August 23, 2002


: Not satisfied with choosing the losing side in the last Gulf War, the Palestinian Authority has once again sided with Saddam. Remind me again why we should help these people establish a state to call their own?
Posted by B. Preston at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Check out this interesting article over at UPI:

Sept. 11 revealed an ugly House of Saud secret. The scheme was brilliant in its simplicity. Saudi's fanatical Wahhabi clergy was allocated untold billions during the past 20 years to turn the Koran into a book of holy war against the United States and Israel and spread its teachings in mosques and Koranic schools in much of Asia, Africa, Western Europe and North America. In return, the Saudi clergy agreed to keep the 25,000-strong royal family out of its crosshairs. What the House of Saud still cannot accept is that it has sown the seeds of its own destruction. It is now reassessing its strategic relationship with the United States.

Washington's reassessment of that relationship started after Sept. 11. It is now almost complete.

That's the punch line, but there are lots of nuggets buried in the rest of the article. Tremble, House of Saud, tremble.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 22, 2002


Scott Ritter was, until 1998, the chief weapons inspector enforcing the UN mandates against Iraq. A couple of days ago he came out blasting the idea of attacking Iraq, arguing that Iraq posed no threat--that it has no WMDs, that is has no WMD program and is in no way a threat to the US or the world. He says the whole idea of taking out Saddam, the man he was once responsible for keeping to the straight and narrow, is more about domestic politics and settling old scores than any real threat.

But in August of 1998, Ritter sang an entirely different tune. Appearing on the McNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on August 31, 1998, Ritter was interviewed by Elizabeth Farnsworth regarding why he had resigned from the inspection team. When asked about Saddam's weapons, Ritter had this to say:

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Mr. Ritter, does Iraq still have prescribed weapons?

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Iraq still has prescribed weapons capability. There needs to be a careful distinction here. Iraq today is challenging the special commission to come up with a weapon and say where is the weapon in Iraq, and yet part of their efforts to conceal their capabilities, I believe, have been to disassemble weapons into various components and to hide these components throughout Iraq. I think the danger right now is that without effective inspections, without effective monitoring, Iraq can in a very short period of time measure the months, reconstitute chemical biological weapons, long-range ballistic missiles to deliver these weapons, and even certain aspects of their nuclear weaponization program.

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And is it your contention that without a significant and realistic threat of military action, Iraq will not allow the investigations to begin again, beyond just the monitoring that's already going on?

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Well, in this I would only echo the words made by the Secretary-General and other personnel back in February, who said that you couldn't have had the February MOU without the real and credible threat of military force. That's an obvious statement. You can't expect to enforce the law unless you have the means to carry out the enforcement.

So back in 1998, when he was actually part of the inspections program and had access to all the team's data, Ritter not only believed that Saddam still had a program, but that he had an effective means of concealing it, and would keep the program going unless stopped by the credible threat of force--which is at least part of the reason the US is now threatening to invade. Ritter was then sharply critical of the Clinton Administration for its half-baked efforts to keep the inspection regime going. In fact, in the same interview he said that he was resigning to protest that administration's lack of leadership:

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: What I want to accomplish from this resignation is to highlight the fact that it's incumbent upon the United States to exercise the leadership to turn this problem around. If the world wants to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, as the world has said they want to do in accordance with the Security Council's resolution, then we're headed down the wrong path. We're not going to succeed if we continue to move in this direction. And by resigning in such a public fashion, I hope to expose the fallacies of this administration's policies and encourage a debate in which this administration might recognize that they are, in fact, heading in the wrong path, and seek to find ways to get us out of this mess, to turn the policy around, and get Iraq moving towards effective disarmament in accordance with the resolutions passed by the Security Council.

Since that time Ritter hasn't set foot in Iraq, at least not to look for WMDs. So why now does he say that Iraq doesn't have a WMD program, and why accuse the Bush Administration of showing the leadership that he said was lacking in the Clinton team?

I ask again, who owns Scott Ritter and what did they pay for him?

