October 31, 2004
John Kerry's new Radio Commercial
It's taking the airwaves by storm, and you can listen to it here.
(hat tip American War Monger)
There He Goes Again
John Kerry just will not stop the lies about Tora Bora. Once again, yesterday he repeated the same old tired canard
"When Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, he was wrong to outsource the job of capturing them to Afghan warlords — who a week earlier were fighting against us — instead of using the best-trained troops in the world, who wanted to avenge America for what happened in New York and Pennsylvania and in Washington," Mr. Kerry told a crowd of supporters at a campaign stop in Appleton, Wis., yesterday morning.Wrong on any number of counts.
Tommy Franks, commander of CENTCOM (Central Command) during the operations in Afghanistan, wrote in a New York Times editorial last week that Kerry's "understanding of events doesn't square with reality."
First, take Mr. Kerry's contention that we "had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden" and that "we had him surrounded." We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001. Some intelligence sources said he was; others indicated he was in Pakistan at the time; still others suggested he was in Kashmir. Tora Bora was teeming with Taliban and Qaeda operatives, many of whom were killed or captured, but Mr. bin Laden was never within our grasp.
Second, we did not "outsource" military action. We did rely heavily on Afghans because they knew Tora Bora, a mountainous, geographically difficult region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is where Afghan mujahedeen holed up for years, keeping alive their resistance to the Soviet Union. Killing and capturing Taliban and Qaeda fighters was best done by the Afghan fighters who already knew the caves and tunnels.
Third, the Afghans weren't left to do the job alone. Special forces from the United States and several other countries were there, providing tactical leadership and calling in air strikes. Pakistani troops also provided significant help - as many as 100,000 sealed the border and rounded up hundreds of Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
(hat tip to Kat - Middle Ground)
Kerry seems to think that we should have flooded Afghanistan with troops. But, er, didn't the Soviets try that in the 1980's, Senator? And wasn't it an utter failure, mostly because it alienated the Afghanis?
October 30, 2004
Kat lets Loose
Kat tells us how she feels about that piece of garbage Michael Moore in an open letter to him and Osama bin Laden.
October 29, 2004
Notes from the Campaign Trail
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've spent most of my non-regular work time campaigning for Frank Wolf, GOP Congressman for Virginia's Tenth District. He's up against a carpetbagger from Californial named James Socas. I've done door-hangers, made get-out-the-vote phone calls, and stood outside grocery stores handing out literature. It's the first time I've ever worked for a national campaign, I've met some great people, and it's been an awful lot of fun.
Anyway, in the aforementioned post I said that the final straw that prompted me to get involved that I heard one of James Socas' radio ads, which essentially called Mr Wolf a "religious extremist."
Just to show how far his challenge has gone, the liberal Washington Post has come out strongly for Frank Wolf, and has condemned Socas' tactics in no uncertain terms. Money paragraph in the Post editorial:
...Mr. Socas has used the telephone survey as well as fliers to suggest to voters that Mr. Wolf is a member of an "extreme" religious group known as "the Family," which was the subject of a lengthy article in Harper's Magazine last year. Mr. Wolf makes no secret of his deep Christian beliefs, which he says have motivated him to take a leading role in Congress on behalf of oppressed people (including Muslims and Buddhists) in Darfur, Ethiopia, Tibet, China and elsewhere. We have long admired Mr. Wolf's commitment to human rights around the world; few members of Congress have more actively pushed for recognition of the ongoing genocide in Darfur. For Mr. Socas to portray Mr. Wolf as some kind of religious fanatic is reprehensible.Reprehensible. The Post does not use that word lightly.
As Virginia is reliable Bush country, I've decided to focus my efforts on this congressional race. However, on Tuesday, I'll be at one of my local polling places handing out literature for both Bush and Wolf.
Closer to Justice
Justice just got closer for James Cottle.
Long-time readers of this blog will remember that Mr Cottle was among eight westerners arrested by Saudi police in 2001. The allegation was that they were responsible for planting a series of bombs in Saudi Arabia. They were tortured into making forced confessions, all in the manner of the Soviet show trials of the 1930s. No one in the West believes that the charges are anything but trumped up. Mr Cottle and the others spent up to three years in prison before finally being released.
Last Friday the Manchester News reported some good news
A MAN who claims he was tortured in Saudi Arabia into confessing to bombings has received a major Appeal Court boost to his bid for damages.Read the whole thing.
A Court of Appeal ruling yesterday in the case of Ron Jones, who was jailed for similar crimes and later released by the Saudis, held that Mr Jones should be able to pursue the individual torturers.
Lawyers acting for Mr Cottle had been waiting for the result of Mr Jones' test case before seeing if their own court case could proceed.
"This is a landmark decision. The Court of Appeal has made some very significant inroads into the out-of-date and much-abused doctrine of state immunity. The decision means that governments which engage in torture will no longer be able to shelter behind the unqualified immunity they enjoyed previously."
October 27, 2004
"I'll be Back!"
No matter how hard I try and say it I just can't get it out like Arnold in Terminator
Serious blogging will be light these next few days as I've been out working for our local Republicans. Specifically, I've been out stumping for Congressman Frank Wolf, 10th District VA (GOP, of course). He's in a fight with a rich Democrat carpetbagger, James Socas, who just moved here from California.
For awhile I'd seen too many Socas signs for comfort. Some of his radio commercials also annoyed me, but I thought "Frank's been in office for over twenty years. This is such a conservative area that the Democrats usually don't even put up a challenger. He'll win no problem."
And then Socas went too far.
In one radio commercial he accused Frank Wolf of associating with those "religious extremists".
You see, my mom, sister and her husband go to the same church as Frank Wolf did. I went there too until I moved to a neighboring town. My father (who has since passed away) knew Frank Wolf. My mother (who is mayor of her town. Yeah mom!) knows him.
I said enough is enough. Blogging is all very fine and good but it's time for action.
So blogging may be a bit light until the election, but not to worry, for I'll be back!
October 25, 2004
The "Social Justice" Candidate
John Kerry now tells us that he is the "Social Justice" candidate;
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry said a broad vision of social justice, including care for the poor and those without health insurance, is at the root of his religion and would guide his presidency.He then went on to quote Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for meThis is in context of a series of lessons and parables that Jesus is telling to his disciples as they sat on the Mount of Olives. (Full text of Matthew 25 here for context)
Kerry then told the audience what this passage means to him;
"The ethical test of a good society is how it treats its most vulnerable members," he said, arguing that the government has an obligation to protect the environment, fight AIDS, reduce poverty and defeat terrorism."Apparently, then, it is to him the justification for government spending. And that is fair enough, as far as it goes. I would not be one to argue that governments should not provide a "safety net" for it's disadvantaged citizens.
But let's think about this a bit more; what Kerry is saying here is that religion will guide his actions as president. What he is clearly saying here is that "because it is in the bible we have to make this public policy."
What comes to mind in a nanosecond is his position on abortion. Consider his answer to a question on this subject in the second debate;
Whoa there, senator. Which is it?
GIBSON: Going to go to the final two questions now, and the first one will be for Senator Kerry. And this comes from Sarah Degenhart.
DEGENHART: Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?
KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now.
First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today.
But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.
Apparently it depends on which audience he is speaking to. Just last March, when speaking at a church in St Louis, he told is that
``The Scriptures say: `It is not enough, my brother, to say you have faith, when there are no deeds.' We look at what is happening in America today and we say: Where are the deeds?'' preached Kerry.The contradictions just keep coming.
John Kerry, that is, caught in a baldfaced lie.
I know, this in itself is not exactly news. After all, this is the guy who earlier this year informed us that he'd met lots of foreign leaders who told him that they wanted him as the next U.S. president. Reporters did some legwork and quickly discovered that he could not possibly have met with these leaders because travel records showed that they were never in the same place.
On with Kerry's latest whopper. During the second debate, he again described a meeting with members of the U.N. Security Council;
I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable.Not only that, but he sat with "the entire Security Council", as he said in a December 3, 2003 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations
So I sat with the French and British, Germans, with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein.Investigative reporter Joel Mowbray checked this claim, and discovered it to be false. As he reports in today's Washington Times:
U.N. ambassadors from several nations are disputing assertions by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry that he met for hours with all members of the U.N. Security Council just a week before voting in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq.
An investigation by The Washington Times reveals that while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period to at least a few members of the panel, no such meeting, as described by Mr. Kerry on a number of occasions over the past year, ever occurred.
There you go, folks, another whopper.
And on a Less Serious Note
Oh well. The actual one was just as good.
October 21, 2004
More Media Bias
Today we have this revealing conversation between CNN's Howard Kurtz and Newsweek's Evan Thomas, first sent to me courtesy of a friend in NJ.
No "maybe" about it, folks. And as I wrote yesterday on my other blog site, "yes there is a liberal media, Virginia." Sorry, but Fox News, the WSJ, NY Post, and Washington Times are still a drop in the bucket. We're making a lot of progress, yes. The situation is nowhere near as bad as it was even 10 years ago, and we as conservatives need to recognize this. Yet as the above conversation makes clear, Republicans in general and conservatives in particular do have the vast majority of the media against us. It makes winning all that more difficult, though hardly impossible.
CNN's HOWARD KURTZ: "It is a tight race. Do you believe that most reporters want John Kerry to win?"
NEWSWEEK'S EVAN THOMAS: "Yeah, absolutely."
KURTZ: "Do you think they're deliberately tilting their coverage to help John Kerry and John Edwards?"
THOMAS: "Not really."
KURTZ:"Subconsciously tilting their coverage?"
KURTZ:"Including at Newsweek?"
KURTZ:"You've said on the program 'Inside Washington' that because of the portrayal of Kerry and Edwards as young and optimistic, that's worth maybe 15 points. That would suggest."
THOMAS:"Stupid thing to say. It was completely wrong. I do think that the mainstream press, I'm not talking about the blogs and Rush and all that, but the mainstream press favors Kerry. I don't thin k it's worth 15 points. That was just a stupid thing to say."
KURTZ:"Is it worth five?"
(CNN's Reliable Sources, October 17, 2004)
October 20, 2004
The New Fifth Column
Late in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the Nationalist General Mola was advancing on Madrid with four columns of soldiers. During a radio address he was asked which one would take the city, which was held by Republican forces. He replied that a "fifth column" of hidden supporters within the city would undermine the government from within.
We are today faced with a new Fifth Column in the War on Terror. One that is working to undermine us from within.
From the BBC's website we learn of a new documentary to be broadcast tonight
The Power of Nightmares"Baby It's Cold Outside" is the first of a three part series.
Wed 20 Oct, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins
Baby It's Cold Outside In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams weren't true, neither are these nightmares.
This series shows dramatically how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media.
Lest anyone be in doubt as to the Curtis' point of view, the review in the Guardian tells us that
During the three years in which the "war on terror" has been waged, high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare. The sheer number of incidents and warnings connected or attributed to the war has left little room, it seems, for heretical thoughts. In this context, the central theme of The Power of Nightmares is riskily counter-intuitive and provocative. Much of the currently perceived threat from international terrorism, the series argues, "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media." The series' explanation for this is even bolder: "In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power."In other words, the entire war is a fraud. Not just the invasion of Iraq, mind you, but the entire concept of a War on Terror, which the writer helpfully puts in quotation marks so you'll get the point. Al Qaeda? Doesn't exist.
The Power of Nightmares seeks to overturn much of what is widely believed about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The latter, it argues, is not an organised international network. It does not have members or a leader. It does not have "sleeper cells". It does not have an overall strategy. In fact, it barely exists at all, except as an idea about cleansing a corrupt world through religious violence.One hardly knows where to begin. That every point of this inditement is wrong has been amply documented elsewhere. Where does this idea that it is all an illusion come from, then?
Even before the start of the Cold War the left never believed the Soviet Union to be a threat. Far from it. They saw the communist experiment as one of hope for the future of mankind. After returning from a visit to the Soviet Union in 1921, Lincoln Stefans famously proclaimed that "I have seen the future, and it works."
Far from a threat, the "Old Left" saw it as the saviour of mankind.
We're all familiar with the run-up to the Second World War. The British and French ignored what today seem to us as obvious signs that Hitler would settle for nothing less than European domination. The idea that Hitler was anyting more than a nuisance was dismissed by the "enlightened" crowd. Churchill? Well, he was uncouth, a loudmouth, and everyone knew that he drank too much.
When the Cold War started up in the late '40s, again we were told that we were overreacting. Far from being a threat, the Soviet military buildup was simply a response to an understandable fear of us. It was the Soviet Union, we were told, who was surrounded by unfriendly states. We threatened them, and we should learn to understand their position.
The movement received new vigor with the rise of the "New Left" (their own term) in the 1960's, and reached it's climax with the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Carter went so far as to tell us that we had an "inordinate fear of communism."
What ultimately saved the West in each of these examples was not a new military weapon, or better intelligence, or the employment of some new military tactics or strategy. It was willpower. The resolve to stand up and stare down our enemy even, or perhaps especially, in the face of opposition from within.
The key to winning the War on Terror, then, is not military (although it is crucial), nor improvement of our intelligence capabilities (though surely we must), or even a repackaging of our message (which has been neglected). The key lies in Willpower and Resolve. We must develop what I call a philosophy of "anti-nihilism." For unlike what the multi-culturalists would have us believe, our beliefs and values are better than those of the Islamic world. There is an objective truth, and it is that freedom is the best hope for mankind.
And we are indeed in a War on Terror. It is real. Al Qaeda is not a fiction of our imagination, any more than the communists in the United States were during the '30s and '40's were. As the Venona transcripts have shown, there was a serious espionage threat from the Soviet Union. We today are faced with a similar infiltration that will likely only be exposed in it's entirety many years from now. We already have enough evidence to understand the threat.
We all remember the heady days following the attacks of Sept 11. The extreme left kept out of sight. Only a few, Susan Sontag among them, dared to say anything controversial. Her wrongheaded commets made a bit of a splash, then faded from the scene. Only Norman Podhoretz forsaw that the left would rise to oppose this war with all the ferocity they could muster.
It didn't take long, however, for indications of trouble to appear. There was the manufactured "controversy" over whether we should continue our attacks in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Some who said we should stop the bombing were trying to be genuinly helpful. They feared an uprising by the "Arab Street." But others seemed to be using it as the excuse of-the-day to stop the war. Any reason would do, and this was the must convenient for the moment.
Had we hesitated we would have set a terrible precident. We would have given hope to our enemies and demonstrated weakness instead of resolve. War is, indeed, a terrible business. It is a measure of our humanity that we may wish to delay or avoid bloodletting. There are times, however, when we must carry forward.
None of this is to be construed as advocating indiscriminate killing. I am a firm believer in the Just War principles of proportionality and discrimination.
Nor am I saying that anyone who opposes the invasion of Iraq, or who has criticisms of how we are conducting the War on Terror, is a member of the Fifth Column. You can vote for Kerry and be a patriotic American. You can oppose the invasion of Iraq, although I will disagree with you. You can even wish that we involve the UN and French more, although I will really disagree with you.
What distinguishes members of the Fifth Column are their utter lack of constructive criticism, their blind "peace" mantra, those who apologize for American actions, or those who seek to tell us that it is all in our heads, that Al Qaeda doesn't really exist or is not a threat.
For additional reading, you may enjoy these books. I must warn you, however, they can be profoundly depressing at times.
Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left by David Horowitz
Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba by Paul Hollander
Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home and Abroad 1965 - 1990 by Paul Hollander
Useful Idiots: How Liberals got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First by Mona Charen
I was reading Paul Hollander's Anti-Americanism again last night and came upon this passage
The people I have in mind - who belong to this broader adversary culture - can be identified by a number of beliefs. Among them is that American intervention almost anywhere in the world is without moral justification. They also aver that the United States bears the lion's share of responsibility for the sufferings of the poor in the Third World. They include prosperous white middle-class people who voted for Jesse Jackson, thosse who would not register for the draft (or who support and encourage nonregistration). They are citizens for whom all American military expenditure is wasteful, who claim to have sleepless nightts over the prospect of nuclear war and press for making their towns "nuclear free zones"(and "sister cities" of those in the USSR and Nicaragua), people who in any conceivable conflict between the U.S. and other powers instinctively place the blame on the U.S., those among the college educated who are persuaded that Orwell's1984 captures most aptly the characteristics of contemporary America. They can also be identified by sporting bumper stickers proclaiming "US out of North America" and "This Country Was Build on the Bones of Indians." They are inclined to believe that the United States is a uniquely hypocritical and destructive society that failed to live up to it's promises. They are for the most part people of goodwill anhd frustrated idealism, persuaded that in no other country are social ideals and practices so far apart as in the United States of America. We've all met people who fit the description above. The amazing thing is that almost inevitably they have good jobs and families. They have benefited most from American society, and are kept safe through the use of American military force. Although written in 1992, with only a few slight updates those words are as appropriate today as they were then.
It is these people, then, who hate the very concept of a "War on Terror". "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is their motto. I said it above, and I'll say it again; I am not speaking of those who simply have honest disagreements over how to fight the terrorists, or those who oppose the invasion of Iraq (again, as long as they do it for honest reasons), or even those who think that we should adopt a more "law enforcement" model.
Rather, I speak of those such as Michael Moore, who make "documentaries" filled with lies and half truths, and of his followers. This even includes a past president, Jimmy Carter, who invited Mr Moore to sit with him in his box at the Democratic National Convention. The writers of the BBC documentary discussed above also appear to fit into this category. Most of those who protested outside the Republican National Convention in New York also fit into this category of a "Fifth Column".
Those of us who dare to call these people by their true name can expect vituperation in return. "McCarthyite!" will be among the more tame insults we will endure. But as I've said, the key to winning this war is not about military force, or intelligence gathering, or by broadcasting a better "message", although these things are important. The key is Willpower and Resolve in the face of trials and troubles. The words of Thomas Paine come to mind
These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the servive of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.Update II
Jamie at Conservapuppies has an excellent post on the BBC "documentary". Check it out.
After happening upon some leftist websites and blogs, I've just got to write this: Anyone who calls our country, Republicans, or George W Bush "fascist" is a member of the Fifth Column.
What Oil-for-Food Scandal?
Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, finds it "inconceivable" that Russia, France or China might have been influenced in Security Council debates by Saddam Hussein's Oil for Food business and bribes. "These are very serious and important governments," Mr. Annan told Britain's ITV News Sunday. "You are not dealing with banana republics."You just can't make this stuff up.
And Mr. Kerry wants us to get a permission slip from this organization before we use military force. Unless he's in the Senate and it's 1991. Or maybe unless he's speaking before a veterans group.
Quote from editorial by Claudia Rosett in the Opinion Journal.
Hat tip Jane at Armies of Liberation.
October 18, 2004
"The War was a Good Cause"
In the face of almost daily bombings and attacks on our troops in Iraq, how are they holding up? Is their morale still strong? This article in today's Washington Times lays our fears to rest
Recent interviews with Sgt. Doughty (who lost both legs to an IED) and other troops rebutted talk in some quarters of troops' growing disillusionment with the U.S. mission in Iraq. The interviews included a Marine corporal also being treated for wounds at Walter Reed and men in a National Guard unit in northern Iraq that faced renewed attacks from insurgents in recent days.Read the whole thing.
Although Sgt. Doughty didn't aim to become a Green Beret, he quips that he was getting to be one through "on-the-job training" after his reassignment to an intelligence slot in the 5th Special Forces Group. He previously was trained in tactical intelligence and as a medic.
His unit had two missions: searching for those on the "black list," the higher-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's toppled regime, and training new Iraqi security forces.
For security reasons, he declines to specify where his unit was when it was ambushed in the Sunni triangle, which stretches from Ramadi in the west to Baghdad in the east and Tikrit in the north.
To himself and his fellow wounded, Sgt. Doughty says, "The war was a good cause."
"What Went Wrong?"
I must admit that I drew in my breath when I saw the cover of the latest National Review last week. There is a haunting picture of an Iraqi woman looking out of a window on the cover, and she has a fearful look on her face.
"What Went Wrong?" was on the cover
I hurredly looked at the table of contents and saw what I'd expected
The story of the Iraq post-war is, in part, a tale of gross intelligence failures, debilitating intramural battles, miscommunications, unintended consequences, and counterproductive half-measures. Some of these missteps were the result of the inevitable uncertainties and surproises of warfare, others of incompetence, and many of something in between.I guess I'd expected this for some time. I've read Arthur Chrenkoff's "Good News from Iraq" series, and it is a necessary counterweight to the steady drizzle of bad news that we get from so much of the national media. But the daily bombings take their toll on even the staunchest of invasion supporters.
The article is recommended reading for all of you. Of course I'm sure you're already subscribers, so you're ahead of me. If not, run out to a bookstore or news stand and purchase a copy. And for heaven's sake subscribe. You can do so on-line here.
If Bush-haters are expecting vindication from Lowry's article, however, they will be sorely disappointed. He dismisses their arguments up front
By now, anyone who can't recite the standard critique of what has gone wrong in the Iraq war just hasn't been paying attention.
It goes something like this: There was no post-war planning. What little planning took place was spearheaded by the State Department, and then maliciously ignored by the ideologues at the Pentagon, who didn't want to hear a discouraging word about managing a liberated Iraq. Consumed by Rumsfeld's fixation on light forces, the Pentagon skimped on troop levels and ignored the advice of its commanders. Anyone who said anything inconvenient about the war was systematically punished. In this narrative, "Pentagon civilian" becomes a dirty phrase.
Almost every particular of this indictment is wrong.For example, Kerry and Edwards regularly claim that there was no planning for the aftermath of the war. This is so wrong as to border on an outright lie. As Lowry makes clear, the planning was quite extensive. They went through scenario after scenario, each of them a potential horror story. The "problem", is that almost none of them took place. There was no humanitarian crisis. There was no "Battle of Baghdad", or humanitarian crisis.
Indeed, virtually none of the horrors that the left warned us about took place. And, most maddenly of all, they never seem to be held accountable for it by the media (even Fox News misses this one). Remember how we were told that there would be a gigantic "Battle of Baghdad" that would surely tie down our forces for weeks of not months? That we would have to take the capital street-by-street? That were would be a humantarian crisis of gargantuan proportions? Or that Saddam's chemical or biological weapons would lay waste to the countryside (this last from a "peace" group)?
"What Went Wrong?" is the type of analysis that perhaps can only be written by someone with impeccable conservative credentials, and published in William F Buckley's trademark journal. Were it written by the likes of Seymore Hersh, we could dismiss it as the rantings of a Bush-hater who, as often as not, doesn't get his facts straight.
Lowry remains a supporter of our operations in Iraq, as do his sources. But he makes clear that we need to face some hard realities, too.
This type of article is long overdue. Let's face it: none of us who supported the invasion of Iraq thought that it would be this difficult. Who among us really expected the insurgency to go on for so long? Who expected that, almost a full year after the invasion, we would not be able to even enter several Iraqi cities with anything less than a batallion of troops, complete with air cover?
One of the biggest criticisms of the administration is that we do not have enough troops in Iraq. Both left and right say this. But Lowry points out that invading with a larger force, or even adding more troops later, would have created additional problems, too. And it is not at all clear that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks. More troops would have A) Slowed down the initial invasion (costing more lives, giving Saddam a chance to torch the oilfields, and perhaps destabilizing the entire region), and B) Added to our problems now by creating more resentment among those in Iraq who see us as "occupiers."
One of his themes is that for every action you take, having done the opposite may have resulted a worse outcome. "Every strategic choice has it's benefits and drawbacks", Lowry points out. One wishes that war critics would at least acknowledge this point.
I am not going to go through the entire article, as I want you to do that yourself.
Would Kerry or the Democrats do any better? Given the nature of their critique, Lowry hardly thinks so:
Bush's critics, meanwhile, have had the luxury of irresponsibility that comes with being out of office, and have taken full advantage of it. They have indulged paranoid fantasies about the administration's "neocons," failed to offer constructive criticism, waged demagogic attacks based on Halliburton and all manner of other nonsense, fudged their answer to the all-important question of whether they would have invaded, and pounced on every hint of realistic analysis out of the administration (e.g., Rumsfeld's recent obvious statement that the Iraqi elections might not be perfect). Nothing in their performance during the Iraq episode marks them as deserving of power.Will Iraq succeed? Yes, if Bush is returned to power we stand a chance. The indications are that he is very unhappy with the situation there and that changes are in the works.
We can make Iraq succeed, and win this war.
October 15, 2004
The Mary Cheney flap
As everyone who is not living in a cave knows by now, during the last debate John Kerry said the following
We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.The question, it will be recalled, was "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice? If Kerry had to mention anyone to make his point, of all the gays in America, why did he have to choose Mary Cheney?
The Cheney's are furious. Yesterday, the Vice-President had this to say
Vice President Dick Cheney, a self-described "angry father," yesterday denounced Sen. John Kerry for bringing up his homosexual daughter during a debate with President Bush, calling the Democratic candidate "a man who will do and say anything to get elected."Lynn Cheney also has had some choice words to say about the incident, as quoted in my take on the last debate (which I know you read!).
"I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father," the vice president told supporters at a rally in Fort Myers, Fla.
John Kerry seems to have realized that he made a mistake and has gone into damage-control mode
I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this issueBut this will be too little to late. The damage has been done.
Why did He Say It?
One possibility is that Kerry was trying to convince Christian Conservatives not to vote for Bush/Cheney. The idea is "once they know that Cheney's got a gay daughter, they will stay home." In other words, Christian Conservatives are such bigots that they would not vote for someone who has a gay family member.
Another possiblity is that Kerry was pandering to the "gay vote." He is, after all, in a difficult bind. Minority voters are overwhelmingly against gay marriage, and they make up a substantial Democratic party voting bloc. So Kerry can't offend them. But he wanted to go after gay voters, perhaps even siphon some off from the GOP, and saw this as a way to do it.
It seems like it was a planned comment, so it is hard to believe that Kerry said it by accident, making it hard to dismiss as a "gaffe."
So What of It?
This incident reveals a fundamental difference of how the left and right view sexuality in modern America. Gay groups saw Kerry's comment as "entirely appropriate," and Democrats have generally defended their candiatate.
Most Republicans simply want the issue of "gay marriage", and that of homosexuality in general, to go away. "Fine if you are gay, but I don't want to hear about it" has become the response of many Americans. The Cheney's are not "ashamed" of their daugher, as liberals would have us believe. She is, for heaven's sake, heavily involved in their campaign, albeit behind the scenes. What they do object to is her being used to score political points. You do not use the opposing candidate's child period.
To Democrats in general, and hard-core liberals in particular, this will not do. "The private is the public" is their motto. Witness the comments of John Edwards wife Elizabeth
"She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs. ... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response," Mrs. Edwards told ABC News Radio.Or consider the comments of a "senior Kerry aide" as quoted by Andrew Stuttaford on NRO The Corner
The woman is in her thirties. She's public about her sexuality. It was brought up in the last debate. So, what the hell?A letter "email of the day"(so he apparently approves) on Andrew Sullivan's web page sums it up well:
The only difference is that Bush & Cheney's base is anti-gay. That's why Mary Cheney's off-limits, not privacy or anything else. If their base were pro-gay, she would have had a prime-time convention speaking slot. But because they're homophobes, Kerry is supposed to shut up and act accordingly.Read Sullivan's page and it becomes clear that he considers anyone who disagrees with him over any gay-related issue to be a "homophobe" plain and simple. This is why I stopped reading him many months ago. I went back this morning to get his - utterly predicatable - reaction to the Mary Cheney flap.
How will this play out?
If Kerry hoped to alienate Conservative Christians from the GOP he is sadly mistaken, as this will not happen. If anything, they will be more inclined to vote against him because of his obvious attempt to pander to gay voters.
Many middle-of-the road families, otherwise sympathetic to gays and perhaps even to gay marriage, will see it as an affront to the privacy of the family.
It will not gain him many votes among gay voters, as they will probably vote for him anyway.
State by State Breakdown
This is a great site to go for to get a state-by-state breakdown of how the electoral college is shaping up this year. The latest breakdown:
Bush: 291 Electoral Votes (164 likely, 127 uncertain)
Kerry: 247 Electoral Votes (133 likely, 114 uncertain)
270 are needed to win.
October 14, 2004
If Matt Drudge has this right, it is a bombshell
KERRY/EDWARDS ELECTION DIRECTIVE: CHARGE VOTER INTIMIDATION, EVEN IF NONE EXISTS
The Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee are advising election operatives to declare voter intimidation -- even if none exists, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.
A 66-page mobilization plan to be issued by the Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee states: "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike.'"
Hat tip lgf.
The DNC responds to Drudge
Jim Geraghty at National Review explains the situation.
Update II 10-15-04 9am
I've had a chance to read the Democrat's response a bit more thoroughly. Jim Geraghty is right, the line about launching a "pre-emptive" strike is still in there
2. If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a "pre-emptive strike" (particularly well-suited to states in which there techniques have been tried in the past).It's not quite clear as to whethere this "pre-emptive strike" means that Democrats will "declare voter intimidation - even if none exists" as Drudge says, or if they will simply threaten Republicans "not to try anything."
Either way, it's an amazing document, and I encourage you to read the whole thing.
On the one hand, no doubt that Republicans are not perfect beings and occasionally some will do things that ought not be done. But if you read the Democratic response you get the impression that it was written in 1955, or 1963.
Further, the Democrats know that the Republicans are going to be watching ever more carefully for election fraud this time round. Thus, to them "voter intimidation" even incudes such things as
• Giving warnings about election offenses, i.e., that voting when ineligible to do so, or voting at the wrong place, or providing false information to election officials, etc. is a crime
1. Signs, posters, phone calls, and/or sound trucks giving "information" or warnings about voter requirements or eligibility and/or warning that voting when ineligible to do so is an offense, etc.
2. Concentration of numbers of Republican poll watchers or challengers in minority precincts
3. Republican poll watchers challenging every voter in minority precincts on some pretext
4. GOP poll watchers, local law enforcement officers, or persons with official looking badges or insignia stationed at polling places taking pictures, asking for names, or engaging in other types of intimidating conduct.
Funny, I didn't know that enforcing election law was "intimidation".
It seems clear that unless Bush wins decisively, we are faced with a round of lawsuits that wil make 2000 seem tame by camparison.
The Third Debate
My analysis can be found here.
Undue Outside Influence
The leftist British newspaper The Guardian is their readers to influence our elections
The result of the US election will affect the lives of millions around the world but those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it - until now. In a unique experiment, G2 has assembled a democratic toolkit to enable people from Basildon to Botswana to campaign in the presidential race. And with a little help from the folks in Clark County, Ohio, you might help decide who takes up residence in the White House next month. Oliver Burkeman explains howand later
The article goes on to tell readers just how they should formulate their letters.
Write to a voterThe most powerful transatlantic connection is a personal one, so we have designed a system to match individual Guardian readers with individual voters in Clark County, in the crucial swing state of Ohio. To join in, visit www.guardian.co.uk/clarkcounty and enter your email address. You'll receive, by email, the name and postal address of a Clark County voter.
Another hat tip to lgf.
There's also an article in today's Washington Times although I can't find the link just now.
October 13, 2004
The Harmful UN
I used to describe the United Nations as "Useless", as in "The Useless UN". Although the titles rhymed and sounded nice, a more apt description is of that organization is harmful. This story in yesterday's paper sent me over the edge
U.S. officials are accusing the U.N. refugee agency of a "whitewash" for failing to act against three employees accused of failing to prevent the sexual exploitation of Bhutanese women and children in Nepal two years ago.And John Kerry wants us to put more trust in this organization. From the first debate Kerry lectured us that
Representatives of several other countries including Canada, Norway and Australia joined in criticizing the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees for failing to act against the three supervisors despite a recommendation of disciplinary action from the agency's inspector general.
You don't help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance, or when you refuse to deal at length with the United Nations.Would this be that same organization that is credibly accused of whitewashing the abuse of Bhutanese women and children? Or maybe the one that refuses to deal with the horrors unfolding in Sudan?
We will recall some years ago the knashing of teeth over the failure of the failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda, where some 800,000 Tutsi's were slaughtered. "Never again", we said, would we let such a tragedy occur. While the numbers killed in Sudan are not those of Rwanda, the situation is only different in scale, not in kind. Nobel Peace Prise laurete and UN Secretary General Kofi Annon told us that The silence that had greeted genocides in the past must be replaced by a global clamour" President Clinton said that "The international community must bear its share of responsibility for this tragedy,"
Where is the clamor over the massacres in the Sudan? Is the "international community", of which Senator Kerry makes so much, living up to their responsibilities this time round?
Since early 2003, some 50,000 Sudanese have been killed, and another 1.5 million turned into refugees, according to a Fox News Series on the crisis. Secretary of State Powell has labeled the situation "genocide". The Janjaweed, a shadowy militia, has committed most of the atrocities. Although the government claims that it is an independant army that it cannot control, most observers think otherwise. Even Kofi Annon has admitted that the government of the Sudan is doing nothing to alleviate the crisis.
So how has the UN responded?
The Security Council has passed a resolution "to consider" sanctions if the government there does not act to end the killing. China and Pakistan, who have long opposed any action at all against Sudan, abstained from even that vote. Even the threat of sanctions was too much for them. China, you see, has major oil interests in the country.
There are some peacekeepers from the African Union around Darfor, but they don't appear to be doing much. And given the nature of most African governments, we shouldn't expect much from them.
The Bottom Line
This is how the UN is not merely "useless", but is positively harmful: By working through this organization, we ignore other, possibly more productive methods. We are wasting time while thousands die. We dither about, negotiating with dictators who really see nothing wrong with what's happening in Sudan. Just as many in the world who opposed our invasion of Iraq were different from Saddam in degree, not in kind, China, and to a lesser extent Pakistan, are not exactly concerned about human rights, except where the Palestinians are concerned.
As I have said before, we need to explore alternate organizations of "like minded" nations if we are ever to effectively deal with situations like the Sudan or Rwanda. This is something that I am going to study over the next few months, and if any readers have suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. I am not suggesting that we become a "global policeman", but something other than the UN is needed.
So once again the world dithers while thousands die. The next time you hear someone talk about how we need to work with "international institutions" or the "international community", ask them what it's doing about Sudan.
Adopt - a - Platoon
Please consider signing up for the Adopt - a - Platoon program.
The AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Support Effort (AAP) is a nonprofit 501C-3 organization managed by volunteer mothers. Our mission is to ensure that no U.S. deployed soldier is forgotten, rally the nation behind our troops and teach patriotism. To learn how the AAP was founded and more information about what the AAP is all about, please read,Moms across America. The AAP links moms, grandmothers, families, pen-pals, private companies, corporations, civic groups and other organizations such as American Legions, VFW's, schools, synagogues, churches, scouts, and 4-H Clubs to the troops serving overseas, in the spirit of American patriotism.The types of support you can sign up for range from individual soldier "pen pal" letter writing, to adoption of an entire platoon, to one-time gifts. I signed up for this a few months ago, but for security reasons cannot divulge details.
October 12, 2004
Two Rallies local to Washington DC
When: Saturday October 16 12-3pm
Where: Lawyers Mall (he grassy area in front of the State House Steps in Annapolis). You can park at the Naval Acadamy Stadium for $5.00 and take a trolley to Lawyer's Mall or Park at the Maryland Hall for Creative Arts for Free and March to Lawyers Mall approx. 1.8 mile walk!.
Sponsors: Women in Support of the President (W.I.S.P)
Woodbridge / Dale City
When: Sunday, October 17 1 pm
Where: VFW Post 1503
The Dale City Rally organizers were good enought to send me their flyer
Never Forget - Protecting the Homeland A Rally in Support of President Bush (Endorsed by the Prince William County Republican Committee)
October 17, 1:00 PM
VFW Post 1503
14631 Minnieville Road
Dale City, VA
A Picnic Event for the whole family
Veterans & Non Veteran Supporters of President Bush
Hot Dogs, chips & soft drinks furnished
Balloons & cookies for the kids
Free Bumper Stickers & Yard Signs
BUSH/CHENEY SIGN BLITZ AFTER THE EVENT
RSVP, please, to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Speakers TBD
(more info coming, we're still planning)
October 11, 2004
Those Nutty Nobels
A few days ago we learned that, Wangari Maathai, a black African woman, had won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004. She was the first on her continent to have done so, and it seemed like a nice story. No doubt that Africa could use more peacemakers.
Then yesterday we have this gem in the paper:
NAIROBI — Wangari Maathai made a typically combative start to her first full day as a Nobel laureate yesterday, defending a recent suggestion that HIV might have been made in a laboratory as a plot against Africans.You'd think that they'd be careful not to nominate someone without such nutty views. But then, you don't know the Norwegian Nobel Committee. At least her comments caused an outrage in Kenya.
The outspoken Kenyan environmentalist became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for aiding the poor with a campaign to plant trees and slow deforestation.
Miss Maathai, rarely reluctant to challenge the status quo or confront the powerful, said her comments in August were intended to promote an inquiring attitude into AIDS among Africans and combat the fatalistic notion that it was a curse from God.
Miss Maathai caused a furor in Kenya when she was quoted in Kenya's East African Standard daily as calling AIDS a biological weapon devised to destroy black people.
Yes, yes, I know, she did good things too, as is outlined in this Washington Post story. And she deserves accolades for it, too. But really, of all the people on the planet, and all that's happened this past year, is she really the most deserving?
I agree with Austin Bay that the prize should have gone to the coalition forces that liberated Iraq. Now that's real peacemaking. As he points out,
Pacifists didn't liberate Nazi concentration camps, American GIs and British Tommies did. This past year, U.S. Central Command and crack line units like the Army's 3rd Infantry Division did far more to promote and secure real peace and justice on this broken and brutalized planet Earth than decades of posturing peace marches and thousands of toothless U.N. declarations deploring dictators and genocide.Oh but they couldn't do that. No, rather give it to Jimmy Carter, as they did in 2002, which was an intentional criticism of policies of George W Bush. Jay Nordlinger has a good piece on Carter here.
In the raw mathematics called body count, dropping Saddam's fascist death machine saved 50,000 to 60,000 Iraqi lives — the innocents his henchmen would have slain during 2003 while the United Nations fiddled and France burned with anti-American ressentiment.
Many, of not most of their awards, are to good and decent people and organizations who justly deserve their prize.
In 2001 the prize went to Kofi Annan and the United Nations. 'Nuf said? Read what Michael Ledeen says about it.
In 1994, Yassir Arafat, an outright terrorist, was the laureate (sharing it with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Perez)
In 1992, Rigoberta Menchu' Tum won. While she may have fought for Indian and peasant rights in Guatamala(but even this is disputed), she is also notable for having written an memoir that has been shown to be mostly fiction. More here.
Let's not forget 1990, when communist Mikhail Gorbachev won, who, according to the Nobel Committee, "helped to bring the cold war to an end." You won't find Ronald Reagan listed among Nobel laureates, of course
In 1995, a Boston-based organization called International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War took the prize. You don't have to spend much time on their website to learn how lefty a group they are.
Of course how can we forget 1973, when Henry Kissinger shared the prize with the comminist foreign minister of North Vietnam, Le Duc Tho (who declined the prize).
Going back a bit further, the American Friends Service Committee (the "Quakers")was jointly awarded the prize with their British counterpart, The Friends Service Council, in 1947. During the Cold War the Quakers opposed U.S. policy at every turn. See Paul Hollander's excellent book Political Pilgrims for documentation of their long history of sympathy towards communist regimes.
Such a shame, for the results of these nominations is that the prize is not taken seriously by a good many people, including me.
October 9, 2004
The Second Presidential Debate
You can find my take on last night's debate at Warm 'n Fuzzy Conserva-Puppies. Look for a lively discussion in the comments section.
October 8, 2004
The Siren Song of "Internationalization"
John Kerry says ad nauseum that he wants to "internationalize" the occupation in Iraq. He says that we should "go to the UN" and attempt to garner support from the "international community."
He says that he would have (or might have, it depends on the day) supported the war if only the president had built up the proper international support.
The problem, you see, is that John Kerry is not exactly consistent in his support of "internationalization.
He voted against the first Gulf War. The vote in the Senate took place after we had lined up the support of the "world community." This would include France. And Germany. And most of the Arab states. And...but you get the point.
And as far as "internationalization" goes, need we remind the Senator that virtually none of President Clinton's military actions had UN approval?
Haiti was a "unilateral" action by the US.
In Bosnia we intervened under the aegis of "NATO". But nowhere in NATO's charter does it give itself the right to use military force in a third country. It is a defensive alliance, the operative phrase in it's charter being in Article 5
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence....None of the former Yugoslav republics presented any threat to the United States or to any part of Europe. Comparisons to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand are specious. Now, I think that our involvement in Bosnia was a good thing, if a bit belated. But an argument can be made that it was "illegal".
Rather's Records Problem
That Dan Rather and CBS did not adequately investigate their "unimpeachable" documents before broadcasting their recent story on Bush's National Guard service is not news to those who have followed his career. The latest print edition of National Review features an article by Kate O'Beirne on the career of B. G Burkett. Burkett (not to be confused with Bill Burkett of the Rathergate scandal) has made a career out of investigating Vietnam combat service claims, and of debunking negative stereotypes of Vietnam veterans. He started his work in the mid-1980's and in 1998 wrote "Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of its Hereos and It's History".
One of the things that Burkett discovered during the course of his work is that the mainstream media has virtually no interest in the truth when it comes to Vietnam veterans. One of the most shocking episodes concerns Dan Rather himself:
One of Burkett's most shocking accounts of the mdeia bias responsible for the distorted image of Vietnam veterans involves a 1988 CBS documentary, The Wall Within, hosted by Dan Rather. The hour-long special featured horrific accounts of murder and mayhem witnessed by six purported Vietnam veterans with post-war histories of drug abuse, alcoholism, homelessness, and despair. the atrocities and ruined lives were apparently "too good to check": By consulting records that CBS failed to research, Burkett found that only one of the veterans had actually served in combat. Burkett contacted CBS with his documentation and the Veterans Administration shared it's data refuting CBS's assertians about the high incidence of homelessness and mental illness among Vietnam veterans. The producers defiantly stood by their bogus story and the president of CBS defended the broadcast. After recounting the sorry episode of journalistic malpractice, Burkett wrote: "Why won't Rather and CBS admit their 'documentary' was a fraud, that it perpetuated an unwarranted, false picture of men who fought in Vietnam?"(The entire article is only available in the print edition to National Review or online to digital subscribers)
Another National Review article on this sorry episode that you can see in it's entirety without a subscription (which you really should have) can be found here.
And They Just Never Learn
Ok, so you'd think that by now CBS would have learned their lesson. But no, almost immediately after trying to peddle the bogus documents story about our president, they tried to perpetuate the myth that the Bush Administration has a secret plan to institute the draft. Now this story is on the same level as the Nieman Marcus cookie recipie hoax, but that didn't prevent the media mavens at CBS from falling for it. As the New York Post reported on September 30; Dan Rather (and CBS News) got snookered by political malcontents with an ax to grind. Again. Consider: Both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry say they adamantly oppose reinstitution of the military draft, which was ended in 1973. The Pentagon also says it is vehemently opposed to giving up the all-volunteer army. But that didn't stop "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" and reporter Richard Schlesinger from airing a story Tuesday about a Pennsylvania woman's fears that her sons will be drafted.
There he goes again
Dan Rather (and CBS News) got snookered by political malcontents with an ax to grind.
Consider: Both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry say they adamantly oppose reinstitution of the military draft, which was ended in 1973. The Pentagon also says it is vehemently opposed to giving up the all-volunteer army.
But that didn't stop "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" and reporter Richard Schlesinger from airing a story Tuesday about a Pennsylvania woman's fears that her sons will be drafted.
At the center of Schlesinger’s piece was a woman named Beverly Cocco, a Philadelphia woman who is 'sick to my stomach' that her two sons might be drafted. In his report, Schlesinger claimed that Cocco was a Republican and portrayed her as an apolitical (even Republican) mom worried about the future. Schlesinger did not disclose that Cocco is a chapter president of an advocacy group called People Against the Draft (PAD) which, in addition to opposing any federal conscription, seeks to establish a 'peaceful, rational foreign policy' by bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq.Sort of like Rather's "unimpeachable" source for the bogus documents. That Bill Burkett was a long-time Bush hater didn't make them suspicious at all.
Michelle Malkin has more details here.
October 7, 2004
Roosevelt Lied, People Died!
October 7, 1946
United States Senate
"Fellow members of the Senate, I have the duty to report to you that Franklin Delano Roosevelt lied to us about his reasons for initiating the Manhattan Project. Yes, the project that developed the atomic bomb was all based on a lie.
Millions of dollars were wasted on this hugely expensive program. Money that could have been spent here at home on health care, job programs, and education. Instead, it was spent on producing two tiny devices that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of good Japanese citizens.
We were told by the president that Nazi Germany was developing this new type of weapon. He assured us that the evidence was infallible. All throughout the war, he assured us that this secret project of his was necessary because he and his advisors were "certain" that Hitler was developing an atomic device, a device that he would use against us unless we acted quickly.
It now turns out that most of the "evidence" he used to justify this wasteful and harmful project was based on a few letters sent by a scientist to Roosevelt!
Look at the headlines. We are now the laughingstock of the world. An article in the eminent New York Times tells the story:
GERMANS DECLARED FAR BEHIND ON BOMBTruman was part of the Roosevelt administration, so he cannot deny responsibility for the Manhattan Project. How can we regain the respect of the rest of the world when our own president has no credibility?
The New York Times, 1945
New York Times; Dec 7, 1945; pg. 4
Operation Alsos has reported to us that Nazi Germany in fact did not have a credible atomic weapon program. They were nowhere near completion of an atomic device. In fact, we know now that Hitler was never even serious about developing such a weapon. His program was underfunded. They had no reactor. No quantities of fissile material. Not even a blueprint for a bomb.
And so we are now in a situation where Harry Truman demands more and more money to fix the problems that he helped to cause. Can anyone doubt that occupied Germany, for example, is nothing but chaos? The evidence is printed for us day after day in our newspapers! The German people hate us. We have botched the occupation. . There is much doubt as to whether Germany can develop into a democracy.
This administration has also failed to adequately consult our allies. I trust that you have all seen the New York Times article telling of Russian success in their sector? About the revival of industry, agriculture, and education under their wise tutelage? But, sadly, our president is too arrogant to hold the summit meeting necessary for a frank exchange of ideas.
Despite all this, they have not announced any plan for the reconstruction of Europe. Secretary of State Marshall has hinted at something that he is developing, but he has presented us with no plan.
Fellow Senators, there is only one conclusion: Roosevelt lied, and people died!"
Kerry's Grand Alliance
Senator Kerry tells us that he would assemble a grand alliance before he undertook any military action. During the debate with President Bush, he lectured us thus:
I think we need a president who has the credibility to bring the allies back to the table and to do what's necessary to make it so America isn't doing this alone.My first thought is that Kerry is living in the past, that he harbors romantic dreams of World War II, with "the allies" all linking arms to defeat the Nazis and Imperial Japanese. But that doesn't work because the world balance of power has changed significantly since then. Today, the United States is much more powerful relative to other nations than back then. This is true to such an extent that the French have (correctly for once) taken to callings us a "hyperpower"(although they use the term as an insult). I haven't the time to lay out the relative military balance then and now, but this is not necessary as most readers will understand my point.
Perhaps Kerry is thinking of the Cold War. Here there was a good, strong, alliance of western nations against the Soviet threat. Kerry evidently imagines that since it worked then, it will work again agaist the Islamofascist threat.
But he is mistaken, here, too.
First, we had a single, mostly monolithic, enemy during the Cold War. It was a "traditional" enemy in that it was a government that employed a traditional military. It was a large, visible, threat, right at our doorsteps. Having just gone through one totalitarian nightmare, the Europeans had no desire for another. Further, since the enemy was right "next door", there were none of the political complications that arise when one must transport troops to another part of the world.
More importantly, the nations that he is evidently counting on to join us had no interest in Saddam's overthrow, and had everything to gain by keeping him in power. New reports (and here) on the Oil for Food scandal show that Saddam was at least trying to purchase influence in Europe, especially in France. The French also knew that if there was a war they would never get the lucrative contracts that they hoped to get. And we now know that French companies were supplying Saddam with weaponry in the months just prior to our invasion.
Further, they have nothing to gain with a new, democratic Iraq. Saddam was reliable, and they knew they could do business with them. Democracies will change their policies as elected leaders come and go. They know that if, heaven forbid, the terrorists do win, they won't come after them, for it will be the US and UK in their crosshairs. The countries of "old Europe" will seek an accomocation that keeps them off the hit list.
Also, for a man who talks incessantly about his military experience, Kerry seems to understand little of military affairs. The simple fact is that few of the other countries that might (in Kerry's dream world) help us have militaries of any significant size.
For more information, check out this excellent post at Right Reason, a new blog I've added to the blogroll. Apollo Morgan writes about the relative strength of the United States military to that of our potential allies. Also see his post here about military spending.
October 6, 2004
The Vice Presidential Debate
My complete analysis of the Vice Presidential debate can be found on my other blog site here.
October 4, 2004
Reality Test vs Global Test
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran on Sunday rebuffed a proposal by U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) who has suggested supplying the Islamic state with nuclear fuel for power reactors if Tehran agrees to give up its own fuel-making capability.The senator, it will be recalled, had said in the debate with President Bush that he would supply nuclear fuel to Iran. This as in incentive for good behavior, if you're scratching your heard.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said it would be "irrational" for Iran to put its nuclear program in jeopardy by relying on supplies from abroad.
"We have the technology (to make nuclear fuel) and there is no need for us to beg from others," Asefi told a weekly news conference.
With respect to Iran, the British, French, and Germans were the ones who initiated an effort without the United States, regrettably, to begin to try to move to curb the nuclear possibilities in Iran. I believe we could have done better.
I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together.
Giving nuclear anything to the mad mullahs is somewhat akin to giving matches to a pyromaniac.
You would think that if someone makes such a proposal, most of all someone running for president of the United States, he would think to subject it to a reality test (as distinguished from the "global test" that he thinks so important).
But of course the good senator didn't have to make sense during the debate. He only needed to sound good to impress the liberal media and, evidently, some of the undecided voters. Style over substance. As long as no one really pays attention to what he is actually saying, he can seem presidential.
We Poles Beg to Differ, Mr Senator
According to John Kerry, comments by him and members of his staff, in particular one Joe Lockhart, are not at all insulting to our allies in Iraq
The president says that I'm denigrating these troops. I have nothing but respect for the British, Tony Blair, and for what they've been willing to do.Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski begs to differ
But you can't tell me that when the most troops any other country has on the ground is Great Britain, with 8,300, and below that the four others are below 4,000, and below that, there isn't anybody out of the hundreds, that we have a genuine coalition to get this job done.
"It's sad that a Senator with twenty years of experience does not appreciate Polish sacrifice... I don't think it's a question of ignorance. One thing has to be said very clearly: this Coalition is not just the United States, Great Britain and Australia, but there's also contribution of Polish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Spanish soldiers who died in Iraq. It's immoral to not see this involvement we undertook because we believe that we have to fight terrorism together, that we need to show international solidarity, that Saddam Hussein is a danger to the world.Senator Kerry, please take note.
"From such a perspective, you can say we are disappointed that our stance and the sacrifice of our soldiers is so marginalised. I blame it on electioneering - and a message, indirectly expressed by Senator Kerry - that he thinks more of a coalition that would put the United States together with France and Germany, that is those who in the matter of Iraq said 'no'.
"President Bush is behaving like a true Texan gentleman - he's fighting for the recognition of other countries' contribution in the Coalition."
Above story is from Arthur Chrenkoff, who also translated the story from the Polish, so please visit his blog too.
According to critics of our operations in Iraq, the country is spinning out of control. The insurgency is growing, we are unable to suppress it, and civil war is on the horizon. But just how widespread is the insurgency? Wretchard, author of the Belmont Club blog, writes that
A New York Times article quoting a private security group's data shows that 41% of all terror attacks in Iraq take place in 0.17% of the country -- a thousand attacks concentrated in 734 square kilometers of Baghdad -- attacks which have almost no military value -- only a propaganda one. It is imperative from the terrorist point of view that their depredations take place, not in the unwitnessed wastes of the Western desert, but before a global audience.And this goes to the heart of the matter, doesn't it? The insurgents, or terrorists, or whatever we'll call them, surely cannot win on the battlefield. And they know this. They seem to have given up traditional infantry attacks on U.S. forces for the roadside bomb and mortar attack.
The futility of a headlong attack on a U.S. unit of any size was seen during the initial invasion and in it's immediate aftermath, when black-pajama clad Saddam fadayeen were killed by the thousands and little loss to us. Quickly recognizing that we could not be driven from their country by such attacks, they switched tactics to outright terrorism.
In short, they hope to wear us down in hopes that we will grow weary and withdraw our troops. Again we see that battlefield success is not the only road to victory. Recall the 1975 conversation in Hanoi between the American and Vietnamese colonels recounted in an earlier post:
"You know you never defeated us on the battlefield," said the American colonel.The country that now occupies Saigon, er, Ho Chi Minh City, won that war.
The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. "That may be so," he replied, "but it is also irrelevant."
Back to Wretchard's post. The insurgents, as primitive and backward as their religious fanaticism seems to us, have learned how to play to the westerm media. They read the papers and view the newscasts. They see who is running for office here in the United States. They see that one candidate will stay the course, and that even though his policies may at times be flawed, with him in office they cannot win. With the other a withdrawal of troops before the job is finished is possible, even probable.
The insurgents therefore stage their attacks where they can achieve maximim political value. Because so many of the attacks appear under their noses, much of the western media uncritically assumes that the insurgency is widespread throughout Iraq. It is but a short step from that assumption to the conclusion that we are losing.
For an idea as to how this works, go back and read the entire post at Belmont Club to see how Reuters spun a recent attack on US forces that killed nearby Iraqi civilians.
This war has always been about willpower. Who has the will to stick it out in the face of continued difficulties. It is all the more difficult in the face a media that often unwillingly plays into the hands of the insurgents.
October 1, 2004
The First Debate
Perhaps the most insightful comment was one that I read on National Review's blog The Corner:
ON THEIR KNEES [Tim Graham]Surely accurate. However, as a confirmed conservative egghead and blogger, I'll go ahead and provide some analysis.
An old friend nailed it for me:
Plain and simple. The conservative eggheads are overanalyzing and the liberals are praying.
The president knows what he is doing and believes in it. Kerry will say anything he thinks is different than Bush.
Bottom line is that Kerry says: I would have done what the president did but better.
My bottom line analysis is that Bush won on substance, Kerry on style. Kerry's positions are so contradictory and full of holes that they cannot stand up to any serious scrutiny. Bush could have done without the occasional sighing and looking annoyed or distracted.
The Bad News
Let's also just get the negatives for Bush out of the way right away. Bush takes time to warm to his subject. When asked a question, he at first hesitates and stumbles. It takes a noticable few seconds for his thoughts to form as to what he wants to say. Once he get's going, however, he's fine. His um's and ah's do not help. The worst part were the loud sighs before he spoke. At times he even sounded too defensive, never a good thing.
Further, Kerry sounded decisive. He knew what he wanted to say and said it well. He is a good speaker and avoided Al Gore's mistakes. The good news for Democrats is that their candidate did better than they feared, and on a subject that is supposed to be home turf for Republicans. If the Democrats are looking for a reason to cheer, last night gave it to them.
The Good News
The first bit of good news is what we knew it would be; Kerry's positions will not stand up to serious scrutiny.
The second bit is that even thought the elite media will "score" the debates as if they were judging a college event, the reality is that the average person at home doesn't see it that way. Some will be taken by Kerry's smoothness, but most others I believe look for honesty and "genuiness" (I know, an overused term. It even sounds like psychobabble but it is still useful sometimes). I'm therefore going to ignore what the elite media say and leave that job to others who will do it much better than I.
Further, we need to remember that it is easier to attack than to defend. By my take the moderator, Jim Lehrer, did not ask Kerry any questions about his record relating to national security. He got a free pass. And almost by definition, there are some things that will not have gone right over the course of four years. Bush had a record to defend, Kerry had only to attack. Criticism is cheap.
Lastly, in order to believe that Kerry "won", you have to ignore the substance of what he actually said.
But before I delve into substance, however, Bush did do well in some aspects of the "style" department, and these should not be ignored. He was quick to respond to Kerry's attacks, and asked the moderator for a response many times. He called Kerry on a number of his mistakes and poorly thought out positions and responded clearly. As I said earlier, once he gets going he is good. Although he somewhat fumbled the first question, his response to Kerry on the second one was strong.
It is clear that Kerry, like Gore and Clinton before him, will say whatever it takes to get elected. He'll read the polls and study the focus groups and change his position day by day, if necessary. He was tough-talking before the war, but careful not to commit himself too deeply. Once the insurgency started he tries to tell us that oh no, it was all a mistake.
Kerry tried to tell us that he has had "one consistent position", but that is laughable. As Glenn Reynolds pointed out during the debate on his website;
KERRY PUTS HIS FOOT IN IT: The President says that even knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction he would have gone in the same way. I would not.He'll hold a summit. Don't you know that "summit's" are the answer to all our problems?
Er, but Kerry said he would have gone to war even knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction.
And how's Kerry going to "change" the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons?
All those "Allies"
And as I've said before, for a guy who talks incessantly about how he's going to reach out to all of these supposed allies, and hold all these summits, he sure insults other countries a lot. Well, ok, he hasn't insulted France or Germany. He only insults those countries who are actually helping us. The ones who actively work against us he compliments.
Also, for all Kerry's talk about lining up allies, his record speaks just the opposite in this regard. John Kerry voted against the resolution authorizing George H W Bush to use force to eject Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in what became the Gulf War. And this vote took place after we had lined up all of the nations that Kerry today thinks are so important. Bush Sr also had the UN firmly behind him, something that Kerry also ignored then.
So much for Kerry's talk last night about a "Global Test."
Rushing to War
Perhaps Kerry's most absurd charge, and one we hear from the left in general, is that we "rushed to war" with Iraq.
In response to Lehrer's question reagarding what he thought were Bush's "collossal misjudgements", Kerry said that we should have gone to war only as a " last resort". He said that we should have continued the inspections, that we had Saddam trapped. I went to war, he said. I know what it is about We could have used that money on healthcare. And Iraq is not the center of terrorism.
Wrong on all counts, senator. As a theoretical one can always say that there are more options, that we can give diplomacy or sanctions one more chance. Talk like this is cheap and easy to make for those who do not have to make actual decisions. History is littered with examples; Lincoln could have tried diplomacy and a simple blockade of the South, McKinley could have tried the same with regards to Spain, and Churchhill could have given in to Halifax and sought accomodation with Hitler.
And of course the notation that we had Saddam "trapped" is absurd. As John McCain pointed out during the Republican convention, the sanctions were falling apart. France and Russia had proposed that we weaken the sanctions. Iraq was gaining sympathy throughout much of the Arab/Muslim world on the charge that the sanctions were "killing babies", which in a way, they were, given how Saddam stole billions for his secret military programs. The idea that there was a stable status quo is laughable. Let's also not forget the "Oil for Food" scandal, which gives us reason to believe that influential people within countries such as France and Russia were bought off with millions of dollars.
On World Respect
Back to the classics. John Kerry would do well to consider these words:
Here the question arises; whether it is better to be loved than feared or feared than loved. the answer is that it would be desireable to be both, but, since that is difficult, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one much choose.Yes it would be nice if we could have a great big coalition, with others kicking in billions of dollars. But let's remember that the price of those coalitions is a "lowest common denominator", whereby the whole must acquiese to the weakest member. And the price in 1991 was a decision to stop at ejecting Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and not to finish the job.
Machiavelli, "The Prince"
Iran and North Korea
Kerry will apparently give nuclear material to the mullahs. An alert blogger (not me!) caught this last night during the debate.
I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together.It is statements like these that truely reveal how clueless Kerry really is.
Regarding North Korea, he is going to give Kim Il Sung exactly what he wants; face-to-face talks with the United States. What does he think will be gained by this? They broke every promise they made to Bill Clinton when he tried a 'carrot and stick' approach. Kerry buys into the "broken telephone" theory of international relations, which says that if only we can all sit down together we can talk it out and resolve our differences.... grrr.
During the debate Kerry said that attacking Iraq as a response to 9/11 was like FDR attacking Mexico as a response to Pearl Harbor.
Uh, senator, after Pearl Harbor we also fought Germany and Italy. What did they have to do with Pearl Harbor? As I've pointed out earlier, the Axis treaty that they had with Japan was defensive, with one party only obliged to come to the aid of the others if they were attacked. Japan abrogated this treaty with its attack on Pearl Harbor. And of course there is ample evidence that Saddam was in fact supporting terrorism well before the 9/11 attacks.
That's all for now, got to run. More later. Also, I can't get spell check to work in blogger, so please excuse the errors!
One place you can find a transcript of the entire debate is here.