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Friday April 16, 2004

Air America, the liberal radio "network" has been yanked in both LA and Chicago because they allegedly can't pay their bills. I guess that's what happens when you try to create an enterprise not based on free market considerations. It was billed (and promoted heavily, free of charge, by the major media who did "news" stories on the fledgling "network")as an alternative to conservative talk radio. But, as Jonah Goldberg notes:

What the creators of Air America fail to grasp is the fact that conservative talk radio is the alternative media. It became popular because conservatives lost the battle for the political culture, not because they won it.

Conservative views - and conservatives - were, and are, unwelcome at ABC, CBS, NBC, Time, The New York Times as well as Harvard, Yale and academia in general. That's why conservatives created everything from National Review and the Weekly Standard to the American Enterprise Institute and "The Rush Limbaugh Show."

What Goldberg doesn't state, but which I think is even more relevant, is that there already is a liberal radio network. It's a real network which covers the whole country (not just dots on the east and west coasts). It doesn't need to concern itself with free market principals either because it's taxpayer subsidized. It's called NPR.

Read the whole Goldberg article, if only to find out the definition of Frankenfreude

It seems that thug/murderer/terrorist/criminal Arafat is upset with the Bush Administration approval of the Israeli plan:

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat vented his anger Thursday at President Bush's Middle East policy shift, saying Palestinian refugees would never give up their right to return to their former homes in Israel.

In a televised speech, Arafat vowed defiantly that Palestinians would follow the path of their "martyrs, cadres, strugglers and mujahideen" and not abandon their goals for "freedom and national independence."

"Security, peace and stability will only be achieved through the restoration of our occupied land and usurped national rights and the establishment of the independent Palestinian state, with its capital holy Jerusalem," Arafat said during ceremonies marking the anniversary of the death Abu Jihad, a prominent leader in the campaign for Palestinian statehood.

It really should be quite clear to anyone who's paid even a modicum of attention to the rantings of Thug-Yassir, that he is really only concerned with the elimination of the State of Israel. He knows that the Israelis will never agree to the right of return. They can't. It would be the end of Israel. This was one of those disagreements that was always put off until "final negotiations". Problem was, due to Hamas/Al-Aqsa/Fatah/Tanzim terrorists, they never got anywhere near this stage. Really, the Israelis are just now saying publicly what everyone knew all along. NO WAY will they allow the right of return! Here's some background on the whole right of return issue:

The very hour that the Jews declared statehood in 1948, they were invaded by five neighboring Arab states. The stated goal was to drive the Jews into the sea. Their would-be liberators told local Arabs to evacuate so they wouldn’t be caught in the crossfire. Latter, they were assured, they could return to their homes, as well as those of the Jews – who by then would be floating in the Mediterranean.

Roughly 600,000 Arabs followed that advice. Another 200,000, responding to the entreaties of Ben Gurion and other Zionist leaders, stayed and became full citizens of the new state.

At the same time, 800,000 Jews were driven from Arab countries, some from homes their families had known for millennia. The choice: Stay and be killed by rampaging mobs or emigrate. No one – repeat no one – is suggesting that the Jews whose families fled Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, etc. be repatriated.

The New York Times, which is in a kerspitzel over the plan (yeah, I made it up. Don't grab the dictionary. --ed.) outlined the terrible risks that this plan posed for both the U.S. and Israel:

For Israel, the risk is that the Palestinians will now reject as imposed on them any peace plan along the lines Mr. Bush laid out, in his White House statement and a letter he gave Mr. Sharon. For the United States, the risk is that, with Arabs and Muslims already suspicious of American motives, the Bush administration will be seen as teaming with Israel to void Palestinian rights.

That's the risk. Now, because of this plan which was not negotiated with the terrorists Palestinians, the Israelis face the terrible prospect that Arafat and his band of thugs will reject any peace plan. Like the Camp David peace plan which was rejected by Arafat years ago. Perhaps The Times envisages that the Palestinians, so long idle and docile, will now result to blowing up Israelis in busses and discoteques and pizza parlors. Yes, that is a terrible risk.

And thank you Grey Lady for highlighting the risks to the U.S. We may not be seen as the "honest broker". Our honorable negotiating partners (who danced in the streets after 9/11 and hate us nearly as much as they hate Israelis) cannot count on us to treat them (the terrorists) with the same evenhandedness that we treat the Israelis (the victims).

Some may say that I'm a member of the black helicopter, tin-foil hat crowd, but I do believe that we don't know all the answers about the Oklahoma City bombing and the downing of TWA Flight 800. I believe that there is a good chance that these were cases of Islamic terrorism. I also believe that the FBI was corrupted and did not properly investigate these incidents. But I'm conflicted. I think to myself, how can you believe in all these conspiracies. People say similar things about the Bush Administration (purposely used the WMD threat as an excuse to invade Iraq, knew about the 9/11 threat and failed to act, etc.) I don't believe those things.

So, what's the difference? Some may say that it's just partisan differences--I really do think that Clinton and his Administration were corrupt and would do nearly anything to remain in power. They couldn't afford to have any bad things happen on their watch. Perhaps this tarnishes my thinking. But, I think primarily that it's the method. The allegations about the Bush Administration seem to be screeching diatribes backed by little or no evidence. Also, the sources. Sorry, but I just don't put much stock in the likes of Sen. Kennedy, Al Franken, A.N.S.W.E.R, or

There are (to my mind) reasonable, sober individuals who ascribe to the aforementioned conspiracies or, at least, believe that we do not have all the answers. Here's a portion of a November 13, 2001 interview with Vernon Grose, former NTSB investigator:

Well, I tell you, I did 170 interviews on TWA 800, probably more than anybody else. And I do think there were at times a cover-up. So I'm a little concerned about that, that it not happen here.: I still have reservations about TWA 800 as to whether the center wing tank was the initiating event. It did blow, but whether it was the initiating event, I believe is still up for grabs.

Here's John Kerry on Larry King Live on September 11, 2001:

We have always known this could happen. We've warned about it. We've talked about it. I regret to say, as -- I served on the Intelligence Committee up until last year. I can remember after the bombings of the embassies, after TWA 800, we went through this flurry of activity, talking about it, but not really doing hard work of responding.

Lest you think that was just a slip of the tongue, here's John Kerry in a September 24, 2001 interview on Hardball:

You know, we've had terrorism for a long time now. We've had the Achille Lauro, the Munich Olympics, the pipe bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta, the TWA 800, the bombing of embassies, and it's not going to disappear overnight

Here's Victor Davis Hanson recounting the various instance of Islamic terrorism that we've endured:

. Roll the tape backward from the USS Cole in 2000, through the bombing of the Khobar Towers and the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the destruction of the American embassy and annex in Beirut in 1983, the mass murder of 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers asleep in their Lebanese barracks that same year, and assorted kidnappings and gruesome murders of American citizens and diplomats (including TWA Flight 800, Pan Am 103, William R. Higgins, Leon Klinghoffer, Robert Dean Stethem, and CIA operative William Francis Buckley), until we arrive at the Iranian hostage-taking of November 1979: that debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy, and Middle East state terrorism—and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it, and go to war against it.

And this is what James Woolsey, Director of the CIA under President Clinton (1993-1995) has to say about the Oklahoma City bombing:

"This fascinating product of Jayna Davis' thorough and dogged investigative reporting effectively shifts the burden of proof to those who would still contend that McVeigh and Nichols executed the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing without the support of a group or groups from the Middle East."

In addition to the sources are the methods. These beliefs are based on considerable evidence, investigation and documentation. You can read much of it here and here.

So why this? Why now? We are in the midst of the 9/11 Commission hearings and I think that, although we need to know what we could have (and, importantly, should have) done to avert this tragedy, we also need to look at our actions over the past two decades. What could we have done and what should we have done to investigate and identify those who want us dead and to convince them that we will not just roll over. I believe that our actions over the past two decades have emboldened the Islamacists and made them believe that they could win. Happily, we are now in the process of disabusing them of that notion.

Some sage advice from Michael "faster, please" Ledeen:

Iraq cannot be peaceful and secure so long as Tehran sends its terrorist cadres across the border. Naturally, our troops will engage--and kill--any infiltrators they encounter. But we can be sure that there will be others to take their place. The only way to end Tehran's continual sponsorship of terror is to bring about the demise of the present Iranian regime. And as it happens, we have an excellent opportunity to achieve this objective, without the direct use of military power against Iran. There is a critical mass of pro-democracy citizens there, who would like nothing more than to rid themselves of their oppressors. They need help, but they neither need nor desire to be liberated by force of arms.

