Friday, June 25, 2004

Kudos to Fox News

Fox News Channel has been broadcasting regular reports by Kelly Wright from Iraq showing American efforts to rebuild Iraq and the good news and progress being made. It's not being promoted as the good news, but it is. Importantly, it isn't just presenting our troops in a more positive light, but it presents Iraqis in a different light than most news reporting. If all you read in the liberal anti-war press, you get the impression that the country consists of angry victims and terrorists with ski masks. If all you see is angry faces and weeping and wailing survivors, you start to think that the whole country is rubble with feet sticking out from under fallen walls.

Fox deserves some credit for its coverage. I wish these stories were being broadcast on its network so they could reach more people.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

If you can keep your head,

When all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

Those lines from Kipling should be the theme of Bush's campaign. I'd like to hear them read as photos of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are flashed on the screen. Leaders, after all, aren't those like Clinton who have to take a poll to decide which shoe to put on first. They're those who show you the way, encourage and show you the right way, even when you can't see around all the curves.

Al Gore is descending further into bizarro land, and contradicting what he argued in the 1990s, with claims that the Bush administration is "intentionally misleading the American people by continuing to aggressively and brazenly assert a linkage between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein . . ." He's essentially playing the role of a VP candidate for Kerry, but he sure sounds like a conspiracy theorist. Barnes quotes him as saying that "we know Bush was linking Saddam and 9/11, because he said he wasn't . . ." (Cue Twilight Zone music) It sounds like the Dems are getting tangled up in the ambiguities they've tried to play on. He also charged that the administration has a group of "digital Brownshirts" intimidating editors around the country.

For those not taking notes, the administration has maintained that Saddam was a terrorist, not a close collaborator with Al Qaeda. The left is trying to discredit Bush and the war in Iraq by claiming that it told us that Saddam was part of the 9/11 attacks. Once again, "terrorist" is not the same thing as "behind Al Qaeda." There are lots of terrorists but they're not all collaborators with Al Qaeda. They probably all celebrated the 9/11 destruction, but they weren't all involved in planning and executing it.

Watching the news shows lately, it seems that all the "experts" they interview are hedging their bets, or are upset that they haven't been consulted and their gameplans followed. What we really need right now is someone with Ronald Reagan's and FDR's ability to project optimism and the faith to face up to violence and terror. This is another of those "times that try mens' souls." We need to have courage and go forward. The critics only have to sow confusion and doubt to win, because they haven't done anything to be judged on.

Look, we have seen what our military is capable of. If we suck it up and demand action, we have a better chance of success than if we put our hopes in the U.N. or anybody else. I think that turning over power in Iraq may be premature, but it certainly is an exit strategy, and I don't want to see a repeat of "They told me that if I voted for Goldwater, we'd get more war; so I did and they were right." There are always people willing to panic and not enough who, like Giuliani and Bush, can lead, when all about them are losing their heads.

Update: James Lileks explains:
We don�t expect serious party elders to call the other side Nazis, and for good reason: it�s obscene. The brownshirts were evil. The brownshirts kicked the Jews in the streets and made the little kids put their hands on their heads as they stumbled off to the trains. The brownshirts were not interested in refuting arguments. They were interested in killing the people who dared argue at all.. . .

Tell me again who�s stifling debate? Remind me again who�s questioning people�s patriotism?

Update: The capital is abuzz over the Vice-president telling Senator Leahy yesterday to go fish, or some other word beginning with f. It seems to have energized the Republican base. Hugh Hewitt was telling his listeners to donate to the Republican Senate campaign fund to help keep Leahy in the minority. I admit to being a little disappointed that Cheney would use that language, but I donated. As Hugh writes, citing the transcript of Cheney's interview with Neal Cavuto:
VP: "Well, I am usually calm, cool, and collected, and ordinarily I don't express myself in strong terms, but I thought it was appropriate here."

Appropriate indeed. And long overdue. After listening to Leahy serially slander numerous judicial nominees, then John Ashcroft last week and the Vice President this week, it was to Dick Cheney's great credit that he let the small man from the small state know what most Americans think of such Uriah Heep-like conduct.
Bush did attempt to restore civility in Washington, but the Democrats are jonesing for their old power, and their response has been to make every scurrilous accusation and lie they can think of. Leahy thinks he can throw acid around and not get burned by it. I think a lot of Republicans are fed up with trying to be civil with people who call you a fascist, Nazi, brownshirt, liar, murderer, etc. Apparently the VP was fed up, too.

In my scale of sins, cursing doesn't score on the same level of venality as hypocrisy. Leahy seems to think that politics justifies lying and defaming honest people, and that some one you've called worse than a thief should understand that it's all just good clean mudslinging.

I'm tired of civility, especially when it's answered with the worst kind of demagoguery. I hope this is the opening shot of a campaign that shows the left for the moral lepers they are.

Moore metastasizing

Lileks fisks Rex Reed, who seems to be channeling Michael Moore.

Thanks, James, for taking that bullet for the rest of us.

Speak no evil

"A House committee voted Wednesday to bar the Justice Department from issuing legal justifications for the U.S. use of torture in the latest congressional reaction to government memos that seemed to permit the practice."

Besides attempting to restrict what the nation's attorneys are allowed to research and present legal opinions and meddling in the functioning of an equal branch of government, this strikes me as just plain stupid. Decision makers need to know their options, even if some of them might be morally repugnant. I think that if it was legal to kill terrorists, or to hand them over to the Iraqis, Saudis, Pakistanis, etc., it seems goofy to say that they must be treated with kid gloves when they're captured. They should be treated as dead men from the moment they're captured and treated accordingly.

If we had a mind probe that allowed us to gain information from a person's brain, but left him a drooling idiot, I'd say use it on a prison like Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Since we don't have such devices, I'm opposed to torture involving infliction of physical suffering, both because of the unreliability of such techniques, which are only good for compelling to confessions written by the captors. It also dehumanizes the people doing the torturing.

I happened onto the Merriam-webster Website

and found that the result of its invitation for readers to submit their favorite words:
1. defenestration
2. serendipity
3. onomatopoeia
4. discombobulate
5. plethora
6. callipygian
7. juxtapose
8. persnickety
9. kerfuffle
10. flibbertigibbet
I was looking up snollygoster, which seems to describe Bill Clinton to a T. And for no reason, clowder, meaning a group of cats.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Pore Ole' Bill

His BBC interview is being replayed on Hugh Hewitt's program.

Biggest Chutzpah: "I don't make any excuses for myself."

He's spent the last three years getting 150 grand a pop to tell this pack of lies over and over and over. He makes excuses reflexively and doesn't even seem to realize that's what he's doing, so he ends up with this portrait of himself as the protector of America from the Republicans and Ken Starr.

Update: On a second listen, I started hearing the sound of two ball bearings clicking in his hand and the voice of Humphrey Bogart:
Now there's no need for that. I know exactly what he'll Starr will tell you. Lies! He was no different than any officer in the wardroom other Republican -- they were all disloyal. I tried to run the ship nation properly by the book, but they fought me at every turn!
The clicking gets louder. A slight lisp becomes noticeable.
If the crew wanted to walk around with their shirttails hanging out they want to shut down the government that's all right, let them. Take the tow line. Defective equipment no more no less, but news media, they encouraged the crew late night comedians and the people to go around scoffing at me and spreading wild rumors about steaming in circles Hillary throwing lamps at me. And then "Old Yellow Stain." that stain on the dress! I was to blame for Lt. Merrick's incompetence and poor seamanship. Lt. Merrick Ken Starr was the perfect officer perfect, but not Captain Queeg Bill Clinton!
The voice deepens and becomes slighty gravelly. The transformation is complete.
Ah, but the strawberries! That's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist! And I'd have produced that key if they hadn't pulled Caine out of action! I-I-I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officer and . . .
Whoa! Spooky.

Bill Clinton, cash cow

It's not just him who's making beaucoup bucks from his book deal. You'd think these people were all Evil Corporate Republicans.

"history is being shamelessly rewritten in the media"

Andrew Bolt nails the current atmosphere in the media. (via Instapundit)

The left is losing its mind

U.S. is losing, CIA officer says is the headline of this story put out by the
New York Times News Service. The author is anonymous he says, because the CIA allowed him to publish only on the condition "that the author and his internal agency not be identified." Does that pass your smell test?

The hot details from his book sound more like warmed over hash from Kerry stump speeches:
"U.S. leaders refuse to accept the obvious:" the CIA officer writes. "We are fighting a worldwide Islamic insurgency � not criminality or terrorism � and our policy and procedures have failed to make more than a modest dent in enemy forces." . . .

In the book, the author denounced the American invasion of Iraq as "an avaricious, premeditated unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat," and said it would fuel the anti-American sentiments on which bin Laden and his followers draw.
The "avaricious, premeditated and unprovoked" make this guy sound like a moron. It's costing us over $100 billion to do this and he calls that "avaricious"? And "premeditated"? If it weren't, there should be a lot of Pentagon planners up for courts martial.

The story claims this guy is a 22 year veteran in the agency. From what is quoted, I'd say he ought to be fired for failure of intelligence.

Update: BLACKFIVE has more. All the same questions went through my mind. Why would the CIA approve the publication of a book like this at this time? Maybe it's time to shut it down and start over, as I thought we should have done instead of creating the Homeland Security Agency. I see the need for such a department, but it's not really an intelligence agency, and increasingly it seems that the CIA isn't either.

Reading the comments on BLACKFIVE's post, it occurred to wonder if the author could be Valerie Plame. ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


I don't think the Saddam-Usama link deserves all the ink being spilled over it, but you'd think that papers like the New York Times would do a little research if it's going to make a big deal out of a single line in a staff report. Of course, when you're out to destroy someone, you get kind of reckless, but doing so in public view can cost you. We'll see.

Is it just me,

or does Michael Moore look like Raymond Burr in his latter years?

Give that kid an A

Twelve year old, Sidney Stringham, of South Jordan, Utah, explains it to William Raspberry:
Regarding the article by William Raspberry ("Why we went to war," June 1), I disagree with the premise. It's obvious we went to war to make Iraq a republic and kick out Saddam. Although we are making many sacrifices, it will pay off in the end.

We could have let this unjust dictator murder many more. Instead, we stood up and fought Saddam and removed him from power. Now he is going to get his just punishment and the people of Iraq are free.

A blast from the past

First there was a Reagan bounce, as Americans remembered what was great about him, his courage, and apparently decided that Bush is who he'd vote for if he were with us today.

This week it's Bill Clinton's turn to take center stage as he plugs his book. No doubt he'd sell a lot of books, but I wonder if the contrast with Bush will give Bush or Kerry a bounce. That's lip-biting rationalization of Clinton's really turns my stomach with its dishonesty but a lot of people don't see it. David Brooks says that Clinton "understands the role religion actually plays in modern politics." I think that goes a little overboard, but Brooks does qualify it with "[m]ore than any other leading Democrat."

I'm listening to Hugh Hewitt who is playing back clips from Clinton's appearance on Oprah. When she brought up his "because I could" remark, he quickly broke in with a non sequitur reminiscent of "what the meaning of 'is' is". He said that he meant that in a "defined way" requiring the explanation that he was in the midst of a "titanic struggle" with the Republicans over their plot to shut down the government, and the pressure of that battle forced him into battling "his old demons" (that's carnal lust to you and me).

You can hear the folksy grin in his voice as he spins this story, but you can't follow it through all the loops when he tries to tie his abuse of a willing, star-struck young woman for sexual release to a mythic struggle to save the country from the Republicans. While he was thus occupied, that cowardly and dirty Starr took advantage and attacked him because the Whitewater Investigation hadn't turned up any evidence. So it was all because he was trying to save the country from the Republicans that he was driven into gaping maw of Monica. See?

Me neither. Oprah didn't ask him what about his first two years had cost the Democrats their control of the Congress, especially the House of Representatives. I guess it must have been the attack of the Giant Newt that led him into the clutches of the Starr Beast.

He's been working on this spin for 3 and a half years, and this
is what he comes up with, a drive-in double feature: The Attack of the Giant Newt and Billzilla vs. the Starr Beast.

Update: This interview really sticks in your mind. It occurred to me later that he sounds like he's repeating a bunch of excuses he's heard others make for him, but can't get them get quite right, because they really don't make sense to him either. What really comes through is that he can't face the truth that he had his big chance and he botched it about as badly as it is possible to do. That's why he makes the silly claims that fighting his impeachment was a badge of honor, or that the beating back the stupid stunt by Gingrich and his rebels of shutting down the government was a "titanic struggle" for the future of the country. If he needs a badge of honor, how about leadership of NATO in intervening in Bosnia, Kosovo and defeating Milosevic? Those were real achievements, but the government shutdown didn't really require much from him other than waiting for the Republicans to back down.

Monday, June 21, 2004

How much of a quagmire could it be?

Here's a roundup of editorial opinion about the massive humanitarian crisis in Sudan. What strikes me is the naive faith that the U.N. would really do anything.

What a country!

Where else would somebody spend $20,000,000 to win a $10,000,000 prize? But that's a drop in the bucket to what it would have cost if NASA had built it.

Yesterday will be right up there with the Wrights' first powered flight at Kitty Hawk. It's been a long time coming, and it will be years before Rutan can launch satellites, but it's long overdue for humans to return to the days of the X-15 and development of rocket planes. One can now for the first time, really imagine space flights for ordinary people.

boingboing calls it Space Woodstock. Were there a lot of drugs?

Safire on the 9/11 Commission staff reports

William Safire assails the claim that there were no connnections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and blames "the commission's runaway staff, headed by the ex-N.S.C. aide Philip Zelikow." He gives the following prescription:
What can the commission do now to regain its nonpartisan credibility?

1. Require every member to sign off on every word that the commission releases, or write and sign a minority report. No more "staff conclusions" without presenting supporting evidence, pro and con.

2. Set the record straight, in evidentiary detail, on every contact known between Iraq and terrorist groups, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's operations in Iraq. Include the basis for the Clinton-era "cooperating in weapons development" statement.

3. Despite the prejudgment announced yesterday by Kean and Democratic partisan Richard Ben-Veniste dismissing Mohammed Atta's reported meeting in Prague with an Iraqi spymaster, fairly spell out all the evidence that led to George Tenet's "not proven or disproven" testimony. (Start with

4. Show how the failure to retaliate after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole affected 9/11, how removing the director of central intelligence from running the C.I.A. would work, and how Congress's intelligence oversight failed abysmally.

5. Stop wasting time posturing on television and get involved writing a defensible commission report.
Personally, I don't think the commission ever had nonpartisan credibility. That became clear the first time it held an open hearing. It doesn't matter what the Republican members of the commission think because only the Democrats' points get any coverage.

The Newdow York Times

The New York Times has published an opinion piece by Michael Newdow attacking SCOTUS's dismissal of his suit to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Say you're sorry

Professor Althouse asks "Why all the stress on apologies these days?" Good question. It seems more like a way to claim moral superiority than anything else. It has always struck me as childish and pointless.