Saturday, March 25, 2006

And I thought Ignatius had some sense.

Not after this piece in which he compares Bush to LBJ during Vietnam. This kind of pop psychological analysis is one of the worst sins media pundits commit. It tells you more about the one doing it than the one being analyzed. To suggest that "Bush works hard to disguise it, but one senses the same inner conflict that afflicted Johnson as Vietnam began to go bad," is pretty arrogant. As does the claim that he is "losing the ability to communicate effectively about the issue that matters most to him."

All this illustrates is that Ignatius doesn't know Bush very well. It also partakes of that "Who me?" attitude of journalists when they're accused of stacking the deck to influence public opinion, as if they had nothing to do with the relentless negative coverage of the war that pervades the media. Maybe it's their liberal educations or the fact that they only hang out with others like themselves, but for whatever reason our reporters have accepted moral equivalence and the counter-culture myths of the 60s and 70s as reality. Their training seems to teach them that nobody in government ever tells the truth and that American soldiers really are those thugs portrayed by John Kerry three decades ago. They react to honest patriotism, national pride and cheering for the good guys like Superman avoids kryptonite. Then they spin these scenarios and pass them off as analysis. They never wonder what happened to the old optimism and confidence that America once had, because they never believed it. They thought it was just a mask for our real corruption, capitalism.

You work for Schumer . . .

you may have to take a fall. Is it possible that this staff member of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, headed by Chuck Schumer, took it on herself to fraudulently obtain Michael Steele's credit report? Steele is a Republican candidate for the Senate from Maryland.

Crime rates up in Baghdad

I guess the NYTimes wants to bolster the civil war meme with this report, but to me it says how much the innocent people of Iraq need us to succeed, and their own forces to be strengthened.

Is Islam ready to join the world?

Mark Steyn on the case of Abdul Rahman:
The Islamists know our side have tanks and planes, but they have will and faith, and they reckon in a long struggle that's the better bet. Most prominent Western leaders sound way too eager to climb into the weak-horse suit and audition to play the rear end.. . .

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
If this is what the Afghan people want, I'm sure we'd be more than happy to witdraw and allow them to sink back into their Dark Age culture, with the caveat that if they start training terrorists again we'll be back. If they want to be taken seriously as more than barbarians, they'll have to quit treating the rest of us as if we deserve to be murdered.

Then there's this:
One United Nations estimate says from 113 million to 200 million women around the world are demographically "missing." Every year, from 1.5 million to 3 million women and girls lose their lives as a result of gender-based violence or neglect.

Painting the Map Red

That's the title of Hugh Hewitt's newest book. It's a followup to "If it's not close, they can't cheat," laying out a program for increasing the lead of Republicans in Congress, with the notable exception of Lincoln Chaffee. I wish it much success, because somebody needs to get the Republicans in the Senate on the same page and organize an offense. Right now, they're acting like a broken line in retreat.

I wonder how much it would cost to set up a Republican cable channel like the NFL Network, featuring easy access to speeches, news from Iraq, and raising money. Interviews with Republican officeholders, etc.


Hillary!s challenger for the Senate, Kathleen "KT" McFarland, seems to have creeped out her base by claiming that Hillary! is spying on her and sending helicopters over her house. Her handlers claim it was a joke, but none of the Republican faithful at the event seem to laughting.

Friday, March 24, 2006

More same old blather from the left.

Madeleine Albright is pretty dismissive of Bush's reasons for engaging terrorists in Iraq. Her piece is headlined, "Good versus evil isn't a strategy." Typical Democrat oversimplification of Bush's position, but it reminded me of a documentary about how we got involved in Kosovo and bombing Serbia, and there was Madeleine backing use of power to prevent further killing and to stop Milosevic's depredations, but only if there were no American lives lost. So how was Milosevic different from Saddam? Why was "ethnic cleansing" sufficient to trigger our intervention, but not what Saddam did to the Marsh Arabs and the Kurds? Because Iraqi isn't part of Europe? We were stepping in to stop an evil process. If you don't recognize evil, what guide do we have for when to intervene if we can? We did nothing while a million Rwandas were killed with machetes. Then we allows thousands of people to be "ethnically cleansed" by the Serbs in Bosnia. If we weren't fighting evil, what were we doing?

Then there's this astonishing argument from the New York Times about Palestinians in Baghdad who are fleeing the country because Saddam is no longer there to protect them from their neighbors.
Two busloads of Palestinians fleeing violence in Baghdad were encamped today near Iraq's western border hoping to gain refuge in Jordan and have rebuffed the Iraqi government's attempts to draw them back to the capital. Their arrival at Jordan's gate last Sunday, and attempts to enter without proper transit permits, prompted Jordanian authorities to close the border for several days.

The Palestinian community in Iraq was once a pet cause of Saddam Hussein, who granted its members special treatment. But now, they say, they are suffering the backlash for that favoritism, and for being Sunni Arabs.
Of course, they're not trying to go back to Palestine, though, just Jordan.

Albright is correct in saying that good versus evil isn't a strategy, but then it isn't what Bush has claimed to be a strategy. It's why we're fighting. By helping Iraq become a free democratic nation, the strategy is to give Muslims living under oppressive regimes and oppressive religions a choice other than terrorism to redress their grievances. They see the vast gaps between their lives and those of westerners and they can find hope in becoming suicide bombers and the blessings to be received in the next life, or hope in this world through their own efforts by getting an education, starting a business, or just working and raising a family. Economic progress can't occur in a society where religion interferes with things like education, women's rights and freedom of thought and speech.

Where are the heroes from this war?

They're there, whether in the simple acts of service and charity shown yesterday on Neil Cavuto's show yesterday or the actions of a Congressional Medal honoree. So where are the stories about gallantry in action, the toughness and heroism of our troops in helping the Iraqi people rid themselves of an abominable dictator? Not in the MSM. It's more impressive to fellow "journalists" if you interview the guerrillas and terrorists. If you do profiles of American heroes, who will you drink with in the reporters' watering holes?

"What's wrong with your people?"

Victor Davis Hanson thinks we've had it too soft, being born on third base but thinking we hit a triple. That resonates with me. Previous generations had to work hard to get where they got. In many ways, we're coasting on their efforts.

Oh, and read what he had to say about Michael Ware's rant on CNN. An excerpt:
Q: What is the disease in the media? Where did it come from?

VDH: I think it came . . . between the journalism schools, the academic training of a lot of the people, and this affluent, elite culture, to be frank, that comes out of the unversities on the left and right coasts, that's divorced from the tragic view, because these people are not...they don't open hardware stores. They don't service cars. They've never worked physically with their hands. They have an idea in this international culture of the West that somehow, all of their affluence, all of their travel, all of their freedom came out of a head of Zeus, and it's not dependent on the U.S. military, the United States role in the world. They have no appreciation for the very system that birthed and maintained them. And they've had this sort of sick cynicism, nihilism, skepticism, and the height of their affluence and leisure, that they don't have any gratitude at all, which is really one of the most important human attributes. [Italics are mine]

Civil war or tribalism?

Charles Krauthammer sees the civil war in Iraq meme as self-evident and argues that its been there all along. Maybe so, if you remember that in the tribal culture of Arab countries the practice of revenge killing has existed since before Islam. So when Sunni guerrillas want to cause an all out civil war and drive out the Americans, they attack sacred Shia sites. And that worked, a little. What the more sober Shiites and the U.S. understand is that Iran would not bail out to let the sects fight it out. It is providing support to the terrorists as well as to Sadr's militia. So the main body of Iraqis has kept its cool, and declined to take to the streets. Iran is a Shiite nation, too, but it's taken a different path from traditional Shia which views government power as incompatible with holiness. Aytollahs in Iraq don't see themselves as future government officials, but they still have a great deal of influence over the public and they are smarter than to want to see full scale civil war. So there will always be the tribal infighting, but so far, it's not likely to go beyond the current levels.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How about some honest debate?

Hugh Hewitt has been on CNN the last couple of days arguing that the media coverage of the war in Iraq is too negative. And a lot of people agree with him, including Christopher Hitchens, Mark Steyn, James Lileks, Mickey Kaus, Glenn Reynolds and just about everybody who thinks terrorism is a dangerous problem. A returned soldier's wife in a townhall meeting with President Bush in West Virginia made that point and the crowd gave her a standing ovation. The only ones who don't seem to notice it are the people who see this war as a disaster. They don't seem to remember how the media covered WWII, only Vietnam.

They think their job requires them to continually focus on whether we should have launched this war. Why? The war has started. If they really considered what the pertinent issues are now? I don't think so. They can't get past their fixation on whether we were misled into war, whether Bush sent in enough troops, and whether its a quagmire. In focusing so much on those issues they provide the opponents of the war encouragement to constantly carp about everything from the death rate (exceptionally low) at one moment and not having enough boots on the ground. I think it's a legitimate issue as to whether all the whining and second guessing is helping us win or encouraging the people who are killing our soldiers and marines, not to mention their fellow Muslims. If they discussed that more on some of the pundit shows, people might realize that we can't just walk away without seriously hurting ourselves in the ongoing struggle to rid the world of terrorism. Or how about the responsibility of voting to authorize the war and then trying to cut it off at the knees? That's a legitimate subject to discuss, along with the silly claim that Bush went to war simply because Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake in Niger and that he intentionally lied about that. How about a serious discussion of how much sense that makes? The fact that commentators and "thinkers" would seriously make that claim puts their objectivity in question, not to mention their honesty.

We need to have these public debates, but those who control the public discourse have avoided it, and resorted to shoutfests instead.

Great Moments in Free Speech

Media Matters is in full maumau mode demanding that the Washington Post fire its newest blogger, Ben Domenech. Tell me again, when did the Washington Post become a publicly owned company?

The reason this is news is because liberal newspapers hardly ever hire conservatives as reporters. But these are hard times for newspapers. They've got loads of money but they're realizing that the future is not in print, it's the internet. They've seen the influence of conservative bloggers on issues of the day, and maybe it has dawned on them that they've been ignoring half of the country with their biased coverage, a market which talk radio and Fox News have discovered and profited by serving.

So the reaction of liberal readers? Rage, of course. Forget their devotion to press freedom. free speech and academic freedom. They only see those things as rights when they will benefit them. All this squealing should be taken by the Washington Post as evidence that it's on the right track. If the crazed complainers are willing to boycott the paper's otherwise left-leaning reporting and opinion to spite its few conservative writers, let 'em.

Update: Based on evidence that Domenech has plagiarized the writing of others, I agree that he should be unhired. However, the decision to hire a conservative blogger, was not wrong; just the choice of Domenech.

Moral Equidiocy

Reuters reports that concerns in the West over a man about to be sentenced to death for converting to Christianity are just like the riots in the Muslim world over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Sure. And Belarus is a a model democracy.

A riot is a terrible thing.

Maybe it's time for us in the west to start burning a few embassies and mosquest to give jokers like this judge that what goes around comes around. He should be removed from his job. Maybe Mr. Rahman ought to show up in court with a squad of Marines as his "counsel."

I don't know what we can do to get the point across that civilized people don't act this way, and if they want to trade with us and receive aid from us, they have to pull their heads out and recognize that people are not the property of the state or society or a religion. They have rights. I wonder what the judge would say if he was charged with murder.

Joe Biden, the Democrat Senator and beloved comic figure

Go read Mark Steyn's latest. It's full of great lines like that above:
Francis Fukuyama and the other moulting hawks

My argument for whacking Saddam was always that the price of leaving him unwhacked was too high.

Diplomats use "stability" as a fancy term to dignify inertia and complacency as geopolitical sophistication, but the lesson of 9/11 is that "stability" is profoundly unstable.

The biggest buck for the bang was obvious: prick the Middle East bubble at its most puffed up point - Saddam's Iraq.
He has such a knack for the bon mot.

That last reminded me that we have lanced a boil in Iraq, and our intellectuals and media elite keep telling us that we caused the infection, that it would have cleared itself up if we had just left it along. Better take our chances on sepsis.

Maybe that's how you win a Nobel Peace Prize, but it usually ends up in more death and misery, except that doesn't get in the the news.

More Reporting, and Less Journalism, please

Adrian Woolridge's review of Glenn Reynolds' book contains this intriguing phrase "they [bloggers] have demonstrated, beyond doubt, that journalism is an activity, not a profession."

I've been interested in the term "journalism" lately and the way it seems to be used by reporters to give themselves an air of professionalism. But what is the meaning of those two words?

A journal is a daily record of events, usually kept by a single person with his reactions and opinions on what has happened. It's another word for a diary. The word "report" shifts the focus away from the writer's point of view to the reader's needs, from subjective to objective, from feelings to facts.

The rise of journalism in the place of reporting may make the paper or magazine more fun to read, but less valuable as a source for the public to form its own opinions.

These Dorks shouldn't be allowed to call themselves Christians.

The CPT group of peace activists who were rescued by British, American and Iraqi troops, showed their gratitude with this bit of grace:
We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq.
One might ask whether their presence in Iraq and putting themselves in harm's way was necessary, but I suppose that the rest of us should turn the other cheek.

Hillary! as Theologian

The First-lady turned Senator vowed to "block legislation seeking to criminalize undocumented immigrants."
Clinton renewed her pledge to oppose a bill passed in December by the House that would make unlawful presence in the United States _ currently a civil offense _ a felony. The Senate is set to consider a version of that legislation, as well as several other bills seeking to address the seemingly intractable issue of immigration reform.

Surrounded by a multicultural coalition of New York immigration advocates, Clinton blasted the House bill as "mean-spirited" and said it flew in the face of Republicans' stated support for faith and values.

"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," Clinton said, "because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself."
What do The Good Samaritan and Jesus have to do with illegal immigration? She must have some understanding of the scriptures. I never knew that the Good Samaritan was an illegal alien. I could have sworn that Jesus taught that we should obey the law. And didn't he get arrested at the behest of the Jewish priests?

I think I'm going to puke.

The MSM makes me sick. They're arrogant, condescending, elitist, unfair, dishonest and biased.

The problem with clerics.

It seems to me that all the evil stemming from religious excess comes from clerics. Who invented the Inquisition? It wasn't Jesus. Who sent the Crusades to reclaim Palestine for Christianity? An organization that burns people at the stake and tortures them first is not a Christian organization.

Likewise, who created the Wahhabi sect of Islam, developed Sharia which, despite the Koran's injunction against compulsion in religion, imposes criminal penalties including torture, mutilation and death on people for violating religious rules?

The pattern is that a prophet receives a revelation, but once he's out of the way, uninspired "scholars" take over and adjust the revelation to fit their own views and without consulting God or scriptures. These become the ruling elite of the religion, in the manner of the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind, even if the religion claims that there must be no elites. Because they arise in societies where literacy is low, they become the gatekeepers to the scripture, and the power goes to their heads.

A few points:

1. If God wants men and women to die, he is able to do it himself. You'd better have a pretty good claim to being a prophet yourself before you start killing people who haven't hurt anybody else.

2. All of the three great Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions preach peace.

3. Sin is its own punishment, but the state may add some to it, but it should not be able to dictate in matters of religion.

4. Clerics are seldom elected by the vote of the people.

5. Obedience to God's commandments must be voluntary or he could not judge us fairly. Forced obedience is not sincere obedience, and God looks at the heart.

6. If you want to live in the modern world and spread your religion, you must not let people like this represent you.

The west has learned that you cannot trust religious leaders with the power of states. Too many times they foment wars, abuse their authority and do away with freedom and human rights. They should not be tempted with that kind of power, especially since they don't feel any accountability to the people. There are lots of exceptions, of course, but those who mix religion and politics cannot serve both masters.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wear it with pride!

I, like Debra Saunders, am one of the 37% who approve of the job President Bush is doing. The ones I'm not happy with are all the right wing carpers and the weak-kneed Republicans in Congress who are scurrying like roaches from daylight. Stand up! Accept the challenge! Fight back! Quit expecting Bush to do it alone!

I'm not sure where this puts me in the libertarian/conservative/liberal continuum, but I believe that Bush has been hung with all the problems of his party. He doesn't deserve it. Because he doesn't feel right about contending and confronting his critics, he is slow to get angry. I'm sure that he has feelings and thoughts he'd like to hurl back at them, but he seems to feel that arguing is unchristian. He needs to get over that and give the nation more of what we've seen in the past couple of days. But the rest of the party needs to get going and help him out.

As Saunders notes, "he'll never learn how to pronounce 'nuclear.'" A lot of others won't either. I think it's going to be in the dictionary with nucular as an alternative pronunciation. If you can say "clear" you should be able to say "new clear." It's not that hard, but Hugh Hewitt gets it wrong a lot and so does Major Garrett, and a lot of others I can't remember.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Consider the outcome

Michael Goodwin writes that it's too late for Bush to rally public support for the war. I hope he's as right as the media have been about everything else."

It's easy to toss off opinions like this, but harder to defend the result. This Wall Street Journal editorial is more sobering. I think that any responsible person, Democrat or Republican, taking Bush's place would have a tough time justifying bowing to the demands of the idiot left like Cindy Sheehan. And, no, turning it over to the U.N. is not acceptable.

From Hugh Hewitt's discussion with Christopher Hitchens this afternoon, there may be some members of the MSM who are starting to realize that their relentless attacks on Bush and negative coverage of events in Iraq may really be encouraging the terrorists and dragging out this war. People like the Democrat media hounds in the Senate don't seem to have ever had a thought about what would happen in that region if we yanked our troops. We've still got troops in Kosovo, for crying out loud, but nobody's whining about that.

Via Instapundit, comes this report on death statistics for the military from a number of past presidencies. What's impressive is how small the number of deaths above the background rate coming from normal peacetime operations is. I wonder what Cindy Sheehan (soon to be portrayed in a movie by Susan Sarandon*) would be doing if her son had died in a vehicle accident in California.

*I hope she gets that simpering, lispy, vacant manner of speech Sheehan has when she mouths her antiwar cliches. Of course, then it would be a parody, and Mother Sheehan might realize how really moronic she and the rest of her movement appear.

Republicans Arise!

Charlie Cook analyzes the state of the Republican Party. It's not pretty. My view is that they need to get together and put on a strong offense. Bush's policies are not as bad as the polls make them appear. Poor public support is the result of a failure of Republicans to participate in the debate. The continuing drumbeat in the news media of failure, failure, failure needs to be taken straight on and defeated and members of the Congress are much better situated to do that than anybody in the White House is. Local media tend to be more open to counter arguments than their national brethren. They need somebody from the party to take them in hand and get them on the same page and motivate them to fight back.

The Katrina debacle was not the fault of the President. There were plenty of faults to go around, but the last time I looked we are primarily served by local and state governments, who can request assistance from FEMA. If you have incompetent and corrupt city and state government officials, FEMA can't undo decades of failure to prepare for disasters that are certain to occur. If you live below sea level, you can't assume that you'll never be flooded. If it were me, I might build my own levees or get with others to prepare. If the locals would organize and contribute labor, they could probably get help with materials from the government.

The war in Iraq is not a failure and they need to get some spine and stand up for it. How hard is it for a politician to preach patriotism? Have they become so fainthearted as to quail before the likes of Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand? They're elected to lead, so they need to get going and get the real truth out. Running away from Bush will only assure that their fears come true.

The fight for Muslim human rights.

Jeff Jacoby makes the humanitarian case for liberal democracy in Iraq. You'd think this alone would make feminists support the war, but you'd be wrong.

Essentially, the argument is compelling that Sharia law is unjust and needs to be modernized or struck down. Its existence is one of the best arguments that Muslims cannot operate a democracy. The current case of a Christian convert in Afghanistan who has been sentenced to death under Sharia law, will bring this to a head. Islam has evolved to require a closed society. Muslim countries will have to decide whether they want to be a part of the modern world or just trade with it. Long term trade and importation of western goods and technology will eventually break down the walls, but that means lots of misery, death and struggle are ahead for them.

The existence of WMD

Instapundit calls attention to former Iraqi general George Sada's claim that there were WMD in Iraq but they were moved to Syria before the return of UN inspectors. What got me thinking was this update:
UPDATE: Reader Alan Goldstein thinks there's less here than meets the eye: "on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC-FM on March 9th General George said he didn't actually see them himself."
Would critics of George Bush be this finicky if the general was claiming that the war was unjustified? I doubt it. And I know that CBS news wouldn't, based on the episode of the Fake but Accurate documents.

I don't know whether to believe General George or not, but if he's honest and just wrong, it would indicate that Saddam was misleading his highest military leaders.

I've never understood why this whole issue has gotten so much play in the media, if they were being honest and objective. Only partisans, opponents of the war and the nonsentient can take it seriously. There's a hole a mile wide in the logic. Bush argued, among other things, that Saddam was a threat to the region because he was stockpiling WMD. The fact that they weren't there when we were in a position to fing and destroy them shouldn't be all that surprising given the amount of time Saddam had to prepare for our invasion. The story of the UN Oil for Fraud Program makes it clear what his game was: Move them until your allies on the Security Council, in the media and in the U.N. itself succeed in doing away with sanctions, then bring them back and get to work. He didn't lose the capacity to manufacture these things, after all.


James Taranto linked to this 2001 cartoon which resonates with Yales acceptance of a member of the Taliban regime.

Why Pork Won't Die

Jay Cost has an interesting post on porkbarrel spending, admonishing conservatives to give Congressional Republicans some slack on earmarks. I'm unpersuaded, but he does demonstrate the logic behind the practice. I just think it resembles bribery too closely.
The first mistake that conservatives make when they criticize the congressional GOP is the assumption that congressional Republicans are Republican in the same way that they are. It is not true. A half-century ago, the great Harvard political scientist V.O. Key argued that a political party must be understood as the conglomeration of three distinct parts - the party organization, the party-in-government, and the party-in-the-electorate. All three parts have different, sometimes competing, interests. Today's party-in-the-electorate - the base, the party intellectuals, the donors - want above all to have the party platform enacted. The Republican party-in-government - President Bush as well as the Republican congressional caucus - also wish that. However, they desire something more than the implementation of Republicanism - and that is their reelection. Long gone are the days of the citizen legislature that the Framers envisioned for the Congress. Congress is now composed of professional legislators - who, once they have secured office, intend to keep it indefinitely. This is their primary goal. It is a goal that the party-in-the-electorate does not share. Voters in the Republican electorate have no personal offices that they need to preserve.

The preeminence of reelection in the mind of the legislator is something that most pundits accept, but fail to appreciate. To understand members of Congress, the priority of reelection is an absolute, positive, unequivocal first principle. This is not to say that members of Congress do not care about good policy; it is only to say that good policy comes second to reelection. Members pursue good policy only when they think that it will not diminish their chances in the next election. So, when it comes to "Republican congressmen", you cannot separate the first word from the second. They are Republicans, but they are not Republicans like the party faithful. They have different goals: reelection first, Republicanism second.
This is a good explanation, but not a good justification. It's a fair point that if you don't get reelected, you can't enact the Republican agenda, but that doesn't justify the secretiveness about it. Earmarks should be acknowledged and publicized when they are requested. A case should be made that they will serve the public good, and not that of the contractor who has given the congressman a contribution. There must be more transparency. Nothing would do more to solve the problem than that.

Another truth Cost points out:
The average voter, in the course of making his vote choice, does not ponder the extent to which the selection of a Republican will extend Republicanism; rather, he evaluates what he thinks of the member personally and what he has done for that district. This view is due to the design of the system. Congress was not designed to efficiently advance the national welfare. It was designed to efficiently represent and balance local interests. That is what it does, and that is how voters think about it when they make their vote choice.
This is also probably true, but is that really what people want? It has a discomfiting resemblance to graft. Is it really good for the country for it to go broke trying to keep incumbents in office? This is the "stop me before I spend again" argument. Would voters think this way if members of Congress weren't flaunting their earmarks in their campaigns. Of course, opponents may attack them for not bringing enough spending to the district, but that leads back to the same excuse: the voters are stupid.

The "Fire Rumsfeld" Meme

The Arizona Republic is parroting the Democrat talking points. Do they think that nobody will notice the coincidence?

Reports of the absence of WMD may have been overplayed

Instapundit calls attention to former Iraqi general George Sada's claim that there were WMD in Iraq but they were moved to Syria before the return of UN inspectors. What got me thinking was this update:
UPDATE: Reader Alan Goldstein thinks there's less here than meets the eye: "on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC-FM on March 9th General George said he didn't actually see them himself."
Would critics of George Bush be this finicky if the general was claiming that the war was unjustified? I doubt it. And I know that CBS news wouldn't, based on the episode of the Fake but Accurate documents.

I don't know whether to believe General George or not, but if he's wrong,it would indicate that Saddam was misleading his highest military leaders, or it could be that the general is lying, trying to curry favor with the Bush administration. As Jon Stewart notes:
That would seemingly get the Bush administration off the giant hook that it appears to be on. Why wouldn’t they pursue that line of evidence? Or have they? It seems like for us it would be hard to understand that that really happened. Given that the whole world was looking for those.
I guess we won't know until we go to Syria and find them, but what's to keep the Syrians from moving them to, say, Iran?

I've never thought the failure to find WMD was as big a deal as the left seems to believe. Saddam is a devious man. He was engaged in a project to bribe France and Germany to get the sanctions removed which would mean no more U.N. inspectors. We now know how ble much he was able to corrupt the U.N. Oil for Food program. We know that he had the capability of producing nerve gas, because he used it against Iran and the Kurds. That fact alone made him a threat to all of his neighbors. The willingness of opponents of the war to accept his assurances, strikes me as fatuous in the extreme. It's only by Big Lie techniques that they have convinced anybody. If I were in the media, I'd be ashamed to make such arguments. "We didn't find WMD, therefore Bush knew they weren't there, and lied about Saddam having a WMD program and stockpiles in order to justify the war." There's huge hole in that argument that anybody with any common sense should be able to point out and that any fair-minded commentator would readily acknowledge. The fact that so many journalists have parroted the argument proves to me that they are not objective or reporting in good faith. Their denials of being biased can only be explained by extreme gullibility, lack of critical thinking skills or dishonesty.

Jettisoning Print: the next inevitable leap in journalism

Paul Chesser reports on the buyout of Knight-Ridder by McClatchy Co. which will drop 12 of the 32 K-R papers purchased.
Acclaimed as one of the few exceptionally run newspaper chains in America, McClatchy is positioned to turn a community into one served solely through electronic news delivery. It's time to see if a text media provider in a given city can thrive without daily paper throwers.
Besides the cost of newsprint and presses and that of distributing the product,
In this digital age, paying someone to get up in the middle of the night, burn their fuel, risk their lives, and beat up their vehicles, all to place an obsolete form of news product in customers' hands, is impractical.
Good point.

The dog that doesn't bark gets no press

Jack Kelly reports on the reporting of matters in Iraq, noting that the MSM coverage gets a D+ from Bill Roggio.
Actor and antiwar activist Richard Belzer said he knows more about the war in Iraq than do U.S. servicemen in Iraq because he "reads 20 newspapers a day." But 20 biased, shallow and incomplete accounts don't add up to the truth.
Kelly appeared on the Hugh Hewitt Show this afternoon to expand on his column, followed by Michael Yon. One of Kelly's points was that hardly anyone among the MSM's big guns have had any military experience or knows how to judge progress or lack thereof. Hard to do when you only attend press briefings and don't leave your hotel. Even those who embed with the troops can't really evaluate the effect of a single fire fight on the entire picture across the country:
[The] reporting shows first a monumental ignorance of military affairs. As Bill pointed out, there's commentary larded in with the reporting, events are looked at in isolation, you don't get reporting of events in context. To give you an illustration, there were two news stories day that made news. One was this terrorist attack on a prison, an Iraqi prison in Muqdadiyah.

HH: Yup.

JK: It got a lot of attention.

HH: Yup.

JK: The more significant thing was the dog that didn't bark, that the Shiia pilgrimage into Karbala, on this Shiia holiday, passed peacefully, that there were no terrorist assault, there was no sign of civil war. That got very little attention.

HH: That's a annual and very massive march, is it not?

JK: It is indeed. There are hundreds of thousands of people that participate. And they walk hundreds of miles in many instances. The Northeast portion of Sadr City largely empties out to march down to Karbala, which is about 80 miles away.

HH: Whoa. That's a big walk.

JK: It is indeed.

HH: Okay. You're right, though. It's also a huge target.

JK: It is a huge target, and there was a lot of security for it, and there was one incident yesterday where several pilgrims were shot by drive-by shooting, like a gangland shooting in L.A. But as far as I know, that was it.

An Opposition without a Cause

The other day, I noted a story claiming that Bush was damaging our national discourse by using straw-man arguments. Today, I'm wondering why the left keeps sending out straw-men to represent their views.

Listening to Bush's press "conference" today, I had a sense of déjà vu. The questions were all the same as last year and every one since the war began. The left is running out of arguments. They want to keep up the pretense that this war is a bust, but they haven't got any evidence except their own prejudices. Helen Thomas was more tiresome than usual. The main difference was Bush's responses. He was taking no guff, and expressing his points logically and clearly, following up on his impressive performance in Cleveland yesterday. He came across as a regular person, patiently explaining his answers in terms that people could understand and which were compelling.

The press is emphasizing his answer to one question about when there will be no more troops in Iraq, I would have said as soon as there aren't any in Kosovo. CNN has interview with Jack Murtha, who just repeated his goofy hyperbole that Bush hasn't said one thing that was true about Iraq. Murtha served in Vietnam, but he seems to have lost quite a few brain cells since then. He looks like a muppet, and seems to have a tape recording inside.

The talking points over the weekend were 1. Incompetent, 2. Incompetent and 3. Incompetent. The new one today is a reprise of the calls by Democrats for Don Rumsfeld to resign.

If you're a Democrat and the president is on the ropes, according to the polls. It's your big chance to score points. What do you say? "Bush lied!" "Bush is incompetent." "Bush should fire Rumsfeld." No facts. No alternative strategies, except to send more troops. We all know how well Democrats prosecute wars. (LBJ for instance.) They're setting themselves up to look like idiots if they ever get back control of the government. If Hillary! becomes prez, how would she handle Iraq? I think she'd try to prove her manhood by getting tougher.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The hidden war we're winning.

We're moving toward a time when we'll be able to begin withdrawing our troops, but the press is having none of it. Their whole reporting now seems to assume that the war has been lost, maybe because these people live in an echo chamber. The American MSM have become a propaganda agency for the terrorists, making their job easier by misrepresenting the true situation in Iraq and the context for judging the progress of the war.

James Taranto notes The Castastrophe That Wasn't:
It's been three years since coalition troops entered Iraq. The results of that intervention have been mixed: the toppling of a tyrant and successful democratic elections vs. a continuing guerrilla insurgency and a fraying of American national purpose. Critics of the war are right to say terrorists are more active in Iraq than before--but then, if terrorists are going to be active, surely it's better to have them in a place where American servicemen can kill them.

To hear the carping critics, you'd think Iraq was an unmitigated disaster, or that such a disaster is imminent.
What's worse is that so many Republicans in Congress seem to agree. This should be a great campaign issue, with Republicans supporting the president and making the case that the war is succeeding, but they're scattering like chickens. Even conservatives like Bill Buckley and George Will are carping, based more on their discomfort with Bush's non-conservative moves than on any real facts. If Republicans don't wise up, calm down and fight back, they'll lose their majorities in Congress, and they'll deserve to.

Come to think of it, perhaps the U.S. is in a civil war in which the MSM takes the Anti-Bush side. They don't use bombs and IEDs, but they're serving as promoters for the terrorists.

More nitpicking of Bush's speechesb

Can the media get any more childish and petty? Nedra Pickler (a sourpuss name if I've ever heard one) of the AP begins her report on Bush's speeches yesterday as follows:
President Bush marked the anniversary of the Iraq war Sunday by touting the efforts to build democracy there and avoiding any mention of the daily violence that rages three years after he ordered an invasion.

The president didn't utter the word "war."
Huh? Who cares? What is this factoid supposed to prove? I'm fed up with nonsense like this. It isn't worthy of a high school newspaper, let alone a major press service.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Don't talk to me.

Not only are the MSM ignoring the successes in Iraq, the real stories are ignored. Real journalism would have disclosed how France's leaders had been corrupted by Saddam. We'd have seen more about the families of those who were murdered by him.

There is a chance to redress this by getting those documents translated and broadcast, but don't expect CBS or the other _B_ networks to report on them. I can't believe the totally negative coverage in our media. It makes me want to fund a VOA television network here.

Why Americans have a low opinion of Muslims

An Aghan man who converted to Christianity is facing the death penalty under sharia law. Maybe this kind of thing is the reason Americans are dropping support for the war in Iraq. It's a racist and bigoted view to say that Muslims, Arabs, Persians, Afghans, etc. are incapable of democracy. But when you see the video of riots over Danish cartoons, bombing of Mosques and pilgrims, and the difficulty the groups in Iraq are having creating a government, it's hard not to believe it.

Of course, there are some in Northern Ireland who are acting just as uncivilized -- over religion. Muslims used to be the advanced culture while Europe was engaged in the Inquisition.

Is it Civil War if one side has an army and the others are terrorists without one?

I saw this story twice in the past hour on the local ABC station. I find it odd the way opponents of this war, like those during the Vietnam war, place great emphasis on the existence of civil war, as if what you call the violence is important.

Here's another example. Retired General Paul D. Eaton argues that Don Rumsfeld should be removed because of:
his failure to build coalitions with our allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on our soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in our own military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.
Sounds like sour grapes and a rehash of John Kerry's campaign.

How soon do you want to go home?

A Marine Captain explains the Zogby poll of troops in Iraq.