Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Eye to Eye with the Storm

If this is the person that the Democratic Party is hoping will lead them out of the desert, then they are in very deep trouble. Cindy Sheehan in her gentle, loving way expresses what--to her-- is the most significant feature of the horrible tragedy unfolding in New Orleans:

"George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused."

She is not alone in her intense hatred--just check out a few of the usual Bush-hating blogs for more venom, rage, and wildly bizarre accusations and that truly exploit the disaster for political gain. I have often thought that how one responds to a crisis is the truer measure of one's soul than almost anything else.

It would be hilarious, if there weren't real people suffering on the Gulf Coast. Mother Sheehan's "absolute moral authority" can't sink much lower.

Glenn Reynolds has a list of places to contribute. Keep checking Michelle Malkin and The Anchoress for updates and other links.

American generosity is second to none. Please donate to your favorite charity to help with this disaster.

Marx Strikes Again !

I am referring to Karl and not Groucho, unfortunately.

File this tidbit under "They Won't Be Happy Unless There Is A Draft". Thomas Kilgannon writes a letter to Eleanor Clift because she made this ridiculous comment:

"But I think what we're coming to grips with is the fact that we actually have a mercenary Army. And it doesn't have a nice ring to it. We call it 'volunteers,' but we're basically paying people to serve their country.

So, let me get this right. If we have an all volunteer army they are a bunch of "mercenaries"? If we have an army of those forced to serve (i.e., draftees) they are the poor helpless victims of capitalist oppression?

She doesn't mention the fact that, if we don't pay them, then we can reasonably refer to them as either volunteer "slaves" or draftee "slaves".

How crazy is that?

This is just another example of Marxist theory in all its brilliance. According to that discredited theory, which has trickled down into the deep unconscious realms of the Left's right brain; everyone can be divided up into either VICTIM or OPPRESSOR. The Left would love to go back to the military draft so that they could maintain they are "supporting the troops" as they capitalize on their victimhood. They are most comfortable with this formulation of our military.

But, hey! If they won't fit into the victimhood template, then they must be the evil oppressors! They can deal with that formulation, too. Though it is a bit harder to claim that they are "supporting" the military.

Groucho once said, "Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others." Perhaps he was speaking for the Left?

9/11 Commission Omissions

Ed Morrissey on the 9/11 Commission ommissions:

Whether that ignorance came from inept investigation, the reliance on predetermined assumptions, or something more sinister may never get answered, unless Congress holds their creation responsible in public hearings for these oversights. The sudden discovery of the trove of data left out of the Commission's report and apparently their deliberations clearly shows that the report and its conclusions can only be called incomplete in the most charitable interpretation of events.

As Hayes points out, the problem with the charitable interpretation is that it ignores a certain pattern of "ignorance". The Commission appears to have included every data point that supports the popular notion (even before their start) that the 9/11 attacks came with almost no state support other than the Taliban in Afghanistan, and even then only in sheltering the al-Qaeda strategists who ordered the attacks. The "dots" that the Commission excluded from even a mention -- if only just to debunk them -- all seem to point to state assistance from either Iran, Iraq, or both. Most of them show that the intelligence community actually did uncover some interesting data, on which the bureaucracy either explicitly blocked further investigation or discouraged action. Why would the Commission want to do that? Could it be that the collection of bureaucrats that comprised the panel wanted to believe that the bureacracy could save America, and that the intelligence communities needed more constraints, post-9/11? Or could they have wanted to underscore the meme, during a presidential election, that our "unilateral" approach to policy regarding the two potential state actors had no basis in national-security requirements?

ShrinkWrapped first called them the "9/11 Omission", and the name is becoming more appropriate every day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Delaying Tactics

Wretchard, in comparing the "True Believers" of the Left and their reluctance to condemn Communism in the last century; and their more recent reluctance to condemn Osama Bin Laden and the Islamists, makes the following observation:

But more poignant yet was the refusal of some Party members, exiled to Magadan, the worst camp of the Gulag, to smuggle news to their comrades of their fate. One said, 'at least now they still have hope in Communism. If I let them know the truth then they will have nothing'. Even in Magadan the Left's deepest need was to believe. Having abolished the God of their forefathers and finding themselves prostrate before the false god they fashioned for themselves, as between extinction and despair they chose extinction.

This is essentially the same point I made in a post yesterday:

During Vietnam, the media; academics, intellectuals, many public figures, entertainers, and the antiwar protesters of the time consistently and stubbornly refused to see Communism for what it really was. They steadfastly ignored the millions of deaths in the Soviet Union and elsewhere and instead focused their attention on the United States as the center of all evil in the world.

Today we have the very same people consistently and adamantly refusing to acknowledge Islam and the Jihadis for what they are. Again, they prefer to ignore the barbaric ideology that promotes enslavement and death. With tedious and infinitely repetitive talking points, they again subscribe to the comforting notion that the US is the cause of the mayhem and butchery and ignore the real butchers. The deluded women's movement is more interested in forcing science to acknowledge that women are identical to men in every way possible, than they are in helping the women in the Middle East get out from under the oppression of Islam.In other words, the MSM's Vietnam "template" is actually nothing more than that primitive and immature psychological defense mechanism known as DENIAL.
the Left has consistently perceived America as the threat to the world, and ignored to the point of complete hysterical blindness the real oppressors of human freedom and dignity.

When belief in any idea become a matter of faith--and one's own identity is defined by that faith--then the psyche will do anything necessary to distort or deny any truth that contradicts that belief.

This has nothing to do with reason or logic. In such psychologically devastating situations, reason and logic are frequently trashed so that the belief may be preserved in spite of reality.

Distortion and denial, when used by otherwise mentally healthy individuals, are merely delaying tactics that the psyche uses to give the Self some time to adjust to an uncomfortable reality. Eventually, the truth must be faced if psychological health is to be maintained.

Take a common example that most people can relate to. When informed of bad news--the death of a loved one or something awful that has happened--the immediate reaction for almost all people is to shout, "NO!"--or some other word of denial. There is total and complete disbelief and an unwillingness to accept the truth. This immediate rejection of the truth/reality is actually quite normal.

But, if weeks later, the individual is still maintaining denial and refusing to acknowledge the reality, almost everyone then recognizes that something is dreadfully wrong and concludes that the individual requires some aggressive intervention to return them to mental health. Grief--and reality-- may be exquisitely painful, but experiencing it and working through it is a far better option psychologically and permits a person to truly "move on". Failure to do so can be catastrophic since reality does not honor one's false beliefs.

It is, of course, extremely comforting to believe that your loved one is still alive; or that a tragic event did not happen; that everyone is lying to you and there are conspiracies and plots behind the bad news. But these comforting delusions are embraced at quite a long-term psychological cost to the individual. In the case of the example quoted at The Belmont Club, sometimes extinction is preferred over truth.

I fear that is the choice that those on the Left are making right now, although they like to imagine that those of us who are fighting against the new threats to human freedom and dignity are the ones suffering from delusion. That is an example of yet another delaying tactic called "projection", and sadly--like denial and distortion-- it only works until reality comes crashing down.

And Now For Something Completely Different: Good News

Chrenkoff posts his 34th in a series of good news from Iraq. This particular news was most interesting:
In entertainment news, two thousand hopefuls sign up for the Iraqi
Many Iraqis already obsessively watch "American Idol", a version of
the original British "Pop Idol" franchise, and a glitzy Lebanese copy called "Arab Superstar" on free-to-air Arabic satellite channels.But "Iraq Star" is a brave indigenous effort to perk up the spirits of a depressed nation. The studio set is spartan and drab, and there is no studio audience, though viewers are being promised tinseltown touches when the finale is held in Beirut."We are trying to lighten the load and problems Iraqis are going through," said director Wadia Nader during recording of an episode this weekend in a Baghdad hotel."We had shows like this in the 1960s when people were discovered on television. But since then, with so many wars, Iraqis couldn't see this kind of thing," he added.

Another show entertains and helps fight the insurgency at the same time:

Shattered glass, body parts, a blood-splattered blue sedan: the grainy video pans over the scene as Iraqi officers comb the site of a drive-by assassination.

It's "Cops" Iraqi-style, minus the "Bad Boys" soundtrack but otherwise roughly modeled after the American TV show.

Created to make government more transparent, "The Cops Show" featuring Kirkuk officers in action is the first of its kind in the country and is breaking new ground in Iraqi television. A live call-in portion gives the public the chance to praise the security forces or gripe about them.

Screened weekly on Kirkuk Television, which broadcasts in this northern city of nearly 1 million people, "The Cops Show" has opened the floodgates in a community long suppressed.

"During Saddam Hussein's time, it was very different," station manager Nasser Hassan Mohammed said. "You were unable to ask questions. You couldn't say anything bad about police.

"Now people can call in directly. Anyone has the right to do this. This is the difference now. This is freedom."

The call-in portion, initially a novelty, has become a staple of the show, and panelists field up to 30 calls per segment, Mohammed said. And because Kirkuk is ethnically mixed, the show switches among the languages spoken by Kurds, Arabs, Turkomen or Assyrians.

It took Iraqis a while to master the art of the phone-in.

"But after more than a year, they understand very well," Mohammed said.

I would think that many people would find these developments in Iraq extremely encouraging. Too bad most of this information won't find its way into the MSM.

Read it all.


I'd call it "doing the job he was asked to do". Let's be honest here, folks. Asking the UN to come up with a plan to reform itself is like asking the fox to suggest security improvements at the hen house.

However, we know exactly where the LA Times stands on this issue. Such a surprise.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Media's Vietnam Template

Scott Johnson from Power Line has a powerful column in this week's Weekly Standard:

Many have noted the media's efforts to portray the the current war in Iraq as a replay of Vietnam. These efforts date back to R.W. Apple's invocation of Vietnam on day 24 of the campaign in Afghanistan:
Like an unwelcome specter from an unhappy past, the ominous word "quagmire" has begun to haunt conversations among government officials and students of foreign policy, both here and abroad. Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam?

This drum of defeatism has not stopped beating. This past week, for example, Knight Ridder reporter Tom Lasseter portrayed the situation in Iraq's Anbar province as a repeat of Vietnam. Lasseter 's article is a troubling piece with relevant quotes from officers in the thick of the action.

But the Vietnam invoked by most journalists is the media's Vietnam: the Vietnam which Braestrup exposed as a false media construct. (David Brooks's column yesterday
is a notable exception.) The elite media organs covered in Braestrup's book didn't get it right the first time around; it would be nice if they took a timeout for some introspection regarding past errors before superimposing the Vietnam template (as Austin Bay calls it) on the current conflict.

If only one could put Lasseter in touch with the Power Line reader who served in Vietnam and last week wrote in from his current post in Iraq. He finds only one similarity: "[T]he deplorable way the mainstream media with their left-leaning bias have reported the two wars."

There is another similarity, although the Left won't like it. During Vietnam, the media; academics, intellectuals, many public figures, entertainers, and the antiwar protesters of the time consistently and stubbornly refused to see Communism for what it really was. They steadfastly ignored the millions of deaths in the Soviet Union and elsewhere and instead focused their attention on the United States as the center of all evil in the world.

Today we have the very same people consistently and adamantly refusing to acknowledge Islam and the Jihadis for what they are. Again, they prefer to ignore the barbaric ideology that promotes enslavement and death. With tedious and infinitely repetitive talking points, they again subscribe to the comforting notion that the US is the cause of the mayhem and butchery and ignore the real butchers. The deluded women's movement is more interested in forcing science to acknowledge that women are identical to men in every way possible, than they are in helping the women in the Middle East get out from under the oppression of Islam.

In other words, the MSM's Vietnam "template" is actually nothing more than that primitive and immature psychological defense mechanism known as DENIAL.

In two major wars, the Left has consistently perceived America as the threat to the world, and ignored to the point of complete hysterical blindness the real oppressors of human freedom and dignity. During Vietnam they deluded themselves into thinking that Communism was okay(some even believed it to be superior to a free society) as long as you didn't provoke it. And now they prefer the same delusion about Iraq and the homicide bombers of the religion of peace.

They were wrong then, and they are wrong now.

Elusive Chart from Able Danger Found in Video

Here's the news. Here's the video (scroll down to May 23, 2002). (hat tip: The Corner). Captain Ed has more. As does the Strata-Sphere.

This story is NOT going to go away. It is absolutely essential that we understand the events and the failures that played a role in the US being blind-sided by 9/11. Otherwise, how can we be sure that we are doing the absolute best we can to prevent another attack?

We can now conclude that the 9/11 Commission was woefully inadequate and inept since it included none of this information. Their deliberations were politically tainted from the beginning--particularly since they occurred during a presidential campaign; and tended to be theater, more than anything else.

Able Danger is too important to be ignored. If we can sort out the PC maneuvering; the structural impediments and turf battles; the bureaucratic incompetence; the political covering up; and the psychological denial that squandered the intelligence opportunity that Able Danger presented; then we will have come a long way to understanding what needs to be done for the future.

Of course, certain people are petrified that the full disclosure of this information will be devastating to someone or to certain groups-- but frankly that is secondary and not particularly helpful (except for Sandy Berger--if his behavior at the National Archives is at all related to trying to suppress this information then he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law).

As an American citizen, I want the truth--all of it. I had hoped to get that truth from the 9/11 Commission, but they have let me down if they ignored this information. Let's get to the bottom of Able Danger and allow the chips fall where they may.

Classic Gals and Guys

I blame The Anchoress for this. She wrote about this site that determines what kind of "classic dame" you are (or "classic man" as the case may be). I am simply incapable of passing things like this up. The results are below. I always thought I was more witty though....

You can check it out here for gals; and here for guys.

Barbara Stanwyck

You scored 35% grit, 14% wit, 47% flair, and 26% class!

You're a tough dame, a bit of a spitfire, and you can even be a little dangerous, but you do it with such flair that almost all is forgiven (and even when it's not, you're still the most interesting woman in the room). You can be witty and charming, all right, but you have a tough streak that keeps you focused and sometimes deadly. You've had quite a climb to get where you are, but you're a hard worker and you mostly deserve all you get...and then some. You might end up destroying everything around you, but you must've got style. Your leading men include Henry Fonda, Fred MacMurray, and when you forget yourself, Gary Cooper.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 99% on grit
You scored higher than 0% on wit
You scored higher than 99% on flair
You scored higher than 50% on class

The Palestinian Peace Process

...can best be appreciated in this story from yesterday.

Twenty-one people were wounded Sunday, two seriously, in a suicide bombing at a central bus station in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, Israeli officials said.

It was the first such attack by Palestinian militants since Israel's historic pullout from Gaza and the West Bank.

No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

The Left will completely sweep this little atrocity under the rug and keep on supporting the pitiful human beings who run the PA ;continue to denounce Israel and continue to blame the Jewish state for the failure of Peace; and for the "plight" of the poor abused Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians know they will never be called to account for statements like this, this or this by their adoring public.

More thoughts on "Life After Gaza" here.

The Palestinians don't want a state. They just want to live in hate. Like many of the psychopaths and substance abusers given a "second chance" to turn their lives around by the court, the Palestinian leadership has cynically used numerous opportunities to act out the essential deadness within their souls. At the present time, their national mental state--paranoia, psychotic delusions, suicidal and homicidal behavior; unrepentant aggression and hatred-- is unlikely to result in a good prognosis for the future of the Palestinians.

And it doesn't take a psychiatrist to come to that conclusion.

UPDATE: From the Jerusalem Post today:

A 14-year-old Palestinian was arrested after he was caught carrying three pipe bombs through the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus Monday afternoon.

The teenager set off the alarm of the metal detector positioned at the crossing, alerting soldiers manning the position.

He was found to be carrying in a bag three pipe bombs that were to be activated by a friction type detonator. The bombs were packed with explosives, as well as shrapnel and glass balls.

All part of the Palestinian Peace Process.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Liberals Finally Declare War!

Gosh, these guys are tough. But can they stay the course? Or are they already in a quagmire with public opinion against them?


I have just finished reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, by Robert Spencer. Spencer is also the blogger responsible for Jihad Watch.

From the cover of the book:

Did you know that:
- Islam teaches that Muslims must wage war to impose Islamic law on non-Muslim states?
-American Muslim groups are engaged in a huge cover-up of Islamic doctrine and history?
-Today's jihad terrorists have the same motives and goals as the Muslims who fought the Crusaders?
-Muslim persecution of Christians has continued for 13 centuries--and still goes on?

Here is an excerpt from the book that will give you an idea of what Spencer is trying to address:

The window of free speech in America is closing--at least regarding Islam.

The white washing of Islam and jihad goes father than tendentious propaganda. Honest investigations of the causes of Islamic terrorism are increasingly termed "hate speech" by the PC establishment. CAIR has filed numerous lawsuits against those who say things about Islam that it doesn't like--making for a chilling effect on those who speak the truth about the religion. "There's no doubt that CAIR understands this," notes National Review's John Derbyshire. "They have Saudi oil money behind them and finance is no issue at all to them. They essentially have infinite funds. They will shut up everyone. On the topic of Islam, free speech is dead."

Meanwhile, Islamic Jihadists have their own methods of silencing critics, as the murder of Theo van Gogh last year on the streets of Amsterdam illustrates.

Spencer himself is irreverent, fearless, and articulate about Islam. He does not avoid any of the "holy" topics that Islam aggressively discourages anyone from discussing--e.g., Mohammed, the Qur'an, Jihad and the myths of the Crusades.

In the politically correct fantasy world of today, where Islam is regarded a religion of peace and given billing with other major religions, it is refreshing to hear someone actually taking seriously what the Qur'an says; what Mohammed did; and what Islam is doing.

There was once a time when the world considered the USSR one of the major powers of the world and as advanced as the US. I still remember my first impression when I visited Moscow in the mid 1980's when it was still under the dictatorship of the proletariat. It can best be summarized by the realization that, far from being and economic and political superstar, the Soviet Union had tricked the world and was, in fact, a third world country.

Islam today is like the old Soviet Union. It has tricked the world into thinking that it is a major religion, when in fact it is a third-rate dogma that enslaves all who are unfortunate to be born into it. It has nothing to offer humanity anymore, and its spread is like a cancer on the human spirit. Where Islam flourishes, there you will also find poverty, misogyny, ignorance, and oppression.

If you think this is too harsh a judgement, then you haven't been paying attention to what is going on in the world for the last decade or so. Islam refuses to be reformed and its intolerance is spreading fast. Fusing it with democracy and freedom may help ameliorate its most obnoxious aspects as they did for Christianity, but that remains to be seen; and Islam is not going to be reconciled to either Western value easily.

It is time that some light was shed on the reality. Robert Spencer has illuminated the real Islam for those who are willing to look.

Carnival of the Insanities

Image hosted by Time for the weekly insanity udate, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). Calling all bloggers! Be sure to send in your entries to the Carnival, which will be posted every Sunday. Entries need to be in by 8 pm on Saturday to make their way into the list that week. Only one post entry per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!

1. He'll have a job waiting at the NY Times when he's done with Journalism School. Maybe he could aspire to these heights of professionalism. Or, even aspire to the integrity of the subject of this piece.

2. An extremely unfortunate headline.

3. Extremely politically incorrect research. Here's the correct methodology to find the crrect answer to these kind of research questions. And speaking of extremely politically incorrect...and racist...and also funny.

4. The ultimate mammal exhibit.

5. Suicide baby bombers?

6. Cindy's world. He'll fit right in too. VDH discussed these alliances here.

7. "Accept good advice gracefully--as long as it doesn't interfere with what you intended to do in the first place." -- Gene Brown .

8. Ummmmm. Yeah. If you say so.

9. This is offensive on so many levels...and so is this. So I can't possibly link to them, can I? (You guess which one is satire).

10. The religion of peace in Gaza.

11. Anti-terrorism cartoons in the Arab press. Really!

12. ICE madness. And this blogger's not talking about hockey!

13. Beer for kids?

14. Bra shortage. Tit for tat in the EU.

15. I didn't realize Kos was so ginormous an idiot! Check this solid piece of "thinking" for example.

16. Doesn't this remind you of a scene from an old comedy routine? How about this one?

17. Was this really so unexpected?

18. Bwahahahaha. Everything is going according to plan. Even this.

19. Employee failure.

Aren't You Sick of All the Iraq/Vietnam Comparisons?

Via The Anchoress, a letter to the editor says:

Iraq is just like Vietnam except: We occupy Hanoi. We’ve captured Ho Chi Minh. The North Vietnamese have just held a free and democratic election. The North Vietnamese are working on a new constitution. Yes, Iraq is just like Vietnam.

However, Jane Fonda today is just as bad as Jane Fonda then, if it's any consolation to the Left.

Meanwhile, read Christopher Hitchens piece in the Weekly Standard: "A War To Be Proud Of":

THERE IS, first, the problem of humorless and pseudo-legalistic literalism. In Saki's short story The Lumber Room, the naughty but clever child Nicholas, who has actually placed a frog in his morning bread-and-milk, rejoices in his triumph over the adults who don't credit this excuse for not eating his healthful dish:

"You said there couldn't possibly be a frog in my bread-and-milk; there was a frog in my bread-and-milk," he repeated, with the insistence of a skilled tactician who does not intend to shift from favorable ground.

Childishness is one thing--those of us who grew up on this wonderful Edwardian author were always happy to see the grown-ups and governesses discomfited. But puerility in adults is quite another thing, and considerably less charming. "You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire." I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra. It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra. It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.

Of course, you must read it all!

What Ever Happened to Fallujah?

You know. That place in Iraq where the US Marine "killers" were pitted against a brave, determined "insurgency" (according to the NY Times, anyway). We heard a lot about how challenging it was and how determined the "insurgency" there was. Where the media eagerly capitalized on a comparison to Vietnam. Where doom and gloom was unanimously predicted.

Then, of course, when the Marines fully captured the city, there was much sneering, and the pundits who predicted defeat now wanted to know what good did it do us?

We haven't heard anything from the MSM lately about Fallujah, have we?

Check it out now.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Soccer Mom Duty

The Boo, my spouse and I are up in Bay City, Michagan at a big soccer tournament today. The only problem is that it is pouring buckets of rain! The Boo played in her first game and now we are trying to find a dryer to get her uniform presentable for the second game this afternoon.

Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's gonna let up soon. This was the first game that her team has played together. They lost 1-0, but looked fairly good out there. The tournament will give them some practice together as a team before the regular season starts in two weeks.

Anyway, duty calls! More blogging tonight.

UPDATE: The rain has stopped!! Hallejulah! Next game will be played in the sun at least.



Fox News is reporting that a third source has come forward to verify claims that Atta was identified by the Able Danger team:

A third person has now come forward to verify claims made by a military intelligence unit that a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it had information showing that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta (search) and other terrorists were identified as being in the United States.

J.D. Smith, a defense contractor who claims he worked on the technical side of the unit, code-named "Able Danger" (search), told reporters Friday that he helped gather open-source information (search), reported on government spending and helped generate charts associated with the unit's work. Able Danger was set up in the 1990s to track Al Qaeda activity worldwide.

"I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City," Smith said.

Smith said data was gathered from a variety of sources, including about 30 or 40 individuals. He said they all had strong Middle Eastern connections and were paid for their information. Smith said Able Danger's photo of Atta was obtained from overseas.

Rep. Curt Weldon (search), R-Pa., arranged the media roundtable with Smith. Weldon drew attention to Able Danger by speaking about it on the House floor months ago and has publicly called for the Sept. 11 commission to explain why the intelligence information wasn't detailed in its final report.

Besides Smith, Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer (search) and Navy Captain Scott Philpott (search) have also gone on the record, saying they were discouraged from looking further into Atta, and their attempts to share their information with the FBI were thwarted because Atta was a legal foreign visitor at the time.

"This story needs to be told. The American people need to be told what could have been done to prevent 3,000 people from losing their lives," Weldon told FOX News this week.

Shaffer and Philpott claim that in October 2003, they told Sept. 11 commission staffers of the presence of Al Qaeda operatives in the United States in 2000 yet little was included in the panel's final report about those conversations.

During Friday's roundtable with Smith, he was asked by reporters about Atta, who was using another name during 1999-2000. Smith said the charts Able Danger was using had identified him through a number of name variations, one being "Atta."

Two sources familiar with Able Danger told FOX News that part of its investigative work focused on mosques and the religious ties between known terrorist operatives such as Omar Abdul Rahman (search), who was part of the first World Trade Center bombing plot in 1993.

Isn't it interesting that so far no paper trail has been found of this? This could of course be for one of several reasons:
1. There was no paper trail because the three sources are mistaken / lying
2. There was a paper trail and it was a)lost; or b)destroyed

It seems to me that with three people saying the same thing #1 looks unlikely. In the case of #2a, if papers were lost, then there is some possibility that they could be "found" at some point.

In the case of #2b, if the papers were destroyed the question becomes: who destroyed them; and why?

At the present state of knowledge, I have heard nothing yet that invalidates this theory.

AJStrata and Mickey Kaus have more.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Prime Directive

Victor Davis Hanson writes today about "The Paranoid Style":

Yes, the long corrupt and murderous Middle East is aflame. But that is precisely because after Iraq, the Syrians have left Lebanon, the Egyptians are convulsed over novel elections, democratic Iraqis and Afghans are killing terrorists, a no longer secure al Qaeda is fragmented after losing Afghanistan, we are pressuring Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Libya to reform, and after 25 years of somnolence the United States is finally fighting back against Islamic fascism. By Meyerson's logic, 1942 was far more disastrous than 1939, when the sway of prewar autocracies was unquestioned and we were at peace.

How odd that Meyerson, a vice chairman of a national socialist organization, has become a harsh critic of American support for democratic reform in the Middle East.

But then we remember that the prime directive of the hard Left is to be against anything that Bush is for — even if it means praising the hyper-capitalist, commodities speculator George Soros, whose machinations once nearly ruined the Bank of England along with its small depositors. In Meyerson's gushing praise: "[Soros] made his money the old-fashioned way, on Wall Street."

I also plead guilty to Meyerson's other two charges: Abu Ghraib really was blown way out of proportion and was not simply, as Ted Kennedy slurred, a continuation under new management of Saddam's gulag where tens of thousands perished.

And, yes, Iraq can craft a constitutional government as it is now doing, and that will make the Middle East both a more humane place and less a risk to the security of the United States. The only flickers of hope right now in the Middle East for an end to the old autocracy and fanaticism are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt — and all such movement is due solely to the United States' removal of the Taliban and Saddam and pressure on Mubarak.

Aflame? Perhaps, but at least there is hope where there was none before.

Hanson goes on to discuss the coalition that has formed between the paranoid left and the paranoid right, so read it all. He is absolutely correct that the glue that holds this misalliance together is a shared paranoid style.

There is a reason that human beings experience suspicion, distrust and hypervigilance. That reason is because there is REAL danger in the world. Our ancestors in the caves knew this to be true. They lived with continual danger just to survive every minute of every day. Those who did not have the psychological capacity to perceive the danger in the environment surely died out long ago.

But this important psychological trait which senses danger and strives to protect the ego; and which is accentuated in children and early in life, is appropriately balanced out by the development of the rational faculty--the intellect. As that faculty develops, the ego mostly abandons paranoia and projection because they are extremely maladaptive in almost all cases in an adult trying to deal with reality.

The tools of the Paranoid are denial, distortion, and projection. These psychological tools are almost always pathological when used to cope with the real world. For the user these three primitive psychological defenses permit a rearrangement of external reality (so that actual reality may be avoided); for the beholder, the users of these mechanisms frequently appear crazy or insane. These are known as the "psychotic" defenses, common in overt psychosis, in dreams, and throughout childhood.

Denial is a refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. There are examples of denial being adaptive (for example, it might be adaptive for a person who has a terminal illness to use some degree of denial). But for the most part, denial is only useful as a short-term strategy, to permit a person to come to terms with reality. As a long-term strategy to protect self-identity, it is potentially lethal--since the person or group that uses it extensively is blinded to the real danger that might be out there.

Distortion is a gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs. Hinchey's bizarre accusations against the evil genius Rove are a perfect example. It is more acceptable to believe that some evil person has tricked you, than it is to believe that you behaved stupidly.

Delusional Projection occurs when an individual or group have delusions about external reality, usually of a persecutory nature.

It is easy to see how all these psychological manipulations work together to keep a person or a group insulated from reality. In truth, we witness such behavior all around us.

One of the most common psychological defenses we have been witnessing over the last four years is Projection.

Projection is never a good long-term strategy--nor is it healthy--in an adult; and using such a defense mechanism represents a primitive attempt to shirk the responsibility for one's own feelings, thoughts, and actions. It causes and has caused much human misery, death, destruction and some of the most horrific acts that humans are capable of. When entire countries subscribe to a projected delusion (e.g., the "Jews" are to blame; the "Blacks" are the cause of all of our problems; "Republicans" are evil) it can lead to genocide and other behaviors that are paranoid and psychotically delusional. Full-blown paranoia occurs when one's mind severs the connection with reality entirely. Paranoia is a symptom of mental illness.

The Prime Directive of the Left --as Hanson notes --is a nothing more than a desperate psychological strategy to deny the reality of Islamofascist terror; distort the struggle to eliminate it and to blame America for its very existence.

Pass It On

OK. Here's my idea. Every single person reading this blog sends an email to his/her entire address book with this message:

TO: Everyone on my email list

Subject: Iraq War

Message: Whether you are for or against the Iraq War and the Bush Administration's Policies in the Global War on Terror, I respectfully ask you to go to this site and read what is really happening in Iraq and exactly what our soldiers are doing.

I think you will find it surprising and awe-inspiring. If it moves you, please pass it on to your friends.

Thank you.

There must be SOME way to get the truth about our military and the war they are fighting for us out into the general public. The mainstream media is failing the American public. Badly.

Pass it on.

The Council Has Spoken !

This week's winners in the Watcher's Council are now posted at the Watcher of Weasels. Every week the Council nominates posts from the blogs of the Council members, and posts from around the blogsphere. The Council then votes to select the "Best" of all these posts.


First Place
An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan Gates of Vienna
(an incredibly moving piece by Dymphna)

Second Place
Shame, the Arab Psyche, and Islam Dr. Sanity


First Place
Israeli Pride; Israeli Angst Alpha Patriot

Second Place
Turning Iraq Into Vietnam Villainous Company

Be sure to check out all the winners at the Watcher's Site!

What Do They Know That We Don't?

Fact #1:
Schoomaker said recruiting problems are offset by high retention among active divisions, especially in units that have served or are serving in Iraq. He said the Army has exceeded its personnel retention goal by 9 percent, with soldiers in the Third Infantry Division -- now on its second tour in Iraq -- reenlisting at 112 percent of the goal. The First Cavalry Division has the highest reenlistment rate, at 138 percent of the goal, according to the Army. All 10 of the Army's divisions are surpassing retention estimates.

In other words, the military personnel actually fighting in Iraq are re-enlisting by the droves.

Fact #2 from the same source, and as headlined in numerous MSM sources here and here, for example:

The Army National Guard, a cornerstone of the U.S. force in Iraq, missed its recruiting goal for at least the ninth straight month in June and is nearly 19,000 soldiers below its authorized strength, military officials said Monday.

The Army Guard was seeking 5,032 new soldiers in June but signed up only 4,337, a 14 percent shortfall, according to statistics released Monday by the Pentagon. It is more than 10,000 soldiers behind its year-to-date goal of almost 45,000 recruits, and has missed its recruiting target during at least 17 of the last 18 months.

In other words, on the home front new recruitments have been down.

In my humble opinion, Fact #2 might have something to do with this kind of relentless distortion about the miliary in the media and this behavior by the anti-American antiwar forces. Of course, to the MSM it has to do with this:

Recruiting has become more difficult over the past year as public attitudes about the war in Iraq have shifted and as those the Army calls "influencers"-- such as parents and coaches -- are less frequently suggesting the military as an option for young Americans...

Gee, I wonder why public attitudes have shifted? Could it possibly be connected with the completely negative doom and gloom war coverage by the mainstream media?

Because, the question that arises from the two facts outlined above is this: what do the people who are actually fighting the war in Iraq know that the average citizen (who gets their information secondhand, as it were) does't know?


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Real History

My God, can Michael Yon write.

Read the post above, "Gates of Fire" and then read the pap in the NY Times and most other MSM coverage. What Yon writes is the real history of this war: the good, the bad--the TRUTH.

Lost in the 60's

(click to enlarge the cartoon)
Jeff Jacoby in his column today:

IRAQ WAR skeptics and critics have been invoking Vietnam almost from the day the fighting began. So Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska was hardly breaking new ground when he joined the invokers on Sunday. ''We are locked into a bogged-down problem," he said on ABC's ''The Week," ''not . . . dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."

Run-of-the-mill stuff on the the Democratic left, but since Hagel is a Republican, his words instantly leaped to the top of the news cycle. ''GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam," was the headline on AP's widely reprinted story.

Yet in so many ways, Iraq doesn't look like Vietnam at all. Vietnam was never the central battleground of the Cold War, while Iraq has become the focal point of the war on terrorism. Americans had no reason to feel that their own security was at risk in Vietnam, whereas 9/11 made it clear that the enemy we face today poses a lethal threat here at home as well. The jihadis in Iraq don't have the backing of superpowers; North Vietnam and the Viet Cong were armed to the teeth by China and the Soviet Union. In South Vietnam, the United States was allied to an unpopular and incompetent regime; in Iraq, the United States toppled a brutal tyranny and is trying to nurture a democracy in its place.

But of all the ways in which the Iraq war is not like Vietnam, perhaps the most telling is the attitude of the troops.

''When I was in Vietnam," retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs, a 1969 Medal of Honor recipient who had just returned from a fact-finding trip to the Sunni Triangle, told NBC News in May, ''if you asked anybody what he wanted more than anything else in the world, he'd say: to go home. We asked . . . hundreds of soldiers, low-ranking soldiers, in both Afghanistan and Iraq . . . the same question. And the response, to a man and a woman, was, 'To kill bad guys.' . . . The morale is just over the top -- just really, really enthused about what they're doing. And I think the reason is they perceive that they're making progress. Success will do a lot to morale."

Indeed it will, as the ''Today" show's Matt Lauer discovered when he visited Baghdad last week. He tried valiantly to coax some Vietnam-style disillusionment out of the soldiers he met, but as NBC's transcript makes clear, the troops weren't having any of that:

Lauer: We've heard so much about the insurgent attacks, so much about the uncertainty as to when you folks are going to get to go home. How would you describe morale?

Chief Warrant Officer Randy Kergiss: My unit morale's pretty good. . . . People are ready to execute their missions, and they're pretty excited to be here.

Lauer: How much does that uncertainty of knowing how long you're going to be here impact morale?

Sergeant Jamie Wells: Morale's always high. Soldiers know they have a mission, they like taking on the new objectives and taking on the new challenges. . . . They're motivated, ready to go.

Lauer: Don't get me wrong, I think you guys are probably telling me the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that could be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks . . .

Captain Sherman Powell: Well, sir, I tell you -- if I got my news from the newspapers also, I'd be pretty depressed as well.

Lauer: What don't you think is being correctly portrayed?

Powell: Sir, I know it's hard to get out and get on the ground and report the news. . . . But for of those who've actually had a chance to get out and go on patrols . . . we are very satisfied with the way things are going here.

How terribly shocking! The Troops believe in the mission! The Troops are satisfied with the way things are going!

I'm sure that the response of the antiwar, anti-American Left is one of sympathy and horror: Why those poor deluded men and women! Don't they read the newspapers? Don't they listen to CNN? Don't they know that we are in a quagmire? That the "insurgents" are winning? That there is iminent civil war among the Iraqis? That the body count just keeps going up?

But you see, the Troops are actually IN Iraq. They are actually fighting the battles there; building the schools; interacting with the people. Right now--today--in 2005.

They are not the one's traped forever in a '60's mental timewarp.

No More

Read this article by Jack Kelly to discover the amazing process by which good news is transmuted into bad news by the "objective" and "neutral" reporters of the mainstream media.

How much more of this kind of distortion are we citizens going to take from these so-called journalists and news outlets? When are we going to say 'no more' to their lies, distortions, slants, and propaganda presented as news?

(I could have saved this for the weekly Carnival of the Insanities--but you know, this sort of thing is just not amusing anymore.)

UPDATE: Katherine Kersten: The big picture in Iraq tells quite a different story :

Since early August, Cindy Sheehan and her band of antiwar activists have seized the spotlight in America's major news outlets. Last week, celebrity protesters in Crawford, Texas, included Minnesota's state Sen. Becky Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, and DFL Second District congressional candidate Coleen Rowley.

Lourey used the major media megaphone to broadcast her over-the-top antiwar views far and wide. On her return, she accused America of invading Iraq to grab oil and profits.

The Crawford campout is a quintessential media event. Its purpose is to gain attention for a small group of people, far out of proportion to their numbers or their knowledge of conditions in Iraq. While protesters win headlines, soldiers with on-the-ground experience have no forum to express their strong support for our cause there.

The major media's love affair with the Crawford protest is no surprise. It's consistent with the focus on body counts and funerals we've come to expect: "Troop Carrier Flips; Four Dead,"Roadside Bomb Kills Two." The media rarely give us the context we need to understand the fighting that produces these casualties -- the purpose and outcome of the missions the lost soldiers were engaged in. When that information is given, it's often buried in articles that focus on death.

Without this big picture, any war would appear a meaningless disaster. What if Americans had seen the casualty lists from Omaha Beach or Okinawa -- hills of sand -- without hearing about the objectives for which those bloody battles were fought?

Read it all.

A Spreading Disease

Whether you think of Islamism as a virus or a cancer on the world; it most certainly is a terminal disease.

Yet both London and the transportation arteries of the Malay barrier were or subsequently became terror targets purely because of their value to the malignancy. The process is similar to angiogenesis in cancer, where a tumor takes over control of the body's ability to produce blood vessels for the sole purpose of nourishing itself. One way doctors spot tumors is by finding unusual concentrations of blood vessels feeding the growing malignancy. Sensing's comparison of Islamic terrorism to a virus, if correct, makes a nonsense of claims that that Islamic militants are infiltrating the West in retaliation for Iraq or even the supposed provocations of Israel. The infiltration is occuring for entirely independent reasons: to provide nutrients for the malignancy or to turn ordinary systems to their purposes.

If the comparison to of Islamic terrorism to disease had any validity, one would expect to see a growing use of the world's own "healthy" systems for the pathogenic purposes. And we do: for example, what would normally be regarded as a mode of transportation, such as a widebodied airplane, Islamic terrorism sees as a bomb.

Also noted in the post:
One of the most far-reaching benefits to Al Qaedaism of its alliance with the Left is how easily it allowed it to move astride the media, the academe and the liberal religious establishment.

The treatment of choice must be surgical excision at the primary site, followed by radiation or chemotherapy on the metastases in the media, academe and the liberal religious establishment.

Unfortunately, the disease is widespead and the prognosis doesn't seem good unless aggressive therapy is implemented as quickly as possible.

Note: Doctors cannot afford to be appeasing a serious disease when the life of their patient is at stake.

Liberal "Think" Tanks Doomed To Fail

See why here.

The author cites some very good reasons why liberal think tanks will fail, which I appreciate. However, the simplest explanation is that the Liberal agenda no longer produces or encourages "thinking". On the contrary, the leaders of the Left simply require a worshipful obeisance of those old ideas from the 30's and 40's. To consider changing or improving them based on rational thought is considered "haraam." (to use a religious term).

Liberalism is a religion now, and its followers must accept it and defend it on faith. Usually they are too busy chastising the Christian community to notice that they treat their own ideas as holy and sacrosanct relics that are above scrutiny. criticism and intelligent discussion.

Liberals critiquing their ideology are about as common as Saudi imams dissing the Koran.

Inappropriate Behavior?

In psychiatry when we are assessing patients who are dealing with serious stressors in their life, we look for some kind of dissonance between their expressed mood and their affect. When the affect does not support the mood, we refer to it as "inappropriate," meaning that the mood and affect are in conflict and don't make sense.
With that in mind, it's nice to know that the world's most famous grieving war mom, who has been beset by tragedy:(1) the loss of her beloved son; (2) recently divorced by her husband; and (3) recently dealing with the serious illness of her own mother; is able to party and enjoy herself while there is a antiwar movement going on.

Otherwise, one might think her behavior somewhat inappropriate. Why, it's almost like she's on vacation and trying to enjoy herself or something!

Of course, far be it from me to discourage vacations, but I understand that she and her friends don't believe that President Bush should take one.

(Photo hat tip: LGF)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Nation that Stands for Nothing Deserves a Media that Believes in Nothing

Here is an excellent point from Power Line:

Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.
Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.

The point? Being a soldier is not safe, and never will be. Driving in my car this afternoon, I heard a mainstream media reporter say that around 2,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq "on President Bush's watch." As though the job of the Commander in Chief were to make the jobs of our soldiers safe. They're not safe, and they never will be safe, in peacetime, let alone wartime.

I find it astonishing that there are people who seem to believe that being a soldier is a "safe" occupation. I find it incredible to think that the goal of the military must be to "protect" soldiers.

Putting aside the fact that the military have fewer deaths in many areas than the general public (e.g., fewer automobile accidents as noted here), what could possibly be the point of a national military that is so risk averse that the death of some of its soldiers (in truth the most astonishing LOW death rate in history of major conflict) is widely perceived as a hopeless quagmire, and conclusive proof that we are losing the war.

What we are losing is will. What we are losing is perspective. What we are losing is common sense.

Our media are so perverse and twisted that they refuse to see that it is their continued unrelenting attacks on the President; on the Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; their continued glorification of the enemy that has done the most harm to our nation and our military. Take a look at this, which left me utterly speechless:

Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.

The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served.

Slogans? PR? To inscribe "Operation Iraqi Freedom" onto the tombstone of a fallen hero? What kind of morons write articles like this?

My father who died last year was proud, proud, proud that he fought not just in WWII, but on Iwo Jima. At his funeral, a Marine talked about the battle of Iwo Jima and the thousands who died there.

This was not public relations. This was not a "slogan" or military propaganda. This was a profoundly humbling and moving honor to my father, who considered his service to this country as one of the most significant and important parts of his life.

That such an article could question this honor; or deride the motivation to honor those who have fallen; only further confirms the anti-American agenda of those who claim to be "objective" and "neutral", but who are virulently antiwar and anti-American . They are the ones with the slogans ("all the news that's fit to print" is one I recall). They are the one's reporting without comment or perspective on the propaganda that regularly comes from various organizations of the Left and from the Islamofascists we are fighting. I don't see anyone in the media questioning those words as propaganda or PR.

But if it hurts the President it will pass muster in the newsroom. If it causes more troops to die by tying the hands of soldiers fighting to protect us, then it has served its purpose. If it make soldiers look like evil oppressive occupiers, or helpless, passive victims (depending on the point the media want to get across that particular day), then it will be on the front page.

WWII was won at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. The same evil our parents and grandparents fought has risen again in the Middle East. It claimed the lives of thousands of Americans before we even knew what that evil intended. We now know even more clearly what they stand for as they continue to butcher innocents and mindlessly destroy in the name of a religion.

The question is, what do WE stand for? Do we stand for Civilization, Human Dignity, and Freedom? Do we stand against those who want to destroy all of these values?

Or, do we stand for nothing?

If it is the latter, then by all means let us not risk any lives at all for such dubious reasons--even the lives of those who believe it is their job to put their lives at risk. And let's propose that those tombstones have nothing at all written on them; or perhaps a name and rank, with "I stood for nothing" carved in neat lettering underneath.

It is a slogan; and in keeping with the antiwar propaganda of the MSM-- but somehow, I think they would appreciate it anyway.

UPDATE: If you want to see what real journalism that believes in something (e.g., truth, honesty, integrity) then check out Michael Yon's post "Gates of Fire". It is important to note that most journalists during WWII passionately wanted the Allies to win the war, yet--somehow--they were able to report on actually what was happening. These days, most journailsts seem to passionately want the US and its allies to lose; and seem incapable of reporting on anything other than the most recent death tolls and/or commenting on how clever and resourceful the enemy is.

Palestinian Cultural Values

What passes for equal rights in Gaza. (hat tip: The Corner)

Hamas revealed over the weekend that dozens of women in the Gaza Strip have joined its armed wing, Izzaddin Kassam, and were preparing to carry out attacks on Israel.

Pictures posted on the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center Web site showed masked women, dressed in military fatigues and armed with Kalashnikov rifles and pistols, receiving training at a secret location in the Gaza Strip.

According to Hamas, the women were being trained in planting roadside bombs, firing rockets and mortars and infiltrating Jewish settlements.

"Jihad has been imposed on all Muslims, males and females alike," one of the women explained. "This is particularly true in Palestine, and here we are obeying the call for jihad. We have the honor to compete with men in the jihad."

Sure doesn't sound like they are planning for peace.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Iraqi Constitution Not Bad?,0,3024472.story?page=1&coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlinesMichael Ledeen is not feeling too bad about the Iraqi constitution (and neither am I):

I've been reading the Italian press on the Iraqi constitution, and some of the smarter commentators point out some things I think we've missed. First, there is hardly a country in the region without some language acknowledging Sharia as either "the" or "a major" basis for national legislation. But Iran, for example, says that Allah is the sole source of authority, while the Iraqi constitution says that the people are the only legitimate source of authority. This in itself is a revolutionary event. Big celebrations were under way among Kurds and Shi'ites, when the 3-day holiday was announced. These celebrations included lots of women, happy with the Bill of Rights that guaranteed freedom of religious choice, freedom for minorities, etc. The new constitution makes Iraq a Federal Republic, NOT an "Arab Republic," which is again revolutionary. And the federal nature of the new republic is revolutionary for the whole region. My favorite newspaper, il Foglio, comments: "All the neighboring countries (Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia) and also more distant ones (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria) have trouble facing the spread of a democratic Iraq, of a Constitution born from true multiparty elections, and now a new innovation has been added: the...decentralization of power."

So, while I'm still waiting for the final text, I'm feeling a lot better. I think Constitutions matter a lot. In the modern world where judges and lawyers rule, the written law is enormously important.

The text of the Constitution is here.

And, Rick Brookheiser (also at The Corner) has this note:
The first American constitution (the Articles of Confederation) took over a year to write (July 1776-November 1777), over three years to ratify (the 13th state, Maryland, did not sign on until March 1781), and about five and half years before roughly half the country realized it had to be junked. We had some harder problems than Iraq has--thirteen prickly sovereignties, a war against the world's greatest superpower--but we also had great advantages--more than a century of experience of home rule in some places. Some of our circumstances were comparable (e.g., one third of the country disaffected in the early stages).

Update: From Powerline's Paul Mirengoff:

...the draft constitution appears to follow the Afghanistan constitution on issues of religion and personal rights. Like that document, the draft provides that no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam, but also contains strong human rights protections. (In Afghanistan these protections are facilitating the emergence of a peaceful and vibrant democracy; whether the same words would yield the same result in Iraq remains to be seen, but not because the words are defective).The Iraqi draft states that "no law shall be enacted that contradicts [Islam’s] established provisions, the principles of democracy, [or] the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution." This, I understand, is actually a better formulation than Afghanistan’s model. Moreover, when it comes to stipulating the basic freedoms, the same provision apparently protects "all the religious rights of all individuals in the freedom of belief and religious practice." And Islam is declared to be "a" – not "the"– source of legislation. I don't see how, from a secularist standpoint, one could expect better language in a country like Iraq.

Sounds good to me!

The Plot Thickens

Captain Ed has the latest on the Able Danger story:

The second source for the Able Danger story, the somewhat mysterious Navy captain that tried to get the 9/11 Commission to look into the data-mining project at the last minute, has shed his anonymity and pushed the ID of Mohammed Atta even earlier than first thought. Captain Scott Philpott now says that Able Danger identified Atta as an al-Qaeda operative in January-February 2000.

Weldon is following through and providing witnesses, and we will have to see where this all leads. All we can be sure of now, is that the 9/11 Commission was seriously flawed and incredibly inept.

The plot is thickening. Stay tuned.

Don't Bother

Jane Galt at Assymetrical Information has as good a discussion as I have seen on the Merck / Vioxx case.

Every successful big lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company reduces the capital available to the industry, and the willingness of the industry to spend capital on developing new drugs, rather than novel ways to package things already on the market that they haven't been sued for. As Richard Epstein says, it's no good saying you only want to target the bad companies; investors have no way of telling, in advance, which companies jurors will decide are "bad". This case was widely viewed as a slam dunk for Merck, given that the plaintiff's deceased husband had neither the use profile, nor the cause of death, associated with Vioxx's problems. In the case of companies that are misbehaving, that is a cost we have to bear. But there seems to have been little evidence that Merck was misbehaving, and no scientific evidence that the drug caused the death the plaintiff was suing over.

This case is disturbing on so many levels, it is hard to know where to begin to discuss it.

I wonder what will happen when companies like Merck are forced out of business by lawsuits that refuse to recognize that every drug on the market has risks to the consumer? There was no negligence on Merck's part. The scientific evidence was clear--just not to the jury, who apparently couldn't be bothered to do their homework and were predisposed (probably by the unrelentingly negative media) to think that businesses in general, and evil capitalists in particular, deliberately set out to kill their customers.

Of course, we all know that without government intervention, those capitalists would have probably killed off every single American citizen by now and our standard of living would have plummetted way below Europe....

Juries and plaintiffs in cases like this have become less interested in truth than in "sending a message" to companies that dare to want to profit from products that take decades to develop; and that ease the suffering of the vast majority of people who use them.

Unfortunately, the message they send is loud and clear: Don't Bother.

Slogans and Dust

This news report inspired me to rewrite the lyrics to an old Baez song.


I'll be damned, here comes your ghost again
but that's not unusual
it's just that the moon is full
and and the moonbats are out

And there you sit, singing that melody
with the same vocal clarity
from a couple of light years ago
with the same sincere pout

As I remember your songs were sad and forlorn
Your poetry was lousy I thought
Where are you singing now?
A small town in Texas
Forty years ago I bought your album
And bought into a movement
that only amounted to
Empty Slogans and Dust

Now I see you standing with Sheehan and folk of her ilk
Now you're smiling and your voice sounds like silk
Your songs once stood for for peace and it showed in your face
Speaking strictly for me
What your songs support now's a disgrace

Now you're telling me you're still for peace
why not sing to Bin Laden then?
Crush Zarqawi with songs--
but your music's gone vague

Do you really need that vagueness now, when terror's made clear
They'll kill you without flinching, my dear?
and if you're offering me Slogans and Dust
I've grown up since then.

And that's all your new cause is
only Slogans and Dust
yes that's all your new cause is
only Slogans and Dust

Monday, August 22, 2005

Those Who Forget History....

History is repeating itself (scroll down at the link for more pictures):

When thuggish dictators collaborate, any evil is possible....

Hearts and Minds

Please read this piece at RealClearPolitics by Michael Barone about the important changes that are occurring because of Iraq:

George W. Bush has proclaimed that we are working to build democracy in Iraq not just for Iraqis, but in order to advance freedom and defeat fanatical Islamist terrorism around the world. Now comes the Pew Global Attitudes Project's recent survey of opinion in six Muslim countries to tell us that progress is being made in achieving that goal.

Minds are being changed, and in the right direction.

Most importantly, support for terrorism in defense of Islam has "declined dramatically," in the Pew report's words, in Muslim countries, except in Jordan (which has a Palestinian majority) and Turkey, where support has remained a low 14 percent. It has fallen in Indonesia (from 27 percent to 15 percent since 2002), Pakistan (from 41 percent to 25 percent since 2004) and Morocco (from 40 percent to 13 percent since 2004), and among Muslims in Lebanon (from 73 percent to 26 percent since 2002).

Change is happening in the Middle East. It's sad that just as this kind of profound transformation is taking place, Americans appear to be losing interest.

Do we have a too short an attention span? Are we no longer a people who can stay the course and do what needs to be done?

The 4th anniversary of September 11th is almost upon us. No matter what the naysayers proclaim; no matter how gloomy the antiwar protestors; no matter how deep in quagmire territory are the MSM; and no matter what comes in the days ahead--President Bush has defended the homeland and prevented another attack for these last 4 years.

I am not saying that we will not be attacked again. No. In fact, in the days after 9/11 it seemed to me that there was no way we wouldn't be attacked again on our soil.

But we haven't been.

Mark my words. Bush will get no credit for this. The perversity of the Left is such that when we are attacked again (and there is no doubt we will be) he will be loudly blamed for it. We will hear cries that it was his policies that led to it.

This will just be the Left's desperate attempt to maintain the fiction that we were never attacked in the first place. That 9/11 was a terrible "tragedy" and should not be used for "political purposes".

I, for one, am truly grateful that Pearl Harbor was used "for political purposes" and that a mere generation before mine we found it within our national soul to stand up for what was right and fight the evil that threatened to take over and enslave the world.

The resolve of this generation is now questionable. Is it to be exemplified by the courageous men and women who have gone to Afghanistan and Iraq and whose actions have initiated a wave of freedom and democracy movements around the world?

Or will it be exemplified by the unkempt "compassionate" coalition of doom, whose only sacrifice is truth; and whose courage is to bravely run away from any confrontation with the latest incarnation of that evil?

This War on Islamofascism is really the anti-Vietnam. In this war, we are winning the battle of hearts and minds. But it won't matter to the Left because--just as in Vietnam--they are firmly on the side of the enemy; and their only goal is the defeat, destruction and humiliation of the greatest, most prosperous, and most free country in the history of the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Holding Back The Years

Coming from an academic environment where the Left rules supreme, I have always found their cloying condescension in political matters to be extremely annoying and often hilarious. Pauline Kael's bewilderment over Nixon beating McGovern: "How can that be, she reportedly asked, I don't know anyone who voted for Nixon."

The astonishing narcissism and intrinsic elitism displayed in a comment like that shrieks of condescension and unquestioned feelings of superiority.

Those same endearing qualities can be found in the antiwar Left's carefully crafted framing of American soldiers. One might refer to their strategy as the" infantilization" of the military". It is, of course, a subset of the rampant infantilization stereotypes that the minions of the Left project onto all sorts of groups, effectively relegating them to the status of children who must be closely guarded lest they do something stupid and/or dangerous.

Naturally, this leads to the firm belief that members of such groups lack moral, intellectual, or physical maturity -- or all three. According to this image, the children are too irresponsible to make correct decisions; too immature to be permitted to act on their own and therefore must remain dependent on the "more mature" and superior elites for guidance to live their lives or even to survive.

American Blacks have had to live with stereotyping of this sort for a long time. The epithet "boy" remains as a vestige of the infantilization of the slave in the "paternalistic" South.

In the same manner, women before the liberation movement of the 1960's were often called "baby," "girl," "honey," and "sweety." Again--as any modern-day feminist can tell you--a remnant of the "paternalism" of American society.

The Left objects stridently and aggressively to these kind of paternalistic stereotypes.

But they appear to be incapable of appreciating the maternalistic stereotypes that they favor instead, which have as their goal exactly the same control and power over others that were objected to in the paternalistic stereotypes.

And both are equally insulting when directed at an adult.

Mark Steyn has this to say:

They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as "children." If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the broadloom in Bill Clinton's Oval Office, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee "child" who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing.

I get many e-mails from soldiers in Iraq, and they sound a lot more grown-up than most Ivy League professors and certainly than Maureen Dowd, who writes like she's auditioning for a minor supporting role in ''Sex And The City.''

The infantilization of the military promoted by the left is deeply insulting to America's warriors but it suits the anti-war crowd's purposes. It enables them to drone ceaselessly that "of course" they "support our troops," because they want to stop these poor confused moppets from being exploited by the Bush war machine.

"Good Mother Sheehan trying to protect the poor children" as well as "Evil Father Bush forcing the poor children to go to war in Iraq" are both variations on the same infantilizing maxim.

The Left's antiwar strategy of condescension and infantilization mouthed by FEMALES (of any color or sexual persuasion)is hardly an improvemnt over those attitudes when used by those infamous WHITE HETEROSEXUAL MALES.

Grown-up adults do not need either Mom to protect them or Dad to tell them what to do. They make those decisions on their own for their own reasons. Sometimes their decisions have nothing to do with either of their parents.

Holding back the years
Thinking of the fear I've had so long
When somebody hears
Listen to the fear that's gone
Strangled by the wishes of pater
Hoping for the arms of mater
Get to me the sooner or later

Holding back the years
Chance for me to escape from all I've known
Holding back the tears
Cause nothing here has grown
I've wasted all my tears
Wasted all those years
And nothing had the chance to be good
Nothing ever could yeah

I'll keep holding on

The Pope's Message to Muslims

Pope Benedict dares to appeal to Muslims to combat the spread of terrorism. Wretchard analyzes its potential significance.

Carnival of the Insanities

Image hosted by Time for the weekly insanity udate, where the insane, the bizarre, the ridiculous, and the completely absurd are highlighted for all to see! This has been a week of rare idiocy (as always!). Calling all bloggers! Be sure to send in your entries to the Carnival, which will be posted every Sunday. Entries need to be in by 8 pm on Saturday to make their way into the list that week. Only one post entry per blogger, please. Thanks for all the submissions. SO MANY INSANITIES! SO LITTLE TIME!

1. Oh goody. I can hardly wait.

2. Intelligent Falling Theory? Why not?

3. Bathing Beauties. More here (scroll down) .

4. The Presbyterian church and Al Qaeda agree that Tom Lehrer was right about the Jews.

5. Everyone knows he was such a gentleman with the ladies

6. A new documentary about Nessie ... and a £100,000 television stunt .

7. Undoubtedly one of those despicable plots by the evil Karl Rove to make her look bad. And, just for the record, it doesn't seem to me that she's having any problem being heard.

8. Maybe. But he also would have felt his pain.

9. Who says crime doesn't pay? Your tax dollars at work.

10. Just beat it.

11. The fox guarding the henhouse, MSM version.

12. News so fake, you'll think it comes from the MSM! How's that for a blog motto?

13. How low can the ACLU go? . See here, here and here for examples. Long ago, I thought they stood for something....

14. Bovine extradition?

15. There's not much more pathetic than an author who insults his readers. Talk about tacky.

16. Scenes from a Presidential Race and the Tour de Crawford.

17. Not historically significant.

18. Arnold--eat your heart out!

19. I'm waiting for the installment on gin rummy.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Just Wondering

Why is Cindy Sheehan's grief over her son's death more newsworthy than Beth Holloway Twitty's grief over the death of her daughter?

The former gets unlimited coverage because her grief can potentially hurt the President; and a free pass from the press on her somewhat controversial comments about Bush, the WOT, Iraq, Israel, and Afghanistan. Questioning her political views is considered "smearing" her.

Ms. Sheehan's non-stop media circus coverage is considered "appropriate" and "meaningful"; while coverage of Ms. Twitty's grief over the murder of her daughter on foreign soil is is "sensationalist journalism", and garners cheers and applause from journalists when a CNN anchor refuses to participate in a show highlighting the Holloway case. Isn't Natalee Holloway enough of a victim for the enlightened media? Are some mother's children not worthy of their attention?

Isn't a mother's grief morally unimpeachable?

Just wondering.

UPDATE: The Anchoress has answered my question.

UPDATE II: And read about the Left's "grief-based politics"; something I earlier referred to as "histrionics as a determinant for national policy."