Friday, April 30, 2004
I'm serving notice to all those Muslims who might be thinking of spreading this crap right now: I will not convert to Islam, I will most assuredly not live in dhimmitude, and you will not take my country while I live. So you'd do best to just make sure you kill me in the first wave if it gets to that point, because I hate everything Sharia stands for and will fight it to my dying breath.
We'd all better get guns and keep them clean, oiled and stocked with ammo. Especially the Jews among us, and even more those Jews who, for unknowable reasons, make their home in Europe.
Francophiles everywhere would cringe at the comparison, but it's nearly a perfect fit. They're both often vicious, ugly little creatures with a huge capacity for mischief and a healthy sense of what's in it for them in any given situation. They're both conflicted against themselves, with urges to do both good and evil. Both are hopelessly schizophrenic with split-personality disorder.
The kicker for me is that Gollum was kept around mostly because of Gandalf's warning that he (Gollum) likely had some important part left to play. And what do you know, he did. He was the one most responsible at the end of the mission for the mission's success. He didn't want to end up in the fire, but he did, and in so doing he actually became an accidental hero of sorts while pursuing his own ends.
France is like that, too, only in reverse. They performed their great redeeming service many years ago in aiding the American Revolutionary war. They actually only got involved to piss off their enemies the English, but in selfishly pursuing their own ends they actually did a good deed...and they've been nothing but a pain in the ass ever since.
So we come down to the final question. Gollum was kept around because of what a wise man thought he might one day do. France already did their deed. So why are we even bothering to keep them around?
Today we delivered to Marines at Camp Pendleton, CA the equipment that will be used to equip Iraqi-owned and operated television stations in Al Anbar province. On Saturday, May 1 the Marines will fly the equipment from March Air Force Base to Iraq. This initiative and the original request is described here: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/req_12/request.html. We try hard to provide rapid response to requests we receive. Here is the timeline of this project:
April 8: SoA receives Marines request for television equipment.
April 14: SoA posts the request on our Web site and begins fundraising.
April 29: SoA delivers $82,687 of TV studio equipment to Camp Pendleton.
April 29: Marines pack donated equipment and prepare for shipment to Iraq.
May 1: Marines fly equipment to Iraq.
This rapid turnaround makes a difference in Iraq.
Here is one photo from the event of Col. Robert Knapp, Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, and yours truly with a small amount of the gear we provided.
Please check Friday's Wall St. Journal, Dan Henninger talks about Spirit of America in his column on the editorial. You can find it online here: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/ (Subscription required)
We have received $1,532,931 in donations in the last two weeks. Contributions from 7,438 donors have been made to every request and every area of Spirit of America's operations. I can't begin to describe the effects this generosity will have on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan - both in helping the people of those countries and in supporting the hard work of those serving there.
As encouraging as the last 14 days have been, I believe we are just at the beginning of seeing homefront support for America's efforts in Iraq. We're fortunate to receive emails, letters and handwritten notes from our donors that thank us for finally getting the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. Since 9/11 many have felt helpless. That no longer need be the case.
You can find more on what's happened and what next at: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/blog. As promised, we have an accounting there of how the money was spent on the first phase of the Marines TV request.
All the best,
I did my part. I hope it helps.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
You can't make stuff like this up. Time to go to sleep.
Among the findings in the report:
— There were 190 acts of international terrorism last year, compared with 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2003. It was the lowest figure in 34 years.
— In those attacks last year, 307 people were killed, compared with 725 in 2002; 1,593 people were wounded, compared with 2,013 in 2002.
— Thirty-five Americans died in 15 international terrorist attacks. The deadliest was a May 12 attack by suicide bombers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed nine U.S. citizens and 26 people overall.
— Anti-U.S. attacks increased slightly to 82 from 77 in 2002. But they have declined sharply since the 219 attacks in 2001.
— Asia had the highest number of international terrorism attacks, with 159 people killed in 70 attacks.
What this mostly means is that the US forces in Iraq are soaking up a huge chunk of the love from Al Qaeda, Hezballah, and assorted other groups in place of other countries, leaving those countries in relative peace. By killing or detaining a lot of bad boys (the "foreign fighters" so often skipped over quickly by press accounts from Reuters or AP), we're also setting things up for a long-term run of relatively terrorism-free prosperity.
Not a bad year's work, I'd have to say.
He's quick to point out, without being asked, that the palestinians did indeed celebrate on 9-11. Why wasn't that better publicized? Threats. The PA Minister of Information announced without nuance that he "could not be responsible for the safety" of journalists in the territories if the celebrations were broadcast. Why, then, not at least report verbally on them? Abu Toameh says that it's a pattern. The journalists want to stay in the good graces of their sources, and they don't want to make waves. Criticism of Arafat's regime is prohibited absolutely, and no one wants to pay the price. In fact, the first thing Arafat did when he "returned" to the West Bank in 1994 was to clamp down on all free expression -- close newspapers, fire reporters who wouldn't toe the line, take over the media with an iron fist.
Dirty pigs. Also:
As for the foreign press, Abu Toameh shrugs. They see no evil and hear no evil when it comes to the behavior of the PA. He describes an incredible scene back in 2002 when he was covering an event at the mukata, Arafat's compound in Ramallah. With a crowd of international reporters standing around, two palestinian policemen brought a man out, threw him up against a wall and shot him -- right under the window of Arafat's office. When the reporters converged, the policeman seemed bewildered. It was just a simple execution, nothing to get excited about, he said. And no one did. In fact, according to Abu Toameh, no one else even mentioned it.
"Bush -- the savior of the Arab masses." That's a quote, and it drew an audible gasp and a few chuckles from the crowd. Not something most of us were expecting to hear. But Abu Toameh seems to believe that Bush's hard-line attitude is exactly the wake-up call the Arabs need to get their act together. He believes that the vast majority of the "Arab street" is, contrary to what we hear, strongly supportive of democracy and of America's intervention in Iraq. It's the Arab regimes (and this is nothing new) that stand to lose everything if America succeeds in Iraq and it's the regimes that must continue to promote rabid anti-American sentiments if they have any hope of survival.
Maybe there's still hope.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
But while the president's critics and the media might plausibly hide behind ambiguity and a lack of sensational-
looking finds for not reporting some discoveries, in the case of Saddam's ballistic-missile programs they have no excuse for their silence. "Where were the missiles? We found them," another senior administration official told Insight.
"Saddam Hussein's prohibited missile programs are as close to a slam dunk as you will ever find for violating United Nations resolutions," the first official said. Both senior administration officials spoke to Insight on condition that neither their name nor their agency be identified, but their accounts of what the United States has found in Iraq coincided in every major area.
Those missiles they found violated multiple UN resolutions and by themselves constitute a material breach sufficient to trigger the much-ballyhooed "serious consequences".
Told ya so.
Mr. Lincoln, you promised victory over our enemies, but as the recent attack on our capital itself by General Early proves, isn’t it more accurate to say you cannot even protect us from assault in our own homes? Can you right now guarantee that we will not see another surprise attack on Washington?
Mr. President, we are now in the fourth year of what clearly has become a quagmire with no end in sight. Opposition to your conduct of the war is growing by the day. Do you attribute this present mess to your own failure to communicate?
So does *that* put into perspective the collective stupidity of today's press? It's breathtaking, really.
Read the whole thing.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
You know how you can get the giggles really bad when you're tired and you see somthing goofy? I can't seem to stop snorting about this one.
The call to jihad is rising in the streets of Europe, and is being answered, counterterrorism officials say.
In [Luton,] north of London, a small group of young Britons whose parents emigrated from Pakistan after World War II have turned against their families' new home. They say they would like to see Prime Minister Tony Blair dead or deposed and an Islamic flag hanging outside No. 10 Downing Street.
In what way is this not treason, or at least sedition? These people need to be shot or hanged. Based on past history, that will not happen. These insurrectionists have fellow travellers in the US that will be watching carefully to see how their British cohorts fare after openly confronting the government. If the British traitors are treated with kid gloves, rest assured we will have American Muslims shooting and blowing up cops, appointed and elected officials, and just about any other authority figures they can find in the US. Oh joy.
If we are not ready when that happens, it will truly be a mess, and we won't be able to claim we had no warning. Those Brit Muslims are screaming the warning as loud as they can as I type this.
Chance Phelps, a fallen marine, was recently brought home in a heartwrenching story:
Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn’t know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.
Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. The military provides a uniformed escort for all casualties to ensure they are delivered safely to the next of kin and are treated with dignity and respect along the way.
Need I say, Read The Whole Thing.
Chance was of a breed of men to whom we all owe a debt we'll never repay. I hope his comrades in arms come home safely to enjoy the fruits of their labors and of the awful chances they are taking on behalf of all of us. There are a great many in this country, myself included, that don't deserve the service they're giving us today.
"CNN only airs what they want you to see," said Jacobsen. "I finally told my mom to stop watching, because it wasn't true."
Neice said the reality of a soldier's life in Iraq is quite the opposite from what is seen on the evening news.
"When we go through town, the crowds are cheering, crying, thanking us, giving us all thumbs up," Neice said.
Neice said the support from the locals in Baghdad was "at least 95 percent." He said the media is "wrong" and that the picture they are depicting for Americans is inaccurate.
"Americans need to know the truth. They (Iraqis) want us there. The support we got from locals was unreal," said Neice. "Sure, there are small pockets of resistance, but it's rare."
It really sounds to me like we're being outright lied to by CNN, NBC et al. Even on Fox News, the only thing you ever seem to see is when people get shot or blown up.
Our leaders suggested we'd likely be met more with flowers than guns. Then we are met more with flowers than guns. The media only covers the guns part, so now we're having a useless debate about whether Iraqis want us there. To me, this is one of the essential differences between Left and Right. On the left, you'd give more credence to reports from the bigger media sources. On the right, you'd give more credence to what our soldiers are saying when they come back.
We need to get our population on the same page with our returning soldiers. The rest of the war would fall into place much more neatly if they could just make that happen.
UPDATE: More here.
Monday, April 26, 2004
I have no words for this.
And I'll just add a link to this because I just think it's really, really cool.
Friday, April 23, 2004
I haven't even caught a newscast in the last 24 hours, probably a personal 5-year record. But I did have a chance to check my email, and found this:
Former NFL player Pat Tillman was killed Thursday while serving as an Army Rangers soldier on a mission in southeastern Afghanistan, Pentagon officials have told CNN. He was 27.
Pentagon sources confirmed that a soldier killed during an ambush on a coalition combat patrol, reported in a U.S. Central Command release, was Tillman.
I remember when Tillman dropped out of the NFL to become a ranger. They did a whole bunch of special little mini-documentaries about him during game day coverage, and I was in complete awe of the man. He put the rest of the NFL, and indeed a huge swath of the country, to shame. He walked the talk that so many talk, he didn't make any excuses and he did the right thing. I can't even think of anything good enough to say about this man who believed in the ideals of this country and wasn't too cynical to act accordingly. I admire that, I grieve with his family, and I hope there's a heaven and he's in it.
Hat tip: Ben
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Man, I love those guys. They're the visual Lileks. Make sure you don't accidentally hear Lileks on Hugh Hewitt's radio show while looking at a C&F cartoon, though, or you might overload on good sense.
I hadn't heard from Scheer for awhile. I got lonely, actually, and worried that one of the more readily fiskable moonbats had gotten lost in a cave or something, but he's still barking strong:
So it was a holy war, a new crusade. No wonder George W. Bush could lie to Congress and the American public with such impunity while keeping the key members of his Cabinet in the dark. He was serving a higher power, according to Bob Woodward, who interviewed the president for a new book on the months leading up to the Iraq invasion.
Of course, as a self-described "messenger" of God who was "praying for strength to do the Lord's will," Bush was not troubled about shredding a little secular document called the U.S. Constitution.
Well, right off the bat Scheer verifies his status as a moonbat by outright saying that bush is lying to congress and the American public. This fact-free, proof-free, low-calorie smear brought to you courtesy of the worst California has to offer.
But my favorite is the scorn he heaps on people who belief in God and in praying, combined with a completely unfounded accusation of "shredding a little secular document called the U.S. Constitution". Never mind the many angles that could be taken to imply that the constitution is NOT in fact completely secular, he would have to show me where it was "shredded".
The Constitution reserves to Congress the authority to allocate funds and to declare war. Thus it would seem to be an impeachable offense to misappropriate $700 million that had been earmarked to restore order to Afghanistan and put it toward planning an invasion of Iraq -- in a secret scheme hatched, according to Woodward, only 72 days after 9/11.
A guy trying to sell a book doesn't count as a valid source, moonbat. I thought you would have figured that out after Clarke was proven to be...uh...an impeachable witness, so to speak. That aside, if Bush had misallocated funds, congress would be making plans to prosecute. Nobody in congress has even called for such a thing, and those yahoos will call for something at the drop of a hat if they see any political gain in it. Try again, loser.
But not only has the president rejected the checks and balances installed by the nation's founders to avoid the "foreign entanglements" George Washington warned us about,
Yes, by all means, we should avoid foreign entanglements. Let's start by kicking the UN out of our country.
he again is shown to have pursued a foreign policy that stands as a sharp rebuke to his more worldly and cautious father. During the first Gulf War, George H.W. Bush wisely heeded the concerns of Congress, as well as a broad coalition of regional and international allies, and kept to clear, limited and sound goals.
You'll have to do better than that to educate us as to how his father's plan was such a success if it cost us tens of billions of dollars in "containment" expenses, left Saddam in power, got hundreds of thousands killed over the last decade and then we had to go in and fight him again anyway. Oh, yeah, that plan worked.
In contrast, the younger Bush vocally disdains world opinion and international bodies like the United Nations, seeming instead to relish his role as an avenging Christian crusader who seeks -- under the guiding hand of the Almighty -- to cleanse the Arab world of "evildoers."
The key word there being the one you put in yourself...SEEMING. To you, it probably SEEMS like the sky is purple. Clue for you: it's not. Nor is the UN worth anything at all. Nor does "world opinion" count for a burr on a jackass's backside. And the point isn't to "cleanse the Arab world of evildoers", as you so eloquently put it. The point is to try to cleanse the Arab world of serious threats to the US. I could give a crap about "evildoers", you dumb git.
Asked by Woodward, an assistant managing editor at the Washington Post, if he had ever consulted the former president before ordering the invasion of Iraq, Bush replied that "he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength; there is a higher father that I appeal to."
Reading the elder Bush's books and even his speeches before the latest Iraq war, one finds that the former president at least seems to understand that diplomacy, international cooperation and patience are not just the tools of naive do-gooders but in fact are far more effective at advancing global stability and American aims than reckless adventures like the current quagmire in Mesopotamia. Religious crusades are often counterproductive; they tend to end up in unsustainable occupations of people who -- surprise! -- believe they have their own pipeline to the Almighty.
Reading the history, one also finds Bush the Elder had a soft spot in his head. "Internationalism" was a forgiveable sin decades ago when it was new. In the intervening years, it has proven to be a complete joke as currently implemented. Even NATO, a relatively useful organization in its time, struggles these days to find a relevant role in the world of today.
Scheer, Michael Moore, Paul Krugman, and the rest of the Nutcake Clogdancing Brigade™ would have us offer our country to the world, to enjoy or destroy as they see fit. I believe we should protect our country from those who would do it harm. Which way are you leaning on this?
Three Italians held hostage in Iraq were poised for release last night amid growing indications that Silvio Berlusconi's government has been negotiating a controversial ransom deal.
Top Italian government officials anticipated "positive news" within hours, while UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi predicted an imminent release.
"We confidently expect something to happen which should become clear in the coming hours," Mr Berlusconi said. His foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said: "We are waiting for positive news."
Asked if the way to get the hostages freed was to pay up, the Italian interim governor of Iraq's Dhi Qar province, Barbara Contini, said: "Everyone pays. It has been done for centuries and centuries."
Yes, and it's worked so well to eliminate the practice of kidnapping for ransom.
Is it just me, or is Italy in the process of taping a sign on the foreheads of all its citizens reading "Please Kidnap Me?" Step right up, Jihadis and Jihadettes! Take your very own Italian prisoner and you, too, can profit from the fecklessness and/or cowardice of the Italian government!
Any and all ransom demands should be met with universal scorn and condemnation, and being caught kidnapping should win a bullet between the eyes. That is the only way to show these people that it's a bad idea to kidnap our people. It's the only thing they seem to understand.
(Hat Tip: Jihad Watch)
Car bombs targeting police stations and a police academy detonated during morning rush hour in Basra Wednesday, killing 68 people, including 10 schoolchildren, and wounding at least 238 others.
The series of explosions was the bloodiest attacks to hit this mainly Shiite (search) city since the U.S.-led occupation began a year ago. Casualty numbers were in flux.
Iraqis pulled charred and torn bodies from mangled vehicles in front of the Saudia (search) police station, located by Basra's (search) crowded main street market. Two vans carrying schoolchildren were destroyed, one carrying kindergardeners, the other carrying middle-school girls. Dead children, burned beyond recognition, were taken to hospital morgues.
A couple things can be said about this. First, without doubt, the people who supplied the explosives, paid for them, built them, rigged them, planted them, or ordered them to be used will most assuredly NOT be blamed for this atrocity by president Bush's critics. No, this will be entirely the fault of George W. Bush, as is Argentina's trade deficit, the new rash of fungus on pilot whales' asses near the Aleutians, and all other bad and inconvenient things in the world.
Second is that the terrorists must be panicking a little. Their attempts to foment civil war are vicious and audacious, but they're not working. I get the sense they feel like they're "behind schedule", and like they're not affecting that June 30 date as much as they'd like.
Of course, to judge from other Arab conflicts, killing vanloads of kindergarteners doesn't seem to present a huge moral dillemma. In fact, while a lot of people emphasize the "Islamic" portion of these people as being the source of their evil (not without reason or evidence), it would be good to keep in mind that the whole Arabic, tribal mentality is incredibly primitive and should be regarded as anathema to normal industrialized people. It makes for an interesting anthropological study, but is in no way an acceptable template for a modern society. It only brings the kind of pain and heartache a lot of people are feeling in Basra today.
But hey, at least the source of all this madness is getting a little blowback. We can all take cold comfort from that.
UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I take back the "normal" in "normal industrialized people" above. I was trying to indicate the kind of people I am used to dealing with, i.e. those of the American, European or similar mindset who have a difficult time understanding how people are motivated to blow up school children.
Commenter Ben has made me see the error of my ways. Or compounded my error, depending on how you look at it, I suppose. However, I stand by my criticism of tribalism and its leading role in the neverending conflicts in the Middle East, Sudan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
If this holds, and Saddam was indeed funneling money to and through al-Qaeda-connected banks, what does this do for John Kerry’s credibility? He stated on Sunday that Saddam had no connections to Al-Qaeda, an assertion that has now taken on the mantle of Absolute Fact. Nowadays the idea that Saddam had anything to do with terrorism is regarded as proof of a mind that refuses to accept reality. This, despite the payments to the suicide bombers’ families. This, despite the terrorists who had refuge in Iraq. This, despite the training camp. This, despite al-Ansar. This is something I’ve never understood: the belief that Iraq was somehow hermetically sealed off from the politics of the Arab world, as though it was actually located somewhere north of Turkey, as though it was immune to the temptation of using these transnational forces to its own advantage. At the very least you’d expect Saddam to buy these guys off, if only for insurance purposes. But no: Saddam was the one principled leader who refused to deal with terrorist organizations, because . . . he was secular? Please. A guy who commissions a Qu’ran in his own blood is not exactly unaware of the fundamentalist currents in his culture.
I don’t think he was behind 9/11; I don’t think he organized it, supported it overtly, or even knew what was up. That’s different from saying “Saddam had no connection to Al-Qaeda,” which strikes me not only as a rash and premature judgment, but one that seems willfully blind to the realities of the region. To say something like that with confidence does not suggest, shall we say, evidence of a flexible, nuanced worldview. Because, well, you might be proven wrong. And then what? How do you recover from such a conspicuous admission of naivete?
I'm beginning to become very concerned not only about the media, but about the average intelligence level in the United States. At the beginning of the run-up to the Iraq war, president Bush listed all our many grievances against the Hussein regime many times. The Leftist press criticized him for not sticking with one reason. Why must there be just one? That's a secret only the press knows. Bush unwisely accommodated them, giving them the WMD as the cassus beli.
Or I used to think it was an unwise choice. Now that there are credible reports that WMD has been found that was at least connected to the former regime, some Leftists are discounting the reports and most are ignoring them completely. Something similar would have happened no matter what Bush picked. The press would have found a way to pick it up and beat him over the head with it, like they currently hit him from one direction because he's willing to use preemption as a tactic, and from the other direction because he didn't preempt the 9/11 strikes.
The alarming thing isn't that the press is like that, because it has been like that since at least the Vietnam era, which is to say most of my life. The thing that gets me is that I've heard people I used to respect parroting lines from the press that are outright lies. One told me Salman Pak never existed & it was a government story. The same guy was convinced that Saddam had never supported terrorists in any way. I pointed out that Saddam himself had announced payments to
The silver lining in all this is that it isn't working on everybody yet, or even a majority. There must be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the sacred halls of CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS as they try to figure out why their mantra hasn't tilted polls in favor of Kerry. Some of the commentators for CNN look like their jaws are permanently clenched as they try to hold off a temper tantrum brought on by the unwashed masses of America daring to think for themselves and decide Bush isn't the monster they've been desperately trying to paint him as. How dare those proles!
Beyond the billions in graft, smuggling, and lavish living for Saddam Hussein that were the hallmarks of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, there is one more penny yet to drop.
It's time to talk about Oil-for-Terror.
Especially with the U.N.'s own investigation into Oil-for-Food now taking shape, and more congressional hearings in the works, it is high time to focus on the likelihood that Saddam may have fiddled Oil-for-Food contracts not only to pad his own pockets, buy pals, and acquire clandestine arms — but also to fund terrorist groups, quite possibly including al Qaeda.
There are at least two links documented already. Both involve oil buyers picked by Saddam and approved by the U.N. One was a firm with close ties to a Liechtenstein trust that has since been designated by the U.N. itself as "belonging to or affiliated with Al Qaeda." The other was a Swiss-registered subsidiary of a Saudi oil firm that had close dealings with the Taliban during Osama bin Laden's 1990's heyday in Afghanistan.
The UN isn't on such steady feet these days. Since France forced the showdown in the run-up to the Iraq war, they've withstood one attack after another on their credibility and even their reason to continue to exist. This story looks like it could be the tip of the iceberg that has the ability to completely bring the UN down. It could be to the UN what Watergate was to the Nixon presidency.
To which I would mutter "good riddance" and go about my business. (hat tip: LGF)
Monday, April 19, 2004
And my high school english teacher said I'd never amount to anything. Ha!
In short, Mr. Steyn is one of my heroes, and I shall soon be more like him, in the sense that I'll have a more diversified audience than I've had so far. I will soon be making my first post as a contributing blogger over at Pardon My English. I've been reading them for awhile and I have to say I'm really impressed with the diversity of conservative thought they've put together in their team.
I definitely look forward to blogging as part of a team, with all the rewards and challenges that represents. Wish me luck, and stop over and check it out sometime. It's a good place to go if you want a GOP-style slant on any given current issue. I plan on making my introductory post tonight after work sometime.
MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- The body of a Spanish police officer who was killed in a raid on suspected Islamic terrorists was removed from its tomb Sunday night, dragged across a cemetery, doused with gasoline and burned, a Spanish police official told CNN.
And there in the lead-in you have pretty much all the salient facts. I strongly suspect that there must be a cell of Presbyterians in Madrid somewhere perpetrating these sorts of crimes.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Two members of an al-Qaida cell connected to top terror master Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have been caught in Jordan with chemical weapons and poisonous gas for a planned attack that Jordanian officials say would have killed up to 20,000 people.
The officials told the London-based newspaper al-Hayat on Friday that the al-Qaida plotters planned to launch a WMD attack against a Jordanian Military Intelligence installation, the U.S. Embassy in Amman and a government building in the country.
According to the Israeli newspaper Maariv, the al-Qaida terrorists managed to smuggle three cars packed with explosives into Amman. Jordanian security forces found a chemical charge in one vehicle.
Okay, so to wrap up, a chemical attack came from Al Qaeda via Syria. Syria is where many believe Iraq's chemical and bio weapons went. The Al Qaeda cell trying to carry out the attack has been connected to Zarqawi, who is thought to be the senior Al Qaeda guy in Iraq, and probably the world, since bin Laden and probably his Leiutenant are probably stinking piles of mush at the bottom of Tora Bora.
And yet the Left will deny any and all of this without even checking it out because if it proves to be true, it not only would further validate the war against Iraq, but also provide an incredibly strong cassus beli in case we felt like going into Syria and forcibly inspecting the sites where we believe they're hiding Saddam's weapons.
Since this is not front-page news on every paper yet, I'll wait and see. But the averting of this attack could ultimately prove to be a key point in the war on terror.
(Hat Tip: Captain Ed)
(hat tip: commenter Matthew at Cathy in the Wright)
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Israel today took the next logical step in winning its war with the Palestinians:
Israel assassinated Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi (search) in a missile strike on his car Saturday, part of its declared campaign to wipe out the Islamic militant group's leadership ahead of a planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Two of Rantisi's bodyguards were also killed.
Thousands of angry Palestinians marched through the streets of Gaza City, carrying pieces of the charred car and shouting, "revenge, revenge." One man stuck his hands into the car, pulled them out covered with blood and waved them in the air.
Oh, yes, let's give these people a state of their own immediately.
Rantisi was an evil, small man leading a worthless, hopeless cause that will never reach any of its dispicable goals. Israel is likely to pay for this in the short term, maybe dearly; in the long term it's the smartest move they could have made. The US should already have done the same to Sadr.
It's going to be very entertaining in the next few days to watch the moonbats' skulls turn inside out with anti-Israel hatred. Look for Michael Moore or somebody to claim this is a worse atrocity than 9/11. But then, they're right in a way, you know. I mean, after this, the Palestinians might resort to terrorism or something.
Ethics wizard Peter Singer believes George W. Bush is a moral failure:President George Bush wants to be seen as a good Christian leader but, according to a new book by Australian professor Peter Singer, he actually has the moral development of a 13-year-old boy.
Professor Singer said Mr Bush was wrong to go to war in Afghanistan (he suggested that a truly Christian leader would have "turned the other cheek" when America was attacked on September 11, 2001) because it led to the loss of innocent life.
Peter Singer is insane.
As the inestimable Mr. Reynolds would put it...Indeed™.
Friday, April 16, 2004
It can be depressing reading the letters to the editor in the Minneapolis Star & Sickle™ (keep scrolling).
The best way to think about Al-Qaida and its radical Islamic associates is as a loose, worldwide confederation of jihadists aching for a fight with the West, and particularly with the United States. That's why the Bush administration's unilateral invasion of Iraq was so dangerous: It gives the jihadists a confrontation they believe they can win, just as they won against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Sigh. For the 28,032,907th time people, please explain to the non-US countries who have lost troops in Iraq how it was "unilateral". The moment that word spills out your mouth with regard to Iraq, you mark yourself as not worth listening to for anybody but hacks like me who just can't resist a good fisking when they see it. And I know you're afraid of direct confrontation, contrasting as it does with your preferred weaselly methods of "compromise" and "accommodation" (read: appeasement). That's what gave us the non-solution to the North Korea crisis. Direct confrontation solved WWII. Which stayed solved?
It also inflames the Muslim world and helps the jihadists recruit additional young radicals to their ranks. In that world, the combination of President Bush's words and actions this week will surely be taken to mean that he may actually seek to encourage just such a clash of civilizations.
Ah, yes, the much-feared Muslim Street. By all means, advocate appeasement if you must. But I'd like you to point out to me where these people have ever been satisfied out of the many times Clinton gave in to them.
In his press conference this week, both in the opening remarks and in responses to questions, Bush refused to yield a whit to critics of the U.S. action in Iraq. He refused to admit to any error and responded over and over with a handful of generalizations: "America's objective in Iraq is limited, and it is firm. We seek an independent, free and secure Iraq. . . . A free Iraq is vital because 25 million Iraqis have as much right to live in freedom as we do. A free Iraq will stand as an example to reformers across the Middle East." It all amounted to a mantra: We are right; we will persevere, we will prevail.
You just can't stand that he didn't give you a nice sound-bite to beat him with for the next 6 months, can you? What a partisan hack rag this is.
The very next day, Bush met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He announced he was reversing several decades of American policy and accepting Israeli annexation of chunks of the West Bank. He also explicitly rejected the right of return for Palestinians who fled or were forced out of Israel at its creation. The Associated Press, quoting an Israeli official, reported that Sharon "thought that no American president had ever made concessions so important to Israel as Bush did on Wednesday" in blessing Sharon's unilateral plan.
I don't see the Arab countries lining up to give the "right of return" to the Israelis that they expelled at the same time the
But what did the Muslim world think? Predictably, it was outraged. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American support for Israel have always been at the heart of radical Islam's beef with the United States. Granted, that seething anger in the Islamic "street" has been manipulated generously by unscrupulous Arab governments that would rather their citizens hate the United States and Israel than them.
Here's an idea: how about we stop worrying about Muslim opinion, and instead give them a reason to worry about OUR opinion for a change? We do have a point of view on this thing, you know. And I could care less about radical Islam's beef with us or anybody else. They, unlike us, do NOT have a valid point of view so long as they resort to terrorism.
The hatred, however, is very real, and very dangerous -- as 9/11, Bali, Madrid and other terrorist attacks demonstrate. Yet Bush, by embracing Sharon's own unilateralism, was in effect throwing sand in Muslim faces worldwide. Other than the invasion of Iraq, there's hardly anything Bush could have done to muster even greater support for the worldwide jihad.
Yes, multilateralism worked so well after the Beirut attack to prevent Somalia, the Cole, the Khobar Towers, the African Embassies, 9/11, etc. The definition of insanity, need I remind you twits, is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.
What is Bush thinking? There are clues in statements from his press conference. "Now is the time, and Iraq is the place, in which the enemies of the civilized world are testing the will of the civilized world. We must not waver," the president said. Later, he added, "I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom."
I should be a newspaper editor, because I'm obviously much smarter than you. Bush is thinking "Let's Roll". "Let's win this thing". How clear does he have to say it before it stops being "clues" and becomes "something he said"?
Bush came pretty close to proclaiming the fight against radical Islam the divine mission of the United States. He may not have meant that, but you can rest assured that is just how much of the Islamic world will view his comments, especially in light of his actions the next day on behalf of Israel. You can also bet it will be read that way by the American religious right, which sees in defending Israel a way to bring about Armageddon and the second coming of Christ.
If the Islamic world can't understand very clearly worded statements, is that our fault or theirs? And please stop with the moonbatty conspiracy theories. It would be depressing to have to turn over fiskings of the hometown paper's editorials to the Moonbat Watch department.
We can't know Bush's motives, but it's not difficult to read the effects, and they risk being catastrophic. There are pragmatic reasons why some of what Bush gave Israel Tuesday will be part of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But it should have come about through negotiations. The way Bush has chosen to do it is essentially saying, again, to radical Islam, "Bring it on."
HIS MOTIVES ARE TO PROTECT US!!!! AAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
PS. Have you realized that you leftists have been screaming that the sky is falling for several years now and it hasn't fallen yet? Take a breath, open your eyes and look around.
Krugman never quits being dumb. In today's column he sets a land speed record for telling lies, distortions, and half-truths:
Iraq isn't Vietnam.
Okay, so he did say one true thing in the article.
The most important difference is the death toll, which is only a small fraction of the carnage in Indochina. But there are also real parallels, and in some ways Iraq looks worse.
It's true that the current American force in Iraq is much smaller than the Army we sent to Vietnam. But the U.S. military as a whole, and the Army in particular, is also much smaller than it was in 1968. Measured by the share of our military strength it ties down, Iraq is a Vietnam-size conflict.
Krugman will do anything in his feeble power to twist things around so that Bush looks bad. Sort of like Kerry making up a new indicator that makes Bush look bad. Sorry, Pauly, but that dog won't hunt. Given the massive changes in military technology, political environment, and particularly the battle theater, force size comparisons are next to meaningless. The main thing is to win...something your ideological brethren denied our forces in Vietnam. Please don't try to fight our troops again. They never did anything to you.
And the stress Iraq places on our military is, if anything, worse. In Vietnam, American forces consisted mainly of short-term draftees, who returned to civilian life after their tours of duty. Our Iraq force consists of long-term volunteers, including reservists who never expected to be called up for extended missions overseas. The training of these volunteers, their morale and their willingness to re-enlist will suffer severely if they are called upon to spend years fighting a guerrilla war.
Things look good so far, with the military reporting sky-high morale and excellent retention. I say you're full of camel dung. Prove you're not.
I really have to skip some of the blather. The better lies are further down:
This fiscal chicanery is part of a larger pattern. Vietnam shook the nation's confidence not just because we lost, but because our leaders didn't tell us the truth. Last September Gen. Anthony Zinni spoke of "Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies," and asked his audience of military officers, "Is it happening again?" Sure enough, the parallels are proliferating. Gulf of Tonkin attack, meet nonexistent W.M.D. and Al Qaeda links. "Hearts and minds," meet "welcome us as liberators." "Light at the end of the tunnel," meet "turned the corner." Vietnamization, meet the new Iraqi Army.
Non-existent WMD? That's not what your competitor says. Al Qaeda links? Lots of people have laid out some compelling evidence. Of 23 million Iraqis, a few thousand met us with bullets, and prevented the others from welcoming us a liberators. You should read the Iraqi blogs before you spout your mouth off about Iraqi opinion. Gah.
Some say that Iraq isn't Vietnam because we've come to bring democracy, not to support a corrupt regime. But idealistic talk is cheap. In Vietnam, U.S. officials never said, "We're supporting a corrupt regime." They said they were defending democracy. The rest of the world, and the Iraqis themselves, will believe in America's idealistic intentions if and when they see a legitimate, noncorrupt Iraqi government — as opposed to, say, a rigged election that puts Ahmad Chalabi in charge.
You didn't address the point, fool. The fact remains that we are not supporting a corrupt regime. And it would be easier for our troops and others to actually build a legitimate government if they didn't have to worry about political sniping from small-minded NYT (fifth-)columnists and others along with the actual snipers. So when they succeed, it will be in spite of you. You, of course, will claim you wanted it that way all along, which will be shot down in a future blog post.
If we aren't promoting democracy in Iraq, what are we doing? Many of the more moderate supporters of the war have already reached the stage of quagmire logic:
I knew you'd never make it through a column on Iraq without using the "Q" word.
they no longer have high hopes for what we may accomplish, but they fear the consequences if we leave.
I have hugely high hopes for what we may accomplish, and I'm very correct to fear the consequences of what your man Kerry would like to do if he thought it was politically possible.
The irony is painful. One of the real motives for the invasion of Iraq was to give the world a demonstration of American power. It's a measure of how badly things have gone that now we're told we can't leave because that would be a demonstration of American weakness.
The exact type of weakness demonstrated in Somalia, which bin Laden explicitly called us out on and used as a rationale for attacking us again. And again. And again.
You, sir, are a barking moonbat of the first order and a complete gormless git who has no business even running a blog, much less a column in what should be a great paper.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Thanks for the ammo, Ben. You're not bad. For a liberal.
Jesse is considering a run.
I'm qualified to talk about this, having voted for him and then lived under him as governor for 4 years. Not to mention having grown up rooting for his opponents in the squared circle.
Jesse is definitely a political talent. He knows the right things to say, how to stir up controversy without blowing himself up, and he's got some interesting ideas...but I don't see him having a legitimate shot at the white house.
In the '98 Minnesota gubernatorial race, he was up against Republican Norm Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul and current Minnesota senator. Coleman came off as completely obnoxious and snooty in that race, refusing to even address Jesse directly in the debates. The Democrat in the race was Skip Humphrey, an establishment politico who wanted to start up so many new expensive programs we never would have gotten out of debt. Combine those two with a gregarious former pro wrestler who knows how to get out the vote and has a little flair, plus a population who truly believes that a governor cannot cause too much trouble without the consent of the state congress, and you've got 4 years of Jesse.
That can't happen the same way nationally, however. There's a big difference between hiring a guy to push a certain philosophy in levying state income tax and occasionally calling out the national guard, and a guy who has his finger on the doomsday button. Jesse's gregariousness works against him there. He suffers from foot-in-mouth disease, and you just know he'd piss off the wrong people. In a president, that can be a Very Bad Thing.
I will say that Jesse's big selling point in the gubernatorial race was the same one it sounds like he's thinking of for the presidential race: he's not beholden to special interest. The very few ads he ran were kids playing with a Jesse Action Figure™ fighting against the Evil Special Interest Man™. They were hilarious, and they worked, not least because he really came across as if he wanted to make a difference.
I personally think he made a difference, being the first governor I can remember who actually cared about keeping taxes down. He wasn't particularly ideologically driven, which was refreshing. But as the article states, the last year of his term was a tough one; the political establishment had had enough of being sidelined, the voter base was getting unaccountably bitchy, and Jesse recognized that it was time to go and wisely did not seek reelection. I still miss the guy (the Minneapolis Star and Sickle™ even printed a letter I wrote expressing my fondness for Jesse).
But remember: none of that means I want the guy for president. And that's an insider's view, in case you're interested.
UPDATE: It seems Lileks mostly concurs with my take on Jesse. Except I think he might actually try it.
Thanks to Tim Blair, I was directed back to his blog to catch a very delicious reaction to al Qaeda's "truce" offer to Europe.
Heh. I couldn't have said it better myself.
Large amounts of nuclear-related equipment, some of it contaminated, and a small number of missile engines have been smuggled out of Iraq for recycling in European scrap yards, according to the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and other U.N. diplomats.
Mohammed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned the U.N. Security Council in a letter that U.N. satellite photos have detected "the extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings" from sites that had been subject to U.N. monitoring before the U.S.-led war against Iraq.
ElBaradei said an IAEA investigation "indicates that large quantities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transferred out of Iraq, from sites monitored by the IAEA." He said that he has informed the United States about the discovery and is awaiting "clarification."
There is a time and a place for saying "I told you so". This would be one of those. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA*choke*cough*sputter*...um, here's more:
ElBaradei did not identify the European countries where the materials were discovered. But U.N. and European officials confirmed that IAEA inspectors traveled to Jewometaal's scrap yard to run tests on the yellowcake. The search turned up missile engines and vessels used in fermentation processes that were subject to U.N. monitoring. The U.N. Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission informed the council about the finds in a letter, according to diplomats. The IAEA, meanwhile, ordered up satellite images to assess conditions at Iraq's former nuclear weapons sites. A senior U.N. official said they discovered that two buildings at one former site had vanished and that several scrap piles contained weapons-related materials were also missing. "In Europe, stainless steel goes for $1,500 a ton," the official said. "And that is worth transporting for the purpose of recycling."
All that bellyaching about "yellowcake-gate" now turns out to be so much hot air. Worse: if we hold those damned lefties to the same standard they were trying to hold the president to, then they were "lying". THE LEFT KNEW.
What's that I hear? That sounds like the flushing down the drain of the anti-war leftists who smeared our president, our soldiers and our country. Oops, there's also the sound of European credibility in anything ever again exploding sky-high. The Brits are the only ones with any left. Didn't Tony warn you pricks that once all the facts are out you'd have egg on your faces?
So to wrap up:
1) The WMDs did exist in Iraq.
2) Not just any WMDs, but nuclear stuff...the worst kind.
3) The Iraq war was justified.
4) The antiwar people smeared innocent people who did their jobs.
5) Intelligence was MUCH better than it has been portrayed.
6) Europeans helped Saddam get rid of the stuff (I'm betting the scummy French).
7) There needs to be an investigation of French officials' threatened veto in the security council.
8) WHAT DID THEY KNOW AND WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT?
9) I have to get back to work now. This just seemed worth a post.
Headlines across the United States and Great Britain scream doom, Vietnam, and quagmire as Shia and Sunni allegedly unite to throw out American "occupiers." Commentators on popular Arabic satellite stations al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya — not to mention the BBC — insist that the events of the last week show that Iraqis do not want the Americans. Few if any of those commentators are actually Iraqis, and they speak for us no more than Jacques Chirac speaks for Americans. There is inherent racism in the belief that Arabs from Morocco to the border of Iran think alike. Iraqis have a unique historical experience. As I survey the views of people around my country, there is a lot more nuance than is transmitted by your journalists and pundits. While Iraqis do not want the United States to abandon us, it would be a mistake to believe that we are not frustrated with the incompetence and condescension which characterizes the American presence.
Basically, Iraqis see the American presence as wasted potential. With the exception of a single individual since departed, all are shuttered behind the high walls of the Green Zone. Last week's events have shown how ineffective American money has been, largely because American officials continue to believe that they know the situation better than ordinary Iraqis. We hear with disbelief that the U.S. has budgeted $1.2 billion for the new police force. But they then assembled it from elements of the hated old police and army without significant screening. How can the Americans think that two or three weeks' training will change the mentality of 35-years of dictatorship? The Americans did send perhaps 500 Iraqis for police training in Jordan, but arrogantly refuse to give the Governing Council details of the operation or its content.
This man and other Iraqis like him need to be listened to. He says hard things about the US, but they definitely ring true to me. The typical State department bullshit about "reaching out" to the same type of people that killed 3,000 on 9/11. The bureaucratic snafus and fubars. The mistaken assumptions about Iraqis based on prior experience with Americans or Europeans. It all sounds exactly right.
But the most important aspect of this piece to me is that if you look at it objectively and don't let your predisposal toward US policy (or against it) get in the way, it's all constructive criticism, and it's pretty damned impartial. He blasts the BBC and the CPA equally. He points out that Iraqis are indeed thankful, and by the way here's how we could make things even better.
Mr. Sarraf is the breed of Iraqi we need to cultivate and elevate to highly visible positions. We should hold him up as an example of the type of moderate democrat we'd like to see in charge of Iraq. If we don't find a whole bunch more people like him to take the reins by June 30, it's going to be a long row to hoe.
Mr. Sarraf, with your eloquent and well-thought-out piece you have placed yourself, in my estimation, in the same league with Mansoor Ijaz. That is a very high compliment indeed.
Read Mr. Sarraf's whole piece and see if you don't agree.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Minutes after the press conference, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia (search) harshly criticized Bush's stand.
"He is the first president who has legitimized the settlements in the Palestinian territories when he said that there will be no return to the borders of 1967," Qureia said. "We as Palestinians reject that. We cannot accept that. We reject it, and we refuse it."
Qureia said the Palestinians cannot be left out of the process.
"These issues can be determined only through negotiations and cannot be determined through promises from the leader of this or that country," he said. "This can be decided only by the Palestinian leadership."
You know what, Qureia? You're wrong. You're as wrong as you could be. You murderous bastards had your chance at Oslo, and Arafat walked away without even the courtesy of a counteroffer. There are consequences to the things people do, you know.
Well, now their vileness has caught up with them, and they are being given the bum's rush. Deservedly so. I'm proud that my president has finally seen fit to begin treating these troglodytes like the filth they are. The wages of sin have come due, Arafat, you shitstain. Get out your wallet.
I believe in free access to relevant information, but I don't believe we need to see the actual document. Just knowing the final total income or whatever would be more than enough.
Can we please have a hiatus from terms like "un-American", "anti-American", "treason", "traitor", "unpatriotic", as well as the positive(-ish) terms like "patriot", "patriotic", etc. Let's face it, Ann Coulter ruined the language for all of us. Most of these terms are thrown around so lightly as to be worse than meaningless - they mean the worst things they could possibly mean while at the same time applying to the most inclusive group possible. Equivocation abounds.
Yes. Hannity, Coulter and Rush and the rest are great fun to listen to and they're smart people who make a lot of great points...but the hyperbole is getting to be a bit much. Trying to look at it objectively, I don't think it's quite as bad as it often gets on the Left lately (BusHitlerHaliburtonNoBloodForOilBushKnew), but it's pretty ripe sometimes, and I'm accustomed to the Republican party being the party of grownups. I'd like to see people on the right try to be less wild-eyed until the war is done, please.
UPDATE: Of course the Emperor, being his inimitible self, sees things a bit differently.
UPDATE: On the other hand, here's a pretty cool featurette on the critters (broadband is handy here).
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
All that said, I watched tonight's address with keen interest, and I wasn't disappointed. Bush hit a solid line drive to the gap in left center. Not out of the park, but a solid stand-up double nonetheless.
Bush articulated some truths that needed airing, and hinted that he would be airing more, which is good. He publicly made the link between the terrorism in Israel and what we're seeing in Iraq. He put the 9/11 commission to shame by openly pinning the blame for 9/11 exactly where it belongs, on Osama bin Laden (duh). He could have come closer to a home run here by apologizing for his very minor part in not focusing on terrorism quite enough, but unlike my liberal friends I don't feel it's in a politician's job description to apologize for everything anybody ever did in the history of the world. It's much more important to me to feel that a leader is going to LEAD than that he get down on bended knee and make some soupy speech.
The best part for me was that President Bush made it entirely clear that he would pursue American interests and goals in Iraq with everything he's got, and damn the polls. This is the sort of character we have not seen since Reagan, and probably since about Truman or so before that.
He didn't convert any LLLs tonight, and that's okay because he never will. He could save the lives of each individual American, and they would complain that he did it too slow, or they got some scrapes, or he didn't apologize for bumping their head. But I suspect undecided people were fairly impressed with their CiC tonight, and I think Bush will receive at least a minor bounce in the polls, perhaps even a sustained one.
Next stop, the debates. That, I suspect, is where this race will really be won or lost. And I have a feeling that Bush is going to rip Kerry a new orifice, and he'll have four more years to get his plan for Middle East peace on the road. If we have to rely on Kerry, that area will be a no-man's land for decades to come.
UPDATE: More. Ben, about that discussion we were having about racism...these links are to the asshats I'm FIGHTING, m'kay?
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says violence in Iraq will prevent the world body from re-establishing a major presence in the country anytime in the foreseeable future.
Annan told reporters that even the small team now in the country, led by top U.N. official Lakhdar Brahimi, has been hampered in advising Iraqis on forming an interim government and plan for elections early next year.
"Of course given the deteriorating situation and the violence on the ground, even that task has been rather difficult," Annan said.
"For the foreseeable future, insecurity is going to be a major constraint for us. And so I cannot say right now that I am going to be sending in a large U.N. team," Annan said.
The United Nations withdrew its permanent foreign staff last October following attacks on aid organisations and the August bombing of its own headquarters that killed 22 people.
These are the people that Kerry wants to take control of Iraq. I bet the "insurgents" are absolutely salivating at the prospect. They'd be much easier to intimidate than American marines. How can an organization be relevant to anybody if they're too afraid to go where they're needed? This is like a football team saying "well, we'd really like to take the ball all the way over into that end zone, but we're just not going to be able to because there's all these guys in the way that want to stop us."
The downward spiral of the UN continues...
UPDATE: Here's the full text (hat tip: Dean):
St. Petersburg Democratic Club
Senator Edward Kennedy is absolutely right when he called Iraq "Bush's Vietnam". But it's not only Bush, it's his whole damn Bunch- Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove and Ridge.
They've tried to blame the Iraq war on bad intelligence, on Al Qaida, on terrorists, on foreigners from Iran and Syria. Bush doesn't even know who in the hell we're fighting. The Bush Bunch calls the Iraqis insurgents. Did you know that Britain called the American revolutionaries insurgents and traitors? The Iraqis aren't insurgents. They're Iraqi patriates [sic] who want us the hell out of their country, and we should get the hell out of their country now!
We have Marines and soldiers being killed by the dozens with many more wounded. How many have to be killed before the Bush Bunch is satisfied? How many burial services of our Iraq dead has Bush attended? Any? How many military hospitals has Bush visited to talk to our wounded who have lost arms, or legs, or their eye sight [sic], or combinations of these - how many?
And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq "We have our good days and our bad days". We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say "This is one of our bad days," and pull the trigger. Do you want to salvage our country? Be a savior of our country? Then vote for John Kerry and get rid of the whole Bush Bunch!
Please make a donation of ANY amount of money you can afford and send it to John Kerry for President, Inc. 901 15h Street, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005. Do it NOW. Thank you.
For Club Information
343-7921 Ken, President
525-4586 Edna, Vice-President
Oh, yeah, I'm gonna run right out and vote for their candidate.
Prosecutors said Fazal Karim (search), a Canadian citizen originally from Pakistan, was testing airport security for potential terrorist aims when he carried the double-edged blades into the airport.
He was convicted last year of carrying and attempting to carry concealed dangerous weapons onto air transportation and of making false statements about his immigration status.
Karim, 37, denied he had any terrorist ties.
At Monday's sentencing, U.S. District Judge Terry Means ordered Karim to be turned over to immigration officials for deportation after completing his term, and fined him $20,000.
$100,000 says he gets out early. The most he'll possibly serve will be 2.5 years, and I'm guessing the ACLU will be on this like wet on water.
And I have to say that for once I'd be on the side of the ACLU in this case. I was arguing with my friend Ben about the merits (or lack thereof) of the ACLU, and I took (and still take) the position that the ACLU has devolved from the worthy organization it once was into a creepy gang that reminds me of ambulance-chasing lawyers. No cause is too disgusting for those clowns to champion.
But here we have a case where the guy probably doesn't really deserve hard prison time just for being a smartass from a country we don't trust. After all, nobody is going to hijack a plane with a knife again; I would think the shoebomber proved that passengers and crew are much more aggressive in defending themselves after what happened on 9/11. It's a brave new world, and in at least that one respect, I'm confident it's a safer world.
So ease up on the guy already. Until you find evidence that he's tied to terrorists. Then lock him up with a very big, friendly, horny guy for 50 years.
UPDATE: By "country we don't trust" I meant Pakistan, not Canada. Except for Ben, who lives there, of course. Heh.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Maureen Dowd, empress of the deceptive elipses and messiah of the moonbats has struck again:
Rummy also thought he could show off his transformation of the military, using a leaner force. Now even some Republicans say he is putting our troops at risk by stubbornly refusing to admit he was wrong.
If Rummy is wrong, it's for military men to say, not overstuff politicos or mouth-breathing Leftist columnists for the New York Slime.
Dick Cheney thought fear was better than weak-kneed diplomacy, that if America whacked one Arab foe, all the others would cower. Wrong. The Iraq invasion has multiplied and emboldened our enemies.
If you can't tell a made-for-TV "uprising" when you see one, nothing I can say is going to help you, Mauron.
Cheney and Rumsfeld thought America should flex its hyperpower muscles, castrating the United Nations and blowing off multilateral arrangements. Now the administration may have to crawl back for help.
Well, at least you got the part right about the UN being castrated. And one day, when the UN seems like it won't run at the first bomb blast, maybe they'll be a good partner for suppressing your precious "uprising". Until then, they're worse than useless.
The hawks thought they could establish a democracy that would produce a domino effect in the Arab world. Wrong. The dominoes are falling in a scarier direction.
How would we even know yet? Are you so deluded now that you think you can see the future? Or have you been dabbling with The Force lately?
The president thought he could improve on the ending to his father's gulf war. Wrong again.
Again, how would you know? As far as most people are concerned, it's already more successful. Saddam is gone. Unless you're a fan of his, and I haven't ruled out that you might be, that alone is a huge improvement.
Sigh. Incurable. I can't believe they pay her money for that stuff. She and Krugman deserve each other.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is set to release a study Monday that his campaign says will show President Bush's economic record as one that increased "middle class misery."
Notice how even CNN simply has to use the scare quotes around "middle class misery". For once it looks like they pulled their head out long enough to look around and notice that people are doing pretty good overall.
Kerry's study will cite data on rising college and health care costs, together with sluggish incomes, arguing they have squeezed America's working families since Bush took office and eliminated any financial gain from the president's tax cuts.
Got that? Kerry is pulling some numbers out of his rectum, collating them in whatever way his fever-besotted brain feels will most likely damage Bush's standing and help his chances in the election. More:
Between 2000 and 2003, according to the "Middle Class Misery Index," compiled with data from government and independent sources, wages dropped 0.2 percent while the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities increased a record 13 percent.
So after creating a brand-new "index" out of whole cloth (or at the least finding an index that is so obscure Paul Krugman never even bleated about it), Kerry's campaign then cites the newly-created index's fall as reason for concern about Bush's job performance. I like how the fact that this "index" never existed until this morning is never examined critically in the article.
But good heavens, it gets even worse:
"The middle-class misery index worsened 13 points in the last three years -- the largest three-year fall on record," the study said.
I'm sorry, I can't go on. It's just too stupid. With home ownership at record levels, jobs and the rest of the economy rebounding, and more IN SPITE OF the fact that we're in the middle of a war, Kerry is grasping at anything that vaguely looks like it might be a straw.
And coming up empty.
UPDATE: I apologize, I was wrong. It seems there is such a thing as Misery Index.
UPDATE: Okay, okay. It really is an economic indicator. I suspect, however, that there is a good reason why we don't hear more about it in mainstream economic reports.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Uh, if you don't know what the above is about, I'm too busy to tell you right now.
All aboard — 18 crew and 284 passengers — were members of the Revolutionary Guards, an elite group under the direct control of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The guards protect Iran's borders and defend ruling hard-liners in this ultraconservative society.
The Revolutionary Guards have encircled a big area at the crash site, preventing people from approaching and restricting journalists. Many relatives of the victims cried as armed guards prevented them from climbing to the crash site.
Now, by now you know I'm a bit of a conspiracy theory moonbat...enough so that I recognize it in myself and try to take a deep breath, count to 60 and consider Occam's Razor before getting too worked up about anything.
But then I was reading the Belmont Club again (yes, I'm addicted lately) and this post flashed me back in an instant to the plane crash report:
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which translates articles from the regional press, cites an April 9 report that Iran was in the process of infiltrating Iraq on a massive scale even before Operation Iraqi Freedom. The preparation included the use of the Shi'ite religious network, the infiltration of agents into the mass media, the recruitment and training of thousands of militants, the fielding of candidates for the promised elections and a program of targeted assasination. All backed by seventy million dollars a month in secret funds from the Mullahs.
The London Arabic-Language Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted extensively the former Iranian intelligence official in charge of activities in Iraq, identified as Haj Sa'idi, who recently defected from Iran. "Haj Sa'idi told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian presence in Iraq is not limited to the Shi'ite cities. Rather, it is spread throughout Iraq, from Zakho in the north to Umm Al-Qasr in the south, and the infiltration of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Al-Quds Army into Iraq began long before the war, through hundreds of Iranian intelligence agents, amongst them Iraqi refugees who were expelled by Saddam Hussein in the 1970's and 1980's to Iran, allegedly because of their Iranian origin, and who infiltrated back into Iraq through the Kurdish areas that were out of the Iraqi Ba'th government control.
So. Feature this: Lots of stuff is going down with the Iraq war coming up and Iran is in the thick of it. Our guys are smart...they would have noticed it and would have been monitoring Iranian involvement from the time it started to one degree or another. Then one of our guys finds out there's going to be a planeload of their best guys in the neighborhood of our Afghanistan operations. Maybe we've even got a recon team scouting across the Iranian border, you know, just in case, like. They happen to have weather cover as described in the CBS report and they also just happen to have shoulder-launch hardware with them.
If I'm the analyst that sees all these events in confluence, I'm pulling the trigger. I doubt losing those guys seriously hurt Iran in a strategic sense, but maybe it was a message from Centcom to Khamenei. Maybe that's why the current showdown took a year to develop, rather than happening in the months after the invasion as they had basically promised. And it certainly didn't help Iran. Now they have to be wondering whether and where they can safely fly their guys. That uncertainty is a big help to our side.
The other thing I remember bothering me when I originally saw the report was why the hell Iran had their military so uptight over not letting anybody in to see the wreckage. At the time I had ideas that it might be some sort of WMD transfer, and while they didn't give a rat's ass whether anybody got hurt, under no circumstances did they want us to know they had VX or something deployed. But now I'm wondering if they were covering up the fact that the thing was shot down, maybe by our guys on or near the Afghanistan border.
All interesting questions...and somehow I doubt if the answers are going to come out any time soon. I sincerely hope I live to learn those answers, though. It would be satisfying for me to know we got some of their best before they could even fight.
Friday, April 09, 2004
(Captain's log): We've been running into a conceptual problem in the last few years, where a lot of people have been trying to extrapolate concepts and experiences from their normal peace-time lives into realms where they make no sense. There has been, for instance, the attempt to extrapolate the concept of national law into the larger realm of "international law". There has been the idea that international terrorists should be treated as if they were criminals, and pursued and ultimately tried as we would normal criminals without our own nations. (Among other interesting ramifications of that would be that we could only arrest terrorists for attacks they had already made, not for attacks they were planning, and that we could only imprison them if we could prove their complicity "beyond a reasonable doubt".)
Man, am I tired of being right.
Well, that's a lie too, because I've really been wondering about them at least since I had a lefty whacko college instructor that force-fed us a wonderful work of fiction called Ecotopia (there's a reason you can get a used one for $.99, people). Man, am I glad I have nothing to do with academia anymore. I like to learn new things all the time, and universities make that entirely too hard.
Then, this starts happening. Stay safe, marines, and come home to us whole.
Hope I'm just being paranoid.
That's why we have Victor Davis Hanson at the other end of the spectrum, who hits it out of the park for the umpteenth time:
, in the middle of this terrible conflict, unlike the postbellum inquiry after Pearl Harbor, we are holding acrimonious hearings about culpability for September 11. And here the story gets even more depressing than just political opportunism and election-year timing. After eight years of appeasement that saw repeated attacks on Americans, Pakistani acquisition of nuclear weapons under Dr. Khan, and Osama's 1998 declaration of war against every American, we are suddenly grilling, of all people, Condoleezza Rice — one of the few key advisers most to be credited for insisting on using our military, rather than the local DA, to defeat these fanatics.
Over the last two years, each time a U.S. senator in panicked and wild-eyed passion screamed that we could not win in Afghanistan, she proved resolute and confident. On every occasion that an ex-general, a dissatisfied bureaucrat, or a wannabe journalist-strategist pontificated about what the United States could not do, she was unwavering in her determination to take the war to rogue regimes in the Middle East with a history of hostility against Americans and a record of providing easy sanctuary for terrorists. This present charade would be like holding public hearings on the eve of the 1944 election about the breakdown of intelligence and missed opportunities before Pearl Harbor — and then blaming Harry Hopkins and Secretary Stimson for laxity even while the country was in the very midst of a two-front war.
Then we have the creepy outbursts from commentators and screams from Democratic senators. We are told by Senator Graham that we smashed al Qaeda only to discover that we had hit a mercury-like substance that now has hopelessly scattered. Well, yes, that is what happens when you strike back in war. The alternative? Allow this elemental terrorism to remain cohesive and united? War is not a decision between good and bad choices, but almost always between something bad and something worse — and so it really is preferable to have toxic mercury scattered than to have it concentrated and pure.
Yes. But I was wrong, he doesn't just hit it out of the park. He hits for the cycle. Multiple times. This may be the best column I've ever read...it describes my feelings EXACTLY on a wide variety of subjects related to the war, Condoleeza Rice, etc. Read it all. Twice.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Since the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in May, 270 mass graves have been reported. By mid-January, 2004, the number of confirmed sites climbed to fifty-three. Some graves hold a few dozen bodies—their arms lashed together and the bullet holes in the backs of skulls testimony to their execution. Other graves go on for hundreds of meters, densely packed with thousands of bodies.
"We've already discovered just so far the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair on November 20 in London. The United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) all estimate that Saddam Hussein's regime murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people. "Human Rights Watch estimates that as many as 290,000 Iraqis have been 'disappeared' by the Iraqi government over the past two decades," said the group in a statement in May. "Many of these 'disappeared' are those whose remains are now being unearthed in mass graves all over Iraq."
If these numbers prove accurate, they represent a crime against humanity surpassed only by the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Pol Pot's Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s, and the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.
400,000 lives snuffed out. That's more than the poplulation of Minneapolis. And a large part of the Left keeps themselves busy screetching day in and day out about how Bush is so awful. They never say anything bad about the man responsible for this kind of slaughter.
That is why I switched from being a lefty to being a righty. The left is so transparently morally bankrupt that I can't believe it took me this long. I can't believe there aren't more that have switched. I'll consider the Dems again as serious contenders for my vote when they regain their sanity enough not to put a traitor like Kerry up for election for dogcatcher, much less president. Lieberman was the only one in a field of ten that had half a brain (Gephardt had a quarter-brain, but clings too hard to outmoded faux populism). How sad is that?