April 12, 2003

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

The FBI has ruled the July 4, 2002 shooting at LAX "terrorism."


Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, killed two people at the ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, and wounded several others in the July Fourth attack before he was fatally shot by an airline security guard.


The Department of Justice (news - web sites) had withheld characterizing the shooting while federal agents launched a worldwide probe. They determined it was terrorism related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, said Matthew McLaughlin, an FBI (news - web sites) spokesman in Los Angeles.


"The investigation developed information that he openly supported the killings of civilians in order to advance the Palestinian cause," McLaughlin said.


The FBI findings, made several months ago, were recently approved by the Justice Department (news - web sites). McLaughlin said Friday that his office was told not to issue a news release but was given permission to confirm the finding if asked.


The investigation found that Hadayet had become increasingly militant in recent years. Just weeks before the shooting, he bought the weapons used in the attack, closed his bank accounts and sent his family overseas. At the time, Hadayet, who lived in Irvine, was $10,000 in debt, and his limousine businesses was struggling, authorities said.


Sounds like terrorism to me.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 11, 2003

BELGIAN REVENGE

Isolated to a rump party of three in the EU, it seems the Brussels bureaucrats are set to fight the next phase in their War Against the War on Terror. The EU is investigating the contracts that USAID is doling out to help rebuild Iraq to see if we've done anything that they deem unfair. Angling for the dough, in other words, in the aftermath of a war they hadn't the courage to fight. They have no right.

Those little punks need to get a clue. They lost the pre-war diplomacy. They lost the war when we won it. Now they seem intent on burying us in legalese when we're trying to re-establish order and strengthen liberty in a newly freed country--one that would not be free at all if the wafflers in Belgium had had their way. Again, they have no right.

I've said it so many times I'm getting tired of saying it, but these people aren't our allies. The EU is a threat (in economic and political terms) to the US, and that is its intent.

To emphasize the threat angle, France, Germany and Russia (along with Belgium and mighty Luxemburg) are chatting about setting up an EU military to "counter" the US. What does that mean? When one military "counters" another, they generally do so on a battlefield. Is that what the EUnuchs have in mind for the next phase in the war? If Syria makes itself our enemy by harboring Saddamites and their weapons, will we find a bunch of French and Germans hanging around in Damascus to "counter" us? Militarily, the French have been incompetent since losing Napoleon, who was actually Italian. The Germans are pacifist and, fortunately for the world, lack the stomach for armed conflict. The Russians...once great, but rusting and unable even to deal with Chechnya. Alone or combined, these folks would fare no better than Saddam's Republican Guards unless they went nuclear, which is extremely unlikely. But the politics of such a "counter" move would be horrific. But what else would a military built to "counter" the US do, except be put somewhere we want to go, to get in our way? Fortunately as the linked story indicates, there are sane voices in Europe trying to stop this insanity.

The war's aftermath in Iraq will have its dicey aspects, but I'm starting to think that Europe is going to become a much bigger problem, and soon.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

ROONEY ADMITS HE WAS WRONG

I have to say I'm stunned to see this--CBS' geezer windbag veteran reporter Andy Rooney has done the about-face and admitted he blew his pre-war prognistication:

CBS "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney has become the first big media personality to admit that he was wrong to oppose President Bush's decision to liberate Iraq.

"I have not been a supporter of his. I did not vote for him. And I was very critical of what he did here," Rooney told radio host Don Imus Thursday morning.

"And I must say that fortunately, he's president and I'm not," the former Stars and Stripes correspondent confessed. "It appears as though he did the right thing and I didn't think he was doing the right thing.

"And, if he's listening ..." Rooney added, before trailing off into laughter.


Amazing. Rooney. Alterman. Still waiting for Garofalo, Sarandon, Robbins...oh, that list is too long.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

SADDAM AND OKLAHOMA CITY

Now that Iraq is liberated and Saddam is wherever or whatever he is, maybe we can get to the bottom of lingering suspicions about Iraq's possible role in the Oklahoma City bombing. Jayna Davis and Laurie Mylroie are still on the case, and newly liberated documents, supposing they survive "lootings" in Iran, burnings in Brazil and other similar treatments elsewhere, may shed some light on all this.

Maybe, 8 years after that terrible bombing, the liberation of Iraq can allow us to piece together the role of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi intelligence and the web of international terrorism in the deadly attack on America's heartland.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE NEWS CNN KEPT TO ITSELF

CNN execs knew that Saddam would kill two of the most useful Iraqi dissidents the West ever had, yet failed to warn those dissidents. They were later lured back to Iraq after the Clinton administration mishandled them, and executed. CNN execs knew of the systematic torture the Saddam regime inflicted on its people, yet never reported it until the US military put an end to it. CNN execs covered up the truth about Saddam in order to report the "news" from Baghdad.

Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive, admitted all this and more in a NY Times op-ed today.

Among other things, his admission should put to rest the doubts about media bias. CNN altered--biased--its reporting to maintain access to one of the most brutal tyrannies in history. Which begs the question, how is CNN maintaining its other bureaus in places like Beijing, and Havana? As the shooting started in Iraq, tyrants around the world engaged in an orgy of dissident crackdowns, yet we only hear about it when US government officials brief the press here. Why don't the CNN and other news bureaus in those countries report first-hand? Are they also covering up the news to be allowed by the local despot to report the "news?"

One of CNN's former faces, Peter Arnett, once let this news scandal slip out a few years back. He admitted that maintaining a bureau in Baghdad amounted to a game, or a horse-trade--in exchange for permission to report, journalists had to look the other way on some stories that the regime deemed unflattering. But Jordan's admission takes the guilt higher up, into the executive board rooms that determine the vision and scope of CNN's operations around the world. It's breathtaking to consider the ramifications contained in that op-ed.

How does the desire to maintain access to the power elite in Washington affect the way CNN covers an event, a vote, a crisis or a scandal? What about other news organizations?

Lest I be misunderstood, I'm not singling Mr. Jordan or even CNN out for criticism. He has done the media-consuming public a valuable service in relating the horrors that journalism never chronicled. He has shown us a glimpse behind the curtain and into the tangled world of power, politics, prestige and the press. It's turning out to be an ugly nexus.

There is a huge ethical question in this: When does reporting the "news" become counterproductive and antithetical to reporting the news?

UPDATE: InstaPundit is asking some of the same "news"-for-news in other bureau questions that I asked in this piece. I bet CNN's Baghdad operation is the rule rather than the exception in repressive countries, and not just within CNN. Organizations such as Reuters seem likely to have made the same calculus and done things similar to those admitted by CNN. In fact if memory serves, shortly after 9-11 Reuters admitted something to that effect, in the context of labeling "terrorists" as something else in order to protect their own reporters (and thereby their access) on the ground in countries that sponsor terrorism. Same thing.

UPDATE: Journalistic Enron? Maybe, but bigger. Not one news organization, but possibly a majority of them, are implicated. Bernard Goldberg recently predicted that the liberal media will collapse as news consumers seek more convenient and more trustworthy sources. Eason Jordan's admissions could be the tipping point that gets that collapse in full swing.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

LOOTERS, RIOTERS, OR OPERATIVES?

