Thursday, May 31, 2007

That Pesky Iran

To many, it has seemed for quite a while that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had the upper hand against President Bush in the war of words.

Pat Dollard reminds us that things are not all that they may appear:

Watching the pundits discuss our historic meeting with Iran, you would have mostly heard despair at the notion that we have no leverage in these talks, and so therefor why would Iran give on anything? Why would they stop waging war against us in Iraq if they have nothing to fear? To all the experts in the media, the whole thing seemed like some grand puzzlement. Was it just an attempt to appease the administration’s domestic critics who have been chiding it for not engaging in diplomacy ( a vaguery if there ever was one ) with the world’s top terrorist? No one you heard from could really quite grasp what was going on.

For some reason, no one told you that just 5 days before Monday’s talks, an entire floating army, with nearly 20,000 men, comprising the world’s largest naval strike force, led by the USS Nimitz and the USS Stennis, and also comprising the largest U.S. Naval armada in the Persian Gulf since 2003, came floating up unannounced through the Straight of Hormuz, and rested right on Iran’s back doorstep, guns pointed at them. The demonstration of leverage was clear. And it also came on the exact date of the expiration of the 60 day grace period the U.N. had granted Iran.

And it came just a few weeks after Vice President Dick Cheney had swept through the region and delivered a very clear and pointed message to the Saudi King Abdullah and others: George Bush has unequivocally decided to attack Iran’s nuclear, military and economic infrastructure if they do not abandon their drive for military nuclear capability. Plain and simple. Iran heard the message as well, and although a lack of leverage may seem clear to America’s retired military tv talking heads, it is not so clear to the government in Tehran.

We should also take notice that today, the G8 vows fresh Iran sanctions. Not to mention other bad press: Bombs Said To Be From Iran Found in Afghanistan.

Which brings us to an article today by Michael Ledeen, entitled The Invisible Crisis.

Rarely have so many journalists, politicians and commentators so totally missed a headline. There are now five American hostages in Iran. Each case has been largely treated by itself, almost as if it were an oddity, something requiring a special explanation, instead of another piece in a luminously clear pattern whose meaning should be intuitively obvious to us all.

What I find most interesting is Iran's possible motives, or justification, for its recent bold detention of American scholars and journalists.

Perhaps it is related to ABC's exposing Bush’s secret order to CIA to destabilize Iranian regime?

Just a thought.

Don't Screw Up Before the First Primary

Former Senator John Edwards is having a hard time not violating one of the cardinal rules of the race for President.

He doesn't necessarily need to dazzle, awe, or inspire all that much. He really just needs to raise money and stick to the talking points. But just don't screw up.

First, it was the radically venomous, hateful bloggers he hired, then it was his $400 haircut, then he denied that we are fighting a war on terror, and now...

Edwards Recants Iraq Report Remark

Former Senator John Edwards, a Democratic presidential candidate, told an interviewer on Wednesday that he had read the classified October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate before voting to authorize force in Iraq, even though he had previously maintained that he had not read the report and had only been briefed on it.

Foot in mouth syndrome.

I see Edwards as the John McCain of the Democrats... wacky, oddball, and crazier than the last time he ran for president.

CNN Twists the Christian/Newsom Murders

CNN finally got around to reporting on the Channon Christian and Chris Newsom Tennessee murders... only to use the incident to bash bloggers and insinuate that white supremacists alone created the controversy about the lack of coverage, and have solely driven the issue. Hot Air has the video.

The Litvinenko Twist

The Belmont Club: The Wilderness of Mirrors

Was it the KGB?
Or MI6?
A Double-cross?
An accident?


They come from the land of the Ice and Snow

A thousand years ago, the curved-prow warship might have spewed out hordes of bloodthirsty Norsemen ready to pillage and burn.

This time, the spoils are adventure rather than plunder.

The Sea Stallion of Glendalough is billed as the world's biggest and most ambitious Viking ship reconstruction, modeled after a warship excavated in 1962 from the Roskilde fjord after being buried in the seabed for nearly 950 years.

Volunteers are preparing it for a journey across the legendary Viking waters of the North Sea — leaving Roskilde in eastern Denmark on July 1 and sailing 1,200 miles to Dublin, which was founded by Vikings in the 9th century.

Our 21st Century Military Needs

Tom Donnelly writes of The Army We Need

Given the number and variety of missions and the emerging nature of land war, it is apparent that U.S. land forces need not only to be more numerous but also to reflect capabilities beyond simply the timely and devastating delivery of firepower. If the Pentagon's transformation model was geared for rapid, decisive operations, our post-9/11 experience tells us there will be no one-battle war. The conflicts we face are more like the frontier fighting of the 19th century--in the American West but also in the far-flung outposts of the British Empire--than the epic clashes of European armies in the 20th century.

He often sounds like Thomas P.M. Barnett.

More on the state of our military and what we need to do in order to improve it for the conflicts we expect to face from the tank at NRO.

Yet more from the tank at NRO on U.S. Defense Spending: Myths and Facts.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The NY Times on Cuban Healthcare

‘Sicko,’ Castro and the ‘120 Years Club’

Having practiced medicine in both Cuba and the United States, Dr. Cordova has an unusual perspective for comparison.

“Actually there are three systems,” Dr. Cordova said, because Cuba has two: one is for party officials and foreigners like those Mr. Moore brought to Havana. “It is as good as this one here, with all the resources, the best doctors, the best medicines, and nobody pays a cent,” he said. But for the 11 million ordinary Cubans, hospitals are often ill equipped and patients “have to bring their own food, soap, sheets — they have to bring everything.” And up to 20,000 Cuban doctors may be working in Venezuela, creating a shortage in Cuba.

It seems Mr. Moore hasn't checked his sources very well. But Fred Thompson has.

Body Armor B.S.

Playing Politics Over Body Armor

What is especially troubling about this whole thing is that the US military had to release footage of all the tests so terrorists can analyze how to defeat US body armor. What was probably the most damning information left out of the NBC report was that the Dragon Skin body armor weighs 47.5 pounds compared to the Interceptorarmor that weighs 28 pounds. How could NBC News leave such critical information as this out of their report? It just shows that they are deliberately presenting only the facts that supports the narrative they want everyone to believe. It is truly sad how bad the level of journalism in America has reached. The media at one time played a critical role as a check and balance on the government, now it is nothing more than a propaganda organ and a political weapon for members of the government. I know members of the media read this blog and I would interested to read an opinion from someone in the media on the NBC reporting.

More at NRO.

Just shameful.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No Respect

Google neglects Memorial Day

The excuse:

If we were to commemorate this holiday, we'd want to express reverence; however, as Google's special logos tend to be lighthearted in nature, this would be a particularly challenging design. We wouldn't want to create a graphic that could be interpreted as disrespectful in any way.

A Possible Fake from Palestine

It's suspect.

A Flawed Immigration Bill

The immigration bill needs some re-tooling.

More from Hugh Hewitt.

Immigration's Underbelly

The Todd Bensman's thorough immigration series in the San Antonio Express News is a must read on immigration. If you're relatively new to the issue, most of it will shock you.

Breaching America: War refugees or threats? [Excerpts]

Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Homeland Security and a former assistant director of the FBI, said the nation's vulnerability from this human traffic is unassailable — even if not a single terrorist has ever been caught.

"This isn't a partisan issue," McCraw said. "If the good guys can come, you know, then so can the bad guys. We are at risk."

Though most who cross America's borders are economic migrants, the government has labeled some terrorists. Their ranks include:

Mahmoud Kourani, convicted in Detroit as a leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah. Using a visa obtained by bribing a Mexican official in Beirut, the Lebanese national sneaked over the Mexican border in 2001 in the trunk of a car.

Nabel Al-Marahb, a reputed al-Qaida operative who was No. 27 on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list in the months after 9-11, crossed the Canadian border in the sleeper cab of a long-haul truck.

Express-News Special Report

Farida Goolam Mahammed, a South African woman captured in 2004 as she carried into the McAllen airport cash and clothes still wet from the Rio Grande. Though the government characterized her merely as a border jumper, U.S. sources now say she was a smuggler who ferried people with terrorist connections. One report credits her arrest with spurring a major international terror investigation that
stopped an al-Qaida attack on New York.

One of 10 "special-interest" immigrants is actually caught
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehension numbers, agents along both borders have caught more than 5,700 special-interest immigrants since 2001. But as many as 20,000 to 60,000 others are presumed to have slipped through, based on rule-of-thumb estimates typically used by homeland security agencies.

"You'd like to think at least you're catching one out of 10," McCraw said. "But that's not good in baseball and it's certainly not good in counterterrorism."

Other federal agencies besides the Border Patrol have caught thousands more of the crossers inland after it was discovered they were in the country illegally, including 34,000 detainees from Syria, Iran, Sudan and Libya between 2001 and 2005, according to a homeland security audit last year of U.S. detention centers for immigrants. Then there is an unknown number caught by Mexico — an inveterate partner, as it turns out.

Why couldn't a terrorist do it?
If an Iraqi Christian with few resources and little more on his mind than fleeing a war for a better future in America can make his way from a designated state sponsor of terror like Syria for less than $4,000, then why couldn't a well-financed Muslim terrorist of equal determination?

Onesies and twosies
Though the Texas Legislature this month passed Gov. Rick Perry's $100 million border-security proposal, some lawmakers have belittled the idea that terrorists might blend in as a politically expedient cover for a racist anti-Mexican agenda.

Texas Rep. Rick Noriega, D-Houston, who commanded a National Guard unit in the Laredo area, said Middle Eastern immigrants don't worry him because they only come across in "onesies and twosies."

With a little help from a friend
...some foreign embassies and consulate offices based in the Middle East have no qualms about providing Iraqis and local citizens with visas that enable them to get within striking distance of a U.S. border. One of them is the Guatemala consulate office in Jordan.

The consulate is about 150 miles southeast of Damascus, in Amman. A blue and white national flag of Guatemala snaps atop a 20-foot flagpole on a busy street in the financial district. The flag advertises the presence in a strip shopping center of Guatemala's "Honorary Consul" in the Kingdom of Jordan: Patricia Nadim Khoury, who represents Guatemala's foreign affairs from a home-furnishings shop catering to Amman's wealthy.

This is the only place that Boles' smuggler could have secured a real Guatemala tourist visa.

Venezuela is another jumping-off point to the American border, according to court records of smuggling cases.

Because of its antagonistic relationship with the United States, Venezuela does not cooperate on counterterrorism measures, according to the U.S. government, and shows no concerns about issuing visas to special-interest migrants.

One day recently, the Venezuelan Embassy in Damascus, its walls bedecked with large portraits of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, was packed with Syrians seeking one of nine types of visas offered.

The U.S. State Department has complained in recent years about Venezuela's cozy relationship with Syria and Iran. Earlier this year, the first nonstop flights began from Tehran, Iran, to Caracas, Venezuela — a development that some U.S. counterterrorism specialists say opens a new avenue for potential terrorists to the American border.

And our Cuban friends
Boles may have had his Guatemala visitor's visa, but he would not be able to complete his trip from Moscow without a transit visa through Cuba.

This would prove to be no problem in Damascus, and he has plenty of company among Syrians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Lebanese and others passing through.

Carrying his Iraqi passport, Boles took a 15-minute cab ride to the three-story whitewashed Cuban Embassy just three blocks from the American Embassy.

Inside, friendly clerical workers handed him an application. He filled it out and handed over $70 cash with his passport and some passport-sized pictures. About a half-hour later, his passport was returned stamped, no questions asked.

Cuba's consul in Damascus said in an interview that his country happily grants visas to any Middle Easterner who asks "because America doesn't give anyone the opportunity to take refuge, especially after 9-11."

"But we work another way," said Armando Perez Suarez. "We put conditions on American people who are making war with everyone. The Arab people are the peaceful ones. We give visas to anybody who wants to visit our country."

Suarez said he is well aware that Cuba, with its economic problems and poverty, is not anyone's idea of a final destination.

"After that, if he wants to travel to any other country, the U.S., or Central America, this is not our problem," Suarez said. "It's not our burden."

With al Qaeda on the Decline, the media provides life support

It depends who you ask.

Pat Dollard thinks al Qaeda is doomed. And he has good reason to believe so.

Not simply because of good news such as an Iraqi tip-off which led to the U.S. freeing 42 Iraqis from al-Qaeda hideout.

And not only because their ideological sisters the Taliban are now paranoid, as Hot Air explains, due to the recent rash of assassinations among their senior leadership (again, thanks to tip-offs and betrayal by former sympathizers).

Not only because the mainstream media have even occasionally come to realize the great success Anbar province has become.

Not only because Most Iraqis, military leaders predict chaos if U.S. pulls out.

al Qaeda is doomed, first and foremost, for the reasons laid out by Michael Yon and The Belmont Club in recent days.


Iraqis have told me many times that the larger part of this war is not about religion. Fanatical groups such as al Qaeda surely have wreaked havoc, but a huge part of the war is about business, influence and resources. The American Commanding General, David Petraeus, has said repeatedly that money is ammunition in this war. The meetings I attend with local leaders around Iraq are never about religion. Religion is seldom if ever brought up. The meetings are about security, electricity, jobs, water projects. The meetings often are about influence, and politics fit for a novel.

Everything I see at these meetings indicates that those Coalition officers who say that money is ammunition in this war, are right. Al Qaeda is proving itself to the Iraqis to be bankrupt morally, and financially. There is a chance to fill the vacuum.

And Belmont Club:

I've always wondered what tactical utility the al-Qaeda obtained from its "slaughterhouses". The Iraqi captives -- and certainly the 14 year old boy -- could not have had any information of military value. And what information they had would have gone stale in the four months. Moreover the operational danger to maintaining these dungeons must have been immense, as the al-Qaeda who maynow be in US custody after the raid must now realize. So what was the purpose of the "slaughterhouses"? The answer I suspect, will largely resemble the answer to the question of why the Nazis made lampshades out of human skin, soap out of gas-chamber victims or performed medical experiments on live inmates when there was very little practical use in it. The utility was in the brutality itself; in the psychological benefit which the Nazis somehow derived.

Al-Qaeda, like all the evil vapors of the world through history, inevitably comes to resemble its predecessors. Soldiers of the dark eventually find themselves wearing the same livery. Flowers bloom in myriad ways, but evil, like pornography, is repetitive. It marches to the same dull beat that all the Lost of the ages have heard call. Poor men, these al-Qaeda, they who would remake the world in their ostensibly new vision only to find it had been templated long ago by some sad and ancient corruption.

