May 08, 2004


To see our military up close and personal is to appreciate what an awesome force it is. For about two years I was a reporter for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service's Far East Network. Headquartered at Yokota Air Base, FEN served personnel and families from all branches of the military and the Coast Guard scattered in bases throughout the greater Tokyo area and for a while bases as far away as Iwakuni, Sasebo and Misawa. If you were to look at a map of Japan, you'd find that FEN's area of responsibility amounted to covering everything the military did throughout Japan.

Within that theatre, which as I said included all of sovereign Japan, I found myself covering Army troops training on armored assault vehicles, Marines training on shoulder-fired anti-personnel missiles, sailors readying the gigantic USS Independence for sea cruise, and Air Force crews practicing C-130 airdrops at the Camp Fuji range that occupied the foot of that immense volcano. I dropped mortars with soldiers, blew up bunkers with Marines and went to sea with the Navy (twice), and flew in Lear jets with three-star generals. All in and around Japan, which is on the other side of the Pacific from America.

I once deployed to Guam for the purpose of documenting a visit there by a pair of B2 stealth bombers. It was the first double deployment of our most modern publicly-known stealth aircraft, and the first time that one of the 20 or so Spirits in the fleet would take part in an air show in Asia, as one of the two was destined for an event in Singapore after the Guam stay. Guam became US territory during the Spanish-American war, though the Japanese took it after Pearl Harbor and held it for a while during World War II. Today it's an unincorporated American territory, quasi-independent yet legally attached, and home to Andersen Air Force Base, which during Vietnam sent B-52 bombers on runs to strike North Vietnamese and presumably other targets. At 1,550 miles south of Japan, Guam is a remote speck of volcanic rock in the South Pacific, and as oddly American as Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

The B2s I was there to observe came from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Whiteman is home to the 509th Bomb Wing, most famous for two quite different events. The first occurred in August of 1945, when planes from that wing dropped atomic bombs on Japan to force its surrender, killing more than 250,000 but likely sparing 10 to 20 million Japanese and 1 million Americans. The second was a strange sequence of events in 1947, in Roswell, New Mexico. Today, the 509th is home to the B2 Spirit fleet.

The B2 can literally lift off from Missouri, in the middle of North America, and thanks to aerial refueling drop a bomb on a target nearly anywhere in the world. The day I saw the two land in Guam, they had flown non-stop from Whiteman, refueled somewhere over the Pacific and dropped dummy bombs on a couple of big rocks off Guam's coast.

No other military can boast of so many large and strategically important installations outside its home nation. No other military is as skilled or equipped, or as capable of keeping a lid on conflicts across the Formosa Straight, Kashmir, Liberia, Haiti or Panama, as ours. The Soviets tried for a while to build something like a global military, but they ran up against the limitations of their system, they wore out their welcome around the world, and eventually collapsed. The evil empire could not do what the Yanks had already done. Our military stretches from Texas to Eastern Europe, and from Maine to Alaska over to Japan and South Korea and all the way to Diego Garcia. Since 9-11, we have added bases throughout Central Asia as well, and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq with support bases scattered around the Middle East. We also have troops serving various roles in the Philippines and several African states.

America has never really lost a war on the battlefield. Since World War II, we have been recognized around the world as having the most capacity to build military might, have been the best and maintaining some level of military tradition and have fielded the best fighting force supplied with the best tools. We have kept several long-standing grudges from blowing up into full-blown wars, and we have kept several former aggressive powers from attacking their neighbors. We drove Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and bombed the Serbs away from killing Kosovars, only to have the UN stand by as the Kosovars have reciprocated. But in spite of all that, we could fairly be called a first quarter military. We blitz with incredible speed, agility and coordination, and are very likely to wipe out any opponent with overwhelming force in a matter of hours or days, or at most weeks, without resorting to our vast nuclear arsenal. But over the long haul, we weaken. Not because the troops waver, but because the people lose heart.

Simply put, we're about to watch again how an unrivalled superpower loses a war.

The Abu Ghraib scandal is likely to get worse--much worse. With that worsening will come a call to open up US military prisons in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and the stateside brigs that hold one or two enemy combatants. The Masir-i-Sharif prison riot of 2001 will be re-examined, and it will not be difficult at all for the press to find Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who will say, based probably on Al Jazeera reports they've watched, that US troops there did the same things to them that our troops did at Abu Ghraib. They won't have pictures, but it won't matter. Abu Ghraib will go global.

Because among the perpetrators at Abu Ghraib were reservists who worked full-time at US corrections facilities, there will come a call to open up our prisons here to inspection, perhaps even international in flavor. Thus we will air our dirtiest laundry, as all manner of terrible things are likely to come to light. Prisons are brutal places.

All the while, America's image around the world, and more importantly our self-image, will take on a beating worthy of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, and in the middle of an already confusing and draining war for which we need to buck up, hold our heads up and plow through what would have been a difficult few years even in the best of circumstances. When we need most to believe that we are a unique and humane people, we will probably be assaulted daily with graphic evidence that the worst among us are not.

It will not matter that any similar examination of any other nation's prisons would turn up the same kind or, probably, even worse cases of abuse. It will not matter that while we self-flagellate over a few cases of abuse, the very people who will be loudest in condemning us will be among the world's worst human rights violators. None of that will matter.

We will be at a crossroads. We will punish the guilty, we may raze Abu Ghraib, and we may as a punishment disband the units involved in the abuse. We will see several careers ruined up the chain of command. We will clean our house. But we will find some terrible filth along the way, and fools among us will exploit that filth and use it to indict our souls. At that crossroads, we will either choose to finish the war in spite of our shortcomings, or we will choose to let those shortcomings convince us that we don't deserve to win.

It's going to get worse before it gets better, and there is no guarantee that it's going to get better. Our troops in the field will continue to win our wars one battle at a time, but our troops in the rear--and the people here at home--could render the fight as an act of futility.

UPDATE: Will wonders never cease? The New York Times draws a line from Abu Ghraib to US prisons. Look for them to start flooding the zone on this one.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 07, 2004


Not that facts will convince the left of anything beyond its blindered view of reality, but there is some new evidence that 9-11 hijacker Mohammed Atta really did meet with Iraqi intel in Prague not long before the attacks:

New evidence about a meeting in Prague between September 11 plot leader Mohamed Atta and Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani has been uncovered, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service.

Investigative journalist Edward J. Epstein has uncovered Czech government visa records indicating al-Ani was posted to the Iraqi embassy in Prague between March 1999 and April 21, 2001, and was involved in handling Iraqi agents.

A search of the Iraq Embassy in Prague after the fall of Baghdad to coalition forces revealed al-Ani had scheduled a meeting for April 8, 2001, with a Hamburg student, according to an appointment calendar obtained by Czech intelligence.

Al-Ani then was placed under surveillance as he met with a young Arab-speaking man in Prague April 8.

After seeing Atta's photograph after Sept. 11, the Czech counterintelligence watcher identified the man he had seen meeting al-Ani as Atta. Al-Ani was expelled from Prague within two weeks.

The Czechs have never wavered in their version of events--that Atta traveled to Prague and met with an Iraqi official before 9-11. All along, though, our CIA has wavered between insisting that such a meeting never took place or that it couldn't confirm anything one way or the other.

If Atta did meet with an Iraqi official in the months preceeding 9-11, it would indicate Saddamite involvement in 9-11. For that reason, expect our press to leave this particular avenue of the war unexplored.

Just like the Jordan WMD attack.

Just like the PSI.

Just like so many other things that tend to buttress our cause for war.

Posted by B. Preston at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Fox News' Chris Wallace is turning out to be a good hire:

Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace is taking on his former colleague at ABC News, Ted Koppel, saying Koppel's reading of the names of 720 soldiers killed in Iraq on a Nightline special Friday smacked of a ratings stunt and a political statement.

Ya don't say.

"If you want to pay tribute to the troops, talk about what they fought and died for — not just that they died. It should be more than just a telephone directory," says Wallace, who plans a segment to list U.S. accomplishments in Iraq Sunday on his show. Wallace left ABC last year.

Thank God for Fox News.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:55 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack


I know you'll be as shocked as I was to hear this, but "documentary" director Michael Moore is a raving liar:

Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore's claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Undermined? Try "demolished."

Democrats, this is the guy your party followed down the "Bush was AWOL" garden path--a proven liar. Not that that's anything new for you guys.

In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax.

But in the CNN interview he said: "Almost a year ago, after we'd started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it."

Not only did Moore lie, he lied directly to his cult-like followers. Will it matter to them that their docu-god told them a big, fat lie? Probably not. It won't even occur to them that if he lied about this, he is probably lying all throughout his "documentaries." And he'll profit from the lie:

But Moore's publicity stunt, if that is what is, appears to be working. A front-page news piece in The New York Times was followed yesterday by an editorial denouncing Disney for censorship and denial of Moore's right to free expression.

That's just wrong on so many levels. He lied about the deal. He doesn't understand the difference between censorship--an act of government--and simple freedom of association, which is what citizens and corporations exercise when they decide not to associate themselves with someone else or their ideas. And if Disney's decision not to distribute his "documentary" amounts to denying his rights, then they owe me about a billion dollars. Not having that billion dollars has definitely hindered my right of free expression.

Hey Disney--I accept PayPal!

Pay up already!

MORE: The Minute Man thinks the New York Times is flooding the zone on Mikey's lies--on his side. It looks like he's absolutely right. The Times is making a crusade out of thin air.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


People may forget this in the current mass hysteria, but Bill Clinton also apologized for piles of naked bodies stacked up under his watch. Unfortunately we didn't see those "shocking and shameful" pictures on TV coupled with demands that Clinton stop the horrible activity.

Clinton was responsible for the naked piles of embarrassed, humiliated, raped, murdered Africans in Rwanda, which totaled almost one million by the time it was over. The skulls and bones are still stacked up, and the stench of rotting bodies still fills the air 10 years later. This is the single greatest shame of our nation in modern times, and it's one the Democrats desperately want us to replace with the homoerotic sexplay that went on at Abu Ghraib.

The corrupt UN was involved with Clinton's shame as well:

[The U.N. was] so serenely complacent it couldn't even rouse itself to jam the state radio station, through which the ruling thugs urged their teenage hackers on in public service messages pointing out "the graves are not yet full." So the killing continued, until some 800,000 were dead.

Bill Clinton felt their pain. Retrospectively. In 1998, on his Grand Apology Tour of Africa, a whirlwind tour of whirlwind apologies for slavery, the Cold War, he touched down in Kigali and apologized for the Rwandan genocide. "When you look at those children who greeted us," he said, biting his lip, as is his wont, "how could anyone say they did not want those children to have a chance to have their own children?"

Alas, the president had precisely identified the problem. In April 1994, when the Hutu genocidaires looked at the children who greeted them in Tutsi villages, the Hutu didn't want those Tutsi children to have a chance to have their own children. So the question is: when a bunch of killers refuse to subscribe to multiculti mumbo-jumbo, what do you do?

"All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices," continued Bill in his apology aria, "who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."

Au contraire, he appreciated it all too fully. That’s why, during the bloodbath, Clinton Administration officials were specifically instructed not to use the word “genocide” lest it provoke public pressure to do something. Documents made public last week confirm that US officials knew within the first few days that a “final solution” to eliminate all Tutsis was underway.

. . . Whether or not the Bush Administration could ever have put together a few random clues – an uptick in Arab men taking flight-school training, etc – in time to prevent what happened on September 11th, Bill Clinton knew about Rwanda and chose to do nothing.

Why was this? Well, Somalia, of course. When ten Belgian peacekeepers were hacked to pieces in Rwanda, it reminded the Administration of those 18 US servicemen in Mogadishu. As Samantha Power writes in her book A Problem From Hell, “The news from Rwanda only confirmed a deep skepticism about the viability of UN deployments. Clarke believed that another UN failure could doom relations between Congress and the United Nations. He also sought to shield the president from congressional and public criticism.”

What was that name again? “Clarke”? Who’s that?

Turns out it’s Mister Apology himself, Richard Clarke. He was the guy in charge of Rwandan policy for the Clinton team and, as far as I can tell, unlike the Pain-Feeler, he feels not even a twinge of pro forma remorse. As we know, regrets, he’s had a few. But this isn’t one of them. “It is not always the United States that has to answer the 911 call,” Clarke said. “It is not always the United States that has to be the world’s policeman.” Correct. But in this instance Clarke and Clinton went further and scuttled a UN mission that had already answered the 911 call. Nothing the supposedly “unilateral” Bush team has done damaged the UN and its credibility as much as the Clinton-Clarke team did during the Rwandan bloodbath. And whenever a local bully gets away with it, it emboldens others.

So Clarke and Clinton knew about Rwanda and chose to abandon the victims. Clinton allowed nearly a million people to be slaughtered and still had the nerve to lie to the devastated survivors in a belated apology four years later. That's a seriously sick puppy, and one who may be our next Secretary of State. Clarke also contributed to Clinton's failed terrorism policy that allowed 3,000 dead Americans, but he still lied to those surviving families in his own self-serving way. What a team.

At least George Bush and his point man in the war, Donald Rumsfeld, put a stop to things when they found out about American renegades piling up helpless live Iraqi thugs and shooting them for fun -- with digital cameras.

So when you see another photo on 60 Minutes, and hear calls for apologies, suppress the emotions and compare that mildly disturbing image to piles of rotting African bodies clogging up rivers and villages. It's all about perspective.

UPDATE: Now that this mini-scandal has happened and we can't undo it, is it really so bad that violent, but cowardly, Arabs see this happening to them if they screw with us?

...female U.S. soldiers mocking, humiliating and dominating naked and abused Arab men. One could not have designed a more symbolic representation of the Islamist warning about where Western freedom ultimately leads than yesterday's Washington Post photo of a uniformed American woman holding a naked Arab man on a leash.

Krauthammer thinks so. I don't, though he may be right in the end. Right now we may see this as a huge problem, but if we just chilled out and quit the national parade of self-loathing and self-flagellation it might be less of a problem. That's because it isn't just about political theories of where Western freedom leads, it's partly about how Americans completely and confidently dominate a few enemies while we simultaneously take care of the other 99% of our Iraqi and other friends. So once in a while a few guys might go overboard. That's life as part of the human race. We should just deal with it and move on.

The Arab world is composed of human beings too, and they know exactly the type of low-life criminals who were probably getting "the treatment" from our loose cannons. They aren't children and they've seen much worse than our sensitive eyes. Then also know for a fact we usually avoid hurting innocents at all costs so they don't really sweat collateral damage. Most outrage will be from a few and reserved for the CNN cameras.

The biggest problem I see is if we become too wimpy and they no longer fear us -- especially if terrorist prisoners start getting satellite TV, personal chefs and lawyers. The other related danger is that Arabs see how pathetically weak we already are, that this relatively minor abuse of an enemy during war completely freaks us out. The more we show our soft underbelly, the more likely the terrorists will be to take advantage of it and do something worse to hostages on video that will be blamed on Bush right before the election. So lets not go overboard in the other direction.

Besides, when American men and women dominate Arab men with our conventional military power we also embarrass and humiliate them as a side-effect. I'm sure that also makes them steaming mad, and we've actually killed a few civilians with all the dead-enders in the process of teaching terrorists a lesson. Uh oh! Run for the hills!! Extra-mad Arabs incoming! Quick, what channel can we get on to apologize? Where do we go to sign the surrender papers? Come on. War should thoroughly demoralize the enemy, but let's not embolden them and demoralize ourselves just because war can sometimes be very ugly.

The original prison photos may have been taken and used improperly for tactical psychological reasons, but I have a feeling they may also have an unintended positive strategic psyops effect on a wider audience of already angry murderous radicals who mistakenly see themselves as tough guys. I'm sure they'd prefer not to get "the treatment" if they can avoid it, and they probably suspect we're going to keep doing it too. No matter what, it's not nearly the problem Democrats are making it out to be for political reasons. Bush should not go down in history more ashamed of this minor "stain on our nation" than Clinton was of his stains on Rwanda and the entire fabric of American society.

MORE: Rush Limbaugh just took the same angle I did on the Krauthammer piece. He's been one of the few remaining calm, so I'm not surprised. A female caller then pointed out correctly that the worst day in Abu Ghraib would have been the easiest day in the Hanoi Hilton. Is John McCain really that horrified hearing about Abu Ghraib's nude panty parties? Looks like political posturing to me.

These abuses were not nearly as bad as taking photos, and the photos aren't as harmful as putting them out on international TV. The last part is the worst aspect of the humiliation of these prisoners, and coincidentally the worst humiliation for America as well. It's a probable lose-lose for the war effort, and a definite win-win for the liberal media and politicians. The media loves to shock and humiliate people because it generates a buzz and cash to line their pockets. For instance, the jarring Robert Mapplethorpe-esque "Iraqi on a Leash" photo and headline is money in the bank. The Washington Post and 60 Minutes do not have clean hands here.

Imagine if Don Hewitt, Lesley Stahl, Bob Woodward and Leonard Downie were abducted and photographed nude in a pile and with leashes. You can bet the mainstream media wouldn't even run blurred images due to "sensitivity" concerns. Luckily for voyeurs, the photos would be leaked and Wonkette would run them unedited.

MORE: Drudge is all juiced up over Abu Ghraib and his screaming headlines imply that things may get much worse. If it does, and if the investigation shows gross negligence and systemic abuse or torture, I expect some general officers to properly fall on their swords. Right now though, to call for Rumsfeld's head this early is a political cheap shot from people who don't want to be seen criticizing the military. Remember that many of the worst allegations in the official report and the news so far are unconfirmed and coming from suspect Iraqi prisoners -- not whistleblowers or hard evidence yet. But I'm guessing the feeding frenzy that CBS started will require more and more photos and videos to feed the media beast. Now that blood is on the water, liberals in Congress will demand to see them all in unedited form and you'll then see them spread on file-sharing networks if they aren't there already. I fear Iraqi prisoner S&M porn videos are poised to become the latest Internet craze. I'm just hoping it stops there and we don't start seeing late night TV commercials for our Military Girls Gone Wild.

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:49 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 06, 2004


Considerettes explains.

Those calling for Donald Rumsfeld's head have some explaining to do.

In 1995, two sailors and a Marine raped a young girl on Okinawa. The wheels of justice turned then, just as they're turning now over the prisoner abuse cases in Iraq. Did the Democrats call for any DoD official's resignation then? Why not?

In 1998, President Clinton not only confessed to turning the White House into a whore house, he personally broke the law. He lied under oath and asked others to do the same, all to cover up his disgusting, sordid life. Did one single Democrat demand his resignation then?

No. Of course they didn't. Why not?

That party is corrupt to the core. It has no shred of decency left. The actions of Democrats today, if left unchecked and unanswered, will cost us this war.

It's that simple. The Democrats and their actions and words today are going to cause us to lose this war. And it's increasingly clear that that is exactly what Democrats at the highest levels want: For the US to lose this war, as long as it helps drive Bush's poll numbers down.

How else explain when Senators take to the well of the Senate to spout terrorist propaganda? That's what Sen. Joseph Biden did today, and Sen. Kennedy does nearly every day. How else explain the quick calls for resignation and even impeachment, which is what Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Charlie Rangel did, alleging coverup where there isn't one and calling for impeaching someone who hasn't broken any laws. What the hell?

I can't even express my contempt for the Democrats tonight. I thought it couldn't get any deeper, but they always find new ways to disgust.

We've come to a serious point, I think. We can't unite to fight terrorists who want to turn our cities into smoking craters. We can't look at the crimes of a few bad troops without turning it into a gigantic diatribe against the entire administration and even the entire nation. What the hell?

We're going to lose this war if this internicine bickering and infighting continues much longer. We'll prove that we are the paper tiger Osama bin Laden said we were, and we'll prove that the unrivalled superpower, possessing the greatest military the world has ever known, is unable to fight a protract war without descending into chaos as the Democrat street rises up to defeat us from within.

Disgusting. Truly disgusting. I can only hope that the Democrats are playing to their usual form and will soon overplay their hand. I can only hope that the American people see through the left's garbage and recognizes that this Abu Ghraib assault on Rumsfeld is purely political, devoid of principle and ultimately counterproductive to getting the important job of winning the war done.

Otherwise, all is lost.

MORE: I somehow missed this InstaPundit post, in which Glenn lays out a clean, rational and factual case for the war and where we are. Why is it that a law professor in Tennessee has a much better grip on the situation in Iraq than Senators and Congressmen who are allegedly aware of what's at stake in this war? Why is it that bloggers from coast to coast can state the case for war now better than our President?

Our leadership is falling apart, our press has gone mad and the opposition party is either stupidly or knowingly giving aid and comfort to the enemy on a near daily basis. We're in real trouble. For the first time since I've been alive and aware of things called war and peace, I genuinely fear that we could lose a war and along with it our way of life. Things can really get that bad.

Let me show you around the dark corners of my mind for a minute. Suppose all the bickering in Washington leads to us pulling out of Iraq before the job of stabilizing it and handing off something that is either democratic or heading that way is done. Iraq descends into chaos and becomes a threat again, and along with it Afghanistan is likely to fall apart again. Two rogue states for the price of one, basically. Our credibility is finished, thanks to our quick pullout and the impression that will leave in the minds of our enemies and our friends. No one will have any reason to believe we can fight a protracted war to a successful conclusion anymore, having thrown in the towel in the two most recent long-term wars and fought the third to a tiresome stalemate (Iraq, Vietnam and Korea, respectively).

Our friends will no longer trust us as the guarantor of freedom, and they will look for new friends who can help them. For Europe, that's likely to mean more of the same decay we've witnessed over the past few decades, but in Asia the map will change radically. We have friends in South Korea and Japan who do not get along with each other but who do value their strategic relationships with us. They will seek out new alliances, and will eventually turn their backs on us if we continue to demonstrate weakness. They will probably turn to China, partly for the economics and partly because China will be the new strong arm in their neighborhood. An ascendant China will quickly become master of Asia, balanced only by India, which is in turn balanced to some extent by Pakistan, which is nominally allied to China. Japan and South Korea could ally with India, which would be somewhat better than an alliance with China but might create a more serious rivalry between India and China. Russia may re-emerge as an oligarchy based on oil, run by ex-KGB thugs and of course interested in selling high-tech weaponry to the highest bidder. The point is, the balance of power shifts away from us and other responsible powers and toward less responsible Communists in Beijing and less stable democrats in India and gangsters in Moscow, all of which have nukes and share long and porous borders and have histories of extreme mutual distrust. Asia without American influence becomes a gigantic powderkeg. It will also become a nuclear bazaar.

There will be no credible force left to brake the spread of nuclear weapons. The UN has proven itself so useless in that arena that the US has created a new alliance for the express purpose of halting WMD traffic and proliferation. That alliance will probably fall apart as our credibility in the wake of losing Iraq evaporates. Without us, and with the UN's atomic engery agency in ruins already, who will be left to stop North Korea, Iran, Syria and God knows who else from acquiring nuclear weapons? China surely will not do that job, and neither will Russia or France or Germany. They all have helped rogues states nuclearize in the past and even in the present. Several powers--Japan, South Korea, perhaps other Asian states like Indonesia and Malaysia--will go nuclear. Many more rogue states will go nuclear.

The British may stand against all of this, but by themselves the UK cannot handle the monumental tasks of ending terrorism and state sponsorship thereof as well as halting the spread of nuclear weapons. We are the only nation capable of these missions, and if we lose Iraq we have essentially quit the game.

So what happens? Simply put, the end of the world as we have known it for most of the last century. Imagine a world where Communist China has a free hand not only to deal with Taiwan but to settle old scores with Japan, the Koreas, Vietnam, India, etc. Imagine a world where Iran acquires nuclear weapons unfettered and aims them at Israel, which no longer has its chief benefactor to back it up. Imagine a resurgent rogue Iraq, newly ambitious after throwing us out, lusting after Kuwaiti and Saudi oil. Imagine terrorist groups powered by all of these nuclear-armed interests, as well as bottom-feeding freelancers who hang their shingle to serve the feudal lord with the most cash. Africa continues its slide back to medievalism, albeit with a heavy dose of AIDS, and South America flips red, sells more and more drugs and hosts more and more terrorists. And all while America licks her wounds and becomes an insular former power.

It's easy to imagine the world slipping into this position, but it's hard to imagine any of it ending well. It could be where we're headed if we don't finish the job in Iraq.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:39 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack


Just read it.

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.

"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "


"I'm a pretty cynical and jaded guy at this point in my life," Faulkner said of the moment with the president. "But this was the real deal. I was really impressed. It was genuine and from the heart."

Posted by B. Preston at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Remember Plame-gate--the outing of a CIA operative to allegedly punish her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for allegedly outing the supposed Bush administration lie about Iraq seeking yellowcake in Niger?

It didn't matter that Valerie Plame, the outed agent, was working so deeply undercover the she had the habit of blabbing about her Jane Bond act to all her paramours. It didn't matter that President Bush never actually said anything about Niger, but referred only to Africa, and to British intelligence's finding. In short, the facts didn't matter to Bush critics or Wilson supporters.

I wonder if the facts will matter now. Wilson has a new book out, which was greeted not with a splash but with silence. This new book exposes its own author as a fraud:

It was Saddam Hussein's information minister, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, often referred to in the Western press as "Baghdad Bob," who approached an official of the African nation of Niger in 1999 to discuss trade -- an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium.

That's according to a new book Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq had been trying to buy enriched "yellowcake" uranium. Wilson wrote that he did not learn the identity of the Iraqi official until this January, when he talked again with his Niger source.

So we not only have an Iraqi official trying to obtain uranium in Niger--which is what British intel suggested and Bush repeated--we have a name: Baghdad Bob, high-level Saddamite official. But these facts won't change any liberal's mind. These new facts, related by Joe Wilson himself, haven't even changed Joe Wilson's mind:

That knowledge has not altered Wilson's much-expressed view that the Bush administration distorted intelligence on Iraq's weapons capabilities to help make the case for going to war.

You'd think it might alter his views a bit. After all, his original contention was that Iraq had not in any way sought uranium in Niger, an opinion he based on chats with locals while sipping drinks topped with umbrellas around a hotel swimming pool. He and others conflated his half-baked research into stating unequovically that the Iraqis hadn't sought any kind of uranium anywhere in Africa, and accused President Bush of lying when he cited British intelligence that said they had.

So Wilson's new story is 180 degrees apart from his old one. You'd think that might bring about a change of opinion. But you'd be wrong. Instead, he moves the goalposts a bit:

Sahhaf's role casts more light on an aspect of Wilson's report to the CIA that was publicly disclosed last summer. On the heels of Wilson's public criticism that intelligence was exaggerated and his statement that his trip to Niger had turned up no uranium sales to Iraq, agency Director George J. Tenet took the blame for allowing President Bush to make assertions about the Iraqi quest for nuclear material in his 2003 State of the Union address. Tenet said the intelligence had been too "fragmentary" to merit inclusion in the speech.

Tenet's statement noted that Wilson had reported back to the CIA that a former Niger official told him that "in June 1999 a businessman approached him and insisted that the former official meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss 'expanding commercial relations' between Iraq and Niger. The former official interpreted the overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales."

In his book, Wilson recounts his encounter with the unnamed Niger official in 2002, saying, he "hesitated and looked up to the sky as if plumbing the depths of his memory, then offered that perhaps the Iraqi might have wanted to talk about uranium." Wilson did not get the Iraqi's name in 2002, but he writes that he talked to his source again four months ago, and that the former official said he saw Sahhaf on television before the start of the war and recognized him as the person he talked to in 1999.

He's backed off the original story--no Iraqis trying to make any uranium deals in all of Africa--to a fuzzy recollection of an Iraqi "businessman" who may have been sniffing around for uranium in Niger. And that "businessman" was Baghdad Bob, well-known henchman of Saddam Hussein.

So Wilson knew 2 years ago that the Bush SOTU statement--that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa--was true. That's what Baghdad Bob, not a businessman but a high-level representative of Saddam Hussein, was most likely in Niger to do--seek out a source for uranium--and that's what Wilson's source in Niger told him in 2002 while they were sipping those drinks next to that pool. Bush never said that Iraq actually bought uranium, in Niger or anywhere else. It wasn't the buying that was important, but the seeking, since it demonstrated that even under heavy sanctions, Iraq still wanted to get its hands on nuclear weapons any way it could. Saddam was a threat and we were justified in taking him out. But Wilson helped paint the President as a liar last year before and during Plame-gate. That lie--Wilson's, not Bush's non-lie--has harmed the war effort ever since.

I think we can bury the last dying shred of Wilson's credibility now. Too bad we can't bury the damage he's done.

**As a reader points out in comments, Niger does not equal Nigeria. I knew that. I really did.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 05, 2004


CSPAN has posted the conference video online. Here's a direct link:

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Press Conference on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) (05/04/2004)

If you haven't seen it yet, it's very powerful. Despite what the big media wants you to think, these senior officers and more junior peers of Kerry's are not anything like Paula Jones or Gennifer Flowers. Kerry isn't facing a bimbo eruption, he's facing an alpha male detonation.

Posted by Chris Regan at 04:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The Democrats--the very party whose Chinese money shenanigans in 1996 started the whole drive to reform campaign finance, then hijacked that movement to get their own "reforms" passed and signed into law--may have put themselves seriously behind the 8-ball this campaign season:

POLITICAL PLAY OF THE YEAR? The calendar and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) auger well for the President’s re-election campaign. According to the 3/15 Political Finance Newsletter, the BCRA ban on electioneering communications within 30 days of a nominating convention and within 60 days of a federal election will create radio and tv ad blackouts for any references to President Bush or Sen. Kerry. Only ads financed by voluntary contributions of up to $5,000 from U.S. citizens are legal within those blackouts. For Sen. Kerry, the pre-convention blackout runs from 6/26-7/29. For Bush, it will run from 7/13-9/2. For both Bush and Kerry, the pre-election blackout starts 9/3 and continues until 11/2.

Pro-Bush organizations will be able to run ads about Kerry for five weeks after his nomination while pro-Kerry organizations will be able to run their negative ads for literally one minute – the stroke of midnight – after the President’s nomination and before the pre-election blackout begins. That may get Karl Rove the political play of the year.

That will give President Bush an uncontested playing field, in terms of party-approved message ads that are likely to help him and hurt Kerry--for several weeks. That's an eternity in an election year.

All I can say about this is--Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! It couldn't have happened to a more cynical and deserving bunch of "reformers!"

Posted by B. Preston at 11:22 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


Now that John Kerry's band of brothers has denied brotherhood with him, Kerry has flashed back to 1971 and, once again, he and his leftist comrades are smearing patriots who served honorably with a broad brush.

Since their activities have hit the news, these Navy veterans are again taking incoming fire. Predictably, they are being accused of being partisan shills. In an ironic echo of the past, they're being dismissed as "bitter alcoholics." But, these men are determined to fight one more battle to salvage the reputations of the tens of thousands who served honorably.

Kerry is still proving himself to be the very "loose cannon" his commanders saw him as in Vietnam.

Thankfully, Glenn Reynolds is helping the big media realize that this is not only a big story, it will likely now be the deciding factor in the presidential race -- mostly because Kerry wanted it to be a single issue election. The elite media was probably hoping to call off any discussion about Vietnam and fitness reports after touting the "Bush was AWOL" meme, but it's not going to work.

ABC Nightline's staffer told me when I called that they're actually going to cover the new developments in an upcoming show. CBS is reporting it, but of course it's only to say a partisan "attack" has been launched on their innocent baby. Objective reporting? You decide.

Here's one Glenn missed when he said the story is being covered by the major media now:

The Associated Press is categorically refusing to cover the new developments in the Vietnam story now that it's backfired on Kerry. They told me the blockbuster press conference testimony was old news and they do not plan to cover it at all.

The phone number for the AP's Washington, D.C. bureau is (202) 776-9400.

Don't ask to talk to the ombudsman because they'll just laugh:

...there's zero accountability at AP. "The AP is unaccountable to its millions of readers," notes Feder. "Unlike at many newspapers, there is no AP ombudsman who 'speaks for the readers.' There is no letters page for the AP, and individual newspapers rarely print letters responding to wire stories."

UPDATE:Instapundit is now linking this post, and Drudge has the scoop on a new book that throws Kerry's Vietnamization of the election back over the White House fence:

Rove details for Sammon – Senior White House Correspondent for The Washington Times and political analyst for Fox News Channel – the Bush campaign's strategy to paint Kerry as a condescending elitist whose “blatant” attempts to capitalize on his Vietnam experience will ultimately backfire.

Card, the White House Chief of Staff, goes further by deriding Kerry as a JFK “wannabe” who lacks the mettle to be president!

Posted by Chris Regan at 11:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


There are by my count three major stories the press isn't devoting much energy to covering. They are:

--The existence of the Proliferation Security Initiative, the most important new multilateral alliance of the past decade if not since the founding of NATO.

--The foiled WMD attack in Jordan, which apparently ties Iraq, al Qaeda, Syria and WMDs together in one cooperative association.

--The fact that all of John Kerry's former commanders in Vietnam have come forward to oppose his candidacy for the White House, coupled with the fact that his military doctor believes Kerry's first Purple Heart was awared unearned.

To its credit, the press is covering other big stories--the Abu Ghraib prison abuse story being the biggest thing on its radar these days. And that's a huge and important story to be sure.

But surely in the 24-hour news cycle we have to put up with these days, someone in the press can devote a few seconds or column inches to other stories that may be just as big if not bigger? No?

Can you imagine how the press would treat the three stories I mention above if the White House was in the hands of a Democrat instead of Bush? If Clinton had set up this gigantic and important alliance? If Clinton policies had been vindicated by an attempted terror strike in an allied country half a world away? Of if Bush's National Guard commanders had come out en masse to oppose either his candidacy or his continued service as President? The hue and cry would be audible on Sedna.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:47 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 04, 2004


Tying up war justification with ribbons and bows:

Jordanian authorities say that the death toll from a bomb and poison-gas attack they foiled this month could have reached 80,000. We guess the fact that most major media are barely covering this story means WMD isn't news anymore until there's a body count.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi--the man cited by the Bush Administration as its strongest evidence of prewar links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, and the current ringleader of anti-coalition terrorism in Iraq--may be behind the plot, which would be al Qaeda's first ever attempt to use chemical weapons. The targets included the U.S. Embassy in Amman. Yet as of yesterday, most news organizations hadn't probed the story, if at all, beyond the initial wire-service copy.

Perhaps the problem here is that covering this story might mean acknowledging that Tony Blair and George W. Bush have been exactly right to warn of the confluence of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Jordan's King Abdullah called it a "major, major operation" that would have "decapitated" his government. "Anyone who doubts the terrorists' desire to obtain and use these weapons only needs to look at this example," said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

During the war, the JYB advocated invoking "hot pursuit" to chase down Iraqi WMDs and leadership that US intel suggested were streaming into Syria. We were right; failing to pursue and capture those weapons has made a mess of the entire war. Had our troops been allowed to pursue and capture those weapons and regime figures even as they crossed into Syria, there would have been no widespread belief that Bush lied the world into war. Our alliance wouldn't be cracking over having been "lied to," and it's likely that we would have a larger coalition functioning in Iraq than we do today. Further, Syria would have been put on the war's front-burner as a conduit between Saddam and al Qaeda. Jordan's relatively moderate government narrowly escape decapitation with this month's attempted attack--an attack that would not even have been possible had the Bush administration invoked hot pursuit and captured those Iraqi weapons when our troops were in a position to do so.

The Bush administration made a terrible mistake in not invoking hot pursuit last year, and is compounding that error with every minute of silence that passes between the foiled Jordanian attack and using it to educate the American people about how that attack justifies the war. The reason I believe the administration isn't taking advantage of this teachable moment is that there is, within the Pentagon and particularly the State Department, a war over the war underway. That internicine fighting over policy, principles and the facts on the ground at any given moment is hamstringing our government's ability to conduct the war.

MORE: Iraqi WMDs, Now in Syria by Larry Elder

Elder: You said that the Russians told Saddam, "There is going to be an invasion. Get rid of your chemical and biological weapons."

Loftus: Sure. It would only bring the United Nations down on their heads if they were shown to really have Weapons of Mass Destruction. It's not generally known, but the CIA has found 41 different material breaches where Saddam did have a weapons of mass destruction program of various types. It was completely illegal. But no one could find the stockpiles. And the liberal press seems to be focusing on that.

Elder: It seems to me that this is a huge, huge story.

Loftus: It's embarrassing to the (press). They've staked their reputations that this stuff wasn't there. And now all of a sudden we have al Qaeda agents from Iraq showing up with Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Elder: David Kay said, in an interim report, that there was a possibility that WMD components were shipped to Syria.

Loftus: A possibility? We had a Syrian journalist who defected to Paris in January. The guy is dying of cancer, and he said, "Look, my friends in Syrian intelligence told me exactly where the stuff is buried." He named three sites in Syria, and the Israelis have confirmed the three sites. They know where the stuff is, but the problem is that the United States can't just go around invading Arab countries. . . We know from Israeli and defectors' intelligence that the son of the Syrian defense minister was paid 50 million bucks to bring the stuff across the border and bury it.

Posted by B. Preston at 04:43 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


It was inevitable, I suppose, that we would return to the bad old days of Vietnam. For too many of the left, Vietnam represents their glory days. I've been around aging baby boomers who talk about those days--the protests, the sit-ins, the drugs and sex and anti-war fervor--with a kind of reverence one usually associates with some good deed done.

What they did was tear at the fabric of America, force us to turn away from defending the world against Communism for a while, and help enslave millions under a Stalinist grip. But that's not how they remember it. They remember pursuing a cause greater than themselves. They don't remember all the lies they swallowed and spread, or they don't remember them as lies. They don't remember calling honorable troops "baby killers," or if they do remember it they don't want to talk about it. And they certainly won't make the mistake of calling this generation of America's finest similar names. They'll smear the President, but they'll spare the troops.

Or not. Sy Hersch, the scribe who made his career on My Lai, will use the abuse at Abu Ghraib to resurrect LBJ's ghost and have it possess George W. Bush. He will smear our troops, so John Kerry doesn't have to. This time.

It's important at this stage to acknowledge what we know about humanity, about troops and about war. Humans--all of us--are capable of great evil. When I was stationed in Japan, our armed forces suffered a massive scandal. Two sailors and a Marine raped a young girl. The crime occurred on the island of Okinawa, hotbed of anti-American sentiment in otherwise pro-America Japan. The island's governor called for our withdrawal from the island. Protests swept Okinawa and briefly appeared in Tokyo.

The commanding general of United States Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force at the time was a three-star general by the name of Richard Meyers. A fighter pilot by training, Lt. Gen. Meyers found himself in the center of a political war against our troops sparked by the terrible actions of a few. He handled it with grace and decorum, and in time the criminals were punished and America's image restored. The men and women of our armed forces, like the rest of us, are capable of both the good exhibited by Gen. Meyers and the evil exhibited by those rapists.

At Abu Ghraib, at least seven of our National Guard troops have been reprimanded for abusing and degrading prisoners. Roughly half of the abusers are female, as was their commanding officer, suggesting that the "abuse," such that it was, might have been aimed at psychologically softening up the terrorist prisoners for interrogation via deconstructing their manhood. But that's no excuse for our troops or their behavior. They have been through some level of Geneva Conventions training, as our military trains its personnel in rules of engagement and the laws of warfare. These laws serve to civilize the uncivlizable--war--and often put our troops at a battlefield disadvantage against insurgents and terrorists who wear no uniform, kill indiscriminately, and use the innocent as well as religious landmarks as shields. But we follow the laws of war anyway and we are and will continue to punish criminals among our ranks. Those two facts are among the many that separate us from our enemies.

But the Sy Hersch's of the world will have none of that. They will do their best to resurrect My Lai in every bad deed done done in Iraq, and they will conflate isolated cases of human depravity into a systematic campaign of war crimes committed with the full knowledge of the chain of command extending from Baghdad all the way back to Washington. It's a return to their glory days; they can't help themselves.

But there is another ghost from Vietnam that is just beginning to materialize. Back in that war, a decorated young Navy lieutenant gave his voice to the anti-war movement. His rhetoric mainstreamed the "baby killer" meme and gutted America's stomach for protracted warfare. His colleagues have returned from that war, are aware of his actions, and are stepping up to prevent him from becoming President of the United States:

Vietnam was a long time ago. Why does it matter today? Since the days of the Roman Empire, the concept of military loyalty up and down the chain of command has been indispensable. The commander's loyalty to the troops is the price a commander pays for the loyalty of the troops in return. How can a man be commander in chief who for over 30 years has accused his "Band of Brothers," as well as himself, of being war criminals? On a practical basis, John Kerry's breach of loyalty is a prescription of disaster for our armed forces.

John Kerry's recent admissions caused me to realize that I was most likely in Vietnam dodging enemy rockets on the very day he met in Paris with Madame Binh, the representative of the Viet Cong to the Paris Peace Conference. John Kerry returned to the U.S. to become a national spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a radical fringe of the antiwar movement, an organization set upon propagating the myth of war crimes through demonstrably false assertions. Who was the last American POW to die languishing in a North Vietnamese prison forced to listen to the recorded voice of John Kerry disgracing their service by his dishonest testimony before the Senate?

As one side resurrects Vietnam to destroy America's morale today, another side resurrects Vietnam to restore our sense of mission in the world and prevent the rise to power of a man who wanted all those years ago to turn us away from that mission. I pray to God the latter side gets a fair hearing and persuades America that they are right and the other side is wrong. We stand a good chance of losing not only Iraq, but the entire war, if they fail.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:52 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

May 03, 2004


Back on March 21, 2004, I made the following prediction:

I can imagine the scenario a year or more from now. A young Lieutenant, perhaps an Army tank officer or a Marine platoon leader and an Iraq war veteran, testifies before the Senate, or these days, makes his stand on 60 Minutes or with Barbara Walters. With the serious tones of a young idealist chastened by war, he will deliver a stone-faced diatribe against President Bush, against Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, against Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and anyone else who led us into or supported the war that ended Saddam Hussein's brutal reign. The decorated veteran will lie through his teeth about America's actions and interests, about the Iraqi people's opinion of us and our intentions--just like Kerry did in 1971 about Vietnam--and will lead some kind of Iraq veterans' effort to cut and run from Iraq--just like Kerry advocated abandoning South Vietnam in 1971. Kerry's advocacy succeeded a few years later, and the Communists overran our former allies.

Our young Lt., like young John Kerry before him, will have ties to the worst elements--Communists, socialists, Islamicists, America's enemies du jour, and like the 1971 press today's media will ignore those ties and focus instead on the photogenic young hero speaking truth to power. Or lies to power. Whatever, as long as what he says is servicable to the cause of strengthening socialist causes and impairing America's ability to defend itself.

It turns out I may have been a little bit conservative in my prediction--we don't know all that much about his politics yet, but the second coming of John Kerry has already arrived:

WASHINGTON, April 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On the one-year anniversary of George Bush declaring Mission Accomplished in Iraq, First Lieutenant Paul Rieckhoff, who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq from April, 2003 to February, 2004, will deliver the Democratic Radio Address to the nation.

Rieckhoff, 29, will talk Saturday about his experiences as a soldier in Iraq and the need for leadership in Washington that matches the courage and capability of the soldiers he served with.

In Iraq, Rieckhoff served in the National Guard attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. He was based in Adamiyah, in North East Baghdad. His guard unit was among the first to enter Iraq in April, 2003. His tour in Iraq with the National Guard was extended three times.

In 2001, Rieckhoff was living on 24th Street in Manhattan. He saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center, and he went down to help in the rescue effort. Rieckhoff was part of the 9/11 rescue and clean-up effort with his guard Unit Alpha Company First 105th (A/105th) at ground-zero.

Rieckhoff joined the Army in 1998. He was called to active duty in December 2002. He lives in New York.

So who is Paul Rieckhoff? John Kerry is apparently supporting him behind the scenes and giving his remarks prominent play on his official campaign website. I wonder if Lt. Rieckhoff is former Vice President Paul Rieckhoff of the UMass Amherst Student Government Organization. That Paul Rieckhoff supported what amounted to a 60s style student uprising back in 1997:

In response to yesterday's student takeover of the Goodell Building at the University of Massachusetts, the Amherst College Student Policy Committee voted unanimously to support the demonstration by issuing a letter of solidarity to the student protesters. The motion to support the student takeover arose at last night's monthly meeting of the SPC. Representatives from the University's African, Latino, Asian, and Native American organization (ALANA) were invited to the meeting to inform SPC members about th e ongoing student protest and give a summary of the students' demands. According to these representatives, the impetus behind the student protest was the University administration's failure to follow through on a promise to enact a similar set of proposa ls agreed upon in 1992.

"Our decision to support the student takeover is based on the fact that the UMass administration broke the promise they made five years ago," said Paul Rieckhoff, Vice President of the Student Government Organization. "We believe the violation against th e UMass students constitutes a violation against all of the students in the Five College community."

So what did the student insurgents want? It's hard to tell:

The primary concern of the student protestors, according to the ALANA representatives, is the lack of trust they feel for the University administration. The students maintain that they will continue to occupy the Goodell Building until they are assured t hat the Administration will not balk again on its promise to fulfill the demands set forth by ALANA.

Members of the SPC questioned the representatives about specific reforms that the UMass administration had failed to enact. While some of the discussion centered around specific demands set forth by the student protestors, SGO President Dave Brown stress ed that the SPC letter of solidarity was aimed at the students' action rather than their platform. "We're not necessarily supporting any individual aspect of their demands," said Brown. "We're supporting their movement against the administration for breaking their promise to the students."

"The protest isn't about these demands," said Sol, an ALANA representative who declined to give his last name. "It's about trust, and the University administration fulfilling the students' needs." Although most of the ALANA demands aim to redress problem s with minority representation on campus, the representatives stressed that the current protest extends beyond racial and ethnic lines.

Typical left-wing claptrap from the sound of it--immature spoiled brats trying to fight The Man when The Man probably is just as moonbatty as they are. Whatever. The point is Paul Rieckhoff supported this student takeover of a UMass Amherst building for no concrete reason. He's a lefty.

And now the Dems have found him and are going to make him their anti-war poster boy. He says he plans to set up some kind of allegedly non-partisan veterans organization that will provide assistance and so forth. Look for that to morph into something along the lines of Iraq Veterans Against the War. And look for Rieckhoff to show up on TV throughout the campaign season, especially as dozens of John Kerry's former shipmates come out of the woodwork to tell America that they believe he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief:

Hundreds of former commanders and military colleagues of presumptive Democrat nominee John Kerry are set to declare in a signed letter that he is "unfit to be commander in chief." They will do so at a press conference Tuesday in Washington.

"What is going to happen on Tuesday is an event that is really historical in dimension," John O'Neill, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy as a PCF (Patrol Craft Fast) boat commander, told The event, expected to draw about 25 of the letter-signers, is being organized by a newly formed group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

"We have 19 of 23 officers who served with [Kerry]. We have every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam. They all signed a letter that says he is unfit to be commander in chief," O'Neill said.

Getting every single one of Kerry's commanding officers to state in public that they believe he should never be CINC is very big deal. Military officers generally support their own without much regard to politics, but this year we're seeing a change to that. First it was Gen. Henry Shelton obliquely attacking Gen. Wesley Clark's character when he was a candidate; now it's a phalanx of officers who either served with or commanded Kerry stating in no uncertain terms that he should not become President.

Kerry's new Mini-Me, Paul Rieckhoff, is both a counterattack against this officers' group and a more strategic attack on the war itself. It's fairly likely to succeed in at least damaging the war if not helping Kerry's credibility.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


The Watcher of Weasels, one of my favorite blogs, is looking for a new contributor on its Council. If you're interested, go here and offer your services.

Shifting gears to the protest, cartoonist Ted Rall is not only a completely untalented hack--he's demonstrably chosen to support anyone and everyone who is against us in the war. Yes, that means he supports the Islamofascists, the Osamas and Saddams and the mullahs--everyone who is against us. Today he even took that sickening schtick too far, scribbling out a cartoon that mocked Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinal killed in Afghanistan last month (I would link it, but MSNBC has already taken it down). His cartoon is syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate. We should all let them know just what a reptile they're paying to spout the worst sort of anti-American bile. I wish I'd thought of this protest, but I didn't--Andrew Sullivan did. As he suggests, be civil, but please email Universal's vice-president for print syndication, Lee Salem at lsalem@amuniversal to lodge your complaints.

This isn't "McCarthyism" or "intolerance." It's sanity. During our last great war we wouldn't have tolerated openly pro-Nazi agitprop in our newspapers. We shouldn't tolerate pro-Islamist agitprop now. Rall should feel the pinch of an angry country betrayed by his sickening mind. There are thousands of cartoonists out there who are far more talented than Rall and who won't use their position to help the enemy--Universal can find someone to replace him. I recommend Chris Muir.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Byron York reports what really happened after Bob "He can go to hell for all I'm concerned" Kerrey ditched the wartime 9/11 Commission's crucial meeting with President Bush to attend to some personal lobbying business.

"If I had known that there were votes in the Senate at the time, and Sen. Domenici was not in his office, and I would not be able to see him until later, and I would only get 30 seconds or a minute with him, then yes, I would have stayed at the White House," Kerrey told NRO.

Other than the general topic of the meeting — a matter affecting the New School — both Kerrey and Domenici's office have declined to reveal any details of what the talk was about.

Kerrey says the meeting with Domenici, a former Senate colleague, was arranged by the Carmen Group, a Washington lobbying firm which handles matters for the New School.

As it turns out, many people at the leftist New School didn't even want Bob Kerrey to be their president and fundraiser in the first place. That's because he was involved in old school wartime atrocities -- you know, the type that Saddam Hussein would really be proud of. It's the kind that's far worse than Internet age atrocities in Iraq where the enemy gets posed nude and hazed for photos to email friends. A few years ago: front of the New School auditorium, they gathered a thousand strong, a serpentine parade of the angry, the skeptical, the supportive, the curious. They came to hear from a man who had recently admitted to killing Vietnamese women and children 32 years earlier, a man who was now their leader. . . .

"He's damaged goods," said Michael Hirsch, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology. "Do you want the leader of a hit squad with blood on his hands raising money for you?"

. . .Through extensive research and interviews, Vistica established that the 21 Vietcong soldiers reported killed on Kerrey's first mission were in fact approximately 18 women and children and one old man, all unarmed. Gerhard Klann, one of Kerrey's squad members, says about a dozen of these women and children were rounded up and executed. At least one Vietnamese woman has supported Klann's version of events. Kerrey says the civilians were killed at a distance, in the dark of night, as his squad was returning enemy fire. The other members of Kerrey's squad are backing his story.

The unconcerned aside ("Dude, it was a war, they were supposed to kill people," explained acting student Elizabeth Page), there is fierce debate on campus over which version of events is truthful. "Kerrey's account is dubious at best," says the historian Adolph Reed, professor of political science at the New School. "It strains credibility to believe they fired wildly into the black night and killed everybody. Look at how the bodies were huddled together. I've supported efforts in the Midwest to track down Nazi war criminals. There is really no difference between what they did and what Kerrey did. The difference is the scale."

So the next time you see that disturbing photo of the huddled mass of naked Iraqis, remember that Bob Kerrey might have just executed the entire pile -- especially if they were only women and children. Now imagine that photo in your inbox. Not only is there a huge difference between what Saddam did compared to U.S. prison guards in Iraq, there's also the Bob Kerrey difference. Here's some perspective on the recent prison controversy from Victor Davis Hanson. It turned out that Kerrey became a U.S. Senator anyhow, and now he gets to grill and criticize the U.S. President on how he fights his War on Terror.

Speaking of Senators, too bad we don't yet know the details of those atrocities that Presidential hopeful, Sen. John Kerry, has publicly admitted to.

The soldiers involved in mistreating prisoners in Iraq should be paying attention here. It's not all over for them. Just like Sens. Kerrey and Robert Byrd, the former KKK member, the prison guards could still be elected Senator as a Democrat. Thirty years from now they could even run for President primarily on their military service in Iraq.

Here's how you do it: First, if you have any cuts or scrapes from scuffles with prisoners, apply for a Purple Heart (or 3) and don't take no for an answer. Then, when you're back in the U.S., go public and blame your actions on the entire chain of command. Then claim to be outraged at others and join a group that protests the war in Iraq. Finally, quietly "resign" and take an informal position with the same group when they begin to consider assassinating U.S. Senators. At that point you marry a very rich woman and begin your political career. Just pray that scores of former officers don't show up at a press conference and condemn you as unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.

Posted by Chris Regan at 03:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Our war on terrorism will not succeed if we fail to deal with Syria. James Robbins explains the evidence that Syria was involved in the thwarted chemical attack in Amman, Jordan last month.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2004


Your humble blogger visited another planet this weekend.

The circumstances were less than ideal. To visit this planet, one must wear the proper attire. Black bow tie, well-trimmed and very black suit, shiny black shoes--the equivalent of body armor when traveling to this particular part of the galaxy.

As Saturday was a warm day and the clothing a bit on the heavy side, I decided to start up my car and turn the air up to high, let it run a few minutes, then jump in and head down the highway. At the precise moment that I stepped outside to do this, it started to rain. The body armor I was wearing doesn't take to rain very well, and little spots appeared up and down my well-pressed sleeves. I hustled to the car, got it started and the air turned up, then hustled back inside.

And it stopped raining. It wouldn't rain again until I was on my way down the highway and in between several SUVs that dwarfed my little Pontiac. Oh well.

The planet I was destined to visit might be called Glitterati. It was encamped for the night at a swank hotel in Washington. I arrived at precisely 6 pm, which was when festivities were starting up, but after parking the car several blocks away I ended up being about 15 minutes late. Not that it mattered much, really. One or two might have been expecting to see me, but most attending were lined up to watch others, citizens of the planet I was only visiting.

So I parked the car and wandered up several dead ends until I arrived at the hotel. Did I mention that it was raining again? Fortunately I had an umbrella, so I was no worse for the shower.

As I neared the hotel entrance, I could see several very long and very black limousines lined up at the door. Men approached them and opened the doors, and men emerged from these cars dressed similarly to myself and with exquisitely dressed women on their arms, but somehow they seemed to pull off the look better than I. Apparently these suits are part of their customary attire. Mine was a rental.

As these Glitteratis entered the building, I could see a battalion of flash bulbs popping and as I neared, I could hear voices rising with anticipation at who would be the next to enter and be acknowledged.

I entered by the door next to all this activity. I didn't want anyone to use their flashes needlessly on pictures of me that they would end up throwing away anyway. My name isn't Affleck or Barrymore or Powell or Dean or Leno or Bush. I wasn't anyone's pictorial priority.

Inside the hotel, the gigantic machine we call the press was on radiant display. Here was a sign announcing ABC; over there, CNN, and back that way were CBS and NBC and Fox and the rest. I was looking for a specific room so I ambled down an escalator and a narrow hallway past signs that read "The New Republic" and "Time" and so forth, until I found the one I was seeking--the Hamilton Room, with a sign next to the door that read "National Review."

The kind folks at NR had invited your humble blogger to their cocktail party, which was a prelude to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. The Hamilton Room amounted to a little rebel base inside the belly of the great press machine.

To see the press assembled in one place and on full display is to have peered over Han Solo's shoulder as he piloted the Millennium Falcon near the Death Star. To wander among them is to appreciate the enormity of the task we bloggers have set for ourselves. We are a bunch of Davids battling a global Goliath. It's a miracle that the press has even noticed our existence. But the press has noticed us, and may fear that we can fire enough smooth stones to bring them down. Even the New York Times has what amounts to a blog now.

I entered the National Review room and, suffering from thirst due to the walk from the car and desiring something to hold so that I looked like I belonged, I sidled up to the line formed from the open bar. As I stood there wondering if I would ever meet anyone of note, Gold Leader Rich Lowry and his wingman Robert A. George approached. The two were chatting about something amiably, Lowry looking even younger in person than on TV and for some reason taller than I'd expected, and George just looking frightfully smart. They ordered drinks, as did I, and trying to seem less amazed than I was I introduced myself to Lowry, who in turn introduced me to George. One of the two asked me about myself and where I work and all, so I mentioned a bit about work and the articles I'd written free-lance for their magazine. Whatever I said seemed to pass muster, so the three of us made our way out past the appetizers to the patio. A thin coatless man asked us to pose for a picture which he snapped before moving on. More men in the special suits, and quite a few women dressed to the nines, were holding forth outside. Near the far edge and under a tree, Jonah Goldberg, Jim Robbins and a few others were engaged in a lively conversation. Back inside, former comedian Al Franken made a brief appearance before slipping away. It's a pity I never got to quiz him about Air America, which is now merely Air Plattsburg.

Lowry and George and I made our way to Goldberg's group and joined in. The topic of conversation was unexpectedly serious--the American troops accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners--and the opinion was unanimous that the behavior was inexcusable and may have done incalculable damage to the war effort.

After a while the group dispersed. I think thirst took over. It had for me, so I made my way back inside and procured another beverage. Standing in line behind an attractive blond and absently staring into space, my reverie was broken when the blond turned to me and asked where I was from. Though I haven't lived there in ten years, my knee-jerk response to that question is still "Texas"--even though in this case she was most likely asking where I was from that had gotten me inside this event. What network or newspaper or magazine, etc. Her name was Jenny, she was from Memphis, and she works for a prominent Senator to whom I have often been unkind on this blog. I didn't mention that to her.

On my way back outside, I ran into Ramesh Ponnuru. Ramesh is known in National Review circles for his policy-centered writing, which belies his quick and wide-ranging sense of humor. I had met him on a couple of occassions before, so seeing his familiar face was like meeting a friend. We chatted about odds and ends and parted soon thereafter. Later I found him talking policy with the Club for Growth's Stephen Moore, a setting that lined up better with Ponnuru's public image as an alpha wonk. Not far from them stood Kellyanne Conway, the original blonde conservative looking stunning in a peach or reddish dress, and not far from her stood Linda Tripp, smiling and chatting. The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol entered and was kind enough to stop and chat with yours truly for a moment before moving on. National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez flashed by as energetic as I'd imagined, saying hello on her way past. Outside Jonah Goldberg and David Frum talked about remodeling homes.

I spent the remainder of my time in a small group talking about the war and things undone. We lamented the lack of publicity the Proliferation Security Initiative has received since the Bush administration founded it nearly a year ago. We lamented the lack of coverage the press machine has devoted to the foiled WMD terror attack in Jordan, an attack which ties up the entire war in ribbons and bows--connecting Saddam, WMDs (his own) and al Qaeda in one tidy bundle. We talked about the fact that the government has good evidence connecting Saddam to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and apparently even to 9-11 itself, but that the government doesn't know what it knows so the word isn't getting out. Two of our little party were insiders on these topics--they seemed to know what they were talking about.

The fourth in our party was someone I'll call M. M had built up a reputation as an expert on the Middle East, only to have that reputation shredded by the former Emperor of Glitterati, Bill Clinton. M's opinions and facts have long run counter to the official history of 1990s anti-terror efforts, thus M has run afoul of the Clintonistas.

M has a head full of facts about Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, Syrian terror tactics, the Iranian mullahs--the whole Middle Eastern shebang. I picked M's brain until the gongs sounded calling the Glitterati into their dinner with President Bush, and then picked some more. In my opinion M is a hero--a fact I must have mentioned half a dozen times--and I wanted to listen to anything M had to say as long as was proper. M believes we could still lose Iraq and therefore the war. I left with a slight chill at the thought.

As we mere mortals made our way out of Glitterati, we promised future correspondence. Walking outside the hotel, we got our bearings and M headed one way and I headed another. Since the President had arrived, the Secret Service and DC police had teamed up to block off several streets adjacent to the hotel, and agents in dark suits occupied the corners. One, a large tuxedoed black fellow holding an umbrella in an odd diagonal grip, wished me a good evening as I passed. I returned the greeting.

Putting Glitterati at my back I walked to my car, took off my jacket to hang it over the back seat, got in and drove home through sporadic rainfall.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:01 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack