Friday, August 13, 2004

Sensitive War

Dick Cheney, on Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday, criticized Kerry for his statement that he would conduct a more "sensitive" war.

Mr. Kerry needs to read General Sherman. He seems to think that we could have convinced Saddam to come clean through another 12 years of diplomacy. What he doesn't get is that Saddam had bought off at least two permanent members of the Security Council. There was no way we were going to get the U.N. to authorize deposing him.

The big criticism on the left has been that Bush was too unilateral, but all that boils down to is saying that our national defense and foreign policy should be subject to veto by the French, Kofi Anan, Canada and Belgium. That is unacceptable. The U.N. is not the source of law for America's national security. It's a debating society, but the Democrats seem to think we can't do anything without it. That's why I think we should test it to see who can get along without whom.

I don't think Americans realize the damage we did to our diplomacy by pulling out of Vietnam the way we did. We've done it again and again since, in Lebanon, Somalia and Iraq. Why should anybody in the world believe what we promise when we have a major party, now leading in the polls, which is willing at the drop of a hat to back out of any undertaking that gets nasty? If we elect John Kerry, we should just disband our state department and withdraw our troops from around the world. Tell the EU its their baby from now on. That's what "sensitivity" boils down to.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Thanks, but . . .

So, if you're straight, you can go gay, but if you're gay, there's no going back?

The truth

The history profession is wallowing in the mire of postmodernism, but Forrest McDonald has been fighting the good fight against the leftist mainstream of historians. Truth is presumed to be what history is about, but as you learn quickly, it's really more about interpretation.

The Times, WaPo, et al. are being scooped

by by the London Daily Telegraph, no less.

Open Letter to the NYTimes

Subject: Why is the Times covering up Kerry's lies?

Senator Kerry has been telling people for years that he spent Christimas Eve 1968 in Cambodia illegally. Now he admits that he wasn't in Cambodia but near it. He claims that he took CIA or SEALs into Cambodia. Others who operated Swift Boats alongside his are saying that taking Swift boats into Cambodia was physically impossible due to obstructions at the border.

250 Swift Boat veterans who served in the same operations as Kerry are disturbed enough by these claims and Kerry's use of his service in Vietnam to claim that he is qualified to be Commander in Chief that they have appeared in television ads not associated with the Bush Campaign. A new book is about to be published that shows a different view of Kerry's time in Vietnam. Yet major papers like the Times have ignored the story.

Considering the coverage you gave Bush's National Guard service and charges that he was AWOL or a deserter, I think you owe your readers as thorough an investigation of Kerry's service instead of acting like part of his campaign organization. Maybe you would prefer to wait until Bush is safely defeated to start covering this story, but that would make you cynical, dishonest and an unreliable reporter of news. You aren't that are you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Saving Lieutenant Rassmann

Instapundit links to this Robert Novak column.

I've heard that Kerry's rep for heroics is based on rescuing Jim Rassmann after he had fallen off the boat. Excuse me, but what did the Navy and his crew expect from him? To leave one of his "Band of Brothers" to drown or be captured? I've never been in a firefight, but I think I'd have a hard time seeing one of my friends fall off the boat, hanging on, exposed to enemy fire, and not go pull him back to safety. Is that all it takes to be a hero, to not abandon your fellow troops to save your own skin? It sounds like a pretty low threshold to me. I can see how Rassmann would have a vivid memory of the danger he was in, and be grateful for Kerry pulling him to safety, but I don't see how anybody on that boat could have watched that scene and not have gone to get him.


The Big Trunk at the Power Line blog points to an article about Kerry's "lucky hat" which he says was given him by a CIA agent during his secret mission into Cambodia.

Oooo-kay. I wonder if he's has a tee shirt to go with it: "Shoot me! I'm CIA!" The article doesn't say whether the hat can be identified as CIA issue, but it probably doesn't. Nor is the CIA likely to confirm the story. Maybe it's true; maybe it's a silly fib; maybe Kerry is just gullible. But who will ever know?

Update: Here's a picture of what may be the lucky hat. I wonder if he attributes his three purple hearts in four months to the hat.

Update: Mickey Kaus links to this New Yorker piece by Phillip Gourevitch, in which he quotes Sandy Berger as saying, " �There are no silver bullets on Iraq.� That's essentially what Bush has been saying, so why is Kerry saying he has a silver bullet?

Then there's this:
No other Vietnam War hero has ever been nominated for President, nor has any other former antiwar leader, and, while Kerry presents himself as a unifying figure, he embodies a conflict that is still surprisingly raw. �He�ll often thrash around in the night,� the filmmaker George Butler, who is one of Kerry�s oldest friends, told me. �He smashed up a lamp in my house in New Hampshire, in the bedroom where he was staying. Most Vietnam veterans go through this.�
We had similar warning notes about Bill Clinton in 1992, but the press was so intent on beating the Republicans that they papered them over and then we found out how inept, and randy, the candidate really was. Kerry's use of his service in Vietnam as the main pole of his political tent, and the myths he has created for himself, are pretty worrisome, as Roger L. Simon has written. The press really should be more honest about this, lest Kerry turn Iraq into another Vietnam.

Update: John O'Neill, the co-author of Unfit for Command, appeared on Hugh Hewitt's program on Friday. Hugh played clips from O'Neill's appearances on Hard Ball and Crossfire. He was shouted down by Matthews and Carville. Chris Matthews took the position that O'Neill was slandering a Silver Star recipient and wouldn't let him get his story out. Carville demanded that O'Neill answer for the sins of his co-author that apparently don't have much to do with the facts in the book.

Nevertheless, the story is starting to break into the media, though not the NYTimes and WaPo.

Ripped from the headlines

I read the opinion page every day and am frequently compelled to reply. However, I know that the papers can't print two or three of my missives a day, so I've decided to reproduce them here.

Ahem. Letters to the Deseret Morning News followed by my replies.

Feds want your e-mails

A story in the Deseret Morning News ("To delete or keep: E-mail is a problem," Aug. 8) cautions governments and corporations from deleting legitimate e-mail. Expensive measures are being called into place to archive the mail for future subpoena purposes. Think Enron on one hand. Think Monicagate on the other. Next they'll ask us to keep recordings of all our phone conversations.

Big brother gets bigger � with good reasons, as always. What about all those business propositions I get from Nigeria? Do I have to keep those? One man's junk is another man's treasure. You never know what an IRS (or other ABC) agent might find lucky.

Sterling D. Allan

My reply:

You headlined Sterling Allan's letter, "Feds want your email." I'm not sure if that's what he meant, but if they want my email, they're welcome to it along with the 90% which is spam.

As for his assertion that this is Big Brother growing bigger, I suggest he re-read 1984 and compare it with our society. The country described in that book has no free press, no open and independent courts and a two-way device in every home that allows the government to watch the governed. If anything, Americans have more freedom than is good for them and they're claiming everyday that there is some new right that everyone is entitled to. You want freedom? Try self-discipline.

Land efforts applauded

I appreciated the article on the Alliance for Unity taking a stand to support open space protection "with a sense of urgency" (July 18). Along with both gubernatorial candidates, who have indicated support for additional open space acquisition, I applaud the Alliance for foresight and leadership.. . .

I hope voters will support candidates and elected officials who will follow the expressions of Alliance for Unity.

Ralph Becker
Utah House of Representatives, District 24
Salt Lake City

My reply:

Who chose the name of the Alliance for Unity? Isn't an alliance unified by definition? It sounds like "Swimmers for Getting Wet." Yet it has raised millions and enjoys the support of a lot of people, but it seems more interested in liberal causes than anything else. We'd all be unified if we all adopted the same opinions about everything, until we had to decide who should lead us.
I'd like to solicit donations for my pet project, Concerned Apathetics for America. After all, apathetics cast the most votes in every election -- by not voting.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Lileks declares national media hopeless

I just heard James Lileks on the Hugh Hewitt program (to listen go to this page to listen over the internet) talking about SBHFS, sudden Bush hatred fatigue syndrome, and suggesting that the media may have crossed the line. He describes his own experience with what Hugh has been talking about in connection with his his new book, the failure of bookstores to carry anything favorable to Bush while they heap their promotion tables with anti-Bush screeds. Lileks noted the tendency of magazines to feature stories like this:
On the way out I checked the periodicals rack. Esquire. Hadn�t read that in a while. Flip through it; hmm, an article on Stem Cell research. Title: �Please stand by while the age of miracles is briefly suspended: How the president is trying to kill my daughter.�
Glenn Reynolds and Roger L. Simon came on shortly to react to Fox News Channel coverage of Kerry's claim that he spent Christmas of 1968 in Cambodia being shot at by "our Vietnamese allies," which have been all over the blogs for a week, but until now have been ignored by the rest of the media. As everybody keeps saying, what Kerry did in Vietnam wouldn't be an issue except for the fact that he has made it such a central theme of his campaign, especially his convention speech. The media will scoff and want to dismiss this, but they have set their own precedent with their prolonged coverage of allegations that Bush didn't show up for National Guard Service.

Glenn described the media as having their fingers in their eyes going "La, la, la, I don't hear you!" but he and Roger both predict this will crumble by midweek. I'm not so sure. Glenn also mentioned that such media bias could threaten the very nature of democracy, a point which is always being touted by journalists as they claim Constitutional protection. If you're in that position, ethics would demand that there be a range of opinion in the media without the populace having to search for it on cable TV or the Internet. A paper like the NYTimes, given its position of leadership, is ethically obligated to provide diversity of views beyond hiring a couple of conservative columnists, even if the rest of the print press declines. The biggest problem, however, is with the broadcast news networks, which are slanted across the board. This means that most peoples' news is infected with a liberal slant that needs to be corrected. As they work studiously to avoid this issue, they risk an angry backlash from those whom they have taken for granted. What worries me is whether it will happen soon enough to save Bush's presidency.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Swift Boat Vets are proving seaworthy!

They've been threatened by Kerry's lawyers, but aren't backing down. The msm (mainstream media)and the left aren't interested in investigating their claims, but the pro-war and conservative blogosphere sure is, and the results are persuasive. The trick will be getting the facts out.

Update: The Kerry campaign has now conceded that he wasn't in Cambodia on Christmas eve 1968, but still claim that he was there. Veterans say that he couldn't have been in a Swift Boat and in Cambodia. Now he's saying that he was there with a team of Navy SEALS. Read this interview and this bleat. Democrats started all this by following Michael Moore down the Bush Was a Deserter alley, and they deserve to get mugged. Kerry's new versions have as many holes as the first one. Do the Dems really want to elect someone who will be torn in pieces when the press turns on him and keeps this story alive after they get rid of Bush.
That would surely be good for Hillary.

Kerry, war and "prudence"

Probably the best reason to reject John Kerry is perfectly stated by Bill Hobbs:
John Kerry doesn't want to fight the War on Terror to win. He wants to play defense. That approach got 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11. It will get more killed - it could get you killed - if John Kerry is elected president and makes good on his promise to play defense in the war on terror.
Then there's this from Outside the Beltway:
[w]hile I get that he's apparently basing his entire campaign on the facts that 1) he went to Vietnam and 2) he's not George W. Bush, I'm constantly bemused that a man who has been in the public spotlight for thirty-odd years wants us to think that he left Vietnam and suddenly emerged last week wanting to be president. His entire political career has been elided for the purposes of the campaign. I honestly can't recall a presidential nominee who didn't point to any achievements from his adult career.
The biggest reason Vietnam was lost is that it was fought "prudently," not allowing our forces to operate above the DMZ or in neighboring countries being used by them. We didn't want to draw the Russians and Chinese into a wider war. This is also the reason why North Korea exists today as a Stalinist state. And it is what most worries me about Kerry as president. It would be bad to reward terrorists and resurgents in Iraq by bailing out on efforts to build democracy there, but it would be worse to fight a war without intending to win completely and decisively.

Right now, it's hard to figure out what Kerry would do to fight terrorism. He has acknowledged that we are in a global war, but he has criticized Bush for going to war "because we want to," as if anyone really wants to go to war. His acceptance speech is equivocal at best. He talks about looking the parent of our troops in the eye and telling them that we have to fight. I think that's what Bush did. The fact that our intelligence was poor has led to all kinds of recriminations and accusations of lying. How would Kerry deal with such a situation, such as attacking a target only to find that the terrorists weren't there. I think he'd be more like Clinton, and that would be imprudent.