Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pelosi: Iraq is not part of the War on Terror, Afghanistan is

I found an NPR interview of Nancy Pelosi this morning very revealing. For one, Renee Montagne asked some semi-tough questions. Secondly, the Speaker of the House made startling, surprising, and... somewhat contradictory statements:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has just returned from a trip to
Iraq and Afghanistan. She sat down with NPR's Renee Montagne, who asked her for
one word to describe the situation in Iraq.

"Chaotic," Pelosi said. "What is happening in Iraq is chaos." She went on
to say that after nearly four years in Iraq, "We just have to end it."

She said that she did not believe the training effort had been serious, as the
troops are still not ready.


...the Speaker did, however, inexplicably contend that more troops are needed in Afghanistan. She said that the war on terrorism is in Afghanistan and that the distraction of Iraq led to a power vacuum the Taliban have used to make a comeback. When the reporter asked her point blank what the difference was between the two wars as far as terrorism goes, she seemed had little explanation.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Al-Qaeda laptop hacked

United Press International Reports:

Kenyan authorities say they have cracked the password on a laptop computer belonging to one of the most wanted al-Qaida suspects in Africa.
The report gave no further details, but said the computer was seized from the wife of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed -- indicted by federal prosecutors for his role in the al-Qaida truck bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in August, 1998.

Today in Iran

Senators warn against war with Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican and Democratic senators warned
Tuesday against a drift toward war with an emboldened Iran and suggested the
Bush administration was missing a chance to engage its longtime adversary in
potentially helpful talks over next-door Iraq.
"What I think many of us are concerned about is that we stumble
into active hostilities with Iran without having aggressively pursued diplomatic
approaches, without the American people understanding exactly what's taking
place," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told John Negroponte

"I believe there are some significant differences just right off
the bat than the situation I encountered in China, first and foremost the extent
to which relationship between the U.S. and China had developed on many fronts
prior to my arrival," he said. "My understanding from this vantage point ... is
that we are not at that level (with Iran). There is activity that's occurred on
part of Iranian government that has been seen by the international community
(about Iran) as not only not helpful in the region but in the world,
particularly in regard to the potential to develop nuclear weapons."

Fallon said he "philosophically" favors engagement over
Saudi Arabia says Iran initiated talks with the Arab kingdom to
contain growing sectarian divisions between Muslim Sunnis and Shiites in the
A paralyzing one-day strike imposed by the opposition in Lebanon
last week came to a halt apparently after Riyadh and Tehran spoke to each other
to end the protest that threatened to turn violent. Two days later, riots and
street clashes between government and opposition loyalists could have spiraled
out of control if Saudi Arabia and Iran did not interfere, according to
Israel's central Holocaust memorial said on
Tuesday over 2,000 people in Iran and thousands of other people, including
Iranians, had visited its new Farsi Web site documenting the mass murder of 6
million Jews.

AP: Pentagon Halts Sale of F-14 Parts

"It was the prudent thing to do" said Jack Hooper, Defense Logistics Agency spokesman for the Pentagon.
From Reuters: The Pentagon's move took effect on Friday, and came after congressional criticism of security weaknesses that gave buyers for Iran access to the aircraft parts. The agency did not disclose details of those incidents. It formerly held liquidation sales of surplus parts.
This, a full nine days after the Associated Press reported that Iran and China had been found to purchase used American Military equipment at auction.
The story was also posted by NonParty Politics here.

The Daily Show: Christianity vs Islam - Even Stephen

I forgot about this clip from a few years ago... Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert on the Daily Show, sarcastically debating the tenets of Islam and Christianity.


Sharia law and British muslims

This video, also posted on Little Green Footballs, is a real eye-opener with regard to the hopes, dreams and desires of young muslims in the West.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A comment on a comment: James Webb, Hugh Hewitt

The following is a comment left on the Hugh Hewitt Blog on The poster, "gunjam," makes a number of very good points. Specifically - excoriating the cerebral, intelligent, critical, conservative right - for NOT doing its patriotic duty by giving the President and other Republicans a free pass for the past six years.

Saturday, January, 27, 2007 9:16 PM

A Different Take
I served in the Air Force for over 10 years. I never saw combat. I don't like Webb that much, but I surely would have voted for him over that empty suit, George Allen. As WND Editor Joseph Farah pointed out, both Allen and Webb spent their campaign seeing which of the two could out-do the other in finding ways to send Farah's daughters into combat. Farah (who now lives in Virginia) indicated before the election that he planned on voting for neither of the two leading candidates.