Interesting story from Iran. Iraqis stormed their embassy there today, simultaneously ripping down pictures of Saddam Hussein while chanting "Death to America." Of course, being in Iran, the chant is understandable--you can't go around saying how great America is in the country that invented the phrase "Great Satan" to describe us. That'll get you imprisoned or shot, or imprisoned and then shot.

But some of the "looters" did something very disturbing:

Windows and furniture were also vandalised, and the only item spared seemed to be embassy documents, which people in the crowd were seen taking away. (emphasis mine).


As Baghdad fell, Iraqi embassy employees in Brazil were seen burning papers from the archive. Now, in Iran, in the midst of a "riot" some of the participants carted away papers from the archive. There's something going on here. What's in those papers that someone doesn't want the world to know about?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE MINISTRY OF SILLY THOUGHTS

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Outer Space), peace-nik, neo-hippie and all-around odd guy, has started up something called The Peace Report. I'm subscribed to it, thanks to the lovely efforts of Democrats.com, a group that misses no opportunity to sell the names and email addresses of its newsletter subscribers. As events warrant I may post observations from it. The Peace Report, and the man behind it, promise to provide fodder for idiotarian bashers for years to come.

In our first installment, we'll tackle the biggest plank in Kucinich's policital platform--the creation of a new Cabinet-level government agency. It's hardly news that a liberal Democrat wants to expand government. That's what gets them out of bed in the morning, and what puts the spring in their step throughout the day. But Kucinich's approach is novel. He wants to create a new politically-correct beastie called the Department of Peace. To that end, he has enlisted the support of a double-handful of Democrats, the names of whom read like a who's who of the socialist movement in America.

April 8, 2003

Today, we redoubled our efforts to promote peace at the national level. Forty-seven of my fellow Members of Congress and I introduced H.R. 2459, a bill to establish the Department of Peace at the Cabinet level. The Members of Congress who joined with me were: Mr. CONYERS, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. RAHALL, Ms. LEE, Mr. CLAY, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. UDALL of Colorado, Mr. BROWN of Ohio, Ms. SOLIS, Mr. FARR of California, Mrs. JONES of Ohio, Mr. STARK, Ms. MCKINNEY, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. SANDERS, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. WATSON, Mr. FILNER, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Ms. VELAZQUEZ, Mr. DEFAZIO, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. HONDA, Mr. OWENS, Mr. EVANS, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. TOWNS, Ms. CARSON of Indiana, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. BAIRD, Mr. HOLT, Mr. MCGOVERN, Ms. WATERS, and Mr. SCOTT.


McKinney....say, that wouldn't be the anti-Semite from the South, would it? Their list must pre-date the 2002 elections. The bill itself is here. Mr. Kucinich has also helped create an advocacy group--what socialist scheme is complete without one--called the Global Renaissance Alliance to help bring his far-fetched scheme to reality. The GRA is--I'm not making this up--hoping to build rings of spiritual stardust around Mother Earth:

Imagine…

… if you will, a ring around the planet, much like the rings around Saturn. Imagine that this ring consists of spiritual stardust, glittering and dancing against an illumined sky. It blesses the earth with a pulsating power, extracting fear from every darkened corner and pouring forth love on every hungry heart. This ring is woven from threads of love, words of inspiration, feelings of forgiveness, prayers for peace and hours of meditation. And this ring is not just metaphor, or the vain imaginings of a hopeful soul. It is an actual forcefield, more powerful than anything made by merely mortal hands. It is the product of the collective yearning to pool our spiritual resources in the service of a world made new. It is a rich and meaningful, eminently practical contribution to the miraculous transformation of our world.


Only utopian socialists could see building rings of nonsense around the planet (which, come to think of, might endanger the space station and send lots of Russian scientists to the employ of Third World tinhorns if it ever happened) as a "rich and meaningful, eminently practical contribution to the miraculous transformation of our world." But they're not stopping there. The Bores of the Rings have plans for your everyday life on the surface of our humble little world:

Imagine…

… millions of people throughout the world, joined in small, intimate circles of spiritual support, praying together, meditating together, envisioning a healed and peaceful world, creating among its members a sense of sacred communion. Imagine these circles meeting regularly, like tiny clusters of grace, forming together a mystical grid of love and light around the planet.


Imagine...a collective yawn, a mad dash for the coffee pot amid screams of "Caffeine!" Imagine...a bunch of loony lefties singing songs while the world burns around them. Imagine...if Dennis Kucinich actually became President of the United States. Imagine...Islamofascists and Communists and assorted goons striding the planet unchecked by the one nation that can actually make a difference. Imagine...an American city going up in a nuclear mushroom, while President Kucinich consults the Secretary of Peace to seek a non-violent way to keep a few million more Americans from dying horribly and needlessly. Imagine...the end of liberty, the tyranny of evil, and the rule of the mad.

That's what Rep. Dennis Kucinich and his Department of Peace are, obliviously or otherwise, working to bring about.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

VICHY'S NEW HERO

Fresh from the sidelines of a quick war it tried to undermine and discredit, France seems to have adopted a new hero. Or maybe they're just sucking up, but whatever their reasons, the man their president tried to get knocked out of office is now the toast of Paris. And their own president, dubbed "Le Worm" in the British press, has gone from giant to gnat.

TONY BLAIR was hailed a hero for his war leadership yesterday by the French.

Top newspapers in Paris made an astonishing U-turn and saluted his “determination and courage.”

After months of anti-war protests, they admitted their president Jacques Chirac was WRONG to oppose the action.

The humiliating rebuff for the president came as Mr Blair turned down an invite to talks with the war-wobbler in Russia today.

French politicians fear Chirac — dubbed “Le Worm” — could even be toppled after his bad call over the war. They say he faces an uphill struggle to put their country back on the world map.

MP Jacques Barrot, leader of the president’s ruling UMP party, said: “He must face up to the fact that the courage of British and American forces has ended Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

While French commentators turned on their leader, they also heaped praise on Britain and Mr Blair.


There's more. Paris Match, which I used to have to read in high school French class--it was like being forced to read Playboy, and then quizzed on it--hails the Anglo-American leaders and digs at Le Worm:

It wrote: “Mr Blair is one of the few leaders who can emerge from this affair with his head held high. He is one of the rare leaders who rose above petty national politics and had the courage to defy public opinion for what he believed in.

“And he did it with great determination and panache. Mr Blair is not Bush’s poodle. He is his guide-dog.”

Respected daily Le Figaro joined the tributes by describing the ousting of Saddam as a “historic victory.” It wrote: “In just three weeks, the American strategy has been proved to have worked. A dictator was removed yesterday, and we can no longer question the fact that George Bush was right.”

Le Parisien newspaper admitted the Allied success in Iraq had left France “embarrassed.”


"George Bush was right." Interesting that the French can admit it before America's own opposition party can. The Democrats remain somwhere to the left of France and probably not even to the right of China on US foreign policy. For his part, Blair is using his newly minted status as international political colossus to bring his fellow Euro leaders to heel. M. Chirac, Herr Schroeder and Comrade Putin invited him to a summit to talk things over, which in reality meant a likely dressing-down for toppling their sadistic pet. Blair not-so-respectfully declined the invite.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2003

FRENCH PERFIDY

Man, what a redundant headline. Contained in this this fascinating intel wrap-up is this tantalizing bit:

The intelligence officials offered a tantalizing coda for conspiracy-mongers. They said the "crude forgery" received by U.N. weapons inspectors suggesting the Iraqis were trying to buy uranium from Niger as part of their nuclear program was originally put in intelligence channels by France. The officials wouldn't speculate on French motives.


Hmmm...it couldn't be to make the Bush administration look bad, could it? Nah. The French are our allies...they'd never do anything like that.

Right.

(from InstaPundit)
Posted by B. Preston at 02:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE IRRESPONSIBLE EX-PRESIDENT

Bill Clinton presided over a prosperous era that gave way to the dangerous times we live in now. A recent speech of his offers some insight into why things have turned out this way. Simply put, Clinton sees no nuance in foreign relations. To Clinton, everyone is as narcissistic as he is, and his understand of foreign events naturally flows from this:

He said North Korea is threatening the United States with nuclear weapons because the country has little to offer and is trying to gain attention by negative means.

"I'm too dumb or I'm too ugly, but if I break the cookie jar, they'll know I'm here," Clinton said. "That is the psychodynamics of this problem."


Clearly, Clinton is filtering North Korean actions and reactions through his self-involved lens: It's all about getting attention. In this, we can see why Clinton's foreign policy was such a failure. North Korea has a history, albeit relatively short, and a culture, albeit warped, and is based on a personality that doesn't much care for American "attention" so much as it craves survival, staying power, and sovereignty over the entire Korean peninsula. But Clinton is blind to this. He only sees things in terms of self-image, negating the effects of history, culture and the personalities of world leaders.

North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, as I've written before, is hewing to the strategy outlined by his father and mentor, Kim Il Sung. That strategy aims for the conquest, via military or other means, of South Korea and placing the ROK under what Kim considers the only legitimate ruler of all of Korea, namely himself and his descendants. His nuclear designs serve two purposes: Menace and intimidate the South and Japan (Korea's historic enemy and America's strongest Asian ally), and thereby force the US to offer up food and technology aid, and eventually establish a non-aggression treaty with the US. With that agreement in hand, Kim could then proceed to smash the South without fear of American intervention. Kim has also sought bilateral talks with the US with the aim of sidelining the ROK government; offering to hold such talks would play directly into his plans to delegitimize the South. Yet that's just what Clinton thinks the Bush administration should do:

He criticized the Bush administration for looking for multilateral support in a possible North Korean invasion. The problem is, he said, North Korea wants to be explicitly recognized by the United States alone, yet, "It's the only problem in the world we refuse to handle alone," he said.


Clinton is wrong on all counts here. Recognizing North Korea would bolster its claim to legitimacy, however weak, to rule Korea as a whole. And it isn't the only problem the US can handle alone. We could have handled Iraq alone, but chose not to because we had allies available who had substantial military capability to offer. We cannot handle North Korea alone; China has the most leverage with Kim, and its cooperation will be key to reigning him in. Clinton is simply seeing reality, but in the negative.

He proposes that Bush draw up a proposal that would have North Korea cease production of nuclear weapons and shut down its weapon-making factories in exchange for food, energy and a non-aggression pact.


Problem with that idea is, Clinton already tried it. It was called the Agreed Framework, and was a multilateral deal between North Korea, the ROK, Japan and the US. It failed. North Korea resumed nuclear weapons development sometime between 1994, when the Framework went into effect, and 1998, while Clinton was still in office. Evidence suggests that the Clinton administration knew that North Korea cheated on the Framework, yet never called them to account. Like so many problems that cropped up between 1993 and 2001, North Korea's nuclear ambitions were simply swept under the rug.

The Bush administration clearly understands the North Korean dilemma much better than the Clinton administration did, and has managed to rally South Korean and Japanese support while making progress with China. In levelling criticism, Clinton is merely trying to do what he is accusing Kim Jong-Il of doing: seeking attention. It's narcissism and self-involvement disguised as commentary, and to the extent that he suggests the Bush admininstration is plotting to invade North Korea, it's actually dangerous. Paranoid regimes, like paranoid political parties and politicians, tend to believe the worst about their opposites. Kim could conclude from Clinton's remarks that America is planning to invade, which would likely push him to speed nuclear weapons development or perhaps launch a "pre-emptive" invasion of his own. Bill Clinton is, as he has long been, the most irresponsible politician on the American scene. His eccessive self-love and self-involvement lead him to take destructive actions and make destructive comments that divide America and embolden her enemies.

UPDATE: Until watching PBS' Frontline last night, I'd forgotten former President Jimmy Carter's shameful role in the 1994 Agreed Framework. During a particularly sensitive point in the Clinton administration's negotiations with North Korea, Carter winged his way to Pyongyang, over the objections of many in the Clinton team, and free-lanced a deal with Kim. Carter then phoned up Washington and presented the deal--which was basically the Framework--as a fait accompli. Carter told them that he would shortly appear on CNN to announce the deal, thus in his mind forcing both sides to accept it. Carter actually appeared in the Frontline piece and defended his actions, explaining that it was his intention to use the press coverage to force Kim's hand and make him stick to the deal.

How naive. Or stupid. Or duplicitous.

Kim would eventually die, get replaced by his Dr. Evil son, and little Kim would go on to sign the deal and then cheat on it once prying eyes were no longer watching. North Korea's entire track record indicated they would do so. Carter's mistake, or intention (it's hard to say which with him) was that the bond in the deal was only one-sided, and could only ever be one-sided. For all its warts, the Clinton administration was duly elected and thus subject to the vagaries of public opinion. Carter's chess maneuver boxed them in to accepting a deal they didn't particularly like at the time, while leaving a demonstrably unstable and maniacal regime free to cheat on the deal. That's what dictatorships do--make deals with other states, then reneg once the deal is inconvenient--and there are no internal institutions or critics to stop them.

The pity of this is that, today, Carter's lousy deal still haunts affairs with North Korea. Pyongyang accomplished its blackmail once, and stomps its possibly nuclear feet when the Bush administration refuses to give in again. And the Clintonistas have now thorougly bought into their old failure, proferring it as the best model for dealing with Kim Jong-Il. They have embraced a deal they didn't want, and that didn't work, for the purpose of having some angle from which to criticize the Bush administration.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

THEY WANT YOU DEAD

Iraq has been liberated, the madman formerly at its helm is vaporized or on the run, the weapons of mass destruction he so maniacally sought will soon be found--at least those that remain in Iraq. Others may have already crossed into Syria. Still others are under construction in Iran and North Korea, and possibly Libya, possibly elsewhere in the snakepit we call the Middle East.

Iraq is disarmed, and free. Saddam's tyranny is done. But the war is not over. Terror states still have murder on their minds, and you're still the target.

Jack Crenshaw sums up the situation we still face:

I have two messages for the American people in general--and also for those sincere, dedicated Americans who are still protesting the Iraqi war.

The first message comes from my somewhat different perspective as someone who lived through--though too young to serve in--WWII. On 9/11/01, as I sat there and watched in horror as the WTC towers fell, I said to my wife, "This is Pearl Harbor all over again."

Only those of us who remember WWII really know what that means. It means, plainly and simply, OUR LIVES HAVE CHANGED FOREVER. No matter how much you wish it to be true, you can never, ever go back to the days of pre-9/11. They can never be recovered.

If we as a country are making one serious mistake, I think it's the fact that many of us still don't get that message. We still want our reality TV and our beer commercials. We still want to fight over silly political correctness issues. We still want our cellphones and our BMW's. We still want the Dow over 10,000. We want life to be good again.

Well, that's a normal desire, and someday we will have, again, all those things. Life became good again after WWII. But it never, ever, became the same, and it won't this time, either. Get used to it, get over it, and get on with it. Like it or not, you're in a war. Go deal with it.

The second message goes with the first, and echoes the thoughts of most Americans: This is a war we absolutely must win.


Go check out the whole piece. He's right.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"A MODEL OF MILITARY PLANNING"

The whole war against terror, the campaign in Afghanistan, and the campaign in Iraq have all been models for future military planners to marvel over, but this article specifically covers the collapse of Baghdad.

"The US advance on Baghdad is something that military historians and academics will pore over in great detail for many years to come," said Air Marshal Brian Burridge, the British commander. "They will examine the dexterity, the audacity and the sheer brilliance of how the US put their plan into effect."

...This was to be no cautious, street-by-street, nibbling away at the capital. It was an almighty sledgehammer blow. In an instant, Gen Blount rendered obsolete decades of military wisdom on how to take a city.

Conventional military doctrine has it that the tank is vulnerable in cities, that you need thousands of soldiers, that urban fighting favours the defenders, that it takes time and results in hundreds of casualties. Gen Blount proved how wrong that was.

Victory still belongs to the bold.
Posted by Chris Regan at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"GO HOME HUMAN SHIELDS YOU U.S. WANKERS"

Hehehe. Nice catch, Mike.

UPDATE: When Saddam's shields come home, prosecution is unlikely. It depends on what the meaning of the word "aid" is.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

JUST LIKE SOMALIA

I noticed how when the Marines came rolling into Baghdad central yesterday, the media was all over the guys like they were storming a beach in Somalia under the flood lights. It was nuts. I was almost wishing the Iraqi minders were still with the media at that point to make them behave. The guy from Sky News was interviewing one soldier after another before the square was secure, each anticipating a bullet in the helmet at any moment, but still wanting to be polite on live TV -- especially with a chance to give a quick shout-out to family and friends. For most Americans, that was more surreal than the statue coming down I think. Thomas Sowell has some things to say about the unembedded, and more selfish war media:

One bomb blowing up Baghdad Bob while he is talking on TV could refute his propaganda in a way that would be understood by everyone, everywhere, and save many lives. But it would probably also take out some journalists from around the world, leading to an orgy of media denunciation on all continents. But more American troops could come home alive.

In this "me" generation, it may be too much to expect reporters to take into account how what they are saying and doing can cost other people's lives.

My favorite example of media arrogance was a reporter asking Centcom to put Baghdad Bob's human shield and reporter-friendly base of operations off-limits like a mosque or "World Heritage Site." Needless to say, those buildings are protected for their physical structures, not the residents, and can still be shot up if we take any incoming fire. Civilians are protected equally, but these human shield propaganda reporters wanted to be treated like diplomats. Diplomats for Saddam is about right.
Posted by Chris Regan at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE WAR: WHO GOT IT RIGHT AND WHO GOT IT WRONG

Dave sends in this rundown of pre-war and mid-war predictions from various players and wannabees. Not surprisingly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Fisk and retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey were a wee bit off the mark. Tony Blair, Ian Duncan Smith and Don Rumsfeld were realistic and on the money. Here's a quick sample:

Correlli Barnett, author of The Great War, writing in The Daily Mail, April 3: We were told that as Saddam's regime collapsed under the American hi-tech attack, the Iraqi people were going to rise up against him. They were going to welcome the American invaders with joy. They were going to brim over with gratitude for the priceless gift of 'democracy'.

But instead, we see the deeply-angered Iraqi people rallying behind Saddam in defence of their land against a foreign invader - just as in 1941, the Russian people rallied behind an even more awful tyrant, Josef Stalin, in resisting the Nazi invaders.

Richard Littlejohn, columnist, The Sun, Jan 14: This war could last for decades.


Check out the whole thing. Next time any of these folks opine publicly, this piece could be a handy reminder of their rate of accuracy.

UPDATE: More on the war's winners and losers.
Posted by B. Preston at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

PEACENIK HUMAN SHIELDS IN BAGHDAD

I'm not sure how many people caught the British peaceniks screaming at the Marines in Baghdad yesterday, but here's what happened with them -- interestingly related to the U.S. flag that was raised:

“YANKEE bastard,” yelled the young British peacenik at the first American tank to roll up to the Palestine Hotel. “Go home.”

She picked a man who had waited for 576 days to give his answer. Marine First Lieutenant Tim McLaughlin leant from the turret of his Abrams tank — nickamed “Satan’s Right Hand” — and screamed back: “I was at the Pentagon September 11. My co-workers died. I don’t give a f***.”

Lieutenant McLaughlin had with him a Stars and Stripes that he had been given at the Pentagon that fateful day. In Baghdad’s Paradise Square, he handed the flag to Corporal Edward Chin, who climbed a giant statue of Saddam and draped it over the deposed dictator’s head.

The peaceniks were later calling the Marines on the ground "murderers" and "assassins" and showing them pictures of bloody bodies. The Marines ignored them at that point. Later some peacenik near the statue was yelling and holding the same pictures up. Iraqis attacked him with minimum force, enough to grab and throw the pictures away. Two Iraqis were also displaying a sign all day that said "GO HOME HUMAN SHIELDS, YOU U.S. WANKERS." Searching Google news for "wankers" today sadly only leads to a couple mentions of this episode including this one where we find out:

In The Nation today, Medea Benjamin, head of Global Exchange, pro-Castro communist and leader of the anti-American anti-war left, calls for a world-wide effort to send human shields to North Korea, Syria and Iran, the pillars of terrorist power, to give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Then there's this great article written by a Canadian in Baghdad. The author wrote in the moment of Iraq's glory:

Liberation. Emancipation. And deliverance from evil.

This is how freedom feels in Baghdad unbound: All giddy and delirious, a city intoxicated with joy. As if a great dam of yearning has burst, flooding the capital with rapture and merriment. ... The Americans got it right. Goddamn, they got it right. And it is to Canada's eternal shame that we wanted no part of this.

Great stuff. It's also amazing that random oppressed Iraqis, fed decades of pure propaganda, who just saw thousands of their countrymen killed by us, are so much more clued-in than the heartless western peaceniks:

"I cannot express to you my happiness at this moment," said a tearful Shakir Ali Skhil Al Dilam. "This is like a dream come true. Almost all my life, I have waited for my country to be free of this bastard Saddam Hussein. I am 47 years old, but I feel like today I have been reborn.

"Please, please, tell the Americans how thankful we are. I love America! And I think America must love us, too, to have done this. I am just sorry that so many American and British had to die in my country, so that we could be free. I hope, for all these martyrs, a place in paradise."

But what of the Iraqi civilians, the women and children and elderly, who've been killed in the past three weeks? Al Dilam bows his head.

"I am sorry for them. I feel pain in my heart for all these innocents who were killed. But they died because of Saddam Hussein.

"This is the shame of Iraq. That so many people had to die, not just civilians but soldiers who had no choice but to fight.

It's great to see a Muslim who knows the truth, and even knows the true character of people who deserve martyrdom and paradise. Hopefully Iraq will becomes a true ally of ours. I propose they launch an Al-Jazeera replacement out of Baghdad. It would be like an Arab Fox News Channel to replace the newly discredited Arab CNN.
Posted by Chris Regan at 08:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2003

SORRY FOR THE LACK OF FREE ICE CREAM

I've been verrrry busy lately, and spending far too much time on the highways and railways between Baltimore and DC. When I get home it's late and I'm tired, and would honestly rather spend a little time with my family than put up a post or two. But that should change shortly, and I'll probably be back to the sleepless blog schedule that's been prematurely aging me for the past year and a half.

Chris has been doing a fine job keeping things going. His John Kerry post is spot on.

This site will soon need a new graphic for the masthead--with Saddam gone and Ahmed Chalabi as likely as anyone to lead the next real Iraqi government, it won't be appopriate much longer to keep targeting Baghdad. Any suggestions? I suppose a similar treatment for Kim Jong Il won't be far off the mark, though Bashir Assad seems to be pushing his way to the head of the get-whooped line.

If you have any ideas, drop me or Chris a line.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:04 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

U.S. PILOTS NOT WATCHING ENOUGH CNN OR AL-JAZEERA

That seems to be the main conclusion of this Washington Post article.

They were watching video shot from the cockpit of a Super Hornet during a bombing sortie the night before. The television showed abstract images -- a bright light darting north on the dark green screen, pausing over the target framed in a white box, then bursts of white and orange. The men delighted in the explosions, which reflected on their faces.

Their backs were turned from another television across the small room. It was tuned to CNN and showed news footage of bloody, bandaged Iraqi men lying on beds, casualties of U.S. assaults. The pilots never glanced at that screen.

Or maybe the message is, "In Airspace, No One Can Hear Them Scream."

The pilot by then may be miles and miles away -- there is no screaming to hear

The article generally shows pilots as cold, distant killers who, if they only had bloody bodies shoved in their face and thought harder about things, might refuse to bomb the enemy -- at least the honorable ones would refuse. I remember hearing similar comments about Tomahawk launching crews. It doesn't matter that soldiers seem to have no problem killing the enemy and facing the charred results right in front of them. The press is hunting for military members who may not be properly facing up to their "evil deeds" and who, they hope, might show some moral doubt if confronted. We're not even talking about civilians killed collaterally either. The problem seems to be the killing of enemy forces while not having to hear or see them die, even in a just war with legitimate targets. The reporter makes a UC Berkeley "peacenik" pilot and a conflicted Christian the redeemable ones who desperately cling to their commanders' assertions that we're fighting a just cause. Then the piece ends with a quote from a pilot denying he's deluding himself with faith in his commanders' war tactics.

To a man, they said they were able to drop their bombs because they trusted that military commanders were choosing targets in a way that minimizes the deaths of innocents.

"I have faith in the way we're doing things," said Lt. Stephan Dean, 29. "I don't think that's deluding myself."

I can only imagine he was prompted by the reporter for that wrap-up quote. Thank God we're not conducting this bombing campaign like we did in Kosovo, when liberal human rights organizations called Wesley Clark a war criminal for wiping out the civilian infrastructure and killing civilians while failing to hit most military hardware due to the high altitude bombing. If we did that now in Iraq, Democrats would probably be calling for regime change in America. Oh wait...
Posted by Chris Regan at 08:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

THE LIBERAL CASE FOR REGIME CHANGE IN AMERICA

I thought I'd post a few links and comments to help illustrate where John Kerry and others on the far out left are coming from when they call for an end to the Bush "regime." The key thing to understand is that Kerry didn't just come up with a "humorous" association of the Bush Administration with Iraq's state-sponsored P.O.W. torture, rape, execution, terrorism, war crimes and WMD use carelessly off the top of his head. The design of his leftist rhetoric was clearly strategic in that he knew it would inflame the political discussion at a time when the debate was becoming too passive due to the successful war. He was unapologetic, and immediately had his "free speech patriot" card ready to play under the media limelight to further attack Republicans. The combined effect was to highlight his past patriotism while inserting "regime change for Bush" into the mainstream political debate during a war against an evil regime. It was an attempt to create for Americans a lingering association of Bush with pure evil, while Kerry then nominates himself for the role of savior of the oppressed people. It was a bold political move to publicly embrace a growing segment of the far left who have long been throwing around accusations that Bush's Administration is illegitimate, and guilty of almost all the evils of Saddam except, I think, state-sponsored rape. These are the people Kerry was appealing to, the chorus of voices he was joining, and the movement he was selfishly trying to tap into when he jumped on the "regime change" bandwagon:

Dissidents -- A Proposal for Regime Change in the United States:

For thirty years we have held demonstrations, written books, cajoled the Democrats, castigated the Republicans, submitted letters to the editor, thought globally while acting locally, created websites, held more demonstrations, written more books, and generally acted as though fundamental change were possible from within the existing political process. It is long past time to abandon that foolish belief.

UK leftists -- A government in power without the legitimacy of a democratic majority:
The Spanish speaking minority in the south might be induced to rise up. There could be assistance from Minutemen in the mountains. But the democratic opposition is too defeated and divided to provide much help. The answer could be an "inside-out" strategy using special forces to take Washington and a few key nuclear bases. Provided the rest of the country was left to get on with its business, there would probably be little internal opposition to a seizure of the capital.

Leftist kooks -- appeal to the UN to liberate the American people from the Bush regime.

Serious kooks -- NESARA Brings 9/11 Indictments on Bush Regime

Communist led protestors (photos) -- San Franciscans rally for a regime change in the US

Marxists -- Bush regime shamelessly exploits 9/11:

Of all the repressive governments in the world, many of which would not be in power without U.S. support, none presents such a threat to the people of the world as does the current rogue regime in DC. If a "regime change" is needed anywhere in the world, it is here in the U.S.

Kerry's gambit is no different than a candidate appealing to Islamists, the Militia movement, or the KKK for votes and then launching a follow-up attack on any critics by claiming he once served in uniform and America is all about absolute free speech. Free speech and previous service in the military have nothing to do with who a politician is aligning himself with right now while pandering for revolutionary hate votes. Kerry's desire to have freedom from the political consequences of his speech is beyond laughable, and his Vietnam service has no bearing on the ultimate question of whether Americans can now trust Kerry as a political leader in a government he sees as a "regime."
Posted by Chris Regan at 01:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

HEY JESUS LOVERS

Gore Vidal thinks that if you're a Christian, you're dangerous. I guess he never heard of Mother Teresa.

Personally, I think if you have "Gore" in any part of your name, you're likely to be an idiot. But that's just my opinion.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 07, 2003

LIBERATION

WITH THE 5TH MARINES, Iraq, April 7 (UPI) -- It started with the kids. Somehow it always does -- curiosity elbowing aside shyness of strangers and parents' admonitions for caution.

"Ameericaah?" a little girl asked a Marine who had entered her village and taken a defensive position as others began to search homes. The streets were deserted. People peered around their gates.

The Marine smiled, wiggled his fingers in the girl's direction and her fear -- and that of the rest of the townspeople -- melted. Within minutes people had left their houses and began to shake hands with the Marines.

Liberation from the strictures of the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had come for a nameless village just a few miles from downtown Baghdad.


The US military--doing more to improve human rights around the world in one day than Amnesty International can do in a lifetime.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

No Title

SADDAM'S JESTER

To millions of Western viewers, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf is the comic relief in the Iraqi tragedy. He is the porter in "Macbeth"; the grave digger in "Hamlet." His comments provide a backdrop of gallows humor as the Saddam Hussein regime unravels before a disbelieving world public on television.

Al-Sahhaf's version of developments has added a touch of the bizarre to the battle for Baghdad. Some examples from Sunday's U.S. incursion into the center of the city:

With U.S. heavy armor grouped around Saddam Hussein's main palace, and the crump of artillery reverberating through the city, he insisted that there was "no presence of the American villains in the city," because their advance has been defeated.

As U.S. military C-130 transporters thundered down the runway of Baghdad airport Sunday, al-Sahhaf was still saying that the airport was not in American hands. He also said large numbers of U.S. troops had been "poisoned" as they attempted to approach Baghdad.

At one point -- surrounded by Arab and Western journalists -- he again denied that there were U.S. troops in the streets. Someone asked him what all the firing in the streets was about. Those are our soldiers chasing the Americans out of town, he replied.


'Tis but a scratch. Hehehe.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

THE AGONIST PLAGIARIST

Can't say I ever read him. But I don't like plagiarism. It's stealing. He passed off the work of StatFor as his own. That's stealing in my book. So I don't plan to start reading him now.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BUNKER BUSTER BONANZA

Fox and NBC are reporting that "senior US officials" are stating that, based on very good intelligence, we got Saddam and his two sons tonight. According to the stories on both networks, intel agents placed the three Husseins as well as several high-ranking Iraqi officials in a residential building in Baghdad. A B-1 bomber was then called in and it dropped 4 2-thousand pound bunker busters on the complex. The intel agents on the ground reported that no one left the building before it was hit; afterward, there was nothing left save a big crater.

This would mark victory if we got him, especially if we bagged his boys in the strike.

But part of me worries about this. It's the part that remembers how Saddam's troops have behaved since the war began. They have taken every opportunity to try to get our soldiers and Marines to kill Iraqi civilians. Let's hope tonight's raid wasn't a trap designed to get Iraqi people killed while laying the blame on us.

If it wasn't, and we really got him, I predict much partying in Baghdad in the near future. Those people have lived under a madman for 25 years. They're overdue for a street festival of mammoth proportions.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PROTESTERS JOIN WAR ON SADDAM'S SIDE

Anyone know where John Ashcroft is? Is he still alive?

Shifting protests against the war in Iraq to a new level, a San Francisco group says that it will set up a picket line Monday to block supplies being shipped to U.S. forces fighting in Iraq. The group, Direct Action to Stop the War, said will attempt to “shut down the war merchants”
Posted by Chris Regan at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AL-QAEDA ATTEMPTING TO INFILTRATE U.S. FROM MEXICO

Looks like the mayors of cities like Phoenix, San Diego and L.A. might want to put in a call to Bush to tighten the border before the next massive terror attack hits them.

A group of al Qaeda terrorists is attempting to infiltrate the United States from Mexico to conduct attacks in the country, The Washington Times has learned

At least 14 al Qaeda members are said to be in Mexico, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The al Qaeda members are working with Mexican organized crime groups, such as drug-trafficking organizations, in an attempt to enter the United States covertly, the officials said.

...The al Qaeda infiltration from Mexico and bombing threat against the Washington subway followed earlier intelligence reports that Iraqi intelligence agents were seeking to conduct terrorist attacks in the United States, including a plot to conduct an attack on President Bush's ranch at Crawford, Texas, the officials said.

...The threat to the Palo Verde nuclear plant west of Phoenix prompted the deployment of National Guard troops around the facility.

The Mexican Army is clearly compromised, and bold enough to provide armed escorts for the terrorists across the border:

Three high-ranking Mexican army officers, including a general, have been convicted of accepting bribes from the reputed head of a Mexican drug cartel to protect shipments of cocaine and marijuana into the United States.

...U.S. law-enforcement authorities all along the U.S.-Mexico border said that many Mexican military units and police agencies have been "totally corrupted" by drug smugglers and that the corruption included several key Mexican generals and other commanders.

Corruption among Mexican police is so extensive, the authorities said, that some U.S. law-enforcement agencies refuse to work with their Mexican counterparts. Mexican police officials have been tied not only to alien and drug smuggling, but also to numerous incidents of extortion, bribery, robbery, assault and kidnapping along the border.

About two dozen incursions by the Mexican military were documented last year, some of which resulted in unprovoked shootings. Over the past five years, U.S. authorities have documented 118 incursions by the Mexican military. It is not known how many times Mexican military units have crossed undetected into the United States. In 1998, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reported an extensive connection between drug traffickers in Mexico and senior members of the Mexican army.
Posted by Chris Regan at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

25-YR-OLD TERRORIST TRAINING CAMP FOUND IN IRAQ

A nice guy like Saddam a terrorist kingpin? Watch the smoking gun goalposts move again.

EAST OF BAGHDAD -- Marines have discovered what appears to be a large-scale terrorist training camp for the Palestinian Liberation Front, as well as documents indicating that Iraq has sold weapons to the PLF for its fight against Israel as late as January.

...Outside the facility was a large mural of Saddam Hussein. Inside, there were side-by-side pictures of Hussein and PLF leader Abu Abbas, once one of the most feared and hunted terrorists in the world.

Pictures found in numerous of the 20-plus sturdily built, cement buildings showed Abbas posing with officers of the Iraqi Republican Guard, including a brigadier general.

Slogans on walls linked the PLF and Iraqi causes, including one that, in Arabic said, "Live the Dream of Both Causes Against the Invading Enemy: the Jew." A notation at the bottom of the wall-sized slogan indicated that it had been painted in 1998.

Hussein was shown in some murals standing in front of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Documents from the PLF and its political arm, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, were uncovered and taken away in boxes for study.

I'm still waiting to hear more about the ricin and botulinum found at this al-Qaeda linked terror camp. I've heard some argue that poor innocent Saddam had no idea, and no control over that camp though. It seems he was just a helpless victim of all these terrorists.
Posted by Chris Regan at 08:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE WARMER AGES

I'd be remiss if I didn't get around to hitting this story suggesting that global warming isn't all the pseudo-scientists say it is. The Middle Ages, with their blacksmiths and armories and horse-drawn carraiges, seem to have been warmer than the present with our SUVs and air conditioners and ozone-eating hair spray cans.

Heck, I remember in gradeschool science class, being taught that a new ice age was likely to hit, though it wouldn't be like the big ice ages we tend to envision. More like the "little ice age" of the post-Renaissance era, though none of that information ever made it into the curriculum. The teacher just said something about an ice age, and we nodded and regurgitated the idea on a test a few days later.

Science is as subject to the whims of fashion as any other human pursuit. It was once fashionable to say the earth was flat. It was once fashionable to say that the universe was eternally static and unchanging. It was once fashionable to say that we're heading for an ice age. Now it's fashionable to say that the world is cooking in a gaseous stew of man's making. Truth is, scientists just don't know as much as they claim, or as much as the advocates claim. It's all inexact conjecture based on incomplete information.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"WE HAVE WON THE WAR"

So says Colonel Chris Vernon of the British army. Basra is under control, and Baghdad soon will be. All we need is Saddam's head on a pike, or at least proof that he's no longer among the living. A swab of DNA from a bombed out bunker may have to suffice.

So here's what will happen next domestically. Having been largely proven wrong on substance regarding the pre-war diplomacy and the causes of its failure, and having been wrong on the facts regarding "quagmire" and the so-called failed war plan that led to victory in less than three weeks and the Iraqi people's response to incoming allied troops, the anti-Bush gang will now turn their attentions to the post-war aftermath. They're already accusing the Bush team of various incompetencies, from having no plan for Iraq to having the wrong plan, whatever. It's not the actual substance of the criticism that matters to them, just the fact that they're criticizing. The Bush team will float out a few ideas for a few days, then settle in on something that's bound to work and thereby prove their critics wrong once again. The floated ideas will turn out to have been a misdirection intended to bait critics into siezing on one or two aspects, ignoring the big picture of the overwhelmingly humane way America will now treat its soon-to-be former enemy. The Bush administration will set about to the task of re-establishing civil society in a country that hasn't had much of it for decades, without the help of the "loyal opposition" here at home.

Yet the Dems and their media allies will carp. What about the cost? What about the UN? What about the French? They will continue to look for the dark linings in the silver clouds that dominate the sky.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SALMAN PAK DESTROYED

US Marines reportedly stormed and destroyed Iraq's infamous hijack training school Saturday night.

UPDATE: Deroy Murdock has more. The Iraqi defectors who first told us about Salman Pak have been vindicated, seemingly to the last detail. One of these defectors, Khidir Hamza, has also alleged that France has been behind Saddam's nuclear efforts since the mid-70s, and that Jacques Chirac has been personally involved. Hamza is looking more and more credible as the Ba'ath regime nears death.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IRAQIS REALLY CELEBRATING IN THE STREETS NOW

Reported in Karbala, where the people got together to pull down a crippled statue of Saddam, then beat it about the head and neck with the heels of their shoes.

An elderly man added in broken English: “Good, good, good — Mr W. Bush, no Saddam.”

As US troops proudly wore flowers given to them by townsfolk, a 25-year-old said he could not understand opposition to the war. He asked: “Everyone who refuses this war — why?” Pointing to the statue, he went on: “Come here and live two days with this man, and then refuse this war.”

Reported in a small town north of Nasiriya where Marines were swarmed by excited townsfolk, who then had to be put behind barriers to watch and cheer on the troops clearing remaining buildings. Celebrating and looting also reported in Basra after Chemical Ali was reportedly found dead and the Brits took over the city. Then we had a "mass capitulation" of regular Iraqi forces who gave up fighting for Saddam south of Baghdad. We also have Baghdad sealed off, and have barged downtown to set up shop temporarily in Saddam's palaces. Our guys are still in serious danger while killing off dead-enders, but it's all over now except the mopping up.

Just another day in the most brilliant war campaign in modern history. Isn't it amazing how a relatively small force lacking strategic surprise can use speed instead of mass to methodically feint, flex, juke and then concentrate to crush the enemy? In this case, even a bunkered down totalitarian regime that uses redundant fiber optic communication lines and deadly force to control a large army of war criminals and terrorists. Never underestimate the supremacy of air supremacy.

It now looks like the 4th ID will be fully ready for battle the day the shooting war is essentially over. Democrats will then start complaining that Bush wasted time and taxpayer's money by failing to anticipate that the war could easily be won even without the 4th ID. Daschle will say, "I'm saddened that the projected troop requirement overkill in this failed war plan has now forced us to eliminate the tax cut. In the spirit of Bill Clinton's leadership, we now have a good excuse to cut our Armed Forces in half again."

UPDATE: Popular uprising reportedly breaking out now in Baghdad and Basra with locals killing the Fedayeen terrorists. Saddam's soldiers in Baghdad are reported to be scrambling into civilian clothes and melting away to save themselves. Pentagon not confirming yet but, just to be safe, Democrat lawmakers in America are scrambling into their bunkers to avoid the light at the end of the tunnel about to impact their Party.

UPDATE: From Aziziyah this weekend:

Cheering Iraqis handed out soft drinks and offered cigarettes to U.S. Marines on Saturday, warmly welcoming the troops and making throat-slitting gestures at pictures of President Saddam Hussein.

...The Marines were slightly bemused by the warmth with which they were greeted in this medium-sized town but accepted the bottles of soft drinks they were offered and politely declined the cigarettes. A girl in a blue vest held out a pink flower to a passing U.S. vehicle.

...All Iraqi forces and senior officials of Saddam's Baath Party had fled the town two days previously, leaving the locals to loot and burn their offices and tear down posters of Saddam, said Sirown, 21, who was too afraid to give his family name.

Sirown said he had come to Aziziyah from Baghdad to escape the bombing of the Iraqi capital.

His friend, Ali, 27, pulled out a large bankroll, pointed at the picture of Saddam that graces each Iraqi banknote and drew his finger across his throat with a smile.
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2003

DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE WAR IS ABOUT?

If you said "yes," you're among the 81% of Americans who believe they understand why we're toppling Saddam. Which is a greater percentage than could say the same in World War II.

Will the Democrats still insist that the Bush administration hasn't "made the case" for war? If their far left flank wants them to, they will.

According to that same poll, fully 72% of the nation believes the military action in Iraq is going "according to plan." That would be the same plan that the Times, the Democrat pundits, et al have been assailing for two weeks. They don't get it--the American people do. I can't say that that surprises me.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SENATOR JOHN KERRY, THE DEMOCRATS AND "REGIME CHANGE"

Sen. John Kerry has painted himself in a corner, having said that the United States should undergo "regime change." Kerry is running for president, and from the party opposite the current chief executive, so it's natural to assume that he wants a change at the top. But regime change? Judging from the lack of smile or other normal indicators of humor or irony on display as he said this, it seems that he meant what he said. Which raises a host of issues.

Kerry's remarks, as loaded as they obviously are, speak to three areas of serious concern for anyone considering electing him our next president. The remarks speak directly to Kerry's judgement, his understanding of the United States' form of government, and to his fitness to become president.

Judgement
How could Sen. Kerry not have anticipated the criticism his "regime change" remarks would draw? That phrase has been official US policy for dealing with Iraq since 1998, and was part of the justification for fighting the present war. And he made this remark as US troops stood on the doorstep of changing the regime they're fighting. To link that action--a war against a foe bearing strong similarity as well as historical connection to the Nazis of half a century ago--to dealing with a president from the party opposite his exhibits extremely poor judgement.

One of the many things a president has to do it gauge his remarks not just in terms of their content, but in the impact they're likely to have. President Bush could privately theorize that a nuclear strike may be necessary to end the Saddam Hussein regime once and for all, but to publicly discuss that option would be insane. The reaction around the world would be deafening, and would probably lead to America's isolation in an instant. Even stalwart ally Tony Blair wouldn't stomach talk of nuking Iraq. In calling for "regime change," Sen. Kerry has shown a disturbing inability to gauge his remarks in terms of the reaction they're likely to create. In a senator that usually isn't a huge problem--in a president, it may cause incredible damage to America's reputation, to its international standing and to its relationships around the globe.

Understanding of the US' form of government
This one's simple: The United States doesn't have "regimes," it has administrations which come and go with the electoral tide of public opinion or by term limits. A regime is normally understood to be a form of government. The Nazis were a regime, the Soviets were a regime, the Castro government is a regime, and the Ba'ath governments in Iraq and Syria are regimes--they own the entire apparatus of state and brook no opposition. In fact, they usually kill their political opponents. The Bush administration is the current group of people representing the American public in having been duly elected according to the law of the land, the Constitution. The regime, if you want to use that term in application to the US, is our constitutional form of representative democracy. In calling for regime change, Kerry is by the normal understanding of that phrase calling for the end of one form of government--representative democracy--and the implementation of another, presumably led by himself. It's the talk of a revolutionary, not a democrat.

Either Kerry doesn't know what he's talking about, and doesn't understand the implication of his campaign rhetoric--or he does. You make the call.

Fitness to be president
Anyone who cannot gauge to some extent the consequences of his words, and who demonstrates such a poor understanding of (or respect for) America's republican form of government is not fit to hold the highest office in the land. It's that simple. And anyone who uses such obviously loaded language at a time when American troops are on the ground in a war, fighting to prosecute an actual regime change, demonstrates an utter lack of respect for those troops and for the elected officials who have decided to embark on a course of war. As a combat veteran, Sen. Kerry should know better. Since he doesn't, he's not fit to lead this nation in peace or war. His judgement is not sound.

Finally, one should note that Sen. Kerry is hardly alone in calling for "regime change" since President Bush took office. In fact, the phrase has come into common use among the president's Democrat opponents. The Drudge Report has put together a rundown of the Democrat officeholders and activists who have used that phrase. They include Jesse Jackson, John Conyers, Louis Farrakhan, Barbra Streisand, and Ramsey Clark. All are either from the far left of the Democrat party or are openly anti-American (Farrakhan). There are others from the far left who have also used the "regime change" language to oppose President Bush's policies--the so-called "peace movement." The fringes of that movement have called for American troops to shoot their officers, have called President Bush "Hitler"--and have called for "regime change" in the United States.

Which leads to another wrinkle in this whole affair. It has been demonstrated that today's peace movement is heavily influenced, in the form of funding and organization, by the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP has used the "peace movement" as a way to drive up its membership and weaken America's standing around the world. The SWP is an openly revolutionary organization, and seeks a real regime change around the world: It wants Communism to replace democracy everywhere. It also happens to be a known Communist front, and is openly allied with the North Korean regime, among others. It was openly supportive of Joseph Stalin's regime when he was ruling the USSR, and has openly supported Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein--the man at the center of the very regime our troops are changing in Iraq.

And Sen. Kerry borrowed the language of this organization when criticizing President Bush. Either Sen. Kerry knew what he was doing, or he didn't. He either knowingly parroted a Communist front, or he just dumbly stepped into doing so. You make the call.

UPDATE: Chris sends me this story about Dem reaction to those of us who've chosen to criticize Sen. Kerry's remarks. These people need reminding that freedom of speech runs both ways--Kerry had every right to say what he said, and others have every right to disagree with him and criticize him. Criticism does not denote any form of limits on speech; it is in fact the exercising of that right.

What's most worrisome about this affair is the utter contempt Kerry and others on his side display for our language. Regime means a form of government; calling for regime change means calling for a change in a form of government. When criticized, Kerry and his supporters retreat to accusations of censorship and the like, and go on the offensive against anyone who questions Kerry's "patriotism." But none of his critics have questioned his patriotism, just his judgement and fitness for office. I question his command of English, and his commitment to our democratic ideals.

It is noteworthy, I think, that the same people calling for regime change here in America are also seeking to stifle free criticism of their stance, and resort to tactics of demagoguery and intimidation when criticized. All we critics are doing is taking Kerry et al at their word. They call for regime change; we're examining that call to see what they might mean, and criticize if we disagree. If we're not supposed to take them seriously about this comment, which comments are we supposed to take seriously? The man is running for president--he should understand that his words are under scrutiny by an interested public.

UPDATE: I've already been questioned on this whole thing, and whether I actually think Kerry meant changing the form of government when he said "regime change." Honestly, I have no idea what he meant. His remark could probably be excused if he wasn't merely the latest in a long series of Democrats who have said exactly the same thing, and the majority of them know exactly what the phrase means in the context of US policy vis a vis Iraq. But several Dems have used that phrase and continue to use it. Does it mean that they're advocating overthrowing the government, as opposed to merely promoting a change at the top? Probably not, but at what point have they earned the benefit of the doubt? These people were among the forefront of accusing Sen. Trent Lott of being a crypto-racist when he lauded Sen. Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat past last year. The plain meaning of Lott's words was that he supported segregation, yet it's highly unlikely that that's really what he meant. But I joined in calling for Lott to step down from his position as Senate majority leader precisely because his remarks demonstrated unsound judgement and drew unnecessary criticism to himself and his party. Kerry's remarks have done the same thing--he probably didn't mean to advocate tossing out representative democracy, yet that's the plain meaning of his words. His remarks have drawn unnecessary criticism to himself and his party, and have exposed an interesting pattern of political speech in that party. Those defending him and his remarks are actually doing him a disservice--they're defending his worst moment, and thereby giving him terrible advice as to future conduct. If I were advising Kerry, I'd tell him to issue a little mea culpa and move on. Until he does that, the content of his remarks stand, as do the connections he has drawn between himself and the liberal wing of his party and the radical anti-war movement that actually advocates regime change as we commonly understand that phrase. His defenses do him no good--they only show how weak and desperate the Democrats really are. They can dish out the heavy-handed criticism, but they obviously can't take it.

By the way, for our purposes I'm using the Webster's definition of regime, below:

2 a : mode of rule or management b : a form of government (a socialist regime) c : a government in power (predicted that the new regime would fall) d : a period of rule


Just so we're all on the same page.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:15 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack