Nov. 9 - Following the announcement that Howard Dean may seek the chairmanship of the DNC, the Republicans were quick to respond. Ace has the letter here. (Work safe, but not liquid.) [Note: you may have to scroll down past the empty white section to get to the post. It's worth it.]
Nov. 6 - The final Electoral College tally is Bush 286, Kerry 252 and there is a terrific county-by-county map at the lgf link.
Nov. 3 - Sen. John Kerry telephoned the president to concede the election and to congratulate Pres. Bush on his victory. The formal concession speech will be made at
1 p.m. ET. 2 p.m. EST.
I hope that this gracious act by the Democratic Party candidate will finally put an end to the bitterness of the 2000 election so that we can, finally, move on and get on about the nation's business. (But not health care. Let Canada continue trying to iron out the problems and learn from them rather than allowing the US gets stuck with the same problems and deadly waiting times.)
The biggest winner of this election was the American soldier. I had expressed the hope after viewing "Stolen Honor" that we had learned our lesson after Vietnam: we cannot ask soldiers to go to war and then renounce that war and therefore them. The Swift Boat vets deserve full credit for raising the public's consciousness as to what we owe our fighting men and women, and I can't prove it but I think that awareness played a role in today's win.
You might find it worthwhile to pay a visit to some ex-pats who have been firm in the defense of their country during these trying times in sometimes politely (and impolitely) hostile countries and usually with overtly hostile news media:
Although she isn't a blogger (at least so far as I know) ex-pat Janet Daley has a terrific column up in today's Telegraph on a theme which is only too familiar to the rest of us ex-pats.
I wish I could think of something suitable to say to Michael Moore but maybe I'll just go see Team America and giggle a lot.
So ends the election in the second Anglosphere country of the coalition, and unless I was dreaming I seem to remember that Tony Blair too has called an election. Hat trick, anyone?
Nov. 3 - The radio station I listen to during breaks at work was calling it for Kerry last night, but I remained serene and didn't respond to the cheering from my (Canadian) co-workers. I had reached the comfort level of knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the outcome and I will willing to let the people decide without anger or (much) regret.
Okay, you want the truth? I had a bad feeling when I left for work that the president was going to lose this one and had already decided on stoicism. Knowing there would be some subtle jabbing had prepared me to take it all with a rueful smile. It wasn't a courage thing but a prideful thing.
Then, when I got off this morning I learned that the president had won the popular vote (and that is one terrific boost!) and that Ohio was unable to declare a winner due to provisional ballots which left the election results undecided.
If you are looking for polished prose, go to any of the fine names on my blogroll because, in all honesty, I'm stuck somewhere between laughter, frustration, euphoria, and love for my crazy country.
However, if I hear Donna Brazile or any other Democrat say "this president" again I'm going to um, use coarse language. Yeah, that's it. I'll curse 'em heartily.
9:01: I'm finally starting to read and digest the incredible impact of this election. Bush has 51% of the vote. Republicans held onto the White House and increased their majorities in the Senate and House.
Maybe this is the most important victory, though, as commenter mikem said:
... and a final belated and well deserved victory for Vietnam veterans.That's the part that hurt most during the hours of doubt last night: a sense of having betrayed our soldiers and elected someone they rightly despised as their Commander-in-Chief. The pundits will be analyzing this election ad nauseum but I doubt they will understand how profoundly the American soldier influenced this election.
And speaking of our soldiers, Greyhawk has a series of posts (start here and keep clicking to each post on the right.) I dare you not to cry.
Bill Whittle has a short post up:
It's Bush. Thank God, it's Bush.Don't hold back, Bill, tell us how you really feel!
He also has some ideas for what we need to do over the next four years. No resting on our laurels, I guess.
Nov. 2 - I predict that a lot of you won't get much more sleep tonight than I did today and that, whatever the outcome, we will survive.
I feel a sense of relief that it's over, and both sides know they have done their best. [Update Nov. 3: I spoke too soon! It isn't over yet ...] It will be interesting to see if there are any observable after-effects of the unprecedented voter turnout and renewed political activism of so many citizens.
Nov. 1 - We are having a presidential election campaign at a time when our nation is under attack. How stupifying that Anyone But Bush remains the guiding theme of the opposition! Surely this is a sign of shallowness at the least and outright insanity at the most because it means that personal feelings about a candidate are motivating far too many voters at a time when national security is the dominant issue for the first time in their lifetimes.
I don't care if you don't like the President. This shouldn't be a popularity contest because it's an election in a time of war that tests our national character and our ability to look beyond personal likes and dislikes to judge the candidates solely on the basis of how they will address the threat.
This shouldn't be about getting even for the 2000 election. Anyone still angry about that should look at a crater in New York City and consider changing their priorities.
I have some sympathy with those who are having a major ick at the thought of pulling the lever for a Republican. I had never voted Republican in my life before this election. I voted Independent or Democrat without ever considering that a Republican might deserve at least some scrutiny.
That changed Sept. 11, 2001. Ironically, one of my first thoughts was "Thank God a Republican is in the White House" and although I didn't go so far as to decide that hanging chads were instruments of God, I did know that a twist of history had served our country at a time of peril.
I knew instictively that a Republican was more likely to launch a determined counter assault. I knew that something had to break the murderous deadlock at Israel's borders. I knew that we had to deal decisively with Saddam Hussein. Those were my immediate thoughts that fierce day, and I believe more than a few of those who are considering voting for Kerry had those same thoughts until the ongoing propaganda campaign waged by the Michael Moores and Democrats caused them to retreat.
Making fun of Bush may make for clever, cocktail party repartee, but is that actually a strategy for victory?
When we focus on the issues, exactly how does Kerry's platform differ from the president's? Why, he'll do things differently! That is an astonishing statement from the party that had the chance to do things differently for eight years but stayed with a law enforcement approach to international terrorism, and an onimous statement from a man who reminded us that he was a prosecutor and that he wants terrorism reduced to a nuisance comparable to gambling and prostitution.
It is insulting to the survivors and families of the dead from Sept. 11th, Bali, Madrid, Kashmir, Bombay, Jakarta, Moscow, Beslan, the Phillipines, Iraq, Algeria, Tel Aviv, Morocco, and countless other places to realize that a would-be president believes that that they were inconvenienced, not attacked!
We tried the law enforcement approach. We tried the appeasement approach. The Daddy of Terrorism, Yassar Arafat, was a guest in the White House, and you just can't be more accomodating than that.
As for the global test, as events in Rwanda, the Sudan and Iraq failed to pass this global test the less said about it the better.
President Bush did things differently, and the latest bin Laden tape indicates that his approach is working.
Of course that tape too, as with all previous tapes, is pure propaganda. Now we learn that the root cause for Sept. 11 was Lebanon, 1982, not dead Iraqi babies or American troops in Saudi Arabia. It also seems to echo much of Michael Moore's Farenheit 911, and I hope that people are finally making the connection that Moore's work is also propaganda.
We overtly reject OBL's offer of a cease fire, but the Kerry campaign in effect promotes a cease-fire by his failure to embrace the underlying reasons for launching Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Governments in the Mid-east that are governed by consensus, freedom of speech, press and religion will undercut the themes of desperation and impotency that al Qaeda and other Islamists use to encourage terrorist acts.
It's a long shot, admittedly. It's risky. It's one of the biggest gambles in our nation's history (maybe as as big as the one in 1776) and can backfire even now, but attempts to maintain the status quo in the Mid-east have already backfired and only greatened the threat.
We are fighting now so that our children and grandchildren don't have to fight. We are fighting now, when we have a chance of victory, than wait until we are cornered. We are fighting now to save Muslim lives, because if we are cornered there's no telling what we may do to save ourselves.
I voted by absentee ballot for President Bush because if we are to stand for anything it must be defiantly on our feet, not abjectly on our knees.
Note: One person who epitimized defiance in the face of the enemy was Winston Churchill, and Ghost of a Flea has the latest in his Winston Reviews on line. I urge Americans to read his latest, Review No. 17, here, and Canadians to read his Can-con post here.
Oct. 30 - I still haven't seen the tape (and am unlikely to, as I'd have to, like, tune on CNN and pay attention in order to view the tape ... yeech!) but the Fox website has what appear to be most of the words and Matt Druge has the transcript.
Is he actually suing for peace? I think we've gone way, way beyond that, although it will please those who are openly in favour of appeasement.
So long, Osama. Nice to hear from you again, but we're a bit busy these days hunting down your friends and dispatching them to the lower regions of Hell.
If you let us know where you can be reached, we'll drop
a daisy cutter by for tea someday.
11:23: Some different views on the tape from Wretchard (who says "Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out,") Beldar (who believes he is making "an invitation to Pres. Kerry to negotiate a truce,") Donald Sensing calls it a "yawner" and notes "the tape is the best al Qaeda can do. A videotape is their pre-election surprise" and although he cautions against letting our guard down thinks "... the new OBL tape should encourage us that we are winning. Before 9/11, bin Laden acted, not blustered. Now bluster is about all he's got against America, though al Qaeda sadly still kills abroad." Roger Simon reluctantly admits OBL seems alive, and links to a commenter with more than the usual credentials who makes some interesting observations that suggest OBL really is dead (a must read!)
It struck me that OBL is suing for a separate peace. That would mean that, having initiated and take the leadership in the war on terror, we could just abandon it and save our skins, but what of our allies? What of Iraq?
Another thing: he focuses solely on the Mideast, but doesn't mention other hot spots, such as Indonesia. Australia has her own just grievances against OBL, but unless something has occurred in the past few hours, a similar offer hasn't been made to her or any of our other allies (the real ones, I mean, not the "traditional" ones, as an offer was allegedly made to France in exchange for rescinding the headdress ban.)
There have been a variety of opinions as to whether this helps President Bush or Senator Kerry, and we should see a lot of spin from the media and their
trained seals experts as to which. As though we haven't already had plenty of that in the course of this campaign.
To more important matters: it appears the assault on Fallujah is underway, and eight good Marines have died.
Oct. 31 - 18:01 - I'm wrong about the campaign in Fallujah. Iraqi interim Prime Minister Allawai is warning that patience is wearing thin:
Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's warning, delivered in a nationally televised news conference, occurred as U.S. forces prepare for a showdown with thousands of militants holed up in Fallujah - the city that has become the focal point of armed resistance to the Americans and their Iraqi allies.It's easy for me to sit over here and wish for faster action, but Allawi has to think of Iraq's future and the difficult task of knitting together the different factions to create a strong, unified country.
Allawi appeared to be aiming to prepare the Iraqi public for an onslaught likely to unleash strong passions, especially among the country's Sunni Muslim minority.
U.S. officials say Allawi will personally issue the final order to launch any all-out assault on Fallujah and other Sunni insurgent strongholds north and west of the capital.
Allawi gave no deadline for talks with Fallujah city leaders to bear fruit, but he insisted they must hand over foreign fighters and allow Iraqi security forces to take control of the city.
"We have now entered the final phase of attempts to solve Fallujah without a major military confrontation. I hope we can achieve this, but if we cannot, I have no choice but to secure a military solution," he added.
Oct. 29 - The MuNu server went down before I published anything this morning (which I took as a sign to get some sleep) and I woke up to learn I had slept through a new Osama tape. CNN is all a-twitter about it, but the only thing that surprised me was that he actually seems to have taken credit for the Sept. 11 attacks, which deals a severe blow to those who insisted it was Mossad, the CIA, or never even happened. Other than that, I don't see that it informs me of anything we didn't already know: he doesn't care who wins the election because he hates us. Period.
The tape did say that they will continue to attack us until we stop attacking them, which is a backwards endorsement for President Bush as it affirms that we are attacking them and a blow to Kerry who insists Iraq was a "diversion."
It's hard for me to tell if I'm overly dismissive about this latest tape (although I'll concede it appears the bastard is still alive) or if it is truly dismissible, but I think maybe the media is running too hog-wild with it because the missing explosives story is faltering and they want to divert us.
Maybe I'm just tired of everyone trying to divert us. Taking the fight to the enemy is basic military strategy, so what does make my eyes light up is news that finally, finally, it appears that we are going to renew the campaign in Fallujah. Sooner, please?
As for Osama? He still hates us. And after all we've done for him ...
And as for me, I am off to work.
Update: This should learn me (again!) to trust CNN snap headlines. Now that I've been able to read the transcript I think this is a significant change from the usual bin Laden message. But I think he still hates us.
Oct. 29 - The issue from beginning of this story was when did they go missing.
A news video might be of the missing explosives or they might show another explosive material classified 1.1D.. (I didn't see ABC News last night so can't comment to the video shown in that broadcast, but Deacon at Power Line says its useless.)
By the way, Fox has the IAEA report of January 14, 2003, online here in .pdf form for anyone who is interested (it's about 11 pages long in Adobe Acrobat.)
CNN has what may be the best description of the affair: Two more bits of possible evidence have surfaced in the mystery of the missing Iraqi explosives, but they appear to bolster two different scenarios as to what may have happened to the cache.
Maj. Austin Pearson with the 3rd ID has stated that they removed and destroyed about 250 tons of explosives from Al Qaqaa in April, 2003 but doesn't know if they were the ones said to be under IAEA seal.
I turned CNN on in time to hear commentators express incredulity that the Pentagon cannot yet state which explosives were destroyed by the 3rd ID, which reinforces the fact that none of them have ever served in the armed forces. Sen. Kerry is pounding the same theme, though, which is odd because we all know that he did serve so he should know fully that backtracking events in the military is laborious and time-consuming. They don't call it "the army way" for nothing.
The stickers said to be on the boxes in the video released by ABC evidently are of a substance that is mixed with water (or did ABC use stock footage of boxes that were not at Al Qaqaa?) I've had some small experience with Hazmat designation numbers up here in Canada, and all I know for sure is that the classification numbers are intended to tell emergency crews what they are dealing with - corrosives, explosives, etc. - rather than identify any specific substance. If I'm following this correctly, the IAEA numbers have the same degree of specificity.
But now the debate has shifted over to things that make my eyes glaze over as the last chemistry class I took was long ago.
Sometimes one just has to rely on their common sense. Power Line notes drily "I'm not sure how you would "specifically search for" seven hundred fifty-four thousand pounds of explosives, but somehow, I suspect that if you saw them, you'd notice." The supposition that two different military units failed to notice that many boxes under IAEA seal just doesn't hold water.
Oct. 28 - Okay, I had some dinner (it's a shift work thing) and have had time to try to let this thing settle. The fact remains that the IAEA inspectors cannot have inspected the explosives if the bunkers were sealed, so the repeated assertions that they "inspected the explosives" is simply untrue - the inspectors merely looked at the seals.
I'm willing to attribute the inaccurate assertions of "inspected the explosives" to careless wording by the New York Times and other news media, but if the ABC story that the bunkers were readily accessible without breaking the seals holds up and we remember the NY Sun article stating that the IAEA refused to destroy the explosives despite the urging of the inspectors, some of the statements in that NY Sun article suddenly seem more than speculative:
On Monday, a spokesman for the American mission at the United Nations questioned the timing of the release of the material on the part of Mr. ElBaradei. Rick Grenell told the Sun's Benny Avni the "timing seems puzzling."The bolded portion of the article is a bombshell but really, why shouldn't we consider that possibility? The investigations into the U.N. Oil-for-Food program revealed a bureaucracy without accountability, and had coalition forces not liberated Iraq and removed the Saddam regime, we would never have known about the extent to which that program was corrupt, the inspections would have gone on until they declared Iraq disarmed, and the sanctions would have been lifted. Saddam would have resumed his quest for WMD (including nuclear capability) and the world would have been in mortal danger.
After a behind-the-scenes battle inside the State Department this summer, the Bush administration opted to reject Mr. ElBaradei's bid for a third term as director general of the atomic energy agency.
At the time, Washington was collecting intelligence - disputed by some agencies - that Mr. ElBaradei was providing advice to Iran on how to avoid sanction from his organization for its previously undisclosed uranium enrichment programs.
Mr. al-Baradei has publicly urged the Iranians to heed an earlier pledge to suspend enrichment, but he has also opposed America's policy of taking Iranian violations to the U.N. Security Council. Mr. al-Baradei has announced he will nonetheless seek a third term. Nominations for the director general position close on December 31. [Emphasis added.]
Suddenly Hans Blix is no longer merely irritating and Mohammed El Baradei is no longer merely pompous. They are two incredibly powerful men who literally had the world in their care and dropped the ball. The question is if it was due to negligence or corruption.
The case for war has suddenly, in retrospect, been altered. (No, I don't think the president lied, but I've always assumed that the government concealed information - not out of malevolence toward the American people but because that is the nature of being at war.)
Many of us who supported the war had some lingering hope for the inspection process but recognized that regime change, which is to say removing Saddam and his psychotic sons, was the only right thing to do. But now we are faced with the fact that Iran and N. Korea have or are close to having nuclear capability and it was done on the El Baradei's watch.
The mood of the American electorate as both El Baradei and Benon Sevan are revealed to be incompetent at best or corrupt at worst will not bode well for the U.N. The one poll that hasn't been conducted lately is to assess the confidence of Americans in the U.N., but the most recent ones had indicated growing disillusion with that organization, and that will be a consideration when voters cast their ballot for "American unilateralism with staunch and valiant allies" or "global test."
Five.More.Days. Judging by the past four days, it will be longer than a lifetime.
Oct. 28 - This is going to be one of those crescendo posts, so if you're in a hurry, skip to the last two links.
The NY Times reports today that President Bush responded to the charge that US forces were negligent and allowed 380 tons of explosives to fall into terrorist hands:
"Our military is now investigating a number of possible scenarios, including that the explosives may have been moved before our troops even arrived at the site," Mr. Bush told thousands of Republicans at an airport rally in Lancaster County, Pa., his first stop of a day that took him through three states.I'm not necessarily knocking the Times, but if I'm following this story properly, what the inspectors saw in early March were seals, not explosives, and they only verified that the seals had not been broken. A small detail, but one which may be significant.
"This investigation is important and it's ongoing," he said, "and a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief."
The exact timing of the disappearance of the explosives is critical to the political arguments of each campaign. Mr. Kerry's contention that the administration did not adequately secure the country and was unprepared for the war's aftermath presumes that the explosives disappeared after the fall of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003, as officials of the interim Iraqi government say.
If the explosives disappeared before Mr. Hussein fell, as Mr. Bush now says is possible, that would undercut Mr. Kerry's argument and bolster Mr. Bush's contention that his opponent is making charges without all the facts.
The last time that international inspectors saw the explosives was in early March 2003, days before the American-led invasion. It is possible, inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency say, that Saddam Hussein's forces may have tried to move the material out of the 10 huge bunkers at the Al Qaqaa facility where it was stored to save it if the facility was bombed.
If so, that would partly support Mr. Bush's contention that the Iraqis could have moved 380 tons of material very far without being detected.
But Mr. Bush on Thursday did not address a critical issue raised by the discovery of the missed explosives: why American forces were not alerted to the existence of a huge cache of explosives, even though the atomic energy agency and American officials had publicly discussed the threat it posed, and knew its exact location.
The commander of the troops that went into the Al Qaqaa facility on the way to Baghdad in early April, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, has said he was never told the site was considered sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited it before the war began.
Another article in the NYT, 4 Iraqis Tell of Looting at Munitions Site in "03, revisits the looting (perhaps because it's the only leg this story has left to it?) and still can't answer when the explosives went missing:
Agency [IAEA] officials examined the explosives in January 2003 and noted in early March that their seals were still in place. On April 3, the Third Infantry Division arrived with the first American troops.Again with examining the explosives and determining the seals were still in place, which is be a contradiction.
Chris Anderson, a photographer for U.S. News and World Report who was with the division's Second Brigade, recalled that the area was jammed with American armor on April 3 and 4, which he believed made the removal of the explosives unlikely. "It would be quite improbable for this amount of weapons to be looted at that time because of the traffic jam of armor," he said.
The brigade blew up numerous caches of arms throughout the area, he said. Mr. Anderson said he did not enter the munitions compound.
The Second Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division arrived outside the site on April 10, under the command of Col. Joseph Anderson. The brigade had been ordered to move quickly to Baghdad because of civil disorder there after Mr. Hussein's government fell on April 9.
They gathered at Al Qaqaa, about 30 miles south, simply as a matter of convenience, Colonel Anderson said in an interview this week. He said that when he arrived at the site - unaware of its significance - he saw no signs of looting, but was not paying close attention.
Because he thought the brigade would be moving on to Baghdad within hours, Al Qaqaa was of no importance to his mission, he said, and he was unaware of the explosives that international inspectors said were hidden inside.
Pentagon officials said Wednesday that analysts were examining surveillance photographs of the munitions site. But they expressed doubts that the photographs, which showed vehicles at the location on several occasions early in the conflict, before American troops moved through the area, would be able to indicate conclusively when the explosives were removed.
Col. David Perkins, who commanded the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, called it "very highly improbable" that 380 tons of explosives could have been trucked out of Al Qaqaa in the weeks after American troops arrived.
Moving that much material, said Colonel Perkins, who spoke Wednesday to news agencies and cable television, "would have required dozens of heavy trucks and equipment moving along the same roadways as U.S. combat divisions occupied continually for weeks."
He conceded that some looting of the site had taken place. But a chemical engineer who worked at Al Qaqaa and identified himself only as Khalid said that once troops left the base itself, people streamed in to steal computers and anything else of value from the offices. They also took munitions like artillery shells, he said.
Mr. Mezher, the mechanic, said it took the looters about two weeks to disassemble heavy machinery at the site and carry that off after the smaller items were gone. [Emphasis added.]
What the NY Times story doesn't tell you is that there was a major battle in the area before the 3 ID entered the facility on April 3.
[Army Col. David] Perkins commanded 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. A unit under his command, the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry, entered the depot on April 3, 2003, and defeated the enemy forces there in a two-day battle.No, that isn't the final word, but maybe this is:
Perkins, now assigned to the Joint Staff, said it is "highly improbable" that the enemy was able to take the explosives out any time after U.S. forces arrived in the area. It would require "that the enemy sneaks a convoy of 10-ton trucks in and loads them up in the dark of night and infiltrates them in your convoy and moves out," he said. "That's kind of a stretch too far."
When his battalion arrived at Al Qaqaa April 3, it engaged several hundred enemy soldiers and the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam in the area. The unit killed or captured all who were there, with the battle lasting through April 5.
At the same time, Perkins said, the soldiers of the unit did an initial assessment of the depot. "The concern was what's the capability of the munitions, rather than how much was there," he said
His soldiers concentrated on looking for weapons of mass destruction, especially chemical weapons. They found suspicious white powder and reported that through the chain of command. A chemical unit arrived, tested the powder and determined it was safe. The soldiers did not find the IAEA- sealed explosives.
Iraq was one of the most heavily armed countries on Earth. Perkins said it is important to remember that in its push to Baghdad, the brigade passed many depots containing thousands upon thousands of tons of arms and armaments. The brigade had no indication that the Al Qaqaa depot was anything special. "It was just another cache of weapons like the dozens we had passed," Perkins said.
The unit left the area April 5. "The mission was to quickly defeat the enemy and cause the collapse of the regime," Perkins said. "So what we did then was continue to push down the east side of the Euphrates because there was a whole brigade of the Medina division facing them."
After the 3rd Infantry Division left the area, the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, took up residence through April 11.
The 75th Exploitation Task Force visited the facility May 7, May 11 and May 27. They found no IAEA material during any of these visits. [Emphasis added]
Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.But I think this may be the final word:
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
Iraqi officials may be overstating the amount of explosives reported to have disappeared from a weapons depot, documents obtained by ABC News show.(ABC link via Michael Totten at Instapundit.
The Iraqi interim government has told the United States and international weapons inspectors that 377 tons of conventional explosives are missing from the Al-Qaqaa installation, which was supposed to be under U.S. military control.
But International Atomic Energy Agency documents obtained by ABC News and first reported on "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" indicate the amount of missing explosives may be substantially less than the Iraqis reported.
The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing — presumably stolen due to a lack of security — was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility.
But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over 3 tons of RDX was stored at the facility — a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.
The IAEA documents could mean that 138 tons of explosives were removed from the facility long before the start of the United States launched "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in March 2003.
The IAEA documents from January 2003 found no discrepancy in the amount of the more dangerous HMX explosives thought to be stored at Al-Qaqaa, but they do raise another disturbing possibility.
The documents show IAEA inspectors looked at nine bunkers containing more than 194 tons of HMX at the facility. Although these bunkers were still under IAEA seal, the inspectors said the seals may be potentially ineffective because they had ventilation slats on the sides. These slats could be easily removed to remove the materials inside the bunkers without breaking the seals, the inspectors noted. [Emphasis added]
Oct. 27 - There still hasn't been anything definitive as to when the explosives were taken, but everyone has pointed out that a cache that large would have required 40 trucks to move, and since there seems to have been a lack of IAEA seal sightings, the implications are that they were moved before US troops arrived.
Almost time to go to work, but here are some links on Bombgate (or NYTrogate as Captain's Quarters is calling it, or Qaqaagate from Powerline) starting with the CBS report filed April 4, 2003, which indicates that
a) CBS doesn't believe their own stories, and/or
b) CBS doesn't read their own stories, and/or
c) they still don't both to fact check their stories in their rush to impugn the president, and/or
d) all of the above.
From the CBS story:
U.S. troops found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site south of Baghdad. But a senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the materials were believed to be explosives.It seems that the 3rd ID visited the site before and after the 101st Airborne, and indications are that the 3rd ID didn't find anything with IAEA seals on their first visit.
Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the materials were found Friday at the Latifiyah industrial complex just south of Baghdad.
"It is clearly a suspicious site," Peabody said.
It would have been nice had they destroyed the explosives then, I guess, but since suspicions were high that there were chemical and biological agents hidden in the facility, maybe that wouldn't have been such a good move, hmm?
Good old 20/20 highsight. It never comes in time to actually inform decisions.
Wretchard clarifies matters best. Excellent post as always.
The NY Sun says UN inspectors were urged to destroy the explosives in 1995.
Power Line covers the President's response to the issue.
I have to get ready for work, but am taking a moment to reflect on the way things were in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
You remember the March and April days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, don't you? When the troops kept their gas masks close at hand, and we were braced for an attack of sarin or mustard gas. When we prayed it wouldn't happen because even though the troops had personal protective equipment the Iraqi people didn't and the death toll of civilians would have been staggering.
We weren't looking for conventional weapons. Those we found. We were looking for the unconventional ones. We didn't find them, and that has been a campaign issue.
We found conventional ones, and that has become a campaign issue too.
6 more days. Please let the country stay sane.
I was in media post when the server went down, and regret I don't have time to respond to some comments in earlier posts, but I'll miss my bus if I don't get the heck out of here. Please excuse poor grammar, spelling errors and incorrect syntax.
Oct. 27 - Sorry, MuNu went offline this morning while I was writing this post, but in truth I needed sleep more than I needed to post (selfish, I know.) It was a very rough night at work, so going to bed early might have been for the good.
I haven't focused on the vandalism and intimidation that has becoming a worrisome part of this campaign but now I read that someone tried to run down Rep. Katharine Harris with his car before swerving away at the last moment.
It would seem Bush supporters are safer in Canada than in the USA!
Oct. 26 - [Update: The Third ID was at the facility a week before the 101st. Scroll down for more.]
An NBC crew embedded with the 101st Airborne Division accompanied the soldiers to the Al Qaqaa weapon storage facility on April 10, 2003, and found the powerful explosives already gone. (Note that the fall of Baghdad occurred April 9, 2003.)
The last IAEA verification that the material was at the facility was in January, 2003.
Aside: Joe Lockhart, Kerry's senior advisor, is an ass. After the story went Pop! there was a somewhat petulant exchange:
"John Kerry's attacks today were baseless," Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said. "He said American troops did not secure the explosives, when the explosives were already missing."I think CNN got the last word here:
Schmidt also said that Kerry "neglects to mention the 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that are either destroyed or in the process of being destroyed" in Iraq.
But Kerry senior adviser Joe Lockhart fired back with a statement of his own, accusing the Bush campaign of "distorting" the NBC News report.
"In a shameless attempt to cover up its failure to secure 380 tons of highly explosive material in Iraq, the White House is desperately flailing in an effort to escape blame," Lockhart said. "It is the latest pathetic excuse from an administration that never admits a mistake, no matter how disastrous."
Lockhart did not elaborate on how the Bush campaign was distorting the NBC report.
UNITED NATIONS - Hundreds of tonnes of high explosives are missing and probably looted from a former Iraqi military facility, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday.I'm certain they'll update the story soon.
The Al Qaqaa facility, a large military installation located 45 kilometres south of Baghdad, has been under U.S. military control since the war, but has repeatedly been looted.
Some wonder whether the missing explosives are now being used in insurgent attacks against the forces of the U.S.-led coalition. (Bolding added)
10:58: The National Review has the transcript of the story from last night on NBC News:
Here's the MSNBC report of this story. (Update: It seems to have been expanded at my second viewing at 8:51 p.m.)
12:01: The CBC still hasn't updated the story, and the Toronto Star is carrying the original account, or yesterday's discredited news today. I almost feel sorry for them, they're having such fun over an already discredited story.
By the way, today's account in the NY Times is Iraq Explosives Become Issue in Campaign. Yep, you might say that.
Wretchard ties in the removal of the explosives some time between January and April, 2003, with the "global test" so many promote:
Although it is both desirable and necessary to criticize the mistakes attendant to OIF, much of the really "criminal" neglect may be laid on the diplomatic failure which gave the wily enemy this invaluable opportunity. The price of passing the "Global Test" was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again.[I first posted this at 7:40 but am bumping it to the top.]
21:00: It appears the Third Infantry Division arrived at al Qa Qaa a week earlier on April 3, 2003 (google search here - you need a paid subscription to read old articles on The Straits Times.) I haven't seen anything on what explosives the Third ID found but this reprint of an AP story is extremely interesting:
Closer to Baghdad, troops at Iraq's largest military industrial complex found nerve agent antidotes, documents describing chemical warfare and a white powder that appeared to be used for explosives.(Drumbeat may be on hiatus, but the archives endure.)
U.N. weapons inspectors went repeatedly to the vast al Qa Qaa complex - most recently on March 8 - but found nothing during spot visits to some of the 1,100 buildings at the site 25 miles south of Baghdad.
Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said troops found thousands of 2-inch by 5-inch boxes, each containing three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.
A senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the powder was believed to be explosives. The finding would be consistent with the plant's stated production capabilities in the field of basic raw materials for explosives and propellants.
Remember: in the first months of OIF, we were more concerned about stockpiles of chemical weapons.
The MSNBC has expanded their earlier article on this including the recollections of the embed who was with the 101st Airborne on April 10 which are that the 101st was only there 24 hours and didn't conduct a thorough search.
The Toronto Star reports on the NBC embed's recollections but that aspect has lost traction after the report that the 3rd ID had been there a week earlier.
CBS News' "60 Minutes" landed a major story last week: the disappearance in Iraq of a large cache of explosives supposed to be under guard by the U.S. military. But the network nevertheless found itself in the journalistically awkward position of playing catch-up when it wasn't able to get the piece on the air as soon as its reporting partner, the New York Times, which made the report its lead story Monday.A number of questions are being raised by this story, the biggest of which has to be if the "insurgents" have those weapons, why haven't they used them? The other should be why didn't the U.N. destroy those explosives but we already know they chose to let Saddam keep them for "construction" uses.
Tangentially, Roger L. Simon urging that the possibility that Mohammed El Baradei is the source of this story - and the timing - be explored further. If the UN is attempting to influence the US elections it is a major scandal, although after UNSCAM I guess I'm prepared to believe the worst.
CBS and the NY Times really should consider putting on their 'jamies occasionally and researching articles more fully. Unfortunately, I have to change out of mine and dash off to work.
No real surprises, but it's still gratifying!
Oct. 25 - The news that 50 unarmed Iraqi soldiers were waylaid and murdered is perhaps the grimmest in several acts of violence in Iraq yesterday which also saw the death of a U.S. diplomat, Edward Seitz, and has been more than adequately covered everywhere, but I wanted to bring attention to the death of a Bulgarian coalition soldier which may have been overlooked:
A Bulgarian soldier was killed and two others were injured in a car-bombing near Karbala, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry said. Karbala, a Shi'ite holy city south of Baghdad, had been quiet since U.S. troops routed Shi'ite militia there last spring.We don't often remember to thank the soldiers from other nations that are actively supporting the efforts in Iraq. My condolences to this man's family and hopes for a speedy recovery for the two injured soldiers.
11:56: 3 Australian diggers have been injured in the first ever attack on an Australian convoy:
The three-vehicle convoy, which protects Australia's diplomats, was hit when a bomber drove a car laden with explosives into it at about 8am Baghdad time, also killing several Iraqi civilians.What can one say about the valiant Australians? (Not enough, quite frankly.) Thank you, mates.
The attack happened 350m from the Australian embassy, which is outside the city's fortified Green Zone.
The convoy was believed to be on routine patrol or having returned from dropping off a diplomat. There were no diplomats with it at the time.
Defence Force spokesman Brigadier Mike Hannan said one of the soldiers was undergoing surgery last night for facial injuries, another was concussed and the third was treated for minor abrasions and released.
He said the injured were taken to a US medical facility and their families were being contacted.
The most arrogant aspect of the Kerry campaign has been his disregard for the real allies who are fighting and dying in Iraq in favour of promoting his phantom allies:
U.N. ambassadors from several nations are disputing assertions by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry that he met for hours with all members of the U.N. Security Council just a week before voting in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq.Kerry probably got the year wrong, having meant that they all chatted that Christmas they spent together in Cambodia.
An investigation by The Washington Times reveals that while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period to at least a few members of the panel, no such meeting, as described by Mr. Kerry on a number of occasions over the past year, ever occurred.
It's likely there will be a sustained campaign against American, Iraqi and coalition forces this coming week as the increase in violence is clearly intended to influence the U.S. elections, but it is my belief that knowing we are being manipulated will stiffen, not weaken, our spines.
Oct. 25 - For some reason I am getting a large number of google searches on the draft, and although I don't recollect writing about it, I'll address the subject briefly.
Only Congress can pass legislatation to enact conscription, aka compulsory military service aka the draft. It would be political suicide for them to do so, and if there's one thing we can assume about the majority of politicians it is that they don't self-destruct (at least on purpose!)
The President has gained a great deal of political capital on the tremendous successes of our volunteer army. He certainly won't request such legislation because he too is a politician and why tamper with success?
The successes of our volunteer army has proven decisively that men and women who want to perform a task are far more effective than people who begrudgingly perform a task. The troops don't want the draft either because their lives depend on their fellow soldiers.
Today's military is composed of highly trained professionals and a great deal of money over a period of years is spent in that training. It would be wasteful and non-productive to train draftees only to release them from service before they are even capable of being utilized as warriors.
The email campaign that says President Bush plans to reinstate the draft is based on a lie and intended to alarm people, not alert them.
Oct. 24 - By now I guess everyone has read Charlie Brooker's column in the Guardian which he concludes by expressing his hope that someone would assassinate President Bush (or maybe you only heard about it, as the Guardian server was overwhelmed and knocked off line for a few hours yesterday.) The column has been pulled, and a disclaimer posted in it's place that the column was meant to be humourous although the disclaimer concedes it was "flippant and tasteless."
Brooker is evidently being investigated by the Secret Service but so is Matt Drudge apparently for the way in which he publicized the column:
Citing federal statute 18 USC 879, Florida attorney John B. Thompson, called in the Secret Service Protective Intelligence Unit. "Please do whatever is necessary to punish the UK Guardian and to educate Matt Drudge on the meaning and scope of statute 18," Thompson wrote in a letter faxed to the SS on Saturday.To be honest, I don't know if I would have followed the link to yet another tiresome Guardian column had I not read the controversial quote and I sincerely hope that the citizens of Clark County, Ohio, also saw it in order to better judge thosee enlightened Britons who sought to influence the vote.
Thompson's letter indicates that not only was his complaint being taken seriously by the SS, but that it had already been tipped off about the Guardian story before receipt of his letter.
"I am relieved to find out that you were alerted to this danger last evening and are working on it."
Thompson's concern is that the combined circulations of the Guardian and Drudge Report manifest a siren call to whackos among the millions of readers reached by the publications.
Probably most of you don't really care what Rosie had to say in support of Sen. Kerry, but the heart of this story is that evidently voters in Ft. Lauderdale don't care either, as only a few dozen people turned out to hear her (story via Drudge Report.)
I'll give Rosie points for being much more articulate than Cher but she too flunked history:
Rosie said the Bush Administration's actions go "against the foundation of what our country was built on," giving example of Administration telling the "United Nations we would ignore their doctrine and their resolutions."The primary foundation upon which our country was build is a document called "Declaration of Independence," Rosie, in which we asserted our determination to establish consensual government in defiance of the conventional wisdom by which elites governed Europe.
The sad fact is that elites still govern much of Europe, and we are still in rebellion against them.
This was also disturbing:
At CLUB OVATION Rosie endorsed Kerry's assertion in debate that America needs to pass a "global test" before acting in the world.So Rosie must not have gotten the memo that, far from being the "best part," that assertion was the worst part and Kerry has been trying to work his way out of the logical inference that having a "test" would give other countries a veto over US foreign policy.
"The best part to me in the entire debate was when John Kerry said we have to pass a global test before we enter into a war...
Aren't Democrats even interested in what the test questions would be, much less who would administer and grade it? There is a global test, of sorts, already: what else can we call nearly routine U.N. Security Council and U.N. National Assembly motions which condemn Israel for her acts of self-defense but which fail to condemn those attacking her?
Stick to comedy, Rosie, unless you are more interested in being comedy these days.
Oct. 24 - Halliburton. That name has become a byword to invoke images of Evil Corporate America yet few actually know what it is and what function it performs.
I have come to learn one thing about Halliburton: When other agencies fled Iraq, Halliburton and its employees stayed and continued to perform their duties in the best tradition.
FoxNews looks at Halliburton's subsidiary KBR, which supplies food and supplies to US troops in Iraq, and calls those employees America's Unsung Heroes. It looks to me that the KBR employees have found a higher calling in Iraq other than the high pay, and it's time they were recognized and applauded.
Oct. 23 - Canadians will be able to see Stolen Honor (or, in Canadian, Stolen Honour) the film that has stirred so much controversy because it brings back some history that many of us want to forget.
As I mentioned before, I remember Kerry's testimony before the Senate, and it was so shocking that I was skeptical as to its veracity, anti-war though I was.
It can be viewed here: Stolen Honor (The Video Kerry Doesn't Want You to See).
I am about to watch it, which should satisfy those family members who have implored me to continue not supporting the Red Sox as my vital contribution to a Boston long overdue World Series victory.
21:20: Stolen Honor was compelling, so much so that the baseball fans here used the mute button in order to first hear and then watch the documentary. Roger Simon says
While viewing this movie, I imagine most of my generation find themselves reviewing themselves and their actions at the time rather than the film.That is certainly true, and some of the tears I shed were due to my guilt over my own indifference at the plight of PoWs, but there is also this: those of us who learned from our mistakes and regret our indifference to how our actions affected those who served in Vietnam have applied the lesson to the current conflict in Iraq.
When the prospect of the war in Iraq first loomed, I'm surely not the only person who thought long and hard about what we were asking of our military men and women and understood that, in return, the very least they should expect from me was to hold faith with them, to support them, and to be strong in the face of the anticipated pessimistic and alarmist reports filed by
peace war correspondents.
To bolster our resolve, we had already been through the harsh Afghan winter and that action was hailed as a quagmire right before victory.
I want to believe that the American people learned a critical lesson from Vietnam: breaking faith with those who serve is a heinous, unforgiveable crime. The test will be how we vote on November 3. If Kerry wins, then those men and women who have served will be within their rights to spit on us.
Oct. 23 - Cher issued dire warnings at a Florida disco about the era of repression that will destroy our freedoms if the president is reelected.
People in Florida still go to discos? Only a few hundred, in this case, but then they also went to see Cher which is another head-scratcher.
"There were supposed to be thousands of people here tonight. I'm not sure why that didn't happen, obviously the people putting on this thing were just not very good at it," an embarrassed Cher explained to the crowd.Didn't she have a farewell tour? These divas are like freaking stray cats - they just keep coming back and won't stay away.
"Alright, but you guys are here, that's right. When I was coming down the steps I though 'Oh s**t, well I'll just go out there and give it my best.'"You would be excused for thinking that she proceeded to sing, but you'd be underestimating the multi-talented entertainer.
Cher warned moveon.org clubgoers to fight Bush, before "it's too late":She's warning Move On "to fight Bush"? What does she think they've been doing these past four years? Yet Cher's ignorance of contemporary events, and especially Kerry's and Edwards' gay-baiting Mary Cheney, is matched only by her keen grasp of American history as demonstrated by her comparison of Kerry to Lincoln.
"All the gay guys, all my friends, all my gay friends, you guys you have got to vote, alright? Because it would only be a matter of time before you guys would be so screwed, I cannot tell you. Because, you know, the people, like, in the very right wing of this party, of these Republicans, the very very right wing, the Jerry Falwell element, if they get any more power, you guys are going to be living in some state by yourselves. So, I hate scare tactics, but I really believe that that's true."
"I think that as Bush will, if Bush gets elected, he will put in new Superior Court judges, and these guys are not going to want to see gay pride week."
Cher declared that Abraham Lincoln "looks like Kerry on a crappy day."
In 1864, Lincoln was the war candidate and George McClellan was the appeaser.
Lincoln was often cartooned as a simian, and McClellan was depicted as the war hero.
McClellan was the darling of the news papers which regarded Lincoln's awkward speech and gawkish appearance embarassing. (Even back then the news media fretted about European perceptions of Americans.) Lincoln was savaged in the newspapers in ways that made the treatment accorded to Bush seem gentle.
Lincoln's decisive victory was due in part to the votes of those soldiers that McClellan pompously assumed would vote for him. Yes, the very same soldiers who were actually fighting and dying in the war to preserve the Union supported the war and their president.
Did I mention that Lincoln won and McClellan lost?
Oct. 23 - Leader in today's Telegraph on the presidential election: If Bush loses, the winner won't be Kerry: it will be Zarqawi.
Charles Brooker, a writer for the Guardian, has gone off the deep end completely. After lamenting the failure to to influence voters in Clark County, Ohio, he seems to have accepted the inevitability of a Bush victory with less than grace:
On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us.[Oct. 24 - 22:35: The original column has been pulled and a "We was only fooling!" disclaimer put in its place, but the original column was preserved here. Well done, William!]
M'kay. They managed to sneak in a disproof of God, which I'm sure is very clever and all, and the fact that they don't like our president is certainly stop the presses news, but the closing line is beyond punditry and strays dangerously close to hate speech:
John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?Getting beyond the contemptible advocation of murder, I'm stopped cold by his assumption that the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were good things. (I'm not surprised he might consider the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life to have been good.)
And he wonders why Americans don't value the advice of Guardian readers.
(Guardian link via Drudge Report.)
Update: Shannon makes a good point:
What I find incredibly odd - er, refreshing - is that the article's author seems to buy into the whole Bush-was-wired-during-the-debates conspiracy (which, it must be said, my friends of the left also do not buy into), yet he seems to actually think Oswald killed Kennedy. Apparently, he hasn't seen JFK.
Oct. 22 -
American teens have spoken, and they want George W. Bush for president. Nearly 1.4 million teens voted in the nation's largest mock election, and the Republican incumbent wound up with 393 electoral votes and 55 percent of the total votes cast.OneVote Results also has breakdowns of the votes state by state.
Oct. 19 - In another world, journalists and other great thinkers of the day (heh!) would look at these three news items, Anti-Bush Canadians Put Gov't in Quandary, UK anti-Bush letters spark outrage (with more and better samples from the Guardian site here,) and Cherry among ten greatest Canadians?, and do the patented Arsenio Hall hmmm. They might even connect the dots between the first two and reach the conclusion that the last item is highly relevant to the first and second and, in fact, contradicts some assumptions about the first.
The Toronto Star front page item on Canadian great Don Cherry (I wish I could reproduce the page just to show how huge the headline was!) has Garth Woolsey bewailing the fact that Don made it to the top 10 list of Greatest Canadians.
The stereotypes are true: We really are a nation of shallow, narrow-minded, beer-swilling, puck-chasing hosers.Canada to Star: maybe votes for Don were a rejection of the stereotypical Canadian you are so anxious to promote.
Proud of it, too.
Confirmation comes in the high-collared, low-browed form of Don Cherry making the CBC's list of "The Ten Greatest Canadians" of all time, as voted upon by some 140,000 citizens of the Great White North.
Oh Canada, woe Canada, you have spoken. You have accorded Cherry a place in the pantheon, alongside Tommy Douglas, Sir John A. Macdonald, Terry Fox, Frederick Banting, Lester Pearson, Alexander Graham Bell, David Suzuki, Pierre Trudeau and Wayne Gretzky.
Don is an individualistic individual. He is refreshingly, heart-warmingly outspoken, and it isn't so much what he says (although it often is!) but the fact that he refuses to be gagged by the political correctness that has rendered political discourse in this country a vapid recitation of approved cliches which have little content but won't grab the attention of the Language Police.
His love for this country runs true and deep. He's no more a buffoon than the men who stormed Juno Beach, his support of the troops doesn't wait for the photo-op of a funeral, and he has given more good advice to Canadian kids on how to live and play with dignity and honour than all the Canadian government agencies and schools combined.
The article contends that mother won't let their kids watch Coach's Corner. That's b.s. Don consistently hammers home the need for sportsmanship as well as hockey skills. He's a sports parent's best friend.
The Yahoo article is only one of similar articles one finds everywhere which defends Canada's obsession with the USA with the usual lame excuse:
Measured by shared boundaries and trade, no foreign country has a larger stake in the U.S. presidential election than Canada. Its citizens, by an overwhelming margin, hope for President Bush (news - web sites)'s defeat, but its government — unsure of the Nov. 2 outcome — is trying to keep bilateral tensions from escalating.The only surprise here is that so many Canadians, albeit outnumbered, support President Bush! (I've confessed before that living in Toronto colours my perception of Canada and Canadians, and this is welcome proof of that. What would be the result if poll numbers from Quebec and the Toronto area removed?)
Many Canadians have intently followed the campaign, watching the TV debates and writing impassioned letters to newspapers. Two recent polls showed Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) favored by more than 2-to-1 across Canada; in French-speaking Quebec, Bush's support was only 11 percent.
The CNN and Guardian articles are pretty clear indications of how dimly Americans view outsiders meddling in our affairs. Take.The.Hint.
Canadians who are worried that events in the USA might impact Canada should look to their political leadership for solutions: that's why they hold office.
The primary issue for US voters remains national security. We were attacked several times during the 90's and our gentlemanly forebearance only convinced our enemies of our weakness culminating in the outrage of Sept. 11. (I can't believe I still find it necessary to remind people of that, but there it is.)
Due to an incredible series of strategic and personnel errors, the Democrats have found themselves saddled with a candidate who has a Sept. 10 mindset. Shame, shame on them.
I think that the candidates for Greatest Canadian preferred by the Toronto Star and the readers of the Guardian have Sept. 10th mindsets, and Don Cherry is a staunch Sept. 12th guy. I believe that of all the people on the Top 10 list, Don understands that the ideals of Canada must include unyielding opposition to terrorism and unceasing support of the spread of democracy.
If my assessment is right, Don made that list because others recognize that he represents a powerful symbol for those who know that readers of the Toronto Star and Guardian must stop yearning for Sept. 10 and accept Sept. 12 realities if we are to face the future.
Oct. 15 - Count me in! I've already voted and I have a delete button in my mail box ...
Oct. 14 - I was unable to see the debate last night (work) but it wouldn't have altered my vote anyway. The transcript is here.
Oct. 12 - One of the biggest lies being promoted by Sen. Kerry is that we were loved before 2000. Its corollary, that we had lots of support after Sept. 11, is equally false. [Commenter Paul points out that Kerry hasn't said we were universally loved which caused me to stop, think and realize that he is indeed correct. I got carried away with my own hyperbole.]
The issue is actually incredibly simple. Which is the better representation of a person's views: the one they say to your face, or the one they say behind your back? (If you need help with that one, stop reading right now because you're too nuanced and I'm probably going to piss you off.)
I received an email from a Canadian who moved to the UK in 1993. He made some extremely pertinent observations from the perspective of a Canadian who was often mistaken for an American. When he would identify himself as a Canadian, sometimes the assumption would be made that he hated Americans too and he would hear what he described as some pretty vile comments. Both he and I heard things that most Americans never heard before Operation Iraqi Freedom (remember that people up here assume I'm a Canadian until I set them straight.) In retrospect, I should have spoken out about it, but back then I didn't recognize the danger it represented so shrugged it off. After all, we were strong and could afford to be tolerant.
My kids have also heard far too many expressions of anti-Americanism up in this bastion of tolerance and diversity, and much of it came from teachers and university professors.
But this nonsense that we were universally loved before GWB became president and before Operation Iraqi Freedom is so false and so dangerous that it must be confronted.
I was not blogging (hadn't even hear of blogs) on Sept. 11, but does anyone else remember a women's forum held in Toronto within a week of Sept. 11 in which a speaker supported the attacks and everyone in the room applauded her? Does anyone else remember Judy Rebick's column on the main CBC web page which applauded the death and destruction of the attacks as America's due desserts? That freaking column stayed up for over six months after the attacks, and I was genuinely shocked at the large number of posts supporting her position.
What I remember as well about those days is how quickly the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and the TV news media used a lot of ink and air time to recount the errors of US foreign policy and express their hope that the American government would recognize its errors and rectify their approach to the world and the Mid-east (I had never read the Toronto Sun at that point, snob that I was, and am beholden to the person who showed me an editorial supporting the USA.)
Here in Canada, the war in Afghanistan was opposed bitterly by most of the media until Canadian troops were committed, and then they abruptly made an about face. (Principles are such fleeting concepts ...)
Do not tell waste your time lecturing Americans abroad about the sympathy we had after Sept. 11. It stemmed from two entirely different sources: our real friends were genuinely shocked and horrified, and our unfriends were delighted that we had been brought down a peg and irritated when, unchastised, we vowed to fight back. These sentiments were expressed to me until I set them straight as to my nationality. (In retrospect, I should have punched them in the jaw. Oh well.)
The grief was also caused by the large numbers of citizens from countries other than the USA who died in the attacks, including 25 Canadians.
On the first anniversary of Sept 11, the Canadian Prime Minister, then Jean Chretien, expressed his view that the USA had brought the attacks on itself.
I was here. I am a witness. Far too many Canadians hated us before Sept. 11, before NAFTA, and before Ronald Reagan. Even the rescue of American Embassy workers in Tehran is said to have been arranged by the CIA, and although the Canadian government did help, it was begrudgingly done.
Where is Amb. Ken Taylor today?
Have people actually forgotten the image of the "Ugly American" and how typical American tourists were portrayed as unmannered, wore loud shirts, couldn't speak the language but expected everyone to speak English, and complained when they couldn't find a McDonald's near by?
CanCon: Americans who supposedly came to Toronto in August with their skis and ask "Where's the snow?" and presumably thought everyone here lived in igloos (maybe that's why the tourist trade is suffering - an igloo shortage.)
I've lived here for 30 years and gritted my teeth for far too many of them, so don't waste my time with re-written history.
Of course there were Canadians who were genuinely friendly to the USA. Of course we aren't hated by everyone in every country, but the unfortunate fact is that we make far too many of the social democracies look bad because we are a thriving, active and industrious people who exude confidence and determination.
But made no mistake: the elites in Canada and Europe hate us virulently, and their media reflect that hatred. They always have and always will. They hide it when they want something, and bring it out, fully formed, when we're down.
And why? Because our standard of living and way of life shame them. Our technological advances, the fact that Americans are actually happy gives lie to all their deconstructionism and nihilism and what really angers them is that we don't care. That stubborn Yankee independence stands between them and world domination, and they don't like it.
And we have the finest military in the world. And make no mistake: we've used a lot of tax dollars for that military and thus have sacrificed to have it.
Thank about it. When a country's social democratic programs are bankrupting it, they resent countries that manage to thrive without a huge civil service to oversee those mountains of regulations that stifle economic growth and keep people on the dole. When a country has been paying off terrorists, it makes them look bad when another country chooses to fight back. When a country has pandered to its citizens' notions of entitlement, it's hard for them to persuade their citizens that those policies are not self-sustaining but so long as there is the possibility of channeling resentment away from the failures that produced it and towards a people, like us, that are flourishing because we renounced socialism, they have gained one more term to rule.
And make no mistake about Canada: the Liberal Party rules Canada, and are even referred to openly as the Ruling Party, whereas in the United States, we refer only to that party which holds a majority because the basis of our political tradition is the underlying principle that ultimate power rests with We, the People.
The dislike of Americans has been around ever since our country was conceived. Only 20 years ago, President Reagan was reviled and considered a threat to world peace. Have people actually forgotten that, after the Lockerbie bombing, only the British PM would allow us to fly over her air space when we retaliated against Libya (and forgotten the heat Dame Thatcher took for that in the British House of Commons?) [Commenter Jeff corrects me in that the strike against Libya was in retaliation for the disco bombing in Germany, and a quick Google confirmed that he is right.]
If we want the tired Old Europeans to love us again, it won't happen because they have never loved us. Now, we could be deemed more acceptable if we sink to their level, but at what cost? The cost of our ideals? Our individuality? Our self-esteem? Our beliefs in justice? Our prosperity?
Canadians have been arrested and tortured abroad and left to languish while the Canadian government applies "soft" diplomacy. Zahra Kazemi died in Iran, and Bill Sampson, who holds dual citizenship with the UK and Canada, was released by the Saudis due to American intervention as a favour to the UK. He now makes his home in the UK in recognition of the country which continued to fight for him (and which isn't Canada.)
Is that what Americans want? It would make some Canadians feel better about their own feckless foreign policy, but, again, at what cost?
It's all very nice for Sen. Kerry to promise to form a coalition, but when has he ever done so? He was in the Senate for 20 years and never once put together a coalition of his colleagues to get legislation he proposed passed.
He claims he joined others to get legislation passed. When you think about it, that's a very big danger sign.
Kerry is a joiner, not a leader. He is truly "unfit to command" not only because of his behaviour in the 70's but because of his failure in the Senate.
I was an anti-war activist in the 60's and 70's, and even I didn't believe his claims about US soldiers all being war criminals as he testified. Like many other of my generation, I knew men who were serving and had served in Vietnam. They were decent, honourable men (although they were boys when they left) and one effect of Kerry's testimony was that my opposition to the war was actually shaken, not strengthened. I knew he was exaggerating, but I was too damned stupid (and young) to recognize the full calumny of his testimony.
Note to Swift Boat Vets: Keep. It. Up.
Sen. Kerry talks about how our allies picked up a portion of the bill for Gulf War I. How much of the bill for the Kosovo campaigns have they picked up? (We're still in Kosovo, if you need a quagmire to oppose.) How about Macedonia, Liberia and Haiti (Parts 1 and 2)? How much of the bill for Somalia have they picked up?
Exactly what country pays the largest portion to maintain the U.N.? (and now that the UN Oil-for-Food program is defunct, they'll need more cash!)
The sad reality is that, should the U.N. decide to pick up the bill for Iraq, we would still have to give it to the U.N. in order for them to pay it back to the USA (less the fees the U.N. will charge as the middle-man.)
[I realize that all the pundits said "Irony was Dead" after Sept. 11, it's in the same file as the harsh Afghan winters, the cruelly hot Iraq summers, the thousands of US casualties we would sustain fighting house to house to take Baghdad, the fierce Arab street, the humanitarian crisis that would be created in Iraq, ad infinitum. Yes, it's a big file.]
Who pays to station troops in South Korea, and Germany? The Germans and South Koreans hate us but don't want us to leave because our troops represent income in the former case and the front line of defense in the latter. (By a strange coincidence, Sen. Kerry wants us to stay in Germany too. He hasn't offered a sound, military reason why we should stay, though.)
Of course, bashing the Germans is almost unkind. I wondered what those Germans who carried Bush=Hitler signs thought as openly neo-Nazis were elected to the German Parliament. They were so self-righteous that they failed to see the fascist danger in their own backyard.
What did Instapundit Glenn Reynolds say? Something like fascism is always supposed to be hovering over America, but it always lands in Europe.
Anti-Americanism serves a lot of purposes, not the least of which is to divert citizens from observing the actions of their own governments. But the places that matter, as in being on the front lines, like Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, are electing leaders who are committed to fighting terrorism. What does that tell us?
More CanCon: did anyone else feel a moment of recognition when President Bush described national health care as "rationed" health care? It sent a chilll down my back.
the two-faced bastards our good allies.
We may never really know the content of the conversation when Chirac flew to meet with Presdident Bush shortly after Sept. 11, but I do remember that shortly afterwards, President Bush invoked the tradition of the Barbary Pirates in describing how we would fight back. I don't know if others got the point but I certainly did: we were not going to pay tribute, despite the best advice of our European friends, any more today than we did back in the early 1800's when they gave the same advice. (Yes, I know what the historical record actually says about us negotiating a better deal with the Pirates. So does the President; hence the word "tradition." Heck, I don't even know if Lt. Stephen Decatur really pulled out a pistol at the last moment and shot a cutlass-waving pirate to avoid being skewered. But I want to think he did, and it added some delicious flavour when I lived in Decatur county back in Georgia.)
Students of American history will also recall the infamous "XYZ Affair", which gave birth to the meme "Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute."
It is probable that few people outside the USA even know about those confrontations of our early years as a nation (I'm not touching the sad fact that probably a lot of Americans lack "historical perspective" as do much the MSM - main stream media, Dad) but I for one got the President's point loudly and clearly.
Bottom Line: We stood up to the the tribute-demanding pirates and didn't take the advice of European leaders back then. We had some colourful naval skirmishes. It is even credited with improving our Navy.
That's the tradition President Bush invoked, and those of us alert enough to make the connection understood immediately our strategy in the war on terror.
It wouldn't be over in a day. We would have to find them, harry them and keep them guessing as to where we would strike at them next. And it would take years, if not decades, to finish the job. And our European allies would think we were foolish to fight when we could just pay up and carry on about our business.
And you know what? We succeeded. The reign of the Barbary Pirates ended. We fought them all the way to the shores of Tripoli, folks. And where are they today? Languishing in the dust bin of history and of interest only to weird history lovers like me. Until now.
The history of the USA, from our first vow of "No taxation without representation" to today's dilemma of paying ransom is laden with examples of refusal to bribe our way out of difficulties. (Don't bother to point out times that we have violated that tenet; the point is what we've striven to achieve; whenever anyone reaches for the stars they often fall short but hey! try again. It doesn't hurt half as much as putting your tail between your legs and accepting defeat.)
I woke up this morning with two phrases running through my head. The first was a recollection when I first heard the "Yes, but" conditional sentence. It was "I'm not a racist, but ..." back in the early 60's. Funny how I had forgotten that. It was rightfully reviled back then by liberals. Today, that formulation is on most liberals' lips.
The other was something from a (good grief) Space: Above and Beyond episode:
Mean as hell
All the time
Rough and ready
In the mud
The terrorist attacks and the passengers and crew of Flight 93 taught us that we are all on the front line of this war, and we'd better think more like Marines than flower children. It may not be nice, but it is reality.
This rant has been brought to you coutesey of my BALLOT ARRIVING IN TODAY'S MAIL and I'm off to send it back, properly marked with a vote for our Cowboy President and our Kick-Ass Vice-President.
I voted for Nader in 2000 (it was a protest vote) and, in a strange way, my vote today is also a protest vote. I'm protesting stupidity, cynicism, cowardice, avarice, lies, delusions, hypocrisy, and most of all, appeasers of fascism.
Ain't life grand?
20:06: Holy cow, it seems I'm not the only ex-pat speaking up. After reading this account by playwright Carol Gould of her life in England(via Daimnation,) I'm ashamed that I let comparatively mild events in Toronto get to me.
Also, I should hasten to add that, as I live in Toronto, my face-to-face experiences and encounters with strident anti-Americanism are limited to Toronto. But as governments interact with governments, not people, the Canadian government is what the American government has to work with and the actions of the government of Canada hardly stands up in comparison to that of Australia, another Commonwealth nation.
Oct. 11 - The issue is supposedly whether the remarks are taken out of context (Bush campaign to base ad on Kerry terror quote) but I think that, once again, Kerry's attitude toward terrorism was revealed.
In the magazine article, a largely analytical cover story by Matt Bai, Kerry is asked "what it would take for Americans to feel safe again." ((Special Report: America Votes 2004)) (sic)Let's pause and remember that many people call for the decriminalization of prostitution. Now, I very much doubt that Sen. Kerry actually contemplates decriminalizing terrorist acts, but he does equate terrorism to a law enforcement issue. He can spin, but he can't hide.
''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' the article states as the Massachusetts senator's reply.
''As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''
The other question, of course, is how homicide bombers and those willing to shoot children in the back can ever be seen to be a "nuisance?" Unless, of course, he means that so long as only people in Africa, the Mid-East, Asia, South America and Europe are the victims of terrorism, we Americans can safely ignore it. And if Americans are killed abroad, well it happened far away so is just a one-day news item.
And what of bin Laden's declaration of war on the USA? Is it once again to be considered mere rhetoric? The events of Sept. 11 forced a different evaluation and rejection of that complacency, and however much Kerry would like us to return to the
delusional halycon days of the '90s, wishing something don't make it so.
Oct. 9 - First, an apology. I was originally AWOL due to a (slight) computer problem and sudden increase in work-related demands, but once the temporary problems ceased I found I had been overrun by a Demon Within - the snarly, slobbering, fanged and clawed variety.
Okay, that's overstating things a lot. The simpler explanation is that I was writing a post which was angry in a mean-spiriteded way but my attempts to edit it only made it worse and revealed some things inside that I needed to confront.
I was full of anger, spite and a near vicious attitude toward my fellow Torontonians, and it all came to head at work over coffee, or rather the lack of coffee. It's one of those small, inconsequential kerfuffles that would ordinarily be shrugged off but it became a source of fury for me, and because I knew I was over-reacting I also knew I needed to look within. What I found was a big hole where tolerance and understanding once dwelt.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that I take a certain amount of heat from co-workers because I am an American. The movie Farenheit 911 gave Bush haters some talking points (let's move quickly past the mentality of those who take their cues from Michael Moore!) and as I actually have a vote in the upcoming election and they don't, it infuriates them that I support the President.
So what does that have to do with coffee? Well, my co-workers want someone to organize and run a coffee pool, and for some reason She who is a Warmonger was also the only person they could think of to organize and run one. Simple persuasion didn't work, so they employed Shameless Flattery.
I know I'm overreaching, but that state of affairs in coffee does seem to have a certain parallel with the state of the world and what the international community expects from the USA.
Is Canada one of the 'allies' Kerry thinks he can bring on board? America, trust me when I say that you are better off without them so long as the mentality that rules Toronto also controls Parliament.
One of the questions in last night's debate was about the experiences of Americans abroad. Anyone who believes that President Bush's policies provoked anti-Americanism is living in a state of denial as to how deep anti-American sentiments ran long before the 2000 elections and September 11.
Vicious attacks on the USA and Americans were written even as the dust was still settling over the hole in Manhatten, and they ranged from "blood is on America's hands so payback is good" to "maybe this will cause Americans to reconsider their place in the world" (which was evidenced in the US press as "why do they hate us" columns and editorials.)
So I'm still trying to get the Demon of Resentment under control and I don't want to inflict that kind of negativity on anyone (or do I just want to keep it hidden from everyone?) but maybe the rest of the world needs to know that we Americans sometimes make up for our lack of nuance by keeping our mouths shut but that silence is not to be mistaken for compliance or acceptance of their judgement but rather a willingness to bide our time, have our election, and proceed from there.
Mark November 2 on your calendars. I predict that Americans will speak very loudly that day, and the world should indeed worry about the re-election of President Bush because he may be above settling old scores but I'm not guaranteeing that the rest of us can live up to his example.
I owe personal apologies to those who emailed me and to whom I haven't responded. It was hard to compose letters when I couldn't compose myself, but I am dedicating Thanksgiving Day to wading through the spam in my Inbox and responding.
I know I owe a more profound and lengthy apology for my unexplained absence (a simple post that I was taking a break should have been made) but it's taken nearly three days to get this out and I have to face the fact that I'm unlikely to be happy with the lengthier apology but writing one will only allow me to procrastinate posting a mea culpa.
And the Coffee Issue? I solved it in a good ol' American way: I bought a thermos and bring my own coffee to work.
Speaking of work, I'm on an afternoon shift and have to go. More later.
Update Oct. 10 - 15:57 Thank you all for your support and encouragement. As I said, I have to battle a mean-spiritedness that is creeping into me and try to remain focused on the issues.
On or around Sept. 12, 2001, it occurred to me that part of the reason the USA is subject to so many misconceptions and slanders might in part be due to the fact that many of us who live abroad have tended to shrug our shoulders rather than respond to the attacks both in the media and from people with whom we interact.
Americans who live in Canada can "pass" for Canadian, and thus hear more slurs on our country than US citizens in other countries who would often be immediately indentifiable by their accents. My usual response in the past was to inform them that I was an American, and the usual response of an attacker would be to change the subject (which meant dropping the attack.) I now wonder if I should have pressed a counter-attack (in a very polite way, of course) which would have provided more talking points post Sept. 11.
I have questioned wearers of Kerry buttons as to whether they are American citizens, and haven't encountered one who is.
But I wear my Bush-Cheney button proudly, and when confronted, I say brightly "I'm an American citizen" confident that this announcement explains everything. It does take people aback! They haven't quite figured out the implications of a Bush victory, especially the impact on an American electorate that will finally leave hanging chad memories in the past and stride forward with a firm mandate for the President.
Expect lots of wailing as ex-pats who waited for the last minute find themselves unable to vote (these wankers think the Pentagon should assist them? The connection with the US for private citzens abroad is through the State Department, which could provide new fodder for the ineptitude of that department but certainly doesn't reflect on the President.) Expect impatience and dismissal from those of us who maintained our status on the Voter's List.
Those who didn't value their voting rights sufficiently to maintain them may find they have temporarily lost them. Talk about your Basic Life Lessons ... Mom and Dad are proven right yet again.
Note to Tim G.: Good on you! I'd love to see a tally of ex-pat voters but I think we'll be grouped with military personnel as absentee ballots and, as I can't imagine being in finer company, I'll willingly forgo the chance to counter Democrat whines that President Bush has made the world more "uncomfortable" for Americans and be content with victory.
July 6 - Sen. John Kerry named Sen. Edwards to share the Democratic ticket this morning in what was probably another big mistake in his campaign.
Edwards shares some key Kerry's weaknesses: no executive experience and a voting record.
July 3 - I have already confessed my embarassment that Moore and Nader had the arrogance to speak about the recent elections up here, but it's actually worse than I thought.
According to a CBC item, Moore boosts Kerry, Moore deliberately released his latest movie up here in an attempt to influence the elections:
Moore also wanted his film released before the Canadian election, saying he hoped it would help convince Canadians not to vote for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.What a bastard. I freaking live here yet I tried to tread carefully out of respect for this country, but he brazenly waltzes up here with the express purpose of sabotaging the electoral process of a sovereign nation. And the stooopid media failed to notice they had been insulted.
That's right: insulted. Moore was worried the foolish Canadians might choose wrongly so hurried to intervene with his peculiar brand of propaganda. I don't know if there's any way to ascertain if he actually influenced the elections, but that's hardly the point. He tried, so where's the righteous indignation?
Oh, that's right. The caring and compassionate left gets a free ride on their numerous violations of decency.
But let's think it through for a fraction of a second. If it's allowable for one wing of American political thought to deliberately intervene in Canadian matters, why isn't it allowable for the other wing? You know, do that fair and balanced thingy we hear so much about?
Suppose, just suppose, that positions were reversed and Canada leaned to the right. A huge scandal and a decade of mismanagement combined to look as though the ruling party was about to be unseated and a Liberal Party voted in, and then some Americans came up here to influence the vote.
You don't even have to speculate as to the reaction (unless you live on Mars ...)
Sen. Kerry, funnily enough, is exhibiting some belated caution as far as Moore is concerned:
Kerry has reportedly not asked Moore to appear at any campaign events (during the Democratic primaries, the filmmaker supported retired general Wesley Clark). According to a campaign spokesperson, it's not known if Kerry has seen the movie yet.I wonder if Kerry is also keeping his distance from that other kiss-of-death, Al Gore.
(Link via Paul.)
July 2 - Ith has shattered my complacency: Just When You Think You've Heard Everything you find that you were wrong.
SEVERAL members of the US House of Representatives have requested the United Nations to send observers to monitor the November 2 US presidential election to avoid a contentious vote as in 2000, when the outcome was decided by Florida.Read the whole thing.
Joseph Crowley (D-NY-07)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07)
Danny Davis (D-IL-07)
Corrine Brown (D-FL-03)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-08)
Michael Honda (D-CA-15)
Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07)
Julia Carson (D-IN-07)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY-10)
Commenter Dex wins the door prize, by the way, for having correctly guessed that Corrine Brown was among those who made the request.
July 1 - First, Happy Canada Day to us up here in the Great White North. It's pretty warm in Toronto, and summer has officially begun. (Updated) Or, as Paul insists: Happy Dominion Day.
What is Canada Day? (I'm a bit jaundiced by the election results, so I'm letting this one go.)
I gave up watching the CBC coverage of Canada Day events when their military angle focused on tombstones. I get it, already. CBC doesn't think freedom is worth fighting and possibly dying for. Check.
In the news: Saddam was defiant during his court appearance. Lord knows he's watched enough CNN to know how to perform in court, so don't colour me surprised.
The internationalists are out in force whining that this trial will lack legitimacy. Let me see if I have this straight: those nations, some of which refused to oust Saddam in 1991, some of which harbour those who paid kickbacks to Saddam in order to profit in the UN Oil-for-Food program, many of which shipped expired medicines and hospital equipment that didn't work along with limousines, sports stadiums and plastic shredders, and most of which turned a blind eye to his crimes against his own people, and even those who acted within the U.N. to keep Saddam in power ... those people have the audacity to utter words like justice and legitimacy?
Why are they attempting to deprive Iraqis of their right to their day in court? Because they are anxious to give the International Criminal Court legitimacy, perhaps?
Sorry, International Community, but organizations and people gain respect by their deeds, not by their words. If you want to try a genocidal dictator, consider being aligned with those who stopped his evil regime and apprehended him.
Just a thought.
More to the point, who freaking cares what a bunch of wankers and self-appointed elitists think? We heard the same stuff from the same nations back around 225+ years ago; they were wrong then, and they are wrong now. (Kind of poor timing on their part, given the promixity of the Fourth of July, to cast doubt upon the capability of the Iraqi people to build a free and prosperous nation. I'm just saying ...)
Final thought on Saddam: Wolverines!!! (I just watched Laredo (a show I loved as a kid and which bears up well even today) on the Lonestar channel and William Smith was a regular on Laredo, and he was the eeevil Col. Strelnikov in Red Dawn. That's only three degrees of separation! Eat your heart out, Kevil Bacon.)
On a more sober note, it's not really a surprise that there would be more terrorist attacks on this day but it serves to remind us that freedom isn't free.
I don't have that much to say about the handover except Hurrah! As have many, I've been irritated beyond patience by the unending ominous pronouncements from CNN that every firefight in Fallujah "threatened the handover" because I felt every dead "insurgent" strengthened the ability of the incoming Iraqi government to organize elections and lead Iraq on a new path.
21:19: Spinkiller has an eloquent post over at The Shotgun Iraqis embrace their freedom... that is a must-read.
Peggy Noonan in today's Opinion Journal says
The early transfer of sovereignty to Iraq has hit everyone here, friend of the invasion and foe, as a brilliant stroke. Leaving early, and with such modesty--it was a pleasure to be here, let us know if there's anything we can do--tends to undermine charges of U.S. imperialism. President Bush is feeling triumphant--one can tell even from here--and the Western press is looking very irritable indeed. They don't like to be surprised, they don't like it when Mr. Bush scores one, and they don't like it when the troublemakers they've been so banking on to prove their point that Iraq was a fiasco don't even get a chance to stop the turnover.She then goes on to worry that, with successes under our belts, the American electorate will want to vote in Kerry to serve as an "emollient" just to feel there's a chance to return to "normalcy."
That expresses a fear many of us have, that having addressed one root cause of terrorism, i.e., the lack of human rights and opportunities for self-advancement in the Mideast, and having done so with loss of American lives, the temptation to run and hide will translate into a belief that having friends who won't watch our backs but will spout all the correct sentiments is more important than being right, and that could lead to a Kerry victory in November.
I live in one of those countries which have strained relations with the USA because of Sept. 11 and the Iraq War, and I can assure Americans of one thing: they want us to fail because it will make them look less inadequate, not because we are wrong.
For proof, read Saddam was defiant again, and note that CNN is acting as though this monster has any credibility or respectability.
Noonan asks what President Bush can do about it, and I suspect that it is a rhetorical question, because most of us have expressed the wish that the president would be more vigorous in reminding us why we are fighting terrorism and why Iraq was key to turning the Mid-east to a new course.
He faces stiff opposition (mostly with alphabet names like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, CBC, BBC, and the other ABC) but I'm convinced the American people themselves just need a bit of encouragement and bolstering.
Those who want to retreat have to ask themselves very seriously: what will you expect from the American President when the next terrorist attack occurs? Sadly, Pres. Clinton's response was to investigate fundamentalist Christians, which lead to the Waco disaster. Is that what we want?
Call me a warmonger, but I prefer the Republican president's track record to the Democrat's candidate.
June 23 - I've tried to play down the US election somewhat until the Canadian election is over, but Michael Moore hasn't shown similar restraint and has linked the two elections.
A post over at Belmont Club puts quite a hurting on Moore and his fellow progressives by looking at their real grievance against the U.S. President and those who support them (The Revolution Within the Revolution) and, by extension, the Conservative Party of Canada:
The particular venom with which the Liberals regard President Bush is at heart a reaction to what they perceive as a coup d'etat directed against the carefully constructed edifice of their historical achievements. To understand why the President and individuals like Paul Wolfowitz are described as "illegitimate", one should not, like the man who doesn't get the reference, look to the Florida chads or US Supreme Court decisions. Liberals are not talking about that kind of statutory legitimacy. Rather they are referring to what is perceived as a brazen attempt to negate the cultural equivalent of the Brezhnev doctrine, the idea that certain "progressive" modes of behavior, once attained, are irreversible. In this view, an entire set of attitudes, commonly referred to as "political correctness" and their institutional expressions, like the United Nations, have become part of a social contract, part of an unwritten constitution.I wish I could write like Wretchard but I can't, so read the whole thing. Just how progressive are Democrats when they can't progress beyond the "summer of the 90's?"
In the days following September 11, the Liberals watched aghast as America went to war -- when that had been abolished! -- against Muslims in the Third World, all but twitching away the hapless figures of France and the United Nations in the process. (Emphasis added.)
There are some serious threats to us, yet when we should be debating issues, we are dodging mud. Liberals and Democrats are shaming themselves during these elections and the voters should be outraged.
Read them all. I'm off to work.
June 22 - Ghost of a Flea caught something that did slip many of us by, an article in the Chicago Sun-Times that proves that those who are journalists should look a little harder at themselves before attacking (Flea: Hitler.)
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe and Canada, yet it seems to me that articles like the one in the Sun-Times would tend to encourage notions of an International Jewish Conspiracy, which I hardly think is the president's fault unless he is being accused of appointing too many people with Jewish surnames to his administration (and what the hell is that about, anyway? I recognize German surnames, but how does one know they are Jewish?) and if that's a criticism, it implies that those who object are anti-Semitic.
In plain English: since when do Americans judge a person's politics and motives by their surname or colour of their skin? Those who bandy words like neo-con and hint that it has Jewish roots are doing more harm to our country's ideals than the terrorists could possible achieve, or, if you prefer, are helping the terrorists achieve their aims, one of which is for the USA to stop supporting Israel.
It never escaped most of us that the war on terror would, by necessity, have to take on Arafat. That unprincipled scoundrel failed to take President Bush's Road Map seriously; this was not only anticipated but expected, but what Arafat didn't understand was that it was indeed his last chance to be relevant. Now he sits amid the rubble. Who says there is no justice?
The worst anyone can really say about President Bush is that he says what he means and means what he says. So they accuse him of failing to lie! Only a fool could think that a failure in leadership.
Who didn't understand that removing Saddam also removed a major financier of terrorism directed against Israelis? The Palestinians certainly understood it, and those who chose to duck that fact again reveal more about themselves and their anti-Semitism than than any laboured comparisons of President Bush to Hitler.
Who leaked information that the redacted portions of the 2002 report on terrorism covered up Saudi complicity? Was it by chance Democrats? So who is inciting hatred and suspicion?
And yet the staff of the Sept. 11 Commission has found no evidence that top Saudi officials have given money to al Qaeda (No Saudi Payment to Qaeda Is Found.)
The new account, based on 19 months of staff work, asserts flatly that there is "no evidence" that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials financed the group, which is led by Osama bin Laden.
In 2002, a joint Congressional committee was reported to have concluded the opposite in a classified study that was then the most extensive on the issue.This would be the report released last July of which portions were redeacted, leading many to speculate that it was done to cover up financial support by Saudi officials and the Royal family with al Qaeda.
Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat and co-chairman of the committee that issued the report, said at the time, "In my judgment there is compelling evidence that a foreign government provided direct support through officials and agents of that government to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers."
Although he did not name the Saudi government, those familiar with the committee's report at the time said it focused on Saudi Arabia.
With Saddam Hussein, we need to find documents, photos and commemorative coin to prove there were ties between Saddam and al Qaeda.
With the Saudis, we need only rumours and speculation to prove ties.
The latest report is based on a broader range of interviews and much greater access to classified documents than the Congressional report, people with knowledge of both operations said.I don't know the truth about Saudi complicity with al Qaeda. I'm willing to keep an open mind, however, until there is actually evidence as opposed to Democrat electioneering tactics.
In addition, members of the presidential commission traveled to Saudi Arabia twice in the inquiry, officials from Saudi Arabia and from the commission said.
Adel al-Jubeir, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, said the Sept. 11 commission's findings "vindicate what we have been saying all along — that Saudi officials, the Saudi government, the royal family, had no role in funding whatsoever."
The revised account was detailed in a staff report that also sought to correct what it described as other widespread misperceptions involving Al Qaeda.
With highly classified documents previously inaccessible to those outside the government, the commission's staff painted a picture of Al Qaeda that differs in other important ways from what have been widespread perceptions.
It said there was "no persuasive evidence" that Al Qaeda relied on the drug trade as an important source of revenue, or raised money by trafficking in diamonds in the chaotic nations of West Africa.
Mr. bin Laden has less personal wealth than has been widely believed, the report says. Though he is a member of a wealthy family and received about $1 million a year until he was cut off in 1994, Mr. bin Laden never received the $300 million inheritance that has become the stuff of folklore, the report said.
"Contrary to popular understanding, bin Laden did not fund al Qaeda through a personal fortune and a network of businesses," the report said. "Instead, Al Qaeda relied primarily on a fund-raising network developed over time."
It said that Mr. bin Laden himself was only a small contributor to Al Qaeda. But it said that the organization spent an estimated $30 million a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, with as much as $20 million going to the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which provided Al Qaeda with a haven.
The report said that Mr. bin Laden had first set his sights on attacks on the United States in 1992. But it casts doubt on the idea that he and his organization played any role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center or the thwarted 1995 plot in Manila to blow up a dozen American airliners.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to attack others over the things for which the attackers are guilty. We've seen it in spades this election cycle, wherein the Democrats are attacking the current administration for being unprepared for Sept. 11 and overlooking their eight years in office and feckless responses to attacks that took place on their watch.
A Democrat president would have been just as unprepared Sept. 11 as a Republican president, but the country would have had far less faith in a Democrat administration that had reduced the military than in a Republican one because the GOP has always been strong on defense (at least in recent history.)
Now we have a renewal of the Bush=Hitler theme, and it too disguises guilt: the liberal media continues to pretend that Arafat, Saddam and their fellow travellers are not fascists and tries to avert recognition of the truth by pretending that the US president is.
June 3, 2004I'm not bashing Canada here, because Sen. John F(reaking) Kerry has done something equally disgusting: his primarary Iranian supporter, Hassan Nemazee, is suing the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran for $10 million in damages a move which the SMCCDI regards as frivolous but could restrict their ability to keep the Democrats honest in their dealings with Iran.
To former prime minister Jean Chretien:
Like many Canadians, I recently learned of your coming visit to Iran as a representative of a Calgary-based oil company. It is reported that the purpose of your trip is to conclude a deal with the Iranian government on behalf of this firm.
I write to congratulate you.
Your failure to ensure justice was served in the case of my mother, Zahra Kazemi -- who was murdered by the Iranian regime while you were prime minister -- has apparently paid off: You are now most welcome in Tehran.
Last June, my mother was arrested without cause by agents of the Iranian government, who then beat and tortured her to death. No doubt, you remember the case and so are well-informed of the systematic violations of human rights that take place in Iran, as well as the circumstances that surround the killing of my mother.
And yet, knowing this, you are off to shake hands with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the executioners who less than a year ago had my mother murdered.
I can only thank you for doing this now, Mr. Chretien -- for you are demonstrating clearly what a charade Canada's fervent defence of human rights is. Despite your speeches about human rights when you were at the head of our government, you are now conferring your personal prestige on Iran's regime, and by extension its crimes against humanity.
Bravo, Mr. Chretien. I knew I could count on you to take the veil off your government's hypocrisy. The politics that you practice now show how your government favours "business as usual" before human rights. Congratulations.
Stephan Hachemi, Montreal.
Read the whole thing; it is disturbing and raises some questions that should be directed at Sen. Kerry.
Sen. Kerry has already indicated his willingness to treat with the mullahs of Iran, in a move which may be cynical (maybe it's all about the oil!!!!) or could be appeasement but which amounts to a flagrant dismissal of the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Small wonder US Old Media coverage of the Iranian elections and subsequent demonstrations received so little air time.
As Americans and Canadians, do we support tyrants or those who yearn for freedom? Are we appeasers of murderous despots or do we actually believe in those human rights we are so quick to claim to revere?
Those issues may not seem as urgent or important as bread-and-butter issues, but if we lose our freedom to work and raise our families without fear we will lose the true meaning of freedom.
Election campaign coverage has a way of obscuring issues by focusing on the sound bites instead of the substance of remarks, but President Reagan's death has reminded us that indeed there are pivotal events that can lead either to victory or become yet another missed opportunity.
Would I rather rejoice because millions of Iraqis are entering a new era of freedom or bewail the fact that the French are annoyed with us for ignoring their advice?
June 3 - The text of the President's speech yesterday to the graduates of the Air Force Academy is here.
Just as events in Europe determined the outcome of the Cold War, events in the Middle East will set the course of our current struggle. If that region is abandoned to dictators and terrorists, it will be a constant source of violence andd alarm, exporting killers of increasing destructive power to attack America and other free nations. If that region grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorist movement will lose its sponsors, lose its recruits, and lose the festering grievances that keep terrorists in business. The stakes of this struggle are high. The security and peace of our country are at stake, and success in this struggle is our only option.Those who believe Operation Iraqi Freedom is not connected to the War on Terror overlook the fact that there is one root cause of terrorism which we can address and help change, that being the repression and tyranny of Arab states which stifle the creative energy of millions of men and women who, like most of us, desire nothing more than to live, work and raise their families without fear and with hopes of a better tomorrow.
Lest we forget, the Iraqi people have also suffered from the bombs of Zarqawi and his associates as have our soldiers and civilian contractors, and our partnership with the Iraqi people has been forged in blood and perseverence.
Read the whole speech. There's been a lot of events in Iraq since the war first began, but the mission remains the same: Iraqi Freedom.
June 1 - Andrew Coyne: The Blog is back with a New!Improved!Look but the same, vintage Coyne dry humour and clarity that makes his blog such a joy to read are unchanged.
I found his piece titled "Adscam, the election and the Conservatives" wonderful mostly because he said what I've been fumbling to say for a long time and clarified something I've had a lot of trouble with up here.
Because it isn't just about the $100 million, nor is it restricted to a few rogue bureaucrats and their sleazy advertising-industry friends. It isn't even about corruption, at least as defined in the Criminal Code. Adscam, rather, is woven into the very fabric of Liberal Party dominance, a web of personal, political and even familial ties built up over the party's many years in power and connected at every point with public money. It is of a piece with the HRDC scandal, the gun registry fiasco, the regional development slush funds, the lot. That is why the Liberals, whether Martinite or Chretienite, are so deathly afraid of the whole business. Whatever its virtues as a scandal in its own right, Adscam is more significant as the entry point, the single loose strand from which one can begin to unravel the rest. I do not mean this only in an investigative sense. It is rather the opportunity it provides to focus public attention, adjust public expectations, and through them alter the structure of Canadian politics.Reform the civil service, get rid of the patronage rewards after elections, and try to make the government accountable to the people of Canada rather then the ruling Party. Check.
But it's this next bit that lends clarity to the muddle Canada has been in for the last little while, and perhaps even some clarity about our Old Europe allies:
For what is striking about the whole Adscam affair is how unsurprising it was, any of it, to anyone. Everyone knew what the Liberals were up to, and everyone knows there is much worse to come. And yet -- perhaps the Liberals' greatest achievement -- we had all grown accustomed to looking the other way, and having looked away the once, to congratulating ourselves on our sophistication. It was deeply shaming, and like all humiliated people, we learned to drown our shame in cynicism. After all, it wasn't as if there was anything we could do to change it. The Liberals were fixed in power, immovably, eternally. (Emphasis added)I had never thought of cynicism as shame-based, but it could explain a few things, including (by inference) some of the attitudes of the "Anyone But Bush" Democrats in the USA.
Read the whole thing.
May 30 - Both Canada and the USA face national elections soon. The March 11 bombing attack in Madrid and the impact it had on the national elections there produced a lot of theorizing and speculation and Wednesday, US Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller (ref. 'Clear and present danger') went public with their concerns about the potential for a terrorist attack in the USA given the upcoming US elections.
The inclusion of two Canadians, including the notorious Jdey, forces the thought that Canada may well be the target. (There will be a national election here June 28.)
Shortly after Sept. 11, I asked Mark what he thought the public response would be in Canada if there was a terrorist attack here. He replied that people would complain about gas prices (he's a dyed-in-the-wool cynic.)
Well, Canadians are already complaining about gas prices, so I raised the question again last night, and he responded that Canadians are finally "getting" it and would correctly aim their outrage at the terrorists even though Old Media would use the attack as another plank in their anti-American campaign.
The one thing Westerners (civilisationally, not regionally!) still have had difficulty grasping is that al Qaeda doesn't care which party rules a country: their aim is to destablize and terrify, period. How do I know that? Because al Qaeda told us so.
We also have trouble accepting what al Qaeda says at face value, even though their track record indicates that are stating the unvarnished truth.
That's why appeasement is as fruitless now as it has always been, why US withdrawal from Saudi military bases and the ending of UN sanctions on Iraq (remember bin Laden's justification for jihad against the US?) resulted in an increase of armed confrontation in Saudi Arabia and their open alignment with the Ba'athists in Iraq even though it was Saddam's corruption of the U.N. Oil-For-Food program that caused the deaths of Iraqi babies.
There is an additional complication: the full-blown, outright anti-Americanism led by the Toronto Star and CBC is bound to cause a reaction from Americans. The outpouring of American solidarity with Spain - then an ally - after the March 11 may not be matched if Canada - not an ally - is hit. The fact that Canada's military and security forces are already over-extended and the unfortunate circumstance that an idiot (Anne McClellan) is in charge of Canadian security puts the ruling Liberal Party in a bit of a briar patch: if PM Martin choses to use Opposition leader Stephen Harper's support of the US effort in Iraq as a weapon during the electoral campaign, he further exacerbates relations between the US and Canada but if a terrorist attack happens up here and he calls upon the US to help Canada, more than a few Americans will say "Call France."
It saddens me, but I'll be one of them, or at least I'll be conflicted. Is a docile Canadian citizenry worth the lives of America's sons and daughters? Or are Canadians less docile than they themselves have been led to believe?
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and it will be sadder this year than in years past. We've lost some outstanding men and women in Iraq and will lose more. We knew going in that the losses would deprive us of the kind of people that make our country strong and could only pray that their sacrifices would inspire others much as President Lincoln articulated in his Gettysburg Address: so "they not have died in vain."
It's hard to keep perspective up here in Toronto, and hard to remember that, despite it's pretensions, Toronto is not the Center of the Universe much less Canada.
But (and this may seem contradictory) there is a different Canadian that co-exists with that portrayed by the media. The hockey game last night is a case in point: Jerome Iginla scored a Gordie Howe hat trick: a goal, an assist, and a fight.
Is a country that cheers Canadians like Iginla truly passive? I don't think so. But then, it's not me that has to get it, it's Canadians themselves who could be on the brink of defining themselves in something in terms other than unlike Americans.
Meanwhile, the Zarqawis of the world are winning this war. And I can promise you one thing -- it's a lot more important than George W. Bush, John Kerry, anybody in Congress and the Media and any one single person. It's about civilization versus a death cult. Make a choice!RTWT.
More on the role of the media: this Glenn Reynolds post on some poll results which indicate dissatisfaction with Old Media is becoming more widespread, and Donald Sensing has Duelling Biases and some fed-up Marine Moms who I wouldn't want to tangle with.
May 19 - Given some recent postings about great literature, this look at the Orwell novel 1984 seemed appropriate.
In Mudville Gazette's post The New Goldstein and Your Two Minutes Hate, Greyhawk quotes the passage describing the Two Minute Hate, and puts it in a context many of us should have but didn't recognize.
I haven't read the book in years, and think maybe I need to dig it out for a re-read.
May 17 - No easy victory by Jack Kelly in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.
Kelly compares the 2004 election with the election of 1864. The Civil War had dragged itself out for 3 years and the North had not won a notable victory until Gettysburg.
Lincoln's re-election chances looked grim. 400,000 soldiers had died (a huge percentage from disease, however, hence the importance of the Sanitary Commission and Dorothea Dix) and there was an element in the opposition party that wanted an immediate end to the war and thus the dissolution of the Union and permitting slavery to continue.
[There will always be arguments as to how important the issue of slavery was in the war. I can only say that the opening shots of the war to end slavery happened in Kansas and that state had the highest number of re-enlistments throughout the Civil War. That isn't necessarily proof, but it is indicative.]
The comparison of the two elections had already manifested when Gen. Wesley Clark announced his candidacy and was hailed as another Gen. George McClellan. (Clark probably hated that not only because McClellan lost - badly - in part because the US Army supported Lincoln in overwhelming numbers, but also because McClellan had been fired because he had been unwilling to commit men to battle - Kosovo air campaign? - while calling repeatedly for more troops. Both men fretted on the sidelines while better, more able generals led the war effort.)
On May 4, about 150 of Iraq's most prominent Shiite religious leaders gathered in Baghdad to demand that Moktada al Sadr withdraw his militia from the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, stop storing weapons in mosques, and turn power back to the U.S.-supported Iraqi police.Well?
The meeting took place after several thousand Iraqis gathered outside the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf to protest against Sadr, and a mysterious group that calls itself the Thulfiqar Army, began murdering members of his militia.
"Several Shiite leaders acknowledged that they had delayed issuing their statement until there were clear signs that public opinion among Shiites had moved strongly against Mr. Sadr," wrote John Burns in The New York Times.
The Shiite clerics also called for "a rapid return to the American-led negotiations on Iraq's political future," Burns wrote.
Their renewed interest in negotiations may have been prompted by the appointment (and swift removal) of a former Republican Guard officer to head the Iraqi forces supporting the Marines in Fallujah. Whether blind luck or a product of a deliberate ploy, this served to remind the Shiites that they don't hold all the cards.
In any event, the U.S. strategy of patience and "talk talk, fight fight" seems to be working better than you'd gather from most of the news stories coming out of Iraq.
Abraham Lincoln made mistakes during the Civil War. But the cause was just, and he had the courage and steadfastness to see it through. Our cause in Iraq is just, and vitally important. President Bush has the courage to see it through. Do we?
(Via Right Wing News)
Apr. 27 - NY Times columnist David Brooks takes a look at D.C. in Looking Through Keyholes:
These are the crucial months in Iraq. The events in Najaf and Falluja will largely determine whether Iraq will move toward normalcy or slide into chaos.Damned freaking straight, Mr. Brooks.
So how is Washington responding during this pivotal time? Well, for about three weeks the political class was obsessed by Richard Clarke and the hearings of the 9/11 commission, and, therefore, events that occurred between 1992 and 2001. Najaf was exploding, and Condoleezza Rice had to spend the week preparing for testimony about what may or may not have taken place during the presidential transition.
This is crazy. This is like pausing during the second day of Gettysburg to debate the wisdom of the Missouri Compromise. We're in the midst of the pivotal battle of the Iraq war and le tout Washington decides not to let itself get distracted by the ephemera of current events.
Apr. 20 - Good summation of Sen. John Kerry's appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday at Free Will. Aaron also has some well-placed comments for some of Kerry's more astonishing obfuscations.
Apr. 19 - There were persistent rumours throughout last winter that a spring offensive would be launched against Syria, possibly in Lebanon. Many bloggers, including me, backed off when we suddenly realized that the rumours were probably true.
One of the older rumours asserted that WMD were hidden in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. My oldest complains that we Americans communicate as much by what we don't say as by what we do say; for example, I interpreted the president's joke about searching his office for WMD as saying Yes, we are still looking for them. I also interpret the fact that the administration has not said that there were no WMD in Iraq as asserting that intelligence still believes that they were there and the rumours and spin around WMD are a smokescreen to confuse the enemy.
Saddam's WMD weren't central to my support of the Iraq War; removing Saddam and Iraq's geographical position were. Nevertheless, finding them is a priority. The fact that Jordan hasn't released specifics about the chemicals that were to be used in the thwarted attack is suggestive but inconclusive and highly frustrating. Is the lack of specificity to hide intelligence or to produce rumours? Take your pick.
Despite the certainty stated by King Abdullah of Jordan that Assad was not involved in the thwarted terrorist attack, the firefights on the Syrian border with Iraq are extremely suggestive: either Assad isn't doing anything to stop them or he is passing information to both the Jordanians and the US.
I think it more likely he is trying to do both, but my view is skewed by the fact that I don't trust him.
Apr. 22 11:30 Further speculation that this could be connected to Saddam's missing WMD.
Indeed, it is virtually certain that Al-Qaim, Ramadi and Fallujah and the road network from Baghdad constitute a single "front" centered on Syria, whose principal axis is the Euphrates itself. Operations in Fallujah cannot be understood without putting it in the context of the wider area.Read the report on the front at al-Ramadi by Oliver North: Back in Iraq if you haven't already done so not only for a military analysis of what is happening there but also to restate what is a major strategy in Iraq: encouraging the people there to participate in their own nation building.
That practice is contrary to the politics of victimology. For all the modern psychobabble about "empowerment," our touchy-feely philosophers back away from actually allowing people true power over their lives. It's all very well to claim you feel my pain, but insulting when you're causing it.
The US media, with notable exceptions, continues bewail that the U.N. isn't going to take charge. The American people who follow the news, meanwhile, are watching the stymied independent U.N. investigation as well as the Senate investigation into the U.N. Oil for Food program and more questions about the viability of the UN are being raised.
[Aside: I noted that Glenn Reynolds has referred to it as UNScam.]
In the classic definition of conservative, those trying to preserve institutions and social attitudes despite their lack of relevance but strictly for preservation's sake are the conservatives. The U.N. is an excellent case in point, and the argument that it should be preserved "because we don't have anything better" is a classic conservative argument; a classic liberal response would be "let's build a better institution."
Do we need new definitions? Maybe liberal-conservative and conservative-liberals might fit the reality if not the emotional.
Sometimes I think the real war is between the Departments of State and Defense. Michael Ledeen has a brilliant essay in the Opinion Journal The Iranian Hand that notes revelations by the Italian intelligence agency
That the war being waged by Shiite militants throughout Iraq is not just a domestic "insurgency" has been documented by the Italian Military Intelligence Service (Sismi). In a report prepared before the current wave of violence, Sismi predicted "a simultaneous attack by Saddam loyalists" all over the country, along with a series of Shiite revolts.Ledeen is being rhetorical. We know how Foggy Bottom thinks: maintain the illusion of friendship and cooperation whatever the cost, including lives.
The Italians knew that these actions were not just part of an Iraqi civil war, nor a response to recent actions taken by the Coalition Provisional Authority against the forces of Sadr. According to Italian intelligence, the actions were used as a pretext by local leaders of the factions tied to an Iran-based ayatollah, Kazem al-Haeri, who was "guided in his political and strategic choices by ultraconservative Iranian ayatollahs in order to unleash a long planned general revolt." The strategic goal of this revolt, says Sismi, was "the establishment of an Islamic government of Khomeinist inspiration." The Italian intelligence agency noted that "the presence of Iranian agents of influence and military instructors has been reported for some time." Our own government will not say as much publicly, but Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, have recently spoken of "unhelpful actions" by Iran (and Syria).
The editor of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah recently wrote a front-page editorial saying that Hezbollah and Hamas were working with Sadr, "backed by the ruling religious fundamentalists in Tehran and the nationalist Baathists in Damascus." No classified information was required for that claim, since Sadr himself has publicly proclaimed that his militia is the fighting arm of both Hezbollah and Hamas. Nonetheless, the State Department still doesn't believe--or won't admit publicly--that there's a connection between Sadr's uprising and Iran's mullahs. Just last week, State's deputy spokesman, Adam Ereli, told reporters that "We've seen reports of Iranian involvement, collusion, provocation, coordination, etc., etc. But I think there's a dearth of hard facts to back these things up."
One wonders what Foggy Bottom's analysts make of Sadr's recent visit to Iran, when he met with Hashemi Rafsanjani (the No. 2 power in the regime), Murtadha Radha'i (head of intelligence for the Revolutionary Guards) and Brig. Gen. Qassim Suleimani (the al-Quds Army commander in charge of Iraqi affairs). And what might they say about the fact that much of Sadr's funding comes straight from Ayatollah al-Haeri, one of the closest allies of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?
Above all, they [the American people] 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.)Fortunately, we don't have to rely on the State Department for news out of Iran. Feminists in particular might take note of this story from The Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran which recounts the rescue of a woman who was taken into custody for "non-Islamic comformity."
The details of the evidence which led to the issuing of an arrest warrant for Muqtada al-Sadr in the murder of Abdul Majeed al-Khoei poses one glaring question: to what extent, if any, was Iran implicated in that murder? Al-Sadr has openly proclaimed his solidarity with Hezbollah and Hamas - based to the east and to the west of Iraq - and I think it more likely that his solidarity was a statement of fact rather than an attempt to form a coalition.
Mr. Armitage (and the State Department) might also read the open letter to Congress of March 11 before he pronounces Iran to be a democracy. As for Sen. Kerry's blunderous call to drop sanctions against Iran, he will probably try to flip-flop-flip on that too but certainly the pro-democracy forces in Iran won't be fooled.
I suspect that cleaning up State will be a post-election endeavour given Bush's victory, but the cost of allowing them to continue to set their own policies may turn out to be high indeed.
I include France in this because of a that French passports are missing: 10,000 in February (6,300 were stolen on Feb. 3 and 3,000 disappeared on Feb. 10.) The story also notes that
The Feb. 3 incident, the FBI said, also included the theft of 5,000 blank French driver's licenses, 10,000 blank car ownership certificates, 25 titres de voyages (Geneva Convention travel documents) and 1,000 international driver's licenses without any identification numbers.There are reasons other than terrorist-related to steal passports, of course, and the number of French passports missing is minor compared to Canada's 25,000 annual rate.
Relationship to Iran? Possibly none, or possibly another dot to the French-built nuclear facility.
Aside: Stealth posting is a pain. I don't have the time necessary to paintakingly link everything from past events much less draw definitive conclusions from current events.
But I doubt I really need to connect things for most readers and do it more to clarify my own thoughts.
Disclaimer over. And I am so far behind in my (ahem) real work.
Apr. 17 - Jonah Goldberg nailed much of the US media on CNN yesterday for not paying attention to the conflict of interest of Jamie Gorelick's membership on the Sept. 11 Commission given her construction of the wall that prevented intelligence and criminal divisions from sharing information as well as her connection to anti-terrorism efforts under the Clinton administration.
Linda Chavez Misplaced priorities . . . with walls keep the pressure on.
There were probably still people who believe that the commission is not an exercise of partisanship, but I fail to see how they can maintain that position after Ashcroft's testimony.
Those who wanted a blame game got it. Now what will they do?
21:43: Jamie Gorelick's conflict of interest is much more than reported thus far. Among other things, she is a partner in the lawfirm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering which is representing Prince Mohammed al-Faisal al-Saud who is connected to a financial agency which is being sued by Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism, which is a coaltion of 600 Sept. 11 families. Link from Alpha Patriot, who lists more conflicts here.
Apr. 17 - I've opined before that everyone rushing to claim persecution whenever someone is arrested has an inherent danger.
Tracking down and stopping terrorists is a priority. Period.
I'm happy to applaud successes, as in this one which Terence P. Jeffrey writes about in the Washington Times commentary Two who didn't get away.
But, and it's a major one, when the automatic response for every arrest is to scream "fascist totalitarian pigs" then those who should be at the forefront of making sure that innocent people are not victimized have reduced their credibility and when an innocent person is indeed victimized - and the odds are that will happen and, in fact, appears to have happened in the case of a chaplain stationed at Guantanamo - then we will have been so pre-conditioned by the hysteria of those groups that we could fail to pay proper attention when necessary.
We all know the fable of the little boy who cried Wolf!
Groups like the ACLU and Amnesty International have a responsibility, and if they won't be responsible they must be replaced by more sober people who are more interested in justice than political opportunism.
Knee-jerk reactions in war time is unacceptable.
Apr. 14 - The transcript of last night's press conference is available at ABCNEWS.com : Transcript: Bush News Conference Q & A.
Apr. 14 - Sometimes I wonder if people actually understand the function of propaganda or even recognize it when they see it.
It seems a lot of people in Hollywood do: Liberals putting politics on film:
Meanwhile, the trend among some filmmakers to peddle their agendas and slam political opponents has become so pronounced that an industry name has emerged for it: "Documentaries as Swing Vote," according to a symposium at an independent film festival in North Carolina last week, which featured Mr. Moore, actor Harry Shearer and others.(Via Neale News.)
Mr. Moore intends to release a documentary called "Fahrenheit 9/11" — subtitled "The Temperature When Freedom Burns" — to theaters this fall, said "to contain explosive info about Bush," according to this week's Variety.
Apr. 1 - I have nothing substantive to contribute to the vital issues springing from Daisy-gate. I believe that Jean Kerr was the author of "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," yet even if my memory is proven correct, is the similarity between the surnames Kerr and Kerry coincidence, and if not, how might that uncover the sinister motives of this vast, daisy-chain conspiracy?
Indeed, America does want to know.
Apr. 2 15:07: Mystery solved.
Mar. 19 - Did Sen. Kerry really not understand that his boast of having contact with foreign leaders who have confided they want him to win would blow up in his face?
Guess Mahathir didn't like Pres. Bush stating outright that he didn't agree with those views.
Mar. 9 - Some interesting links:
Ith firmly debunks those who, as "Families of Sept. 11," denounced the visuals of the devastation after the attack used by the Bush ads and guess what! There's a money trail straight back to the Kerrys. (And Glenn Reynolds has more links to the issue here.)
Kathy is tired of "-gate" being affixed to every scandal and links to an article that suggests the internal memos of the Democrats reveal the delays on approving judicial nominations were a deliberate obstruction of justice.
We cannot allow a singular quest for electoral victory to impede the more important quest for victory over terrorism, a victory that will enable the American people to feel fully secure again here at home, our soldiers to return from Iraq and the Iraqi people to enjoy the blessings of liberty which it is America's historic mission to advance and defend.Andrea Harris is sick of the pretzel language we're stuck with and asks "Is it just me, or does the new habit of using the words "female" and "male" where the words "man" or "woman" used to be used grate on the ears of others than myself?"
As important as our party's victory is for each of us, it is not more important than a victory against terrorism for all of us.
Mar. 8 - Peter Worthington cuts to the heart of the matter amidst the recent uproar over revelations by Abdurahman Khadr that indeed the Khadr family did knowingly and joyfully provide support - including from money provided by the Canadian government and citizens - to al Qaeda, and that he himself rejected Al Qaeda and worked with the CIA to infiltrate and expose al Qaeda in Bosnia.
For a profession that claims to have a monopoly on truth, the media hasn't been very happy with it. Maybe they just fail to understand the truth about truth: for you shall know the truth, and the Truth must set him free:
We should be treating this guy as a patriot -- someone who risked his life to do the right thing. Instead, he's viewed as a traitor or pariah -- certainly by his family.The point Worthington makes can be extended to the Canadian media as well. Which is the worse sin: collaborating with the CIA to bring al Qaeda down, or being involved with al Qaeda? Dollars to donuts, the thing that sticks in much of the Canadian media craw most is Abdurahman Khadr's association with the CIA because their hatred for the US is so implacable that they can no longer look at and analyze events but merely react with excess emotion and fury.
There was a shift in the Canadian media and politics after Sept. 11. Usually subtle anti-Americanism leapt from media heads fully grown and ready for the kill. There was just one problem: we didn't wallow in wondering why they hate us and that was, for outlets like the CBC and Toronto Star, more damning than the actual state of war we found ourselves in, and our decision to fight back was seen as a bigger outrage than the terrorist attacks themselves.
There was a counter-reaction as well. Some of the media recognized the global threat of terrorism and the threat from within that knee-jerk anti-Americanism enabled, and they along with many Canadians became more vocal in their support of the US-led fight on terrorism.
Has the US polarized world opinion? No, the reactions of the world to what has been set in motion has done the polarizing. Those of us from the 60's who left the 60's behind recognize the make the victim the criminal ploy quite clearly because familiarity makes it easier to discern.
The Canadian government in the person of Jean Chretien responded with - silence. Eventually, many Canadians looked south for leadership and found it in the person of President George W. Bush. That infuriated much of the media, but their anger should have targeted the Canadian government's silence rather than the man who filled the vacuum as a leader who voiced hope and confidence.
The Canadian people were deprived of Canadian leadership, and the fault should not be laid at the feet of GWB but on the feckless Liberal Party which refused to lead.
The Canadian media ignored the 2002 attack in Bali just as much as their counterparts in the US. That indifference was a major red flag for those of us who were already critical of the media because they were ignoring a blatant attack on a Commonwealth country - which should have had resonance in Canada - as well as a firm ally of the US.
Why would they ignore it? It should have been a major story, but was treated with less attention than the DC sniper and later with the Laci Peterson and Martha Stewart cases (as well as the Winona Ryder case, the Robert Blake case, the Michael Jackson case, the Super Bowl half-time Wardrobe Malfunction, and well, you get the idea.)
CNN often leads a story off with the phrase "Most Americans are unaware that . . ." and I yell with frustration because, if indeed most Americans are unaware of something, it's because the news media doesn't inform us! How can it be our fault if those we trust to inform us chose not to do so? The answer is that we no longer trust them, and the joke is that they don't realize it.
Enter the blogs. The number of blogs grows daily, and more and more people are accessing the internet for news across their nations and around the world. One thing all sides agree on is that their distrust of the big news media is absolute.
The quest for truth is as old as curiosity. As Captain John Sheridan said, You can't kill the truth; well, you can, but it always comes back to haunt you. Eason Jordan and CNN killed the truth in Iraq before the war, and nobody has forgotten or forgiven that. And that's the one we know about - what about the others?
Today's Globe and Mail has a column by Lysiane Gagnon that unwittingly exemplifies why Canada is an uncertain ally but Canadians aren't. She says in Canadians relate to Democrats:
I'm sure most Canadians will be rooting for John F. Kerry during the tough fight he will have with George W. Bush. The latter is especially hated for his foolish war in Iraq, but even in a time of peace, Canadians feel more at ease with the Democrats for the obvious reason that in Canada, the political spectrum is much further to the left. (Emphasis added)The opening assumption in this column is quite wild, and her expressed hope that Canadians will be rooting for Kerry is based on an unstated truth: the recent primary returns marked one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent US primary history. Democrats stayed home rather than vote for any of the candidates, and she has persuaded herself that Canadians are like American Democrats? The uncomfortable and unstated truth in this assertion is that Canadians also have been staying away from the polls, perhaps because Canadians, like Democrats, don't perceive that there has been a positive alternative to the status quo in past elections.
That Gagnon employed emotion-laden terms like hatred and foolish is not evidence of journalism but of unadulterated and vicious propaganda, yet an observer would wonder why she indulges in this so openly. If everyone in Canada agrees with her assessment, why beat it into the ground?
The Liberal government of Canada is staggering under non-stop revelations of mis-spending at best and corruption at worst and what is supposed to be the focus of Canadians? The US presidential elections.
That tactic has a lot of names: red herring, politics by distraction, carpet bagging. This tactic has worked well in recent times, but that was before the recent Auditor-General's report that showed the Adscam crisis was worse than anticipated and that spending by government appointees is so carefree because the Canadian tax-payers who foot this extravagance are helpless to stop it. This tactic also worked better before the accusations against the Khadr family were proven to be correct. What's a poor columnist to do?
When in trouble, attack. It doesn't have to be on any real issues, just write so as to hopefully make Canadians smile and remember how superior they are. But as with many tactics, over-use has its limitations, and this one may finally have met its expiration date.
How Canadians respond to these scandals whenever the much-anticipated election is called will be very telling and establish if Canada is truly a sovereign nation or composed of citizens who can't bear the inadequacies and corruption of their own government but, rather than confront it, flee the reality of the Canadian political landscape to immerse themselves in American politics which is one are in which they full of opinions but have no power. Yet by choosing to escape the horror that is Ottawa, don't they sidestep their own complicity in allowing it to continue unchallenged and unabated? How does that square with sovereignty?
I suspect the anti-American card will be played both subtly and flagrantly in the upcoming election. The Conservative Party will be portrayed as one pandering to American interests and the Liberal and NDP Parties as those bravely and courageously standing against the dreaded Americans and the sub-text will be Hey, so the Liberals are liars and thieves! But they stand between us and being Americanized.
How does that square with choosing the government that will best deal with Canadian issues? It doesn't, of course.
At the same time there will be accusations that the Americans aren't paying attention to the election up here whilst never conceding that, because it's an internal Canadian matter, Americans believe it would be rude to get overly involved in the domestic matters of a friendly sovereign nation.
In my angrier moments up here, I have wished that the American media would take the gloves off and attack things Canadian as viciously as Canadian publications attack the US generally and GWB specifically. I wish that Canadians would be treated to the same appalling, personal attacks on Paul Martin as I suffer when the media attacks my president.
I desist, however, because I've lived here too long to know the Cult of Canadian Victimology. Far too many wouldn't recognize that the same tactics are being turned back on them but would wail and bemoan how Americans Don't Respect Them. The capacity for self-delusion in the Canadian media is a bottomless pit of wallowing in shallow sentiment and perpetual indignation yet never addresses the primary question: why should Americans respect Canada?
The answer to what Canadians believe about their strength and future will be revealed whenever the new Canadian government is chosen. If the Liberals are returned to a majority government, it will be seen in part to be due to the success of fear-mongering and paranoia that somehow a Conservative majority can roll back social gains (which in itself indicates total ignorance of the limits of government) and the successful playing of the anti-American card. If they are turfed, then it will be due to the willingness of Canadians to demand more accountability and respect from their government.
The US and relations with the US shouldn't have any real impact of Canadian elections. No elected government up here is actually going to scrap NAFTA despite the rhetoric, and trade is a far more persuasive diplomatic tool than visits to the Crawford Ranch.
No, the real issues in a Canadian election will be completely Canadian, and the electorate here will be quite right if they manage to keep their candidates on topic.
Eleanor Roosevelt once commented that you can't be made to feel inferior without your cooperation. In the case of Canada, it is not cooperation so much as collusion: the media up here won't let go of the American card and focus on Canada exclusively in Canadian terms, but much of the electorate is tired of that tactic especially when they look at the extent to which government spending has gotten out of control due to the failure to admit that Canadians too are liable to be corrupted when the means present themselves.
The concentration of power in the Prime Minister's Office and exclusion of Parliament as the rightful wielder of that power is also a failure to realize that power corrupts and another concern for those who would reform the system. How directly will that issue be confronted?
The hard part is that no matter who or which party is in power, the promise to dismantle the patronage system deprives them of the means to secure power in that they have fewer rewards with which to offer those who support them.
In the Unites States, it took the assassination of a president - McKinley - to finally begin to reform the civil service and reform is still ongoing. What it will take in Canada is anyone's guess, but it is possible that Adscam is the final straw.
In short, if Canadians show some respect for themselves, Americans will reciprocate. If Canadians prefer a government proven to be corrupt, then there won't be a lot of stated and printed ridicule (excluding that from bloggers) but the general consensus south of the border is that Canadians are hopeless - in both senses of that word.
The Canadian media, of course, faces another daunting task when GWB wins: how to reconcile how they can hate the president so viciously without coming out and admitting the truth: they hate America. Of course they hope Kerry wins - that hope is born out of desperation because they have been backing themselves into a corner for 4 years and there is no escape unless the American electorate validates the views of the Canadian media. (Some might think it more relevant that the Canadian electorate validate the Canadian media, but that overlooks that what the media up here desires most is American approval.)
(As for what Canadians think of Bush: I don't care. I don't mean that in disrespectful terms but I am being honest: the future of Canada is in their hands, and the future of the US is in our hands. That's a weighty enough burden for both electorates should they chose to accept that responsibility.)
The reaction up here to the revelations of Abdurahman Khadr which revealed how deeply the Khadr family were involved in al Qaeda have failed to address the most critical flaw in some of the Canadian media: their defense of the Khadr family and the outcries over the "Toronto Teen" - another Khadr family member - imprisoned at Guantanamo were unabashedly set in the context of anti-Americanism, but now they are enraged that they were played for fools: yet whose fault is that? They failed a basic tenet of journalism, which is to pursue the truth rather than an agenda, and that the Khadr family should play on that weakness was predictable to anyone with an ounce of common sense.
So, in another unintentional context, Lysiane Gagnon is right: the one challenge that both Americans and Canadians must face is their capability to judge candidates on the sole basis of the issues.
I see in today's news that Pres. Chavez of Venezuela is also accusing us of being behind his troubles without acknowledging the possibility that they might be self-inflicted. He's playing the oil card too, and although there are probably many relieved to have yet another It's all about the oil issue to sink their teeth into, should events in Venezuela break into open civil war, will the UN asks us to go in and restore order in Venezuela?
The truth that sets us free is usually found within us. We must recognize that our desire to retreat to times and places of seeming comfort and security is delusional because those times and places never existed. We Americans were determined to ignore the truth as was evident in our non-reactions to the first bombing of the WTC, the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the thwarted millennium attacks, and the successful attack on the USS Cole. Those who chose to blame the Clinton administration are overlooking our own complicity because we didn't make it a campaign issue in 2000.
Those who chose to blame the Bush administration for not rallying Old Europe and Canada to our cause in Iraq are also delusional: those nations were opposed to regime change, and ridding Iraq of Saddam could only be accomplished with a coalition that shared that goal. In what possible way were we weakened by not having uncertain allies? If your ally isn't going to watch your back, you are much better off leaving him at home. That's a truth that anyone who plays computer RPGs (role playing games) knows (along with an excellent appreciation for building up one's hit points and having a diversity of weapons for use in different situations and against different enemies) and that means that our kids understand the basics of military strategy better than many of us.
Sometimes we play Risk and sometimes we play Diplomacy, but playing Diplomacy with proven enemies and without the willingness to use the military option usually results long, fruitless talks (unless you can bribe your enemies outright, but any agreement under those circumstances lasts only until the money runs out.)
Yet things change, and usually these changes are not heralded with major announcements but by attention to events. A critical observer would notice that French and American soldiers are co-operating in Haiti and Canadians will soon join them as will Brazilian and Chilean troops.
The French and Canadians outflanked Sen. Kerry and Corinne Brown! Even more: Canada is sending more soldiers to Haiti than she can actually afford! Whatever bought about this remarkable change?
[Note: For some reason I had written Maxine Waters. I don't know why, but I recognized my error while washing the dishes. The mind is a strange place.]
It's all about Iraq. It's all about the realization by the nations of the world that stability isn't necessarily a good thing, and that if they want to participate in the events that will change the world they have to be part of it rather than sniping from the sidelines.
I can't think of a single more impressive validation of the Bush Doctrine other than the disarmament of Libya, and those who would be critical viewers of the changing world we live in need to take a step back and recognize that the map has changed and there are new ideas and strategies that we barely recognize as yet.
Canada's role in this is revealed is another editorial in today's Globe and Mail, this one by David Malone purportedly about Kofi Annan but which takes the usual swipes at the US without more than a token admission of how Canada figured in the outcome:
While successes were registered in Cambodia, Mozambique and El Salvador, the UN's attempts to implement peace-enforcement decisions by the Security Council stumbled badly in Somalia and Bosnia, contributing to the shocking 1995 civilian massacre at Srebrenica, and to reluctance by key member states (mainly the Americans) to reinforce General Romeo Dallaire's beleaguered peacekeeping mission in Rwanda in 1994.And what was Canada's responsibility? Gen. Dallaire is a Canadian, and Ottawa ignored him, and that is the fault of the US how? Had the events in Rwanda persuaded the Canadian government that they needed to improve the military and thus peacekeeping capacity of this country I could excuse them, but they didn't and rely upon those like Malone to shield them from their own culpability.
Blame for international inaction at the time of the Rwanda genocide is widely shared, particularly within the Security Council. Ottawa offered the bare minimum of support to Gen. Dallaire; former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who breezily apologized, never appeared alarmed by his own responsibility in failing to prevent the genocide. By contrast, Mr. Annan commissioned an in-depth inquiry into the UN's role (with which the United States failed to co-operate) accepting personal responsibility for the UN's sorry record (although then-U.S. ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright's responsibility was surely much greater.)
The self-proclaimed "international community" is composed of nations who are too enlightened to get their hands dirty by actually fighting, and from this elevated morality they want us to fight and possibly die? Don't blame us for having contempt for an attitude that is disgusting and contemptible. Old 60's phrases like "cannon-fodder" are being recycled with a twist: the transnationalists of the world still want us to be cannon-fodder but at their beck and call, although they have no claim other than their self-pronounced superiority.
This is the foreign relations policy that Sen. Kerry advocates: the UN does the pontificating, and we do the dying.
Look, how many times do you go out at dawn to boost your neighbour's car before you irritably suggest they ought to purchase a new battery?
We have a saying back home: put your money where your mouth is. Until Canada and other nations invest in their own militaries, the "international community" is a group of talkers who want to decide where American lives will be spent. This is wrong on so many levels that any American who is willing to face that truth should be outraged. They are playing us for fools, and our horror of the events of Sept. 11 and the resultant amnesia that horror produced must not be allowed to destroy our belated recognition of the threats that face us. If we refuse to take the hard but necessary steps to confront terrorism our so-called friends will come to our funeral but will secretly rejoice that we got our comeuppance.
The "international community" is not our friend: it is a parasitic entity that has thrived by ducking responsibility and hiding behind platitudes to make us expend our blood in the hope that it will weaken us and render us more vulnerable to the forces which threaten us.
They believe that once we fall, they will step into the breach. Fools! They are so caught up in their own self-importance and smugness that they won't see that we are all that stands between them and total ruin. Their ambition is no less self-serving than that of any other Evil Overlord and they too have minions who have been brainwashed into adoration and uncritical compliance.
The media in the US and Canada fawn over these elites to such an extent that we are forced to doubt their loyalty and independence, and they are so far behind actual events that we can be excused if we wonder at their intelligence.
Take the French: they have undergone some interesting shifts and are far more aware of the dangers in France from Islamic militants than they let on publicly. I still doubt that banning scarves from schools and public facilities will actually result in the assimilation of the Muslim population, but they have the right to try whatever they think will work and have at least acknowledged that they know they need to deal with the problem. Their greatest difficulty is going to be confronting the fact that racism is much more entrenched than they want to admit, and that unemployment among the Arab youth can only be dealt with if the unions loosen their grip. (The last problem in particular is why I doubt the banning of the scarves solely will achieve the desired result.)
The election of a conservative government in Greece is astonishing and may reveal a reaction in part to the changing landscape of the world post-Sept. 11 and post-Saddam Iraq. Another Socialist-led government has fallen, and the self-image of some Canadians that they are more European than American has suddenly been turned against them with some interesting implications. The political shift in Greece taken in concert with the declining fortunes of Gerhardt Shroeder in Germany may have indirectly proven Gagnon's assertion that Canadians are more like Americans that she may like!
A bit of advice to Gagnon: when you have one foot on one continent and the other foot on another continent, beware of continental drift. You are likely to land in the water.
There is one, main truth that must be stated with urgency and clarity:
Those who would challenge the Bush Doctrine must state alternatives rather than platitudes. Those who are still enmeshed in the blame games and conspiracy theories should, to be blunt, indulge their hobbies off the stage of serious discourse. The conflict in Iraq was a crucible: a new world view is forming right now, and those who can't intelligently and seriously look at the benefits and consequences are little more than distractions and have little to offer.
UPDATE: Looks as though I'm hardly the only one irritated at the external pressure to vote for Kerry. In response to this jaw-dropping announcement Kerry predicts character attacks, foreign support, this from Ranting Profs:
Except how the hell do we even know we're talking about leaders we want a president getting along with, or getting along better with . . . or feeling even slightly beholden to? When did it become even slightly appropriate for foreign leaders to express an opinion on an American election? Why should we believe they aren't evaluating the outcome from within the perspective of their interests -- and without knowing who they are we of course have no way of determining how well their and our interests intersect.Raymond Chretien, former Canadian Ambassador to the US, publicly expressed his preference for Al Gore in the 2000 election. It wasn't appropriate, but that didn't stop him, and it won't stop those like Mugabe, Castro, Arafat, Kim Jong Il, Assad, and the mullahs in Iran from hoping that a more easily manipulated and pliable president will replace Bush.
And at what point did it become appropriate for a candidate for office to have contact with foreign leaders? Doesn't Kerry realize the damage that can do? If he leads any foreign leader to believe that he'd be more sympathetic to their arguments and interests -- which clearly he's done -- how isn't that a signal to those countries to hold off any dealings with this administration in the hopes it will soon be sent packing and they'll be able to do better? And if that's the case, then why isn't Kerry now interfering with American foreign policy in a way that could potentially benefit him (by reducing the level of success this administration can chalk up between now and the elections since at least some leaders will be stonewalling hoping for a better deal)? No doubt some of that kind of stonewalling is likely with other governments during any election season -- should Kerry be explicitly encouraging it?(My bolding)
Mar. 6 - Murdoc in running a Catching bin Laden poll:
There's been a lot of talk about how we might know where Osama is and how there might be a big operation along the Pakistan border soon. There's also been a lot of talk about how the capture of OBL might be "managed" by the Bush administration for maximum political effect. I get the feeling that whenever he's caught, there's going to be a general outcry of "politicization".Exercise your franchise! Vote!
So I'm taking a poll to attempt to determine what the window is to capture OBL without appearing to have staged it. Vote. Tell your friends. Let's see what people think.
Mar. 5 - From today's Bleat:
So the ad is bad because it reminds us of those days. I know, I know - some things ought not be used for transient political advantages. For some, the the real issue isn't what Willie Horton did, it's pointing out that he did it. I know. But we need to be reminded. In an odd way, the attacks on New York and Washington were so harsh they cauterized the wound they caused. Or to switch metaphors - we were stabbed in the back, and that's not a scar you see when you face yourself in the mirror.
People forget. People must not forget.
People forgot the Cole the day after it happened. People forgot the embassy attacks - if they were aware of them at all - by nightfall. People shrugged at Desert Fox and the Tomahawk attack on empty Afghan camps. No one took it seriously until we were all sitting in a dark room at 1 AM staring at the TV, watching the crawl, wondering what was next, stunned and horrified and scared. Three moments: Bush's speech on the pile, the speech at the National Cathedral, and then the jaw-dropping State of the Union address, which was the moment when the national mood got off its knees and balled its fists and said that's not going to happen again.
Will Bush run ads that accuse the Democrats of fumbling the ball on al Qaeda in the Clinton years, and suggest that the last Democrat in the office seemed more concerned with slipping in some lap nooky before quitting time than killing bin Laden? No. Will Bush run ads that contrast John Kerry's sonorous litany about "the worst foreign policy" with pictures of women in Kabul throwing off the burqa or men in Iraq toppling a statue? I can only hope; it would be right on the money. We fought back - but they were not wars of retribution. We salted no fields. We entered their lands - but they were not wars of conquest and sublimation; we demanded no tribute. We could have nuked the place flat. History will note that when we left, we left them with a constitution, a hundred thousand roofs festooned with satellite dishes, a souk where people could speak their mind again and buy newspapers that criticized the nation that had made this freedom possible. (Bold added, italics in original.)
Mar. 5 - This contains some highlights of a speech British PM Blair recently delivered which I noted with more interest than a speech would normally engender perhaps due to this post at Instapundit about the lure of forgetfulness (the post has grown considerably since I read it early this morning. It's well worth checking out.)
One thing I noted as I watched CNN this morning: the early airing stated (I'm paraphrasing) that "the families of victims of Sept. 11 object to the ads; later in the morning I noted that the newscaster was saying "some families of victims" etc.
Mar. 2 - Mark Steyn examines Kerry and nuances, about which he says Kerry has got nuances coming out of his nuances:
... As the New York Times put it in its endorsement of the Senator: "What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances."Oh well, Kerry can always stand on his record. He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act under Clinton, but is against gay marriage. He voted against Gulf War I, but was for it. He voted for Gulf War II, but was against it. He has voted against military appropriations but supports the troops.
That may be the most lethal endorsement since Al Gore leapt on the Howard Dean bandwagon and sent it careering into the ravine. Just for the record, Kerry can take strong, clear positions. It's just that he tends to take both of them.
Now that Edwards has dropped out of the race, Kerry says he is ready to take on President Bush. If he approaches the campaign with much more nuance, though, we may be excused for deciding that his campaign planks are NUBAR - nuanced beyond all recognition.
Feb. 29 - Peter's not the only vet irritated with Kerry's continuous references to Vietnam and he expresses it well:
Yes, he had a decent record, but he wasn't Audie Murphy. (For those too young to remember, Murphy won every American valour decoration in WWII and became a movie actor, but never aspired to be president.)One drawback faced by US Senators when they run for national office is that their voting records are public record. Maybe that's why successful candidates are often former governors, who have the luxury of explaining how they would have voted! Party discipline in the US is rarely invoked, so Kerry has no convenient excuse for his voting record on defense spending or his approval of the various strong responses to Saddam's flouting of the terms of the 1991 ceasefire during the Bush and Clinton administrations.
While Bush calls himself a "war president" against terrorism and seeks to bring democracy to Iraq, what has that got to do with Vietnam? Why does Kerry keep raising Vietnam when he gracefully declined to make it an issue when Bill Clinton - a guy who ducked even the National Guard - was president?
I would argue that Kerry keeps Vietnam at the forefront of his campaign because it is just about all he's got. (Emphasis added.)
Usually senators who run for office proclaim they will stand on their records. Kerry, by relying on his military record rather than his voting record in the Senate, is not running a campaign, so much as indulging a trip down memory lane. And that trip, complete with his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, will re-awaken and infuriate more Vietnam vets and their families than Kerry may have counted on.
More importantly, Americans and the media should be asking "Dude, what you have you done for us lately?" If he is nominated, much less elected, on the basis of whatever he says in front of any given audience rather than his record in the Senate, then shame on us all.
I'm off to work, take care and be sure and read the NY Times article linked a few posts down and re-read Claudia Rosett's article in the Opinion Journal. Maybe some who gets numbers better than I can connect some dots?
It's about time, as reader Sammie notes, that big media outlets began to pay attention to this story. What alarms me most are the similarities in practice to the Adsam scandal.
UPDATE: Mark Steyn is blasting Kerry's voting record on military programs and expenditures - read The John Kerry Cancelled Weapons System of the Day and follow the links.
UPDATE: If you think I'm overstating Kerry's reliance on his past, read this NY Times op-ed by Kerry which talks about - you guessed it - his experiences in Vietnam. He ends the piece with what he felt in 1969. C'mon, John, the voters want more, like how you felt in 1970!
Feb. 27 - Sgt. Mom hits a nerve and she doesn't pull her punches.
In a remarkably short time, the whole war went down the memory hole until one morning I was sitting at breakfast in the kitchen of the Hilltop house, reading the newspaper, with page after page of pictures of frantic people. People cramming around the iron fence of the American Embassy in Saigon, reaching desperately through the bars, people standing shoulder to shoulder in tiny boats, barely afloat as they waited to be rescued, people trampling others to get into a departing aircraft, a straggling line of people going up a ladder to a rooftop, where a man handed them into a helicopter. Pictures of desperate people with bundles, carrying their children, of babies strapped two and three into the seats of aircraft evacuating them to safety, of helicopters being thrown off the deck of an aircraft carrier, to make room for three more, hovering just overhead and crammed with people who had trusted us, depended on us.I remember those scenes too; I think it was the first time I had doubts that that my opposition to the war and demand for a total, immediate withdrawal might have been short-sighted.
And I think these images are why I too would never consider voting for John Freakin' Kerry.
Feb. 27 - I'm glad someone else sees the inherent
hypocrisy irony: Enviros Commence Election-Year Attack
The Union of Concerned Scientists issued a widely covered report last week condemning the Bush administration for allegedly politicizing science on a number of controversial issues, ranging from global warming to HIV/AIDS to Iraq's nuclear weapons efforts.Rather strong language, but it is definitely Pot.Kettle.Black that environmental activists accuse the Bush administration of politicizing these issues.
It was quite an ironic charge coming from a self-described activist group whose left-wing, eco-extremist, anti-biotechnology, anti-chemical, anti-nuclear, anti-defense and anti-business screeds embody the very antithesis of the scientific ideal of objectivity.
Feb. 24 - Michael Ledeen on the The Great Iranian Election Fiasco:
The regime clearly intends to clamp down even harder in the immediate future. Hints of this were seen in the run-up to the election, when Internet sites and foreign broadcasts were jammed, the few remaining opposition newspapers shut down, and thousands of security forces poured into the major cities. One wonders whether any Western government is prepared to speak the truth about Iran, or whether they are so determined to arrive at make-believe deals - for terrorists that are never delivered, for promises to stop the nuclear program, that are broken within minutes of their announcement, or for help fighting terrorism while the regime does everything in its power to support the terrorists - that they will play along and pretend, as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has put it, that "Iran is a democracy."That last bit, the overtures by Sen. Kerry to the mullahs, is hardly in the spirit of the real JFK, John F. Kennedy.
For those interested in exposing hypocrisy, it is hard to find a better example than all those noble souls who denounced Operation Iraqi Freedom as a callous operation to gain control over Iraqi oil, but who remain silent as country after country, from Europe to Japan, appeases the Iranian tyrants precisely in order to win oil concessions.
Meanwhile, the only Western leader who consistently speaks the truth about Iran is President George W. Bush, and the phony intellectuals of the West continue to call him a fool and a fascist. Meanwhile, his most likely Democrat opponent, Senator John Kerry, sends an e-mail to Tehran Times, Iran's official English-language newspaper, promising that relations between the United States and Iran would improve enormously if Kerry were to be elected next November.
Many people, both domestically and internationally, put themselves out on a limb when they denounced action in Iraq and called for policies of negotiation and containment for Iran and North Korea. The Democrat primary season is already full of those who would rather talk with those who openly call for our destruction than take a strong, firm stance (backed up by the proven willingness to use force) and those candidates ignore the biggest problem with their position: that the suggested containment is for countries that have developed sophisticated work-arounds for trade sanctions, and the suggested negotiations are with countries that have consistently violated treaties.
A fascinating aspect of the nuclear arms trade uncovered since Libya chose to disarm voluntarily is the far-flung international network set up to disseminate nuclear weapons technology and the success with which these programs operated under the noses of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
I would like to see the remaining Democrat hopefuls address these issues and explain how trusting our defense and lives to their appeasement policies is safeguarding the future.
Feb. 23 - The fabricated firestorm over Ralph Nader's announcement that he will run in the upcoming presidential elections is a good example of the media creating a story where there is none. They are focusing on the effect of the Nader campaign in 2000 without providing the context of Sept. 11.
Did anyone in the USA wish fervently that Nader had won after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon?
There is also a gross deception: the pundits are ignoring the facts from the 2000 campaign by failing to recognize the splinter votes that went to the Libertarian and Reform Parties.
Third Party Unlikely to Field a Spoiler offers a bit of balance.
There have been important third parties in America's history. Ross Perot's Reform Party was the most successful in recent years, but the campaigns of Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party and the Socialist Party under Eugene V. Debs also had an impact in national elections. Furthermore, have members of the media totally forgotten the roots of both the Democrats and Republicans?
Actually, the Whigs aren't entirely gone or forgotten, although I'm not sure if Alexander Hamilton would consider the latest incarnation his true heirs.
Feb. 18 - Dean ends presidential campaign.
You think Sens. Kerry and Edwards are ducking phone calls from Gore? Maybe lighting incense and making burnt offerings to nudge the Nomination Deities to get Gore to endorse the other guy?
In short, discuss the issues. I don't really give a flip about what you did 30 years ago, unless it has bearing on your character and abilities today. I don't care if you have slept with every person of the opposite (or same, for that matter) sex you have ever met, provided you did not use lies or violate sworn oaths in so doing. Discuss the issues.Damned. Freaking. Straight.
Violate every tenet of modern politics and give me straightforward, simple, honest answers. I may not like all of them, and they may not play well with everyone. Deal with it. The job you want is to lead, not win a beauty contest. So show me you can do the job, and lead from the start. You may not win my vote, but you will win my respect. (Emphasis added)
Short, succinct, and dead on target.
Feb. 3 - It's hard to read (much less post) an article like this without wanting to take a few swipes of my own, but I'll just let it stand on its own merits: Canadians to Bush: Hope You Lose, Eh. (Hat tip to Nik, who sent the link with the subject line "More Maclean's BS.")
Feb. 1 - Steyn column up at the Chicago Sun-Times The Kerry biography: He's risen without trace in which he crunches some numbers:
But just to make it simple: The G-7 comprises the world's major industrial democracies. Aside from America, there are six other countries. Three -- the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan -- have troops in Iraq. Three -- France, Germany and Canada -- do not. So a majority of G-7 nations are members of this ''fraudulent coalition.'' Eleven of the 19 NATO members have contributed troops to the ''fraudulent coalition.'' Thirteen of the 25 members of the newly enlarged European Union have forces serving in the ''fraudulent coalition.''Considering that recent news from France has been continuing exposes of corruption and their intention to deal with growing anti-Semitism by outlawing thee wearing of conspicuous religious in schools, some of us are downright relieved the French aren't in the coalition and that relations between the two countries are strained.
So, when John Kerry pledges to rebuild America's international relationships, what he means is that he disagrees with the majority of G-7 governments, NATO governments, European governments and key regional players in Asia and the Pacific, as well as the people of Iraq.
On the other hand, Kerry's position has the support of a majority of the Arab League.
Can we say X, Y, Z Affair? Of course we can, and we all know how that turned out.
Jan. 31 - David Brooks op-ed in the NY Times which is so sad it's funny or the other way around (depending on one's affiliation) Electing the Electable:
... And lo and behold, Dean started saying some weird things.Wackiness ensues when the party of ideas becomes consumed with only one idea: Beat Bush. Even though this isn't a TV Guide description of this week's episode of Democrat Party Primaries, it well could be.
These weird things didn't really bother Democratic primary voters, but primary voters imagined they might bother general election swing voters. And since electability is all about Iowa and New Hampshire liberals trying to imagine what Palm Beach County, Fla., independents will want in a presidential candidate nine months from now, this created ripples of concern that Dean might not be so electable after all. The media picked up on the doubts, which created a downward unelectability spiral.
And, what do you know, Kerry won the Iowa caucuses, and from that moment on the election turned into a postmodernist literary critic's idea of heaven. It became an election about itself, with voters voting on the basis of who could win votes later on.
It's the tautology, stupid.
Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail column by Rex Murphy examines another facet of the single-mindedness of Bush-haters in Bush-haters, you're running out of esteem.
Jan. 31 - And the #1 reason I didn't get the fuss over the "kitten-eating reptile from another planet" crack published during the recent provincial election campaign is:
... then there were the linguistic dirty tricks of the 1950 U.S. Senate race in Florida. George Smathers criticized his opponent, Claude Pepper, because Pepper's sister, according to Smathers, was a "thespian." Not only that, Smathers said, Pepper's brother was "a practicing Homo sapiens." Further, Smathers charged that Pepper himself had gone to college and openly "matriculated."More shocking election hijinks stories related by Eric Burns here.
Smathers won the election.
Jan. 29 - John Kerry's Vietnam stance irks veterans.
Jan. 28 - I watched David Kay's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee and kept wondering if the US will ever be able to get away from the overwhelming politicization of each and every issue. Kay said WMD search showed intelligence weakness and pointed out that those failures began during the Carter Administration (echoing the president's Whitehall speech in that blame can be placed equally on both parties and over decades, not years.)
Kay pointed out (and I agree) that an inquiry might be useful, but a witchhunt wouldn't. I'm weary of the witchhunt mentality of the past 10 years which overshadowed the bombing of the WTC early in the last decade as well as the escalating terrorist attacks on US interests which, by our inability or unwillingness to respond, culminated on Sept. 11.
I've don't fault the Clinton administration so much for not responding to the attacks so much as I fault the leaders of both parties for being incapable of understanding which issues are fair partisan game and which aren't. There has got to be continued recognition that, when a national crisis occurs, responsibile leadership dictates that we drop the partisan games. It's hurting us that some still haven't reached that understanding.
The problem is that criticisms based on partisanship are too easily dismissed (which was similar to the findings of the Hutton Inquiry - see post below) and that problem, more than anything else, threatens our ability to properly assess and respond to events.
David Kay has pointed out that the strategies employed during the war indicate how strongly we believed in the existence and willingness of Saddam to use WMD on our troops and many of the criticisms being raised now about securing sites and offices fail to take that into account. That's something so glaringly obvious that I have to conclude that even those who criticize those failures know it to be so.
(UPDATE: The transcript of David Kay's opening statement to the committee is here. Note it doesn't include the questions and answers, unfortunately.)
During Sen. Kennedy's questions I found myself reflecting on the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as the Bay of Pigs mess and wondered if he had thought about those events lately. (I'm not saying there are grounds for analogy. I'm just saying.)
There has to be points at which partisan interests, which are by definition narrow and selfish, are set aside for the common good. I'm baffled that we evidently haven't reached that point yet, although I suspect the American people are considerably farther ahead in that respect than some political leaders.
The president has thus far stood above the chatter and clatter, but he hasn't begun to campaign as of yet (at least to the same degree as the Dems, which in all fairness, is due to the primaries) so the Republicans are still holding the higher moral ground but it will be a delicate balancing act once the Democrats select a candidate and the presidential campaign begins in earnest.
I was sorry to see that Sen. Lieberman couldn't break the 10% barrier in the New Hampshire primary. Do the Dems have any special awards for principled consistency? I believe the senator is preserving the future of the Democrats which is also true for Bill Clinton also but not true for Gore.
Maybe I should make a full disclosure: I voted for Nader in 2000. When Gore decided to endorse Dean, it confirmed for me the main reason I didn't vote for him: he's an unprincipled opportunist. (I didn't even consider voting for Bush because I had never voted Republican. In 2000, some things were sacrosanct, but it's not 2000 any more and I'm not in Kansas any more - or Georgia or California.)
I think what irritates me the most is the heightened rhetoric. For example, does Sen. Kerry truly believe that the Bush administration is a regime? Of course he doesn't. Do those who say that the US has become a police state actually believe that? Of course they don't. (They are as aware as I that they aren't in jail.)
I also didn't believe that Dean's speech after the Iowa caucus was as dreadful as CNN in particular insisted (although that may be because I lived in Georgia, have seen other politicians behave similarly, and recognized his speech for what it was - a boisterous effort to raise the spirits of his supporters and redirect their temporary disappointment to the future. Were I such to have been in that crowd, it would have raised my spirits!)
Anyway, I think the sound bite approach to leadership is just plain irresponsible.
Americans are facing unanticipated challenges these days which go to the heart of who we are, where we are headed and what we aspire to be. We need to find solutions that are based less in partisanship and more to determining "the common weal." I get that, most Americans get that, and anyone who would be our leader needs to get that.
It's stopped snowing for now. The snow plow did its usual damage, so I'm going to finish clearing up out there.
Jan. 3 - Good post and linkage from Alpha Patriot on Black Votes for the GOP. (That would represent a return of black votes for the GOP, if I remember correctly, because until JFK black votes usually went to Republicans, especially in the South.)
Good read for Canadians, by the way, because I think that this shift may happen here, although the first signal will be law and order candidates in Toronto.
Dec. 26 - I pretty much ignore Dean as others comment on his campaign so well, but this tops his performance thus far: Dean touts a 'Jesus strategy':
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Howard B. Dean, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination who had said little about the role of religion in politics, yesterday told the Boston Globe that he is a committed follower of Jesus Christ and suggested that this would be a winning campaign issue.Given the attacks on Pres. Bush because he is openly Christian, I have to wonder how this will affect the idealists who believe Dean is "their" candidate.
Mr. Dean said he will start mentioning God and Christ as the campaign moves into the South.
On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that most Americans (and Southerners) will see this for the cynical move that it is.
Sept. 18 - News item from ScrappleFace: Isabel Declares Candidacy for Democrat Nomination.
(2003-09-15) -- Hurricane Isabel this morning declared her candidacy for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States. According to a CNN poll, Isabel's name recognition exceeds that of all nine existing candidates combined, plus Wesley Clark.