Above all, they want to hear our leaders state clearly and repeatedly--as Ronald Reagan did with the "Evil Empire"--that regime change in Iran is the goal of American policy. Thus far, they have heard conflicting statements and mealy-mouthed half truths of the sort presented by Mr. Ereli, along with astonishing proclamations, such as the one by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in which he averred that Iran is "a democracy." (One wonders whether he will liken Muqtada al-Sadr to Patrick Henry.)

Thursday April 15, 2004

Today is tax day. Don't forget to watch the local news to see the lame reporter standing at the post office to get the same old tired footage of the procrastinators.

Nuclear stuff from Iraq is found in Europe.

Large amounts of nuclear-related equipment, some of it contaminated, and a small number of missile engines have been smuggled out of Iraq for recycling in European scrap yards, according to the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and other U.N. diplomats.

Mohammed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned the U.N. Security Council in a letter that U.N. satellite photos have detected "the extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings" from sites that had been subject to U.N. monitoring before the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

Here's why ElBaradei is concerned:

The U.N. nuclear agency has found no evidence yet that the exported materials are being sold to arms dealers or to countries suspected of developing nuclear weapons. But ElBaradei voiced concern that the loss of the materials could pose a proliferation threat and could complicate efforts to reach a conclusive assessment of the history of Iraq's nuclear program.

In fact ElBaradei wrote:

In any event these activities may have a significant impact on the agency's continuity of knowledge of Iraq's remaining nuclear-related capabilities and raise concern with regards to the proliferation risk associated with dual use material and equipment disappearing to unknown destinations."

Don't forget, earlier they found this:

Evidence of the illicit import of nuclear-related material surfaced in January after a small quantity of "yellowcake" uranium oxide was discovered in a shipment of scrap metal at Rotterdam's harbor. The company that purchased the shipment, Jewometaal, detected radioactive material in the container and informed the Dutch government, according to the Associated Press. A spokesman for the company told the news agency that a Jordanian scrap dealer who sent the shipment believed the yellowcake came from Iraq.

Seems to me that this was one of our reasons for going to war with Saddam--the fear that he might provide WMD's to terrorists. This was based on intelligence. Now we have the IAEA head worrying about proliferation based on Iraqi left-overs. This is based on ground-truth information. Granted, we still haven't found the actual weapons (and he probably didn't have actual nuclear weapons), but these data surely indicate that Saddam was working on acquiring one. For information on other potential WMD whereabouts, read this:

Syria's Defense Ministry has been smuggling components for missiles and weapons of mass destruction to Sudan in an apparent effort to conceal them from Western inspection.

Western intelligence sources said the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has been flying shipments of Scud C and Scud D extended-range missiles and WMD components to warehouses in Khartoum since at least January 2004.

The sources said the Syrian shipments to Khartoum were placed on civilian airliners but authorized and directed by the Defense Ministry.

A week ago, all the major media were in a frenzy over the uprising in Iraq by al-Sadr and his band of thugs. Today, militia-boy offers to lay down his arms. Good news, huh? So why is this positive development in Iraq not being reported with anywhere near the saturation of the initial uprising? Well, you can read it here:

The fiery radical at the heart of Iraq's Shia revolt sued for peace yesterday, buckling under the twin pressures of a massive build-up of American forces near his base and demands for moderation from the country's ayatollahs.

Moqtada al-Sadr, who raised the standard of anti-American revolt 12 days ago, sent out envoys from the holy city of Najaf carrying his peace terms. Barely 13 miles from his hideout, United States tanks and heavy artillery began to enforce an "exclusion zone", apparently a first step towards an assault.

Wednesday April 14, 2004

It's like watching your wife or kid on stage in front of an audience and just hoping that they do well, don't stumble over their lines, hit their marks. That's what I feel like when watching the President do a press conference. Of course, if your wife or kid is onstage, generally the audience is forgiving. The President, however, has a hostile audience: the press. Maybe it's just me, but I wish the President could speak with a little more assurance. He constantly halts and pauses, ums and ahs. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with the substance. What I don't like is the form. And the form is important. I believe many people actually filter the substance of what is said through the form of how it is said. All the halts and pauses give the impression of lack of confidence. Andrew Sullivan completely agrees with me:

I've just watched the press conference later on C-SPAN. Not only was the transcript encouraging. I found the president clear, forceful, impassioned, determined, real. This was not an average performance. I found it Bush at his best. He needs to do it more.

Ok, maybe we're not in complete agreement. Perhaps there is a little daylight between our views. Alright, A.S. is completely wrong. One thing that I do think is important and that President Bush excells at: he is completely credible. I never get the impression that he's trying to spin or dissemble. He comes across as honest and believeable. That's important. Especially when many of his detractors main attack mode is "Bush lied". I just don't think many people buy that particular canard. Quack, quack.

North Korea had nuclear weapons in 1999?

In what may prove to be the first sighting of Pyongyang's atomic arsenal, Abdul Qadeer Khan - the father of Pakistan's uranium weapons programme - has told investigators he saw three nuclear bombs in North Korea five years ago, the New York Times reported yesterday.

...Quoting US and Asian sources, the paper said Mr Khan - who has claimed to have provided Kim Jong-il's regime with blueprints and equipment for enriching uranium - was shown three objects his hosts described as "nuclear devices" during a visit in 1999. Mr Khan reportedly told his interrogators he was briefly allowed to inspect the devices and judged they were complete bombs.

I thought that the Clinton Administration and Jimmah Cartah had that Korea problem all sewed up with their "Agreed Framwork" and that those otherwise honorable Koreans just went bad when President Bush included them in the "Axis of Evil". Huh.

Here we go again. USA Today asks the question: Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? Sheesh, what is it with these people that they are so fixated on Vietnam. Yeah, I guess those were the salad days. They don't come right out and say it, but ask the rhetorical question--so as to appear objective. But the tone of the article clearly indicates that the author, Susan Page, believes (wishes) Iraq is Vietnam. There's the typical prattle from historians and military experts about exit strategies, guerilla resistance, mounting casualties, etc. (all of which are pure crap, by the way), but check out the authors own words:

The comparison has power because, 30 years after it ended, the war in Vietnam continues to stand as a symbol of a foreign policy gone awry. That war divided the nation and helped define attitudes toward presidential authority and the use of force ever since. Because of the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraq, foreign policy will again play a significant role in this year's election after more than 20 years when it mattered less.

Well, of course it's just like Vietnam, because that's the last time foreign policy really mattered. Since then, we've been terribly focused on implementing Great Society reforms, indulging in domestic scandals, fostering feminism, fightning for social justice and watching those silly Republicans worry about their little Cold War. The Democrats have now rediscovered foreign policy. I guess I'll have to hand it to Ms. Page. Iraq is just like Vietnam because that's the last time the Democrats have run on any foreign policy issues. Gee, what happened to them then?

Victor Davis Hanson on the in an extremely comprehensive manner, explains why appeasement never succeeds against evil.

The twentieth century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants. British and French restraint over the occupation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, the absorption of the Czech Sudetenland, and the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia did not win gratitude but rather Hitler’s contempt for their weakness. Fifty million dead, the Holocaust, and the near destruction of European civilization were the wages of “appeasement”—a term that early-1930s liberals proudly embraced as far more enlightened than the old idea of “deterrence” and “military readiness.”

So too did Western excuses for the Russians’ violation of guarantees of free elections in postwar Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia only embolden the Soviet Union. What eventually contained Stalinism was the Truman Doctrine, NATO, and nuclear deterrence—not the United Nations—and what destroyed its legacy was Ronald Reagan’s assertiveness, not Jimmy Carter’s accommodation or Richard Nixon’s détente.

...Most important, military deterrence and the willingness to use force against evil in its infancy usually end up, in the terrible arithmetic of war, saving more lives than they cost. All this can be a hard lesson to relearn each generation, especially now that we contend with the sirens of the mall, Oprah, and latte. Our affluence and leisure are as antithetical to the use of force as rural life and relative poverty once were catalysts for muscular action. The age-old lure of appeasement—perhaps they will cease with this latest concession, perhaps we provoked our enemies, perhaps demonstrations of our future good intentions will win their approval—was never more evident than in the recent Spanish elections, when an affluent European electorate, reeling from the horrific terrorist attack of 3/11, swept from power the pro-U.S. center-right government on the grounds that the mass murders were more the fault of the United States for dragging Spain into the effort to remove fascists and implant democracy in Iraq than of the primordial al-Qaidist culprits, who long ago promised the Western and Christian Iberians ruin for the Crusades and the Reconquista.

He also highlights the achievements which are possible when this evil is met with aggessive force:

In contrast, George W. Bush, impervious to such self-deception, has, in a mere two and a half years, reversed the perilous course of a quarter-century. Since September 11, he has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government, isolated Yasser Arafat, pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas, removed American troops from Saudi Arabia, shut down fascistic Islamic “charities,” scattered al-Qaida, turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral, rounded up terrorists in the United States, pressured Libya, Iran, and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating, so far avoided another September 11—and promises that he is not nearly done yet. If the Spanish example presages further terrorist attacks on European democracies at election time, at least Mr. Bush has made it clear that America—alone if need be—will neither appease nor ignore such killers but in fact finish the terrible war that they started.

You've probably not heard much from this group of 9/11 families:

The letter signed by 40 relatives also blasts some members of the 9/11 commission for trying to "grandstand for political gain" in hopes of embarrassing Bush and thus politicizing the inquiry.

"I see the commission going partisan and that's not the way it's supposed to be. If it does that, it will be nothing but a political disgrace," said former United Firefighters Association chief Jimmy Boyle, who lost his firefighter son Michael on 9/11. "It's a whole new world as of Sept. 12 and I believe President Bush is the right man."

Mostly, they ones who get microphone time and air time are of this stripe:

The night of Ms. Rice's appearance, the Jersey Girls appeared on "Hardball," to charge that the national security adviser had failed to do her job, that the government failed to provide a timely military response, that the president had spent time reading to schoolchildren after learning of the attack, that intelligence agencies had failed to connect the dots.

Although they represent a minority of the "victims families" they tend to get all the attention from the biased media:

Others who had lost family to the terrorists' assault commanded little to no interest from TV interviewers. Debra Burlingame--lifelong Democrat, sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, did manage to land an interview after Ms. Rice's appearance. When she had finished airing her views critical of the accusatory tone and tactics of the Jersey Girls, her interviewer, ABC congressional reporter Linda Douglass marveled, "This is the first time I've heard this point of view."

Andrew McCarthy has an excellent primer on "The Wall" that AG Ashcroft spoke of in his testimony yesterday. This wall was to provide safeguards when investigating ordinary crimes versus national security issues. This restricted information sharing between various enforcement and investigative entities. The article explains the creation of the wall and the gradual building of the wall. Also, it shines the light on the conflict of interest of 9/11 Commission members (Gorelick) which has led to partison sniping. It's lengthy and informative, but here's a clip:

Commissioner Gorelick, as deputy attorney general — the number two official in the Department of Justice — for three years beginning in 1994, was an architect of the government's self-imposed procedural wall, intentionally erected to prevent intelligence agents from pooling information with their law-enforcement counterparts. That is not partisan carping. That is a matter of objective fact. That wall was not only a deliberate and unnecessary impediment to information sharing; it bred a culture of intelligence dysfunction. It told national-security agents in the field that there were other values, higher interests, that transcended connecting the dots and getting it right. It set them up to fail. To hear Gorelick lecture witnesses about intelligence lapses is breathtaking.

...Baker recounts that an FBI intelligence agent who was trying to find the two terrorists during summer 2001, asked for help from the law-enforcement side of the house and was turned down flat by headquarters. The agent's responsive pre-9/11 e-mail, quoted by Baker, is chilling: "[S]ome day someone will die — and wall or not — the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain 'problems.' Let's hope the [lawyers who gave the advice] will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, UBL [Usama Bin Laden], is getting the most 'protection.'"

Baker's conclusion? "We couldn't find al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi in August 2001 because we had imposed too many rules designed to protect against privacy abuses that were mainly theoretical. We missed our best chance to save the lives of 3,000 Americans because we spent more effort and imagination guarding against these theoretical privacy abuses than against terrorism."

Seems to me that these are exactly the types of issues (changing procedures) that the 9/11 Commission should be focusing on, and McCarthy makes a point not to place the blame (or at least to spread the blame from various administrations since the FISA enactment in 1978). McCarthy also stresses that the USA Patriot Act, among other things, eradicated the wall.

Tuesday April 13, 2004

Here's a portion of John Ashcroft's opening statement to the 9/11 commission:

But the simple fact of September 11 is this: we did not know an attack was coming because for nearly a decade our government had blinded itself to its enemies. Our agents were isolated by government-imposed walls, handcuffed by government-imposed restrictions, and starved for basic information technology. The old national intelligence system in place on September 11 was destined to fail.

...My second point today goes to the heart of this Commission's duty to uncover the fact: The single greatest structural cause for September 11 was the wall that segregated criminal investigators and intelligence agents. Government erected this wall. Government buttressed this wall. And before September 11, government was blinded by this wall.

In 1995, the Justice Department embraced flawed legal reasoning, imposing a series of restrictions on the FBI that went beyond what the law required. The 1995 Guidelines and the procedures developed around them imposed draconian barriers to communications between the law enforcement and intelligence communities. The wall "effectively excluded" prosecutors from intelligence investigations. The wall left intelligence agents afraid to talk with criminal prosecutors or agents. In 1995, the Justice Department designed a system destined to fail.

In the days before September 11, the wall specifically impeded the investigation into Zacarias Moussaoui, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. After the FBI arrested Moussaoui, agents became suspicious of his interest in commercial aircraft and sought approval for a criminal warrant to search his computer. The warrant was rejected because FBI officials feared breaching the wall.

This went right to one of the Commission members, Jamie Gorelick, who was, if not the architect of the wall, the one who put razor ribbon on the top of it. Here's a link to that 1995 memo.

Of course the Democrats will cry foul and that the memo was just released to discredit Ms. Gorelick, but listen to her own words:

And, finally, here is what has to be the quote of the day, from Commissioner Jamie Gorelick:"We can't afford to have documents that are relevant to our inquiry being withheld on a technicality. This is not litigation. This is finding facts to help the nation, and we should not treat this as if we're adversarial parties here."

With all the media bias and constant harping on the Iraqi quagmire and "uprising" where is one to go for honest, fact based reporting? The Moscow Times of course:

The Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah outnumbered the Marines and were armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles, RPG-7 antitank grenade launchers and mortars. Chechen fighters used the same weapons in Grozny in 1995, 1996 and 2000, killing thousands of Russian soldiers and destroying hundreds of armored vehicles.

Just like the Russians in Grozny, the Marines last week were supported by tanks and attack helicopters, but the end result was entirely different. U.S. forces did not bomb the city indiscriminately. The Iraqis fought well but were massacred. According to the latest body count, some 600 Iraqis died and another 1,000 were wounded. The Marines lost some 20 men.

...The more accurate historical analogy to the current war in Iraq is not Vietnam but, say, the battle at Omdurman, Sudan, in 1898, when Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a British field marshal, crushed the Sudanese forces of al-Mahdi by bringing machine guns to bear against the enemy's muskets and spears. Today the United States has the capability and the technical superiority to fight and win colonial wars against numerically superior enemies.

The main question this election year is who is best able to protect the country from future terrorist attacks. We all know (at least those of us attuned to the major media outlets) that President Bush really doesn't care. He didn't even bother to stop the 9/11 attacks. He's just lazy, I guess. Or maybe evil. Either way he's not the man. So who is? Rich Lowry has the answer:

The pre-9/11 Democrats, as portrayed by their reaction to the work of the 9/11 Commission, are not plagued by niggling civil-liberty concerns. They were willing prior to 9/11 -- or so they imply now -- to brush aside the restrictions on cooperation between the CIA and FBI that had been imposed by liberals throughout the course of three decades. Constitutional worries about infringing on the rights of criminal suspects in the United States? Don't be silly. And give the CIA more money and authority to carry out assassinations and other covert actions while you're at it.

The pre-9/11 Democrats don't care about planning or diplomacy. They were willing to leap into a war in Central Asia on a moment's notice -- as soon as President Bush took office -- without bothering to set a careful strategy or consult seriously with allies. That might take time. They were willing to pre-empt a threat while it was still gathering strength and before its murderous potential had become clear.

The pre-9/11 Democrats are ethnically insensitive. They were willing to institute a security lockdown at U.S. airports, with presumably a particular emphasis on scrutiny of young Arab men. They were willing to engage in sweeping ethnic profiling at U.S. flight schools and crack down on lax immigration policies. Ethnic pressure groups be damned.

Finally, the pre-9/11 Democrats are perfectly willing to act on sketchy intelligence. The vaguest and most unconfirmed intelligence reports were enough, prior to 9/11, to prompt sweeping security measures and military strikes overseas.

Monday April 12, 2004

Dawson Bell asks some pertinent questions.

So how is it that last week's big media political question became: How badly did President George W. Bush and his national security team screw up? Why does there seem, in some quarters, to be so little willingness to give Bush the benefit of any doubt on Iraq?

Are our politics so poisonous that it is not possible for those with whom we disagree to be merely uninformed or unlucky? Do we have to believe they also have bad motives? Making mistakes not because of inadequate information or analysis, but because they are wicked?

The 9/11 Commission has deteriorated into a partisan blame game. Instead of truly trying to find out what we could have and should have done differently both sides, but especially the Democrats, are trying to find fault. Why else was there loud applause from the "victims families" whenever the Dems scored political points. Speaking of coulda and shoulda, check out Gregg Easterbrook's alternate view of history:

Bush justified his attack on Afghanistan, and the detention of 19 men of Arab descent who had entered the country legally, on grounds of intelligence reports suggesting an imminent, devastating attack on the United States. But no such attack ever occurred, leading to widespread ridicule of Bush's claims. Speaking before a special commission created by Congress to investigate Bush's anti-terrorism actions, former national security adviser Rice shocked and horrified listeners when she admitted, "We had no actionable warnings of any specific threat, just good reason to believe something really bad was about to happen."

This short clip doesn't do it justice--read the whole thing.

When I read this story in the NY Daily News I was a bit dubious. My recollection has been that, although some (the quagmire quartet) have constantly been arguing that we don't have enough troops in Iraq to do the job and have constantly harangued the Sec-Def about sending in more troops, Rumsfeld has consistently said that he relied on his Generals in the field. So, what to make of this:

Gen. John Abizaid's decision to press for bulking up U.S. firepower is a polite but unmistakable rebuff to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who for months has rejected sending more troops to Iraq in a campaign year.

"What Abizaid is really doing is confronting Rumsfeld," a senior Pentagon official told the Daily News. "He's not going tolet the election calendar determine what he needs to do thejob."

..."Rumsfeld has made it clear tothe whole building that hewasn't interested in getting any requests for more troops," the Pentagon official said.

To placate Rumsfeld, Abizaid has consistently said he has enough "assets" to carry out his assigned mission. Sources close to Abizaid said, however, that for months, he's wanted to expand that mission to seal off Iraq's borders.

...With Rumsfeld belatedly preparing to give Abizaid what he needs, the Bush administration seems to have absorbed the new political reality: sending more troops to contain the upsurge in fighting may threaten Bush's electoral prospects less than bringing greater numbers of young Americans home in coffins.

Beware the unattributed "Pentagon official" or "close source". This sounds like a journalist with an agenda. So, I did a little digging. Here's the same "news" from the Baltimore Sun.

Rumsfeld said commanders on the scene, including Abizaid, are constantly reviewing the situation and troop needs.

"They are the ones whose advice we follow on these things," Rumsfeld said during an appearance in Norfolk, Va., with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

"They will decide what they need, and they will get what they need," Rumsfeld said.

Here's USA Today:

Commanders are studying ways they might increase troops in Iraq if should violence spread much more widely, a senior officer said Monday.

Generals believe they have enough forces to handle the attacks that have been coming from various quarters, including the recent violence by a Shiite militia group. But they want to know what is available if the situation gets worse, said the officer, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

Rumsfeld, at an appearance in Norfolk, Va., said that he and President Bush frequently ask commanders in Iraq if they need more troops. He said commanders on the scene, including Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, are constantly reviewing the situation.

Here's the Washington Times:

A defense source said Gen. Abizaid has presented various options to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The Joint Staff, the planning arm for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in turn has been giving Gen. Abizaid options for where he may draw additional manpower.

"The door is open for whatever Abizaid thinks he needs," said a senior defense official.

"Abizaid has a general idea of what he needs" but had not yet made a final recommendation to Mr. Rumsfeld, the official added.