I think the Hugh Hewitt-posted piece from the serving Naval officer who knew Webb at Annapolis is very eloquent, articulate, and compelling. I do not think Webb is a great guy, but I do respect him more than i respect either George Allen -- or failed former Sec Def Dumbsfeld.
What i don't understand is how Hugh Hewitt and most of you posters here can dissect James Webb into tiny pieces (when he is only a freshman senator with ZERO impact on Defense policy for the past three years), while both Hugh and most of you guys gave the abysmally incompetent Bush/Dumbsfeld Team a virtual free pass on Iraq for the past 18 months. (I can accept tolerating their incompetence for the first 18 months, but after that, you became their enablers.)
If Hewitt and his listeners had made even 10% as much noise about the Dumbsfeld/Bush idiocies in Iraq (to wit: an obstinate and continued refusal significantly to increase military manpower -- both in Iraq and DoD-wide, hand-cuffing our troops in harm's way with overly-restrictive rules of engagement, overly-zealous prosecutions of military men for evils both real and imagined, an overly-sensitive reaction to press criticism about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and -- generally -- an overall tepidness about seeking out, engaging, and KILLING the enemy -- Exhibit 'A' being the reality that Moqtada al-Sadr's carcass is still above-ground, breathing, and functioning, despite General Sanchez's statement circa 2004 that this longtime America-hater needed to be either killed or captured) as you are doing now about Webb's foibles and errors, the surge might have been begun (and possibly even won) prior to the 2006 elections -- and the Republicans might still enjoy control of at least one house in Congress.
Bush/Dumbsfeld (and their candy cane generals) squandered three years, men's lives, money, and the public's goodwill virtually unchallenged by the Hugh Hewitts, Bill Bennetts, and Rush Limbaughs of the world. A courageous and principled exception to this trend was John McCain. Another voice in the wilderness has been that of radio talk-show host Michael Savage, who called the Bush/Dumbsfeld team's hand on their effeminate tactics sometime ago.
I am glad that President Bush has (possibly?) finally extricated his head from wherever he has had it embedded for the past three years and -- realizing that his back is against the wall due to frittered opportunities -- has (after losing control of Congress) finally ordered up a surge that I fully support and earnestly wish to succeed. However, his statement this week that it is apparently ONLY NOW okay for our troops to kill hostile Iranian agents working in Iraq is simply risible -- by reason of its having come three years too late.
Why are Hugh Hewitt et al not raising cain over the President's belated greenlighting of killing Iranian agents by our troops? Apparently, because it is easier to kick around a freshman Democratic senator from Virginia who has served in combat and who has served as a Secretary of the Navy under the greatest President of the latter half of the 20th Century.
In short, let's major on majors: Like firing and retiring candy-cane generals (such as Casey) who lack the requisite fire in their belly to win wars yet have time to kibbitz at the ultra-liberal, ultra-globalist Council of Foreign Relations (of which the AF CSAF is a member!?).
Let's encourage John McCain in his opposition to moving General Casey to the prestigious position of Chmn, JCS. That appointment would send a terrible message to the troops in the field.
James Webb is a sideshow: Bush, Dummy (now Gates), and their generals are the main event. And we all gave them a pass. My free pass to them ended in 2005 when my eyes were opened by what my soldier son experienced in the way of politically-correct command and control during his tour in Iraq.
For Hewitt and most of you posters, I fear your free pass to Bush/Dumbsfeld/CandyCane Generals is still valid.
Now my son is deployed again -- this time to Afghanistan. I am all for the surge, for victory, and for killing the enemy. Better late than never -- and, as Hugh Hewitt has eloquently argued on his show this week -- the stakes are enormously high.
I just wish President Bush and his generals had been for these things all along.
Sadly, they were not.And we gave them a free pass.
Shame on us.
-- gunjam

Has the pressure become too much for Iran?

The Jerusalem Post reports: Iran may halt uranium enrichment

  • Teheran wants Moscow to help mediate the standoff
  • Iran is "looking to Russia for new proposals, such as enrichment of uranium on Russian soil"

The Dark Knight Returns: Frank Miller discusses the War on Terror

Little Green Footballs has posted a link to a Frank Miller interview on NPR. Miller is refreshingly straight forward and concise about the state of American perceptions of itself and its enemies abroad.

Big Day in Iraq

From Reuters, filed at 4:01 p.m. ET :

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. and Iraqi forces killed some 250
gunmen from an apocalyptic Muslim cult on Sunday in a battle involving U.S.
tanks and aircraft near the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, Iraqi police, army
and political sources said.

The U.S./Iraqi joint attack supposedly pre-empted a planned assault on Shi'ites tomorrow.

Finally, some good news from the front.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Iran Triangulated

And, embarrassingly...

North Korea dismissed allegations Saturday that it is cooperating with Iran in nuclear development, accusing Western media of spreading lies to damage the communist country's reputation.

... like I said, bad week for Iran.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not something you see every day

From the Jerusalem Post:

Christmas on Camera: An Armenian Orthodox priest checks his video camera in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity before he and his colleagues set off on a Christmas procession Thursday.

Will the Israelis deal with Syria?

WorldNetDaily reports:

Olmert's party proposes handing West Bank to Europe
Follows WND reports of secret talks to evacuate strategic territory under EU supervision

A member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party yesterday proposed transferring control of the West Bank to a European task force until the establishment of a Palestinian state, at which time the strategic territory would be handed to security forces associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
This will probably not pan out.

Britain's Channel Four exposes Islamic Extremism

Jihad Watch reports on an undercover camera that a reporter snuck into supposed "moderate" mosques in Britain.

Read the full article here.

See the video on here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let's go Colts

The Associated Press reports that Peyton Manning is "playing coy" about his right thumb, which was injured during the Colts victory over the New England Patriots.

His thumb his fine, and he will start against Chicago.

Go Colts.

A new weapon in the U.S. arsenal

The U.S. military has developed a way to beam millimeter waves to disable the enemy, according to CNN. If caught in the path of the waves, the effect is similar to a sensation that one's skin is about to catch fire.

More from Reuters, here.

The weapon is non-lethal, and virtually harmless once the subject is no longer in the path of the waves.

Although it is not set to be manufactured until 2010, this will no doubt be a critical weapon to fight terror in urban settings.

Iran may soon find itself in financial trouble

A news analysis piece by Robert Windrem explains the predicament that Iran is beginning to find itself as oil prices begin to fall.

Saudi Arabia is putting on the squeeze. Some excerpts:

For the Saudis, who fear Iran’s religious, geopolitical and nuclear aspirations, the decision to lower the price of oil has a number of benefits, the biggest being to deprive Iran of hard currency. It also may create unrest in a country that is its rival on a number of levels and permits the Saudis to show the U.S. that military action may not be necessary.


The trader notes that Iran, OPEC’s second largest producer, is “in trouble” both in the short and long term. Iran’s oil reserves, he notes, are declining more rapidly than Saudi Arabia’s and are more difficult to extract. While a barrel of oil costs the Saudis $2-3 to get out of the ground and to market, that same barrel costs Iran as much as $15-18.
It seems Iran may be forced to slow down its race to nuclear stardom if cash becomes harder to come by. After all, it has little other industry to speak of.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Five more civilian contractors die in Iraq

According the the Associated Press, 5 American contractors employed by Blackwater USA have died in a helicopter crash today.

The website Iraq Coalition Casualty Count now brings the total to 153 for American Contractor Casualties in Iraq.

The exact number of civilian contractors in Iraq is difficult to pin down, but they are estimated in the tens of thousands, according to this Washington Post article. Military contractors alone are estimated at around 15,000.

Furthermore, quite a large number have died:

Security and other contractors working in Iraq have been frequent victims of violence. According to a Defense Department report to Congress last month, 166 contractors were killed and 1,005 wounded between May 1, 2003, and Oct. 28, 2004. The most publicized incident came on March 31, 2004, when four employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, a North Carolina-based company, were killed and their bodies dragged through the volatile western city of Fallujah.

For more from this excerpt, read here.

For an in depth analysis of military contractors in Iraq, this piece by Peter W. Singer, posted on in April, 2004 and posted on the Brookings Institution website, is a good start.

Royal Marines attempt daring Apache rescue during Afghanistan Operation

This story is so incredible, I am publishing it in full. From defence news in Britain:

Marines attempt daring Apache rescue during Afghanistan Operation
17 Jan 07

Royal Marines carried out a dramatic rescue attempt of their comrade, Lance Corporal Mathew Ford, in Afghanistan on Monday 15 January 2007. It was with great sadness that they later discovered he had been killed in action.

Mortar Teams from 42 Commando Royal Marines fire 81mm mortars into known Taliban positions during Operation Glacier which was a deliberate action against the Taliban stronghold of Jugroom Fort, Garmsir, Afghanistan

Lance Corporal Ford, from 45 Commando Royal Marines, died when his UK Task Force attacked a major Taliban fort in southern Helmand Province. The attack began at dawn on Monday 15 January 2007, on the Taliban base of Jugroom Fort, south of Garmsir. Z Company 45 Commando, mounted in Vikings and supported by C Squadron, Light Dragoons, crossed the Helmand river to the south west of the fort. 3 Commando Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF), had already secured the crossing point. The marines then dismounted to engage the Taliban with small arms fire.

The attack was supported by elements of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, elements of 59 Independent Squadron Royal Engineers, elements of 32 Regiment Royal Artillery along with attack helicopters and aircraft. Earlier, I Company, alongside the Afghan National Police had conducted an attack further to the north of the fort.

The UKTF met ferocious Taliban fire from all sides. As planned, Z Company then withdrew back to the far side of the Helmand river having successfully completed their objective. The engagement lasted for approximately five hours.

It is believed a number of Taliban targets were killed but it is not possible to say how many.
Having fought for a period, the Marines regrouped. When they discovered Lance Corporal Ford was missing they flew back, strapped to Apaches, to find their fallen comrade in a unique rescue mission attempt.

An initial plan was hatched to use Viking vehicles but they eventually concluded that the Apache WAH-64 attack helicopters would provide a quicker and safer means to get him out and back to safety.

And so four troops were strapped to the small side 'wings' of two Apaches, two to each helicopter. A third Apache provided aerial cover, and further units laid down a mass of covering fire while the other two Apaches landed.

All four men got off, as well as some of the aircrew, to provide additional firepower and to assist with the recovery of Lance Corporal Ford.

UK Task Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Rory Bruce, said: "It was a leap into the unknown. This is believed to be the first time UK forces have ever tried this type of rescue mission.

"It was an extraordinary tale of heroism and bravery of our airmen, soldiers and marines who were all prepared to put themselves back into the line of fire to rescue a fallen comrade."
Royal Marine Commando, Sergeant Jim Morrad provides cover for Corporal Aidy Callender of the Royal Marines Combat Camera Team (CCT) as he records incoming fire from 107mm rockets, fired by Taliban Insurgents into the District Centre of Garmsir

Explaining the rationale behind the initial attack on the fort, Lt Col Bruce added: "Our intention was to show the insurgents that they are not safe anywhere, that we are able to reach out to them and attack whenever and wherever we choose, even where they think they are at their safest. To that end, the mission was a success and the insurgents now know we can and will strike at any time.

"By conducting operations on this basis we do not allow the Taliban to regroup and rearm during the winter period. The attack reflects UKTF’s intent to restore confidence in the local population in the Garmsir area, to allow locals to improve their livelihoods without fear of persecution from Taliban.

"ISAF troops are keen to restore security around the deserted town of Garmsir so that the reconstruction effort can continue and Garmsir can once again thrive as the southern gateway to the Helmand development zone.

"Taliban forces have been present in the area for several months causing much of the local population to disperse. The operation sought to help provide a secure environment and reassure the population that they can begin to return to their homes. This will then allow ISAF to begin the process of reconstruction in the area."

Mortar Teams from 42 Commando Royal Marines take cover as Taliban insurgents fire 107mm rockets back in to the District Centre Compound, Garmsir during Operation Glacier
Lieutenant Colonel Rob MaGowan, who commanded the operation, said: "Tremendous bravery, professionalism and endurance was evident across the battlefield by all troops involved in the operation.

"This was a deliberate pre-planned operation to disrupt the insurgents freedom of movement in southern Helmand, a vital area for insurgents to equip and move fighters into the centre of the province."

During the battle, in addition to the fatality of Lance Corporal Ford, the UK Task Force sustained four casualties. All four casualties are in a stable condition.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Terrorists seek U.S. Visas

This post on Little Green Footballs quotes an ABC News story: "Details emerge about possible terror threat."

The planners were apparently taking a page from the 9/11 hijacker's play book. Scary.

Has North Korea decided to give up its Nukes?

According to this post on Hot Air, it may have.

If the President can deliver some solid, positive news tomorrow night during his State of the Union address; namely, that his tough policy against aspiring nuclear powers is paying off, he may gain some momentum for the war in Iraq, a stronger hand against Iran.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

3 Iranians detained in Mosul

The Associated Press reports that three Iranians have been detained by Iraqi police in Mosul.

It appears the Maliki government has begun to awake from its slumber.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Bush should not be surprised to find himself alone

After six years in office, the Bush Administration has been defined by a number of things: Iraq, tax cuts, conservatism, big government, a strong military, scandal and the perception of a maverick, cowboy-esque attitude. Yet, in the lame-duck phase of this President's second term, it is certainly this administration's mistakes which have crippled its current initiatives and credibility.

From the inception of his Presidency, the political Left feared that George W. Bush was out to ruin the world. He angered passionate environmentalists by rejecting the Kyoto Protocol. To add insult to injury, Condoleeza Rice, then National Security Adviser, proclaimed the treaty "dead on arrival." When he commissioned a report from the National Academy of Sciences on climate change, their report explained that Global warming is getting worse. He ignored it.

The administration's refusal to acknowledge the proof of the negative human impact on the environment has repeatedly galled conservationists. One of his first acts in office was to suspend Clinton's "roadless rule" protecting over 60 million acres. Vice President Cheney's secretive "Energy Task Force" further angered greenies, and even some moderates. This served to bolster the idea that Bush was entrenched with the oil industry.