Both Yon and The Belmont Club are saying the same thing. al Qaeda's philosophy, its culture, and its modus operandi offer nothing but death and despair. It is clear that American military commanders have come to the same realization on the ground in recent months.

The vast majority of Iraqis desire what al Qaeda can never give them: Peace, security, freedom, and jobs.

We've seen the ravages of an Islamic state under the Taliban in Afghanistan. We are now seeing the rapid decline of an Iranian regime run by mullahs and a mad man, with little disregard for sound economic policies, free speech, or self-expression.

Yet, for the New York Times, the war in Iraq has only produced militants who will be exported to wage terror abroad. But they will fail, as they are failing in Iraq, for what they cannot provide.

Of course, this has always been the stated goal of al Qaeda, Iraq war or not. Bin Laden and Zawahiri have long dreamed of a Caliphate from Spain to India. If it wasn't Iraq, it would be Afghanistan, if not Afghanistan, then Chechnya, and so on.

Now, it is true that we must not get complacent with the recent progress in Iraq. As MSNBC noted:

NEW YORK - There is a saying in the tribal areas that span the Afghanistan-Pakistan border lands, one that is usually expressed with a sly smile: “The Americans have the watches. We have the time.”

The underlying message, of course, is quite clear: Al-Qaida and the Taliban have the patience they need to reconstitute and refocus their operations, using different models than those they used prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and working perhaps on different targets.

Many are now calling characterizing the terror group as al Qaeda 3.0.

For good reason.

As Strategy Page points out, the group has become adept at public relations:

Al Qaeda Telethon Appeals for Donations

May 28, 2007: Borrowing yet another technique from other non-profit organizations, al Qaeda has gone on television and appealed for donations. Pointing out that the organization has thousands of gunmen and suicide bombers on the payroll, and a severe cash shortage in Afghanistan, .the leader of al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, Shiek Mustafa Abu al Yazid, made the plea recently on al Jazeera television.

And as Lorie Byrd adds:

Al Qaeda mastered media manipulation in Iraq
...much of their strategy revolves around manipulation of the media. An enemy unable to beat us on the battlefield is employing a strategy of attacks planned specifically for maximum media coverage and effect.

The war on terror may not be won or lost through the media, but it can certainly influence the length and scale of the battle.

If our media can really wake up to the realities on the ground, and resist their prurient interests, which play into the devils' hands, we may even be able to shave years off this struggle.

Iran's Meltdown

As the Guardian reports the Iran interest rate cut sparks panic selling, we also hear reports of Ahmadinejad's crackdown on "Children of Allah influenced by International Imperialism."

These latest developments, coupled with the recent U.S. Navy war games in Iran's front yard, and the video of women beaten in the streets by religious police spell chaos, dissent and decline for the Iranian regime.

Finally, as icing on the cake, Iran has recently hiked the price of gasoline by 25 percent.

Things are not looking good, not even for Ahmadinejad's fellow non-aligned buddy Hugo Chavez.

Viva la resistance!

Spain Cracks Down on Terror

I haven't seen this reported here in the states:

Arrests were made in Cataluña, Madrid and MálagaThere have been more developments in the police operation against Islamic terrorism in Cataluña, reported early on Monday.

The number of arrests were reported on Monday evening to have gone up to at least 16: 13 were made in Cataluña, two in Aranjuez in Madrid province, and one in Málaga. The latest was in Barcelona on Monday afternoon. Other arrests in Cataluña took place in Badalona, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Igualada and Mataró.

This just as US-Spain relations to warm up with Condoleeza Rice visit. First Germany, then France, and now Spain. It seems the Bush administration may finally be making significant progress repairing American-European relations.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed Redux

Fun with photoshop

Monday, May 28, 2007

Martian Footprint

Lawrence Wright on Iraq

The perspicacious Lawrence Wright, spoke to WNYC's Brian Lehrer.


It was a tragic mistake to go into Iraq.

If you read the memoirs, the internal documents of al Qaeda - their own leaders talk about how 80% of the al Qaeda membership was captured or killed after Tora Bora in November/December, 2001, and the leaders - the survivors who did get away - were scattered, destitute, unable to communicate, and repudiated all over the world. The movement was essentially dead, the war on terror was over, and it was the invasion of Iraq that brought that movement back to life.

So... knowing al Qaeda as you do, let me put you on the spot and ask you what you think about the central political debate that our country is having now over continuing the Iraq war, because Republicans, like the president and Rudy Giuliani, say withdrawal would hand al Qaeda the victory they're seeking over the United States, which would then leave us more vulnerable to attack here at home. How much do you agree?

Well, I'm in a real miserable spot, Brian. I was opposed to going in, and now I'm opposed to getting out. I've been looking at the world through al qaeda's lenses for more than five years now, and I can see how in many ways they're in the cat bird seat. If we stay, they continue to attract young Jihadis to fight against us, and they can prosper over the fact that they're fighting against this 'imperial power' and it's a very attractive recruiting tool for a lot of young Jihadis.

But if we go, they'll be incredibly emboldened, and they'll have a sanctuary in Iraq where they can train future Jihadis.


It may well be that we'll create as many monsters by staying as we will by leaving, but I think we've got to leave as little victory on the table for al Qaeda as possible.

The Stories Behind Memorial Day

Big for his age at 14, Jack Lucas begged his mother to help him enlist after Pearl Harbor. She collaborated in lying about his age in return for his promise to someday finish school. After training at Parris Island, he was sent to Honolulu. When his unit boarded a troop ship for Iwo Jima, Mr. Lucas was ordered to remain behind for guard duty. He stowed away to be with his friends and, discovered two days out at sea, convinced his commanding officer to put him in a combat unit rather than the brig. He had just turned 17 when he hit the beach, and a day later he was fighting in a Japanese trench when he saw two grenades land near his comrades.

He threw himself onto the grenades and absorbed the explosion. Later a medic, assuming he was dead, was about to take his dog tag when he saw Mr. Lucas's finger twitch. After months of treatment and recovery, he returned to school as he'd promised his mother, a ninth-grader wearing a Medal of Honor around his neck.

More from Peter Collier here at

Saturday, May 26, 2007

"We Have Sleeper Cells On Alert In All Palestinian Refuge Camps"

In an interview with the London daily Al-Hayat, the military commander of the
Fath Al-Islam organization, Shihab Al-Qaddour, also known as Abu Hurieira,
threatened that if attacks by the Lebanese military against his organization
continued, "all fronts will be opened" and that Fath Al-Islam would be "ready to
blow up every place in Lebanon." He also noted that his organization's activists
were prepared for a battle lasting two years or more.

He also added:
"We Have Sleeper Cells On Alert In All Palestinian Refuge Camps"

What a great way to thank a country that takes in your landless people.

Courtesy Memri TV.

Muslim Student Attacks Sikh

This hits close to home because a good friend of mine is a Sikh.

Happy Memorial Day

This should be a poll question

Bill Bennett:

"I want a poll question: Would you be in favor of withdrawal from Iraq if you knew the following things? That instead of hundreds of people a month dying, there will be thousands a week, that Zawahiri and bin Laden... will be dancing, saying 'we defeated them,' and 'we said they were not a strong horse, we said the U.S. was a paper tiger, we said that they would run, and we were right.'

"That the world's second largest... reserve of oil is now in Iraq, and that will be controlled by who? al Qaeda? Iran? Both of them? All of them? If you know all of that is going to happen, and the rest of the world draws the same conclusions that people started to draw after Vietnam; that the U.S. cannot be trusted, when it says it will be there, it's word is not good - would you still be in favor?

"...are you prepared for genocide? Are you prepared for mass slaughter?"

Mount Suribachi


Dogtags and pins placed by United States soldiers decorate a signboard at the United States Marine Corps Landing Memorial on top of Mount Suribachi, Iwo-Jima in this December 13, 2006 file photo, the site of a fierce battle between Japanese and United States forces for control of airfields on the island during World War II. Iwo Jima and its airfields were the prize the United States needed so that fighter planes could escort bombers all the way to Tokyo. The Japanese knew they had no hope of victory, but to delay the U.S. victory and attack on the mainland, they built miles of tunnels and bunkers across the island from which they could be dislodged only with flamethrowers, hand grenades and small arms. To match WITNESS-IWOJIMA/ REUTERS/Michael Caronna/Files (JAPAN)

Friday, May 25, 2007

R.I.P. Rosie

Rosie to Leave "The View"

I wonder if her early exit has anything to do with her staff writer defacing pictures of Elizabeth Hasselback in the hallways of ABC studios?

More Irony from Earth Two

DailyKos is calling the Iraq War funding Bill the Capitulation Bill.

It's funny and ironic to me, because I thought the original bill telling al Qaeda when we were leaving Iraq was the capitulation bill.

Once again, two very different earths we live in...

The War on Terror Is Going Well, Despite al Qaeda Torture Manuals

Promising War on Terror news this week:

Time Magazine:

Is al-Qaeda on the Run in Iraq?

There is good news from Iraq, believe it or not. It comes from the most unlikely place: Anbar province, home of the Sunni insurgency. The level of violence has plummeted in recent weeks.

And Michael Yon confirms the situation in Anbar, via Glenn Reynolds:

Following a major clearing operation that 2-7 IN executed with Iraqi Police when they initially took over, the guns are mostly quiet now. IEDs are still a threat but are few. Over the first one-hundred days, 2-7 has taken one wounded Soldier, and unfortunately a Marine was killed by an IED.

Airforce Pundit also offers ten reasons for Weekly Good News From Iraq.

But this is no reason to get complacent, as Bush Says Al Qaeda Seeks Haven in Iraq.

Although, looking at more good news from the other front on the war on Terror, Afghanistan, the view looks promising...

Daily Telegraph:

Taliban 'stalled by lack of commanders'

The Taliban's much-vaunted spring offensive has stalled apparently due to lack of organisation after dozens of middle-ranking commanders were killed by British troops in the past year, according to military sources.


Hot Air:

Taliban trying to find its mojo after Brits liquidate mid-level commanders

But again, the threat remains, as we can see from al Qaeda's recently released torture manual:

Torture, al Qaeda Style

MAY 24--In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal."

And here at home Civil Libertarians are complaining about U.S. Army manuals found at the WHISC (formerly, the School of the Americas).

I mean, really. I'll take waterboarding and ice cold temperatures over "eye removal" any day.

Update: Human Events talks about the lack of MSM horror, reaction, to the al Qaeda torture manual.

Update: DailKos calls Time's Joe Klein a tool for pointing to progress in Iraq.

Update: NewsBusters points out the gulf of mainstream media coverage of the al Qaeda torture manuals.

Update: Daily Mail Blog talks about the Silence on al-Qaida torture

Update: Joe Klein fires back at liberal critics of his Time piece.

Update: Another DailyKos poster calls Klein a moron.

Update: More from Belmont Club on the torture manuals:

Now that the term "torture" has been put in one-to-one correspondence with such admittedly unpleasant activities as punching, sleep deprivation, a handkerchief pulled over one's face and loaded with water, searches by women upon sensitive Islamic men or the disrespectful handling of Korans -- what on earth do we call gouging people's eyes out?

Answer: we call it nothing.

Congress Slammed Again

Via Instapundit:

Barely six months after their November triumph, Democrats have backed away from their top two policy priorities, leaving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., foundering on the key issues of Iraq and congressional corruption.

I guess Democrats forgot to tell the troops they're wrong

The professed Iraq War opponent Spencer Abraham:

On the merits of withdrawal, the Democrats have it right. The politics of it, however, remain complicated. It’s become common among Democrats to argue for withdrawing from Iraq in the name of the troops. In January, for instance, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced a bill titled the Protect the Troops and Bring Them Home Act. In February, Congresswoman Lynne Woolsey sent a letter to Bush arguing that it was “time to truly support our troops—by bringing them home.” Fifteen members of Congress signed on. Senators, too, have been willing to support this idea. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said in a February floor speech that “the best way to support our troops serving in Iraq is to say ‘NO’ to the president’s escalation of the war.”

Haunted by Vietnam, Democrats are determined to express support for the troops. This is admirable. The truth of the matter, however, is this: many troops in Iraq, perhaps even most of them, want to stay and fight. That doesn’t mean that we should stay in Iraq any longer. It does mean, however, that if Democrats want to bridge the divide between themselves and the military—an effort further complicated by their opposition to the war—they’re going to have to recognize that arguing in the name of the troops isn’t going to work.

More at Hot Air.

I guess this only adds credence to the L.A. Times' story from Tuesday: Marines volunteer to return to Iraq

Update: Instapundit has an email from Marine Reservists headed back to Iraq. They, too, volunteered for another tour.

American "Imperialism" and the Enemy Miscalculation

Was Osama Right?

Islamists always believed the U.S. was weak. Recent political trends won't change their view.

BY BERNARD LEWIS Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"

And the law of unintended consequences...
From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.

Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then. The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.

More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.

Despite what the critics may say, when the President calls for the U.S. to "stay on the offensive," this is not simply a mindless platitude.

I doubted that argument only a few years ago, but now believe it would be a mistake not to do so.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I wouldn't want to be Iran right now

More from the Persian Journal.

In another setback for Iran, the Persian Journal also reports that Iranian money found in Baghdad raid:

A large quantity of Iranian currency was found when US troops uncovered a cache of bomb-making materials in a raid on a Shi'ite stronghold in western Baghdad yesterday, the US military said.

I suppose it's just a coincidence.

No matter. Aside from fomenting sectarian strife in Iraq, and casting nervous looks at the U.S. mobilization on its borders, Iran is busy at home beating Iranian women in the streets.

The Global Commons

More genius from The Belmont Club:

The foundation of American power, wrote Gary Posen in 2003, was far deeper thana mere preponderance in its current military or economic power. It lay in what he called the Command of the Commons -- made possible by "all the difficult and expensive things that the United States does to create the conditions that permit it to even consider one, two, or four campaigns".

The U.S. military currently possesses command of the global commons. Command of the commons is analogous to command of the sea, or in Paul Kennedy’s words, it is analogous to “naval mastery.” The “commons,” in the case of the sea and space, are areas that belong to no one state and that provide access to much of the globe. Airspace does technically belong to the countries below it, but there are few countries that can deny their airspace above 15,000 feet to U.S. warplanes. Command does not mean that other states cannot use the commons in peacetime. Nor does it mean that others cannot acquire military assets that can move through or even exploit them when unhindered by the United States. Command means that the United States gets vastly more military use out of the sea, space, and air than do others; that it can credibly threaten to deny their use to others; and that others would lose a military contest for the commons if they attempted to deny them to the United States. Having lost such a contest, they could not mount another effort for a very long time, and the United States would preserve, restore, and consolidate its hold after such a fight. ...

The United States enjoys the same command of the sea that Britain once did, and it can also move large and heavy forces around the globe. But command of space allows the United States to see across the surface of the world’s landmasses and to gather vast amounts of information. At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.

Internet Dominance...
Mastery of the sea, outer space and the air: these concepts are easy enough to understand -- what other "Commons" could there be? But as anyone who lives in this information age can testify, all of us now live on the edge of a pathway to other conciousnesses connected by the one thing as influential in the 21st century as the Mahanian sea was in the 19th: the Internet. Today, the Internet provides the highway for many of the essential activities of modern life: email, file-sharing, audio and video streams, VOIP telephony and the World Wide Web. Yet unlike the sea, cosmos and air which are primeval, the Internet is wholly man-made, and though it belongs "to no one state" it provides "access to much of the globe". Is the Internet another one of the Global Commons and what would it mean to command it?

That's only about a quarter of this post from May 10th.


A lot to digest (I just got to it now).

American CO2 Emissions Fall

Instapundit cites a WAPO article:

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped slightly last year even as the economy grew, according to an initial estimate released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration.

This can't exactly be credited to Bush per se, but it's a good sign for the country.

...And what was that about Kyoto?

'Twilight of America' Hyperbole

Victor Davis Hanson: Is Sky Falling on America?

After World War II, it wasn't long before the Soviet Union ended our short-lived status as sole nuclear superpower. And when Eastern Europe and China were lost to communism, it was proof, for many, that democratic capitalism was passé. "We will bury you," Nikita Khrushchev promised us.

Take oil. With oil prices at nearly $70 a barrel, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez seem invincible as they rally anti-American feeling.

But if we find alternate energy sources, or reduce slightly our oil hunger, we can defang all three rather quickly. None of their countries have a middle class or a culture of entrepreneurship to discover and disseminate new knowledge.

Blame... America?
And European elites can't blame their problems - a bullying Russia, Islamic terrorists, unassimilated minorities and high unemployment - all on George Bush's swagger and accent. The recent elections of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France suggest that Europe's cheap anti-Americanism may be ending, and that our practices of more open markets, lower taxes and less state control are preferrable to the European status quo.

And to the anti-American critics and worriers...
A better way to assess our chances at maintaining our preeminence is simply to ask the same questions that are the historical barometers of our nation's success or failure: Does any nation have a constitution comparable to ours? Does merit - or religion, tribe or class - mostly gauge success or failure in America? What nation is as free, stable and transparent as the U.S.?

Try becoming a fully accepted citizen of China or Japan if you were not born Chinese or Japanese. Try running for national office in India from the lower caste. Try writing a critical op-ed in Russia or hiring a brilliant female to run a mosque, university or hospital in most of the Middle East. Ask where MRI scans, Wal-Mart, iPods, the Internet or F-18s came from.

The man makes a good point.

No Worries for the Next Holocaust

Much of the world has greeted Ahmadinejad’s promise to wipe Israel off the map with something close to insouciance. In fact, it could almost be said of the Europeans that they have been more upset by Ahmadinejad’s denial that a Holocaust took place 60 years ago than by his determination to set off one of his own as soon as he acquires the means to do so. In a number of European countries, Holocaust denial is a crime, and the European Union only recently endorsed that position. Yet for all their retrospective remorse over the wholesale slaughter of Jews back then, the Europeans seem no readier to lift a finger to prevent a second Holocaust than they were the first time around.

~ Norman Podhoretz, The Case for Bombing Iran

I don't know about the efficacy of his case, but that quote rings true to me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Palestinian: Bring back the Israelis to Gaza


LGF has video of a Palestinian man, disgusted with the violence in Gaza, calling for Israel to return to Gaza and help rule.


The Politics of Denial

"It is now clear that George Bush's misnamed 'War on Terror' has backfired — and is now part of the problem," Edwards told the Council of Foreign Relations in New York. "The War on Terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe. It's a bumper sticker, not a plan."

Giuliani responded:
Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani, campaigning in New Hampshire, said Edwards is in denial.

"I don't understand why a Democratic candidate would be in denial of what's actually going on," Giuliani told FOX News. "This global War on Terror is going on whether John Edwards recognizes it or not. It's not like it's controlled, there are people planning to come here and kill us all over the world."

And, as Hot Air pointed out: Flashback video: Edwards pledges unity throughout this “war on terrorism”

LGF has more.

And this incredulity on the part of Edwards comes on the heels of a poll that shows 25% of American Muslim youths "said in a poll that suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances."

More from CounterTerrorism Blog.

Yet more from Ace of Spades.

Now, despite a good deal of proof that there is, indeed a war on terror, much like the Cold War, liberal Blogs like DailyKos have found the need to blame President Bush for all sorts of things, such as a woman getting stoned to death in Iraq.

And, embarrassingly, while our forebears spoke defiantly of the need for a strong front against the communists in the Cold War, much as the President speaks of the need for commitment to the present war on terror, Kos has a parallel view.

In his world, liberals are in it for The long haul. Against... poverty? Terror? War? Famine?


Despite the real conflicts underway around the world, Kos & Co. are more preoccupied with their own personal agenda:
We face a multiple-front war -- against conservatives, against an out-of-touch and corrupt beltway consultant class, against corporatist Democrats, or Democrats that long ago lost the fire in their belly, and against a compromised punditry elite. Those are tough opponents, and it'll be a decades-long fight.

Talk about misdirected.

It's no wonder Melanie Phillips talks about The soft brainlessness of denying ‘Islamist terror’.

We face a faceless enemy abroad, who seeks to enact vicious attacks with impunity. We are busy at home attempting to defend our borders and secure our ports.

However, political infighting, budget wars, the media, and timelines for withdrawal are priorities for DailyKos.

Hanson: Cut America Some Slack

Victor Davis Hanson: Cut America Some Slack [Excerpt]

The Danger is Isolationism, not Preemption

If I were a European, Taiwanese, Saudi, or almost anyone else who habitually complains about American presumptuousness, I would worry that the American public is reverting to its (natural?) 1930s sort of isolationism. Tired of cheap anti-Americanism, the burden of global defense obligations, and the continual erosion of the dollar, they wish to pull in their horns and let others in multilateral fashion pick up the slack.

Perhaps the European rapid reaction force could respond to Estonia’s plight should Putin send in a punititive brigade. Maybe the UN could provide the necessary deterrence to protect Taiwanese autonomy should the island provoke mainland China to the point of invading.

No doubt the EU3—Britain, France, Germany—could warn Iran not to nuke Israel—or else. These are not longer just parlor-game musings, but the look of the world if the exhaustion of the American people is reflected in retrenchment, best summed up by “These people are not really worth it, so let them handle their own affairs.” It would be a very dangerous attitude to adopt, but one psychologically understandable.

The New York Times did okay today

Despite the title: As Comrades Search, Fatal Bomb Wreaks Havoc, the New York Times' Damien Cave did a very good job telling a humanizing story about our troops. They seemed courageous, caring, and noble.

Amazingly, the Times' David D. Kirkpatrick turned a very critical eye towards the Democrats' promised ethics reforms:

Armageddon on "The View"

Rosie O'Donnell goes ballistic (again), but really blows her top this time, unable and un-willing to explain herself to the viewers.

She bashes Hasselback, calling her a coward, but Hasselback fires back. She's getting better.

More here at Hot Air.

Now is also a great time to remember the Popular Mechanics response to Rosie's 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Magua Speaks

The 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans, based on James Fenimore Cooper's classic novel, and directed by Michael Mann, is one of my favorite movies of all time.

It has basically every essential element a thrilling, touching, powerful movie needs: Romance, combat, sacrifice -and even a vaguely distilled conflict between good and evil.

The primary villain of the tale is a Huron warrior named Magua; a ruthless, ambitious individual bent on gaining revenge on the British Colonel Munro, who violently slaughtered a number of Magua's Huron people many years prior. And so, the devilish Huron Magua, twisted by the tortured memories of his slain brethren, has become a vessel of limitless hatred and murder.

In the final epic scene of Mohicans, Magua murders Uncas (the second to last Mohican), who tried in vain to rescue Alice Munro, one of Colonel Munro's two daughters, from certain slavery, rape, and death. Moments after slicing Uncas' throat and releasing his body over the precipice of a steep cliff, Magua turns his head to the distraught Alice Munro, who is shivering with fear.

Magua extends his arm to Alice, and gestures with his fingers toward his body. Trying to assuage her fears, he slowly lowers the knife in his hand, still dripping with the blood of Uncas.

And thus, the murderer attempted one last conciliatory act in order to ensnare his prey.

Magua's act, which proved to be his last, was a crock of sh_t.

This, in turn, brings us to recent statements issued by al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, which Raymond Ibrahim recounts:
Speaking to the many “under-privileged” of the world in his most recent interview, al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri declares: “That’s why I want blacks in America, people of color, American Indians, Hispanics, and all the weak and oppressed in North and South America, in Africa and Asia, and all over the world, to know that when we wage jihad in Allah’s path, we aren’t waging jihad to lift oppression from Muslims only; we are waging jihad to lift oppression from all mankind, because Allah has ordered us never to accept oppression, whatever it may be…This is why I want every oppressed one on the face of the earth to know that our victory over America and the Crusading West — with Allah’s permission — is a victory for them, because they shall be freed from the most powerful tyrannical force in the history of mankind.”

Zawahiri's words, too, are a crock of sh_t. His thinly veiled attempt to coerce those he perceives to be the weak, underprivileged citizens of the free world, should be seen as nothing less than the false hand of a charlatan, one outstretched hand proffered in peaceful gesture, while the other remains hidden behind his back, clasping a violent instrument of death.

The goal of Zawahiri and al Qaeda, with this recent conciliatory rhetoric, is to coax and placate the vast majority of us, those whom Bill Whittle calls sheep (in the nice sense).

No reasonable person should take this man at his word, but it would not take very many to give him and his sycophants shelter, and allow him a position to strike here at home.

He should not be believed.

With luck, Zawahiri and his "tribe" will meet the same fate as Magua.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Big Trouble in Persia

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran jumped gasoline prices 25 percent Tuesday in a new blow to consumers already disgruntled over high inflation, and the government said it will begin rationing fuel in two weeks.

Do you want fries with that hypocrisy?

The same DailyKos that said: America, Iraq, Iran: Where Is The Press More Free?, which said, among other things:

With the muzzling of American soldiers and the censorship of the reporters in Iraq, this would have been a bad day for the media were it not for Iran's demonstration of liberty for the press.

(The same Iran that, say, bans coed Internet Cafes?)

The same DailyKos that worries: Will Bush Still Deny Trolling and Data Mining????

Under these pretenses that Daily Kos suggested yesterday: Videotape everything they do
Every appearance by a top Republican official or candidate should be recorded. Every one of them.

I can't imagine a more Orwellian thought, a more disturbing violation of one's privacy, or a more hypocritical mentality.

It is no wonder, then, that as Daily Gut writes,
in the digital age, some executives and commentators are saying they will respond only by e-mail, which allows them to post the entire exchange if they feel they have been misrepresented, truncated or otherwise disrespected. And some go further, saying, You want to know what I think? Read my blog.

And Instapundit notes that "electronic communication" is increasingly "making interviews obsolete."

And it is also no wonder that, as one disguest Kos writer put it him/herself:

I was excited at first about joining democraticunderground, because I initially thought it was a web community where social progressives could engage in lively informative debates. What I thought would be an inclusive forum for airing differing points of view turned out to be anything but. I soon learned that democraticunderground was an intoleratant breeding ground of hate, with biased moderators and meanspirited posters whose tactics were just as bad, (if not worse), than those used by the Republicans they claimed to so despise.

You just have to laugh at the cherry-picked talking points, positions, and principles so commonly bent, broken and bandied about by such sad individuals.

What Every Invading Soldier Should Know in Iraq



Hitchens on former President Jimmy Carter

Titled Peanut Envy [Excerpt]:

In the Carter years, the United States was an international laughingstock. This was not just because of the prevalence of his ghastly kin: the beer-sodden brother Billy, doing deals with Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, and the grisly matriarch, Miz Lillian. It was not just because of the president's dire lectures on morality and salvation and his weird encounters with lethal rabbits and UFOs. It was not just because of the risible White House "Bible study" sessions run by Bert Lance and his other open-palmed Elmer Gantry pals from Georgia. It was because, whether in Afghanistan, Iran, or Iraq—still the source of so many of our woes—the Carter administration could not tell a friend from an enemy. His combination of naivete and cynicism—from open-mouthed shock at Leonid Brezhnev's occupation of Afghanistan to underhanded support for Saddam in his unsleeping campaign of megalomania—had terrible consequences that are with us still. It's hardly an exaggeration to say that every administration since has had to deal with the chaotic legacy of Carter's mind-boggling cowardice and incompetence.


Don't get on this guy's bad side.

The Military Hits Recruiting Goals

Say Anything Blog:

Military Recruiting Exceedingly Strong Despite Public’s Alleged Dissatisfaction With The War

You know all those media reports about military recruiting we’ve been reading about in recent years? The ones about how our military is struggling to meet it’s recruiting goals? That often have journalists pushing the idea that our desperate military is resorting to filling its ranks with criminals in order to make its goals? Wondering why you haven’t heard too much about that particular left-wing anti-war talking point for a while?

It could be because all branches of the military met its active duty recruiting goals for fiscal year 2006

Redo's from MilBlogs

What if... ?


I wonder what the world would be like if -

- The US had left a sizable stabilaztion force in Europe at the end of WWI

- The US had not passed the neutrality act of 1936

- Rather than create the State of Israel in 1948... force the Palestinians to accept an unlimited right of return of the Hebrews(the original idea).

- North Korea had been carpet bombed in '52

- Rather than collapsing after a few rather unsubtantial protests in '53, the Iranian parliament had adopted good governance.

- Joe McCarthy had spent his energies pointing out the weakness of communism rather than conducting a witch hunt against communists.

- Congress had left 25K or so advisors and some aid on the table for South Vietnam.

- Carter didn't pull the plug on the Shah of Iran and insisted on incremental reforms.

- Carter didn't believe Breznev's assertion that the Soviets wouldn't invade Afghanistan.

- The Looney Left hadn't killed the Nuclear Power Industry in the US in the '70's

- We had leveled the Iranian Parliament 30 seconds after the US hostages were released.

- Bush Senior had actually gone to Baghdad when we had a much larger Army.
Clinton hadn't cut the size of the Army.

The Adventures of Nancy Pelosi Continue

Think Progress readers no likey:

How did that mission to Syria work? Seems Bush is doubling on the surge. While she hands him a blank check. Pelosi will do nothing on Global Warming. She is just maneuvering for votes.

Comment by Fools on the Hill — May 22, 2007 @ 12:10 pm


Sounds like a vacation paid for by US taxpayers and global warming mission is just a cover. They can go to Alaska to see shrinking glaciers.

Comment by Jay Randal — May 22, 2007 @ 12:12 pm


What an utter waste of time and resources.

Comment by liberal dork — May 22, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

She's obviously not busy enough trying to get the troops funded, why not a misadventure to play "pretend science"?

Iraq is not the only Quagmire

Instapundit did a great job highlighting the language and reporting used to describe harsh conditions in violent cities which sound eerily similar to Iraq.

Here is the first:


A city council leader, alarmed by Baltimore's rising homicide rate, wants to give the mayor the power to put troubled neighborhoods under virtual lockdown.

"Desperate measures are needed when we're in desperate situations," City Council Vice President Robert W. Curran told The (Baltimore) Sun. He said he would introduce the legislation next week.

Under Curran's plan, the mayor could declare "public safety act zones," which would allow police to close liquor stores and bars, limit the number of people on city sidewalks, and halt traffic during two-week intervals.

Police would be encouraged to aggressively stop and frisk individuals in those zones to search for weapons and drugs.

And the second:

50 heavily armed men abduct 7 police: four them of them found dead, three missing, gun battles leave 20 dead. About a thousand people so far this year shot or decapitated.

Iraq? No, northern Mexico, about a hundred miles south of here. Betting is that the gang was a drug lord's entourage.

Should we withdraw from Baltimore? Mexico?

Thanks, Nancy

What Nancy Hath Wrought
DAMASCUS, SYRIA—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Syria last month, and the related question of whether or not the U.S. should formally re-engage this Baathist republic, remains as controversial a topic on the streets of Damascus as it was in the days afterwards among Beltway bloggers. And, perverse as it may seem to some American liberals, it is the Syrians who are most sympathetic to their progressive values who have been most critical of Ms. Pelosi’s attempts to begin a dialogue with Syria’s government.

Many Syrian dissidents and pro-democracy activists have privately expressed dismay at Ms. Pelosi’s message of friendship to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They say that Ms. Pelosi’s visit, no matter how well-intentioned, has effectively pulled the rug out from under them, critically damaging their efforts to create momentum for reform from within.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions... but it is unclear that Speaker Pelosi's intentions were much more than political diplomatic theater and upstaging.

Shocking: Democrats Give Up

In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq warfunding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.

Daily Kos isn't happy.

I don't understand... shouldn't defeat be a familiar feeling?

Nothing But Respect

200 Marines volunteer to extend tours to help mentor new recruits

Bob Kerrey on Sudan, Iraq

I've written about it here, and now Democrat Bob Kerrey is discussing the same hypocrisy here:

Bob Kerrey to Dems: Why are U.S. troops the answer in Darfur but not in Iraq?

Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn’t you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.

and about those terrorists in Iraq?
With these facts on the scales, what does your conscience tell you to do? If the answer is nothing, that it is not our responsibility or that this is all about oil, then no wonder today we Democrats are not trusted with the reins of power. American lawmakers who are watching public opinion tell them to move away from Iraq as quickly as possible should remember this: Concessions will not work with either al Qaeda or other foreign fighters who will not rest until they have killed or driven into exile the last remaining Iraqi who favors democracy.


Update: Think Progress bashes Kerrey: Bob Kerrey: Wrong Before Going Into Iraq And Still Wrong Today

Our Best Good Will Ambassadors

Great story.

Winning the PR War in Iraq[Excerpt]:

It doesn't matter how skeptical of the war a journalist might be, according to an Army public affairs officer (PAO) who spoke with me about it on condition of anonymity. "So often, they come out of that experience and -- even if their opinion of the war hasn't changed -- they're completely won over by the troops."

"I was one of those," admitted Beriain, speaking broken English and blinking away tears. "No matter what you think of the war, or what has happened here, you cannot be around the soldiers and not be completely affected. They are amazing people, and they represent themselves and the Army better than anyone could ever imagine." A retired Army officer concurred, telling me that "young troops are some of the best good will ambassadors we've ever produced. It would never occur to one to not tell you what he's really thinking, and they are so earnest" that it is almost impossible not to be won over by them if given enough time.

The most spectacular recent case of a journalist with an anti-war mindset being completely overwhelmed into a change of heart by American soldiers, according to the PAO, was a Greek public television reporter who had been embedded with an infantry unit that became entrenched in a 45-minute firefight with insurgents. Yanked out of the line of fire by a soldier who put the journalist's life above his own, he waited under cover and in fear of his life for the almost hour-long duration of the battle, with the best view possible of American soldiers in action against an armed and murderous enemy. He credits his having lived to tell the tale directly to those young troops.

"He had tears in his eyes as he talked about it," said the PAO. "He just kept saying, 'they saved my life, they saved my life...these are great men; they are heroes.' Even after telling it several times, he couldn't get through the story without choking up -- and this was a man who had arrived here with all of the disdain for the Iraq mission and for the American soldiers who he [like seemingly most Europeans] had seen as the bad guys in this fight."

Monday, May 21, 2007

"Irrational humanistic constructs"

From PajamasMedia: Mind-Altering Worldviews [Excerpt]:

This story from my dark peyote-eating past took on a new significance while pondering a story from the recent ‘Fort Dix Six’ fiasco . It turns out that a friend of one of the suspects, Bob Watts, a bakery co-worker for two years with suspect Agron Abdullah, is having a hard time digesting how some nice Muslim immigrant boys could suddenly flip into terrorists. “He was an easygoing guy, made you laugh all the time, he was somebody you really enjoyed working with,” Watts said on Good Morning America. ”We were like brothers.” Apparently they were so much like brothers that Abdullah felt confident enough to openly express his admiration for his good ole ‘Uncle Benny’ (bin Laden), as well as show him some quaint bomb-making recipes in his car. Watts said he just thought his bakery bud was joking or maybe a bit touched by the oven heat. Gosh, but he never thought his laughing Albanian sidekick could be Al Qaeda Jr. “That’s what’s puzzling me and making my stomach turn knots right now,” he said. May I suggest, that with the dangerously naïve Mr. Watts, as well as with a healthy chunk of the present American public, there is something else with knots other than their stomachs?

Indeed, the poor Mr. Watts may unwittingly be the very metaphor for the post 9/11 American, for he is tragically not alone in failing to discern who is his friend and who is his enemy. Something strange has come over many Americans, so strange that it seems akin to a phenomena of mass hallucination at something like a Rainbow Festival or Grateful Dead concert, but without the good music in the background.

Take for example the colossal denial syndrome of Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards, who borrows a page from Zibigniew Brzezinski, in saying that there is no global terror threat and that the war on terror is a farce. Something is uncomfortable and difficult? Just deny its existence! Hey, maybe you’ll even get elected!

And can anyone truly fathom what kind of anti-gravitational cosmic disturbances must have been fermenting in the deep recesses of the minds of the PBS executives who, caving in to CAIR Islamists, censored a very professional presentation interviewing moderate Muslims who attempted to dissuade the public that the fanatical extremes represent true Islam? Of course, no 9/11 memorial is complete unless you hire looncakes to inscribe statements of moral equivalency, blame Bush, or allusions to wackjob conspiracy theories on it for future generations to ponder upon, as in the case of the Arizona memorial.

And can somebody please somebody find out what solvent Rep. Bennie Thompson is inhaling when, as Democratic point man for Homeland Security, he threatens to strip an immunity clause protecting tipsters of suspicious terrorist activity from litigious CAIR jihadists because, somehow in his bafflingly befuddled worldview, this amounts to racial and religious profiling?

Does all this cognitive dissonance have any relation to a foreign policy which dumps gazillions of U.S tax dollars into the laps of assorted sheiks, dictators and demagogues who smile and laugh and joke their way to the bank, while their media, mosques, mullahs, maestros and masses are feverishly promoting the most virulent forms of anti-Western, anti-Semitic, anti-American hatred imaginable? “But they have a Walmart in Jeddah! Those fat, smiling sheiks must be on our side. Even Nancy Pelosi schmoozes with them! Now, where’s my remote? American Idol is on. Yay! I like Sanjay. Who are you voting for?”

Even a population hopelessly blinkered from national obsession with food and sex, with entertainment and health, with self-esteem and self-promoting ‘spirituality,’ cannot begin to explain why, as it adores its excesses, it seems not to give a flip for its own very survival. Lack of oxygen to the brain because of frequent overdoses of Sex and the City, Dr. Dre, or Krispy Kremes can only go so far to explain the massive synaptic misfires we are increasingly seeing. Something deeper and more sinister must be at work.

Some viral idea has crept into our collective national consciousness, offering us a false wisdom and a feigned hope, while it meanwhile shuts down vital parts of our mental operational systems designed to initiate self-survival programs. We are fast approaching the point where either we must reject the pterodactyl-like hallucinations of irrational humanistic constructs that only produce mind-boggling complacent stupor, political correctness contrivances, and cowardice, or we will become a pitiful specter of our former selves through our utter stupidity.

I couldn't agree more.

Alternate Universes: Iraq and Global Warming

Earth One and Earth Two.

Some of the greatest comic book story arcs of all time revolved around the divergence or collision of multiple worlds, during which heroes and villains fought each other and the powers of the cosmos to prevent, or in some cases, hasten, total annihilation.

In DC Comics' now classic Crisis on Infinite Earths series from the 1980's, hordes of superheroes from parallel earths came together in a final battle to save the space/time continuum. Ultimately, the many versions of earth collapsed into one another, allowing DC comics to in effect re-invent its superhero universe, and start from scratch. Tabula Raza, if you will.

This plot has been re-hashed many times over the years in the comic book world. Alternate realities, parallel earths, dopplegangers, the end of time, etc.

However, with every re-telling, the tale only gets more stale.

Which, in turn, brings me to the real world, a world in which we are living, (or so it would appear) among two divergent realities.

We have one reality (Let's call it Earth One): an overzealous President, who is perceived to have abused his office and used the pulpit to create an artificial climate of fear. Those who have assailed the President's rhetoric about the war on terror, such as Daily Kos, have described it in terms like Domestic terror 'plots' as disinformation:

On this story, and every other, that's really all a vast majority of Americans want from the media -- "a healthy dose of skepticism -- given this administration's track record with truth."

and others have written pejoratively On "terror":

The war on terror has created a culture of fear in America, he noted, adding that the Bush Administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact in American democracy, on America's psyche and on US standing in the world.

Another poster on Daily Kos similarly sought to downplay terror fears: The German Terror Plot Media Scare [Translation of German Article Inside]

And now for the alternate reality, or as I'll call it: Earth Two.

The alleged Terror "fear-mongering" of Earth One seems to parallel another highly politicized issue that has also gotten a great deal of media attention of late. Its most outspoken proponent, Al Gore, has not been shy about the dire straits humanity has found itself in:
Former US vice president Al Gore on Friday warned that global warming presented the most severe crisis ever faced by humans but said the planet could be saved if the right steps are taken.

And the response from Daily Kos? Let's not jump to conclusions. Oops, no, my mistake, that was in response to the [fortunately] timely arrest of the 'Fort Dix Six' before they could act out their homicidal terrorist plans. In any case, the writer went on:
The government tells us there's a war on terror, but most of the claims seem to be exaggerated. I don't know what is real news and what is Fox propaganda drivel. So I'm a skeptic, for now, until I hear and read all of the facts. I expect Keith Olbermann to give this story the scrutiny it deserves.

Excellent point, should we apply this logic to Global Warming, Kos?

Global Warming Week: Antarctica's Melting! Mountains of Madness [UPDATED]

Perhaps not. Apparently, the characteristics of 'hyperbole' in Earth One doubles for selfless alarm-bell ringing in Earth Two.

Instead, in Earth Two, celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio are promoting a new film about global warming, which "uses a barrage of images and reams of interviews with the world's top environmental scientists to paint a bleak but still optimistic picture of the fate of our planet."

Hype? Hysteria? Of course not! More akin to Merry swearing loyalty to Théoden at Edoras after the lighting of the beacons!

In Earth Two, glamorous self-promotion has become reality. We have students forced to watch An Inconvenient Truth four times a year in public school.

In Earth Two, yet more celebrities, like Rosie O'Donnell, are promoting 9/11 conspiracy theories on national television, and equating American troops with terrorists:
"I'm talking about a word: terrorism, that the administration has used to terrify this country. They're terrorizing Americans by using the word terror and taking away our civil liberties!"

Although in Earth One, the "German government warns Australians to stay away. New “Al Qaeda In The Lands Of The Villains” cell expected to strike soon."

And although in Earth One, experts such as Victor Davis Hanson have said that "stateless terrorists can be more dangerous than past conventional threats."

And although in Earth One, Christian civilians in [democratic?] Turkey, (for example), have been tortured to death for not being Muslim...

...Earth Two persists in believing that this threat is overblown, overhyped, and politicized. Terrorists are a minor nuisance at best, they argue.


With a glance around my flank, they fall upon a George Perez drawing of Superman, a heavily inked battle epic landscape of super heroes littered across a double splash page, oozing color and kinetic energy.

It's a great picture. But I live in the real world. Given that immutable fact, I can only take stock of the rampant hypocrisy among limousine liberals and opportunist politicians to elevate and promote a questionable cause, of which the effects are ethereal and arguable at best, at the expense of an actual threat which has already killed thousands of Americans.

If we lose the war on terror to raving bands of Islamists bent on turning our world upside-down and installing a Caliphate, who will mourn global warming?

Alas this is an opportune time to quote the prescient Al Gore, taken out of context, of course:
"Are we going to say to our children that we were too busy to pay attention?"

Are we?