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July 31, 2004

But Bush Lied!

Those of us who actually follow the news know that the "Bush Lied!" mantra is bunk. Those who spout it would have you believe that he was the only leader in the world saying that Iraq had WMD ready to use in the days prior to our invasion. Of course that isn't true, and here's one more piece of information to back that up.

In a recent interview with Parade, General Tommy Franks said that

The biggest surprise for him was that they've found no weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the "reason we went to war." He says multiple Middle Eastern leaders, including Jordan's King Abdullah and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, told Franks that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In January 2003, Mubarak said point blank to Franks, "Saddam has WMD-biologicals, actually-and he will use them on your troops."

Hat tip to the Belmont Club for finding it first.

Posted by Tom at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Useless UN

As if we needed more proof that the UN is an utterly useless organization when it comes to protecting human rights and enforcing security, we have the case of the Sudan.

For some time now the Sudanese government has been engaged in a campaign of genocide in their own country. The Muslim government in the north has been systematically murdering Christians and Animists in the south. The government in the north gets away with it because most of those committing the murders are "militias", not regular army troops. The government claims that they just can't control these militias. Right.

And of course let's not forget about the slavery that exists in that country. To this day.

Sounds like an easy one for the UN, right? Should be a no-brainer to at least immediately impose sanctions, right? After all, the atrocities have been well-documented. We've even got satellite photos showing villages where mass murders have been committed. Evidence is not a problem.

But here's how the UN operates:

The U.N. Security Council adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution yesterday that gave Sudan 30 days to disarm Arab militias blamed for killing thousands in the Darfur region or else face diplomatic and economic punishment. Sudan rejected the resolution.
I'm sure the Sudan is frightened.

But everyone on the Security Council went along, right?

The resolution was adopted with 13 votes, with China and Pakistan abstaining despite U.S. efforts to overcome objections by deleting the word "sanctions" from the text.
China said it abstained because it believed the Sudanese government has been cooperating with efforts to end the violence and would continue to do so.
Cooperating? They've been cooperating in killing their own citizens, that's what they've been doing. Of course, coming from a communist totalitarian country that has murdered millions of it's own, such a statement is not really surprising.

This is what you get, folks, when you depend on the UN. They will do nothing about the Sudan. If we continue down this path look for nothing to improve. These people cannot even impose sanctions, let along real action.

What we should be doing is gathering (heck we should have done this two years ago) a group of "like minded" nations to take care of situations like these. Trust me, a few bombs on key government installations in Khartoum would change the right minds real fast. Blockade their ports and they'll come around. No I'm not advocating full-scale military action everytime there's a humanitarian crisis, or against every government that does "bad things" to their citizens. But we promised that we would not let another Rwanda occur, and if we mean what we say, we cann't depend on the UN.


Check out this site for more articles and information on the Sudan.

Thank you to Jane at Armies of Liberation for finding it.

Posted by Tom at 9:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2004


In case you weren't sure whether John Kerry served in the military, the Democratic convention made crystal clear that the presidential contender served in combat in Vietnam. He went so far as to use some of his fellow swift boat comrades as stage props, to introduce him last night before his big speech. He even motored around Boston Harbor with them, pretending like they were still on a swift boat or something. He says that he is "reporting for duty."

I would actually consider his service a plus if he didn't so shamelessly exploit it. I suspect that many others are beginning to feel the same way.

We could actually be happy that the Democrats have come to the realization that military service counts for something, if it weren't so shamelessly exploited for blatantly political ends.

Must we take a little trip down memory lane? Oh why not, as it can be so instructive.

Bob Dole and George H W Bush both served in World War II, and both were in the thick of combat. Neither of them discussed their service. Few people knew that the reason Bob Dole had to shake hands with his left arm was that his right was rendered useless by wartime injuries. Even fewer knew that he'd lost most of the feeling in two fingers on his good hand. That George H W Bush served as a torpedo bomber pilot and was shot down was poo hooed by the Democrats. We were instructed that he was rich and threrefore out of touch with the common person.

Bill Clinton...well, he protested against the war while overseas. Somehow military service didn't matter much to the Democrats then. Funny how that works.

The next time you meet a Kerry supporter just ask them who they voted for in 1992 and 1996. Chances are, of course, they'll have voted for Clinton. Funny how combat experience didn't matter so much then.

For years the only thing I knew about George McGovern was that he was the leftward most candidate ever to run for the presidency. I therefore held him in low regard. Then one day I found out that he had been a B-25 bomber pilot during World War II. Not only that, but during one mission he saved the lives of his entire crew by coaxing their wounded bomber back to base, and executing a brilliant crash-landing. He could have used this during the 1972 campaign to mitigate charges that he was weak on defense, but didn't. Although I am still glad he was never elected, I have gained a newfound respect for him.

Ah but not John Kerry. During the primary he reportedly spent the first 20 minutes of his standard stump speech talking about his Vietnam record.

There are reports that he has exaggerated his service record. But to me this isn't the issue. I wouldn't care whether all of his purple hearts were justified if he didn't so shamelessly exploit them. What is truly unbelievable is that in response to these reports, Kerry will claim that "his partiotism is being questioned." John, you opened the door to this. You made it an issue.

I'm preparing a post on whether military service correlates to performance as president, and hope to have it up early next week. I've posted on this issue before, but this time I'm going through each war and who was president.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Tom at 11:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Evil Al

One of the headliners at the Democratic National Convention was Al Sharpton. As has been noted elsewhere, his "mainstreaming" is now complete. He is accepted as a standard-bearer by the Democrats. Jay Nordlinger writes that the delegates cheered him wildly at the convention. I have seen him interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer and MSNBC by Chris Matthews. They treated him like they would any liberal politician, that is to say, with respect.

Lest we forget just who Al Sharpton is, I thought a little trip down memory lane might be useful.

The short version is that he is one of the most evil men currently in politics.

He has a history that is positively unbelievable. If you are familiar with his past you'll know what I'm talking about. If not then you're about to find out a whole lot more about the Democrats.

For a complete history of the Rev Al, read Jay Nordlinger's entire article in National Review. Al's history of hate is too long for me to review here. I do, however, have a few questions that I'd love to ask the good reverend if I ever chance to meet him;

  1. When are you going to pay former assistant district attorney Steven Pagones the $65,000 judgment that the court ordered you to pay him?
  2. When will you apologize to the family of Yankel Rosenbaum for exacerbating racial tensions in the wake of his tragic murder?
  3. Do you still believe that Jews are "bloodsuckers", that whites are "crackers", and that black customers of white businesses are "traitors"
  4. When will you apologize to the (Jewish) owner of Freddy's Fashion Mart for helping to create a riot that resulted in the deaths of eight people?

Posted by Tom at 9:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2004

Speaking of the CIA

Jane's Defense Weekly has a disturbing article about our efforts in Iraq.

Iraq's new internal intelligence service, the General Security Directorate (GSD), established by the transitional government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi faces an uphill struggle in its mission to crush the plethora of insurgent groups that have dragged the country to the brink of anarchy.
So far no surprise. What about the CIA?
However, the USA is having its own serious problems in functioning effectively in Iraq even though it currently has hundreds of operatives deployed.
Why the "serious problems?" Lets read one more paragraph before you get my take on the matter:
Yet the CIA's vast deployment in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and other cities has hardly been able to dent the insurgency. In December 2003, the CIA station chief in Baghdad was removed because his ability to lead the complex intelligence operation was in doubt and a more experienced officer was sent in. Since last year's invasion, the CIA's Baghdad station has become the largest in the agency's history, bigger even than the station in Saigon during the Vietnam War. The overall mission in Iraq - originally planned for 85 personnel - presently numbers 500, including 300 full-time 'case officers' running intelligence-gathering operations. With the war on terrorism now covering five continents, US intelligence capabilities are stretched extremely thin, or "beyond the limits" as one informed intelligence source told JID.
The relevant question is; how did we get into this situation? Several things conspired to get us to where we are today.

First was the ravages of the Church Commission. While the CIA was in need of reform, Frank Church went too far in demolishing the agencies ability to collect intelligence through traditional means, i.e. human intelligence. The CIA had little choice but to rethink how it would gather information. The cloak and dagger stuf was out.

Second was the increasing emphasis on technical means of gathering intelligence over "humint" or human intelligence. This came about partially as a response to the Church Commission, but also because of the requirements of fighting the Cold War. It didn't take long for the CIA to realize that parachuting agents into the Soviet Union(which they actually tried) was a loosing proposition. They tried recruiting agents through traditional means, but although there were some occasional successes, this too, was very difficult to pull off in a totalitarian society. As the United States is the worlds leader in technological development, it was decided to leverage this to our advantage.

Also, with regards to the Cold War, much of the intelligence requirements were simply "counting things". We needed to find out how many missiles and submarines they had, for example. We could find out much of their capabilities through technical means as well. And we got quite creative at intercepting communications, even going so far as to send divers from submarines to tap into underwater communications cables.

The result was that although we are very good at technical means of gathering intelligence our human intelligence suffers. As we all know, the agency does not have anywhere near enough Arabic-language speakers, let alone people who are ethnic Arab an so could "blend in".

The 9/11 Commission does address this issue somewhat. Our lack of Arabic speakers is criticizd several places in the report. However, the report seems mostly concerned with domenstic agencies such as the FBI Here's one;
On October 12, 2000, a suicide boat bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbor killed 17 American sailors and injured 40, in addition to causing over $100 million of damage. We knew it, it was al Qaeda's work, but the Clinton administration did not bother to engage even in a symbolic use of force, not even that one salvo of missiles this time. Instead, it launched once again a massive invasion of aggressive FBI agents, incidentally, none of whom could speak Arabic.
Joe Lieberman's statement to the Commission contains the same message:
We warned of a critical shortage of language skills, including Arabic and Farsi, and directed the FBI to review its language recruiting efforts.
To it's credit, the CIA is working hard to recruit Arabic speakers.

Particularly bad for intelligence agencies after 9/11 were reports that only a handful of agents throughout CIA spoke fluent Arabic. Though never confirmed officially, sources familiar with the situation in 2001 say that outside the eavesdropping analysts at the National Security Agency, less than a dozen CIA field agents could speak the language spoken by the groups that were the consensus favorites to mount attacks on America.
Let's hope we can get this process going in time to successfully influence what's happening in Iraq.

Posted by Tom at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trousergage and the Democrats continued

I've been reading Newt Gingrich's book Lessons Learned the Hard Way and he has some insights that are relevant to the way the Democrats have behaved during Sandy Berger's, er, difficulties.

To begin with, the Democrats are a traditional political party while the Republicans tend to be a party of policy. Second, Democrats far more than Republicans are attracted to power and view politics as a profession with its own unique requirements and rewards. They first wish to acquire, and then to use, power. It is not that they have no ideology: They seek to maintain the liberalism that for so many years of the twentieth century held the United States government in thrall. But the truth is, they desire power more than they worry about policy. In other words, they treat one another as politicians.
This explains the Democratic response to Trousergate. To them the only thing that counts is the politics of the matter. The issue of top-secret documents is something that is just not on their radarscope. As I wrote yesterday, this attitude was typical of the Clinton Administration.

If anyone has examples of Democrats condeming, or even taking seriously, what Berger stands accused of doing, please email them to me.

Posted by Tom at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2004

Trousergate II, the Democrats

Sandy Berger is accused of a serious offense, that of stealing top-secret documents. One would hope that the Democrats would at least be concerned. Someone, somewhere, would at least acknowledge the seriousness of the offense. What do we have? Silence. Unfortunately, a careless attitude was characteristic of the Clinton Administration, see appalling examples here.

One can only imagine the consequences if Condolezza Rice was caught in such a situation. We know what would happen. But what is not so obvious is how Republicans would react. Does anyone doubt that they would take the matter seriously? They would be in the forefront expressing concern as to the substance of the charges. But the only thing the Democrats talk about is the "suspicious timing" of the leak. That's all they seem to care about.

If any Democrat has said one word about the substance of the charges and that he takes the matter seriously I have yet to read about it.

They don't care about al Qaeda either

Not only don't the Democrats care about classified documents, they don't care about al Qaeda either. Hugh Hewitt is at the convention and tested the delegates on his radio show.

I played a game on the radio show yesterday, the convention's first day. We played a version of Groucho Marx's "secret word." We were prepared to declare a winner when the first Democrat I interviewed mentioned al-Qaida. None did. It just isn't an issue with them. The consensus seems to be that if Bush is beaten, al-Qaida will no longer threaten Americans.

Posted by Tom at 3:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trousergate I, Classified Documents

I haven't posted on this before because there's so much good commentary out there. Also, not having handled classified documents myself, I wasn't sure of the rules regarding them. However, a source has been kind enough to fill me in.

Sandy Berger's main defense is that he was "sloppy". I asked my source, does that fly where you work?

The answer, basically, is "hell, no." Berger's defense is treated as a joke. "Sloppyness" is not an excuse plain and simple. It is an open-and-shut case The only question is whether he will get off because of his "bigwig" status.

Note taking is also an issue because Berger took notes of the secret documents. I am informed by my source that while note taking can be permitted, all notes must be reviewed by the proper authorities. If your notes contain classified information, then they are treated as classified documents. As most classified docs also contain information that is not classified, it would be permissible to take those notes out of the restricted areas. But because the issue of distinguishing classified from non-classified can become murky, most people take no notes at all.

That Berger even took notes is therefore an issue. That he took them out with him is unbelievable.

Posted by Tom at 3:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Step right up, get your tee shirts!

I read in the paper today that Planned Parenthood is handing out tee shirts at the Democratic convention with "I had an Abortion" printed on them. Wondering if this could really be true, I decided to check out their website.

Yep, it is. You can order one yourself by clicking here.

Do we need to wonder what the reaction would be if the NRA sold tee shirts that said "I shot a burglar" on them?

Look, if you want to be pro-abortion, er, "pro-choice", fine, we'll disagree and have a debate. But is having an abortion something to be proud of?

Posted by Tom at 1:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alienated Arab-Americans

Today we learn that Arab-Americans are "alienated" because of the policies of mean 'ol George W Bush and are "flocking to the Democratic party."

Arab-American delegates, attending the Democratic National Convention in their greatest numbers in years, say many in their community will vote for Sen. John Kerry because they are disillusioned with the current administration.

The Arab-American vote went overwhelmingly to George W. Bush in 2000, but unhappiness with the president's post-September 11 policies is turning those voters to Mr. Kerry, the delegates say.
In the days after 9/11 I wondered which direction Arab/Muslim groups would take. Would they take what I believed to be the responsible route in the war on terror? If so they would root out and disown extremists in their midst. They would ban radical Wahabbist preachers from their mosques. And, most of all, they would understand when 25-year old men named Mohammed were the subject of more scrutiny at airports than 85 year-old asian ladies.

Or would they take the "civil rights" path? Would they take their cue from the NAACP? If they took this route we could expect only a few pro-forma statements against terrorism, quickly followed by the adoption of the whiney rhetoric of the so-called civil rights groups.

Ok, deep down I knew they'd choose the latter. But at the same time I reminded myself that everyone deserves a chance. And, indeed, in the days immediately following the attack we heard reports of large numbers of Arab-speakers volunteering their services as translators for the government.

This, however, quickly changed. It didn't take long for these groups to go into full PC mode, reminding everyone of the fate of Americans of Japanese descent during the Second World War; this being a singularly inappropriate concern in modern day America.

All this in light of the fact that this is the most PC war we've ever fought. We can't even identify the enemy properly. We call it a "War on Terror", as if you can fight a tactic. It's a war on radical Islam, but you'll never hear that pass from the lips of an administration official.

Back to the Times story. What are the reasons for this alienation?
Many Arab-Americans see themselves as unfairly singled out by the Bush administration in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
And why would we concentrate on Americans of Arab descent? That's a tough one.

The untimate PC absurdity is to pretend that everyone in line at an airport check-in counter has an equal chance of being a terrorist. This is not to say that no one but someone of Middle Eastern descent can be a terrorist. It would be well to recall that during the 1970s German terrorists carried out operations for Palestinian groups. Richard Ried's (aka the "shoe bomber") father was Jamaican but his mother was white. He would have escaped racial profiling.
They also disagree with the Iraq war and feel Mr. Bush has not been evenhanded in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Fine on the Iraq war. Reasonable people can disagree there. But I'll give no quarter on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Is is morally absurd to be even-handed between two parties that are not morally equal. No Israel is not always in the right. No the Palestinians are not always in the wrong. But most of the right belongs with Israel and most of the wrong with the Palestinians(or at least their official representatives).

Either way it looks like Bush has lost a voting block. As the reports of how many Arab/Muslim Americans there are varies wildly, it is impossible to say how this will affect the election.

Oh, and a Muslim charity in Dallas has been indicted for ties to terrorism.

Posted by Tom at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2004

Letter from Afghanistan

I am privileged to have received a letter from one of our soldiers in Afghanistan. Major Juan Perez is truly on the front lines fighting in the War on Terrorism. He has graciously given me permission to print his message. It is a message that all Americans should hear.

Tom, is okay to print my message, my address you can use is below. We are very proud to be here in Afghanistan stopping world terrorism and bringing justice to the Americans that perished on 9/11/2001 and their families. We are here to protect our freedom, protect America and the Civilized World from global world terrorism and liberate the Afghanistani and the Iraqi people. We are very proud to be serving in the United States Armed Forces, the best Army, Navy, Air force and Marines in the World, second to none. There is no place in the World that the terrorist or tyrants can hide from us, and we are not stopping until we capture all of them, bring them to justice or they will all die trying to get away from us...We will not rest until our mission is completed. Freedom is not free, "America is the land of the free, but will only remain free as long as it remains the home of the brave!!! We are not waiting for the terrorist, we are actively looking for them, finding them and destroying them. Thanks. MAJ Perez

Juan Jose Soto Perez

With soldiers like Maj. Perez we cannot fail but to win. Sir, you and your comrades are in my prayers.

To get a more information about the good that is being done in Afghanistan by our forces, check out Arthur Chrenkoff's "Good News from Afghanistan, Part 2".

Posted by Tom at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Do we have a trend here?

At least two Iraqi bloggers are reporting that things are definately getting better. The IP are growing stronger and the terrorists weaker. Most importantly, Iraqis are less and less afraid to report the terrorists to the police.

Salaam has a message to TGA (a reader? It's not clear) . Either way, his point is clear:

You are indeed falling prey to the Media as noted by another friend. You may be interested to know that we, who are in the middle of it all, see a definite improvement in the overall security situation already, believe it or not. As for the terrorism and the "insurgency", nobody was expecting that it will just disappear suddenly. In fact, we expected much worse. The enemy has no agenda, no clear political objective, he is just desperately striking left and right and committing more and more terrible atrocities that will only increase the hatred and repulsion against him; while the offensive against him by the patriotic Iraqis is gaining momentum. The majority are going to get stronger and stronger, and this is already observable in the new security formations. We are in the thick of it and don't feel discouraged at all.

As the Russian general said in "War and Peace" : Patience and Time, Time and Patience.
Omar has two very interesting posts. In the first he tells the story of a trip to a Baghdad barber shop. While he is waiting his turn, two terrorists start to talk about the "traitors" in the neighborhood:
"Did you see the last list of the agents and spies in street no. 20?" "No, how many names are there in this one?" said the barber.
"This one is short. There are only 250 names in it" said the guy. No one commented on this, as it may be dangerous to say what you really believe in this neighborhood. I volunteered to break the silence, "250!! These are all traitors? If there are 250 traitor in one single block then how many honest people are left in this street?" one of the guys said, "Very little. This place is filled now with agents and spies."
These "traitors", of course are the honest and good Iraqis who are helping to fight the terrorists!
It seems that the vast majority of Iraqis have agreed to become "spies" and offer help to the IP, national guard and the Americans, and maybe the last series of operations carried in this area as well as other places with similar demography prove that such change in people’s attitude is real. There’s a high coordination between the people and the IP, new army and the Americans, and it has become a regular thing to read in the newspapers about locals giving information about land mines or foreigners in their neighborhood with suspicious behavior and several successful arrests were made and many lives were saved as a result of this cooperation.
In another Omar tells of several joint operations involving the Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi police that were very successful in rounding up some terrorists. In one
The operation resulted in the killing of a number of terrorists from different nationalities and arresting not less than 165 persons among them 20 from different nationalities further for confiscating about 275 pieces of weapons."The accuracy of the intelligence information and the success of the operation contribute lessen the casualties among the national guards men and the Iraqi police ". The source clarified.Thanks to the consciousness of the Iraqi National Guard, the terrorist coalition lost its logistic support in the cities.
"Sam", on the other hand, isn't so sure. After writing about "outlawed groups" and terrorists who are currently active in Falluja and Samarra he asks
Our surprise is why the government don't like to take the issue seriously! We think that the more time pass without treatment the more serious the cancer will be. The cancer has to be treated early with very imperative and radical therapy or you will get the consequences. We believe that enough time has been given to the terrorists and outlawed in Samarra and Falluja and those supporting them in Baghdad from the Mullahs.
He concludes by asking
For how long is the government postponed dealing firmly with these areas and its thugs?!

I don't believe that Sam contradicts Salaam and Omar. Each is correct, and each is only a piece of the entire picture. Put them all together and the picture that emerges is that things are getting better but there is a long way to go. The IP are now able to mount medium-scale operations without our direct assistance. The Iraqi people are less afraid to cooperate and turn in the terrorists.

At the same time, the terrorists do have their strongholds. But they are loosing, not gaining strength. The terrorists depend on outside resources to sustain them. Their supply of weaponry, while impressive, will dwindle over time. Resupply is difficult, and must be secreted into the country. Their money will run out, and they will discover that ransom money from governments such as the Philippines will not sustain them. When killed, they will find it harder to replenish their ranks.

The free Iraqis are supplied directly by the US government and our Coalition partners. As long as Congress doesn't go off the deep end, the financial support is secure.

In other words, folks, this ain't Vietnam.

Posted by Tom at 8:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The 14 Syrians blog!

I refer, of course, to the 14 Syrians on Annie Jacobson's flight.

They say their music is very pleasing to the eare(sic)

Posted by Tom at 8:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

"Terror in the Skies": Analysis

Thank you to Max Lane for an update on this story. Check out his post on Annie Jacobson's CNN interview. Some of what follows I posted on his site as a comment.

As Max notes, the Syrians "checked out". They are apparently real band members.

But of course, how hard is it, really, to form up a band? Sounds like the perfect cover for a terrorist group to me. These guys aren't stupid, they know we're watching for them this time. We must assume that they've got carefully constructed covers.

What also really worries me are the other stories of how we think they are "testing us" that are in the Washington Times story. If all this is true, and it seems to be, then the probability that they'll attempt an attack prior to the elections is almost 100%

The political implications of such an attack will be monumental. I was listening to Glenn Beck on the radio yesterday and he made an important point. Glenn said that the public will forgive Bush if the terrorist attack from an unforeseen direction. If they hit a train, bridge, ship, or something else, the public will probably "rally around the president". But, if the terrorists pull off another 9/11 the reaction will be just the opposite. People will say "you've had plenty of time to prevent this, and you let us down. We are not more safe with you in the White House." And they'll be right.

Posted by Tom at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

Terror in the Skies, Again? continued....

It's worse than we thought.

Today's Washington Times reports this morning that "Middle Eastern Men" are staking out airports and are conducting dry runs of hijackings abord airliners. Annie Jacobson's story appears to be only the tip of the iceburg.

Flight crews and air marshals say Middle Eastern men are staking out airports, probing security measures and conducting test runs aboard airplanes for a terrorist attack.

At least two midflight incidents have involved numerous men of Middle Eastern descent behaving in what one pilot called "stereotypical" behavior of an organized attempt to attack a plane.

"No doubt these are dry runs for a terrorist attack," an air marshal said.

Oh this is nice.

The story goes on to relate Annie Jacobson's "Terror in the Skies, Again?" experience. But hers was not the only one. Apparently similar incidents have been occuring. Get this one:
A second pilot said that, on one of his recent flights, an air marshal forced his way into the lavatory at the front of his plane after a man of Middle Eastern descent locked himself in for a long period.

The marshal found the mirror had been removed and the man was attempting to break through the wall. The cockpit was on the other side.
I checked the Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and did not see any stories on this.

Posted by Tom at 8:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

China, Taiwan and Sea Power

The Chinese have launched a new type of submarine, one probably designed to attack U.S. aircraft carriers. Thank you to Mud & PHuD for finding it first.

The new boat, which appears to be a combination of indigenous Chinese hardware and Russian weapons, suggests that China is building up its submarine forces in preparation for a conflict over Taiwan, defense analysts say.

"China has decided submarines are its first-line warships now, their best shot at beating carriers," said Sid Trevethan, an Alaska-based specialist on the Chinese military. "And China is right."

"One has to marvel at the enormity of the investment by the People's Liberation Army in submarines," said Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military.
The submarine is powered by diesel-electric engines. As such, it is less expensive and easier to operate than its nuclear counterparts. Diesel-electrics are ideal for coastal defense and short-range missions. It is tempting to dismiss them as "old" technology, but this would be a mistake. These submarines can be very sophisticated, and when running on electric engines are quieter than nuclear-powered subs of similar design. Further, sensors and weapons are not dependent on powerplant.

StrategyPage says that it appears to be an improved version of the Soviet Kilo class. Supporting the theory that the Chinese have decided to use submarines as their main strike force is the fact that the new commander of the Chinese Navy is a submariner. StrategyPage also dismisses the notion that the US was "surprised" by the new sub.

So...who cares?

You should care because China regards the island nation of Taiwan(or Republic of China, as they call themselves) as a breakaway province and is determined to bring it under Peking's rule. Make no mistake about it, they are deadly serious about doing this.

Word is that they intend to "resolve" the issue one way or another by the end of this decade. Because the Olympics are going to be held in Peking in 2008, they'll probably wait until after they are over before they make their move. They don't want a repeat of the 1980-84 boycotts.

Bill Gertz has an excellent book called The China Threat that discusses this possibility. Other people have written about this too, see here and here.

And by "resolve" they mean a shooting war if necessarily. One that we will certainly be drawn into. The US has pledged to protect Taiwan by force if necessary. We have pledged to do so through the Taiwan Relations Act.

The Chinese have probably decided to base their fleet on submarines for a few basic reasons.

First, they cannot hope to meet our carriers head-on. Operating an aircraft carrier is probably the most difficult challenge a navy can undertake. Given that they have absolutely no experience in this field, it would take years for them to become proficient.

Second, it is simply not the Chinese way to meet a confrontation head-on. During the Cold War it was said that the difference in strategy between the US and the USSR was that we played poker while they played chess. The Chinese, on the other hand, are better understood through an ancient author that is still considered a classic of military. Sun Tsu's Art of War preaches victory through deception and maneuver. Rather than meeting the enemy directly, Sun-Tsu preaches that one should adopt a more subtle strategy.

Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you. (Chap VI, 5)

Third, China is in the position of requiring a sea-denial strategy, while the United States and Taiwan must engage in sea-control.

Sea-denial means denying the enemy the use of a portion of the ocean without necessarily giving you control of it either. Sea denial is saying that "you may not safely sail your ships on this portion of the ocean." The definition of "safe" varies depending on the countries involved, the time in history, and the political stakes involved. Further, it refers to sailing surface ships, both military and civilian. At one time and place a nation may decide that high losses are worth it, while in another a nation may decide that any loss at all is unacceptable. The point is to know at what point your opponent will cry "uncle." But just because you deny the enemy the use of the ocean does not necessarily mean that you control it either. The enemy may be able to destroy an unacceptable number of your surface ships should you attempt to sail in the part of the ocean in question.

To have sea-control means that you can safely sail your ships on the particular part of the ocean in question. Sea-control means that you can safely navigate the ocean with acceptable losses. Again, "safe" is a relative term, and what constitutes "acceptable" losses will vary from conflict to conflict.

Submarines and shore-based maritime aircraft are both sea-denial weapons. The former cannot protect civilian merchant ships at all, and the latter, while immensely useful, cannot do it alone.

Aircraft carriers are sea-control weapons. Married to cruisers and destroyers, they can protect vast portions of the worlds oceans. They can also project power across the seas. Cruisers and destroyers cannot do this, let alone submarines.

In both world wars Germany needed to do was to cut off merchant shipping to Great Britain in order to win. The British depended on commerce for their lifeblood, and if Germany could sink enough ships they would be forced to seek an "accomodation" with Hitler. In other words, surrender. Germny built a vast submarine fleet in an attempt to achieve this goal. The Allies, on the other hand, needed to actually control the oceans, as they were the ones who needed to ship men and material from the US to the UK.

A similar situation existed in the Cold War. In the event of war, the US and our allies would need to ship men and armaments to Europe. We would have needed to control the Atlantic in order to do this. The Soviets, in order to conquer western Europe, only needed to deny us this transit. They could have achieved their goals through the use of land power. They would not need to control Atlantic shipping lanes themselves, but merely deny their use to us. They, too, build up a large submarine force, and never built anything but a few small aircraft carriers.

The point is that China does not need to control the ocean around Taiwan in order to win. All they need to do is do deny the use of that ocean to others, specifically the Taiwanese Navy, the US Navy, and the merchant ships of countries that trade with Taiwan. If they can achieve two or more of these goals they will bring Taiwan to it's knees in short order. Once Taiwan has acquiesced to the communist giant's demands, the fighting will end. It will be France, 1940, all over again.

There has been much speculation on the subject of Chinese plans for an aircraft carrier, but little is known for certain. What is known is that over the past twenty years they purchased one old Australian carrier "as scrap", and three Soviet-era carriers. None were put into actual operation, and apparently they used the hulks for study only. Rumor has it that they plan to launch a small carrier by 2010, but this is unconfirmed.

Unfortunately the response to this new Chinese submarine, as suggested by an analyst in the Washington Times article, is one that I think makes no sense:

The Navy should consider building its own diesel attack submarine to be able to "effectively duke it out with the new tidal wave of Chinese subs, that if left unchecked, may soon dominate the Asian littoral regions," Mr. Fisher said

Hmm, this sounds familiar. Alaska-class battlecruisers, anyone? In the first half of the twentieth century, navies thought that each type of ship would, in wartime, square off with it's counterpart. The dogma was that battleships would fight battleships, and cruisers would fight cruisers, and so on down the line. Each navy therefore built it's ships on this basis, that "our battleships must be bigger and better than your battleships, and our cruisers must be bigger and better than your cruisers."

Of course, things did not turn out this way. Ships only rarely fought against their exact counterparts. As a result, entire classes of ships became "white elephants." The Alaska-class is only the most obvious example of a ship that was built to counter a scenario that never materialized.

A more effective strategy is an exercise that the US Navy is in fact carrying out in coming weeks. It is called "Summer Pulse '04"

In the coming weeks, the USS Kitty Hawk and six other Navy aircraft carriers will be deployed around the globe to demonstrate America's ability to deal with a decidedly post-September 11 scenario: the outbreak of violence just about everywhere at once.

For security reasons, Adm. Kelly won't discuss specifics of the Kitty Hawk's role in the "Summer Pulse '04" exercises, which will include maneuvers with allies from every part of the world. But he can say one thing: It reflects a major change in the way the U.S. military is looking at the world these days

This makes sense for a number of reasons.

First, it takes into account how the Chinese will fight. They will be anything but predictable. We must adapt to this by being able to bring overwhelming force to the scene very quickly.

Second it is in tune with our required strategy of sea-control, which I discussed earlier.

Third, aircraft carriers provide enormous visual power. Submarines may be militarily very useful, but they do not have the psychological impact of showing footage of a Carrier Battle Group on the evening news. A few of these battle groups in the seas around Taiwan will give the Chinese leadership pause.

And lastly let's not forget that the US Navy has over sixty years worth of experience in sinking submarines. We got pretty good at it in World War II. We then spent the entire cold war getting ready to fight a Soviet submarine fleet that was larger than what China has now by several orders of magnitude.

This is an issue that is in the background now, but has the potential to explode within the next ten years.

Posted by Tom at 4:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Conspiracy Theory Busted

Kat-Missouri has posted her fourth installment of her "Busting Conspiracy Theories (#1) Blood for Oil Part 4, Oil, Economy, Terrorism, and National Security"

It's a long article but well worth the read. You'll especially want to check out the bullet-point reasoning. I'd do an excerpt but that wouldn't do it justice.

Posted by Tom at 4:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2004

Terror in the Skies Part II

Last week I linked to an article called Terror in the Skies, Again. Since then there were a few doubts expressed as to it's authenticity. Michelle Malkin looked into it and today gave her opinion that the story was genuine. Joe Scarborough has taken it seriously enough to discuss it on his MSNBC show.

If you haven't read the story of what Annie and Kevin Jacobsen saw on Northwest Flight 327, do so now.

The Women's Wall Street Journal, which ran the story, has just published an update. Read it now.

I promise you, the next time you fly you will NOT be apathetic regarding security.

Posted by Tom at 3:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kidnapping Pays

Angelo de la Cruz, the Philippine truck driver held hostage by terrorists, has been released.

I am happy for his personal safety.

I fear for the safety of all other foreign workers in Iraq.

The lesson? Terrorism pays. Kidnapping pays. At least that's how the terrorists will view it.

They have already learned that they can influence elections by setting off bombs right before the vote. Not only that but if the country involved is morally weak enough, they'll withdraw their troops from (fill in the blank country) posthaste.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo doesn't get it, however. "Beaming", she appeared on Philippine television to declare this a "time of trial and a time of triumph." She apparently thinks that the outcome is just fine. And, unsurprisingly, a "palace insider" says that she is praying hard for the electoral victory of Democrat presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry" (this reported in today's edition of the Daily Tribune/Philippines).

The homegrown communist rebels in the Philippines have already learned the lesson well. The "New People's Army" has decided that they will not, after all, release two government soldiers that they have been holding. They've upped the ante, now demanding that the government suspend all action in their area.

And so it goes with Iraq. The terrorist learned that they could influence an election when the new Spanish government decided to pull their troops out of Iraq. They have learned that the can force more troops out of the country by taking hostages.

Michelle Malkin is ashamed of her patents land for their abject capitulation. Her column on this shameful episode is a must-read.

Spain = Philippines. No more, please.

Posted by Tom at 3:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What? Good News from Iraq?

Yes it's true. There's more going on in Iraq than fighting and terrorist bombings.

Arthur Chrenkoff has posted his summary of Good News from Iraq, Part 6

You read that right: Part 6

The amount of research he puts into this is nothing short of incredible. If you're not reading his "Good News" series you're not getting the full picture of what is going on in Iraq.

Best of all, a member of the "major media" is starting to pay attention His article is also posted on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal site.

His is the type of news that the traditional media don't usually report. The TV news is the worst (Fox included), but even the print media usually bypasses these stories in favor of the more sensational ones. In fairness, terrorist bombings are big news and deserve their headlines. When our soldiers are killed, this, too, deserves front-page coverage. But it is the lack of balance that is disturbing. If one only reads the headlines and listens or watches the top-of-the-hour newscasts, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that Iraq is nothing but chaos.

Our soldiers, allied with people back home, are doing so many good things in Iraq that are at best barely reported. For example, Helping Iraqi Schools is dedicated to helping the children of Iraq. Operation Give is another private initiative that "coordinates the collection and distribution of tows and other items for Iraqi children." And if you'd like a daily update on news and information on the War on Terror that is not all gloom-and-doom I can think of no better site than Defend America.

None of this is to say that things are not difficult in Iraq. But as Thomas Barnett points out "the I-told-you-so crowd has no answers other than leave-it-alone! and for-God-sakes-don’t-do-anything-to-piss-off-the-terrorists!"

What would we do without the Blogosphere? Well, as Arthur Chrenkoff himself says,

In many ways, it now falls to the political blogs to do the work one would expect from the mainstream media - to provide a fair and balanced picture of situation in Iraq. It's the blogs that dig up the information, disseminate it, and bring to everyone's attention the more outrageous examples of media bias or carelessness with facts. As John Leo wrote recently, "[w]hat's new about the press is that so many people who follow it with a critical eye now have an outlet to howl about inaccuracy and partisanship. The big media used to be able to shrug off critics like this. Now they can't." Amen.

Posted by Tom at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

Saddam's WMD Discovered?

What the....

This World Tribune article is dated June 11 2004. I only found it today courtesy of DownEastBlog. Where has this news been?

According to this article, most of Saddam's WMD was shipped out of the country before the war began.

The United Nations has determined that Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction components as well as medium-range ballistic missiles before, during and after the U.S.-led war
against Iraq in 2003.

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission briefed the Security Council on new findings that could help trace the whereabouts of Saddam's missile and WMD program

The UN itself reports that engines of banned missiles have been found in a Dutch scrapyard.

Engines of two surface-to-air missiles from Iraq have turned up at a scrapyard in the Netherlands, according to a new report by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), tasked by the Security Council to probe the country’s illicit arms programme.

Commission experts have verified that one of the engines came from an Al Samoud 2 missile – proscribed under international sanctions – that had been tagged by UN inspectors in the past.

Ah, but then the revealing part

UNMOVIC says this new development demonstrates the difficulty of discovering the scope of Iraq’s clandestine arms programme. “The existence of missile engines originating in Iraq among scrap in Europe may affect the accounting of proscribed engines known to have been in Iraq’s possession in March 2003,” it says.

Which I believe is what we - the dreaded neocons - were saying before the war!

That Saddam's WMD were shipped to Syria is a theory that is hardly new. Lt Gen Thomas McInerney and Maj Gen Paul Vallely (both Fox News Commentators) make the case for this in their book "Endgame."

Another World Tribune article (hardy a bastion of right-wing news) gets even more specific, claiming that his WMD are in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

U.S. intelligence suspects Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have finally been located.

Unfortunately, getting to them will be nearly impossible for the United States and its allies, because the containers with the strategic materials are not in Iraq.

Instead they are located in Lebanon's heavily-fortified Bekaa Valley, swarming with Iranian and Syrian forces, and Hizbullah and ex-Iraqi agents, Geostrategy-Direct.com will report in Wednesday's new weekly edition.

Of course, if this is confirmed it will put egg on the face of the "Bush Lied" crowd.

To be sure, US intelligence still got a lot wrong. We thought he had a lot of the stuff still in Iraq, possibly loaded and ready to shoot at our forces.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Tom at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2004

Terror in the Skies, Again?

This story is too much. It's a bit long but well worth the read.

I found it on Michelle Malkin's blog.

Posted by Tom at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Chutzpah of the Day" Award

Check out this story in today's paper:

A federal judge has dismissed charges by a group of illegal aliens who claimed that state-sponsored colleges in Virginia were violating the Constitution by refusing to enroll them.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who has not yet issued his final opinion, ruled earlier this month that the illegal aliens who sued the colleges lacked legal standing, and that only a legal applicant could raise a claim. The lawsuit, filed last fall in federal court in Alexandria, challenged seven Virginia universities.

Amazing, isn't it? You're here illegally, but you sue to get into college. Taxpayer supported colleges, no less. What a country!

Posted by Tom at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is al Qaeda Fleeing Iraq?

Is al Qaeda fleeing Iraq? StrategyPage thinks so:

Al Qaeda operations in Iraq have encountered some unexpected problems. Iraqis have become increasingly hostile to al Qaeda's suicide bombing campaign. Religious leaders, which al Qaeda expects to get support from, have been openly denouncing these bombings. Iraqis, aware that they are more likely, than American soldiers, to be victims of these attacks, are providing more information on where the al Qaeda members are hiding out. Most of the al Qaeda in Iraq are foreigners, and easy for Iraqis to detect. As a result of this, many of the al Qaeda men have moved back to Fallujah, which has become a terrorist sanctuary. The interim government is trying to convince the tribal and religious leaders of Fallujah to back a military operation in the city to clear out the various al Qaeda, criminal and Baath Party gangs. But the gangs of Fallujah are quick to threaten any local leader that shows signs of supporting the government. While the Fallujah leadership is intimidated, many residents of Fallujah are not, and are providing information to the coalition, which has led to attacks, with smart bombs or coalition and Iraqi troops, on buildings used by al Qaeda, or other gangs, as headquarters.

Al Qaeda has found the atmosphere even more hostile elsewhere in Iraq, and many of the terrorists have returned home.

Dan Murphy, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, seems to agree:

In April, with anger swelling at the US occupation and a Marine-led assault on the Sunni city of Fallujah,thousands of Shiites provided assistance to their Iraqi brothers in the city.

Adnan Feisal Muthar filled up his truck with food and drove it to Fallujah to help residents rendered homeless by US bombing. His uncle and two of his sons donated blood for the wounded. "We wanted to help the people there,'' says Mr. Muthar. "They were Iraqis and they were suffering."

But the city west of Baghdad is no longer a sympathetic rallying place for a unified Iraqi resistance. It is now seen as run by intolerant and exclusivist Sunni imams who are seeking to turn it into a haven for Al Qaeda ideologues. Fallujah is emerging as a symbol of the disparate nature of the overall insurgency inside Iraq. Many Shiites, like the Muthars, have stopped supporting it.

Then there's this revealing statement from a young Iraqi:

"It makes me very uncomfortable to say this, but if the American's weren't around [to attack] we would be fighting among ourselves,'' says a young native of Fallujah who participated in attacks against US forces last year but has since quit the resistance, saying he's been disillusioned by a disregard for civilians shown by some insurgents.

We'll see if the future bears out this analysis. Stay tuned

Posted by Tom at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2004

Check out this cartoon. It

Check out this cartoon. It epitomizes perfectly the left's schizophrenia on the "no blood for oil" issue.

Thanks to Kat-Missouri who linked to it on her blog.

Posted by Tom at 2:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Post and the Federal Marriage Amendment

The Washington Post is at it again. Today's lead editorial is - surprise! - against the Federal Marriage Amendment that would ban gay "marriage". Why? Let's hear it straignt from the Post:

Congress has failed to pass a budget resolution or any appropriations bills and remains deadlocked on such important public policy issues as corporate taxation and class-action reform.

Ok, so then if Congress did pass a budget resolution and passed the legislation on corporate taxation and class-action reform, the Post would then be in favor of the amendment?

Of course not. The Post would still be against the amendment. So what difference does it make whether this other legislation is passed or not?

The reason the Senate is moving forward is politics of a particularly crass and ugly sort: Gay marriage has become a national electoral issue. And Republicans believe it is one that can help President Bush, who has come out in favor of the amendment, and make life difficult for Sen. John F. Kerry (D)

The Post, of course, cannot conceive of the concept that Senate Republicans might actually be acting on principle.

Then of course they trot out the old "states rights" argument:

Federal law already ensures that no state can be forced to recognize gay marriages performed in another, and the federal government withholds such recognition too.

And when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the federal law and mandates gay marriage nationwide, what will the Post say then? They will tut-tut and bemoan the courts decision, but will then solemnly intone that we must obey it's rulings. And, of course, once liberal orthodoxy is enshrined by a court ruling, it must never, never, be challenged again.

We are then informed that

The point of a constitutional amendment is to override the judgments of those states that might choose to permit same-sex marriage.

As if the "states" would actually be making the decisions. As I pointed out yesterday, the state supreme courts will second-guess anything their legislatures do. And the U.S. Supreme Court will second-guess them. The notion that the "states", by which I mean the people, will decide anything is disingenuous. And as Senator John Cornyn argued yesterday, this argument "borders on the fraudulent."

Then the real kicker:

We support gay marriage, though we have criticized the Massachusetts high court's decision. And if voters object strongly to what their court has done, the decision will not survive.

In favor of gay "marriage"? What a surprise.

And if the voters do object, what then? The Post offers no specific remedy. How about impeachment, or restricting the jurisdiction of the court? If voters try either of these you can be sure to see shrill articles in the liberal media telling is that the independence of the judiciary is being undermined.

Let's hope that Senators do not listen to the Post.

Posted by Tom at 1:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Conservatives and the Federal Marriage Amendment

Opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment tell us that it is an issue that should be left to the states to decide. Five conservative stalwarts took out a full-page ad in today's Washington Times to speak out against the amendment. One of them, Bob Barr, says:

"Marriage is a quintessential state issue. The Defense of Marriage Act goes as far as is necessary in codifying the federal legal status and parameters of marriage. A constitutional amendment is both unnecessary and needlessly intrusive and punitive."

And when the Supreme Court finds that gay marriage is a "right", and forces it upon states like they did with abortion, what will you say then?

The entire reason that an amendment is being put forward is that the courts are so out of control.

George Will even goes so far as to say that we should allow the states to experiment with gay marriage:

"And it would be especially imprudent to end state responsibility for marriage law at a moment when we require evidence of the sort that can be generated by allowing the states to be laboratories of social policy."

States as laboratories? Not where I live, buddy. And when the "experiment" does not work out, do you think that states will be able to go back and make it illegal? That they'll just say "oops, sorry" and easily go back to how things were? This is not a serious argument. Believe you me, the left will not give up a hard-won victory.

There are several reasons wrong with leaving the issue to the states. In fact, Senator John Cornyn says that this argument "borders on the fraudulent. There is nothing that a state can do to fully protect itself against federal courts hostile to its laws except a federal constitutional amendment."

As Senarot Cornyn indicates, the issue would not be decided in it's proper forum, the state legislatures. As we have already seen, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court has ruled that gay marriage is required. That we have an out-of-control judiciary abrogating powers to itself that it does not have is a problem that can only be solved by constitutional amendment. No doubt the US Supreme Court would feel compelled to rule on the issue, and given it's direction in recent years it would probably rule in favor of gay "marriage."

Another problem with the "states rights" argument is the "full faith and credit" clause of the US Constitution. Article VI Section 1 "requires each state to recognize a judgment entered in another state" (1)This probably means that if one state made gay marriage legal, and the couple moved to another state, that state would have to recognize the marriage. I say "probably" because this issue would no doubt go to the courts.

Liberals love to chide conservatives on this issue. The claim that we are violating our own principle of federalism, sometimes called "states rights." But this would be a caricature on their part. Conservatives have never said that all issues are for the states to decide. Further, when the courts have superseded their assigned powers, a constitutional amendment is the only way to protect states rights.

Pass the amendment.

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

President Bush and the NAACP

President Bush will not be speaking at this year's NAACP convention and this is a good thing.

If there was a chance that we conservatives could work with this organization in solving our nations problems then Bush should go. But the NAACP has become so extreme in it's views and rhetoric that one can no longer reason with it. There here is simply no point in pandering to an organization that hates you and will not listen to what you have to say.

When NAACP President Kweisi Mfume addressed their national convention yesterday he had this to say about black conservatives:

"When the ultraconservative right-wing attacker has run out of attack strategy," Mr. Mfume said, "he goes and gets someone that looks like you and me to continue the attacks." "And like the ventriloquist dummies, they sit there in the puppet master's voice, but we can see whose lips are moving, and we can hear his money talk." "They can't deal with the leaders we choose for ourselves, so they manufacture, promote and hire new ones."

How nice.

Of course this kind of talk is nothing new. In fact it's rather bland compared to some of his earlier vitriol. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond has compared Republicans to the Taliban. He has agreed with cartoonist Aaron McGruder that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is "a murderer." Armstrong Williams describes more NAACP scare tactics.

Meanwhile, an organization that used to mean something continues it's slide into irrelevance.

The sad fact is that the NAACP is no longer relevant towards furthering the social and econcomic advancement of black Americans and has not been so for a long time. It is forever 1963 for them, and nothing has changed since then. Jim Crow is not only still alive and well, but emblematic of the situation today in our country. As such, the problems of black America are caused exclusively by racial discrimination. No other cause is to be considered.

And, as the above quote illustrates, no black is allowed to dissent from the official orthodoxy. No new ideas are to be considered or even discussed.

Their increasingly strident rhetoric is perhaps reflective of a desperation to keep members in line. They know that many Americans, white or black, simply do not pay attention to them anymore.

To be sure, conservatives and conservative groups can go overboard at times too. As a member of the NRA I can testify that they use fear to solicit funds as well. In the July issue of America's First Freedom, Wayne LaPierre says that "...far too many in the American media, masked in the protection of the flag with voyeuristic camera eyes, contributing to the destruction of American freedoms as pervasively as foreign terrorism." Yes the major media is hostile to our individual right to keep and bear arms, but no it's not the same as terrorism.

The difference, of course, is that the mainsteam media usually beats us to the punch. When a leftist or liberal goes extreme it is usually ignored until a conservative group calls them on it.

Posted by Tom at 9:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 9, 2004

Sarmad, an Iraqi who writes

Sarmad, an Iraqi who writes a blog called "Road of a Nation", just saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and boy is he pissed. He has a right to be, too. Here you are, trying to rebuild your country after over thirty years of a Stalinist dictatorship, and along comes this idiot who makes fun of what you're doing. Here's part of it:

The attacks on 911 were only the beginning of evil. Fighting this evil is the mission of all good people. It is a challenge. Mr. MICHAEL MOORE, what will be your reaction after several years, when you see a free country and a modern and civil one? That we should say thank you to the brave men who did that, or see your "cut and paste" movie, or sue you for being an imposter? Your troops will be home as soon as they have done their job. This is a promise from Iraqis. I have talked with many soldiers. They were happy to work here. Some of them even say, "Iraq is our home. We work to rebuild it." Know what I will go to do and I now this need more than one post, but I see it, like one of the must important issues to be discuss ,and I will use some parts from” Dave Kopel” I took some parts and discuss it . “Moore has been criticized for using the reaction shots as a clever way to avoid showing the planes hitting the buildings, and some of the victims falling to their deaths. Even if this is true, the segment still effectively evokes the horror that every decent human being felt on September 11.” This is on of the reasons for I call it "cut and paste" movie. Three days after September 11, Moore demanded that no military action be taken against Afghanistan: "Declare war?" War against whom? One guy in the desert whom we can never seem to find? Are our leaders telling us that the most powerful country on earth cannot dispose of one sick evil f---wad of a guy? Because if that is what you are telling us, then we are truly screwed. If you are unable to take out this lone ZZ Top wannabe, what on earth would you do for us if we were attacked by a nation of millions? For Chrissakes, call the Israelis and have them do that thing they do when they want to get their man! We pay them enough billions each year, I am SURE they would be happy to accommodate your request....

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Tom at 11:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm always on the lookout

I'm always on the lookout for good blogs, and readers will notice that I've made a few changes to the Blogroll at right. I'm going to keep my list short

Michelle Malkin has a new blog that is as good as her columns.

I mentioned Chrenkoff in a post yesterday. His "Good News from Iraq" columns are invaluable. The amount of research involved is staggering. He puts the major media to shame.

I mentioned Kat-Missouri in a previous post but didn't mention that I'd added her site The Middle Ground to the blogroll. Check out her "Busting Conspiracy Theories" articles.

A New Birth of Freedom is written by Mark from Colorado. In his post "Could Bush lose to Kerry?" he writes that

The issues that will determine the outcome of the race fall into two categories: (1) The war on terror, including the struggle for stability in Iraq and (2) domestic issues such as taxes, health care, education and the strength or weakness of the economy.

Mud & PHuD is another new blog that I found that makes for must-reading. Today he blogs that

We continue to get glimpses every now and then into what might potentially become the single biggest embarrassment for the Left in this country. I have pointed out various pieces of evidence supporting the existence of WMDs (both past and present) in Iraq (here, here and here) and I would like to call your attention to yet another.

Visit his site and you will be well rewarded.

Posted by Tom at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The story of the British

The story of the British and Canadians unjustly imprisoned by the KSA a few years ago just gets curioser and curioser.

The Independent is reporting that it's sources have confirmed that the deal took place. The purpose of the deal was to secure Saudi cooperation in the upcoming invasion of Iraq.

Why did the Saudis want the suspected terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay? The paper quotes a US official as saying that it was "...a way to show their people that they could get something from the Americans and that it was not just a one-way street."

The Telegraph reports that US government officials were the source for the original New York Times report.

It's looking like this story has legs.


In my post on this yesterday I was not clear in my opinions in this matter and in retrospect I did sound wishy-washy.

The bottom line is that we shouldn't have to make deals like these at all. The British and Canadian workers should never have been arrested in the first place. The treatment they received from the KSA was inexcusable. That our governments did not go all-out to get them released is a travesty.

We have been playing nice with the KSA for far too long. The reason we have done so have nothing to do with Michael Moore-type far left fantasies, however. It's simple expediency. It's easier to make secret deals than to deal forthrightly with problems. Making an international stink isn't pretty but sometimes it needs to be done.

If anything, the KSA should have been begging us to invade Iraq. They were threatened by him more than we are, just as terrorism in general threatens them more than us. The US government is not going to be brought down by terrorists no matter what al Qaeda does. The Saudi government, however, could very well fall. That there is sympathy among their population for the likes of Osama bin Laden is due to the fact that they tried to buy off terrorists for far too long, and subsidized the radical Wahhabites in their own country.

Posted by Tom at 9:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 7, 2004

There's been an important development

There's been an important development in the case of the Britons unjustly imprisoned by Saudi Arabia in the British "Bombs" case. The imprisoned men were James Cottle, Dr William Sampson, Ron Jones, Sandy Mitchell, Les Walker, Peter Brandon, Glenn Ballard, and James Lee.

I first reported their story in a May 24 post.

A New York Times story posted on their web site Sunday July 4, alleges that the US and UK entered into a secret deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to have the men released.

The Times story says that five Saudi terrorist suspects were transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia. Three months after the men were transferred, Saudi Arabia released the seven Westerners.

As readers will recall, the seven Westerners had been arrested on terrorism charges. The Saudis alleged that they were behind a bombing campaign in their country. It has been proven that the seven men were tortured by the Saudis into making confessions.

Saudi and Pentagon spokespeople have denied the report.

Since the New York Times makes you register to view their stories, I'm linking to stories on CNN and Yahoo News as sources.

If the story is true, there is no doubt that we did it to get KSA help for an invasion of Iraq. Although I can't find the link to prove it, I remember reading that it came out after the invasion that the had provided much logistical and basing support. They allowed us to use several of their bases as "jump off" points for special operations forces. They also sold us fuel at cut-rate prices. We wanted that support and so bought them off to get it.

But I find it hard to believe that this is what it took to get the KSA to help us out. We should not have had to do this, and it represents a failure by the Bush and Blair administrations. It was in the Saudi's interests to help us, as Saddam threatened them more than he did us. We should not have to go to these lengths to get their "cooperation", especially since the Saudis have been funding terrorism for years anyway.

We don't know what happened to the Saudis sent back home. But if they were released, as they might well have been by that corrupt regime, they're probable back to committing acts of terrorism, as were these Afghans after being released from Gitmo.

Unfortunately such secret deals are nothing new. We were not told of the secret deal to remove our missiles from Turkey as the quid pro quo for the Soviets removing their missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It isn't pretty, and in fact it stinks, but this is often how things are done.

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July 6, 2004

That Niger Uranium

Well well. Remember the story about the uranium from Niger? About how by including it in a State of the Union speech proved that Bush was lying?

Turns out the story was most likely true. Saddam was trying to buy uranium three years before the US lead invasion of Iraq.

Of course it was never "untrue" in the first place. It was only the particular documents that Bush alluded to that were forgeries. And he got that informatin from British Intelligence. All the while the "scandal" was unfolding in Washington the British stood by their story, citing other, unnamed, sources.

Story here, and here.

Stay tuned.

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If you don't think anything

If you don't think anything is going right in Iraq you haven't been reading Chrenkoff lately.

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As the world knows by

As the world knows by now, John Kerry has selected John Edwards to be his running mate. Was this a good decision and what does it mean for Republicans?

On the plus side, Edwards is young, handsome, and by all accounts a good speaker. He will add dynamism to a Kerry's boring style. Being from North Carolina, he also adds geographic balance. The Democrats need to capture at least a few southern states if they hope to win.

On the down side, he is inexperienced, something that Republicans will use against him when compared to Cheney. Edwards has not even served a full term in the Senate, while Cheney was a congressman and Secretary of Defense before becoming Vice President. Edwards Senate career was undistinguished, having no pieces of legislation to his credit.

Edwards' trial lawyer background will cut both ways. Democrats will say that he is a fighter for the "little guy", and they will pull in some votes with this argument. Republicans will counter that he was in it to enrich himself. They will also say that are over-lawyered and certainly tort reform has been a simmering issue for years.

The purpose of the vice president during an election campaign is to serve as "attack dog". This allows the presidential nominee to stay "above the fray" somewhat. Cheney fulfilled this role well in 1980. Edwards refrained from attacks on his opponents during the Democratic primaries. However, his experience as a trial lawyer should help him considerably here.

Ultimately people vote for the presidential nominee anyway. The selection of Dan Quayle was seen as a mistake, but George H.W. Bush managed to win in 1988 anyway. And his loss in 1992 was due to factors other than his vice presidential choice.

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Controversy and the War in Iraq - An Historical Perspective

It is routinely alleged that because the war in Iraq is controversial George Bush has been a bad president. There is no question that the war is controversial. But it is not at all clear to me that this leads to the conclusion that he has done a bad job as president.

We have a tendency, I think, to view most of our wars as glorious crusades where we all link arms and march off to defeat evil. World War II is the classic example of this, with the Revolution not far behind. With the Second World War this view is largely correct. There was broad agreement that the war was necessary, and serious protest was nonexistent. But World War II was the exception rather than the rule. It was an unusual war in many respects, most wars being limited wars for limited aims. World War II is thus usually not the best one to use as an historical base.

This is not to say that the "glorious crusade" view of history is a bad thing. All cultures need historical legends, even when they are only partially true. After all, defeating evil is a good thing, and we Americans have done more than our fair share in this regard. Americans tend to view themselves as the saviors of the world, and, much to the chagrin of others, in the last century we usually were.

We do, however, need to acknowledge the internal struggles which accompanied most of these wars. We also need to recognize that World War II was the exception rather than the rule.

Only about one third of American colonists were in favor of independence from the British crown. Another third were loyal to Great Britain, and another third didn't really care one way or another. Far from being united, we were quite divided.

Further, since each state considered itself a sovereign nation, each wished to field it's own army. These state armies were forbidden to leave their home state. Few states wanted to contribute soldiers to a national army. And if Congress was going to insist there be a national army (or "Continental Army", as it became known), then they wanted to make sure that a general from their state was in charge. It took much arm-twisting on the part of a few enlighened individuals before Washington's army became a credible force.

In the Civil War both sides had to resort to a draft to fill their armies. Popular support for the war fell dramatically as people on each side realized that the war would be much longer and more costly than they had initially imagined. The draft was so unpopular in the North that violent riots broke out in New York City. The Democrat party hated Lincoln and opposed his war policies. Lincoln looked sure to lose the 1864 presidential election, and his Democratic opponent was a former Union General, George B McClellan. It was only after Union victories in Georgia that Lincoln was able to win back popular support and win the election.

The First World War was extremely popular when we entered it in 1917. Yet a few short years later it was seen as a mistake. The Senate voted down Wilson's League of Nations, and the Nye Commission "blamed bankers and munitions-makers for U.S. involvement in World War I."

Even the Second World War had its share of internal conflicts among the allies. General Eisenhower spent most of his time during the Second World War mediating conflicts between British General Bernard Montgomery and American General George Patton.

My point here is not to go through each and every war we have fought. It is simply to point out that wars that we now take for granted as necessary were not always popular at the time.

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I was listening to the

I was listening to the Laura Ingraham show yesterday, and she had on her show "Vicky" (I didn't get the last name) of the National Abortion Federation (the show was a repeat but that doesn't matter).

Vicky said that we must let doctors, and not politicians, make decisions regarding abortion. The question was when a partial birth abortion would be allowed "for the health of the mother."

Oh yes, we wouldn't want to think that we live in a democracy or anything. We certainly wouldn't want people we voted for to decide matters. Much better to let self-anointed elites decide things for us.

And how typical of most liberals to think this way. They don't trust the people or their elected representatives.

The subject at hand is not rocket science. Anybody of average intelligence can understand the issues at hand. It just depends on whether you trust the people or not.

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July 5, 2004

Don't tell Omar that the

Don't tell Omar that the Iraqi Police aren't fighting the terrorists.

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Let there be no mistake,

Let there be no mistake, those of you who don’t believe in this war: the Ba’ath regime were the Nazis of the second half of the 20th century.

"No One Asked Us" by Stan Coerr
Stan Coerr is a Super-Cobra attack helicopter pilot and Forward Air Controller, and was recently selected for Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Read the whole thing here.

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July 1, 2004

No Regrets

Was the invasion of Iraq worth it? There can be no denying the difficulties we face in Iraq; the continuing insurgency and failure to create successful Iraqi security forces are but a few. The war has cost us friends abroad and made international diplomacy more difficult. It may well cost Bush a second term.

Yet for all that, I maintain that yes, the war was worth it. Not only that, but in the words of former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey "Twenty years from now, we'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says it wasn't worth the effort."

1) The entire "sanctions regime" with its "no fly zones" was simply untenable over the long term. The situation unstable and bound to fail sooner or later. There are several reasons for this:

The first is that memories fade. Saddam's invasion of Kuwait becomes ancient history, while the suffering of the Iraqi people because of the sanctions dominated the Arab media. Saddam and his regime seemed to prosper under the sanctions while his people suffered. Because of this resentment towards the U.S. had been building throughout the '90s. There were many who felt that it would be better to significantly ease or even end the sanctions altogether.

And indeed under the UN sanctions the Iraqi people were suffering. At the end of the 1991 Gulf War economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq, the idea being that Saddam would not be able to rebuild his military and WMD programs. So that the Iraqi people would not suffer, the UN set up a program called "Oil for Food". Iraq would be allowed to sell limited amounts of oil, with the proceeds going for necessities such as food and medicine. As it turned out, much of the money was diverted to either military uses or for building more palaces for Saddam. It is also suspected that Saddam bribed dozens of people, including across the world under what is becoming known as the Oil-for-Food scandal.

By the late '90s a campaign to end the sanctions was in full swing, the claim being that they were killing thousands of Iraqi children every year. And these claims may well have been correct. Those who opposed the invasion need to explain how they could justify the continued suffering of Iraqis under the sanctions.

The "no fly zones" in the north and south were designed to protect ethnic minorities (Kurds in the north, Shiites in the south). Saddam had massacred these people in the past and would have done so again but for our protection. This protection could be rescinded at any moment. All it would take is a new US president or Congress to say "this costs too much, we need to scale back." The lives of the Kurds and Shiites hung on the will of the "international community" to maintain these no-fly zones. Given that Saddam was 66 years old when captured, he may well have lived another twenty or more years. The idea that we could have kept this up for that amount of time is not supportable.

We now suspect that many officials were making millions through the Oil-for-Food scandal. They knew that we would discover their corruption in the aftermath of a war.

Lastly there is greed. Germany, France, and Russia did much business with the Saddam Hussein regime. They stood to make more money if the sanctions were eased or ended. A war would end their profits. During the '90s France and Russia proposed several times that we weaken the sanctions. As time went on the pressure to do so would have simply grown.

2) Weapons of Mass Destruction. The report issued by David Kay left no doubt that Saddam was trying to reconstitute many of his programs. It is likely that in the early days of the invasion he moved his weapons to Syria, and that this went undetected because the U.S. 4th Infantry Division was was not able to move in from the north and cut off a northern escape route.

And let us be clear: It wasn't just that the US and UK alleged that Iraq had WMD. Every intelligence service on the planet thought Iraq had the stuff. The difference is that most other countries thought that he didn't have enough to be a threat, and/or the threat could be contained by the "sanctions regime".

Regardless of the status of his WMD programs before the invasion, does anyone doubt that Saddam would have acquired such weapons if he could have? The idea that inspections could have forever ensured that he would not have been able to acquire such weapons is untenable and a risk that responsible people cannot take.

3) Far from "rushing to war", we let a situation simmer for twelve years before deciding to invade. A case can be made that we should have gone on to Baghdad in 1991 in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Saddam had the next twelve years to come into compliance with UN Security Council resolutions. Rather than comply, he spent this time subverting the will of the UN. Finally, in 2003, the Bush administration decided to bring matters to a head and resolve the situation one way or another. So let's not pretend that all of a sudden, out of the blue, George Bush up and decided that Iraq was a problem. Saddam had more than enough time to decide whether he was going to comply with the Security Council resolutions. Bush simply decided that in the aftermath of 9-11 the then-current situation was intolerable.

Security Council resolution 1441 gave Saddam one last chance to comply with previous UN resolutions. Under this resolution inspectors did not need to prove that Saddam was rearming. Rather, he had to prove that he had destroyed the weapons that he'd admitted to having in 1991. Noone seriously disputed that Iraq was in violation. The only question was what to do about it.

In early 2003 we had good reason to believe that Iraq did in fact have stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

4) Does anyone doubt that given half a chance Saddam would have built chemical, biological or nuclear weapons? If the sanctions had been lifted the first thing he would have done would have reconstituted his programs, with the priority being to bo obtain nuclear weapons. Once he had atomic or even hydrogen weapons an invasion would be out of the question.

5) Iraq had a history of successfully deceiving inspectors. During the initial inspections in the aftermath of the Gulf War it was revealed that Iraq was much closer to having a nuclear bomb than anyone had suspected. Had he not made the mistake of invading Kuwait, he likely would have had a usable weapon in 1992 or 1993. Hans Blix himself was forced to admit that he had been deceived. Given this, would it really have been responsible for our government to have assumed anything but that Saddam had once again been able to stymie instep?

6) Inspections could not possibly have succeeded. Those whose battle cry was "let the inspectors do their job" don't know what they're talking about. The job of inspectors is not to "ferret out" hidden programs. Those who think that inspections are like police searches do not understand the concept of inspections or what they are designed to do.

Inspections are designed to verify. They can only be successful when both sides want to make them work. They would have been successful in Iraq if Saddam had agreed to cooperate.

7) Saddam was 66 years old when captured. He may have lived another twenty years. His sons were under 40 years of age. This regime may well have remained in power for another 40 years. It is unbelievable that we could have kept him contained for this amount of time.

8) In fact the Iraqi people were suffering under the sanctions, because Saddam was stealing the Oil for Food program money and using it to build more palaces. In a way the anti-sanctions protesters were right, Iraqi babies were dying due to the sanctions. But the solution was not to lift the sanctions but end the regime.

9) Libya renounced it's WMD program and submitted to complete and verifiable inspections. Muammar Gaddafi saw what happened to Iraq when Saddam Hussein challenged the U.S. and did not want that fate to befall his own country. Libya is even more vulnerable to invasion, a fact that no doubt weighted on Gaddafi's mind. While the negotiations with his regime over WMD had started long before George W Bush came into office, it was the invasion of Iraq that prompted Gaddafi to act.

10) Links to terrorism. Yes, Saddam did have links to terrorist groups. And yes, despite some of the very bad reporting, the 9/11 commission found that Iraq and Al Qaeda did maintain contacts. Although they may not have had a formal relationship, they may well have coordinated efforts to some extent. We have recently learned from Russia that Saddam was planning attacks on U.S. soil.

For example, Saddam paid the families of suicide bombers in the West bank up to $25,000 as "compensation" for the loss of the family member. While terrorism He harbored Abu Nidal, a notorious Palestinian terrorist.

Far from being a "diversion" to the War on Terror, the invasion or Iraq was an important battle in the War on Terror.

12) Saddam tried to kill a former president of the United States, George G H Bush. In my book this alone qualifies him for elimination.

12) A successful democracy in Iraq will prompt other countries in the region to liberalize. Once people see that dictatorship is not necessary, they will put pressure on their governments to reform. Iran and Saudi Arabia are the two countries most in need of liberalize.

13) If there had been no invasion, the message would be that UN sanctions are empty words. Saddam had already violated over a dozen of them. The on-again off-again bombing campaigns were not working. Security Council resolution 1441 gave him a last chance. By almost all accounts he violated it, too. To have continued with the sanctions and inspections would have let dictators around the world know that such resolutions were not to be taken seriously.

14) No we didn't invade to steal their oil. The best refutation of this that I've seen are the June 19 and 20 postings by Kat-Missouri. Yes oil is a factor. Saddam invaded Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990 to steal their oil. Certainly oil played no little part in our decision to drive him out of that Kuwait. Had all this this occurred among poor African nations it would have been relegated to the back pages the papers. But what's so wrong with defending vital natural resources?

15) We can walk and chew gum at the same time. There are those who maintain that we should have concentrated on "more important" threats like North Korea or Iran. But as a threoretical one can always claim that there are "more important" threats. Surely with our resources we can handle more than one international crisis at a time.

It is also interesting that the same people who say "well why don't we invade North Korea/Iran?" are often the same ones who call Bush stupid. Apparently it never occurred to them that different threats are met with different strategies.

Lastly, as Andrew Sullivan put it: "Shouldn't we be threatening North Korea with war rather than Iraq, they ask? Er, no. The reason we're about to go to war with Saddam is precisely to avoid the possibility of Saddam becoming Kim Jong Il. Once Saddam gets a nuke for sure, we're completely screwed."

16) Finally, let's not forget that many things are going right in Iraq. Chrenkoff, Defend America and the CPA websites document the progress that has been made. And al Qaeda may well have turned the Iraqi people against them.

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