As the march to war in Iraq began, Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Cheney's insistence that more troops would not be needed on the ground post-Iraq invasion worried military experts. General Eric K. Shinseki's estimate that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq was criticized as "wildly off the mark" by Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld also added fuel to the fire in the run up to war by his dismissal of "Old Europe."

A fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction and ensuing war in Iraq on questionable grounds left much of the world upset, prompting hundreds of thousands to march against the President. By the time the U.S. invaded Iraq, any post-9/11 good will was wiped away. The effects of Liberal and moderate American's anger at the squandered good will after 9/11 is now showing itself among our foreign allies, as well.

Proclaiming that "You are either with us or against us," Bush stoked our allies' fears of a more aggressive, imperialistic government. These comments engendered no good will around the world.

Landing atop an aircraft carrier proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" in what seemed at the time to be the photo op of the century now seems an overly optimistic PR ploy at best.

When attacks by insurgents began in Iraq, Bush's reckless language, provoking our enemies with "Bring them on" was a political and diplomatic disaster.

Furthermore, Halliburton's numerous no-bid contracts have inflamed Iraq war critics, as well as government ethics watch dogs.

The President and Vice President vehemently defended their assertion that Iraq and al Qaeda had closely collaborated, while the September 11 commission outright dismissed these claims.

The administration has placed itself in the cross hairs of Amnesty International and Human Rights watch because of its constitutionally questionable handling of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

Now in 2007, the President seems to have awoken to Domestic issues with an epiphany that Congress' wasteful pork-barrel spending is draining the U.S. budget: "31,709 Earmarks Later, Bush Decides Pork Is A Problem"

In less than 100 hours, newly elected Democrats have beaten the President and the [now] Republican minority in Congress to the punch with a whirlwind of legislation ranging from a minimum wage hike, to embryonic stem cell research, education, energy, reducing college student loans rates, to fully implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

The outpouring of legislation from the Democrats may be less kind-hearted, feel good, high-minded progress than the desire to demonstrate a kind of one-up-manship immediately after taking power. To their credit, the Democrats have also passed much stiffer rules against lobbyists, created a committee on global warming, and even banned smoking within the speaker's lobby of the house.

This glut of legislative activity has helped grant legitimacy to the new party in power, and further strip away credibility from the beleaguered minority Republicans, whose most recent legislative accomplishments include U.S. Senate Compromise Bill 686, handing jurisdiction of the Terri Schiavo case to the Florida Federal court. Although it couldn't balance a budget, or keep Congressional pages away from sexual predator House Representatives, the U.S Congress found time to micro-manage the life of a single human being in a coma.

Former Ohio Congressman Bob Ney was sentenced to 30 months in prison today, another humiliation for Republicans. The President should not wonder to himself, when he is alone on his ranch clearing brush, or at work in the oval office, why his allies have deserted him, why his political opponents now have the upper hand, or why he must now change course on previous failed policies, such as warrantless wiretapping.

Yet, despite this Administration's many failures, it rightly holds steady on a critical issue - fighting terrorism. Bush's zeal when it comes to combating terror, although not always strategically accurate, is most certainly correct in principle. Islamic fascist terrorists want nothing less than the total destruction of the West, and to impose an Islamic Caliphate that will rule by the strictest of sectarian beliefs. Above all partisan politics, we must be united in our opposition to terrorists.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Forced to become a suicide bomber

This story courtesy Hot Air, which was reported on by CNN: Made to Kill: Forced suicide bombings

Watch Mark Steyn

Courtesy Hot Air:

We're letting them kill us with our own weapons

The French think twice

On second thought, maybe it's not such a good idea to pal up with Ahmadinejad... the world is watching.

New York Times: French Visit to Tehran, Seen as Diplomatic Faux Pas, Is Aborted

U.S. spy plane shot down by Iran

Reported by China View here, by People's Daily Online here and by Regime Change Iran here.

Iranians criticize Ahmadinejad

Iran's President is under fire from his own:

Here and here, for starters.

Star Wars REDUX

From the New York Times: China successfully carried out its first test of an antisatellite weapon last week

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's all about the Benjamins

On yesterday, in a piece called "Democratic Majority: How to lose your way in 100 hours," Mary Katharine Ham blasted Senate Democrats (rightly so) for trying to kill the effort for earmark reform. But then she moved on to cite Harry Reid's opposition (along with many other Senate Dems) as proof of their contempt for women.

That's where I lost her.

As I began to think about it more, I started to wonder where this chorus of Republican fiscal conservative voices was prior to the Democratic takeover of Congress, when Republicans held the majority.

"In fact, Jonah Goldberg himself criticized Conservative silence here in a post on from June of 2003.

Some excerpts:

"Meanwhile, conservatives are loathe to criticize a popular and good president during a time of national emergency.

"The case that Bush is a big spender is irrefutable. Federal spending on Bush's watch has sky-rocketed. According to the Heritage Foundation, the years 2000 to 2003 marked the biggest spending spree in the history of the United States, except for WWII.
"Total spending has gone up nearly 14 percent in Bush's first three years, and discretionary spending has gone up nearly 20 percent.

"Bush spent a pile not only on guns, but on butter. Non-defense spending has gone up by almost the same amount as defense spending, and defense spending constitutes barely a fifth of the total increase in spending from 2000 to 2003.

"What are we spending it on? ... the biggest expansion of federal spending on education in decades. He agreed to a farm bill that had more pork in it than an all-you-can-eat North Carolina Super Bowl Buffet."
Sure, some conservatives have raised a stink once in a while here and there... but they have clearly let the Republican controlled House, Senate and White House get away with highway robbery for six years.
For the casual observer who may be on the fence about spending, consider the following:
Although there were occasions where some would say Bush saw the light, (Bush to propose spending freeze & more recently Bush calls on Congress to cut back on pet projects) it is far too little, too late. No, the conservatives, Bush included, long ago lost the high ground. They left it to Democrats, the Democrats! to call for a cut in spending. The Democrats will not succeed.
Surely, we've reached a sad state of affairs, when Bush's fellow Republicans are now standing up, rising to put their feet down and finally say, once and for all, that the U.S. must... not send more troops to Iraq?
And Democrats, fiscally responsible souls that they are, have swooped in, waiting in the wings, to take the wheel of this careening jalopy of a bloated government, and steer us in the direction of financial security.
This is the state of American politics today. The liberals are thrifty, and the conservatives are yellow (well, at least as yellow as the liberals). Much of this has been wrought, in part, by Bush's failed policies, inadequate leadership, and inability to compromise, unite or decide.
Now we are paying the price.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Explosions in Iran near border with Iraq

Ace of Spades reports the explosions here.

According to The Jawa Report, the explosions are near an Iranian Nuclear site.

More coverage from Regime Change Iran here.

The Iranian Hypocrites

From CNN:

Tehran: U.S. violates 'diplomatic norms'
Iranian officials portray the U.S. assertions as trumped-up lies aimed at fomenting tension and backing "illegitimate" actions against Iranians in Iraq. Tehran's complaints follow several steps by the U.S. military against Iranian officials in Iraq, including the detention last week of five people who the United States said are linked to the Iranian military.
Seyed Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, called the U.S. actions "illegal."
He accused the United States of violating "international conventions and diplomatic norms," and called on the United States "to immediately release the Iranian consular employees and pay for damages" that the military action caused to the building, Iran's government-run media outlet IRNA reported.
But the U.S. military, in a news release, said preliminary information revealed the five detained Iranians "are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard - Qods Force, an organization known for providing funds, weapons, improvised explosive device technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilize the government of Iraq and attack coalition forces."

The U.S. arrests of these Iranian "diplomats" may buck Diplomatic 'norms,' but are they illegal?

What would Iran have said if we had taken the entire embassy hostage instead of placing these "diplomats" under arrest? Certainly, the Iranians themselves have set the precedent for embassy hostage protocol.

Google: Aiding and abetting terrorists?

This is not the first time our own technology has been used against us, but it appears that Iraqi insurgents are using Google Maps to attack American and British troops.

The full story reported here in the Daily Telegraph.

Is the Aircraft Carrier turning?

The Guardian reports that the Bush Administration may be planning a huge shift in its environmental policy on climate change. It quotes British sources that seem to think Bush has changed his thinking and may announce a new initiative during his State of the Union address.

If Bush has finally seen the light on this issue (After Polar Bear die-offs, ice sheet break-offs, an unusually warm winter, peculiarly violent storms, and Iceberg retreat) he will be admitting yet another mistake in policy, but moving in the right direction, nonetheless.

Two more reasons why we must stay in Iraq

This column by Jack Kelly in the post-gazette, very nicely sums up the reasons we need to stay in Iraq, and how much less painful a war it has been in contrast to many other wars the U.S. has fought.

In the Washington Post, Leslie H. Gelb and Richard K. Betts describes our conduct in Iraq as "fighting not to lose". They also compare AND contrast Iraq and Vietnam.

Dr. Thomas Barnett on 'Rule Sets'

This excerpt of Thomas Barnett is from an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show from January 10th, 2007:

HH: What are rule sets? And why are they changing?

TB: Well, my use of the term rule set is just a way of kind of bundling up the notion that that…for any activity, you know, human life, American football, the U.S. legal system, how you run a business, there are rules connected to that activity. Some of them are formal, the ones that get written down, some of them are informal, the kind of conventional wisdom and the insider knowledge that everybody has. And what I argue is, when rule sets get out of whack in the world, that’s when you have security issues and danger, and you tend to have war, to kind of, in many ways, seek equilibrium. My definition of the 90’s, and in effect, what went wrong with it, what it got us, sort of the 9/11 shock to the system, is that economic rule sets raced ahead of political rule sets. And technological rule sets raced ahead of security rule sets. We connected up the world as a whole in terms of economics and technology and networks faster than our political understanding and our security understanding could keep pace. And so vulnerabilities were created. An extreme vulnerability was revealed, for example, on 9/11, in terms of a very deliberate attack against our infrastructure. And what it did was not only create the damage on the ground right there, 9/11, New York City, Washington, D.C., but it sent huge repercussions, such repercussions throughout our systems in terms of the psychic damage, and the sense of vulnerability created, that we created, in effect, a rule set reset. We said oh my God, we don’t have enough rules in this area and that area, so we started making rules like crazy, very fast. We slapped one together domestically. We call it the Patriot Act. And Bush proposed one internationally. He called it the law of preemption, in effect, okay? And both of them were trying to define a new minimum standard for stability.

HH: And they have not yet been bought into by the rest of the West, or the connected core, much less the disconnected gap?

TB: Well, and it’s because we have to acknowledge the notion, and it’s an argument I make in the second book, Blueprint For Action, that we really have to contextualize the employment of that awesome power known as the U.S. Military. We’ve been entrusted dramatically, I would argue, since the end of the Cold War, with having the world’s sole military superpower status. Nobody’s really trying to build a force that’s anywhere close to our reach and our firepower and our capacity to roam the world and wage war at will. But in exchange for allowing us to keep that disproportional status, we have to submit to some larger understanding of it’s under these conditions you get to use that tremendous power, and it needs to be some understanding as to what the repercussions and what the responsibilities of not just the United States, but other advanced powers to deal with the aftermath of that kind of situation. That’s the rule set that hasn’t emerged yet, although we’re getting closer.

General Petraeus

Two good takes on David Petraeus, the General now in charge of our troops in Iraq.

One from New York Post columnist Ralph Peters on the Hugh Hewitt show.

Another from an article in U.S. News & World Report from October, 2005 that is very telling.

Let's not give up so easily

As the L.A. Times reports, Democrats are feeling increasingly emboldened to defy the Administration's new Iraq policy. So for once, the Democrats begin to grow some balls and take a stance on an issue, only to be grossly defeatist with their posturing claims of America the loser.

But Jonathan Chait, writing an opinion for the L.A. Times gets it right. [some] Democrats were correct in their opposition to the invasion of Iraq, and even somewhat accurate in their predictions. However, that certainly should not empower them to think that an invasion of Iraq in 2003 can be applied to the insurgency/civil war/inept Iraqi government that is the case right now in 2007.

There are vastly greater global implications that must be taken into consideration today, such as:

Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda among other things.

The Washington Post's Kaiser equates Iraq to Vietnam

He is wrong. (See earlier post below regarding Iraq/Vietnam)

But Kaiser would be correct in his assessment... if you he were to look at the situation only in its most superficial terms... that the United States is fighting a ground battle against insurgents in a foreign country with a government that is fractious and disunited.

But when you look at the enemy we are fighting, any and all comparisons fly out the window.

Did the Viet Cong have global aspirations of world dominance?

Did the Vietnamese insurgents target their fellow countrymen for the sole purpose of igniting a Civil War?

Did the Communist Vietnamese soldiers attempt to launch terrorist attacks on United States soil and institute global communist rule?

Did the Communists in Vietnam declare anyone that did not agree with their zealous, radical ideology to be apostates deserving death?

Iranians Guilty

The Washington Post today reports that five Iranians detained by the U.S. military have links to insurgents in Iraq.

There is little doubt that Iran and its al-Quds force will increasingly be implicated with terror as U.S. operations evolve.

We should be sure to keep up the pressure on the Iranians.

Duke Rape: Case Closed?

KC Johnson has a great post in his blog about CNN and Paula Zahn's ineptness around the Duke rape case.

This quote taken today from her CNN website: Accused, arrested and all but convicted in the court of public opinion. What role did race play in the Duke rape case? Paula Zahn is bringing it all out in the open, LIVE from Durham, North Carolina. Tune in Friday at 8 p.m. ET on "Paula Zahn Now."

Unlike some Duke alumni, the mainstream news media, and much of the sports world included, was quick to judge and slow to rescind its condemnation of the three accused students, who now appear to be innocent after the D.A. has dropped the charges and asked to be removed from the case after ethics charges have been filed against him.

The players should take solace... their school's President has invited them back to school and just recently criticized the D.A... only AFTER charges were dropped.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Michael Moore: "Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do"

Is he insane? Okay, silly question. But what about all the other Democrats?

"We can't afford to leave" - Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Sen Carl Levin, who will lead Armed Services Committee, is among some key Senate Democrats who say they could consider supporting short-term increase in American troop levels in Iraq. - New York Times, January 4th, 2007

"But I think more people are now saying that we need to send more troops in Iraq. I can't be quiet and say, 'Where are you going to get these troops? Are you going to come back to neighborhoods like mine?' " - Boston Globe, November 21, 2006

The Washington Monthly notes via Jonah Goldberg that: "For the record: Many Democrats, along with plenty of conservatives, have noted that the initial invasion of Iraq didn't have enough troops to successfully occupy the country."

Democrats get the treatment in Cryptogon, too.

But the Democrats (and some Republicans) shouldn't feel too bad, they do have an ally in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


In his grand treatise entitled, literally: "Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do ...a letter from Michael Moore," Mr. Moore notes the following:

Monday, November 27th, marked the day that we had been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.


How about these statistics? In World War II, the United States had 407,300 combat casualties versus 3,018 dead in Iraq to date. The World War II deaths, which Moore lauds, are 135% worse than we've suffered in Iraq, during the same time period, as Michael Moore points out.

Is his impish, self-defeating title of his article even worth discussing? No.

It is better to refer you to this piece on' s HamNation, which superbly points out the Democratic hypocrisy, much like Jon Stewart has done so effectively on The Daily Show.

Here are some excerpts:

We need more troops on the ground. -Nancy Pelosi, May, 2004

"If it's for a surge, that is, for two or three months and it's part of a program to get us out of there as indicated by this time next year, then, sure, I'll go along with it," - Senator Harry Reid, December 17th, 2006

"Not enough troops. Not enough people. And the inability to seal the border with Syria." - Senator Joseph Biden, June 22nd, 2005

The list goes on.

Let's stop the hypocrisy and give this last surge in forces a chance. At the very least, we should avoid creating a political spectacle and media frenzy that the terrorists will feed on and exploit.

The left should worry

As the conventional wisdom goes, the liberal left tend to be more, well, liberal. The prevailing logic would also point to the fact that more liberals are gay than conservatives (Okay, okay, except for Mark Foley, and maybe a few evangelical pastors, but that's it!)
If that's true, then liberals take heed, gay liberals in particular... you should be the last to jump on the "give radical Arabs free reign" bus. As was reported over a year ago, Iran executed two homosexual teenagers on July 19th, 2005.
The news was also posted on the liberal Daily Kos on July 22nd.
Reportedly, the teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and beaten with up to 228 lashes prior to the hanging.

Are these the types of thugs we want to hand Iraq over to?

Where will they turn to next, once they've finished subjugating their own people?


If you squinted your eyes, and perused the bottom half of the New York Times' website, then you would have seen the shocking news that 14 members of the Carter Center's advisers stepped down in opposition to his recent book, entitled: "Palestine: Peace, not apartheid".

The original story was actually reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Little Green Footballs does a much better job covering the whole story, with follow-up here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This is not Vietnam

In light of the President's speech last night, a couple of things should be noted before the crescendo of voices rise any further in opposition to an increase in troops. Let's be clear: The invasion of Iraq was not part of the so-called War on Terrorism, but the current war in Iraq is. Furthermore, any attempt to paint the United States' current dilemma in Iraq with our struggle in Vietnam is to grossly underestimate the force of radical Islamic fundamentalism, to ignore the violent rantings of terrorists that have declared war on the West, and to misunderstand what we are fighting for and who we are fighting against.

These quotes cited from Real Clear Politics:

"Jihadis thus neither recognize national boundaries within the Islamic lands nor do they believe that the coming Islamic state, when it is created, should have permanent borders with the unbelievers. The recognition of such boundaries would end the expansion of Islam and stop offensive jihad, both of which are transgressions against the laws of God that command jihad to last until Judgment Day or until the entire earth is under the rule of Islamic law."
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has said this: "Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute... Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, Death to America will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: Death to America."
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has also declared his absolute hostility to America. Last October, he said, "whether a world without the United States and Zionism can be achieved... I say that this... goal is achievable." In 2006 he declared to America and other Western powers: "open your eyes and see the fate of pharaoh... if you do not abandon the path of falsehood... your doomed destiny will be annihilation." Later he warned, "The anger of Muslims may reach an explosion point soon. If such a day comes [America and the West] should know that the waves of the blast will not remain within the boundaries of our region." He also said this: "If you would like to have good relations with the Iranian nation in the future... bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender. If you don't accept [to do this], the Iranian nation will... force you to surrender and bow down."
These excerpts from a Hugh Hewitt interview with Lawrence Wright, a writer for The New Yorker, author of The Looming Tower, and a terrorism expert.
"... I think that terrorism is a unique threat. And if you go back, for instance, to the pre-9/11 presidential campaign, Bush-Gore, they didn’t talk about terrorism at all. And it’s very difficult for any, either of the parties to really pose clear, sustainable plan for dealing with terrorism. It’s a long term, perhaps a generational problem.
"I’ve written about al Qaeda’s master plan, its grand plan. And one of the things that al Qaeda would love to see happen is to have happen, is to have the U.S. and Iran in a real conflict, because it was accomplish things that al Qaeda can’t do for itself. Like al Qaeda would love to destroy the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iran can do that. Al Qaeda can’t. Al Qaeda would love to have Hezbollah activated against Israel and the U.S. Al Qaeda can’t do that, but Iran can. So that’s a part of their strategy, if they could accomplish it. So I think they’re more dangerous together than they are separately. And we’d be really wise not to try to follow their playbook, which is to draw us deeper into conflict with Iran and Syria. And they’re great readers of American political theory, and Paul Kennedy’s book, The Rise And Fall Of Great Powers…you know that book?
"I just recently did a piece for the magazine called The Master Plan. And I’d been wondering what al Qaeda’s plans for itself were. And it turns out they’re very easy to obtain. Most of them are published on the web. And some of them are actually in English, although I had a lot of the work translated from Arabic. The plan is basically rather chilling, although it’s self-justifying, it is highly propagandistic in many ways, but sometimes, it’s a little chilling to see how it’s unfolded, and what they have in mind. Their 20 year plan is to…they wanted to entice America into conflict with the Muslim world, and that begins with 9/11, and the first stage ends with the fall of Baghdad. And their idea is that young jihadi recruits will stream into Iraq and get training. And then, they’ll go back to their own countries, and wage jihad against their rulers, and eventually pull down those governments, establish a caliphate. And in the year 2020, they will create an Islamic army that will wage a final apocalyptic battle with the unbelievers. That’s their plan.
"The al Qaeda strategists, you know, intend this to be a battle to the finish. That doesn’t mean that everybody that’s drawn to al Qaeda has those kind of absurd, Utopian goals. There are people that go into it for very narrow reasons, and it could be combated by addressing some of the intense political problems in the region. But it’s gotten…it’s fascinating to me to see how al Qaeda has evolved over time, from being an organization that…mainly, bin Laden’s big goal was to get the American troops out of Saudi Arabia. You know, if you had sat him down in 2002, or early 2003, and said what’s your goal, get the Americans out of the holy land. And then, the Americans got out. In April of 2003, the troops which were there to enforce the no-fly rule against Saddam Hussein, the American administration said you know, Saddam is gone, we’re going to remove our troops. In May, the very next month, al Qaeda began its assaults on the foreigners housing compounds in Saudi Arabia. And it seemed a very clear statement that they weren’t going to be appeased, or mollified by any moves in the direction of what was their stated goal."
This is not Vietnam.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Kimbo Slice v Sean Gannon

This video could be a highly effective terrorism deterrent.

The U.S. military should take advantage of these taped fights and distribute them throughout the Middle East. It could be suggested to our enemies that this is what Americans do with their spare time.

Wouldn't you be a scared of encountering these brutal Americans in hand to hand combat if you were an Islamic fascist zealot living in a cave?

Fight Club?

Kimbo Slice Street Fight.

This man scares me.

War with Iran?

The blog Regime Change Iran cites a recent piece by Kenneth R. Timmerman titled "Impending Iran Crisis".
The article notes the build up of U.S. and British Navy in the Persian Gulf and the recent U.N. Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Iran as reasons for the potential of armed conflict within "the next three to six months".
Combine that with last night's report that Israel is (supposedly) planning an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Scary stuff... but entirely possible.

Christopher Hitchens makes a good argument

In Slate, Christopher Hitchens puts forth a reasoned, principled critique of the mishandled death of Saddam Hussein. Unlike the weak and disordered whining by much of the left, Hitchens clearly articulates his ideas why Saddam's execution was poorly planned, hastily implemented, and unfortunately bereft of human dignity.

There is little reason to feel sorry for Saddam Hussein, but the same cannot be said of Iraq's despondent judicial and governmental state of affairs - run by a brutal majority, loyal to a bevy of militant radicals, and replete with an endless thirst for revenge.

Pitying Saddam

Why do they pity him?


More pity.

Even more pity.

Still, more pity.

What's that? Oh, right - Pity.

Read this book

For anyone interested in 9/11, the path Al Qaeda and Muslim extremists took before the attack, the ideological thinking behind modern Islamist terrorists, a recent history of the United States' pursuit of terrorism, and more, then you have to read this book.

Lawrence Wright does a fantastic job assembling the facts and figures, and weaving them together into crisp, clear prose. The book reads like a novel.

The Belmont Club summarizes web logs

This post on The Belmont Club's site does an excellent job of summarizing and explicating web logs in general.

I highly recommend you read it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Don't screw it up

Democrats re-take control of Congress today...

Democrats taking reins as new session opens on hill
Dems eager to put stamp on new Congress
Pelosi becomes first woman House speaker

Congratulations. Now get to work.

How? Ending free travel paid by lobbyists. Reduced opacity for pet projects on discretionary spending (earmarks). Raise the minimum wage. Scrutinize the war in Iraq. Elevate the level of discourse ("I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship"). Right. Didn't she say... "The emperor has no clothes" and "I believe that the president's leadership in the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience in making the decisions that would have been necessary to truly accomplish the mission without the deaths to our troops and the cost to our taxpayers." Partnership... right.

Will they formulate a real energy plan?
Will they reform Medicare and Medicaid?
Will they ensure the solvency of Social Security?
Will they screw it up?
Will they make tough choices?
Will they become complacent and fall back into their old ways?

The Democrats confront a changing America, and a different political landscape. Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison, a muslim was sworn in with a Koran. Carl Levin suggests he may support a temporary troop surge in Iraq. Riding in the backseat yelling directions is a lot easier than being behind the wheel.

Democrats are also faced with a desperate press corps, which continues to abdicate power to the blogosphere. Americans have come to rely more on blogs for critical news that the mainstream media has botched, such as the Jamil Hussein/AP case, or credible reporting from outside the Green Zone in Iraq. Blogs have pointed out editorial partisanship on the part of the major news outlets, at least reported on stories like the Sandy Berger document destruction and even published breaking news exclusives.

It will be an interesting term for this new Congress.

Change on the Horizon

New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer outlined his administration's dense agenda yesterday. His plan is ambitious to say the least:

  • Health insurance for all children
  • Tougher campaign laws
  • Cut property taxes $6 billion
  • Constitutional Amendments to overhaul the state's courts
  • Rein in health care spending
  • Bring transparency to school aid
  • Revitalize the upstate New York economy
  • End government gridlock
  • Rebuild the World Trade Center
  • Lower campaign contribution limits
  • Promote stem cell research
  • New peace bridge over the Niagara River
  • The Second Avenue Subway
  • Replace the Tappan Zee Bridge

Hopefully, he will follow through on his promises and leave New York in a better position than he found it, which should not be too hard. New York state has suffered the status quo of the big three (Pataki, Silver, Bruno) for far too long.

The particularly egregious wave of gluttony of political corruption has given Eliot Spitzer the same mandate that the new Democratic Congress has been given.

Hopefully, he will not squander it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"Houston, we have a problem"

No shit.

Thank you, Mr. President, for stating they obvious.

Oh, the balls on this guy, the hypocrisy, the apostasy! Apostasy? Yes, apostasy, because pork-barrel spending, President Bush's new "pet project," has been a modus operandi for the Republicans for years now.

Now, more than half way into his second term, George W. Bush has realized that Congress' wasteful spending is harming the economy. It's bad for America. Like terrorism.

Miraculously, he has come to this epiphany on the eve of the Democratic takeover of the Congress. Interesting.

Where the Fu(# has he been? Has the President, the decider, the cowboy, the man who stood up to terrorism, finally flexed some muscles on the domestic front? The placement of Congress' wasteful spending on Bush's agenda in his penultimate year in office says plenty.

But first, some Quick Facts on Pork Trends from Citizens Against Government Waste:

The # of projects increased by 940 percent between 1996 and 2006.
The # of projects decreased 29 percent between 2005 and 2006.
The total number of projects has increased by 6.4 percent since 2003.
The cost of pork in 2006 was 6.2 percent more than in fiscal 2005.
The cost of pork has increased by 29 percent since fiscal 2003.

All under Republican Congressional leadership.

President's Bush's bold new statements do not come by accident. He obviously hopes to deflect some attention from Iraq and his anticipated speech detailing a shift in strategy. A new policy speech on a hot button issue like pork-barrel spending might generate some good will a week before a speech that will likely contain tough words and tough tactics.

Secondly, the President wants to salvage what has otherwise been a Presidency marked by a dismal record on domestic policy. In fact, dismal may be too generous a word. Lackluster, uninspired, squandered might be more appropriate adjectives. What will his legacy be? A war-time President who spent two terms fighting Islamic terrorism and overthrowing a middle eastern dictator. Period.

Thirdly, Bush clearly hopes to stick it to the Democrats like he did NOT stick it to his fellow party members. He is calling them out as they start their term, as if he spoke from position of moral of fiscal authority.

Fourthly, Bush is looking to simultaneously respond to the mid-term election vote and set his party up for 2008...

But I doubt he's fooling anyone. He hasn't fooled the fiscally conservative right. Bruce Bartlett assailed the President from a piece in the National Review Online. The most Bush can claim is a "threat" of a veto in February, 2004 over a bloated Highway bill. He did not follow through on his threat. Indeed, Bartlett points out that vetoing bills by your own party need not be claimed a taboo. He notes that FDR vetoed 635 bills passed by Democrats. Bartlett laments that on the contrary, not only has Bush been silent on vetoes, but he also signed into law a bloated Medicare bill. In 2004, Bush also drew fire for refusing to veto the $375 billion Omnibus appropriations bill. His record speak for itself.

Where has this taken us? Congress inserted 15,877 earmarks into spending bills in 2005 alone, according to the American Progress Action Fund. Furthermore, the $286.4 Billion 2005 highway bill, which passed, contained $24 Billion in earmarks for 6,736 pet projects. Bush proposed a tough line-item veto back in March, 2006 to combat pork-barrel spending. Yet, what has he done since?

A paragraph from the White House website notes: "Every year that the President has been in office, he has reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending. Additionally, in FY2006, the President succeeded in holding the growth in base discretionary funding to less than the rate of inflation." But that doesn't include entitlement programs, which continue to grow, and from which earmarks attach themselves to.

In his opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Bush notes "One important message I took away from the election is that people want to end the secretive process by which Washington insiders are able to slip into legislation billions of dollars of pork-barrel projects that have never been reviewed or voted on by Congress." Again, I have to reiterate... Why has it taken six years to realize this? And even if he is serious, the fact that this initiative comes on the heels of a devastating mid-term loss gives it the reek of being disingenuous.

The President praises Senator Byrd and Congressman Obey for their restraint in the final weeks of their session. Praise for Byrd, of all people, titled "The Kind of Pork" by Citizens Against Government Waste. How does he feel about it? "They call me 'the pork king,' they don't know how much I enjoy it." Byrd and Obey are flagrant abusers of their pork-barrel dispensing powers, nearly as bad as Senators Stevens and Inouye, the Spendthrift Duo, who I have documented in previous posts.

Moving down the page on Bush's opinion piece, I can't help but wonder if he proof read what his ghost writer drafted for him. Almost immediately after the President's wasteful spending proclamation, he mentions the need for greater energy security, another initiative the commander in chief had an opportunity to run with after September 11th, but one that he also squandered.

In sum, today's Porklamation Proclamation has changed nothing. The President may work with the Democrats to curb pork-barrel spending, but it would be a stretch to think that he could claim any kind of victory if it is successful. Any progress on spending cuts will be viewed as a Democratic victory. Ironically, as the opposition party, the Republicans in Congress are likely to raise a stink about spending as well, as they find - they hope - the road back to the majority.

Regardless of the outcome, a last ditch effort in the twilight of his second term will not rescue President Bush's abominable domestic record. He might as well focus all his energies on untangling the U.S. from its foreign entanglements... if that, too, isn't an insurmountable task.