations' chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix,.

    The US foreign policy of pre-emptive strikes against any perceived weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat, its development of new types of nuclear weapons and the "Star Wars" missile defence shield risked fuelling a new global arms race, said Dr Blix.

    Dr Blix's warning came in a report, released yesterday, proposing ways to bring about global nuclear, biological and chemical disarmament.

I suppose telling Iran to knock it off is out of the question.

Basically, Iran would tell you to go piss off, while the there are Americans who will say, "ya know.... that's a great idea."

Posted by AlexC at 3:07 PM

May 31, 2006




Shouting, "Don't do that again" a truck driver hauling a military cargo container cautions one of approximatley 40 Iraq war protesters after the protester slammed his sign down on the driver's semi fender. (Steve Bloom/The Olympian)

HT: Michelle Malkin/Gateway Pundit

Posted by Cyrano at 12:03 AM

May 29, 2006

Land of Light vs. Land of Dusk

Pamela over at Atlas Shrugs has a good post from a friend of hers in Europe, discussing the difference between American culture and European culture, and how that affects our decisions and actions in regard to Islamofascism.

Matthew, our man in Britain, and I have had something of a back and forth on the distressing state of affairs in Europe. His last correspondence deserves attention. While it may not change our perception of th edecay, it is interesting to see it through their deluded eyes:

The way I see it is this. European societies face a problem in that the Muslim populations in their midst are growing at a faster rate than the native population. Over time, the proportion of those societies made up of Muslims is going to increase. It's often said that one consequence of this is that Europeans adopt a spineless attitude towards Islamic terrorism, attempting to appease it rather than address it, for fear of provoking civil unrest in their own countries. This invertebrate attitude on the part of Europeans is cited as something that will lead to the inevitable downfall of their civilisation and, maybe within our lifetimes, their eventual partial or total submission to an Islamic way of life with all the horrors that brings. It's seen as a suicidal strategy, born of weakness.

I think that analysis is correct, but it omits some important matters.


I think the reason for this is that French culture, and European culture generally, is radically different from American and, to a lesser extent, British culture. What I adore about the United States is that anyone can be an American. In my eyes the values that define the United States are such that they're open to anyone. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are universal values and aspirations from which everyone, everywhere, at any point in time, can derive inspiration and can use to build a better life. Europe's nothing like that, France in particular. French culture isn't one based on ideals of freedom and personal achievement but on birth, class, status, refinement in matters of taste, humour, attitude, getting ahead, and protecting your own ass. Importantly, it's also based on geography. Nobody born in Italy could, or would consider, or would ever be described as, living like Frenchman. In contrast, an American or a potential American you can spot a mile off. American culture is potentially universal; French culture is confined to a time and a place.

Another point is that, to adapt the term, France is a RINO country - a republic in name only. Under the veneer of democracy and rights and freedoms, it behaves like a monarchy. To get into the government you need the right background, need to have gone to the right school, look right, say the right things. Moreover, like all monarchies, it is a characteristic of public administration in France that it is monopolised by a particular caste, is plagued with infighting among the 'courtier' class, and features a more or less total lack of financial or legal accountability on the part of those in charge. To varying extents this is true of all European countries, which explains why most Europeans aren't overly concerned about the lack of democratic or financial accountability in the institutions of the European Union. It's because they're not even concerned about it in their own countries. Above all, as in all old European countries, what's important if you're French is being French, not being free. It thus makes sense for Europeans to say "X is very French" / "very English" / "very German" in a way that it doesn't make a lot of sense to say that "X is very American". It does make sense to say "she's such a New Yorker" but that's a comment about ways of thinking, speaking, working, dressing, tastes, etc. It's not an observation about core values. In Europe, ways of thinking, speaking, working, dressing, and taste, is all the values there are. What I think distinguishes European culture from American is that it's more concerned with things that are, ultimately, trivialities. It lacks any concern with what we think of as the big issues in life - how free am I, how much money has the government taken from me this fiscal year (and for what freakin purpose?) am I able to live my life as I please, am I better off than I was last year, what are the threats to my security, what are the threats to the security of my country, and so on. It's perverse that Europeans characterise Americans as introverted; it's the Europeans who are the most introspective of all. Europeans generally see these issues as questions for someone else (the government). In their political thinking probably what distinguishes Europeans from Americans above all else is that Europeans are totally unwilling to accept any personal responsibility for making decisions which affect the future of their countries so long as the problems their countries face are not currently affecting them personally. Government, in Europe, is seen as something that just happens to you.


What happens at that point is the issue I was drawing attention to in my post. I think that, were European societies to get to the point where the native population's sense of its own identity was actually being damaged by Muslim influences, there would be a very visceral and violent reaction to those Muslim influences. This is because it's only at that point that we can expect Europeans to react to Muslims at all. You or I can look at the Taleban (and not just Muslims but also, say, the Chinese) and even from thousands of miles away see them as antipathetic to our whole way of life, and a genuine menace. So long as communists and Islamic fanatics exist, our core value - freedom - is under threat, in a way that Frenchness is not threatened by the existence of those regimes.


What's screwing Europe at the moment is apathy and a deadly unawareness of the nature of the problem at the level of the individual citizen, not any misplaced affection or tolerance for Islam. Some of the political class might see the problem but, if their people don't, there's no mileage to be had by putting their countries on a war footing. Doing so would be seen as a disruptive and expensive response to a problem that their people lack the cultural tools to even be aware of at the moment. Essentially they just don't get it.

Go over to her site and read the rest.

Posted by Cyrano at 9:29 PM

May 28, 2006

Intellectual History of Islamofascism

Dr. John Lewis takes a good look at the intellectual history of the Mideast and Islam in his post Notes on the Near Eastern Legacy of Islam over at the Objective Standard Blog.

The bio for Dr. Lewis at the Objective Standard says he "is Assistant Professor of History, Ashland University, where he is Assistant Director of the Academic Honors Program. His Ph.D. is in Classical Studies from the University of Cambridge, and he has taught at the University of London."

Dr. Lewis says:

I just finished teaching an undergraduate university class on the Ancient Near East: 15 weeks on Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. I read as many original documents and modern histories—and looked at as much art—as I had time to do. I became intrigued by the many parallels between radical Islam and the ancient historical background. Here are just a few, in no particular order, each of which needs more work:
1. The idea that the world is divided into the realms of light and truth (ruled by a god's favorite on earth), versus the realm of darkness and lies (ruled by men). There are many parallels between Zoroastrianism (which sees the world as divided into warring realms of light and dark), Manicheism (similar views spread by a Persian mystic in the 3rd century A.D.), and Islam, particularly the Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al-Harb, or World of Light and Submission versus World of Darkness and Chaos. From such views came Bin Laden's war with the west, which can only end when the forces of Islam have conquered the forces of Chaos.

2. The idea that the truth can only come from the authority of a higher power, to be accepted by faith. The ancient Persian kings saw a "world of truth" versus "world of lies," in which the Great King triumphs over those who lie. Islamists today see enemies lying to them everywhere—while they accept the grossest lies themselves (teaching their children, for instance, that Jews are born of pigs and monkeys).

… 4. The idea that proper political rule is based on the sanction of a divine power, whose commands are enforced by those who fight successfully on earth. For the Persians, it was the god Ahuramazda, among others, who legitimated the king's rule. The "peace" that follows when the king establishes his rule is a distinct parallel to claims by Islamic totalitarians that all will be well once Islamic law is imposed by a totalitarian Caliphate or ruling council. For such mentalities, adherence to divine commands is more important than the consequences on earth; thus the Taliban brought misery to their people, but called it goodness. … 7. The wars of expansion—by which the Near Eastern kingdoms and, later, Islam rose—continued until a dictator imposed his will. The ancient Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Median and Persian Empires all expanded to the limits of their power. For the Persians, the expansion to universal rule was stopped by the Greeks. Similarly, Islamists today say that a Caliphate will impose Islamic law over all, by force if necessary, under a totalitarian dictatorship. … 9. The "everywhere" of expansion and submission is important: as the ancient Persian-Iranians set out to expand their kingdom over the entire world, so modern Islamists demand the spread of Islam over the entire world. Universal submission is their aim.

All these ideas are, naturally enough, taught to students in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia and Palestine -- well, that's where I've seen documented evidence. Judging from words and actions, these ideas are taught throughout the Islamic world.

It is good to see the history of Islamic thought, to better understand it. History is indispensable to properly understand current events...which is one reason why so many people fail to understand modern issues such as the climate, eminent domain, capitalism...and Islamofascism.

Posted by Cyrano at 1:39 PM

May 26, 2006


Saw this one DailyKos.

    The allied occupation of Kosovo, where Clark was greeted as a hero with not only flowers, but also billboards and a road being renamed for him, was planned and executed by Clark and Shinseki. It provides an interesting contrast to Iraq, where Shinseki was shut out of the planning, and in fact disparaged for his realistic assessment of what it would take to win in Iraq.

    It's hard to imagine Rummy and Wolfowitz being greeted as heroes of the Iraqi people in seven years' time.

Imagine... It's easy if you try.

Greenville Online - April 10, 2003 Bush Bush, Thank You

    Although danger still is present in Iraq, signs are everywhere the war has been won and Saddam's gone. Cheering Iraqis tell the story -- Saddam Hussein no longer controls Iraq and the days of his brutal dictatorship have ended. Iraq has been liberated, and Iraqis are celebrating.. "Bush, Bush, thank you," Iraqi young people chanted as American troops rolled through Saddam City in eastern Baghdad.

Or this one from the Baltimore Sun.

In smaller letters it says "Baghdad Falls; Iraqis Flood Streets to Greet US Troops; In Capital Joy Reigns Where Hussein, Signs of Cruelty Towered"

How about a Washington Post article? "Hussein's Baghdad Falls; U.S. Forces Move Triumphantly through Capital Streets, Cheered by Crowds Jubilant at End of Repressive Regime.

    Down the street, crowds greeted U.S. troops with flowers, candy and, occasionally, kisses.

    "We love you!" some shouted. Others, with more anger, cried out, "No more Saddam Hussein!"

    Some scrambled for packaged meals-ready-to-eat the Americans handed out, almost setting off a riot near the tanks. Others picked flowers from a nearby park and distributed them to soldiers and anyone resembling an American. A few simply stood and stared, as curious as they were jubilant. For the first time in a half-century, troops were rolling down Baghdad's streets with a foreign flag.

In addition to these, Michael Rubin at NRO has some more....

  • The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, for example, reported, "American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as the citizens in the streets told what U.S. military leaders were hesitant to formally proclaim: the end of Saddam's tyranny."

  • Even the French, never fans of liberation (except their own) conceded the welcome. The day after the fall of Baghdad, French radio announced, "Saddam Hussein has fallen, his dictatorship too. The American soldiers are received in Baghdad as liberators."

Not mentioned in General Clarks' triumphant return to Kosovo is the final status of the Kosovo War's greatest enemy. Slobodan Milosovic. Until his death of a heart attack earlier this year, he was on trial at the World Court. Seven years and no final resolution. Saddam Hussein? He's on trial in an Iraqi court, judged by Iraqis, and will probably die of lead poisoning or of a broken neck. His sons? Dead.

Seven years later, Kosovo isn't quite self governing, it's still part of Serbia. Iraq's interim US-led government is over, their new elected government was seated a week ago.

Obviously Iraq is not all candy and nuts, but the liberation did not fall down a memory hole.

In the end, we don't have to imagine what an Iraqi greeting will be like in seven years, we saw it three years ago... and the country itself is only bound to get better and stronger.

Posted by AlexC at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Amen. My lefty friends are so certain that we've "broken" Iraq and I'm sure if you’re a Baathist Sunni it appears that way.

But if you’re a Kurd in the North, you're obviously liberated, the Marsh Arabs in the South have been freed and their land is being rehydrated. If you live in Baghdad I expect your reaction is mixed but you have a chance at freedom, a "Republic if you can keep it" as Franklin said.

I know that will sound Pollyannaish to some and I'd entertain debate. But the idea that it obvious and certain that Coalition intervention in Iraq has made things worse is specious.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2006 9:37 AM

May 23, 2006

Shocked, SHOCKED!

And why exactly hasn't this been linked from Threesources today?

    Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations--the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so--and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them.

An article like this comes out every so often, but it never hurts to Go Read the Whole Thing

Posted by AlexC at 11:35 PM

May 15, 2006

Looking for Leaks


    A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

    "It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

    ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

    Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

Are journalists above the law? No.

But aren't there some dots to connect?

John Hawkins writes...

    Although I DO NOT favor locking up reporters for reporting classified info, I don't have any problem at all with the government trying to find out who's leaking that classified info to the press. These leakers in the intelligence community have gravely compromised our national security for their own selfish reasons and they need to be ferreted out, fired, and then punished to the fullest extent of the law. If this isn't a bogus story, it sounds like the government is finally on the right track.

Posted by AlexC at 6:36 PM

May 13, 2006

NSA Program

So I'm wondering what the ThreeSources opinion is on the NSA's collection of telephone bills.

As I understand it, it's a little underwhelming. My only question is its effectiveness. I thought the bad guys use phone cards and disposable or stolen cell phones.

Posted by AlexC at 8:49 PM | Comments (3)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

True, but the brouhaha here is about who called whom, not what was said. Even that kind of information can be traced.

The NSA was looking at calling patterns and networks set up by people in general to apply to whatever the terrorists are communicating.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 13, 2006 10:51 PM
But jk thinks:

I mentioned that Tucker Carlson had over-hyped this story and still think that is true. What I did NOT realize was how much other media and opposition politicians would grab onto this.

I still like this from newsbusters.org: "Today’s article does not allege that any calls are listened in on. Indeed, as USA Today describes it, the program seems like a thoroughly innocuous database of the same information that appears on your phone bill, but with your name, address and other personal information removed. Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty."

When the privacy patrol joins me in demanding consumption based-taxation, I will take them seriously.

As for efficacy, it seems like it might work. Not everybody is on a safe line and once one number is discovered seeing who he called, then who they called could provide some interesting data.