UPDATE: John LeBoutillier says that Ritter's former employer, the CIA, still owns him and is using him to discredit the pro-war push. Maybe, but why would CIA chief George Tenet try to discredit something the President (his boss) clearly wants as a way to keep his own job? Doesn't ring true to me; in fact, it seems counterproductive. The connection between Ritter and Shakir al-Khafaji, an Iraqi-American business man who is apparently financing a Ritter documentary about Iraq to the tune of $400k, is curious and may offer a partial answer. Whatever the reason, it's clear that Ritter has sold his soul to someone and therefore isn't to be trusted by anyone. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democrat, is using Ritter to push his own anti-war agenda, which after examining Ritter makes the anti-war case all the less credible. If the clearly compromised Ritter is the best they can come up with, they've got nothing of substance to bring to the debate.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


: Am I the only one who just gets so tired of this nonsense--US media companies bankrolling anti-US propaganda?
Posted by B. Preston at 02:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 21, 2002


: Via some "source," Iraq now claims it wanted to arrest him for his anti-Saddam activities. Nidal may well have had anti-Saddam ideas--he was nothing if not loyal to himself first and money second, with "causes" falling in somewhere lower, but I don't believe this account for a second. I think it's much more likely that he was, for one reason or another, inconvenient for the Iraqi government to have around. Maybe he knew too much about past operations, or 9-11, or just the fact that they had let him roost in Baghdad for so long was reason enough to kill him. In any case, Iraq has apparently rid the world of a terrible fiend. But we still have to rid the world of the terrible fiend that leads Iraq, so Nidal's death doesn't really change anything. It's good that he's dead; too bad we couldn't get to him and question him first though.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 10:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: A little sidebar from the ranch in Crawford:

The president was driving his white Ford pickup truck when he and Rumsfeld, riding shotgun and looking out of place in a jacket and tie, bounced down the dirt road to a White House lectern set up in the dusty gravel.

"Would you like to explain why you're wearing a suit," Bush, in cowboy boots, teased his defense secretary.

"I don't have any sport clothes," replied Rumsfeld, who headed from the ranch to the Army's Fort Hood for a town hall meeting with more than 1,100 soldiers.

Those of you who aren't from Texas or a similarly manly state may not appreciate this story in its fullness, but in Bush you have a genuine guy. Not some lip-biting, pain-feeling liberal, not some mamby-pamby we-coulda-got-Usama-but-he-wasn't-home idiot, not some aw shucks peanut farming buffoon, but a real live guy running the show. And thank God for it.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


: Since the families of 9-11 victims have decided to sue Saudi interests to the tune of a trillion dollars, a group of Saudis has decided to sue the US for, well, being the US. The suit alleges that some Saudis were denied student visas (probably true, and a good thing), that some have been jailed without charges being filed against them (probably true, and legal under material witness warrants, and a good thing), and for causing psychological damage to Saudi citizens. Not physical damage, such as incinerating them in hijacked airplanes or collapsing buildings mind you, just the psychic trauma of having to study in England instead of New England. The poor dears.

Saudi Arabia--a nation of whiners.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


, and why they need to be stopped is the subject of this scholarly rant by the inestimable Susanna Cornett. Check it out--she's done her homework.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Here's my back-of-the-envelope calculation of why Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein deserves a Hellfire missile right between the eyes. He's a warmonger's warmonger. The guy has attacked two of his neighbors, unprovoked, and threatened a third. The two he has already attacked are Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. After the invasion of Kuwait, he positioned his troops along the Iraq-Kuwait border with Saudi Arabia to threaten them. What was his aim in these wars? In the case of Iran, Saddam used the pretext of border disputes and his perception of Iranian weakness to invade and expand Iraq's territory, but in the case of Kuwait and the threat against Saudi Arabia, it was oil. He wanted oil fields he didn't have. Had we let him keep Kuwait, he'd have been able to effect oil prices on his own giving him undue economic power over us; had his threat against Saudi Arabia stood, he'd have had serious sway over the economy of the entire world. He could also have used his newfound leverage to create no end of mischief, from peeling away Israel's only two non-enemies in the region to using his newfound wealth to bankroll terrorism against us on an unthinkable scale (yes, unthinkable even after 9-11).

He has it in for Israel. I've heard quite a few say lately that Saddam would never attack Israel. Why, they say, don't you know Israel has by far the strongest military force in the region? Don't you know that Israel has 400 nukes and has hinted she'll use them if threatened? Don't you know Saddam would be a fool to attack such a bellicose neighbor? The problem with that thinking is that it ignores history--Saddam has already attacked Israel, lobbing SCUD missiles at Tel Aviv during the Gulf War. He'll do it again, but next time if we don't stop him he may have found a way to attach a small nuke to one of his missiles. And he may not be satisfied with just attacking Israel. Which leads me to the third reason to get Saddam.

He's a nut-case looking to get a big weapon and kill lots of people with it. He's already proven this one true, too, first against Iran and later against the Kurds in northern Iraq. In both cases he used poison gas, mainly because he didn't have anything bigger (thanks largely to Israel's pre-emptive destruction of an Iraqi nuclear plant in 1982). After the Gulf War, Saddam was supposed to submit to weapons inspections to make sure he wasn't restarting his WMD programs. He kicked the inspectors out in 1998, and those same inspectors testifying before Congress said they believed he could have begun producing WMDs within six months. That was nearly four years ago. Imagine what he may have accomplished in that generous amount of time. And it may be that once he has such a weapon in hand, he decides that it's too dangerous for him to use it against us himself. Enter the remnants of al Qaeda, which would only be too willing to use it for him.

The fourth reason is history. Not necessarily Saddam's history, just history in general. The Versailles Treaty which ended World War I forbade Germany to re-arm. When Hitler came to power, he at first quietly and then flagrantly violated the treaty, turning Germany into a serious military power in a few short years. Europe had the piece of paper that said he shouldn't do it, but lacked the will to give that paper teeth. Result: World War II, millions dead, holocaust, ending with atomic bombs. All, to some extent, because Europe lost its collective backbone for a couple years. The world again has a piece of paper that should keep a mad dictator in a box, this time in the form of the Gulf War cease-fire and UN weapons inspection mandates, but because much of the world lacks the will to enforce that paper, the madman has had years to re-arm and re-build his WMD programs. If history is to be our guide, Saddam must go.

And the fifth reason: psychology. The Islamists are currently running jihads against us and Israel largely because they think they can win. It's not despair or poverty that's creating these killers--it's hope. Take away their hope to win, and you very likely take away the will to fight. Doing that starts with taking out terror kingpins like Saddam Hussein. The Islamists are fanatics, and the only way to deal with fanatics is to defeat them. You can't reason with them, you can't compromise with you--you just have to defeat them. Knocking off Saddam Hussein amounts to defeating one of terrorism's biggest sponsors. It will change the mindset of much of the Middle East pretty much over night, in much the same way that nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused an attitude adjustment to take place in Tokyo in 1945. Emperor Hirohito went from being a divine ruler to just another guy in a business suit, and a fanatical enemy became a steady friend in time--because we defeated them in no uncertain terms and were then magnanimous in victory. If we do the same thing here, we may just get the same results.

And the sixth and final reason to get Saddam is because the status quo is unacceptable. Middle Eastern regimes that call us friend are funding terror behind our backs. They're plotting against us, training people to kill us and spreading their virulent form of Islam across the globe, hacking and enslaving innocent people along the way. They must be stopped, and stopping them necessarily means upsetting the status quo. The status quo gets our people killed when they show up for work, endangers our interests and the interests of our allies around the world, and will probably end up in a flattened American city if left alone. Getting Saddam upsets the status quo in no uncertain terms, and along with disrupting future terror will probably cause a wave of change in the region. Whether that change ultimately ends up to benefit us or not is impossible to say at this point, but the certainty of harm arising from the status quo makes it untenable.

Any questions?

UPDATE: Here's a seventh reason--Iraq's 4 to 5 million exiles (out of a total population of about 23 million) are almost unanimously in favor of toppling Saddam.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:12 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


certainly makes the world a little bit better and safer place to live in. From this Michael Ledeen story in the NY Sun recapping Nidal's life, we may yet learn of a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11, via the late terrorist:

It may well be that the Abu Nidal Organization still serves as a
significant hub for the terrorist groups, and as a conduit between the
terrorist groups and Saddam’s intelligence apparatus in Baghdad. There is
one suggestive link to the September 11 attacks, for one of the suicide
terrorists — Ziyad Samir Al-Jarrah — lived for five years in Germany with
a relative named Assem Al-Jarrah. Assem suddenly left Germany two months
before September 11, and it seems that he had long served as a Stasi
agent, liaising with the Abu Nidal Organization. To date, Assem has not
been found, despite international efforts to locate him.

That's a quote from former CIA agent Duane Clarridge's book A Spy For All Seasons. More than anyone else, Clarridge is responsible for the US learning as much as it eventually knew about Abu Nidal and his terrorist organization, and for that organization's eventual self-destruction. Say, you don't suppose Iraq took out Nidal for some reason besides his links to Kuwait, do you?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 20, 2002


Rep. Cynthia McKinney has been defeated in Georgia. Well, Majette leads 61-39 with about 88% of the precincts reporting. Unless the dead are voting in Georgia, McKinney will soon be the ex-CongressCommunist.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:21 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


: The FBI tonight put out a bulleting seeking Saud A.S. Al-Rasheed, who is a suspected associate of the 9-11 hijackers. His current whereabouts are unknown. He is...wait for it....a Saudi. I bet you're as surprised as I am.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


My latest bit is up on National Review.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 19, 2002


has posted the promised conclusion to his observations of Saudi Arabia. Sadly, though, he's decided to hang up the blog, citing all the nasty email he seems to generate by speaking his mind. I can sympathize to a degree, having run into a nut or two in the months I've been running the JYB. It happens--if your site attracts enough attention, you're bound to run across a whack job before too long. I hope the RWT comes back. He's a good writer and seems like a pretty interesting fellow.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


: If you're as interested in keeping track of oppressed Christians around the world as I am, is a site worth visiting, as it represents a voice we seldom hear from the Middle East. The Copts are Egypt's Christians, and as such are persecuted by the Egyptian government as well as the radical Islamic groups scattered throughout the country. The Copts also happen to represent one of the longest lines of Christians in the world, dating back to the first or second century.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 06:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


If you're Maryland Lt Gov Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the answer has to be yes. First, there were those polls that showed her campaign for governor tanking in what should be a safe Democrat state. Then there's The Washington Post, which has been very thorough in its coverage of the brewing scandal in Townsend's midst--namely, that a $49 million annual fund under her direct supervision, called the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, may have been acting as a political slush fund. On Sunday, the Post ran a somewhat ambiguous editorial calling for the current FBI probe to go forward. That editorial contained what is the nugget of the allegations against the fund, and Townsend's management of it:

A former spokeswoman for the agency, Margaret T. Burns, says she was assigned for seven months last year to examine Ms. Townsend's record for actions, or inaction, that could harm her in the campaign for governor. She says she received an annual salary of $68,000 from a U.S. Justice Department drug abuse research grant awarded to the university. Although her job was classified as a faculty research associate, Ms. Burns says she rarely set foot on campus and was told to work at home. Townsend staffers have described Ms. Burns, a Republican, as a disgruntled employee whose job was to review the effectiveness of grant initiatives.

In the very same edition of the Post, this story offers up a few more details, including:

A second round of subpoenas came out this month, seeking records related to more than $15.5 million in federal grants awarded to the University of Maryland-College Park.

University officials said the grants included millions of dollars they never requested, which the crime-control office instructed them to use for the salaries of 36 employees who work directly for the agency at its headquarters in Towson.

All told, the university employed 68 people at the anti-crime agency's request over the past two years, many with vague titles, including consultant and grant reconciliator, records show.

Other funds awarded to the university were used to hire a Web site developer to "maintain the Lt. Governor's presence on the Web" ($38,000); to hire a consulting firm to "measure grantee perceptions about GOCCP service delivery" ($106,000); and to lease cars for crime-control office employees.

Most of that seems suspicious to me, but in particular the "web presence" expenditure seems unjustifiable as an anti-crime measure. Townsend's defense seems to ring hollow too, running along two lines: That the investigation is "political garbage" (the investigating US Attorney was recommended for his post by her Republican rival Bob Ehrlich, though before he announced he'd seek the office), and that Al Gore's infamous "no controlling legal authority" may apply to her fund:

In an interview Friday, Townsend said that the crime-control office has not used federal funds to burnish her image or to reward political allies. She has written to the state attorney general seeking a review of "the legal parameters" governing state use of federal grants.

"I would ask that you begin by providing a letter of advice concerning the Office of Crime Control and Prevention's longstanding practice of awarding grants to the University of Maryland," Townsend wrote. "To my knowledge, no one has articulated a legal theory under which these longstanding partnerships would be an inappropriate, let alone illegal, use of federal grant funds." (italics mine)

Also reminscent of scandals past, Margaret T. Burns, the woman who says she was hired to keep watch on Townsend's image but paid by the anti-crime fund, says that the Townsend campaign is trying to tear up her reputation as a form of damage control, leaking portions of her personnel file (which if true, is certainly illegal) to the press to smear her. This bit centers on an email that was leaked to the press in which Burns describes her decision to leave as difficult, and makes no mention of her distaste and unease with the political nature of the job. As for the "disgruntled employee" angle, the source of that is easily identified--Townsend campaign chairman Alan Fleischmann and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend herself:

Burns, who had been the agency's spokeswoman, has said she was given a new assignment in May 2001 by Alan H. Fleischmann, then Townsend's chief of staff and now her campaign chairman. Burns said that Fleischmann instructed her to comb through Townsend's speeches to see if she had any "political liabilities" that could haunt her during her campaign for governor.

Fleischmann has denied the accusations.

Although the e-mail indicates that Burns left on good terms, Fleischmann and other Townsend staffers have described her as a disaffected worker who quit because she was angry that she wasn't given a different job.

Yesterday, Townsend echoed those statements, saying only: "I clearly think she's a disgruntled employee."

Which makes me wonder...if Townsend knew enough about Burns to know she was "disgruntled," didn't she know enough about the fund itself to know how the money was being spent?

But the troubles don't stop there. A few months ago, Townsend selected retired Admiral Charles Lawson as her running mate to fill the Lt Gov slot, to the collective yawn of the entire state. Well, except the black community, which is miffed that she selected a white guy. Lawson reportedly doesn't make speeches in predominantly black areas these days, and doesn't make appearances with Townsend when she travels to black areas, since he serves to remind them of the slight. Add to that the constant mixed messages coming from the campaign--one day Townsend is offering the Secretary of State post to a prominent black pol, the next day her campaign denies it.

To try and fix all this, the Townsend camp is bringing on more consultants and image makers Al Gore needed to sink his run in 2000. Yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity. And these days Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's press clipbook is filling up with it.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Time magazine reports that Enron was much closer to the Clinton Administration than any Democrat has thus far been willing to admit. NewsMax fills in some of the details that Time forgot.

Be careful what you dig for, Democrats. Blowbacks....
Posted by B. Preston at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: This is why an awful lot of parents don't want their kids "educated" in public schools. That the NEA would try to rewrite 9-11 within a year is inexcusable.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


was the world's most famous terrorist, Abu Nidal was probably the most feared and dangerous terrorist of them all. If this report is true, he was found dead a few days ago in Baghdad under mysterious circumstances.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: One Susan Rockwell of New Hampshire is suing the Catholic Church for not ordaining women. I had the displeasure of hearing this woman describe the merits of her case, which amounted to "It's unfair! Whaaaa!" while driving about Baltimore Saturday morning. If she ends up arguing the case herself (she is a lawyer), I don't think she has a prayer of winning. During the radio talk show of which she was a guest, one caller, who happened to be a woman, rhetorically beat Rockwell about the head and neck for several minutes regarding the nature of Christianity, separation of church and state, etc. All Rockwell could do was say "But it's unfair!" several times, and then finally shouted "Next caller!" That's when the obviously amused host stepped in, reminded her that bringing in the next caller was his choice and not hers, went to a commercial and came back with another caller that just did the same thing. Rockwell eventually retreated to the "everyone agrees with me" defense--she tried to argue that her case has merit because, as she put it, "the overwhelming majority of Catholics" agrees with her. The host indicated that his phone bank was jammed with callers who wanted to verbally cane her, which he subsequently allowed them to do for a few more minutes. "It's unfair! Whaaa!" became her battle cry. It made for entertaining radio, but was kind of painful to listen to.

She was, in short, the most inarticulate, ill-informed advocate, both on the law as well as on the Christian faith, I have ever heard. But her case is a dangerous one if she ends up winning, since she not only wants the state to force a church to break its beliefs--she also wants the IRS to revoke the Catholic Church's tax-exempt status if it refuses to ordain women. In other words, she wants to destroy the Catholic Church, with the side effect of hindering all other churches in the practice of their beliefs. And she doesn't see anything unfair about that.

UPDATE: Yes, the story is legit. Susanna Cornett has tracked down the present status of the case. Additionally, I heard the interview myself on WBAL-1090 AM in Baltimore, on the Bruce Elliott Show (the same show that booked me as a guest on Aug. 10). Here's his guest list for this past Saturday. I hope this settles the matter.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


: a Palestinian and an Jew meet, and one saves the other's life.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


aren't just brutal, theocratic dictators--they're dumb, too. They're looking into selling Iraq some medium-range missiles and up to 100 combat aircraft.

Do they think Iraq's current regime will be around long enough to pay for it?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2002


, if Bob Ehrlich's poll numbers stay up with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's, or even surpass them, then the Maryland governor's race this year would become the nastiest of the fall. It looks like I was wrong, though---the Dems have stooped to a new low in Connecticut, where a party activist ended a sort of a prayer with the phrase "Death to the Prince of Darkness." The "Prince" in question, the man apparently in more than just the DNC's political crosshairs this year, is Republican Governor John G. Rowland.

I think these people take politics just a little too seriously...

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul?
Posted by B. Preston at 01:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


, according to Al Gore. You can find this saying, along with more of the wit and wisdom of esteemed liberals, in this review of Slander, Ann Coulter's best seller. Coulter is often somewhat shrill on the air, but she seems to have nailed the left's hatred and intolerance for everything to its right (which is pretty much everything).
Posted by B. Preston at 11:14 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack