April 26, 2003

IRAQ LINKED TO AL QAEDA

Documents unearthed in free Iraq's intel files link Saddam and Osama:

Documents discovered in the bombed out headquarters of Iraq's intelligence service provide evidence of a direct link between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Papers found Saturday by journalists working for the Sunday Telegraph reveal that an al-Qaida envoy met with officials in Baghdad in March 1998, the newspaper reported.

The paper quoted an unidentified Western intelligence official as saying the find was "sensational."

The paper said the documents show that the purpose of the meeting was to establish a relationship between Baghdad and al-Qaida based on their mutual hatred of the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The meeting went so well that it was extended by a week and ended with arrangements being discussed for bin Laden to visit Baghdad, the newspaper said.

Journalists found a three-page file on bin Laden inside a folder lying in the rubble of one of the rooms of the intelligence headquarters, the paper said.

"Iraqi agents at some point clumsily attempted to mask out all references to bin Laden, using white correcting fluid," the newspaper reported. "After carefully removing the dried fluid, however, the name is clearly legible three times in the documents."


So let's put to rest the notion that our war justifications haven't panned out. We said Saddam needed killing because a) he was working on WMDs, and b) he was linked to international terrorist groups including al Qaeda. The second one is even more of a lock now, thanks to these British journalists.

Further down in the same story, this bombshell:

Separately, The Sunday Times reported that its own journalists had found documents in the Iraqi foreign ministry that indicate that France gave Saddam Hussein's regime regular reports on its dealings with American officials.

The newspaper said the documents reveal that Paris shared with Baghdad the contents of private transatlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington.

One document, dated Sept. 25, 2001, from Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri to Saddam's palace, was based on a briefing from the French ambassador in Baghdad and covered talks between presidents Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush.


Maybe we should just bypass the middleman and look for documents linking Jacques Chirac and al Qaeda. I would no longer be surprised if we actually found some.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BUSH, PUTIN AND IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

I can't figure Vladimir Putin out. One minute he seems like a throwback to the bad old days of the Cold War and the KGB, the next he's making nice and getting back on the right team. According to StratFor, Putin has led Russia back to Bush's arms regarding the Iranian nuclear program:

The construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor, built with Russian assistance, is nearing its final stages. Tehran has agreed to return spent fuel rods from the reactor back to Russia for reprocessing rather than doing so in Iran, where it might have been able to extract plutonium for possible use in a program to build weapons of mass destruction.

Russian aid is key to the Iranian nuclear program, since Russia is one of the few countries that will assist Iran, which was labeled part of the "axis of evil" by U.S. President George W. Bush. However, both countries have been under extreme pressure for Iran to return the used fuel rods, and Moscow -- aggressively lobbied by the Bush administration -- threatened to squash the deal should Iran refuse.


StratFor notes that Iran is still pursuing its own local sources of fissile material--namely, uranium, in its own mines--and the US is trying to put a stop to that. But the work with Russia seems to have paid off, and Iran will be sending its plutonium rods back to the former USSR for reprocessing.

Another win for Bush, it seems. And a smart move by Putin.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SULLI AND SANTORUM

Yes, I think Andrew Sullivan's gone over the top on the Santorum-bashing. Glenn Reynolds says his emailers are saying so, too. Glenn wonders if Sulli's rare weekend blogging on the subject means the Santorum case is more important than I, and his own emailers, think it is.

Here's the deal. Just because Sulli blogs about something on Friday and Saturday doesn't make it important. Andrew Sullivan can be counted on to blog, vociferously and at great length, about precisely two things--gay rights and circumcision. Anything else, even the war, can't get Sullivan to his keyboard at anytime during any weekend, but those two subjects can. Sometimes he can get on a good Catholic-bash tear too, but I don't think he's done that on weekends. He's a Monday thru Friday blogger.

Santorum's comments speak directly to gay rights (and others, of course) and has a Catholic spin. So you get a weekend of Sullivan. Doesn't mean the issue isn't trivial. Which, for the record, it is.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:35 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

AP STILL OUT TO GET SANTORUM

The Associated Press kicked off the Santorum non-controversy by sending a reporter connected to John Kerry to conduct a interview with a covert agenda. Then they adding words to a out-of-context quote rather than providing proper legal context. Now they're still up to no good.

They're still adding the malicious parenthetical "gay" to Santorum's quote in order to "clarify" what he didn't really mean and fuel the controversy:

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," Santorum said.

A reporter without a malicious agenda wouldn't add the word "gay" to that quote. Either explain it properly in the context of a slippery slope argument, or maybe quote something like this:

If the Supreme Court says that you have the [Constitutional] right to [unrestricted] consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything

Otherwise it looks like a hit piece. The AP is also still saying he "compared" homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. That's again misleading, because he just said they were all forms of sexual relationships that are outside the definition of a traditional family as society defines it, and can be restricted by states.

If Santorum said serial murders and car accidents are both unfortunate ways that a life can be cut short, no responsible journalist would report simply that he compared car accidents to serial murder. That would make him look foolish, and stripped of context. Democrats would then run around saying he "morally equated" bad drivers with serial killers while the AP reporter laughs all the way to her next dinner party.

Then the AP also now says of Santorum:

He also said the right to privacy does not exist in the Constitution.

The Right to Privacy? Which amendment was that? I guess we're supposed to take it from the AP that the Senator is a fool who doesn't even know the Constitution. What "right to privacy" is this? Do they mean the one that guarantees last-minute abortions as a baby tries to grab it's first breath? The one that allows Hugh Hefner to marry his harem? The one that allows me to refuse to wear my seat-belt? The one that makes Internet and Tivo monitoring a federal crime? The one that keeps me from being spammed and called by telemarketers? None of the above. It's a "right to privacy" because it doesn't exist in the Constitution except in the minds of a few liberal judges who supposedly found privacy in a penumbra. The states currently get to make the privacy call on almost all issues, exactly as Santorum argues.

Then the AP drops this snide paragraph to end their article about Bush saying Santorum is an "inclusive man."

The White House expressed confidence in the leadership of Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., in the immediate aftermath of his defense of a 1948 pro-segregation presidential ticket. As the remarks drew backlash, President Bush admonished Lott for them and said it was up to the Senate to decide whether he should remain as majority leader.

Lott resigned soon after. About Santorum, Fleischer said the Senate picks its leaders.

Actually, first the voters decide whether or not we think it's a big enough deal (not the AP). Trent Lott made a mistake with what he said, and bloggers of all political parties decided he should go for various reasons related to his incompetence as a leader. The mainstream media then picked up our voices, reported the buzz of a legitimate groundswell, and Trent Lott was gone. In this case, Rick Santorum's only mistake was dealing with the wife of a Democrat operative who was "reporting" for the Associated Press. There is hardly anyone with a mind that can grasp the legal argument that thinks Santorum was wrong on the facts. The only question is whether or not he's entitled to his religion. As with Bush, Ashcroft, and Secretary of Education Rod Paige, radical Democrats say no:

"This goes far beyond homosexuality," said U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Pa. "He is saying that to impose his value system, he has the right to use the entity of government ... and that is not acceptable."

Yeah, that's what he said, Kanjorski. This guy gives me an idea. Let's instead go the the voting booth and eliminate illiterate politicians who see government as the one true God, with Bill Clinton as their prophet.

UPDATE: Santorum is right
Posted by Chris Regan at 04:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 25, 2003

ANTI-WAR: MOVEMENT OR CULT?

Just one of many questions we may never be able to answer in life. Someone tried recently and was surprised at the response he got:

I noticed an odd phenomenon. The rage seemed to coalesce not only around the antiwar-movement-as-cult metaphor but also on another line, a throwaway, in which I mentioned that the blame-America mindset characteristic of the antiwar movement's true believers was difficult to maintain "in light of the manifest truth that America is the most benevolent world power in the history of the planet."

. . .To deny it, in essence, is to deny that real world exists, that the past really happened — which perhaps excuses postmodern intellectuals, who deny such things on a regular basis. But the rest of us are left to ask who are America's chief competitors for the title of most-benevolent world power? Ancient Greece or Rome? The Mongols under Genghis Khan? France under Napoleon? The British Empire? Nazi Germany? Imperial Japan? The Soviet Union?

. . .There's something more significant going on here than a profound lack of historical perspective or a skewed understanding of the scholarly record. Both of those are signs of ordinary ignorance. But this is willful ignorance — which is much more insidious. It's as if the very suggestion of America's fundamental benevolence triggers an intellectual gag reflex among hardcore leftists. It cannot be tolerated; the system rejects it whole, regardless of the mental contortions that follow, because allowing it to penetrate would gum up the entire works.

Concede American benevolence — concede, in other words, what cannot be denied by a reasonable observer — and the epistemological underpinning of radical politics crumbles to dust. Can Gore Vidal continue to publish once that concession is made? Can Noam Chomsky continue to deliver speeches? Can Tim Robbins even go out in public?

In such circles, it's become a matter of self-preservation to posit America's essential evil. To posit, in short, a condition contrary to fact. Precisely because our policies seem so well intended, and their outcomes so often benign, critics who operate on the assumption of American malignancy must turn to conspiracy theorizing in lieu of inductive logic.

Just like we see from Arab media and democrats.com.
Posted by Chris Regan at 03:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 24, 2003

AZIZ BUSTED

Former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is reportedly in US custody after giving himself up today.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DEATH TO SHOKO

Japanese prosecutors have asked for the death penalty for Chizuo Matsumoto, aka Shoko Asahara, convicted for masterminding his cult's 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Asahara was Japan's version of David Koresh, and was the original WMD terrorist: Sarin is one of the deadliest nerve agents in the world, and his followers released it into a crowded train station during peak traffic. Aum Shinrikyo's actions are behind much of our own fears about what terrorists can do with weapons of mass destruction.

I lived in Japan when this attack occurred. Overnight the country's self-image changed, and not for the better. Prior to the attack at the Kasumigaseki subway station--a station I'd been through many times myself--Japan saw itself as one of the safest nations in the world, perhaps the safest. It was a self-image built in part on truth--Japan had little violent crime--and on its firm belief that its strict gun laws would save it from crime forever. The Aum cult's atrocity proved the latter false: His minions used no guns, but killed and injured many. The manhunt that eventually led to Asahara's capture spanned the entire nation, and played out every night on the evening news. They kept repeating creepy footage of Asahara sitting on a dias and looking drugged like he always did, flanked by a few of his followers and surrounded by more, who kept singing this annoying song based on his name. He'd run for political office a few years before the attack--the footage was from a campaign event. Japan was gripped in fear that he would order another attack, work it out a little more successfully the second time around, if they didn't capture him. If a country can have a panic attack, Japan did throughout most of 1995.

Today, eight years later, Japan is having trouble keeping a lid on violent crime. Roving packs of juveniles regularly accost rail passengers, mugging them for cash, beating and kicking them if they don't comply. They're called the bosozoki, and they're a menace throughout most of Japan's large cities. In a few cases, the bosozoki have killed their victims, but those who witness the crimes are usually too terrified to testify against them. So they get away, to steal and perhaps kill again. Violent crime, without the need for handguns, is on the rise among juveniles generally across Japan. Some of it probably has to do with the stressful education system and its rigid caste-like system, and some perhaps to Japan's stagnant economy, still more to the breakdown of traditional Japanese values of society before self. But some of can be traced back to Kasumigaseki station, in 1995.

Japan is a different place than it was eight years ago. And I hope they hang Shoko Asahara.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

GOING NUCLEAR

North Korea has apparently told the US today that it already has nuclear weapons. Developing...

UPDATE: CNN (I wish it were someone else...) has the story:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sources close to the U.S. talks with North Korea and China told CNN Thursday that North Korea has admitted to having nuclear weapons and threatened to test them in the near future.

Deputy Director General Li Gun, Pyongyang's representative to the talks, made a "blatant and bold" announcement that his country had nuclear weapons, and asked U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs James Kelly, "What are you going to do about it?" a source told CNN.


This could get ugly, in a hurry.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MORE ON SANTORUM

I think Stanley Kurtz really nails it today. Check it out. The conclusion puts it into perspective:

There is something terribly wrong about the way that the Democrats and the press are treating Santorum. As I've argued, much of this stems from partisanship and bad faith. But there is something more. This vexed issue of homosexuality and public policy truly does bring out the worst in our press. The profound ignorance in the mainstream media about conservative arguments on social issues — be these arguments constitutional, sociological, or religious — hamstrings the press's ability to perform its job with even minimal fairness. Above all, it is the secular character of the mainstream media which is blinding . (For more on this, see the extraordinary piece, "Our Secular Democratic Party," by Louis Bolce and Gerald De Maio, in the Fall 2002 issue of The Public Interest.)

Nowadays, it is fashionable for liberals to complain about the rise of the conservative counter-media. Supposedly, the mainstream media does their best to be fair, while the conservative counter-media are free to be partisan. Had the mainstream media honestly opened itself to conservative reporters, as it has to liberals, things might have turned out differently. But so long as the mainstream media keeps producing the sort of partisan and ignorant nonsense it has deployed in its effort to destroy Sen. Santorum, it will deserve all the criticism from conservatives that it gets.


And for the record, Kurtz believes the laws in question should be abolished, just not via Supreme Court fiat. I think he's on good federalist grounds there.

I think people, especially from the right, who have jumped on the anti-Santorum bandwagon need to tread very carefully here. Santorum offered up a legal point that is based on his Catholic faith, a faith shared by millions of Americans. To argue that his faith should have no role in his decision-making on this or any other issue is forcing him to sideline his core beliefs, and for what? How then should he, or anyone else, approach an issue like homosexuality or any other concern that crosses legal, moral and social lines? Should we Christians be forced to ignore our world view, yet not expect the same of people who do not agree with us? It's illogical and unfair to single out Christians in this way. It amounts to creating a tyranny of the minority when it comes to social issues. Given where the Democrats and liberals stand politically right now, it makes sense for them to try and create such a tyranny, but we on the right are fools if we let them.

UPDATE: Hmmmm. Rush has uncovered an interesting angle:

Before you analyze the comments made by Senator Rick Santorum, check your emotions. Too many people out there are waiting to be offended - on all sides of the political spectrum. These people have been manipulated by a misquote fed to them by Laura Jakes Jordan of the Associated Press - who's married to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign manager. Did you know that?


This looks like a political hit-job to me.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: In the comments Henry Hanks pointed me to a Just One Minute blog post about Teresa Heinz Kerry and her laser-beam focus hatred for Santorum (which automatically elevates Santorum in my eyes...) I guess the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is out to flank Keinz Herry, Heinz Kerry, whatever--Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column today relates this interesting note:

"Folks, this story is so weird — on so many levels — I think I'll just reprint it, without commentary. I find myself almost mute, stupefied, at the sheer incredibleness of it. [How's that for an intro?]

"'Sen. John Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz is getting a top media handler to help with her image, sources confirmed. [She has recently gone Heinz Kerry, I believe.] [Recall, too, that, at a certain point, Hillary Rodham went Hillary Rodham Clinton — and then just Clinton. I think she's back to the three now.] The Heinz Foundation has hired ex-CNN White House correspondent Chris Black. According to a source, Black had been wooed for months to help "rein in Teresa" in anticipation of Kerry's expected 2004 presidential run. Heinz caused Kerry to fidget and sigh during a June Washington Post interview in which she raged against Sen. Rick Santorum and mimicked Kerry having a Vietnam nightmare. Another source, however, said Black's job is simply to bolster communications for all Heinz philanthropies.'
(emphasis mine)


Why is this relevant? See the first update, above--the reporter who "broke" this story (by inserting the word "gay" into Santorum's answer, thereby changing the meaning) is married to Kerry's campaign manager. There's more to this story than meets the eye, folks.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

INTERESTING QUOTE

"I know his character. The defense of Baghdad would not have collapsed so quickly if he was not dead."
- Iraq's ambassador to Belgrade, SAMI SADOUN, on his belief that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was killed in the bombing of Baghdad.


(via ShopTalk)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2003

SARS COMES TO AMERICA

And its first stop appears to be Maryland.

A 40-year-old Baltimore doctor who developed symptoms of SARS after a trip to Toronto was admitted Wednesday to Johns Hopkins Hospital -- two days after he showed up sick for work at another local hospital and was sent home.

Health officials said the doctor, a resident at Sinai Hospital working a rotation at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, did not come into contact with patients while he was on the job Monday, although his supervisor was sent home as a precaution.


Great. Last year we had snipers, and this year we get SARS. A wonderful place, Maryland.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

THE SUPREME COURT MUST NOW RESIGN

If they agree with Sen Santorum's echo of legal arguments in the case that is. Maybe they should even be arrested by the FBI after their decision for commiting a federal hate crime. After all, they would be using their official position to deprive a minority of their long-established "civil right to sodomy." Just a thought from the radical leftist birdie on my shoulder. I think he got the idea from this article:

the state of Texas is making the same argument Santorum made in his remarks to the AP.

Lorence asked: "If the Supreme Court agrees with the state of Texas in Lawrence v. Texas, does that mean the majority of Supreme Court justices should step down?

"They are trying to demonize one side of a major court decision," Lorence said of the opposition.

"I can't think of a time that that's ever happened before," he said.

. . .Legal counsel from both sides essentially were asked by justices: If we find a right to engage in private, consensual sodomy, are we also creating a right to bigamy?

"This is mainstream stuff," said Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund in Scottsdale, Ariz. "This is part of the debate on this case."

In fact, the lead attorney for Lawrence, Paul M. Smith, admitted to the court that "by recognizing the right of all adult couples to make choices" about sexual behavior in their own homes, the court "is going to open up a whole can of worms … ."

Now you can see how wacked out the seething Democrats are on this. It's not just the judges who raise Santorum's slippery slope either. The pro-sodomy defense lawyer in the case even agrees with Santorum!

. . .The transcript shows Supreme Court justices took seriously the argument that overturning the sodomy law could threaten the constitutionality of other laws that govern behavior.

One justice, noting that society always has made moral judgments in its laws, asked Smith, "Why is this different from bigamy?"

Later, Smith was asked whether he thought adultery laws were unconstitutional.

His answer indicated a willingness to concede that recognizing a constitutional right for same-sex couples to engage in sodomy will "open up a can of worms."

Smith said, " … as for adultery and all of the other parade of horribles which people have raised in their briefs, it seems to me you've got to look at the individual interests and the State interests, and they're dramatically different in all of those cases, incest, prostitution, all of these – bestiality, all of these things, either there's very little individual interests or there's very heightened State interest or both, in all of those cases, so the idea that by recognizing the right of all adult couples to make choices like this in their own home, the Court is going to open up a whole can of worms, I submit, is correct."

Nice try Dems. Didn't you guys learn from Florida that attempts to infuence and demonize judges and courts will backfire? You guys should know better than to use Santorum for political cover.
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

TIME TARGETS "NEW BREED" OF "RADICAL" CHRISTIANS

You know the ones I mean. Those who dare speak to Muslims about Christ when Christian speech is expressly forbidden. Time Magazine wants to expose the methods and techniques some missionaries use to hide their speech from the true radicals heading up repressive regimes around the world. The goal is clearly not to make these people look heroic, but to expose them as dangerous. Time's editors appear to have already decided the liberal Christians who remain silent and carry no Bibles are a preferable breed that poses no threat to the world. The tyrants of the world will be as happy with Time as they are with CNN. At least that's my take on where this cover story is headed. The report and internal email are both linked here:

At the very instant when American relations with Muslim states is most sensitive, a group of Americans with a rather different set of goals has been flocking to the region, engaging Christian evangelization, which many Muslim-majority states have ruled illegal.

We will touch on all kinds of missionary work in Muslim countries, including what for decades was the preferred method of Catholic and liberal churches: providing aid and evangelizing only by example. But we will eventually narrow our focus to a more radical crew of proselytizers.

*****Do the missionaries feel that their goals are consistent with those of the U.S. The State department must occasionally bail out missionaries. During the Gulf War, Gen. Schwarzkopf was furious with Christians who tried to smuggle Bibles into Saudi Arabia. Things are tenses then ever since 9/11 and because of Iraq. Is it appropriate for Christian to be further complicating the issue?

Christians and Jews always complicate things for "peaceful" Muslim regimes and other tyrants like Saddam, don't they?
Posted by Chris Regan at 06:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

SANTORUM, AGAIN

In the interests of, I dunno, wasting a few pixels and getting the JYB delinked from the entire blogosphere, I've decided to let you peek in on my thought process regarding the Santorum deal just a little. So here goes, just a little stream of consciousness rant. Feel free to hit that little X in the upper right at any time.

The Santorum deal is a tempest in a teapot, much ado about a little, insert cliche here. It's about a law that's almost never enforced, that dates from a time when the common view of morality differed radically from today's view. In some ways that's good--the sodomy laws probably date from a time when slavery was legal and acceptable in Texas, for instance. In some ways that's bad--the sodomy laws date from a time when we didn't get divorced at the drop of a hat and didn't call our president "Hitler" when we disagreed with him. But that's where the law comes from. We're debating it now, not because of some burning need or rising social tide, but probably because somebody decided to challenge it or because some cop got overzealous. I don't know, don't care, doesn't really matter. It was passed when Democrats ruled the South, when Jim Crow separated the races, and when men donned hoods and strung up blacks. It was passed when lots of terrible things were going on, but also when a few good things were going on. The family wasn't under seige, mainline churches didn't get compared to terrorist-creating mosques, and everybody wore hats. So what am I saying? I don't know, this is a stream of consciousness thing, remember? For the record, the sentence about Democrats ruling the South denotes things I find detestable, including but not limited to Democrats ruling the South, which they did when that law was passed and when the other things mentioned in said sentence happened. In case anyone couldn't figure that out.

The Santorum deal has me steamed because it proves that Republicans haven't yet figured out how to make their points in ways that don't draw fire from everyone in the center and left, uniting them against us. It also proves we can't win big without immediately squandering that win on something trivial. Yes, trivial. The whole thing is trivial. Win the war, drag your party down because you let some AP hack trap you. Santorum may have ruined his political career over a law that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter much. It's hardly enforced, and doesn't stop anyone from doing anything. It's just there, like laws about buggy whips and Helen Thomas. It's not really worth the political capital being invested to save it, for the simple reason that it has zero effect on behavior and because it's utterly unenforcable. Unless you really do want police in every bedroom, which no one does.

But the piling on, the pack mentality, is an annoying feature of modern life. We all think we have to get out in front of the issue, never taking the time to just take a step back and look at it from a couple of angles. We bloggers exist because we despise and distrust the media, yet we take the media's take on Santorum verbatim without even thinking about it. We fight idiotarians, yet side with them if we think it's electorally expedient--never mind fairness. It's Packwood redux--letting one of our guys get squashed for doing something their guy is doing with impunity. Santorum never equated homosexuality with any other practice. He never advocated putting cops in bedrooms. He said something debatable, but hardly as damaging as the average utterance of Bill Clinton. That guy said we were about to invade North Korea the other day, on the eve of sensitive talks to end that country's nuclear program. That kind of talk gets people killed. Santorum's kind of talk gets people--what, mad? Ready to vote against him? Ready to picket the Supreme Court? Who cares?

If you don't like what the guy said, vote him out. Move to Pennsylvania if you have to. But don't come crying to me when you've sacrificed everything over some anti-gay slur that the Senator didn't even actually say.

UPDATE: Joshua Clayborn quotes me. Maybe I should just let the rants fly more often.
*I edited the Update because the original, self-deprecating remark didn't make much sense.

UPDATE AGAIN: Welcome to the deluge coming in from InstaPundit. I obviously need to just rant and rave more often. Anyhow, Glenn likes the Helen Thomas line but takes issue with my comment that no one actually wants to police bedrooms. I suppose there might be people out there who do in fact want to police bedrooms, though I haven't heard from any. I've mostly had people quite respectfully disagree with my defense of Santorum's right to make essentially the same legal argument proffered by the state of Texas, and which not incidentally seems to have found some agreement with the gay man's defense attorney, the very attorney challenging the law in the first place. Agree or disagree with Santorum's defense of sodomy laws (and I haven't made up my own mind on the subject yet), surely a senator has the right to offer comment on a case that's currently before the Supreme Court. I find the Human Rights Campaign's attempt to silence and intimidate him to be more disturbing than anything he actually said, mostly because what he actually said is just mainstream Catholic teaching (said the Southern Baptist...)

If any of you bedroom-policers are reading this, you're morons. Take it from a mouth-breathing right-winger who goes to church most Sundays and who opposes most of the larger gay rights agenda (the Heather Has Two Mommies kind of stuff) whether sodomy laws stand or fall, you're morons if you really want the police to enforce those sodomy laws. Slippery slopes can run the other way, folks. If you start enforcing one kind of bedroom law, pretty soon you're enforcing a lot more of them, and pretty soon you have little or no right to privacy in your own home. No one with any sense wants that. I don't even like it when the cops devote their scarce resources to setting up speed traps when they have bigger criminal fish to fry. Let's keep 'em out of our homes, if for no other reason (and there are lots of other reasons) than the sheer idiocy of policing buggery when dope dealers and murderers roam the streets. Said the son of a former arson investigator who's now a justice of the peace....
Posted by B. Preston at 04:47 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

CONSPIRACY OF A DUNCE

Mike Moore still thinks CNN goosed the boos on him. Like an incompetent gumshoe in a dime store pulp novel, the doughy documentarian is out to prove it.

Mike, dude, get a grip. We all know that the only way CNN is going to do something like that is if Saddam Hussein orders them to, and since getting you booed wouldn't have done him any good, he'd never do that. So lay off already. You're not making any sense.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AMERICAN TALIBAN?

Not Johnny bin Walker--Christians. Presbyterians actually, according to Jeff Jarvis, because of the church's stance (based on copious New Testament text, it should be pointed out) on homosexuality. It's not one of the Buzzmachine's finer moments, and is proof that some liberals will use any excuse to bash Christians who take their faith and its founding text seriously. Even if it means equating priests with mad, murder-inciting mullahs.

I've left him a comment, respectfully disagreeing.

Now that Iraq is done, it's just like the old blogosphere again isn't it. No longer unified around getting Saddam, we immediately hop on silly bandwagons, trash people of faith or against faith and get into internicine squabbling. I guess in the blogosphere, war unfortunately really is peace.

(via Kevin H.)
Posted by B. Preston at 03:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

TARNISHING A GOOD WAR

This is awful:

Several members of the media and a U.S. serviceman have been caught attempting to ship Iraqi paintings, weapons and other war souvenirs to America, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

At least 15 paintings, gold-plated firearms, ornamental knives, bonds and other items have been seized at airports in Atlanta, Boston, London and Washington in the last week, according to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

"These seizures should serve as a warning to anyone who would take advantage of the transition currently under way in the newly liberated Iraq," Commissioner Robert Bonner said.


Unfortunately, there's more. "Read the whole thing," the blogger said in disgust.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DIXIE SPIN

The Dixie Chicks are coming to ABC to chat with Diane Sawyer. Drudge already has the highlights, which don't read as anything helpful to the DCs' cause:

SAWYER: Are you ashamed that the President is from your state?

MAINES: No.. I'm not truly embarrassed that you know President Bush is from my state, that's not really what I care about. It was the wrong wording with genuine emotion and questions and concern behind it…

MAGUIRE: I felt like there was a lack of compassion every time I saw Bush talking about this. I honestly felt a lack of compassion. And I realized ...

SAWYER: For whom? For ... ?

MAGUIRE: …for me…for people that are questioning this, for the people that are about to die for this on both sides…


Let me interrupt here for a second. Bush showed a lack of compassion? For people who questioned the war? Might it matter a bit that those "questioning" the war often compared Mr. Bush to Hitler? That they couldn't condemn him strongly enough, yet could barely muster a whimper against Saddam Hussein? Why wasn't Miss Maines ashamed of them? Anyway...

ON THE WAR:

MAINES: …I just personally felt like why tomorrow? It's not that I don't ever want you to go over there. It's not that I don't ever want you to clean things up and fix things. It's just why can't we find the chemical weapons first…why not tomorrow?


Or the next day...or the day after that...? Because, perhaps, possibly, maybe, Saddam Hussein was going to hide those weapons until he saw a chance to use them. And maybe the UN's inspection regime was doomed by its own unseriousness and Saddam's tendency to lie from the start, rendering the whole process moot. Perhaps.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

GALLOWAY CONNECTED TO ARAFAT?

The British MP whose name turned up in secret Iraqi files has a curious relationship with Yasser Arafat, too:

Galloway shares a Glasgow flat with wife Aminah Abu-Zayyhad, a niece of PLO chief Yasser Arafat.


So...Galloway has married into the Middle East's oldest terrorist's family, making him part of the clan. And people chide Bush for being friendly with Saudi Prince Bandar.

This story has me very curious about something. Obviously, someone should be hunting high and low for Scott Ritter's name in those files. His dramatic flip from hawk to dove demands scrutiny. But to broach an entirely indelicate subject, might there be some lefty Dems on the Iraqi payroll as well? I can think of at least three off the top of my head--Reps. Jim McDermott, David Bonior and MikeThomson--who had questionable travel itineraries in the run-up to the Iraq war. And then there's Rep. Patty Murray, who praised Osama bin Laden's charitable giving, Rep. Kaptur who compared Osama to America's founders, etc. I could be wrong about this--probably am, actually, since it's likely the aforementioned Dems are just run-of-the-mill idiots useful to our enemies--but I do hope the Marines are scanning for American names in those files. If we have collaborators of Galloway's calibre, we need to know about it.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2003

A MOST DANGEROUS CABAL

After taking a short break to mourn America's victory in Iraq, the idiotarian attack squad is on another campaign in the world's newsrooms. They're "exposing" the latest neocon conspiracies, and trying again to undermine America's current position in Iraq and North Korea. As Bryan pointed out a few posts down, Josh Marshall seems to be heading up the blogging arm of this idiotarian cabal. It could be that some reporters and bloggers are just useful idiots, but I know at least the NY Times editors are smarter than that.

First we had the Times trying to get our troops killed in Iraq by spreading a rumor that we want to permanently occupy the country. I can't believe they forgot to mention Rumsfeld's secret plan to steal Iraq's oil. Editor Howell Raines is hoping to fuel the unwarranted sense of paranoia in the Middle East while creating a quagmire by any means necessary. Of course our government wouldn't mind having an allied relationship with a democratic Iraq, but that's way down the road -- and it's going to be up to Iraqis. We may dream about the convenience of a semi-permanent base in Iraq as part of an unconditional surrender, but the nature of this war means it's not going to happen like that. Many Iraqis currently being fed and protected by our troops still find it hard to grasp we're on their side, while the Left in America -- and the Mullahs in Iran -- want to make damn sure they never do. "Helping" Iraqis fight our attempts to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq may be the next great cause of the Communist-led war protesters.

Then we have the NYT telling the world that Rumsfeld has some secret agenda to overthrow the N. Korean leader. The story reads like an attempt to scare Kim Jong Il away from any diplomatic talks, just like Bill Clinton tried to do recently. Since when is having a military option available for enemies some kind of scandal that needs to be breathlessly revealed on the eve of sensitive diplomatic talks? It's not even news, let alone some kind of scandalous secret. Undermining the preferred diplomatic route doesn't just hurt Bush -- it makes the military option of last resort more likely. Why would anyone want to do that to make a bogus political point? That's what the Left did in Iraq, and what they're now doing in Korea. Yet, not even the dreaded neocons want war with North Korea as our first option.

Here's a companion story:

Citing "well-informed Canberra sources close to U.S. thinking," The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan said the U.S. has produced a blueprint to bomb Yongbyon if the plant went ahead with reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods to make atom bombs.

He said the plan also involved a U.S. strike against North Korean heavy artillery in the hills above the border with South Korea, threatening the capital Seoul and about 17,000 U.S. troops stationed nearby.

But Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer shrugged off the report, which came on the eve of a meeting in Beijing between the United States, China and North Korea aimed at ending a six-month stand-off over Pyongyang's suspected arms programs.

Western intelligence agencies believe no reprocessing has yet taken place but Pyongyang has a history of raising the stakes ahead of major talks as an attention-grabbing negotiating tactic.

"It's one of these stories which probably is perfectly true...but there again, the Americans would have contingency plans for any range of different military option," Downer told an Australian radio station.

"Militaries do this sort of contingency planning the whole time and you shouldn't extrapolate from that that this is the policy of the American administration to bomb this plant."

North Korea last Friday seemed to say it had begun reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods in what would be a dramatic escalation in the row between the reclusive Communist state and the United States. But the claim apparently was the result of a translation error.

The additional context provided in this follow-up to the original report shows how worthless and conspiratorial the reports about supposed war plans and their neocon backers are. The U.S. government has thousands of contingency plans for various scenarios, and even more possibilities circulated in memos by people who hash out ideas to protect our interests. I'm sure we even have a contingency plan for France if radical French Muslims try to take over the nukes and Chirac's military surrenders without firing a shot. So what? Imagine how irresponsible Rumsfeld would be if we didn't plan ahead for various scenarios. Now imagine the NYT splashing our "secret plan to invade and occupy France" on its front page right before some high-stakes diplomatic attempt to have Chirac help us avert war with Syria. Josh Marshall would immediately cite it as ominous proof that Jewish neocons plan to take over Europe as neo-Hitlers. It's pretty clear to me an unelected idiotarian cabal can be more dangerous than any democratically elected and appointed "neocon cabal." Then again, danger is relative I guess. The idiotarian cabal is on a quixotic quest with curious allies attempting to save the world from the danger of Americans and Jews.
Posted by Chris Regan at 03:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

REMOVE SANTORUM?

Gay groups are steamed at Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum because he said something they didn't like. Here's what he said:

In an interview with The Associated Press, Santorum criticized homosexuality while discussing a pending Supreme Court case over a Texas sodomy law.

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," Santorum, R-Pa., said in the interview, published Monday.


It's an odd sort of slippery-slope argument, and one that's not likely to gain much traction one way or the other in the debate over sodomy laws, and deserves criticism. But is it a removable offense? Human Rights Campaign thinks so:

We're urging the Republican leadership to condemn the remarks. They were stunning in their insensitivity, and they're the same types of remarks that sparked outrage toward Sen. Lott," said David Smith, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay advocacy organization. "We would ask that the leadership reconsider his standing within the conference leadership."


To which I say "Balderdash!" Note whom the HRC singles out for criticism here--Sen. Lott, the left's favorite whipping boy. It should be pointed out that when Sen. Lott got into trouble, the GOP cleaned the mess up itself, not because pressure from the left forced it to, but because internal dissension made it necessary. Rank and file Republicans wanted Lott out of his post as Senate majority leader because he'd shown such awful judgement, as well as the offensive substance of his remarks. His history of questionable comments didn't help him here either.

Note also whom the HRC didn't single out for comparison. HRC didn't compare Santorum's comments to former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, whose anti-Semitic rants got her bounced out of office. The HRC didn't compare Santorum to Rep. Jim Moran, whose anti-Semitic remarks get him into trouble fairly regularly. The HRC didn't compare Santorum to Rep. Patty Murray, who praised Osama bin Laden's Third World charity work while lamenting America's comparative lack of charity (which is true, provided you don't count the foreign aid budget, the UN budget, and the Peace Corp as well as scads of US-based non-government actors providing food, medicine and other essentials to the world's starving every single day, and provided you don't count the rebuilding of Japan and Europe that the US underwrote after World War II. If you don't count all that, sure, Osama may be more charitable than the US...). The HRC didn't compare Santorum to Rep. Mary Kaptur, who compared Osama bin Laden to George Washington. And the HRC didn't compare Santorum to the other HRC--Hillary Clinton--who has never really been given a sufficient blast for her "Jew bastard" comment. Why didn't the HRC bring up any of these names? They're all Democrats. It all comes down to partisanship.

As a result, they'll get no traction with me. To their calls for Santorum's removal, I say "Absolutely not." Forget it. You folks have no credibility.

What I see going on here is a "separate from the herd" strategy. When a Dem says something absurd, the party aparatchiks circle around them and try their best to protect them from criticism. They'll use any weapon at hand--they'll cite free speech, censhorship, whatever, as though political criticism automatically becomes sinister when it's directed in their direction. But when a Republican says something dumb or wrong, the lefty groups attack in packs, trying to separate the unfortunate Republican from the rest and kill them off politically. They first tried it with Bush, smearing allegations that he ran away from 9-11, or that he planned the whole thing, or that he's opportunistically using it to benefit his oil buddies. That got nowhere, so they tried a similar strategy against Cheney, which also went nowhere. Then they went after Rumsfeld with the "not enough troops" angle, and though they're still running that one in some quarters the war's outcome has largely refuted it. They made it work against Lott, largely because his history suggested they might be on to something. Now, the left is just looking for Republicans to step out somewhere and say something edgy. When it happens, the left's jackal squads will pounce. They tried it with Secretary of Education Rod Paige a week or so back, when he said something innocuous yet positive about Christian schools. They're doing it to Bush's judicial nominees--separating them from the administration by calling them "extremists," etc and blocking floor votes. Because of his gay marriage comment, Santorum happens to be the today's potential carrion.

UPDATE: Ramesh Ponnuru takes on Andrew Sullivan's take and dices it. And here is the original interview in which Santorum courted trouble. It's fairly clear to me that the AP reporter is baiting Santorum with provacative lines of questioning. It's also abundantly clear that Sen. Santorum is making an essentially legal argument that striking down sodomy laws will create a slippery slope leading to the legalization of all sexual practices. Whether you agree with the senator's assessment or not, that's the point he's making--he never equates homosexuality with beastiality, as much of the coverage seems to insinuate.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

BLINKING KOREANS

Fred Kaplan says that North Korean negotiations are now a bigger deal than anything having to do with Iraq.

Agreed, but he's missing a fairly big point: The Korean crisis has always been a bigger deal than anything having to do with Iraq. Kaplan himself states why at the end of his piece:

...North Korea has several thousand artillery tubes stationed near the South Korean border, 500 of them a mere five minutes' flight time from downtown Seoul.


Add to that a million-strong army, which is well-fed and reasonably well-organized, that's also mostly placed within striking distance of the DMZ, and you have a problem. And don't forget the likelihood that Kim has thousands of infiltrators at his disposal, schooled in blending in to the South Korean and Japanese populace and able to cause massive havoc away from the batte fronts, and that he might be able to count on Chinese assistance across the border if a hot war broke out. To some extent, the Bush team went ahead with the invasion of Iraq to get it out of the way, clearing the decks to finally take on Kim Jong-Il without Saddam constantly popping up and causing distractive trouble. Iraq also got bumped to the head of the axis-of-evil takeout line precisely because it wasn't as big a threat--yet--as North Korea, yet showed none of the signs of self-correction that attend Iran. And a decade of international case law against Iraq supposedly made its invasion easier to justify. France and Co. obviously complicated matters more than the administration expected. Additionally, North Korea probably has at least one or two rudimentary, untested nukes; Saddam, the rationale goes, would have been in that position in a few years or less if left to his own schemes. North Korea hasn't met the US military option yet precisely because it just doesn't lend itself easily to that option; neither does Iran. Iraq did.

North Korea is the big crisis facing the Bush administration now, but that's been true since before 9-11; Syria and the rest of the Middle East (including Iraq) are second-tier problems until the Korean crisis is abated. It's a problem inherited from Bush's predecessor, who mucked it up with the '94 deal that set the precedent of payoffs for Kim's bad, belligerent behavior.

Having said all of this, I'm not sure that the talks set to begin shortly between the US, North Korea and China will do much to alleviate the situation. Both sides compromised to get to this point--the US, in allowing talks to resume without the South Koreans and Japanese present; North Korea, in allowing China to host and play whatever murky role it ends up playing. The only thing I can see that will really work to end the standoff is direct confrontation between China and North Korea, with China either reigning Kim in or bringing about regime change. But regime change is a thorny issue, even for China to tackle. The Kim cult has built its entire rationale for rule, its juche philosophy, its militarization, its demonization of the ROK and the US, on the notion that it is the only legitimate ruler of Korea. No one outside the Kim family is even eligible to rule, so it's likely that should China even decide that regime change is necessary it will have a difficult time finding anyone within North Korea who is capable of establishing enough credibility or authority with the people to rule. So what does China do then? If it follows history, it would either choose or be forced by events to occupy North Korea and install a puppet regime answering to Beijing. Such an outcome might temporarily solve the nuclear crisis, but it would bring unification no closer to reality than it is now. It might even make unification less likely, and for a very long time. Which, come to think of it, if it keeps the entire Korean peninsula from falling into America-friendly hands, occupation might be exactly what the Chinese want.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

HOW TO DISCREDIT YOURSELF AS A PUNDIT

1. Write an article alleging that the Bush administration has some super-secret, nefarious plan to democratize the Middle East--a plan so "secret" it's been bi-partisan public policy for five years.
2. Be famous enough to attract attention from lots of people smart enough to fact-check you.
3. Defend the article, continuously spinning away from your original "secret plan" thesis, which the fact-checkers have shown to be baseless.
4. Get linked at InstaPundit, where he makes fun of you in front of his zillions of readers.
5. Repeat, if you're a glutton for punishment.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 21, 2003

ABORTION AND MURDER

Scott Peterson's double-murder charge earns protests from pro-abortion radicals:

The head of the National Organization for Women's Morris County chapter is opposing a double-murder charge in the Laci Peterson case, saying it could provide ammunition to the pro-life lobby.

"If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder," Morris County NOW President Mavra Stark said on Saturday.


Wow.

(via The Corner)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:38 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

WHERE ARE IRAQ'S BANNED WEAPONS?

Destroyed on the eve of the war, or in Syria, according to an Iraqi scientists who is now cooperating with US forces.

A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team that Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began, members of the team said.

They said the scientist led Americans to a supply of material that proved to be the building blocks of illegal weapons, which he claimed to have buried as evidence of Iraq's illicit weapons programs.

The scientist also told American weapons experts that Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990's, and that more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda, the military officials said.

The Americans said the scientist told them that President Saddam Hussein's government had destroyed some stockpiles of deadly agents as early as the mid-1990's, transferred others to Syria, and had recently focused its efforts instead on research and development projects that are virtually impervious to detection by international inspectors, and even American forces on the ground combing through Iraq's giant weapons plants.

---

Military officials said the scientist told them that four days before President Bush gave Mr. Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war, Iraqi officials set fire to a warehouse where biological weapons research and development was conducted.

The officials quoted him as saying he had watched several months before the outbreak of the war as Iraqis buried chemical precursors and other sensitive material to conceal and preserve them for future use. The officials said the scientist showed them documents, samples, and other evidence of the program that he claimed to have stolen to prove that the program existed.

---

The scientist has told MET Alpha members that because Iraq's unconventional weapons programs were highly compartmented, he only had firsthand information about the chemical weapons sector in which he worked, team members said.

But he has given the Americans information about other unconventional weapons activities, they said, as well as information about Iraqi weapons cooperation with Syria, and with terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda. It was not clear how the scientist knew of such a connection.

The potential of MET Alpha's work is "enormous," said Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division.

"What they've discovered," he added, "could prove to be of incalculable value. Though much work must still be done to validate the information MET Alpha has uncovered, if it proves out it will clearly be one of the major discoveries of this operation, and it may be the major discovery."


One to keep an eye on.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack