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« February 2006 | Main | April 2006 »

March 30, 2006

What Are The Parisians Thinking?

I have to admit - I've gotten a bit of a chuckle from the recent riots taking place in the 'morally superior' France. It struck me that France's recent Muslim Riots and this week's Youth Riots were related someway, but I couldn't place my finger on how. Via OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary (please subscribe), the answer comes in an excerpt from a piece in the Times of London by columnist Theodore Dalrymple:

"The sight of millions of Frenchmen, predominantly young, demonstrating in deep sympathy and solidarity with themselves, is one that will cause amusement and satisfaction on the English side of the Channel. Everyone enjoys the troubles of his neighbours... Whether they know it or not, the people on the streets in France were demonstrating to keep the [predominantly Muslim] youth of the banlieues -- who recently so amused the world for an entire fortnight with their arsonist antics -- exactly where they are, namely hopeless, unemployed and feeling betrayed. For unless the French labor market is liberalized, they will never find employment and therefore integration into French society. You have only to speak to a few small businessmen or artisans in France -- the petits bourgeois so vehemently despised by the snobbish intellectuals -- to find out why this should be so. The French labor regulations make employment of untried persons completely uneconomic for them"

France, and Europe in general, are in a great deal of trouble, far more than America is. They are being destroyed from within. They just don't know it yet...

Reid Claims That Dems Will "Eliminate" Bin Laden

Let's use one of the Dems' own "Real Security" promises to show how empty their rhetoric is. Now I'm not an apologist for the military in regards to Bin Laden. They had their chance at Tora Bora, but blew it because they put the wishes of their Afghani co-fighters above our objectives. But the rhetoric coming out of the likes of Hillary, Reid, and one of my Senators Jack Reed are laughable. In their "Real Security" platform, as well as many, many speeches over the past year, they have stated the Bin Laden should be "eliminated" and have complained vigorously and questioned why such a seemingly simple thing hasn't already happened. The Democrats seem to think that they can just place an order with the military to "eliminate Bin Laden" and it will happen overnight. Well, Dems, war isn't like a video game. Let's look at the facts...

Bin Laden is most likely on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, on the Pakistani side. There's a reason for that. First, the border is about 2240 km (or about 1400 miles) long. Second, the majority of the region is mountainous. We're not talking about Vermont type ski mountains, but the 10,000 - 18,000 mile high versions. And the balance of the land is rocky and practically impassable.

So Bin Laden will gravitate towards the roughest terrain. He will stay on the Pakistani side, because he knows that Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is on very shaky ground with much of his own population, who would not look kindly (to say the least) on Musharraf for allowing foreign fighters into Pakistan to go after Bin Laden. Musharraf must also be prudent and secretive with his own military strikes, because those tribal peoples populating the region where Bin Laden is hiding are not his political allies either. In fact, Pakistan has virtually ignored the region for decades because whenever they sent their military in to do anything, the natives killed them.

The Pakistani military is not even close to being as capable or as sophisticated as the United States military, so what are the Democrats' suggesting that we do with our superior forces - go right in? If we did that en masse, on Pakistani territory, Musharraf would be overthrown in an instant. And the people taking control from him would be our enemy the Islamofacists - Bin Laden's supporters. Then those nuts would control Pakistan's nuclear weapons. That is almost a certain way to start a regional thermonuclear war. It's not a realistic option.

So let's then say that we have intelligence that Bin Laden is in a ten square mile area. Within that area are a few high mountains and many caves. It would take a huge military team to search that area and prevent anyone from escaping. And the chances of missing the one cave where Bin Laden is is great. So what do you do? We can't invade with the necessary forces unless we want to be in Islamabad for many years protecting Musharraf from overthrow. Bombing would be ineffective unless we had the precise location, and again it is another country's territory. I suppose, if you didn't care what happened after, and if you knew the approximate area where Bin Laden was, you could lob a few nuclear bombs at him and eliminate the mountains completely. Is that what the Democrats are suggesting?

The solution is good intelligence and small secretive surgical strikes with special forces. The Democrats (with help from not a few Republicans in Congress along the way) crippled the intelligence community starting with the Church Committee in 1975. It will take a decade to get it operating properly. And much of the intelligence community, especially within the State Department, is more interested in protecting their turf and defeating Bush than getting better. I've been a proponent of giving the State Department and the CIA what would effectively be a personnel enema, flushing out all of the bad ones. Start from scratch, or as from scratch as you can. Without something like that, the intelligence community might never get to be where we need it to be, outside of the Defense Department. But it hasn't been done yet, and probably never will be. So getting the intelligence community up to where we need it will take probably longer than ten years, if it ever gets better at all.

We are trying as hard as we can to get Bin Laden. But our options are few. We need precise intelligence, but the same Democrats who are complaining about not getting Bin Laden are the ones who almost irreparably broke our intelligence infrastructure in the first place, and are allies of the people within the State Department and the CIA who have been undermining the Bush Administration since Day 1. For the sake of our country, we can't let those people win. They've had their chance before, and they've blown it. 3000 Americans died on 9/11 because of them and their school of "realism".

What would seem to be an easy proposition - "eliminate Bin Laden" - is not as simple as it seems if you look at all of the facts. The Democrats hope you won't. They could do no better that the Administration on this, and probably, with people like Murtha calling for a retreat, alot worse.

The Democrats' "Real Security" Platform

The Democrats' have come out with their National Security platform for the 2006 elections, entitled "Real Security". It seems to be the same plan that the Republicans' have, only they're actually going about and doing it. The Democrats have apparently taken objectives that everybody can agree with and the country is already working on, and claimed it as their own. Whereas the Bush Administration is actually going out and doing what the Democrats are talking about (while being constantly criticized by the Dems) like fighting the War on Terror, "Real Security" is just a collection of catchy slogans, with no concrete plan behind it that differs what is currently going on. Besides, the Dems have Rep. Jack Murtha in front calling the Army "broken" and saying that we should get our troops out of Iraq immediately. This merely encourages our enemies to hunker down and wait us out.

Even Democrat cheerleaders such as Ron Brownstein of the LA Times are unimpressed:

"Sharpening their election-year message, leading Democrats on Wednesday released a plan that promised to strengthen America's security but offered few details about how they would achieve their sweeping goals.

On Iraq, the plan — echoing language recently approved by Congress — said Democrats would "ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition … with Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country."

But it established no timetables, or targets, for reducing the U.S. military commitment there.

The Democrats also pledged to rebuild the military, "eliminate" terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, improve domestic security, free America from reliance on foreign oil by 2020 and pressure Iraq's feuding political factions to reach consensus on a national unity government.

The agenda "will take America in a new direction, one that is tough and smart," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said."

This would be humorous, if it were not so sad...

 

Free Speech for Some

This in from Tim Blair via Instapundit:

"Borders Books chickens out:

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.

Times change. In 2001, Borders hosted events to highlight the tragedy of banned books:

Borders Books, Music, and Cafe, 4030 Commonwealth Ave., hosted a reading in honor of banned books week. This was the first in a series of three readings in the Eau Claire area to increase awareness about banned books. Nine area residents read excerpts from their favorite banned books.

One of the readers, English lecturer Elizabeth Preston, said at the time: “Where is the line between banning a book and banning a group of people from reading? Who is in charge of drawing that line?” Beats me. Ask Borders."

March 28, 2006

My Word on Illegal Aliens

First of all, forget the new terminology that liberals have been using in recent years. The people that we are talking about are illegal aliens. Not immigrants, because they didn't do it legally. Now, down to the nitty gritty. My problem with illegal aliens has always been the fact that the first law that they encounter when they enter the United States they break. Why should we expect that they would adhere to any other law on our books. By granting amnesty to illegal aliens, we encourage them to break the law. In fact, we are rewarding them - placing them ahead of people who have played by the rule of law and are waiting to immigrate to the United States through legal channels.

Forget about McCain's claim that the Senate proposed bill isn't amnesty - it is. You're asking them to pay a fine ($2000) and not requiring them to leave the country and go through the normal legal application process. You are rewarding them for breaking the law.

And here's the real kicker - the last time an amnesty was offered, millions ignored it. And many more millions came into the country illegally after that, because they assumed that there would never be another real attempt to enforce immigration, and that even if there was, there would be another amnesty program.

Here's the question that McCain should be asked - how long do we keep open his program, and what should we do with the people who don't sign up. Round them up and deport them, right? If you think that's going to happen...

New Iraq Documents

The Pajamas Media site has an entire section dedicated to the new Iraq documents being posted on the web by the Pentagon at the Foreign Military Studies Office website. Most of the documents have not been translated yet (which calls into question the entire NYT article that I posted about below - if the docs haven't been translated, how do you know what their worth is?). Various bloggers have been translating the documents. They are then double-checked by other translators. The results are then posted at IRAQFILES. Here's an interesting one, Document: ISGZ-2004-028179, just released, that describes meetings between Iraqi officials and a French and a German businessman who had close contact with the French and German governments. Consider it a "backdoor" meeting, designed so as to not suggest an "official" meeting between Iraq, France, and Germany. A few interesting excerpts:

"2. They met with Mr. Ghazi Faysal the chairman of the department First Political Department in the foreign ministry and they spoke with him about the following subjects:

A. The German Holtzer confirmed that Chancellor Shroeder does not like the Leader President but he still oppose the war and it is because of his stand on this he won the latest elections and in case his stand changes this will lead to his loss of the Chancellery and that he hot replacement is ready to win the position and he is the economy minister the German Clement from the ruling Socialist German Party.

B. He mentioned that a meeting in Beijing in the beginning of this month was held between the Prime minister of China and the German Chancellor Schroeder in the occasion of the opening project for the fast train and the latter was asked about the information that was obtained by the Chinese intelligence and it says that Iraq has moved his mass of destruction weapon to Syria and the German Chancellor told him that the German intelligence did not indicate this. And after two days the US state secretary went to Damascus to check on this with the Syrian government that in turn denied this news..

C. He suggested the idea of bringing the Pope John Paul II to visit the country because this visit cause Bush Junior to lose his balance and that he has good relation with the originally German (Ratzinger) in the Vatican and that the latter has influence has influence through waving the card of the financial support that Germany give to the Vatican and it is estimated to be (around 6 billions dollars yearly).

D. He indicated that Chirac became a honorary President of Europe not through elections but through popularity since most of the countries of Europe oppose the war but this man is not courageous and he needs the support of Iraq and for example present what proves that his weapons of mass destruction were destroyed.

C. He express the readiness of French and German companies to execute projects in Iraq as long as the necessary moneys are guaranteed to execute these projects because its revenue decreased lately due the decrease of oil exports."

All of it is interesting, but note the part in boldface. The Chinese had intelligence that Iraq had transferred its WMD programs to Syria. When the Chinese Prime Minister asked the German Chancellor about it, the Germans said that had no proof of it. Of course the Germans would say that, because if they acknowledged having such proof it would leak out, and they would no longer have any rational to prevent military action against Iraq. German Chancellor Shroeder then mentioned Colin Powell's trip to Syria where the Secretary of State asked the Syrian President about this - of course Syria denied it.

Recently a former Iraqi General came out and said that he had first hand knowledge of the transfer of WMDs to Syria because he was involved with it. It seems that the Chinese knew as well...

The only definitive proof will be finding the actual weapons. This document suggests that that day may come soon.

NYT Gives Media's Opinion on New Saddam Tapes

I was surprised this morning when I saw a piece in the middle of the A section of the Providence Journal that discussed the new Iraq Documents that have been put out on the web after much pressure from conservatives and Republicans. This represented the first time to my knowledge that the ProJo had acknowledged the existence of the documents, and the fact that you could view them yourselves on the web. The story is not to be found on the ProJo's website, unfortunately.

The story, from the New York Times, was dismissive of the validity of the documents, and quoted an "anonymous" senior intelligence official official as saying that they prove nothing. It then makes it appear as if this is a "right-wing blog" driven story, suggesting that the documents have no relevance and many are forgeries. I expected that - the NYT is going to stick to its version of the Iraq story through the election, facts be damned.

"Anonymous" senior intelligence officials and State Department officials have been undermining the Bush Administration since 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq War in order to cover up their own malfeasance. These are career bureaucrats who feel that they are the ones who should control the country's foreign policy. The fact that they have been wrong 100% of the time since Iran during the Carter Administration would cause normal human beings to reevaluate their worldview, but this is about power, and nothing else. They are very invested in the "Saddam had no WMD and was not a threat" storyline, almost as invested as the media, so to get them to make snide comments about the existence of this uninvestigated documentation is just par for the course. I wouldn't be surprised if this intelligence official is the one who requested this article.

Nathan Goulding at NRO's Media Blog has more on this, including a link to the story on the Times' website. Goulding does a very good job of fisking the Times story, and the motives behind it. He also includes a comment from the one blogger in the story, and neatly contrasts that with the "anonymous" senior intelligence official:

"I found this article in today's NYT reporting on the thousands of Iraqi documents recently released to the public. According to the NYT — er, the experts — this is just a political move to boost President Bush's poll numbers.

The article is scornful of the idea from the outset:

[A]n unusual experiment in public access is giving anyone with a computer a chance to play intelligence analyst and second-guess the government.


Are you telling me that now I can second-guess the government by myself? I don't know — I'm so used to the NYT doing it for me.

But there's no need to second-guess in this case, the NYT assures us. After all, an anonymous "senior intelligence official" says there's nothing to these documents. Besides, the only people who seem interested in the documents are those crazy conservative bloggers:

On his blog last week, Ray Robison, a former Army officer from Alabama, quoted a document reporting a supposed scheme to put anthrax into American leaflets dropped in Iraq and declared: "Saddam's W.M.D. and terrorist connections all proven in one document!!!"


I spoke with Ray Robison this morning. The NYT left a few things out:

- Ray's team at Iraq Survey Group worked to digitize, file, and translate audio and video for the released documents.
- He has a BS in pre-med biology from the University of Tampa.
- He served in the Gulf War, and was deployed as a senior signal officer with the 101st to Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission.
- He currently works as a senior military operations research analyst with a major defense contractor involving next-generation missile development.
This is a far cry from the loony-toony crazy-conservative blogger portrayed in the NYT.


Asked if the NYT painted him fairly, Ray said, "I thought it was pretty unfair. They quote [the senior intelligence officer] and let him give his reasons, but don't give any reasons why I say the things I do. It's just a headline, no reasons."

In fact, the NYT never addresses the research done by Stephen F. Hayes of The Weekly Standard, and instead picks on the easy target: bloggers. Remember when Dick Durbin tried that tactic?

The NYT also brings up the issue of "quality control" by quoting Michael Scheuer as "a former Central Intelligence Agency specialist on terrorism." Did the NYT forget about Scheuer's anti-Bush book Imperial Hubris released in the middle of the 2004 campaign?

When I think "quality control" and "blogosphere," the CBS memos and the NYT fake Abu Ghraib photo come to mind. If I recall correctly it was the blogosphere calling out the MSM, not vice versa.

Ray Robison had this to say about quality control: "You don't need a quality control when you have Saddam Hussein saying, 'We did gas the Iranians.'" I couldn't agree more."

March 27, 2006

Earmarks Not Legally Part of Budget?!

More often than not, the spending items that bust the budget (aside from items such as war expenditures, etc) are earmarks (specific spending requests) that are attached to bills by members of Congress, often as a way to avoid debate on them as would happen if they were included in the budget bill itself. I thought that as they were added to a bill that was subsequently signed into law, that they were then legal obligations - the money had to be spent on them. According to Robert Novak this morning, I am wrong. The earmarks are not legally binding, and they can be disregarded by the various agencies that are supposed to act on them. Bush should instruct his agency directors to delay, if not ignore, all of them. While this would really piss off individual Senators and Congressmen, it would play very well to the public. Bush should come out and say that if members of Congress want money to be spent on a particular cause, they should submit it to the regular budget, where its merits can be debated fairly. Instead, these earmarks are added literally in the dead of night, and no-one ever knows what's really going on. If Bush does this in a very public fashion, there will be short-term hell to pay from certain members of Congress. But if Bush is as public with the identities of those members of Congress who oppose him on this, or who vindictively try to impede something because of this, the public will turn on those members in a second. From Novak's column:

"WASHINGTON -- Before they left town for the St. Patrick's Day recess, 10 U.S. senators gathered around President Bush at the White House to hear him make the case for a line-item veto. But Sen. Jim DeMint, a freshman Republican from South Carolina, had a better idea for the president: Why not instruct your department heads to ignore the earmarks Congress adds to your budget?

DeMint was not encouraging Bush to take the law into his own hands and defy statutes passed by Congress. A March 6 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said more than 95 percent of all earmarks were not written into law but were merely contained in the reports of congressional committees and legislative managers. "Earmarks that appear in committee reports and the statements of managers do not legally bind agencies," said the report.

The president did not respond to DeMint at the meeting, and that signifies opposition to the idea. Administration officials have flinched from any such confrontation with Congress. But this exercise of executive power by a president who has yet to use his veto would go a long way toward controlling runaway federal spending. In contrast to a dubious quest for a line-item veto, Bush with a brief order could change the climate of spending on Capitol Hill."

I don't agree on Novak's take on the line-item veto (I think the way Bush has proposed it would meet Supreme Court scrutiny), but I agree strongly with everything else. Bush can take the position that "Hey, I've been extremely accommodating to Congress's wishes by not vetoing anything yet, but enough is enough! I implore Congress to stop taking advantage of the situation, starting now." Those words would be electoral gold...

Moussaoui's Real Plans

I received a "Breaking News" e-mail this morning from ABC News. It expressed the storyline that the media is using on Moussaoui's case - he doesn't deserve to die because he wasn't involved in the 9/11 Plot:

"Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

CONFESSED AL QAEDA CONSPIRATOR ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI TAKES THE STAND, SAYING HE WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE A SEPT. 11 HIJACKER"

ABC News apparently wrote the story before listening to Moussaoui's testimony. Here's part of the AP story on what Moussaoui actually testified to:

"Moussaoui Says He Was to Hijack 5th Plane
Mar 27 3:58 PM US/Eastern

By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Associated Press Writer

ALEXANDRIA, Va.

Al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui testified Monday that he and would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid were supposed to hijack a fifth airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, and fly it into the White House.

Moussaoui's testimony on his own behalf stunned the courtroom. His account was in stark contrast to his previous statements in which he said the White House attack was to come later if the United States refused to release an Egyptian sheik imprisoned on separate terrorist convictions."

I had (stupidly) believed most of the news media's stories about Moussaoui's case - that he was going to be a terrorist, but that he was not supposed to be a part of 9/11 and had no operational knowledge of that attack. He was going to be a part of a follow up attack after 9/11/01. Because of that, I was leaning against the death penalty, as the media wanted. I should never listen to the media without checking out the facts (or as much of them as I can) before making up my mind. Moussaoui had the information to, at the very least, warn us about Bin Laden's attack - and perhaps even to prevent it. He chose not to share that. For that he should die.

 

March 22, 2006

Military Deaths in Perspective

Via Instapundit, this post over at RedState.org on military deaths since 1980. It is remarkable. The fact is that the military suffers many deaths each year even in "peacetime":

"On the third anniversary of the Iraq war, the MSM keeps bombarding us with stories and statistics trying to compare this war to the carnage in Vietnam, trying to make us think that US soldiers are dying at an alarming number due to Bush's failures.
While every lost serviceman and servicewoman is certainly tragic and should be mourned, the actual statistics tell quite a different tale from the MSM and Democratic doom-and-gloom outlook. Comparing the numbers of lost US military personnel to past years, and past presidential terms, may even be a shock to supporters of the war.

Take a look at the actual US Military Casualty figures since 1980.  If you do the math, you Will find quite a few surprises.  First of all, let's compare numbers of US Military personnel that died during the first term of the last four presidents.

George W. Bush . . .  . . 5187  (2001-2004)
Bill  Clinton . . . . . . . . . 4302  (1993-1996) 
George H.W. Bush . . . . 6223  (1989-1992)
Ronald Reagan . . . . . .  9163  (1981-1984)

Even during the (per MSM) utopic peacetime of Bill Clinton's term, we lost 4302 service personnel.  H.W. Bush and Reagan actually lost significantly more personnel while never fighting an extensive war, much less a simultaneous war on two theaters  (Iraq and Afghanistan).  Even the dovish Carter lost more people during his last year in office, in 1980 lost 2392, than W. has lost in any single year of his presidency. (2005 figures are not available but I would wager the numbers would be slightly higher than 2004.)

In 2004, more soldiers died outside of Iraq and Afghanistan than died inside these two war zones (900 in these zones, 987 outside these zones).  The reason is that there are usually a fair number that die every year in training accidents, as well as a small number of illness and suicide.  Yet the MSM would make you think that US soldiers are dying at a high number in these zones, and at a significantly higher number than in past years or under past presidents.  This is all simply outright lies and distortion.

Taken all together, it is clear to see that the military is actually doing a fine job and suffering very low casualty rates.  It also shows that our enemies are not quite as efficient as the MSM and world press would like them to be.

It would seem that Bush and Rumsfield are actually doing a wonderful job in Iraq and, although there have been setbacks, the war is far from the tragedy the press wants us to believe."

As one of Instapundit's readers pointed out, it really is amazing that even with two wars that liberated over 30,000,000 people, and with the daily negative pounding on the US casualties in these wars, only 900 more active duty soldiers died in Bush's first term than in Clinton's first term.

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