Saturday, September 30, 2006
It must be some emination from a penumbra, I suppose...
Friday, September 29, 2006
Wrong. Jimmy Carter is the one who placed us at greater risk, through his weakness when confronted by the Ayatollah Khomeni. Granted, he was not the only one who showed weakness (Reagan pulled the Marines out after the Beirut bombing rather than sending them to clean them our, and Clinton cut and ran in Somalia), but he started the trend, and he put Khomeni in power in Iran.
At least George W. Bush and Don Rumsfeld are fighting. I guess Jimmy Carter is unable to deal with the fact that they are showing far more backbone when confronted by aggression than he did.
The House will pass it. The President will sign it. Then the human-rights groups will sue again, and we now have to hope that an imperial judiciary will not decide to re-write the bill to suit their purposes.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
And a number of Rumsfeld's retired critics were there at the time - and did not raise objections then. Wouldn't those four extra Amry divisions have been useful for the liberation of Iraq? Wouldn't the extra ships help us handle WMD proliferation? And the A-6s, F-111s and B-52Gs (not to mention the extra B-2s) would certainly be useful in extending the operational life of the current bomber force.
We are paying for Bill Clinton's peace dividend now. Thanks for nothing, Slick.
Larissa Olson, 20, a Hollister employee at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, said she wonders why girls buy them. "I'm like, 'She has no respect for herself.' "
Larissa, the reason they are wearing it is not because they have no respect for themselves. They wear it because it drives the parents and teachers to a high level of battiness. It's really quite simple.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
How do you make genocide painful - and do so on the cheap? Well, first I go to Israel and India, both of whom are retiring a number of M16 and AKM rifles in favor of the Tavor. I cut a deal, defraying the cost of the Tavor purchases in exchange for the retired rifles. Then you get two Special Forces ODAs that train the folks in Darfur on how to use them well. We might be able to get some general-purpose machine guns as well.
We'd need four C-130Js (or maybe C-17s) to get the rifles and machine guns there. Maybe a couple of older EA-6B Prowlers to deal with Sudanese radars and air defenses and some F-16As and some reactivated A-7s and A-37s to deal with any fighter opposition and to provide support (much of these could be pulled from the boneyard at Davis-Monthan and transferred to Chad). Perhaps some Stingers for the folks in Darfur, to deal with Sudanese helicopters as well. We probably have some B-2A Spirits at Diego Garcia already. Just add some locations in Khartoum to the potential target list for their JDAMs.
In essence, start carving out a state within the nation-state of the Sudan. This would be very doable, cheap, and not require a major deployment of American personnel. If anything, such a deployment, even if it were possible, would not be the most efficient solution. Leveraging the people of Darfur, who really only need the means to defend themselves, is a much better solution. They will know the terrain, and for them, it will be about defending their homes and families. It is far more effective than a massive troop deployment. The solution is to make genocide painful to commit, and when that happens, the Sudanese government will crack down on the Janjaweed militias.
Oh, and one other thing: Waiting for UN action is not going to do any good. China will probably veto any resolution. This calls for some unilateral action... and if the UN doesn't like it, TOUGH. Kofi Annan has had three years to deal with this crap, and he's just made some flowery speeches. Time for America to act.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Whodathunkit? Words just do not do justice to the nuttiness on display at the link...
But why does he wear the tri-cornered cap and not a yarmulke?
Bush obviously grasps the tao of Suz Tzu's Art of War: Move like the wind, strike like the thunder.
Countdown to allegations that Rove was behind the original NIE leak commences on my mark . . . MARK!
It's about time.
Clinton spent eight years making a mess of things - largely through disinterest. I'm sure cutting the military down to ten Army divisions and slashing the Navy big-time to pay for midnight basketball reflected how serious he was. Not to mention passingon that offer the Sudanese government made. Or taking an approach that required us to tell bin Laden what we knew about his organization.
Come to think of it, I'm sure he thought that getting bin Laden was important. But fooling around with interns who flashed thongs at him was more important.
Monday, September 25, 2006
It was a brilliant "two-fer" move that would've worked perfectly in 1986. The problem is that time, tide, and technology wait for no man, not even an ambitious Senator looking to move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eight.
In The Age of Google, these kinds of slimy tricks are harder to pull off. As our ability to develop new forms of information from raw data evolves (such as the still-new and imperfect methods of social network analysis), it will get harder yet.
A few minutes of quality time with Google outed Mosteller as a McCain sock puppet. This might have been avoided by using a relative unknown--but getting such an unknown into place for this meeting would require sponsorship, and sponsorship is traceable.
Given enough planning and forethought, it might be possible to "cleanly" plant such a stinkbomb. But that's today. In 2008, it will be harder--because we'll be able to more completely map out a person's social network and its connectivity.
Romney needs to do two things:
1. He needs to respond to this, and to do so quickly in a manner that will address some questions.
2. He needs to also retaliate against McCain - if only to show that this governor from the Bay State is not a wimp. Like the first thing, this needs to be quick in coming. There are plenty of things McCain is vulnerable on, and which Romney can use.
1. The report was classified. That means somebody leaked it to the New York Times - just as the NSA's surveillance of terrorist communications and the financial tracking system were leaked.
2. The New York Times report is said to be less than accurate.
3. If Iraq has been a hinderance to the war on terror, then we should have suffered soem sort of reverse in Afghanistan - nor should three successful elections in Iraq have occured. Do we have more terrorists? Maybe, but they are not at the same level as the ones that were being trained in Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. It is also not surprising to see new cells emerge. For years, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were training terrorists from all over the Moslem world. The roster of al-Qaeda includes terrorists from Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and even the United States of America. What's to say some haven't been recruiting?
5. Have we seen any major attacks on American soil since that bight, sunny, Tuesday morning?
Things are not as bad as this report would have us believe. And some leaker needs to be grabbed by the long arm of the law.
"What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"Folks, if you haven't checked out JVeritas and RegimeofTerror.com on my blogroll, do so. The reasons are outlined - particularly through translated memos.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I must emphasize that I think that Senators McCain, Graham, and Warner are acting sincerely and with the best of intentions. But good intentions and a dollar will get you a Whopper Junior. They do not mean to place our intelligence gathering at risk, but that is the inevitable result.
Sadly, to deal with terrorism, we have reached a point where we don't have good options. We are at a point where we've got to decide what we want to live with after we win the war. That's how it is. War is an ugly thing - in a way, former Secretary of State Colin Powell is correct to call it bad policy. But there are things far worse than war. Appeasing the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez are two such things.
Take a very good look at it. This is brazen - he has declared his intentions quite clearly. Oh, he's all for peace... but it is peace through tyranny and genocide. He needs to be stopped. Now.
We now have dictators citing the arguments of the anti-war movement. Think that over as November approaches, folks. Just take the time to compare what Hugo Chavez says to what the anti-war movement and the folks at DailyKos say.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Total fatality count is around 9,000 (both from the gas and the stampedes of panicking people that follow), with about six times as many suffering injuries (some from the gas, some from the panic that followed).
With a body count three times higher than 9/11, what would your response be? Assume that within two weeks, Sudanese sponsorship is determined with a high degree of confidence. Feel free to leave your response below.
I'd like to commend that op-ed to Senators McCain, Graham, and Warner. Particularly the last four paragraphs:
It is a lamentably common practice in Washington and elsewhere to shoot people in the back and then complain when they fail to win the race. The loss of so many lives in New York and Washington is now called an "intelligence failure," mostly by those who crippled the CIA in the first place, and by those who celebrated the loss of its invaluable capabilities.
What a pity that they cannot stand up like adults now and say: "See, we gutted our intelligence agencies because we don't much like them, and now we can bury thousands of American citizens as an indirect result." This, of course, will not happen, because those who inflict their aesthetic on the rest of us are never around to clean up the resulting mess, though they seem to enjoy further assaulting those whom they crippled to begin with.
Call it the law of unintended consequences. The intelligence community was successfully assaulted for actions taken under constitutionally mandated orders, and with nothing left to replace what was smashed, warnings we might have had to prevent this horrid event never came. Of course, neither I nor anyone else can prove that the warnings would have come, and I will not invoke the rhetoric of the political left on so sad an occasion as this.
But the next time America is in a fight, it is well to remember that tying one's own arm is unlikely to assist in preserving, protecting and defending what is ours.
I'm going to speak a little on this. Not to indulge in rhetoric, but to discuss what I feel the likely consequences of tying one of the intelligence community's hands behind its back on this matter. Should the McCain-Graham-Warner version of this legislation pass, it is a virtual certainty that we will get hit in a major attack again.
If that attack involves weapons of mass destruction, the American response will, in all likelihood, be directed by the major command based at Offutt Air Force Base. That response will wipe out at least a city if some restraint is exercised. More likely, an entire country gets wiped off the map, possibly in less time than it takes an order from Pizza Hut, Papa John's, or any other pizza place to get to your doorstep after you've made the phone call.
I wonder how such a thing contains the moral high ground, particularly in comparison to a few suspected terrorists getting roughed up. I suppose it must be some sort of logic that those who are inside the Beltway can fathom. I certainly can't.
It is extremely difficult to see a man who, when the plane hit the Pentagon, raced to the scene and began aiding survivors get second-guessed by a bunch of Senators who seem to be competing for praise from the editorial pages of the New York Times and Washington Post. Donald Rumsfeld got an involuntary up-close look at what terrorists do. Where were Senators McCain, Warner, and Graham? What did they do, cower in some secure location?
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The wording of Common Article Three is vague. Who has defined what an "outrage against human dignity" is? Is there a common standard? I mean, someone getting killed or maimed in a bombing or other attack is an outrage against their dignity - but human rights groups don't say or do much about those. But taking a terrorist and subjecting him to South Park or Britney Spears videos - or trying to take down a vicious drug cartel - is worthy of lawsuits and reports that won't be complimentary, treating a Pablo Escobar as a victim.
It's messed up. What about the rights of the people terrorists will randomly kill and maim? Who speaks for them? There is a right to not be killed or maimed by terrorists supporting a genocidal agenda and/or a religious dictatorship. What about that right? What is so inhumane and degrading about trying to prevent a terrorist attack?
In a way, Secretary Powell is right, we'll be criticized. But at least we'll be alive to hear the criticism.
Monday, September 18, 2006
The techniques we used (stripping a guy, putting him in a cold room, and playing Red Hot Chili Peppers until he talked) are not torture. But all it will take is for some joker at Amnesty International to claim this is an "outrage on human dignity" (as if what the terrorist was planning wasn't) for our guys to possibly face charges - possibly in front of the ICC.
Call your Senators, and tell them in no uncertain terms that while Senators McCain, Graham, and Warner mean well, their legislation is going to tie the hands of our intelligence personnel. We cannot afford that in time of war.
This is worth a long look. China's not exactly friendly, but they are on a much weaker foundation than other threats. Their banking system is a mess, and they have a huge demographic time bomb to deal with as well. Don't get me wrong, they can be dangerous, but they're not the primary threat.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Last year, he discussed oil shale. One of the money quotes:
A couple of large oil companies’ research teams had visited with the Rocky Mountain News’ editorial board to discuss advances in oil shale recovery techniques.
The other, from a commentary by Linda Seebach that she linked to:
They don't need subsidies; the process should be commercially feasible with world oil prices at $30 a barrel.
Can you say, "OPEC is screwed?"
I sure can, and at that point, I need to quote Eric Cartman.
The real issue is who defines what is "degrading" under Common Article Three. Unfortunately, given the proven track record of Amnesty International, which has stuck up for such noble persons like Pablo Escobar (a good drug lord, who during his tenure as head of the Medellin crug cartel, ordered the bombing of an airliner), Saddam Hussein (the former Iraqi dictator who used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds), and Ahmed Hikmat Shakir (a terrorist sprung by pressure from Amnesty International in 2002), not to mention other human rights groups, there is a chance that "degrading" and "inhumane" are going to be defined in a way that makes the people who are trying to keep innocent civilians from being bombed or maimed by the bad guys if they give terrorist thugs anything less than five-star treatment. The Detainee Treatment Act has the necessary bright-line standards that they cannot cross while also making sure we have access to methods that get information should we need them.
The Warner-McCain-Graham legislation is only going to make it more likely that when the day comes, and we face a pending WMD attack, and have a planner of that operation in custody, we're going to hold back on the terrorist involved. As a result, the attack will succeed, and then long-standing U.S. policy will force a response in kind. For the record, the United States only has nuclear weapons.
And with all due respect to Secretary of State Powell, who has taken a lot of unfair criticism over the whole Armitage/Plame fiasco, if roughing up a terrorist leads people to doubt the moral basis of the war on terror, what do you think our inevitable - and necessary - response would do to our moral standing? Yeah, we'd be justified in responding, but is a nuclear response whose body count would be measured in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands (or even millions) really a more moral action than roughing up a terrorist and making the response unnecessary in the first place? Mr. Secretary, as much as I hate to say this, your position on this makes less sense than your decision to designate the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia as a foreign terrorist organization (for a detailed explanation of why I disagreed with that decision, readers can look at my review of Killing Pablo at Strategypage.com).
If someone's an al-Qaeda terrorist we've captured on the battlefield, I'm with Harry Callaghan in saying, "Well, I'm all broken up over that man's rights!" Innocent people - particularly American citizens and those in the United States - have to come first.
Note: This was cross-posted at GOPProgress.com.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Note to Amnesty International: There's a moral difference between genocidal thugs like Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces. Maybe you ought to lean harder on the genocidal thugs (and all the world's thugs) rather than dump on the people trying to do something about the thugs of the world.
Taking the thugs down is a tough job as it is. The people trying to do that job do not need groups like Amnesty International sticking up for the thugs.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Yesterday, he posted at Redstate on the fact that a number of student visas have been issued to Saudis and Muslims.
One quote from his response to a comment reveals what must have been the real reason that he was so upset with Lieutenant Colonel Peters for that column:
Your faith in the American education system is rather touching. I do not share it. I've been on record for a complete cessation of all Muslim immigration for well over a year now.
Time for me to go on record, Mr. Cella: I think your reaction to Colonel Peters' column was the reaction of a man who has read the denunciation of conduct and recognized he was one of those that was being rightfully denounced.
The last time I checked, the First Amendment did not have an exemption that excluded Islam from its protections.
My advice to him: Just ask Hugh how much he enjoyed the weekend trip the Cleveland Indians took to Milwaukee this past June.
ENDQUOTE: Jessica Simpson in Glamour on why she won't diss her ex Nick Lachey: "I don't have anything bad to say about him at all. I don't. And I do have something to lose by talking about it."
Glamour: "What's that?"
Very well said, Ms. Simpson.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
The moral aspect of this issue is very clear to me. This country was founded on the self-evident truth that "all men are created equal". As such, they had certain rights that came from God, including life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness. It came from the Declaration of Independence. Some of those rights were set forth in the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1789. I saw no exception on the basis of race or national origin in either of those documents. Indeed, the 14th Amendment made it doubly clear that no person was to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
Yet, these days, to be considered a conservative in good standing, I must embrace claims that the President and the United States Senate engaged in "treachery", that they supported the "dispossession"of the United States of America. It is a veiled way of calling those he disagrees with traitors. This is, in essence, an act of cowardice. Rather than debate the ideas, he dismisses it with an ad hominem, and the only proof backing that attack is the fact that those he labels as supporting the alleged treachery and dispossession are in disagreement with Paul J Cella on the issue of immigration.
It matters not that they deliberately mischaracterize the President's proposal as "amnesty" (there is punishment - it is just not the punishment demanded by people like zampolit Cella and others on his side of the debate). In fact, there is the notion that the only legitimate course of action in a situation like this is to either throw more money and effort into enforcing the law or tightening the law. Easing up on a law, or fixing an obvious problem, is seen as a non-starter.
Indeed, looking at the treatment Mike Pence received, it is obvious that "amnesty" has a very simple definition: An immigration reform bill that does not have Tom Tancredo's approval. It is a classic case of shifting goalposts. It is the biggest lie since Bill Clinton claimed that Republicans wanted Medicare cuts (after all, complaints that Republicans weren't increasing spending enough just wouldn't fly with the public). We cannot question their rationale for this. Nor can we offer arguments - that alone is sufficient to brand us as heretics.
Indeed, these days, it seems that one who wishes to identify himself as a conservative must accept the neo-"blood and soil" argument that emanates from Pat Buchanan and others like him. This argument claims that truly being an American is largely a function of who one is born to - and also argues that those from the "Third World" are somehow incapable of being Americans. Not only that, we must accept and defend a broken system that will not even tell those it rejects the reasons why they are rejected or how to gain acceptance.
How this argument can be reconciled with the founding documents of this country is a mystery to me. Reforming the system to encompass objective criteria that a person will be able to understand is never considered. Instead, the demand is for a moratorium on legal immigration, a wall on the border, and measures more draconian than previous enforcement efforts.
This is wrong on so many levels.
First, it is wrong because it allows a broken system to fester, breeding more resentment of the law in the first place. The failure of Prohibition was not due to a lack of effort by the government, it was because enough people saw fit to defy and break the law. It should have been patently obvious to some that telling a person they could not consume alcohol could not be enforced without a level of surveillance that would have placed America under an Orwellian nightmare, or that the enforcement would, by necessity, become random and increasingly arbitrary - and the latter course of action would only engender further resentment and defiance of the law itself.
On immigration, I submit that this tipping point has already been passed. We have a combined federal, state, and local prison population of 2,226,787, according to the latest DOJ report I was able to locate. The number of illegal immigrants is held to be at anywhere from 11 to 20 million, depending on the estimates. Divide the 11 million and 20 million figures by the 2,226,787, and you realize that the ratio of illegal immigrants to prison beds is well over the number one. And that assumes we throw open every prison cell. Who wants to release Charles Manson or Zacarias Moussaoui?
On a second level, the conservative position is wrong because it misplaces priorities. We have already seen one potential standoff emerge over the intention of ICE to deport a cleaning lady. A cleaning lady. How do cleaning ladies (not to mention gardeners, nannies, and construction workers) even come close to threatening the dispossession of the United States of America? Shouldn't the efforts be more focused on those who do mean the United States harm (like gang members, drug smugglers, and terrorists)?
On a third level, the conservative position, particularly as enunciated by Cella, is wrong because it is vague. "Protecting the culture" is admirable on its face. But those who cite that fail to explain exactly what their view of American culture is. What is American culture in their minds? This is not a minor detail of the debate - it is the central question of the debate. Unless a definition is pinned down, it is far too easy for the goalposts to be shifted.
And when people decline to provide such definitions, I get nervous and suspicious. This is because there are some slimy elements to the immigration debate on the right, including out-and-out racists like Jared Taylor. I want to know what they are thinking, and what they seek to defend. And I want specifics. If I don't get specifics, I'm going to have to assume the worst.
For a classic example, look at how Tamar Jacoby's proposals are often treated. If the issue is a secure border, then why not simplify the immigration process and increase the quotas? This draws fire - even though it addresses the problem of illegal immigration. This leads me to ask just what exactly their objective is.
Finally, the position is wrong because the conservative position, as enunciated by Cella, relies on the demonization and mischaracterization of its opponents. Accusations of treason, supporting the dispossession of the United States are commonplace, not to mention the epithet of "open-borders fanatic" - in all of this, the only proof of these allegations come from the fact that those who are accused disagree with their pronouncements on immigration.
Conservatives have managed to get this issue very wrong. Their refusal to listen to any disagreement is typical of what one would expect from the DailyKos. Indeed, I would compare this intolerance of dissent to the actions of the environmental movement regarding global warming (as Michael Crichton discussed in the appendix to State of Fear - Crichton also discussed the eugenics movement, and some of its tactics, as well). One would hope this is a mere aberration - a temporary loss of judgment - and not the beginnings of a trend.
But I sometimes have to wonder, given the way the zampolits have acted. If a self-appointed zampolit can read someone out for a disagreement, or merely failing to attack "the other" with the requisite zeal, then the trend is already started, and reversing it will require much heated debate and discussion.
Monday, September 11, 2006
The first of these memos to be reported on was discovered in April, 2003 in the rubble of Mukhabarat headquarters by a pair of journalists. The memo indicated that the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi Intelligence Service) wanted to bring over a representative of Osama bin Laden to discuss “the future of our relationship with him”. The memo in question went through five translations before the article was published. One of the reporters who discovered the memo, Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star, admitted that he had been skeptical of the claims of a relationship between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda.
A year and a half later, other memos were leaked to Cybercast News Service. These show Iraq had terrorist connections (English translation here), to an Egyptian terrorist group known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad. This group was one headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is Osama bin Laden’s second in command. The documents also mentioned Omar Abdel Rahman (original scan here), the spiritual leader of the terrorists who carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. That memo highlighted his group as “the most violent in Egypt”. These memos also showed that Saddam’s regime was attempting to acquire mustard gas and anthrax, and seeking a means to attack American forces in Somalia in 2000. The Senate Intelligence Committee also failed to note that Saddam Hussein had been making payments of $25,000 to the families of Palestinian murder-suicide bombers.
The Senate Intelligence Committee even managed to ignore the 9/11 Commission’s report, in which Richard Clarke’s e-mail opposing a U-2 mission over Afghanistan was quoted. The e-mail states that the U-2 overflight would warn bin Laden of a potential attack and “old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad” (Chapter 4, 9-11 Commission Report).
Finally, there is an evidence summary for an al-Qaeda detainee held at Guantanamo Bay. The summary, reprinted in a report by Stephen F. Hayes in the Weekly Standard, indicated that the detainee traveled to Pakistan with an Iraqi intelligence agent in 1998 for the purposes of carrying out a chemical mortar attack against the American and British embassies in Pakistan.
These were just some of the items that contradict the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report.
The Senate report, by ignoring these facts, has proven that it should not be taken at face value. The truth remains in many documents from Saddam’s regime, some of which have been released, while others are still classified.
Threatswatch.org and RegimeofTerror.com are working on this in much more detail. Keep an eye out.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I guess they have decided it is more important to cover the asses of Bill Clinton and Jamie Gorelick than it is for people to know the truth. I mean, if the truth were out there, we might not have had decisions like Hamdan.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
In 2004, there was a backlash against the imposition of gay marriage in Massachusetts. This was reflected very closely in the wide margins that eleven constitutional amendments were passed by in that election. The problem is that the social conservatives misread the widespread objection to the imposition of gay marriage as support for other aspects of their agenda. They thought they could get away with mischaracterizing the President's immigration proposals. They thought they could chase Howard Stern to satellite radio, and nobody would be that upset.
They were wrong. Now, the South Park Republicans, who want government out of their lives, are probably feeling like they have nowhere to go, and certainly don't want to stick their necks out for social conservatives. I, personally, feel that the 2006 elections look more like a choice between two sets of control freaks. One wants to get into my wallet and gun safe, the other wants to tell me what I can and can't watch, while also throwing a fit because I want to put $50 on a Bears game.
It seems that the only real reason to get out an vote these days is the war on terror. At least the Republicans will fight. And so, I guess my vote is decided. All I can do at this point is to make clear that my vote comes in spite of the House GOP's obstinancy and disingenuous maneuvering on immigration, despite the poor treatment of the UAE (a valuable ally in the war on terror), and despite the fact that the House Republicans have done little to be proud of.
I find it very telling when someone doesn't like a message... and then threatens the messenger. And make no mistake about it, this letter is a threat. Congresswoman Slaughter's decision to have a part of this letter is doubly hypocritical. Her official web page discusses her efforts to "ensure that all radio and television broadcasters are accountable to the local communities they are licensed to serve, that they offer diverse views on issues of public importance including local issues, and that they provide regular opportunities for meaningful public dialogue among listeners, viewers, and station personnel and licensees".
Slaughter was a major supporter of the "Hush Rush" Act back in the 1990s. I guess her idea of meaningful discourse doesn't include anything to the right of the CBS Evening News or the New York Times.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Short version: Because Colin Powell and Dick Armitage did not support the liberation of Iraq with the same zeal as Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and others, they are somehow disloyal to President Bush (and Gaffney tries to hint that it is disloyalty to the country as well). Just the fact that they have advocated a different course of action - or maybe emphasized a differnt aspect of the threat Saddam's regime posed - was enough for zampolit Gaffney to deem them as "disloyalists" (let's just ignore the inconvenient facts that Armitage promptly went to the FBI, and that the then-White House counsel, Al Gonzales, refused to hear specifics). Never mind that Colin Powell has apparently ended at least one friendship over criticism of the liberation of Iraq.
This has often cropped up on the right - particularly with immigration, but also with regards to the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court and some other issues (including abortion). You either believe precisely as some people believe, or you are a pandering RINO who doesn't have any principles that they would fight for.
Again, that characterization is false. I do have principles. On the immigration debate, these principles, including the fact that "all men are created equal", lead me to believe that the position held by hardliners like Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, and Michelle Malkin are morally wrong. These principles also lead me to sharply criticized their mischaracterization of any plan that has what they deem to be insufficient punishment as amnesty. When they are doing that, they are in the wrong.
In other words, when the immigration hard-liners want me to go along with their neo-"blood and soil" philosophy about what it means to be American, or when other people want me to remain silent in the face of unfair attacks on a pair of distinguished publc servants, they are demanding that I compromise my principles.
That's where I get off.
My earlier comment will be expanded on a little. It is clear that the present government of the Sudan is unwilling to do anything about the genocide, and in fact is now taking steps to hinder efforts to resist it.
This is not something that going to the United Nations will solve. The only solution will center around the use of force. It is time for the Sudan to pay a penalty for not stopping the Janjaweed militias from carrying out their genocidal intentions.
Step one has to be increased military aid to Chad. The United States can probably pull out a number of older AH-1 Cobras and UH-1 Hueys from the boneyard. They might be able to do some good against a militia. This aid also needs to be aimed towards developing solid bases in eastern Chad for further steps in the plan.
Second, once there are secure bases in eastern Chad, the intended victims of the genocide need to be armed with sufficient light weapons to enable them to repel attacks. Again, I'm sure that various natiosn have a surplus of such weapons that can be provided at little or no cost (M60 machine guns, M1 Carbines, M3 submachine guns, various service rifles).
Third, the use of airpower should be considered against regime targets, particularly if the Sudanese regime decides to up the ante.
It's time to push the ineffective UN aside, and get the task of stopping this genocide in its tracks done.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The fact is, the blame for a lack of an immigration bill lies entirely with the House Republicans, who decided that rather than come up with compromise that would have included additional security while also addressing other issues that pertained to immigration, they would take their ball and go home - then pander to hard-liners on the issue about how they stopped an "amnesty". This was an amnesty that never existed - just as the alleged spending cuts to Medicare that Clinton claimed Republicans wanted in 1995 never existed. They were both lies, and both actions were unsuccessful. Sadly, both seem to have at least temporarily succeeded.
Charlie Norwood let the game slip about those hearings when he threatened a Congressional Research Staffer because she game him information that belied the kind of pandering to the hard-liners on the issue, some of whom are nativists (or worse). His mind on the issue was made up, and he did not wish to be confused by facts.
Americans want officials to provide leadership and to act like adults. This requires maturity. The Republican leadership of the House did not lead. Instead, they abdicated, and rather than force hard-liners like Tom Tancredo to compromise - or at least actually try to force them to defend their obstinacy in public - Hastert instead let Tancredo dictate the House position.
The House Democrats certainly do not deserve power. But the House Republicans don't look much better at this point. Increasingly, I find myself admitting that if asked for a reason to vote for House Republicans, I can only say, "Because the Democrats are worse."
Monday, September 04, 2006
It seems the American Family Assocation is now readying to fire off thousands of complaints to the FCC over a 9/11 documentary that will be aired as-is.
The AFA's beef? A lot of unedited profanity. Can I just call this pure, unadulterated Bravo Sierra?
For Mr. Sharp - a crash course is in order. TVs these days come with this thing called a remote. On this remote (varying by specifics) is a control marked CH, CHAN, or CHANNEL. This control has an up button and a down button. You use this when you do not like the show you are currently watching. With cable, I can go from something that I don't want to watch (say, the latest drivel from Lou Dobbs) to something I might be more interested in watching (like SoapNet's re-run of the day's episode of All My Children).
Failing that, Mr. Sharp, there is another button labeled POWER. This turns off the TV, so you can go read whatever book you want to. Or turn on the radio, (provided you aren't as hyper-sensitive about that as you are about what's on TV). Or, many TVs these days come in with built-in DVD players (which gives you more control over your viewing than ever before - if there is a boring scene in a movie you like, you can skip to the next one).
The AFA needs to be told to go soak their head. They've gone way too far in trying to force a network to not air a documentary. Where does this end? Is the end for the AFA to enforce its aesthetic choices on all of us, through massive complaints to the FCC - hoping they can turnt he force of the federal government against the decision the free market has made?
Yet it seems the right is more interested in settling scores with Colin Powell than it is in going after the real culprit: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Looking at some of the commentary at Redstate, or other conservative opinion sources (including the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, columnist Jack Kelly, and National Review Online). Have conservatives lost their sense of priorities?
Let's get the rough sequence of events down pat first. Armitage tells Powell he thinks he was the leak in October, 2003. He talked with the FBI that month. He did not even hire a lawyer. This was two months before Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed as a special prosecutor. Powell proceeds to have the State Department's general counsel inform the DOJ, and at the same time, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales was informed in very general terms of what went on. Gonzales declined the offer of specifics. Yet James Comey appoints a special prosecutor. And the Special Prosecutor then launched what has turned out to be a two-and-a-half-year witch hunt.
I am not a mindless apologist for Secretary Powell. Over a year ago, at Strategypage, I dished out some strong criticism of his decision to designate the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia as a terrorist organization on par with Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. In 2002 and 2003, I felt that not only did the neoconservatives have the right policy with regards to Iraq, but I felt their course of action was proper because there was enough evidence that a reasonable person could conclude that Iraq probably had a relationship with al-Qaeda - and it was best to take down Saddam's regime quickly
On both issues, my position has not changed. Proof of Saddam's regime's relationship with al-Qaeda was discovered as early as April, 2003, by a reporter from the Toronto Star. More recovered memos have shown outreach to other terrorist groups. The liberation of Iraq was a good call, and Colin Powell still thinks it was the right decision, and as a result, his friendship with Larry Wilkerson (a vocal critic of that decision) has apparently ended as a result.
But at the same time, I felt very uneasy about the personal attacks directed at Secretary Powell by some proponents. And here, we have a case where two men did the right thing - and it is not their fault the matter wasn't ended. The fact they weren't clairvoyant enough to foresee Patrick Fitzgerald going rogue is not their fault. And seeing the future only happens in fiction.
Furthermore, the big questions are those that must be posed to Patrick Fitzgerald. Did you know Armitage had come forward with exculpatory evidence? If not, why not? If you did, then why did you go on with this investigation for over two and a half years? Is there a good reason why you couldn't just let it die? Who or what motivated your decision to ignore the evidence?
The stuff about Powell and Armitage is a worthless sideshow. In addition to being grossly unfair, it is a waste of time. Petty score-settling is far less important than dealing with a special prosecutor who has gone rogue. Yet conservatives want to settle scores.
If this is what conservatism is, count me out.
Friday, September 01, 2006
However, I must disagree with Austin Bay's approval of imposing sanctions. First of all, they will not work. Second, there is no guarantee they will not be busted. The best approach is to skip the sanctions, and begin the dangerous work of getting human intelligence assets into Iran to locate the critical portions of their nuclear weapons program so that we can take it down hard.