Saturday, August 12, 2006

The latest Instapoll puts a Giuliani-Romney ticket way ahead of McCain-Lieberman. I don't know if Romney would really want the VP-ship. Anyway, I think the real question for Republicans ought to be which candidate will be strongest against the media smear machine. Giuliani has some personal baggage. Romney would be attacked on relgious grounds. The media would probably give McCain a pass, but I don't think the Republican base would. I think McCain could be relied on to prosecute the war and stick with Iraq, and maybe even be more bold in confronting Iran, North Korea and China. He's a reliable pork-buster, but his support for campaign finance sophistries bothers me. Who would he nominate for the Supreme Court? Probably more like Roberts than Suter.

The Dysfunctional Media Family

The NYTimes' Public Editor, Byron Calame,:
The Times delayed publication of drafts of the [NSA] eavesdropping article before the 2004 election. This revelation confirms what anonymous sources had told other publications such as The Los Angeles Times and The New York Observer in December. [Italics added]
Why would they sit on this story for a year, then publish it? Was it really because the White House had asked that it be withheld? Did Bill Keller think it would affect the election? Apparently, yes. He says he thought the revelation would help Bush win the election, so he held it back.

Since when is it kosher for newspapers to spike stories to affect elections? National security doesn't seem to have been a factor at all. Only the election. I didn't think it should have been published at all. This story and the later revelations about the SWIFT program probably made it less likely that plots like the airliner bombing just averted would be detected, but we get no apologies from Bill Keller.

We're talking about terrorism and the threat of more 9/11s here. What business does an unelected news organization with a well-known liberal bias have interfering with the government's efforts to protect us? Does anybody in the media take anything seriously?

A terrible plot to kill thousands of civilians prompts Brian Williams to compare the suicide bombers to our special forces who also put their lives on the line. I accept his explanation, but not his murky thought process. It reeks of political correctness. When your first reaction to a murder-suicide plot involving more than 20 martyr wannabes is to equate terrorists to freedom fighters, somebody needs an intervention. The problem is that our entire news industry is dysfunctional, and there's nobody they care about or respect enough to straighten them out--certainly not the conservative blogosphere.

This just in: HSA bungles airport security

It's always ironic to see liberal media denouncing the ineptitude of government bureaucracies when just about every policy they support involves more of the same. I'm sure the P/I thinks the latest cease fire agreement between Israel and its attackers is a big breakthrough.

There is no doubt that the bureaucracy in HSA is incapable of any decisive or efficient response to terrorism, but that's built into any big government approach. Criticizing the bureaucracy for being a bureaucracy is pretty pointless, but this is what passes for "new thinking" on the left these days. They can't make a case for their failed solutions, because they're based on dogma inherited from socialist and communist ideologies, not logic or success.

The grievance business

One of the things that has troubled me about the civil rights movement is the sense of entitlement past discrimination has given minorities, particularly blacks. Muslims have copped much the same attitude, but with far less justification. CAIR, for example, whines constantly about the fact that people think of Muslims as terrorists, when the only ones most Americans know about are ones who wantonly kill people in order to become martyrs. Instead of accusing everybody else of discrimination, they'd do better to publicize the peaceful side of Islam. The problem with that is that the Saudis have promoted an archaic, fundamentalist form of Islam that reinforces the worst stereotypes.

British Muslims have the same problem, apparently. Note the subtext:
To combat terror the government has focused extensively on domestic legislation. While some of this will have an impact, the government must not ignore the role of its foreign policy.

The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all.
In other words, give the terrorists what they want and they'll leave us alone. No mention of the civlians being targeted by the insurgents and sectarian militias in Iraq. If the U.S. and Britain pulled out tomorrow, whom would these people blame for all the carnage? I know whom Noam Chomsky would point to, but he's a crank. Unfortunately, he is a leading voice for the Democrat anti-war, anti-America jihadists.

The Cease Fire

It's a disappointment for those of us who want to settle this once and for all, but Israel is a small country with at least 100 rockets falling on it every day. People have been driven from their homes.

Michael Medved reported that on Friday evening in Jerusalem, they used to sound a siren as a signal that Sabbath had begun. Because the siren sent children who had been evacuated to Jerusalem into panic attacks, it has been replaces with a kinder, gentler reminder, a melody played on a mandolin or a similar instrument. Medved ends his radio show with the same music every Friday.

