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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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
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.
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.
'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. Muhammads semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
(...) The Qurans 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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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...
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
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 pointout the politicization of the report and the post-9/11 environment when these programs were launched.
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.
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
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 governments 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.
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 States 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."
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?"
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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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
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.
(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.
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.
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 orderfrom electricity brownouts to unemployment, corruption and sectarian violence. But one would be hard pressed to find any IraqisSunni, Shia or Kurdwho 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.
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 nowhereFaisal Shahzad, Nidal Malik Hasan, the American-born renegade cleric Anwar Awlaki now holed up in Yemen and their likesare 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.)
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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!
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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 Agencys warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal governments wiretapping powers.
"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."
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.
"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!
"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.
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 governments 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.
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.
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.
Congressional Democrats rode anti-war sentiment to victory last fall but they are staking their success in the final months of this years 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.
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 countrys most decorated and respected military leaders.
Im 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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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 administrations 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 administrations 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.
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.
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.
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 governmentalong with the Israelis, of coursepaid Salman Rushdie to write The Satanic Verses to begin with. Exactly how is such a mentality to be placated?
Do you remember me?
Do you know who I am?
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.
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 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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
[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.
ALL THE BEST!
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.
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.
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 Bushs 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 Irans 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 Irans 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...
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?
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.
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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.
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.
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 StateTotalitarian Islammust 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.)
" . . . 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 doesnt 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 doesnt brutalize its own people.
Now, what actions of the American people can do anything to help Iraq "govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself?"
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 regionthe brief emergence of a self-determined Lebanon that was free of foreign occupationand 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 waslet'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.
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 administrations Iraq policies.
Zinni goes on to say Well, you cant 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"
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).
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.
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.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.
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?)
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."
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?
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.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Zawahiris thinking is dubious, I realize; but I have long suspected that one of the reasons we havent 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 eradicatedand 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.
"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.
In Nablus, a young man is kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists who then set him free on learning he is an American because they dont 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 Lefts 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 dont see the will to instill the required level of fear anywhere but in the U.S., and I dont 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Im supposed to give the obligatory YAY USA! cheer here, but while its good to get the bad guys I dont really think its going to improve much. Hopefully Im wrong.
[W]hile its no doubt good news that Zarqawi is no more, its worth remembering that Bush wasnt willing to hit this known al-Qaeda terrorist in a known location based on air-tight intelligence before the war even began.
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.
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."
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)
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.
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 historiesand looked at as much artas 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 everywherewhile 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 expansionby which the Near Eastern kingdoms and, later, Islam rosecontinued 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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gelernters 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.
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?
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.
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.
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 societya culture of science, independent creative thought, and political freedomis 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 Freedoman 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 dogmatismso 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."
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.
[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.
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
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.
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, theyre not going to announce the draft unless Bush gets re-elected-thats when theyll spring it on people.
Jello Biafra, Ex-Dead Kennedys (Alternative Press, Issue #192, July 2004)
I think its 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.
- MTVs Rock the Vote
[Bush] insists that he won't revive the draft. But the facts suggest that he will.
Columnist Paul Krugman
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?
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.
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?
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.
"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.
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."
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.
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. Example.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 womans 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 .... ?
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.
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.
In case you dont 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.
Clarkes 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.
Its 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!
In 1996, after bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan, he wasnt sure if he would be able to get along with his new Taliban hosts. So he made inquiries about moving to Iraq.
Saddam wasnt interested. At the time, he was trying to have better relations with his neighbors and bin Ladens enemy the Saudis.
But a bit later, Saddam apparently changed his mind. According to the report:
In March 1998, after bin Ladens 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 Ladens situation too hot in Afghanistan, then, in Clarkes non-famous words, old wily Osama will likely boogie to Baghdad.
Now, that doesnt at all suggest that Iraq had a role in Sept. 11, but it certainly does suggest a relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda.
The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone but were not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.
Were going to continue throwing their own words back at them.
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. Its a pleasure to see all of you. Im sorry that we couldnt be joined by Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, or Jay Rockefeller. They were unable to attend due to a prior lack of commitment.
'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.'
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
A friend of mine sent the following letter to the editors of Norristown's Times-Herald.
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. Sheehans 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.
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.
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.
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."
"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.
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.
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."
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)
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.
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."