Posted by: jk at May 14, 2006 11:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Mark Steyn: "To connect the dots, you have to see the dots."


Posted by: jk at May 14, 2006 1:26 PM

May 1, 2006

Vietnam All Over Again

David Gelernter, in a cover story in this week's Weekly Standard, says Iraq is Vietnam all over again, in that we had best summon the will to win. I'm going to give away the ending:

The administration was wrong to let Americans get the idea that Iraq would be easy. But it was right to fight. And because Iraq is exactly Vietnam all over again, our eventual victory won't only be good for Iraq, the Middle East, and peace on earth. It will repair American self-respect. And it will turn the Friends of Cowardice, the U.S. Mothers for Despair, and all their allied groups back into the peripheral players they always used to be in this country--until Vietnam.

Like many supporters of the war, I instinctively bristle at comparisons. There are a million differences between the two conflicts -- I'd put lack of conscription right near the top.

Gelernter’s point, which I've heard before but not so well,. is that it is instructive to examine the similarities, not all of which are kind to the Administration.

In Iraq as in Vietnam, the government gave the American people an unrealistic estimate of how hard the war would be. Both times it was an honest but costly mistake, which could probably have been avoided.

But the best part of the story is an excellent defense of Vietnam, which is surprisingly absent from most media outlets today.
THOSE WHO THINK that "no more Vietnams" means that cowardice is the better part of wisdom don't know their Vietnam history either. There are many important lies in circulation about Vietnam, like counterfeit $50 bills that keep resurfacing. Those who held these views during the war itself weren't liars; in most cases they were telling the truth as they understood it. But decades later, it requires an act of will to keep one's ignorance pristine.

He then enumerates four lies that still stand about Vietnam, and swipes at the memorial for being a "grave" instead of a heroes' memorial.
Lie #1: We were wrong to fight the Vietnamese Communists in the first place; they only wanted what was best for their country
Lie #2: The Vietnam war was unwinnable. We had no business sending our men to a war they were bound to lose
Lie #3: As the American people learned the facts, they turned against the war and forced America's withdrawal from Vietnam.
Lie #4: The real heroes of Vietnam were the protesters and draft-resisters who forced America to give up a disastrously wrong policy.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM

April 30, 2006

When Left is Right...

... and up is down.

I read DailyKos. Don't ask why. It just adds to my confusion.

Here's a post called Why Did The President Repeatedly Refuse To Kill Zarqawi?

    Today, we see yet another confirmation that this administration was hellbent on invading Iraq, [emphasis mine. -AlexC] rather than really fighting terrorists:

      [Former US spy Mike Scheuer] claims that a July 2002 plan to destroy [Zarqawi's training camp] lapsed because "it was more important not to give the Europeans the impression we were gunslingers". "Mr Bush had Zarqawi in his sights almost every day for a year before the invasion of Iraq [emphasis in original -AlexC] and he didn't shoot because they were wining and dining the French in an effort to get them to assist us in the invasion of Iraq," he told Four Corners.

      "Almost every day we sent a package to the White House that had overhead imagery of the house he was staying in. It was a terrorist training camp . . . experimenting with ricin and anthrax . . . any collateral damage there would have been terrorists."

    Rumsfeld and administration officials (including the President) repeatedly pointed to the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq as "evidence" of a Saddam-al Qaeda link (nevermind that Saddam Hussein was himself viewed Zarqawi as a threat and was trying to capture him).

    If the President killed Zarqawi, he would have killed the ability to falsely link Saddam and al Qaeda and convince the American people that war was a necessary response to 9/11.

To recap, Zarqawi was in Iraq playing with WMDs before the war for oil and everyone knew it (except of course those who didn't, and don't believe it still), but we needed him to be there so that we could invade to steal their oil and fund Halliburton and the BushCo cronies. (Do I have that right?) Oh, and the President was negligent for not getting him before hand.

So... what's the answer?

More diplomacy? Yet another chance?

Or gunslinging?

Because there's nothing quite so diplomatic as unilaterally launching missile strikes at camps inside a country we're not really friends with. It pissed off the Pakistanis a few months back and they're supposed to be on our side.

What's the right answer this time? I'm confused.

I guess ultimately the right answer is, "What ever Bush does, it's wrong."

The conclusion is great...

    All along, the evidence has pointed to one man as "hurting the war on terror": the President of the United States himself.

Yep. Going after these guys is hurting the whole operation.

Posted by AlexC at 5:54 PM

April 18, 2006

The Forgotten War

Friend of Threesources.com Bill Roggio is going to Afghanistan.

    I have decided to devote my full time efforts to the Counterterrorism Foundation, and will depend on your support. Contributions to the Counterterrorism Foundation will be tax deductible. We'll provide more information on the Counterterrorism Foundation in the near future.

    With that said, I will be embedding in Afghanistan some time in mid-May (date and unit to be determined). The war and Coalition reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan is not being covered sufficiently, and in fact the soldiers and Marines fighting there call it “The Forgotten War”. This will be an excellent opportunity to see the situation in Afghanistan first hand and report on the mission of our troops and the progress and setbacks in Afghanistan.

    After Afghanistan, I plan on going to Northern Africa to report on the other forgotten war, and then will return to Iraq later in the year.

Bill did a hell of a job last time around in Iraq, I look forward to reading his stuff from Afghanistan.

His new blog will be found at http://www.counterterrorismblog.org/

Posted by AlexC at 9:04 PM

April 13, 2006

"The Escaped Prisoner"

That's the title of an upcoming book. Watch for it on Amazon.

Last month I blogged a video clip of the Arabic Ayn Rand. I thought a video would be worth a thousand thousand words but, alas, not a single comment was provoked.

Almost coincidentally, Robert Tracinski blogged the same video but since he gets paid to do so, he added his own analysis. I don't have the time to be original so I'll just plagarize him, since he is brilliant.

"This was Wafa Sultan's declaration of intellectual independence from Islam. It was a declaration, by an Arab speaking in Arabic to an Arab audience, that Islam is a backward, violent religion, and that a secular, free society—a culture of science, independent creative thought, and political freedom—is superior to the Islamic culture of faith.

I have been in favor the Forward Strategy of Freedom as a military and diplomatic policy, a policy of knocking down Muslim tyrannies in the Middle East and replacing them, as far as is possible, with the institutions of a free society. But we can't expect the generals and politicians to win this kind of broad cultural battle all on their own, with only the tools available to soldiers and diplomats. Western intellectuals have to get into this fight, too. What we need even more than the Forward Strategy of Freedom is a Forward Strategy of Intellectual Freedom—an attempt to spread the values of reason, secularism, and independent thought to the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Mainstream Western intellectuals are not interested in this task. Their allegiance is not to reason, but to subjectivism, which has led them full circle to an admiration for dogmatism—so long as it is the dogmatism of others, which we are not to judge. Thus, the intellectuals are too busy appeasing Islam, like the administrators at Yale, who eagerly recruited a former Taliban spokesman as a "special student" to be considered for a subsidized enrollment at an Ivy League college, despite the fact that he has only fourth-grade education."

(Emphasis mine.)

Tracinsi concludes, "As I remarked when I originally covered this story on March 1, the reason I admire Wafa Sultan is that "She's no 'moderate Muslim'—she's an uncompromising firebrand in the defense of reason and freedom." Let us hope that this firebrand can set off a conflagration of independent thought. And let's do whatever we can to add fuel to those flames and spread them across as much of the globe as possible."

This is the sort of "nation building" that can actually succeed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:51 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I had read about her and agree that she is a powerful voice. And far braver than the Comedy Channel.

With a billion devout Muslims in the world, the answer seems more to appeal to the moderate who can worship as well as embrace pluralism and some elements of modernity. Some will turn their back on their faith but that is a hard sell.

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2006 6:51 PM

April 9, 2006

Document Release

CaptainEd (Time Magazine's Blogger of the Year, btw) is earning his keep lately by analyzing the Iraqi documents released to the public.

American Interests...

    [W]e have established the translation of the memo from the Iraqi Air Force general to all units requesting volunteers for suicide missions against American "interests", the timing of the memo appears to fit into a disturbing sequence in the months prior to 9/11. This memo is dated March 17, 2001, less than six months prior to the coordinated al-Qaeda attack on the US, at a time when the AQ plotters and pilots appeared to be in close proximity to Iraqi intelligence agents in Europe.

He paid for two independant translators to translate that documents. Three different translators in total, same message.

And he links to this...

    CQ reader Sapper sends along a new document from the captured files of the Saddam Hussein regime, one that had just been released on Friday, that has notations indicating where WMD stockpiles might be found. The information on the memo has not been translated but the notations themselves sound breathtaking:
      Please see Iraqi map to locate Al-Rasheed area
      on this page important information that the Iraqi regime has Transported the chemical and biological weapons to al-Rashad area, and pronounced a Military Prohibited area

      this area is completely covered with trees & bushes

Nothing to see here, move along. Bush lied, &etc.

Posted by AlexC at 1:45 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

The 9/11 Commission has clearly stated that Iraq was not involved. Why would Captain Ed, or anybody else, bother translating these documents, after Jamie Gorelick has already given us the truth?

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2006 2:01 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

David Kay and Charles Duelfer both found no evidence of WMD stockpiles. The US military spent a year looking for it. Now some blogger pouring through documents on the internet has discovered where they're hidden. Outstanding. Did he also find Jimmy Hoffa's body under all of the trees and bushes? How about reading a more plausible account of the Administrations understanding of the WMD threat Washington Post - A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/08/AR2006040800916.html?referrer=email&referrer=email)

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 10, 2006 12:47 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

A PS to my previous post. An editorial in the NY Times predicted this - http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/03/opinion/03mon2.html?n=Top%2FOpinion%2FEditorials%20and%20Op-Ed%2FEditorials

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 10, 2006 1:51 PM
But jk thinks:

There is a legitimate and still unresolved question of threat. The administration (and their toadies at ThreeSources) remain convinced that Iraq was on its way to creating WMD programs and was a contributor to world terrorism. I have been surprised they were not father along, but I am in good company.

Critics have used the 9/11 Commission (which said "no proof") and the lack of stockpiles to say that the administration was wrong. Stephen Hayes at The Weekly Standard has spent months calling for declassification of captured Iraqi documents. He is one of several journalists who feel they contain evidence that WMD progress was better than now thought and that Saddam's collaboration with terrorists (nobody disputes his payments to Palestinian suicide bombers) was mort extensive. Preliminary results hint that both of these may be true.

Your denigration of "a blogger" concerns me. Are you saying that we should trust the government, CIA, and Blue Ribbon councils -- all the experts who performed so poorly in the run up to the invasion -- over a translation of Iraqi documents because it was done by (was he wearing pajamas?) a blogger?

The by-line WaPo piece asserts that the White House made a "concerted effort" to discredit a critic. I wish they'd do a lot more of that! And I hope staff writers Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer don't read ThreeSources -- we try to discredit each other all the time. (JohnGalt drives an Audi!)

Lastly, those seriously wanting to discredit Wilson would do better to buy him TV time http://www.theneweditor.com/index.php?/archives/2794-Joseph-Wilson-Reveals-Himself.html

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2006 1:54 PM
But jk thinks:

RE: P.S. Wow. The New York Times should be ashamed of itself for having no interest in "48,000 boxes of captured documents" from a country we are at war with. Their lack of curiosity astounds!

The fear that information might be exculpatory to the Administration has caused the soi disant greatest newspaper in the world (which it is) to hide its head in the sand, not seeking the information it contains, and now denigrating those who are doing its work for nothing and paying people out of their own pocket.

I've got no trouble picking sides on this issue with Ed Driscoll over the NYTimes Ed Page.

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2006 2:02 PM

April 4, 2006

The Administration Responds

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page publishes a response to Messrs. Buckley, Will and Fukuyama (Free link)

A small group of current and former conservatives--including George Will, William F. Buckley Jr. and Francis Fukuyama--have become harsh critics of the Iraq war. They have declared, or clearly implied, that it is a failure and the president's effort to promote liberty in the Middle East is dead--and dead for a perfectly predictable reason: Iraq, like the Arab Middle East more broadly, lacks the democratic culture that is necessary for freedom to take root. And so for cultural reasons, this effort was flawed from the outset. Or so the argument goes.

Peter Wehner answers the most serious arguments that war critics have recently raised: The War Is Lost (No, it isn't), The freedom agenda is dead (nope), .and George Will's assertion that the Middle East lacks a President Madison or Chief Justice Marshall:
and it lacks the astonishingly rich social and cultural soil from which such people sprout." There is no "existing democratic culture" that will allow liberty to succeed, he argues. And he scoffs at the assertion by President Bush that it is "cultural condescension" to claim that some peoples, cultures or religions are destined to despotism and unsuited for self-government. The most obvious rebuttal to Mr. Will's first point is that only one nation in history had at its creation a Washington, Madison and Marshall--yet there are 122 democracies in the world right now. So clearly founders of the quality of Washington and Madison are not the necessary condition for freedom to succeed.

(JohnGalt beat them to this with some recent comments, pointing out that Japan did not have a George Washington.)

I'd recommend the whole piece as a serious argument against serious concerns brought by serious people.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:23 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't beat Peter Wehner to this story, just you. I read the piece this morning and it was a perfect addition to the dossier on George Will's advancing dementia.

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2006 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm a big George Will fan. When he was indifferent or opposed to George HW Bush in 1992, however, I knew it was over. I blame him on some level for eight years of President Clinton.

Buckley, Fukuyama, and Will make a dangerous set of war opponents.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2006 7:21 PM

April 2, 2006

Pending Draft

Remember the post 2004 election draft scare?

George Bush was going to draft Americans to fight in various wars for oil and American hegemony? Conservative Punk does.

  • Bush recently threw a bunch of Pentagon money into the Selective Services to try and fire up the draft board. Of course, they’re not going to announce the draft unless Bush gets re-elected-that’s when they’ll spring it on people.
    – Jello Biafra, Ex-Dead Kennedys (Alternative Press, Issue #192, July 2004)
  • I think it’s especially important for young people to be involved, because I have no doubt that if Bush is re-elected, the draft will come back.
    - Justin Sane, Anti-Flag (Alternative Press, Issue #192, July 2004)
  • The U.S. Army is stretched about as far as it can go. The Defense Department is using every measure at its disposal to maintain the military's ranks.
    - MTV’s Rock the Vote
  • [Bush] insists that he won't revive the draft. But the facts suggest that he will.
    – Columnist Paul Krugman

Posted by AlexC at 7:16 PM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

You know, I was kinda hoping for a draft. Something along the lines of 13th and 14th grade in HS.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at April 3, 2006 3:45 PM

March 27, 2006

Listening In

We join this conversation in progress... I have been discussing FISA wiretaps with Silence Dogood and an anonymous source who started the email thread by mailing me a copy of an Atlantic Monthly article, Big Brother Is Listening. (Paid link)

After a few emails, Silence suggested that I get this on the blog. I will start by excerpting the original article, trying to be fair. The article states that the listening is more prevalent and more sophisticated than most imagine, and that it is easier than you might think to get on the watch list:

It used to be that before the NSA could place the name of an American on its watch list, it had to go before a FISA-court judge and show that it had probable cause-that the facts and circumstances were such that a prudent person would think the individual was somehow connected to terrorism-in order to get a warrant. But under the new procedures put into effect by Bush's 2001 order, warrants do not always have to be obtained, and the critical decision about whether to put an American on a watch list is left to the vague and ubjective "reasonable belief" of an NSA shift supervisor. In charge of hundreds of people, the supervisor manages a wide range of sigint specialists, including signals-conversion analysts separating HBO television programs from cell-phone calls, traffic analysts sifting through massive telephone data streams looking for suspicious patterns, cryptanalysts attempting to read e-mail obscured by complex encryption algorithms, voice-language analysts translating the gist of a phone call from Dari into English, and cryptolinguists trying to unscramble a call on a secure telephone. Bypassing the FISA court has meant that the number of Americans targeted by the NSA has increased since 2001 from perhaps a dozen per year to as many as 5,000 over the last four years, knowledgeable sources told The Washington Post in February. If telephone records indicate that one of the NSA's targets regularly dials a given telephone number, that number and any names associated with it are added to the watch lists and the communications on that line are screened by computer. Names and information on the watch lists are shared with the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, and foreign intelligence services. Once a person's name is in the files, even if nothing incriminating ever turns up, it will likely remain there forever. There is no way to request removal, because there is no way to confirm that a name is on the list.

The next paragraph details a French businessman, who attracted the attention of US, Australians and UK intelligence with a $1.1 Million transaction with Iran. It turns out that the sale was legal, and Bamford is concerned that this person, now on the watch list may be monitored closely, denied entry, or face some other consternation when he committed no wrong and faced no due process.

The article takes a very interesting look at the size, scope and secrecy of the FISA court.

On the first Saturday in April of 2002, the temperature in Washington, D.C., had taken a dive. Tourists were bundled up against the cold, and the cherry trees along the Tidal Basin were fast losing their blossoms to the biting winds. But a few miles to the south, in the Dowden Terrace neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, the chilly weather was not deterring Royce C. Lamberth, a bald and burly Texan, from mowing his lawn. He stopped only when four cars filled with FBI agents suddenly pulled up in front of his house. The agents were there not to arrest him but to request an emergency court hearing to obtain seven top-secret warrants to eavesdrop on Americans.
The court's job is to decide whether to grant warrants requested by the NSA or the FBI to monitor communications of American citizens and legal residents. The law allows the government up to three days after it starts eavesdropping to ask for a warrant; every violation of FISA carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. Between May 18, 1979, when the court opened for business, until the end of 2004, it granted 18,742 NSA and FBI applications; it turned down only four outright.

I commented that security and privacy were tensions in balance and that the tale of the French businessman, while regrettable, was a fair trade when compared to the fact that FBI agents did not search Zacharias Moussaoui's laptop for lack of a FISA warrant and probable cause. Disrupting terrorism, I claimed was too important.

Some good things were said on both sides, to be lost to the ether. But the political view of privacy and civil liberties on the right were questioned against the defense of President Bush from me and other Republicans. I asked if my emailer was so keen to give the 105th Congress more authority at the expense of President Clinton. He didn't say it, but would I have been keen to give more authority to Clinton/Albright?

I rested my final case on Federalist #10 and #64, highlighting the importance of executive power in national security. I don't want the dim bulbs on either side of either house mucking too much up with real-time defense decisions. Here's the thread in progress:

Friend X: No, I didn't ask for the Republicans to increase Legislative power in the 90's, nor am I asking Republicans who control congress or the Democrats who fear being branded "weak on security" to increase Legislative power today. I'm asking congress to exercise their oversight responsibilities and look into why the President ignored the existing FISA law. If I recollect correctly, the administration's two supporting arguments for the legality of the warrantless surveillance are that 1) Congress authorized it in the Joint Resolution of Sept 14, 2001 with the words "the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force", and 2) that in his role as Commander-in-Chief the president can do whatever he feels is appropriate. The first argument is silly. It in essence says that the Congress authorized the President to do anything. Prison camps? Why not? Door-to-Door searches? Why not? Is it ok for Bush to initiate these measures? The Joint Resolution does not prohibit these far-fetched measures any more than it prohibits warrantless surveillance. The language of the Joint Resolution as well as the language of the constitution leaves a lot open to interpretation. This is why it would be totally appropriate for Congress to have in-depth hearings on what is a very controversial action by the current administration.

I understand that you're ok with the balance the administration has struck between security and civil liberties concerns. I think this will always be a subject for debate. Are you saying that someone who is not comfortable with the president's approach and would like congressional investigation into the matter is simply being a partisan hack?

Another thought (this is a big day for me) -- I have a problem with the argument that it's ok if the government is spying on you only when you're communicating with someone overseas. The president has claimed he can do this because it's his prerogative as commander-in-chief. At what point does he cross the line of what's appropriate and what isn't? Wouldn't it be appropriate for our representatives in Congress to discuss this? If not, when is it appropriate to investigate? Can Congress ever do this? I share your lack of confidence in the players on both sides of the aisle in both houses, but that in no way means I believe in giving a president carte blanche, be he or she a Democrat or Republican.

Here's the last question:
Silence Dogood: explain to me how the same red state crowd that stridently defends their right to bear arms, and avoid government licensing of weapons because when the government goes bad, the first thing they will do is track down and confiscate weapons is so willing to give up their right to private communication? When the government goes bad it will track you down for your ideas before your weapons. Imagine how colonial America would have progressed if communication was monitored and the printing presses serialized by the British. I consider freedom of speech to be the most basic right in a free society, but take away the right to anonymity and speech will be less free, I think it is as basic as that.

I admitted that I was radically unconcerned. That I was involved in a business headquartered overseas and did not necessarily consider my conversations with foreign nationals protected by the Constitution. I was a lot more worried about McCain-Feingold which limits exactly the speech that the First Amendment seeks to protect.

How 'bout it right wingers and liberty freaks? Are we silently giving away fundamental rights because we agree with the administration?

Posted by John Kranz at 8:40 PM | Comments (4)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I would have to say that I was radically unconcerned about McCain-Feingold, although you have done an excellent job JK in convincing me that it was bad law of the highest order. Well, that plus evidence that it simply doesn't do what it was supposed to do. I just always worry about rationalizing limits on liberty as a trade off for safety, being an adherent to Ben Franklin's views on that subject.

On the technology issue, you make some valid points, such as we have free encryption available, but I think we are giving up anonymity. In exchange for better communication we have made it easier for the government to snoop. We mentioned the colonial era, and yes the British could have folks listen to conversations, they could even put up checkpoints and open letters, but I don't see that as being quite as easy as tying into AT&T's feed. We get better communication, but less secure. A dissident in a totalitarian regime can post on the internet and get far wider exposure, but he cannot do so completely anonymously and thus, not freely. Like the gun analogy, laws protecting our rights are only as strong as the force the people can use to uphold them. We are guaranteed free speech but without the ability to be anonymous what power do we have to uphold that right?

I also believe the war powers of the Executive branch are being abused by declaring a near constant state of war. The Cold War lasted 50 years, unprecedented in our history, and yet President Reagan thoughtfully declared the War on Drugs before the Cold War was even over. Now we have the War on Terror, a war with no definable end. Keep in mind that many a dictator has declared war on his opposition and used those powers to strangle his country. How about the suspension of Habeus Corpus by Lincoln that I now hear so much about, yet no one quotes the famous Ex parte: Milligan case before the Supreme Court that officially ended it in 1866? Well, allow me:

"It follows, from what has been said on this subject, that there are occasions when martial rule can be properly applied. If, in foreign invasion or civil war, the courts are actually closed, and it is impossible to administer criminal justice according to the law, then, on the theatre of active military operations, where war really prevails, there is a necessity to furnish a substitute for the civil authority, thus overthrown, to preserve the safety of the army and society; and as no power is left but the military, it is allowed to govern by martial rule until the laws can have their free course. As necessity creates the rule, so it limits its duration; for, if this government is continued after the courts are reinstated, it is a gross usurpation of power. Martial rule can never exist where the courts are open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction. It is also confined to the locality of actual war. The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus does not suspend the writ itself. The writ issues as a matter of course; and on return made to it the court decides whether the party applying is denied the right of proceeding any further with it."

The Supreme Court even in its 5-4 victory was attempting to make their decision as narrow as possible because of the precedent it would set. They carefully stated their opinion such that in a time of rebellion or invasion as the Constitution states, or even in time of war in general that martial law may be declared, but only during periods of time when the civil courts are closed due to that war, rebellion or invasion.

Secrecy is the other enemy of liberty. You cannot combat in a democratic arena what you don't know or can't prove exists. Look back through our history at the eras that had secret monitoring and wholesale suspension of liberties and think about how many of them you could defend today. The FBI monitoring of the civil rights movement or the anti-war movement, the Red Scare of communism and the congressional inquiries, the internment of the Japanese? How many of those actually had any effect whatsoever on our national security? There seems to be an assumption that large scale dragnets actually work in catching terrorists, yet proof of this is hard to come by and certainly not supported by history. Claiming that our victories must be kept secret to avoid tipping off our enemies may be valid, but it is also a very convenient way to not have to support your means with verifiable ends.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at March 28, 2006 12:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Of course, I didn't quote the Ex parte: Milligan case because I assumed everybody knew it, but you're right, we may have some newbies around here...

The War on Terror does indeed provide a pretext for usurpation of liberties. I cannot deny that but I have to look at the impingements so far and decide that I am comfortable. The supra-FISA wiretaps (three errors in two words, but you know what I mean) strike me as legitimate based on a few things I mentioned in mail

-- I am more comfortable with the “Carnivore” style eavesdropping, where huge quantities of information are algorithmically checked than individual eavesdropping. The legal question I never hear discussed is the suitability of the information for domestic prosecution. If I tell [foreign source] that I jaywalked yesterday, and jackbooted thugs from Lafayette Traffic Division kick down my door, we have a problem. If they really just care about and prosecute security concerns, I find it hard to get worked up.

I find that to be the difference in the historical parallels of Hoover wiretapping Dr. King (and Nixon's enemies list). These taps collected information for domestic prosecution.

The Japanese internment is a good example of a breach of rights, but that was funded by Congress and upheld in Korematsu v. United States, so you have a three branch failure. Likewise, history will show that many elements in the War n Terror were overkill. Airport security and disallowing the sale of the ports to Dubai come to mind already. But I don’t think we’ll look back and see the wiretaps in the same light.

As for your question of efficacy, the sidebar to the story includes an example success in the eavesdropping, and the near search of Moussaoui’s laptop will be fodder for counterfactuals for years to come.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2006 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Please allow me to pick on a few specifics:

1) Some of us are getting all worked up because this "widespread" illegal surveilance has affected maybe 1250 people per year for the last 4 years? And who knows what fraction of those aren't actually American citizens or legal residents.

2) A specific example of the egregiousness of this surveilance comes down to the concern that this law-abiding foreign businessman MIGHT be "monitored closely, denied entry, or face some other consternation?" I would hope that anyone who makes million-dollar deals with the world's leading terrorist state WILL be monitored closely.

3) This is just a gratuitous shot here, but of the three US government agencies the article laments are privvy to the watch list info, one of them, Homeland Security, would not even exist today save for the insistence of house and senate Democrats.

4) Perhaps this is just an example of sloppy excerpting, but what's the point being made about carloads of government agents tracking down a judge at his home to request emergency warrants? Isn't this what the "anonymity" crowd is demanding in the first place?

5) If only 4 out of 18,742 warrant requests were turned down over 25 years, why is it so all fired important to make sure that 1 out of 5000 gets turned down in the last 4 years? (I know, I know, if there's no oversight there will be more abuse. But how much abuse can there be in 5000 cases? With some luck, many of these targets are affiliated with domestic terrorist groups like ELF and ALF. GASP! I didn't actually stumble across the real fear here, did I?)

6) "Prison camps?...Door-to-door searches?...The Joint Resolution does not prohibit these far-fetched measures any more than it prohibits warrantless surveillance." Um, "far-fetched" measures don't fall under the umbrella of "necessary and appropriate." But the analogy is void: There is a material gulf between imprisonment or home invasion as compared to listening to what one says or writes.

7) "Very controversial action" by the current administration? Only in certain circles.

8) "are you saying that someone who is not comfortable with the president's approach and would like congressional investigation into the matter is simply being a partisan hack?" I think you know my answer to this one.

9) Regarding Silence's question about defending the 2nd Amendment but also being "so willing to give up their right to private communication:" Listen, if I had communications I wanted to remain secret from the government, the last thing I would rely upon to keep them that way is some sort of GOVERNMENT REGULATION! If the government wants to listen in on my phone calls that's fine with me as long as they don't, as JK quipped, send the jackbooted thugs for some minor offense like caring for a minor relative whose mother gave her life in a successful attempt to escape from a totalitarian regime. (Oh wait, that actually happened.) If they ever find actual evidence of terrorism or law breaking on my behalf then, as they say, I shouldn't have done the crime if I can't do the time.

10) "Are we silently giving away fundamental rights becuase we agree with the administration?" No on wiretaps. Yes on the failure to repeal the 16th amendment.

11) I think it's very important to understand the difference between public and private spaces. The government should never be permitted to enter private property to search without a warrant. Once you step outside though, it is lunacy to suggest that you be legally able to violate substantive laws merely because there was no reason to suspect you before you committed the violation.

12) This hangup over anonymity is puzzling. The reason we want a free society is precisely so that we don't HAVE to hide our identity! This is NOT a totalitarian regime: Witness hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens who took to the streets to flaunt their lawlessness last weekend. Where were the jack-booted jamokes with night sticks? It should have been a feeding frenzy, right?

In closing, we are all right to be vigilant for tyranny. Keep watching. This ain't it.

Hell, I'm about ready to vote in a Democrat president just to shut this bunch up for 4 years.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2006 3:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I can fink on him now that he's in the fold: LatteSipper is "Friend X!" Soylent Green is people!

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2006 9:52 AM

March 23, 2006

Iraq - al Qaeda


    A newly released pre-war Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995 after approval by Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995 and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open (in the future) based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation." The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.

    The report then states that "Saudi opposition figure" bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location," it states.

Come again?

Posted by AlexC at 6:17 PM | Comments (6)
But Osama thinks:

While I do not deny the truth of this report, I prefer not to dwell on the past. Let's move forward. For instance, have you heard about my new development deal with the FOX Network?


Posted by: Osama at March 23, 2006 7:07 PM
But howard thinks:

I've been seeing this report over the past day or so, but I'm wondering if there's any more to it than what happened in 1995, as in something more recent.

While I don't dispute the evil nature of Saddam Hussein, if you go back a little further, you can link OBL to the U.S. government.

Posted by: howard at March 24, 2006 7:05 AM
But AlexC thinks:

And if you go back further you'll see that we shipped tanks and armaments to Stalin.

Posted by: AlexC at March 24, 2006 9:49 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I hear we were pretty cozy relationship with the Nazis and Napoleon as well.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at March 24, 2006 9:56 AM
But howard thinks:

"And if you go back further you'll see that we shipped tanks and armaments to Stalin."

-yeah, that's kind of my point.

I'm not one who believes our government is overtly evil, but the fact is all governments deal with undesirables for their own practical reasons (even those whose practical aims are to destroy us, I suppose).

So in the scope of that reality, don't we need a little more substance to the report on Iraq -- something beyond having past dealings with bin Laden (considering that's a pretty large club)?

Posted by: howard at March 24, 2006 1:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not accusing anybody around here, mind you, but I am used to hearing these comments from my lefty friends -- always used in a very anti-American context "Saddam was bad but we propped him up. Castro is bad but we supported Batista and created the context for him, how can we lecture anybody when we propped up Somoza, Marcos and Pinochet?..."

It is right to be critical, but we fought and won a fifty-year cold war against communism, liberating well over 50 million. I am prepared to forgive some distasteful alliances along the way.

Somehow Senator Dodd never has to account for his support of the Sandinistas, nor any of the chattering classes atone for allegiance to Castro or Stalin, but that's another tale. Too little credit goes to the George Orwells, Edna St. Vincent Millays (and today's Christopher Hitchenses) who stand up to the glitterati.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2006 8:26 PM

March 20, 2006

Random Thought

So, with Iraq in a "civil war" now, whatever became of the insurgency?

Maybe this is just P.R. and the willing dupes are going along with it?

Posted by AlexC at 1:10 PM

March 17, 2006

The Arabic Ayn Rand

Wow, there really IS hope for the Mideast. (Click on "VIEW CLIP." Best with sound turned on.)

Hat tip: Cox & Forkum

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:21 PM

March 16, 2006


Mixed message from Ha'aretz.

    Hussein did not believe until almost the last moment that the U.S. would send its forces into Baghdad, the report says. He was much more afraid of subversive elements in Iraq - mainly the Shi'ites and Kurds - and from regional powers - mainly Iran but also Israel - than of an American invasion.

    This is why he decided to leave the bridges leading into Iraq standing, believing he would need them, and to maintain ambiguity until close to the invasion, causing Western intelligence to believe he had WMDs.

    "Many months after the fall of Baghdad, a number of senior Iraqi officials in coalition custody continued to believe it possible that Iraq still possesed WMD capability hidden away somewhere. Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them," the report says.

So everyone, including insiders in the Iraqi system thought Iraq had WMDs. But does that really excuse American intelligence, British, French, Russian, Chinese, Israeli intelligence as well?

Posted by AlexC at 5:19 PM

March 1, 2006

Hitch Answers Fukuyama

Fiercely. Christopher Hitchens is not as solicitous of Fukuyama's piece as I was. He blasts the prose, the timing, and the content in The End of Fukuyama (You have to give Hitch the win in the Title war!)

The three questions that anyone developing second thoughts about the Iraq conflict must answer are these: Was the George H.W. Bush administration right to confirm Saddam Hussein in power after his eviction from Kuwait in 1991? Is it right to say that we had acquired a responsibility for Iraq, given past mistaken interventions and given the great moral question raised by the imposition of sanctions? And is it the case that another confrontation with Saddam was inevitable; those answering "yes" thus being implicitly right in saying that we, not he, should choose the timing of it? Fukuyama does not even mention these considerations. Instead, by his slack use of terms like "magnet," he concedes to the fanatics and beheaders the claim that they are a response to American blunders and excesses.

He is dead on there although I still think Fukuyama deserves a little more benefit than Mr. Hitchens is ready to give. He backs up my point as well:
In the face of this global threat and its recent and alarmingly rapid projection onto European and American soil, Fukuyama proposes beefing up "the State Department, U.S.A.I.D., the National Endowment for Democracy and the like." You might expect a citation from a Pew poll at about this point, and, don't worry, he doesn't leave that out, either. But I have to admire that vague and lazy closing phrase "and the like." Hegel meets Karen Hughes!

I am glad that I am not famous enough to ever have Hitch come after me. I realized during his debate with George Galloway how tough and how direct he can be.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:00 PM

February 15, 2006

Oh yeah, that "Bush Doctrine" thingy

"Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done." - President George Bush, September 20, 2001.

In recent elections, voters in Iran and the "Palestinian Territories" have spoken, and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice showed today that she has heard them. 'Rice Says Hamas-Led Government Will Not Get US Aid.' 'Rice Seeks $75 Million to Support Iran's Democrats.' FINALLY!

For over four years I've been apologizing for the policies of MY president, George W. Bush. On issue after issue, time after time, he has disappointed me. Steel tarriffs, education bills, new Medicare benefits, negligence or, at best, covert support of the Iranian freedom movement. It appears the time has finally come to once again be proud of my president's administration.

My ideal president would not need such a validation, but my real president did: A majority of those casting ballots in two nations apparently chose to be ruled by terrorists. There can be no more claims that the civilians in these lands are somehow "innocent" of the crimes committed in their names. Those who voted against tyranny will have more than enough time to flee their failed states before justice is meeted out against their governments.

Now the US State Department has decided to reduce the flow of US tax dollars to terrorists, and increase our spending to support their enemies. I believe more is in order. MUCH more. It is time for the President to ask Congress for a formal declaration of war against Iran and the Palestinians. As he said on September 20, 2001, in what I will henceforth refer to as "The Speech:" (Re-read the whole thing. It is as germane to current events as it was to 9/11.)

"Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

A - f'n - MEN

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (6)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? You can pretend that the world is as simple as with us or against us, but that doesn't make it so.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 16, 2006 12:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Those nations at least TACITLY support our anti-terror efforts. I support the use of diplomacy to guide their policies toward us rather than away from us.

Iran and the PA/Hamas support terrorists in every possible way. It's high time we stop supporting them and support their internal enemies instead.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2006 12:50 PM
But dagny thinks:

Just because we do not yet know something or it is difficult to determine does not mean that an answer doesn’t exist. This is the, “we can never know anything for sure,” philosophy that leads directly to moral relativism. If I have bad eyes and cannot tell whether the top of the eye chart says E or F does that mean that there is no specific letter on top of the eye chart?

The fact is that these governments, at their roots, are with us or with the terrorists and we should be putting more effort into making that determination instead of insisting that since we can’t tell which side they are on, the distinction must not exist. Worse than that is the concomitant assumption that since we can’t tell, all governments must be morally equal.

I am not saying this is easy. I am saying it is straight-forward.

Posted by: dagny at February 16, 2006 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I heartily agree that we should not send aid money to Hamas (they should continue to have faculty fund raisers in Florida like always...) And I am very keen on supporting internal democratic opposition in Iran. And I join Johngalt in celebrating Secretary Rice's clear determination to proceed.

I am not comfortable dooming the inhabitants of the PA territories and Iran beyond either of these measures because they voted the way they did. I suggest that the vote in Iran was not fair enough to determine what voters really wanted and that the PA elections provided a choice between Hamas and Yasser Arafat’s long-corrupt Fatah parties. The Hamas vote might have been a respectable "throw the bums out" decision.

Posted by: jk at February 16, 2006 5:17 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Very true as far as you go dagny, but as in your example, the eye chart could actually have one of many letters on the top line, it like world diplomacy, is not limited to two choices or two sides. One thing I do know for sure is that each nation of the world is first and foremost on its own side regardless of whether we call them an ally or an enemy. Which of these two titles we bestow on them is based upon a relative system of merit, or how closely our ideals and goals fall in line. Johngalt's call to support our enemy's enemy draws a conclusion that this makes them our friend and thus worthy of support, but this is a dangerous fallacy. The evidence for this is all around us, from the mujahadeen in Afghanistan who morphed into the Taliban and Al-Quaeda to Saddam himself. The problem with much of our diplomacy is that we have this overriding two sided view of the world that forces us to make determinations in the short term as to who is "on our side"; in short to make relative judgments based upon a snapshot it time. By its very nature it does not allow for the reality johngalt let slip, that nations are fluid, and may be moving toward or away from our views and interests.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at February 16, 2006 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wait a minute. Didn't Jimmah certify those elections? If not then whoever rigged them missed a golden opportunity to purchase some "validity." Besides, I don't hear anyone in the MSM doing exposes on voter fraud in either instance.

I'm not saying "let the bombing begin, women and children first." What I am saying is that one of the arguments for impotence in the face of these threats is now off the table. If we must take defensive military action against enemy military assets situated in urban areas there will be no moral justification for risking a brave American soldier in street fighting. Bunker busters, MOABS and MIRV warheads riding US aircraft fueled by mideast oil will be in order. We can use our accumulated wealth to defend our lives, liberties, and happiness.

Don't get me wrong Silence. I'm not celebrating the fact that diplomats at Foggy Bottom may soon be choosing which dissident groups to clandestinely shower with my hard earned tax dollars. What I'm celebrating is that those same dollars will STOP going to those who openly embrace terrorism. The fact that Washington's favorite diplomatic tool is American greenbacks means that the flow can't just be stopped, it has to be redirected somewhere else. In this particular case I take a certain perverse joy in knowing how much this will piss off those who USED to receive it.

In the big picture, nations are collections of individuals. No collection of individuals is ever homogeneous on any policy but when it comes to life and death, individuals in western nations are as unanimously as possible in favor of life. Islamofascist individuals, wherever they exist, are even more unanimously in favor of death. That, my friend, is black and white, and that is what the Bush Doctrine is all about.

Posted by: johngalt at February 17, 2006 8:16 PM

February 11, 2006


One of the reasons why I stopped listening to Sean Hannity in favor of Michael Medved was that Sean Hannity played the "well, the Republicans do it because the Democrats did it first!" game far too much.

Wrong (or stupid) in my book is still wrong or stupid.

So allow me to play the "they did it first card".

President Jimmy Carter performed warrantless eavesdropping way before the current administration thought it was OK. He did it for much the same reasons.

    [I]n 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.

    The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.

    In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."

    That description, some Republicans say, perfectly fits the Bush administration's program to monitor calls from terror-linked people to the U.S.

They did it first! They did it first!

Since Democrats are hot lately on the idea of stare decisis, I wonder if the fact that it was ruled "ok" by the 4th Circuit matters.

Stare decisis or not, at the time Democrats argued for its constitutionality.

    When Mr. Bell testified in favor of FISA, he told Congress that while the measure doesn't explicitly acknowledge the "inherent power of the president to conduct electronic surveillance," it "does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."

    Jamie S. Gorelick, deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, agreed. In 1994 testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Miss Gorelick said case law supports the presidential authority to conduct warrantless searches and electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes.

    Earlier this week, however, Mr. Carter said it was "ridiculous" for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to say the spying is justified by Article II of the Constitution.

Jamie Gorelick was also the creator of the infamous "wall" preventing domestic law enforcement agencies from exchanging information with foreign surveillance agencies within the US government.
    Republicans say they welcome such criticism because it proves Democrats can't be trusted with national security.

    "Just when you thought that the Democrats' image of being soft on defense issues couldn't get any worse, enter the sage wisdom of President Jimmy Carter to save the day," said Brian Nick, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Yes, Mr Nick, relying on Democrats shooting themselves in the foot is good strategy now, but how about giving people reasons to vote FOR Republicans (fiscal disipline, for example), not just against Democrats?

(tip to the Captain)

Posted by AlexC at 1:51 PM

January 13, 2006

Getting the Job Done

Praise God for men like this one.

    Gazing through the telescopic sight of his M24 rifle, Staff Sgt Jim Gilliland, leader of Shadow sniper team, fixed his eye on the Iraqi insurgent who had just killed an American soldier.

    His quarry stood nonchalantly in the fourth-floor bay window of a hospital in battle-torn Ramadi, still clasping a long-barrelled Kalashnikov. Instinctively allowing for wind speed and bullet drop, Shadow's commander aimed 12 feet high.

    A single shot hit the Iraqi in the chest and killed him instantly. It had been fired from a range of 1,250 metres, well beyond the capacity of the powerful Leupold sight, accurate to 1,000 metres.

    "I believe it is the longest confirmed kill in Iraq with a 7.62mm rifle," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, 28, who hunted squirrels in Double Springs, Alabama from the age of five before progressing to deer - and then people.

    "He was visible only from the waist up. It was a one in a million shot. I could probably shoot a whole box of ammunition and never hit him again."

Posted by AlexC at 8:29 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

With the greatest possible respect for the sensibilities of patriotic, red-blooded, God fearing Americans, I'd like to politely suggest that NED deserves little credit for the existence of men like this one. Instead, we can give thanks for an important element of American life. It's called "the gun culture."

In a nutshell, the gun culture reveres the power of firearms to equalize might and allow individuals skilled in their use to preserve liberty - for themselves, their loved ones, and ultimately their countrymen. Sergeant Gilliland is not skilled and determined beyond the norm because of his "powerful Leupold sight" but because he started hunting squirrels at the age of five.

For an in-depth description of America's gun culture, refer to the John Ross historical novel 'Unintended Consequences.'

"An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject."

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2006 11:47 AM
But jk thinks:

Amen :)

Actually, jg, I do agree. And I would add all the benefits of a free, pluralist society worth defnding.

Posted by: jk at January 15, 2006 12:14 PM

January 6, 2006

Training the Insurgents

Well, it's pretty clear we're still being lied to.

    THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

Lies! Imperialist lies!
    Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis.

Again, there were no connections! Do not believe the evidence! There are still no Americans in Baghdad.

Posted by AlexC at 7:44 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Stunning article -- also read Bill Kristol's call for the President to more forcefully make these connections known:
"IT'S CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. In fact, it's more than conventional wisdom. It's an article of faith among the enlightened: There was no connection, at least no significant connection, between Saddam Hussein's regime and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups."

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2006 1:20 PM

December 31, 2005

WaPo vs Roggio

Posted by AlexC at 1:14 PM

December 26, 2005

Cognitive Dissonance

Innocent man jailed!

    A DUTCH businessman was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war.

Saddam never had WMDs. Ever. It was a lie. This man should go free!

Quite a character this Frans van Anraat was.

    Prosecutors accused Van Anraat of delivering more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol. It can be used to make mustard gas, which causes horrific burns to the lungs and eyes and is often fatal.

    He was also accused of importing chemicals to make nerve agents. The prosecution said that the lethal cargo was shipped from America via Belgium and Jordan to Iraq. He also imported other shipments from Japan via Italy.

    Van Anraat was first arrested in 1989 in Italy on a US warrant. He then fled to Baghdad where he lived for 14 years under an assumed name. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 he made his way back to the Netherlands, where he was arrested a year ago.

Call me crazy, but I can't imagine he was living on Iraq public-assistance in those fourteen years.

(tip to CQ)

Posted by AlexC at 11:12 AM

December 19, 2005

A Chill Wind

The Little Red Book draws out Homeland Security in Massachusetts.

    A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

    Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

    The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

    The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

I'm not saying that this event is totally made up, but given that the Patriot Act is up for renewal AND one of it's biggest problems (according to the left) is that library book borrowing is under it's perview, color me a little skeptical.

Besides that, am I to seriously believe that a major university does not have a copy of Mao's Little Red Book? He couldn't ask a professor for his copy or the local college socialists?

I'm afraid I might be forced to throw the "bullshit flag" on this one.

Posted by AlexC at 12:27 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

After further review, we see nothing conclusive and let the ruling on the field stand.

Posted by: jk at December 19, 2005 1:04 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Motion moved and seconded. All in favor, say Yea. Against? Motion granted.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at December 19, 2005 2:49 PM

December 14, 2005

Men At Work

Tim Blair has long been on my list of daily reads.

Lately he's been covering the Australian race riots, and he shares this exchange between Prime Minister Howard and a "reporter."

    Reporter: "Do you think anything the Government said over the last few years has set the tone for the actions on the weekend?"

    PM: "Which Government?"

    Reporter: "Your Government."

    PM: "My Government?"

    Reporter: “Yes.”

    PM: "Certainly not. What do you have in mind?"

    Reporter: "Your position on Iraq."

    PM: "My position on Iraq?"

    Reporter: "Do you think that’s had any influence on people feeling alienated?"

    PM: "My position on Iraq? You’ve got to be joking."

I guess some people down under are also stuck on stupid.

Posted by AlexC at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
But Phoenix thinks:

"You've got to be joking." ha ha.... Oh, I have wished Bush would say something like that SO many times! General Honore is my hero for his 'stuck on stupid' comment. Bravo! Too many journalists stuck on stupid AND themselves....

Posted by: Phoenix at December 15, 2005 12:36 AM

December 12, 2005

Polling Iraqis

I find polls interesting, but really more for in the meta-news sense. On a slow news day, it's always easy to commission a poll for something.

    An ABC News poll in Iraq, conducted with Time magazine and other media partners, includes some remarkable results: Despite the daily violence there, most living conditions are rated positively, seven in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are going well, and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve in the year ahead.

How does ABC News regard the optimism?
    Surprising levels of optimism prevail in Iraq with living conditions improved, security more a national worry than a local one, and expectations for the future high.

Well I guess if you read the mainstream media, it'd be surprising.

Posted by AlexC at 1:42 PM

December 11, 2005

Fiddling About Iran

Two columns out there today about the growing Iranian problem, and the world's reaction to it.

First, Dennis Prager writing about the religious left.

    Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Jewish religious left's convention was how clearly it revealed the supremacy of leftist concerns over Jewish ones. History will record that a month after the Islamic Republic of Iran called for the annihilation of the Jewish state, 5,000 Reform Jews passed resolutions calling for District of Columbia voting rights and "workers' rights" but none about a call for what would amount to another Holocaust or about Islamic anti-Semitism generally, the greatest eruption of Jew-hatred since Nazism. History will likewise also note that two years after the United States made war on a bloodthirsty tyrant who paid the families of murderers of Jews $25,000 each, Reform Judaism passed a resolution condemning that war.

... and Mark Steyn:
    We assume, as Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax and other civilized men did 70 years ago, that these [Iranian] chaps may be a little excitable, but come on, old boy, they can't possibly mean it, can they? Wrong. They mean it but they can't quite do it yet. Like Hitler, when they can do it, they will -- or at the very least the weedy diplo-speak tells them they can force the world into big concessions on the fear that they can.

Is there some sort of psychological condition that makes people unable to realize threats? I suppose it's called denial, but this goes far beyond denial. It's almost suicidal.

Here's a case of a nation on the verge of going nuclear that has made very clear and explicit threats about the absolute and complete destruction of a free, soveriegn nation. The response from those that can exact a change? "[These comments] further underscore our concerns about the regime," or even worse (and more vapid), Iran's comments are part of "a consistent pattern of rhetoric that is both hostile and out of touch with values that the rest of us in the international community live by."

The only other option left in the debate is that I find myself (and the other pro-Israel, conservative types) in the "chicken little" category. We're doomed! But nothing is really going to happen.

If only...

Update: Hugh Hewitt writes on plan for Iran...

    It would be far better for the world to act together to strike at Iran, and if the world will not agree, than the West, and if not the West, a coalition of the willing.

    The worst situation will be for Israel to have to do what all the world knows must be done.

    It is a terrible task that cannot be postponed much longer.

Posted by AlexC at 2:06 PM

1971 Redux

You may recalll the kerfuffle caused by 2004 Presidential Candidate and Junior Senator from Massachusetts John Kerry's statement last sunday of CBS's Face the Nation.

    "There is no reason ... that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the ... of ... the historical customs, religious customs."

Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette we have the sourcing of those claims.
    David Wade, Kerry's communications director, responded promptly after we spoke.

    Mr. Wade's e-mail message attempted to summarize the information in the four attachments. It also referenced an accusation by the virulent anti-American scold the International Committee of the Red Cross, which demands terrorists be treated as prisoners of war.

    Three attachments were very old newspaper stories from The Sun of Baltimore (June 18, 2003), The New York Times (Aug. 7, 2003) and The Washington Post (Jan. 23, 2005). The fourth, a U.S. Institute of Peace report, stated that even creating a profile of the "insurgents" is "a daunting task."

    The Sun story states "someone or something" struck a retired Iraqi high school teacher who walked into the street and died, and "Just who or what caused his death is a mystery." Then the story all but blames our soldiers.

    The Times wrote that "The American military ... has decided to limit the scope of its raids in Iraq after receiving warnings from Iraqi leaders that the raids were alienating the public." That was just a few months after the invasion.

    The Post article "is the story of how the U.S. military made an enemy of one man during a 20-minute encounter" -- a man who hates Jews and felt so violated when his stash of girlie magazines was discovered that he started to slap his own mother.

Jeez. That's open and shut.

The column is called "Genghis John Rides Again," if you were curious.

Posted by AlexC at 12:09 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

This guy was almost President. And he may have a shot at the Democratic nomination again. He supports our troops but has accused them of atrocities in three differnt conflicts.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2005 1:22 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Another shot? Only in his mind.
Hillary '08! Unless the leftists get their way. She is pro-war you know.

Posted by: AlexC at December 11, 2005 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

You got me. I almost said parenthetically that I didn't think he had much chance at another run. He's a long shot for certain, but if Hillary should scare everyone else off and really muff it on the war, it *could* happen...

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2005 10:38 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I was discussing this with a co-worker. The reason Bill Clinton was popular was that he really didn't do much in eight years. The health care thing went down in flames... but there really aren't many "Bill Clinton" accomplishments. He was there for a good time, and not to rock the boat. People like that.

His wife on the other hand, will want to change things. People don't like that.

Posted by: AlexC at December 12, 2005 6:51 PM

December 5, 2005

Say What?

Deposed murderous dictator Saddam Hussein's "trial" resumed today. After his "attorneys" were advised their procedural complaints would only be considered if submitted in writing, and warned that another instance of walking out of court would result in replacement by court appointed lawyers, Saddam and his half brother protested.

Saddam and his half brother Barazan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, then chanted: "Long live Iraq! Long live Arabs! Down with the dictators! Long live democracy!" (emphases mine)

You read that right. "Down with the dictators!" Well for once, I agree with Saddam.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

'course he likes democracy -- I seem to remember his getting 100% of the vote a few years back.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2005 3:39 PM

Iranian Nukes

Move along, nothing to see here.

    IAEA chairman Muhammad ElBaradei on Monday confirmed Israel's assessment that Iran is only a few months away from creating an atomic bomb.

    If Teheran indeed resumed its uranium enrichment in other plants, as threatened, it will take it only "a few months" to produce a nuclear bomb, El-Baradei told The Independent.

If anything, this calls for another round of strongly worded international resolutions condemning Iran for defying the will of the nations who were signatories to the LAST strongly worded resolution.
    On the other hand, he warned, any attempt to resolve the crisis by non-diplomatic means would "open a Pandora's box. There would be efforts to isolate Iran; Iran would retaliate; and at the end of the day you have to go back to the negotiating table to find the solution."

Yep. That's what would happen alright.

Here's what's going to happen.

Israel somehow found out that Iran is as far along as they are. It was merely Mr Magoo who confirmed it. They know what Iran is up to. Israel is going to do an Osirak style bombing run to all of the Iranian sites.

There will be much consternation and condemnation from the Middle East and Europe, but mostly private sighs of relief from those same Europeans.

The only snag is that to get to Iran from Israel, they will need to cross over Iraq. I would find it pretty hard to believe that the United States is not blanketing Iraq with radar from border to border. We'd see them sneaking over. Even if we didn't the usual suspects would think we did. That's a little trouble.

Update: Call me master of the obvious.

    Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that he could consider a pre-emptive air strike against Iran's nuclear installations if he were to be re-elected. Netanyahu, who is widely expected to regain the leadership of the right-wing Likud party later this month, said Israel needed to "act in the spirit" of the late premier Menachem Begin who ordered an air strike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

Posted by AlexC at 11:14 AM

Supporting the Troops

Since when does supporting the troops involved putting up a child to write a "Thank You Card" to a soldier which says:

    Dear Soldier,
    Have a great time in the war, and have a great time dieing [sic] in the war.
    From Miguel Gallier.
    P.S. Die.

Follow this link for a screenshot.
They're against the war, but they support the troops.

Posted by AlexC at 11:05 AM

December 2, 2005

Suicide Bombers

Western civilization has apparently created it's first jihadist suicide bomber.

    Mireille, who was born in Belgium to a white, middle-class Christian family, blew herself to pieces last month in a suicide attack against American troops near Baghdad.

    In one of the most extraordinary tales of Islamic radicalisation, she is thought to be the first white Western woman to carry out a suicide bombing.

    Belgian investigators, who arrested 14 people associated with her, are keeping the 38-year-old woman’s true identity secret, but details have started to emerge. She was from the southern Belgian town of Charleroi, married to a Moroccan and converted to an extreme form of Islam.

The Belgian's Moroccan husband was also killed by American soldiers in a separate incident.

Which is a perfect example of how the insurgency is not Iraqis fighting to end our occupation of their country. It's outsiders coming to fight Americans... the fly paper theory, in other words.

I would also add that the family that terrorizes together stays together. Unless they're suicide bombers. In which case, that really doesn't apply. He gets his virgins and she gets .... ?

Posted by AlexC at 3:47 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The news is not that western civilization has produced its "first jihadist suicide bomber" but rather, what took them so long?! If western society is such a threat to islam and such an evil manifestation of immorality then why have none of the millions of western muslims resorted to this ultimate measure before now? Because muslims love freedom too! When given the chance they choose life in a pluralistic society over death in supposed defense of monotheism.

Furthermore, why did this western white woman travel to Iraq to scatter her body parts? Ostensibly it's because she wanted to directly retaliate for the death of her husband (at the hands of western troops) but could it also be the lack of available bomb belts in western nations? Just wondering...

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2005 2:23 PM

November 25, 2005

Syrian Incursions

UK Telegraph

    Syria has accused the United States of launching lethal military raids into its territory from Iraq, escalating the diplomatic crisis between the two countries as the Bush administration seeks to step up pressure on President Bashar Assad's regime.

    Major General Amid Suleiman, a Syrian officer, said that American cross-border attacks into Syria had killed at least two border guards, wounded several more and prompted an official complaint to the American embassy in Damascus.

Am I the only one thinking, "what took so long?"

Posted by AlexC at 10:29 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

No. I was on board for "let's bring the troops home through Syria."

Posted by: jk at November 26, 2005 10:04 AM

November 22, 2005

The Timetable

Posted by AlexC at 12:31 PM

Iraq Withdrawal Timetable Set

This is a watershed moment: The timetable for withdrawal of coalition forces has now been set by the only entity capable of doing so: the Iraqi government.

Sunni leaders have been pressing the Shiite-majority government to agree to a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops. The statement recognized that goal, but did not lay down a specific time -- reflecting instead the government's stance that Iraqi security forces must be built up first. [emphasis mine]


"By the middle of next year we will be 75 percent done in building our forces and by the end of next year it will be fully ready," he [Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr] told the Arabic-language satellite station Al-Jazeera.

Whether or not this move was prompted by or even orchestrated by the Bush administration, it is a necessary step for progress in the region. Iraqis are taking responsibility for themselves.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:04 AM | Comments (6)
But AlexC thinks:

I wonder if Congressman Murtha had advanced warning of this. If he knew it was coming, he could look like a genius.

Posted by: AlexC at November 22, 2005 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought about that: Murtha called for withdrawal starting now and completing in 6 months. The timetable suggested by Iraq has withdrawal starting in a little over a year, and no timetable for completion. (My preference would be, right after our complete withdrawal from Germany, Japan and Korea.)

There's been a growing sense that withdrawal would happen before long. For Murtha to suggest immediate withdrawal was a calculation that appears to have backfired. See today's Brendan Miniter column on Opinion Journal: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bminiter/?id=110007582

Posted by: johngalt at November 22, 2005 11:44 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Thank you, now was that so hard? Now we have a definable condition, when the Iraqi government believes their own troops are ready to provide the power to enforce their rule, and a goal of a target date to accomplish this. It is after all partly their call as a new sovereign nation. There are 3 main ingredients their army must have, training, equipment, and loyalty. We can help with the first two, but the third rests on their shoulders. It really doesn't take genius to realize that the Iraqi leaders and our own military commanders knew what was required and approximately when it could be delivered, stating it publicly makes it a goal that both our citizens and theirs can use to measure success.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 22, 2005 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, yes, Silence, it was hard. We ejected a brutal dictator, installed a provisional government, elected a temporary parliament, drafted and ratified a Constitution...Only now can we point to a legitimate Iraqi government to provide this timetable.

It was not that "Bush Had No Plan!" It just had to reach this level of stability on its own schedule.

Sorry to be so argumentative when we all agree around here, but I believe the hard work this administration did got us here. Not the UN, Cindy Sheehan or Rep John Murtha.

Posted by: jk at November 22, 2005 4:45 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Sorry JK, didn't mean it wasn't hard in that respect. What I have been haranguing on about is setting the final big milestone, that of Iraqi self sufficiency, or to be blunt, the capability to make their government real in the sense that it has actual power. Did no one else notice that the recent upheaval about Iraq policy started after the constitution was signed? This feeling of interminable troop deployment was a function of lacking the stated goal and schedule for the final milestone. Putting it in place was the part that was not so hard, the experts new what the conditions were and when they could realistically be achieved but there was an insinuation that stating our goal in any way would disrupt the process and embolden the enemy. I think the opposite was true, without the stated objective there was a huge unknown about the duration of troop deployment, that they could be brought home on short notice if public opinion turned very sour or that they could be stationed indefinitely battling a decades long terror war. This goal and schedule is not an ultimatum, if we miss it we keep working, it is not a hard date after which we throw them to the wolves as johngalt would say. This has been my frustration, that not only would a goal and a date be valuable to the effort and keeping the public engaged, but that this is one of those cases where there just seems to be a standard conservative response along the lines that Chris Muir has satirized. No matter how many times or ways I try to make my point, the response seems to be that setting a date is broadcasting all our movements to the enemy and declaring a date beyond which the Iraqis are on their own and thus emboldening the insurgency that it only has to hang on for a set period of time.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 23, 2005 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

I knew what you meant, I was just being an ass****!

My objection to your goal requires the perspective on an Iraqi who is contemplating joining the police, army or political class. If it appears to him/her that the US might pull out before the job is done, he/she will be less likely to participate.

I would say that this is where your parallel of a project plan in a corporation falls short. Many players on both sides are trying to assess the US's will and dedication. I object to your admittedly reasonable requests for goals because they show us to be more interested in withdrawal than victory.

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2005 2:36 PM

November 18, 2005

The Exit Strategies

Chris Muir cracks me up.

Posted by AlexC at 1:25 AM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Silence implores the administration to define "victory." Isn't he the one that usually says "it's more complicated than that?" Personally I like Ann Coulter's definition from September 12, 2001: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." http://www.anncoulter.org/columns/2001/091301.htm OK, so I would obviously replace "Christianity" with "Capitalism," but you get the gist.

Just to be fair though, how did the Clinton administration define victory in Bosnia? http://www.dtic.mil/bosnia/

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2005 3:40 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I would say your limb is quite sturdy JK. We have toppled a tyrant and overseen the election of a new democratic government and the writing of a constitution. I have been poking you guys on this for a while, but not for the standard liberal "this is a huge mistake" reason. Would any of the aforementioned success been possible in the same time frame without President Bush setting some dates? Now, how much liberal flak do you hear about those successes? Not too much because there is not much to say, goals were set and goals were achieved. Why not do the same with the final phase of making the country self sufficient and allowing our troops to return home to their families? I think it would shut up the naysayers here and would put the insurgents on notice that we will meet our final goal. Yes johngalt victory can be complicated, but it is still definable and measurable.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 18, 2005 4:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I am not sure some of your buddies are quite as generous. The Headline of Time on Sep 26, 2005 was "Is It Too Late to Win This War?"


Posted by: jk at November 18, 2005 5:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So your definition of victory Silence, is "We win as soon as the calendar reads July 1, 2006?" Or maybe June 1, or May 1, or April 15th. Yeah, there could be some nice marketing tie-ins with the collection of punitive taxes at the same time the marines stop "wasting" revenue.

Victory is definable and measurable but it has to do with things like sovereignty, law and order, civil society, liberty, etc. Victory is not defined by congressional resolutions or executive orders.

The problem with your analogy of elections and constitutional ratification to "victory" in the Iraq terror war is that the latter revolves around many things that we don't control. It's as if you proposed setting a goal of "replacement of petroleum distillates as motor fuels" by a date certain, or "eliminating poverty." (Don't laugh, Denver's mayor has promised just that within 10 years.)

I'll close by asking, once again, why doesn't anybody suggest that we set a goal for removing our soldiers from Bosnia? Don't we want to "win" there too?

Posted by: johngalt at November 18, 2005 9:21 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

If only we had ways to measure success other than a colander, oh wait, we do! Victory is definable by exactly those things you list, putting a date on it just gives you a goal to strive for, the victory condition is not defined by the date. Winning doesn't mean you have to pull out all troops or the entire American prescience either, comparing troop levels and function in Bosnia and Iraq is not exactly apples to apples. Speaking of which, how about Afghanistan, when we vastly reduced troop levels there to commence the invasion of Iraq was that "cutting and running"? We are comfortable with much lower troop levels there when although the central government is stronger the nation is not one of peace and prosperity. Maybe part of the reason you can't get positive media coverage is that expectations for what is success vary so widely. Lack of definable goals is the creator of the vacuum into which every interest group can insert its own view and draw its own conclusions.

Refering to Chris Muir's cartoon, the goal of landing a man on the moon within a decade was instrumental in making it happen.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 21, 2005 1:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're right, Silence. Having a goal schedule can help encourage more rapid progress. But what you're asking for here is essentially an ultimatum to the nascent Iraqi state. "You will be self-sufficient by (insert date here) or else we'll leave you to the terrorist "insurgent" wolves." That's not a very diplomatic strategy, nor is it in our interest to so quickly discard what we've invested so much to create.

The course the President chose was the long-haul. It is not necessarily what I would have chosen, but you can be damn sure that if he had just gone in to depose Saddam and then split, he would be taking ten times the heat he is now. And it would be for doing what the dems would be carping for right now if he hadn't done it in the first place. They're all for foreign aid to hopeless states, but damned if they'll give a half a chance to a newly freed nation fighting for its very survival. It is that mentality that I oppose when taking the counterpoint to yours.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2005 2:38 PM

November 17, 2005

Boogie to Baghdad

Remember Richard Clarke? [who? -ed]
Byron York does.

    In case you don’t remember, “Boogie to Baghdad” is the phrase that Richard Clarke, when he was the top White House counterterrorism official during the Clinton administration, used to express his fear that if American forces pushed Osama bin Laden too hard at his hideout in Afghanistan, bin Laden might move to Iraq, where he could stay in the protection of Saddam Hussein.

    Clarke’s opinion was based on intelligence indicating a number of contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq, including word that Saddam had offered bin Laden safe haven.

    It’s all laid out in the Sept. 11 commission report. “Boogie to Baghdad” is on Page 134.

Connections between Iraq and al-Qaida? Nah....

Don't destroy my carefully media/DNC/leftie crafted worldview!

So what's the "Boogie to Baghdad?"

    In 1996, after bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan, he wasn’t sure if he would be able to get along with his new Taliban hosts. So he made inquiries about moving to Iraq.

    Saddam wasn’t interested. At the time, he was trying to have better relations with his neighbors — and bin Laden’s enemy — the Saudis.

    But a bit later, Saddam apparently changed his mind. According to the report:

    “In March 1998, after bin Laden’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with bin Laden.”

    Still nothing happened. But later:

    “Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and bin Laden or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the [intelligence] reporting, Iraqi officials offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Laden declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative.”

    It was in that context that Clarke believed that if the United States made bin Laden’s situation too hot in Afghanistan, then, in Clarke’s non-famous words, “old wily Osama will likely boogie to Baghdad.”

    Now, that doesn’t at all suggest that Iraq had a role in Sept. 11, but it certainly does suggest a relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda.

Damn you Byron York for your iconclasty!

Posted by AlexC at 3:20 PM

November 16, 2005

The Continued Defense

Last week the President came out swinging, today it was Vice President Cheney's turn.

    The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

    We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them.

Ha! Backbone!

Will there be an equally forceful Democrat response?

Update: K-Lo posts a little more. This one, IMHO, hit the jugular, and then twists.

    I see many good friends in the room, including current and former office holders. It’s a pleasure to see all of you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t be joined by Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, or Jay Rockefeller. They were unable to attend due to a prior lack of commitment.

Posted by AlexC at 8:35 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

The plan is "victory."

I expect large troop withdrawls in 2006 and feel it is about time. But to telegraph political unease (I just read that "Hawkish Democrat" John Murtha wants an immediate withdrawl) plays into the hands of those who would wait us out.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2005 12:45 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Kind of like a company saying its plan is "sales".

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 17, 2005 2:24 PM
But jk thinks:

GRRRR! Okay, the plan is to train Iraqi police and military units, restore infrastructure, perform joint raids against terrorist cells until we can safely leave it to the control of New Iraq.

If that sounds like stay the course, sorry. It's a good plan. Everytime a Democrat is forced to offer his/her own plan, it's what they say.

Publishing a list of goals and timetables, with an accompanying gantt chart doesn't strike me as good war strategy.

Posted by: jk at November 17, 2005 2:39 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Almost JK.
I forget where I saw this.
The plan is four parts.
1) Kill terrorists.
2) Train Iraqis to kill terrorists.
3) Rebuild Iraq
4) Leave behind another Arab Democracy.

Posted by: AlexC at November 17, 2005 3:24 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Sorry, but with goals and plans like those is it really any wonder there is so much disagreement about the success or failure of this war? In the old days of war there was a MEASURABLE goal or definition of victory. Surrender of the enemy, retaking territory or pushing enemy forces back, i.e. 38th parallel or out of Kuwait, were measurable things and something to justify further fighting or a declaration of victory. At some point victory will be declared in Iraq and our troops can start to come home. Demanding that the troops be brought home now is unreasonable, but no more so than demanding they stay until we achieve victory when you are not willing to define victory in a measurable way. This is not an immeasurable thing, and a real measurement will be taken before victory is declared, but this administration is not willing to be held to a measurable definition. Goals were set for elections and a constitution, those were met and success could rightfully be claimed, but they happened as quickly and as closely on schedule precisely because there was a schedule and a plan to meet it. I see no reason that withdrawal of US troops should be any different. How does it embolden the insurgency to make a firm commitment? I see them as being more emboldened in the current nebulous state where they might believe a few points of public opinion could force an immediate withdrawal. The only thing undefined victory conditions are good for is allowing you to declare victory regardless of the outcome.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 17, 2005 4:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, the Powell Doctrine. We amassed a 500,000 troop force, ejected Saddam's army from Kuwait in 100 hours and declared victory. All very good.

Then we sat silently and unmoving as Saddam quelched a popular grassroots rebellion with poison gas. Why stop it? We had already won.

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2005 10:44 AM

October 27, 2005

The REAL Totalitarian Regime: UN

In the wake of Iran's calculated saber-rattling we see, rightfully, that Israel calls for Iran's expulsion from the UN. Even the EU Condemns Iran's President for Threat to Israel. But at the UN, what does Kofi say?

'The secretary general has read with dismay the remarks about Israel attributed to Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,' a statement released by his spokesman said.

Annan reminded all member states that Israel is a long-standing United Nations member 'with the same rights and obligations as every other member.'

'He recalls in particular that, under the United Nations Charter, all members have undertaken to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,' the statement said.

Noting that he had already planned to visit Iran in the next few weeks to discuss other issues, Annan said he now intended 'to place the Middle East peace process, and the right of all states in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force, at the top of his agenda for that visit.'

[emphasis mine]

Well then, we all feel better now don't we? Now that SGOTUN has expressed his "feelings" about the rights of "all states in the area" and the "obligations" of Israel, the UN can continue business as usual - extortion against Israel, all the traffic will bear.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM

October 26, 2005

Iran president calls for Israel to be destroyed

In the comments to the post 'Next Stop, Atlas Shrugged' I said that Cuba's totalitarian government could possibly be toppled peacefully through capitalistic engagement but that Iran's could not because of their, among other things "vowing to anihillate the state of Israel and every jew."

Today Reuters "reports" the Iranian president has said as much, explicitly, in just so many words:

"Israel must be wiped off the map," Ahmadinejad told a conference called "The World without Zionism", attended by some 3,000 conservative students who chanted "Death to Israel" and "Death to America".


"The Islamic world will not let its historic enemy live in its heartland," he said.

The prosecution rests.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:42 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I'm going to defend my pal Silence here. I have not responded because I have been rendered speechless (it's temporary, I promise).

China holds Tibet against her will and threatens the sovereign nation of Taiwan, which it considers part of One China. It is a fear society in Sharansky's view and a huge threat to all of its neighbors.

I am extremely comfortable sanctioning Iran, North Korea and Syria. And I am extremely comfortable engaging with China. And I would be comfortable engaging with Cuba (yet another Fear society). I am not yet comfortable explaining to Silence how I bifurcate...


Posted by: jk at October 26, 2005 3:36 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Not to heap salt on a wound, but how also do you explain engagement with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India? The Saudis may not be aggressive as a state, but it sure seems we have enough evidence they teach Islamic aggression even if the export is not officially state sanctioned. What was the President's line about being with us or against us? India and Pakistan have skirmished along their border for years and Mr. Khan seems to have sold more nuclear technology than all the rest of the world combined.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 26, 2005 5:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Exigencies. Pakistan has been an important ally in the War on Terror, Saudi Arabia a good trading partner from the realist days. Now, both of them can be dragged along the human rights road much better by engagement than by shunning them.

I do question India on your list. India is a free society, a budding democracy, and has British legal roots. I see them as a great ally and trading partner -- as you point out, fighting with Pakistan is not ipso facto a vice.

Posted by: jk at October 26, 2005 6:44 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Ah exingencies, they do make for strange bedfellows, all the more reason to have a coherent and consistent overall foreign policy. These are both areas where I feel the Bush Doctrine fails.

The pen was mightier than the sword, and so will the Internet be mightier than the atom bomb. Give people a taste, or show them one through freedom of information of a better life and they will fight hard to get it and keep it. The world has gotten smaller and dictators will find it increasingly difficult to wall their people off from other ideas and ways of life. The example of democracy and capitalism is a shining one and we have the tools to lift it aloft and let it shine across the world.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 28, 2005 11:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

There you go, Silence. You've just explained JK's bifurcation in two words: "Bush Doctrine."

When the president named names in that now famous address to congress he did not say there were no other oppressive nations in the world. He took the opportunity of a massive and cowardly attack on free men to lay down a new, clear cut, "coherent and consistent overall foreign policy" namely, "Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists."

China appears to have picked our side. For that, they are rewarded, as is any other nation who likewise accepts, engages, and makes progress toward the American ideals of individual liberty. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia appear to belong in this camp too, at least for the time being. They must be carefully monitored.

Cuba is a miniscule non-player in the war on terror. At some point, once the western world finally reaches consensus that the Bush Doctrine is in all of our best long-term interest (and stops denouncing it merely because it was implemented by a Republican) we can afford to give some attention to engaging Cuba. If that development coincides with the death of Castro, so much the better.

Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2005 3:30 PM

October 15, 2005

Another Iraqi Election

The results are not yet in, but there can be no doubt as to the outcome.

    Iraq's deeply divided Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds voted under heavy guard Saturday to decide the fate of a new constitution aimed at establishing democracy after more than two decades of Saddam Hussein's repressive rule.

    A day that U.S. and Iraqi leaders feared could turn bloody turned out to be the most peaceful in months.

    Insurgents attacked five of Baghdad's 1,200 polling stations with shootings and bombs, wounding seven voters. But the only deaths were those of three Iraqi soldiers in a roadside bomb far from a polling site, and there were no major attacks reported as U.S. and Iraqi forces clamped down with major security measures around balloting sites.

The violence was low on another election day.


Bill Roggio has more.

Posted by AlexC at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

If there were a real version of the Nobel Peace Prize, the US Military would win it every year.

Thanks to all who serve!

Posted by: jk at October 15, 2005 5:01 PM

September 11, 2005

Remembering 9/11

As memorial to the vicious and hateful act of mass murder of free men by islamofascist cultists that we collectively know as "9/11" I am posting today a Robert Tracinski essay from September 10, 2002: "What Have we Lost?"

Tracinski explains that in addition to the buildings and lives lost that day, America has lost its self-esteem. This is true, at least, for the bulk of America's intellectuals and the MSM decision makers they have trained.

One year later, the hole in New York's skyline where the World Trade Center towers once stood is a visual reminder of something else that is missing: the ideas and attitudes that make a vigorous war in America's self-defense possible.

The idea that makes defending America possible is that the uniquely American way of life is morally just. The attitude that makes America's self-defense possible is the desire to kill our sworn enemies before they can deliver on their boastful promises to kill us. This attitude is a natural, evolutionary component of humanity. It exists in the hearts of all human children, until and unless it is varnished over by the "civilizing" influence of ivory tower intellectuals preaching "maturity."

For many of us, the immediate reaction to September 11 was more than anger. It was a livid indignation that demanded that America strike back with overwhelming force.

But this natural war frenzy was carefully suppressed from the very beginning. A typical news story was one that appeared just two weeks after September 11, presenting one-paragraph descriptions of viewers' reactions when they saw the World Trade Center towers collapse on live television. The interviews expressed sorrow, shock, disbelief--but conspicuously absent were any expressions of indignation at our enemies or the desire to kill them. Such statements were carefully screened out, with one exception. A high-school teacher explained, "There were a lot of kids who said, 'We need to just blow them away.' ... 'I want us to go to war. I want to go over there and kill them all.' And I said, 'Anyone who wants us to go into a war does not have the mental maturity to fight in that war.'"

I would ask that teacher, "How is it more mature to cower in fear than to eliminate a threat to your mere existence?"

Tracinski ends his insightful essay with an an invocation to observe future 9/11 anniversaries, not as merely a memorial to innocent victims lost, but a celebration of America's glory:

By crippling the range of our minds and focusing on suffering instead of self-assertiveness, our intellectual leadership is trying to dampen our pride and blunt our resolve. September 11 should be the one day, every year, that we regain the sense they want us to lose--our sense of America's virtue and of her power--and when we resolve to use the second to defend the first.
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:55 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

They righteous anger that was felt in 2001 has dissipated because of the media blackouts of the angry emotions and the pictures that engender them

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2005 12:49 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I don't believe in the get them before they get us strategy. Maybe this is "ivory tower intellectual maturity" but I think of it more as logic. Short of developing some sort of satellite based mass mind scan technology I just don't see how it is possible to find all who would do us harm so as to mount a pre-emptive strike. It rings hollow with me just like the concept of fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here, there is no limit to the number of fronts terrorists may use to fight upon. Our presence in Iraq did not stop the London bombings and won't stop future attacks either. I felt the urge to strike back as well, but logical thought begged the question of strike back where, against whom? This, coupled with a natural human tunnel vision where we all become preoccupied with our daily lives is what dissipated that anger, not some media blackout conspiracy.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 13, 2005 4:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

See the "Mental Maturity" post, September 14, above.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2005 7:22 PM

August 23, 2005

Military Enlistment

Meeting and exceeding their goals.
Yeah, I know!

    Let's look at the numbers, which offer a different picture of patriotism than the editorial pages do.

    * Every one of the Army's 10 divisions — its key combat organizations — has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the year to date. Those with the most intense experience in Iraq have the best rates. The 1st Cavalry Division is at 136 percent of its target, the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent.

    Among separate combat brigades, the figures are even more startling, with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at 178 percent of its goal and the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Mech right behind at 174 percent of its re-enlistment target.

    This is unprecedented in wartime. Even in World War II, we needed the draft. Where are the headlines?

    * What about first-time enlistment rates, since that was the issue last spring? The Army is running at 108 percent of its needs. Guess not every young American despises his or her country and our president.

    * The Army Reserve is a tougher sell, given that it takes men and women away from their families and careers on short notice. Well, Reserve recruitment stands at 102 percent of requirements.

    * And then there's the Army National Guard. We've been told for two years that the Guard was in free-fall. Really? Guard recruitment and retention comes out to 106 percent of its requirements as of June 30.

Posted by AlexC at 1:00 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the post. It is unusual that this doesn't get quite the coverage that it does when it appeared that they mught miss their targets.

Most of all thanks to these brave men and women. What an honor to share a nation wuith them!

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2005 1:22 PM

August 22, 2005

Sheehan : Letter to the Editor

A friend of mine sent the following letter to the editors of Norristown's Times-Herald.

    Dear Editor-

    Your article “Rallying together” of Thursday, August 18th covered the rally held by Colonial Area Democrats and MoveOn.org in support of Cindy Sheehan.

    I am curious if the Colonial Area Democrats and their candidates for school board and municipal office support Mrs. Sheehan’s statements such as, “the biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush,” “get…Israel out of Palestine,” and “this country is not worth dying for,” as well as her decision not to pay taxes?

    Such views and actions seem to be radically out-of-step with the views of most voters in Conshohocken, Plymouth, and Whitemarsh, regardless of their stance on the war.

    Jim S,Plymouth

It's clever that the stars on the flag are colored like the peace sign. I wonder if that woman, along with Joan Baez got the message that the 60's ended quite a few years ago.

Reliving the heydays, I suppose.

I can't help but think of the lack of retrospection on the parts of those who would compare Iraq to Vietnam, and agitate for our withdrawl.

It wasn't too long after our withdrawl from Vietnam that the place went to hell. How many died? How many fled? I've got a friend who was a "boat person." Harrowing tale. Perhaps I'll blog it one day.

How many millions died in Cambodia, whose oppressors had nothing to fear from a neighboring American military?

It that a legacy that the 60's generation is proud of?

Withdrawl means consequences for everyone. Something the "anti-war" activists don't say too much about.

Posted by AlexC at 8:00 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The self-outing of "Deep Throat" and the return of Joan Baez and Jane Fonda have had me thinking quite a bit about the 60s and their devil-spawn of a decade the 70s. I was born in 1960 so I got heavy doses of both.

You have hit the nail on the head. The problem is that the intellectual children of the 60s are convinced they were right. The media think the greatest thing they did for the world was to end American participation in Vietnam and chase President Nixon from office. Those are their big wins and they both damaged the country immeasurably.

We should look at this war through the prism of Vietnam. It would be good if we hadn't learned all the wrong lessons.

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2005 10:24 AM

August 15, 2005

Diplomacy's Downside

It's easy for sneaky people to stall the easily suckered for "just long enough."

    An Iranian foreign policy official has boasted that the regime bought extra time over its stalled negotiations with Europe to complete a uranium conversion plant.

    In comments that will infuriate EU diplomats, Hosein Musavian said that Teheran took advantage of the nine months of talks, which collapsed last week, to finish work at its Isfahan enrichment facility.

    "Thanks to the negotiations with Europe we gained another year in which we completed the [project] in Isfahan," he told an Iranian television interviewer.

    Mr Musavian also claimed that work on nuclear centrifuges at a plant at Natanz, which was kept secret until Iran's exiled opposition revealed its existence in 2002, progressed during the negotiations.

    "We needed six to 12 months to complete the work on the centrifuges," said Mr Musavian, chairman of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council's foreign policy committee. He made his remarks on August 4 - two days before Iran's foreign ministry rejected the European Union offer of incentives to abandon its uranium enrichment programme.

Nuclear weapons? Nah... A petroleum rich nation just wants to have green energy.

Posted by AlexC at 3:00 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Not to mention the years North Korea got to develop its nuclear program thanks to Secretary Albright's diplomacy.

Diplomacy with rogue regimes does not serve the United States.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2005 4:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

... which combined with Clinton's missile tech sale to China is about all the proof you need to show that Democrats and their fellow travelers in the U.N. actually WANT nukes in the hands of America's enemies.

How else do you explain the complete and total ignorance of Iran's duplicity by the aforementioned, and the MSM to boot? Merely Bush hatred? Well, maybe.

Here's a question: How do the Dems feel about Iran's version of Yucca Mountain? Would they have the U.N. Consulate of Environmental Pristineness issue a permit for such a storage site?

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2005 3:32 PM

August 12, 2005

Iran Decision 'Irreversible'

... but let's talk some more anyway. That was the incongruous message from multiple official Iranian sources today.

At Friday prayers in Tehran, Expediency Council (whatever that is) Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said, "The Westerners can drag things out, but Iran's decision is irreversible."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said, "This resolution [Thursday's IAEA resolution calling on Iran to reinstate suspension of all nuclear fuel related activities] is politically motivated and has been approved under pressure from the U.S. and its allies and is void of any legal or rational basis and (therefore it) is unacceptable."

On Wednesday, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA Sirus Naseri said, "Iran will not bend. Iran will be a nuclear fuel producer and supplier within a decade."

Fair enough, discussions are over then, right? Not so fast. Kofi "Cash Register" Annan intends to press the negotiations further next month. (Maybe he can arrange an "Oil for Plutonium" programme under U.N. supervision!) But it's not just the U.N. Iran is running a shell game too. Mister "Iran will not bend" also said Iran would maintain its suspension of enrichment activity at another facility, in Natanz, "to keep the door open for negotiations." Negotiations on the method of delivery of Iran's bomb to Tel Aviv, no doubt.

Iran is clearly manipulating the 'never say die' nature of international diplomats to buy more time to achieve its goal. And what is its goal? In that Friday prayer speech, Rafsanjani spelled it out for us:

"The IAEA Charter clearly says that Iran has the right to make peaceful use of nuclear energy, and we are currently preparing to enrich the uranium that exists deep in our lands in order to use its energy for scientific purposes."

This is, however, false. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the conduct of a secret nuclear development program is a breach of the treaty. Iran worked in secrecy for 18 years to enrich unranium. They therefore have no rights whatsoever regarding nuclear technology.

And earlier, Rafsanjani said:

"It [uranium enrichment] is very important and will create new conditions for our country and the region. It will turn a new leaf in the history of our revolution."

One of the admirable traits of Islamic fundamentalists (and all religious fundamentalists, really) is that they have no qualms about clearly stating their intentions. This is because, in their minds, they are 'righteous.' But taking steps toward production of nuclear bombs, under any pretense whatsoever, is clearly not a natural right of a tyrannical regime bent on propagating its religious revolution from a single nation, throughout the region and around the world. It is a right only of a nation of free men. Tyranny has no natural right to anything but to be destroyed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM

August 11, 2005

Gitmo Repatriation

For weeks and months the Bush administration has been hearing the "close Gitmo" from the usual suspect choir on the left.

The US Government is going as far as closing it down completely, but they are sending the terrorists back to their home countries.

    The Bush administration is nearing agreements with 10 Muslim governments to return their detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, part of an effort to quicken the pace of transfers and increase the role of countries whose nationals are alleged terrorists. Washington hopes to conclude the agreements within the next two months, a senior State Department official said.

This is a good thing right?


    A human rights group welcomed the U.S. effort to return detainees, but said the administration is setting up a double standard about where detainees can be sent. "There are two sides of the coin. It's definitely good to be sending detainees home with proper assurances of humane treatment, but there's no way to get credible assurances from a country where torture is standard operating procedure, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia," said Tom Malinowski, Washington director for Human Rights Watch. "They are doing the right thing with the Uigurs and the Uzbeks, but they should do the same with the Saudis -- either find a third country or keep them."
I could have sworn that the facilities in Gitmo were horrible. Deplorable even!

As it turns out, there's some place out there even worse.

It might even be the home of Islam!

Here's a perfect example of why it's impossible to take these people seriously.

You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Posted by AlexC at 10:00 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I think we should give them their Geneva Convention rights. As I understand it, as they were caught fighting without uniform and nisignia, they can be shot.

It's not what I want, but the lefties keep demanding that we treat them under the Geneva Convention. It was good enough for Hogan and LeBeau...

Posted by: jk at August 12, 2005 11:08 AM

August 2, 2005

"The List"

On July 15th, 2005, Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo engaged in a radio interview wherein he brought the crux of the problem with the "War on Terror" into the mainstream of public discourse. Since that fateful day in September of 2001, Americans have been led far away from thinking about such things as life-and-death survival of our nation and its principles.

We're not shown the video of our countrymen, and men of virtually all western nations, throwing themselves from the roof of thousand-foot tall buildings to escape the flames. We're not encouraged to remember the months of clean up required at the WTC site and that virtually no human remains were found of the thousands of victims, having all been reduced to dust. We aren't supposed to feel the insecurity that comes from the fact that those responsible for this mass murder of free men are still alive and plotting ways to murder even more free men.

Then along comes a former Israeli counterterrorism expert who hypothesizes that the means for staging radiological or even atomic explosive attacks in multiple US cities are already within our borders, and that we have no leads on where they are or how to stop them. "Worst case scenario, if they do have these nukes inside the borders and they were to use something like that, what would our response be?" That's the question posed to Tancredo that touched off the "Tancredo says, nuke Mecca" kerfuffle.

The question we should ask is, alternatively, "Worst case scenario, if they do have these operations in place and they were to fly jetliners into the World Trade Towers and kill thousands of people, what would our response be?"

The point is that secular, rational, western civilization is under mortal attack by nihilistic medieval religious fanatics who despise life on earth and seek a perverted notion of life after death as their highest ideal. We should have no other response than to use any and every means available to us to help them reach their afterlife. Does this include nuclear weapons? Yes. Of course.

When a rabid animal comes to your farm and starts attacking and killing your livestock, with no sign of stopping, do you ignore your guns in the house and go after it with a hunting knife, or your bare hands, or send your children against it similarly equipped? Doing so is lunacy. One need not attempt it to have certain knowledge of that fact. You get the gun. You shoot the attacker. You bury its dead body in a hole.

If other rabid animals follow, and your efforts to kill them individually do not abate them, then you find out where they're coming from. You get as close as you can to the source until you can safely go no closer. Then if, perhaps, they all come from a specific section of forest where the conditions are ripe for breeding them, you burn down the forest. Bunnies and other innocent animals may die, but there is no other way to destroy the threat.

These are just analogies, and any card-carrying pragmatist can construct similar analogies that "prove" we should just build stronger fences and have fewer animals in the first place, but that fact does not infringe upon my right to live my life on my property as I choose.

Tom Tancredo merely opened the door, but the discussion lies on the other side. The topic for debate is not how to respond to murderous terrorists, but where. Leonard Peikoff explained where, and he did it on October 2, 2001 in his essay, "End States That Sponsor Terrorism."

"If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.

Eliminating Iran's terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended."

Regular commenter Silence Dogood remarked [third comment], "Does Tom further feel that the concept of deterrent will be successful against extremists, or that such threats will provide the power to the people required to topple or change governments such that an Islamic uprising within the ranks will quell the terrorist menace? If he really expects his remarks not to be taken as throw away rhetoric then he needs to stand up with a real thought out plan."

Perhaps deterrent will have no effect upon Iranian Mullahs, but the destruction of their regime will certainly have a deterrent effect upon their surviving minions. You asked for a thought out plan. Here is that plan: America creates The List of targets for the largest of our nuclear ICBMs. This is no secret list, but is printed in bold text for all the world to see. Target #1 on the list is Iran's most valuable atomic development site. Then the rest of them, followed by Lebanon's Bekka Valley, and then other terrorist strongholds in Syria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. We inform the world that failure to disarm and imprison terrorist forces within sovereign nations will grant us blanket authority to attack targets within that nation. Then we unilaterally destroy target #1.

What happens after that depends largely upon the choices of others but, either way, the United States and the rest of the free world will be protected from destruction. It's time to start drafting "The List."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

As usual, we agree on much. Not airing the 9-11 video is a tragedy -- and more importantly -- a serious tactical error. America cannot lose this war militarily, but without sufficient support at home, all current progress is at risk. Disturbing people with those images is a good place to start.

RE your defense of Rep. Tancredo: I'll be the first to admit that he does not get the benefit of the doubt from me. At best, I differ with the man on economics and politics; at worst I think he is willing to damage the party because he enjoys showboating.

The man is gifted with a tin ear. He lurched into the national spotlight when he thought that an immigrant honor student and class valedictorian was a good target for a new round of deportations. Nuking Mecca and Medina should simply not be said. If it was overblown or repeated out of context that's too bad; he should not supply his enemies with that kind of ammunition.

Dr. Peikoff occupies a cell in my heart adjacent to Rep Tancredo. Perhaps we do have a philosophical right to nuke Iran, it's a non-starter. We're not beginning to use the strength of our conventional forces, losing brave soldiers everyday so that we can fight a "nice war."

A party that called for a tactical nuclear strike against another nation with clear provocation would be swept out of power. You may think that's wrong but it is an aspect of democracy. And as Sharansky has stated, peacefulness is one of the great advantages to democracy.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2005 5:05 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

That's a plan? What pray tell is the objective of this plan? Do you expect the terrorist groups to capitulate and disband? You are still stuck on the concept of strikes against geographic targets. This list of targets includes terrorist training camps? If so, it will be updated daily with the new coordinates as these groups move? We are fighting small loosely connected cells of terrorists across multiple state borders. Suggesting nuclear war against such groups is akin to swatting flies with a shotgun.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at August 3, 2005 6:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK, I'll have to reply to what I think you MEANT to write.

Intentionally overlooking your character assassinations of Tancredo and Peikoff, you said that advocation of a nuclear strike against another nation WITHOUT clear provocation would not be a popular strategy. I agree. However, we HAVE been provoked, hence my use of the word "response" in my post. How much more provocation do you suggest the American public needs? But to the extent what you say is true, it is merely proof of what we agree upon in your first paragraph: We cannot lose militarily, only morally.

You also said, I think, that we're not losing brave soldiers every day so that we can fight a "nice war." But that's EXACTLY what we're doing! Even Fallujah, the epitome of a terror swamp, was not leveled. Brave marines went door-to-door. True, individual buildings were leveled, but not until after our marines were fired upon and the target determined to be impenetrable without artillery. The lives of our soldiers are worth far more than the "innocent" civilians these murderers hide behind. If they weren't an all-volunteer force then ordering them to do what they do would be breathtakingly immoral. As it is, it's a balancing act between our troops welfare and best interests vs. "international opinion." It is only because our soldiers are so capable and effective that we can begin to afford to conduct the war in this way.

The objective of this plan is not to persuade terrorists and their leaders to become rational. Such would be impossible. The objective is to persuade the various governments of the states who give them safe harbor that they have more to fear from the most powerful nation on earth than from a few handfuls of two-bit fascist thugs. They can pursue the terrorists on their soil with flyswatters, hand-to-hand, or we will pursue them with nuclear weapons from a safe distance. Either the state ends its sponsorship of terror or we will end the state.

If we don't do this now, then when? AFTER radiological attacks on US cities? Do you really expect the terrorist groups to capitulate and disband because we FAILED to direct our full might and determination toward their destruction?

Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2005 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I think you misread my "nice war" stance: I fully agree that we are losing our bravest in attempts to be nice. Not returning fire at a Mosque is the best example. We agree that that has gone too far.

And we agree that the outrageous superiority of our troops -- and the substantial arsenal of freedom -- allow this peculiar dance.

And we seem to both support a more muscular approach to the Bush Doctrine with conventional arms.

I would NOT, however, agree that a nuclear strike on a civilian area would be an appropriate response to a terrorist attack. And I say that an attack on Mecca or Medina is completely off the table. As such, I find it irresponsible to discuss it.

I, therefore, think it irresponsible and counter-productive that Dr. Piekoff and Rep. Tancredo bring this up. Sorry if I have been unfair to either, I will admit that I find little common ground with either of them, which is odd because I consider myself a Republican and a devotee of Ayn Rand. Yet I never see either of these people representing my views.

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2005 8:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair enough JK. Other than the visceral value of blowing up the religious shrines of these "nihilistic medieval religious fanatics" destroying them would possibly do more harm than good. I would appreciate your input into the targets that rightfully belong on "The List." I started with Iranian nuclear development sites, clearly NOT civilian targets, and terrorist camps beginning with the Bekka valley.

As for whether to use nuclear or conventional explosives, let the generals decide but give them explicit directive that the targets are to be COMPLETELY destroyed.

One final criticism however: Whenever you say that any of the enemy's targets are "completely off the table" then you've begun to surrender.

Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2005 10:48 PM

July 27, 2005

No, You Are Not Crazy

The would-be Millenium Bomber was sentenced today.

    A man who plotted to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison, a penalty that reflected some of his cooperation in telling international investigators about the workings of terror camps in Afghanistan.

    Still, Ahmed Ressam, 38, could have received a shorter sentence had he not stopped talking to investigators in early 2003. Prosecutors argued that his recalcitrance has jeopardized cases against two of his co-conspirators.

22 years? 22 years?

When he gets out at 60, he'll be old enough to collect Social Security! (if it survives)

22 years?!

What's the lesson learned here?

Plan to destroy a pretty important piece of American infrastructure, screw up, and get out of jail when your old enough to try again.

22 Years in jail... he'll no doubt connect with the Muslim population on the inside, and pollute how many minds?

What happened to life? and in isolation?

If there's ever an argument about moving the prosecution of acts of war into the criminal justice system, here's a perfect example.

Posted by AlexC at 6:00 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

This is indeed maddening, but I am guessing that there really is no mechanism to put this guy away. As it was foiled, there are no victims, I certainly don't know the law but guess that "attempted" anything is unlikely to draw severe penalties (unlike, say, cashing-in your IRA in at 58...)

What we need are serious treason/terrorism/conspiracy charges that could be levied against these guys, with death or life-without-parole sentences. But the confederacy in opposition to the Patriot Act would go bonkers.

It's still those who think we're at war and those who do not.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2005 4:04 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Actually my little part of the confederacy would be for defining such charges and penalties. I want them punished severely too, I just want to make sure they are the right folks. Whether the court system is the place to determine that is debatable, but it is the best we've got. I want to be able to preach democracy and the rule of law around the world with my head held high that we here in the US follow those rules no matter what the circumstances.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 29, 2005 2:41 PM

July 16, 2005



British police released a still frame image from one of their thousands of surveilance cameras in England, purportedly showing the four bombers on their way to carry out the deeds. I found the picture in a BBC article, but first saw it on FNC where the talking head was compelled to say this photo was of the suspects before the blasts. No, you don't say? You mean this wasn't after their worthless body parts were scattered all over London? Well, blow me down.

Something Dagny said prompted me to come up with the acronym 'NAFTA' to explain the life-hating Islamist's present status. "Need Another Four Terrorist Assholes."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Sorry, gang, I don't care for it. Associating free trade with terrorism? When we're trying to get CAFTA past some obstreperous Democrats (and lily-livered Republicans) -- No! No! No!

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2005 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sorry JK, when I look at NAFTA I don't see "free trade" I see a mixed-economy nation making deals with controlled-economy nations. Not much there that makes my heart go pitter pat.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2005 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I dunno if Canada is THAT bad...

You’re scaring me, jg. If we'll only trade with countries that decry collectivism, that is just life the lefty protectionists that insist our trading partners conform to US labor and environmental standards.

We all win with free trade, and it gives the other nations a chance to trade up to US labor, environmental and freedom standards.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2005 3:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not so idealistic that I'd ban trade with any but perfectly capitalist nations. Heck, the US fails that test as I alluded in my comment. I'm not even explicitly judging NAFTA to be bad, although I'm sure I could find reprehensible aspects of it if I went looking. My only intention was to dissuade you from associating "NAFTA" with "free trade", and therefore holding it above expropriation of its acronym for satirical purposes. True free trade is an animal that hasn't been seen yet on this earth.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2005 2:13 PM