Ultimately, Christians believe the Lord will return in glory and establish peace through his very presence. In the meantime, we have to struggle for it. As a Mormon, I believe that there is current revelation through living prophets, and there are times when the Lord says submit and times when he says fight. Since the founding of the church in this era, Mormons have been attacked and driven again and again here in the Land of the Free. In the Book of Mormon there are occasions when the Lord allowed innocent women and children to be murdered but assured that they did not suffer the pains of death. On other occasions he instructed his people to fight to protect themselves and their families. On one occasion the people were sinful and were taken captives and served as slaves and tributaries until the Lord saw fit to deliver them.

The Church has always encouraged its young men to serve their country in the military when called, and has taught that fighting as a soldier will not be counted as evil so long as the soldier acts honorably.

All this goes through my mind as I think about the cease fire agreement. War is expensive and difficult when it's on your home ground, and I can't blame the Israeli leadership for choosing a hope for peace. However, I don't think this will pan out. Hezbollah will re-arm and begin the fight again at a time of its own choosing. Maybe it will have lost some of its agression after this round, but I doubt it. It didn't really win, but it will think it did and that bodes ill for future dealings with it, and its masters, Syria and Iran. I think that America has much repenting to do before we can ask God to protect us. A significant part of our people probably wouldn't lift a finger to stop terrorism if they thought it would put them in power.
I've never really understood the thinking of pacifists, unless they are as willing to die as the terrorists are to kill them. In fact, nothing about liberalism makes any sense to me. Government welfare programs, legalized dope, abortion, gay marriage: they all seem to only make sense if you don't care whether your society endures and grows. I don't believe that government should do more for people than they can do for themselves, because it's a blunt, unwieldy instrument and it comes with strings attached. Liberty comes at a cost, and we pay for it in many ways. We can lose it quite easily if we fail to do those things that it is based on, such as self government, respecting others, service, etc.

I've wondered many times, why we settled the Korean War the way we did and left North Korea and Red China to oppress and murder their people. The conclusion was that we were just tired of war, and our people just didn't have the will to fight in the face of an enemy which has or might have nukes. That's always bothered me, but then I didn't have to endure the Chosun Reservoir, Pork Chop Hill, Iwo Jima, Corregidor or Cabanatuan. So, we try the cease fire, even though we know it will leave evil intact on the other side. There will be another time, but next time, let's remember General Sherman's advice. Make it as hellish for the other side as possible.

The Merry Minuet (from the 1950s)

They’re rioting in AfricaThey’re starving in Spain
There’s hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain

the whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch

But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we know for certain that some lovely day,
Someone will set the spark off

They’re rioting in Africa
There’s strife in Iran
What nature doesn’t so to us
Will be done by our fellow "man"
The more things change . . .

For Democrats they don't seem to know much about democracy

Glenn Reynolds notes the new, more powerful intolerance in the Democrat ranks. He's right. Its Big Tent is now a pup tent and the zipper is closed.

Friday, August 11, 2006

More plotting

A "Martyrdom" video made by one of the terrorists rounded up in the UK has been found.

In Michigan three "Middle Eastern" men have been arrested with 1000 cell phones in their possession after buying 80 at a local WalMart in batches of 3. At $20 a pop, that's $20,000 worth, they were buying them as fast as they could, which is what raised suspicion, but it sounds like they had an urgent use for them.

Say anything

Charles Rangel thinks that calling terrorists "Islamic Fascists" was unfair to Muslims. Do you think Democrats would be finding fault with that term if, say, Ned Lamont had used it? Or do they feel that Bush is stealing their favorite epithet for him?

Why am I getting the feeling that the Dems are trying to minimize the terrorism threat? If you're more worried about the politics of detecting and thwarting plots to kill thousands more noncombatants than you are about the plots themselves, you need to step back and ask yourself if you haven't gone somewhat overboard.

Where are our leaders?

Rich Lowry says the latest plot demonstrate the correctness of Cheney's One Percent Doctrine: Even if there's only a one percent chance of terrorists triggering a nuke in this country, our response has to be the same as if the attempt were certainty.

I think that we can presume that terrorism isn't going away and that we have to maintain our resolve and efforts to thwart them. The Democrats today represent the return to complacency following 9/11. Our liberal media supports that view. It's quite a victory for the Bush administration that the knowledge of this plot hadn't been leaked and published before the Brits were ready to move on it. One can only wonder what impact the reports in the NYTimes about NSA monitoring of terrorist communications and the SWIFT program have had on our ability to capture these people.

One of the greatest disservices to this nation has been the demonization of George W. Bush by the Democrats and the press. We never have and never will have leaders who make no mistakes, but George W. Bush has defended this country more effectively since 9/11 than and Democrat since Truman ever could. The Democrats and the press have been willing to destroy our confidence in our institutions in order to avenge their losses in 2000 and 2004, and, in Bill Clinton's case, to satisfy his sexual lust.

Update: British writer Andrew Gimson makes the One Percent more concrete:
As we took off from London for New York a few days ago, our three over-excited children asked if there was any chance of the plane being blown up. I explained that the likelihood of that happening was virtually zero, and wondered how we were going to maintain some semblance of order during the flight. One did not wish the sedate American passengers by whom we were surrounded to form the impression that British parents are unable or unwilling to impart the rudiments of good manners.
The rest of the piece is a valentine to Americans, something we haven't seen coming out of Europe much lately, or out of our own media, for that matter.

My, how big your ego is!

Lawrence O'Donnell confidently predicts that Lieberman will drop out of the racea after the Dems' support for Ned Lamont has made it impossible for him to win.

Daniel Henninger sees it differently:
With the knifing of Joe Lieberman, the Democrats have locked in as the antiwar party. No turning back now. You're in or you're out. And this will be enforced.. . .

This isn't the moment for a politics based on comics turning the president and vice president into joke material. The national mood may not be right now for extended blogospheric daisy chains of smack-the-enemy or cool wordplays with people's names. This isn't a game anymore. Not after yesterday's news.

What the Democratic Party needs more than anything for the way forward is adult supervision. Who's going to provide that? Bill Clinton? Joe Biden? Howard Dean? Not likely.
Recalling the campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern, he points out that closing your big tent to all but the pure antiwar types is not the way to bring swing voters to your candidates. As Hugh Hewitt puts it, "You may be unhappy with Bush, but no way are Democrats the answer.

My view is that 6 years of media drum beating for their Big Lie has taken its toll. People have been subjected to a constant stream of personal attacks on Bush, and he, being a Christian, has not answered in kind. He's faulted for saying the same things over and over, as he was lampooned in a very masterful montage of one word clips on John Stewart's program, but there are times when the truth is simple and the argument for it plain. Bush isn't much of a spinner anyway, in a world where people are used to a new formulation every day.

People can respond to anger by joining the mob or, realizing that the mob is in no mood for reason, by withdrawal. In the latter case, they may not put up a fight, but in the voting booth their true feelings will still emerge. If the Dems veer off into denial and refusal to confront terrorism, I can't see them earning the confidence of the nation. The polls from before yesterday are coming out and they look bad for Republicans, probably because everybody has been focused on the Lieberman-Lamont campaign, but give the Dems control again and they'll beat their chests and do a lot of irresponsible things, and they'll lose what gains they made. This is now the Ned Lamont/Maxine Waters/John Conyers party now.

The Dems may retake control of Congress. The constant drone that things are going badly in Iraq has taken its toll, despite the fact that it isn't true. Be that as it may, events are swirling in the Middle East and the new proof that the terrorists haven't given up, as Bush and others warned us from the outset. Bush's efforts to urge us to keep our resolve have been drowned out and his fellow Republicans, having the moral courage of a bunny rabbit, are trying to change the subject. So much for leadership.

Ah, well. We seem to require disasters like 9/11 periodically to wake us from our lotus dreams. This fall may be the next round.

Update: Charles Krauthammer echoes the above.

We violated the terrorists' rights!

Our monitoring (presumably by the NSA) led to the breakup of the attacks on British airliners.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No Burqas!

Another good reason to root for the Israelis vs. Hezbollah.

Tell me again how Republicans are the party of the rich.

Why is it that so many of their candidates are rich businessmen?

I think that the biggest scandal not being reported in the MSM is the way the Dems have flouted the campaign finance laws. They're pouring soft money and private fortunes into campaigns, figuring that they'll just pay the fines after they win. Or, like Ned Lamont and Ross Perot, using their own fortunes to fund campaigns.

Expect switches from Democrat to Independent to increase.

Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" but . . .

John Batchelor wonders why America is waiting to be attacked by Iran. Good question.

Here's another: Why is Israel so irresolute about doing what it takes to eliminate Hezbollah, especially when Iranian soldiers and Iraqis have been found fighting them in Lebanon? This afternoon the story was that they had replaced the general in charge of the campaign with a real firebreather. Now they've postponed further operations for a few days. Maybe they need that to call out more reserves and put the new plan into effect, although it's being reported that they're hoping for ceasefire negotiations to succeed.

There is no doubt anymore that Iran is directly involved in this. The war has begun, and we're still in denial.

While you were sleeping

Heathrow Airport has been shut down based on an alleged plot to blow up 6 aircraft bound to the U.S. from four airports in Great Britain. 20 individuals have been arrested. The U.S. is supporting the investigation and extra security inspections have gone into effect both in Europe and the U.S. They seem to be concerned about passengers bringing liquids, including baby bottles, onto aircraft. Mothers with baby bottles will be requires to taste them in front of an screener. Apparently, the terrorists have developed some kind of liquid explosive that could be disquised as milk or some other liquid. A number of foreign airlines have canceled flights into Heathrow.

I wonder what - er - religion these suspects might be.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Case of the Missing Muslims

The NYPost reports on the disappearance of eleven Egyptian "students" supposedly headed to Montana State University. They were in a group of 17 there but only 6 have turned up at the destination. They are known to have arrived at JFK airport. I think they'll be found, at least by August 22.

Where's Hajjdo?

Go here and check out the shadows under the two pedestrian in the first photo. Funny how having twin suns changes things.

In the second photo, the running guy in the foreground sure looks like he hasn't been looking where he's going. Isn't he pretty close to that car?

It's definitely a new world in news. I'd be pretty careful about buying photos, if I were in the news biz.

Iran's hand in the till.

The IDF has captured one of the terrorists who kidnapped the first two Israeli soldiers, starting the current war. What's significant is his statement that he was trained for the mission in Iran.

Another good reason not to bring home our troops from Iraq too soon. We may need them for another mission quite soon. At least wait until August 22.

Three Iraqs

If you liked the violent partition of Pakistan from India, you'll love partition of Iraq into three states.

What's wrong with the Aggregators

Memeorandum has no link to the aforementionied piece by Bernard Lewis, focusing instead on the alleged hacking of Lieberman's website. It's one of the most chilling things I've read for quite a while. Consider this:
A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."
Come on, guys! Where are your priorities?

Colombia and Israel

I watched a documentary today on the History Channel about the hunting and killing of Pablo Escobar, the boss of the Medallin drug cartel in Colombia. What impressed me was that it would have taken longer and been more bloody if not for the anti-Escobar militia called Los PEPEs, organized by survivors and victims of the drug kingpin. There was quite a bit of squeamishness about this group's activities because they went after Escobar using his own methods, killing his associates and bombing his properties. They were labelled a right-wing killing squad and Americans distanced themselves from them, but they were highly effective, because they took the term "war on drugs" literally, and went after the cartel the way the U.S. has gone after Saddam and al Qaeda, except without so many restraints. They made it unsafe to be part of Escobar's organization just as he had made it unsafe to be a judge or anti-drug cop in Colombia.

I'm sure that civil libertarians would be appalled by the refusal of Los PEPEs to attack the cartel through the "rule of law," but it occurs to me that, like the terrorists in Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the rest, the way the Medallin cartel operated was to destroy the rule of law itself. When evil becomes so extreme that police, judges and lawyers are unsafe, there is no rule of law. That is the very problem that Iraq is struggling with and the reason why the Palestinians have been unable to establish a decent government. Every free society must have the rule of law, but recognize that there will always be some who defy it and struggle against it. If those who fight against the rule of law become numerous or well enough organized that they can substantially weaken the government and criminal law enforcement, the situation changes from one of law enforcement and becomes one of warfare, because the state is fighting for its life.

That brings up the current efforts of Israel to root out and destroy Hezbollah, whose number one goal is the total destruction of the Jewish state. Lebanon has basically become a hostage state to Syria with the backing of Iran. Its secondary goal is the establishment of an Islamist regime throughout the Middle East, which is why Iran is supporting it with funds, weapons and training. Syria is playing a fool's game by supporting such a group, siding with the tiger in hopes that it will be killed and eaten last. However, nobody should be so silly as to believe that the Mullahs and Ahmadinejad don't mean it when they talk about nuking Israel.

Hezbollah deliberately declared war on Israel by violating its borders, killing it soldiers and kidnapping two more. War is not limited by any law except the self-restraint of the opponents, nor should it be, given the stakes. The Geneva Accords were and are a good thing, but their main mechanism is the self-interest of the signatory states. It gives them some assurance that, in war, their own troops will be protected against inhumane treatment. This doesn't really apply against a non-state enemy like Hezbollah, which uses civilians as shields and uses the inevitable deaths to influence public opinion. What can any civilized nation do against such tactics except to charge such deaths to the terrorists who use them?

While free democracies should take care to avoid tactics which will dehumanize its own troops beyond rehabilitation, I think that the only way to fight those who place themselves beyond the rule of law is to go there and wipe them out.

Bernard Lewis warns about the belief of some leaders in Iraq that August 22 will mark the return of the Mahdi, the 12th or Hiddem Imam, and that day will signal the beginning of an Islamic Armageddon, the end of the world. When an enemy is governed by extremes such as this, the only way we can hope to deal with him is to either convince him that he's wrong or destroy him. I believe in the power of God to change men's hearts, but it seems to me that the chances of persuading Mr. Ahmadinejad that his religion is false is extremely remote. He sees our rule of law as an abomination. Therefore, he sees no moral obstacles to murdering Westerners who refuse to submit to Islam. Thus, the situation is similar to that of dealing with the drug cartels. Before we can apply our laws, we have to first assure our survival, and so does Israel.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The great anti-war fallacy

Mark Steyn shows how warfare has been reduced to the level of schoolyard games by the anti-war elite in the West, as though Western civilization had some moral obligation to respond to acts of war without "overdoing it." It's as though they think war is supposed to fair, like a pickup game of basketball or Red Rover.

We spend vast sums of money and effort to make it unfair, and doing so in the past has saved us having to fight serious wars. But the concept of limited warfare has become so ingrained in our thinking that we have begun to think that it's not nice to respond with force against poor nations who are making themselves poorer by blowing resources on terrorism against us. Of course, only people who think "violence never solved anything" and are willing to risk our freedom and our future on the good will of people like Stalin, Mao, bin Laden, Saddam and Ahmadinejad.

The Chickens Roosting at the Times

The New York Times doesn't even try to support its anti-war positions anymore. It just takes it for granted that the war in Iraq is a quagmire. I don't think it's really the war they care about anymore. Since I don't really want to give them another link to their vile whining, I'll refer to Tom Maguire's quotes from the editorial. When did we accept the presumption that the editorial boards of liberal newspapers are more qualified than the Pentagon and those fighting a war to judge how well it's being run? From everything I've read and heard from the White House, I had no expectations that this would be easy or quick. Where did these people get the idea that it would be. Our troops are doing a very difficult job in an admirable manner, yet nobody on the left will give them that much credit. To these critics it's both impossible and already a failure.

So much for the myth that Americans accept tough challenges. If you ask me, this tiresome drone of doom and gloom ought to be directed at the failure of liberal programs over the past 65 years to deliver anything but debt and weakening of our national character.

A true hero getting his due

That's how this new book about John O'Neill strikes me. O'Neill had been bucking the FBI and State Department for years trying to prevent Osama bin Laden from bringing more terrorist attacks to this country, only to be forced out and then killed on 9/11. It's a bitter irony, a scandal, a tragedy and, according this review, a nailbiter. It's no good now to try to parcel out blame, but surely everyone who ever overruled O'Neill must have a hard time sleeping at night. I would.

Talk about a tease!

What does this headline lead you expect? Surgeons fought for hours to save Castro's life Maybe this was a last minute rewrite of an obituary. It sure sounds like it.

Go, Team!

I guess it's a sign of how low the NYTimes has sunk that the headline on this story sounds like the newspaper is celebrating. It's a perfectly straight headline, but I can't help reading it with a slant, since by now we all know whose side the Times is on, and it isn't the neighborhood bully's.

Calling Joe Wilson

The Times of London reports that Iran is seeking yellowcake in Niger.