July 10, 2004

JOE WILSON, LIAR

The Senate Intel Committee report thoroughly discredits one of the Bush administration's most controversial critics:

Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.

Wilson spent his time in Niger sipping teas by a swimming pool while local officials regaled him with tales of Iraq's lack of interest in yellowcake uranium. He was sent there, contrary to his own assertions in public appearances and in his book, on the recommendation of his wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame. What he learned in Niger, he failed to recount factually, and then failed repeatedly to tell the truth about his wife's role in his mission. He also lied to reporters, which is probably why the press is now going after him:

The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong."

"Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports," the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have "misspoken" to reporters. The documents -- purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq -- were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.

Read the whole thing--it's damning. You liberals who have been flogging Wilson/Plame have some apologizing or backtracking to do. Your case just fell apart.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:52 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 09, 2004

THE WIT AND WISDOM OF JOHN EDWARDS

His North Korea policy:

--Something different than what the administration has.

Oooookay. Read the rest here.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:59 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

VIETNAM ANTI-PATRIOTISM REDUX

Here we go again, folks. The left has ratcheted up the hate, and now it's aiming that hate at our own troops:

The bucolic island's deep reputation for civility got a gut check this week during the annual Grand Old Fourth of July celebration.

That's when Jason Gilson, a 23-year-old military veteran who served in Iraq, marched in the local event. He wore his medals with pride and carried a sign that said "Veterans for Bush."

Walking the parade route with his mom, younger siblings and politically conservative friends, Jason heard words from the crowd that felt like a thousand daggers to the heart.

"Baby killer!"

"Murderer!"

"Boooo!"

Once our troops actually engaged the enemy in Iraq, we passed the point of no return. The decision had already been made, whether you agreed with it or not, to go to war. The only patriotic, indeed the only humane, choice left for anyone who loves this country and who wanted to see as little loss of life as possible was to get behind the effort, stop the sniping, stop the conspiracy theorizing and pray for a swift victory. There would be a time for recrimination and second-guessing later.

But that isn't the course most of you *leftist gasbags chose. You chose instead to Vietnamize this war. You failed--we're going to win this thing, with you or most likely without you--but you've managed to create an environment of hostility for our returning troops. I hope you're happy with yourselves.

(via InstaPundit & Scott Koenig)

(I added the "leftist gasbags" line to clarify who I am yelling at.)

Posted by B. Preston at 08:32 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

PLAYING POLITICS WITH INTELLIGENCE

Courtesy Henry Hanks, Stephen Hayes shreds Senator Carl Levin's attacks on the Bush administration:

No one in the Congress has had more to say about the Iraq-al Qaeda connection than Levin. And no one has been as misleading.

Here is Levin, in an appearance on CNN on July 8, 2003: "There is some evidence that there was an exaggeration by the intelligence community about that relationship," he alleged. "We need them to be credible. That means no exaggeration. That means they have to give the unvarnished facts to the policymakers."

That claim--the intelligence community exaggerated the Iraq-al Qaeda connection--were a dilation of comments Levin had made in a June 16, 2003, interview on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "We were told by the intelligence community that there was a very strong link between al Qaeda and Iraq." [emphasis added]

By February 2004, Levin was saying precisely the opposite.

"The intel didn't say that there is a direct connection between al Qaeda and Iraq," he told John Gibson of Fox News. "That was not the intel. That's what this administration exaggerated to produce. And so there are many instances where the administration went beyond the intelligence . . .
I'm saying that the administration's statements were exaggerations of what was given to them by the analysts and the intelligence community."

There's more, much more, and it's devastating. Sen. Levin has changed his story and is attempting to use outright falsehoods to trick the American people into believing that Bush lied us into war.

Why would he do that?

Well, for some reason my memory banks tickled when I read this, and for some reason I thought back to last fall. At that time, the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of the intel leading up to the Iraq war was just getting underway. Chairman Pat Roberts led the effort, which was to be a bipartisan look at how and why the US intel agencies all believed that Iraq possessed WMDs. I maintain that they believed Iraq possessed them because it did; those weapons have since disappeared, and we need to find out why. But leaving that aside, the Committee's investigation was meant to be a serious look into a very serious national security question, namely, the question of whether our intel agencies are worthless or not.

The Democrats on that Committee had other ideas, as lined out in a memo drafted for Committee members from their side of the aisle. That memo, which leaked in early November 2003, said the following:

"We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows: "1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. We are having some success in that regard.

"For example, in addition to the President's State of the Union speech, the chairman [Sen. Pat Roberts] has agreed to look at the activities of the office of the Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, as well as Secretary Bolton's office at the State Department.

"The fact that the chairman supports our investigations into these offices and cosigns our requests for information is helpful and potentially crucial. We don't know what we will find but our prospects for getting the access we seek is far greater when we have the backing of the majority. [We can verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing.]

---

"2) Assiduously prepare Democratic 'additional views' to attach to any interim or final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage of it.

"In that regard we may have already compiled all the public statements on Iraq made by senior administration officials. We will identify the most exaggerated claims. We will contrast them with the intelligence estimates that have since been declassified. Our additional views will also, among other things, castigate the majority for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry.

---

"The Democrats will then be in a strong position to reopen the question of establishing an Independent Commission [i.e., the Corzine Amendment.]

"3) Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of the administration's use of intelligence at any time. But we can only do so once.

---

"The best time to do so will probably be next year, either:

"A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim report, thereby providing as many as three opportunities to make our case to the public. Additional views on the interim report (1). The announcement of our independent investigation (2). And (3) additional views on the final investigation. Or:

"B) Once we identify solid leads the majority does not want to pursue, we would attract more coverage and have greater credibility in that context than one in which we simply launch an independent investigation based on principled but vague notions regarding the use of intelligence."

In other words, they planned from the outset to play games with the Committee's data, with its reports and with its members from the GOP. The Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats planned all along to find any weaknesses at all in the final analysis and turn them into smears of the administration and its case for war. It's all right there. Their public words about cooperation and bipartisanship were just a veneer to mask their partisan intention to politicize whatever the Committee ultimately found.

Sen. Levin, as a Democrat on that Committee, was undoubtedly on the distribution list for that memo. He has been marching to its tune ever since. In the story linked above, Stephen Hayes has caught Levin in at least one outright lie. He will be telling more lies in the months to come, and will probably try and build things to a crescendo by October. Look for a call for some kind of follow-up investigation on the Committee's report, which was released this week, as we near the election.

Senator Rockefeller (D-WVa)is already laying the groundwork.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I-LOVE-YOU-MAN GATE

Yet another lie from Michael Moore. Or Sen. Tom Daschle. One of 'em is lying. Either way, we have a new scandal. You make the call.

According to Moore:

Moore does not spare the Democrats entirely in his film. Most Democratic Senators, including Kerry, not only voted for the Iraq war but until recently refused to criticize the President's decision to invade. Among the clips in Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of minority leader Tom Daschle last year urging other Senators to follow his lead and vote for Bush's Iraq war.

Two weeks ago, at the Washington premiere, Moore sat a few rows behind Daschle. Afterward, says Moore, "he gave me a hug and said he felt bad and that we were all gonna fight from now on. I thanked him for being a good sport."

From Moore, we have a conversation and a hug.

But according to Daschle:

When asked about Moore's account of a hug after the premiere and the criticism Daschle has received for it, the South Dakota Democrat said he and Moore did not embrace. Daschle said his schedule forced him to arrive late and leave early.

"I know we senators all tend to look alike. But I arrived late, and I had to leave early for Senate votes. I didn't meet Mr. Moore," Daschle said.

Did they or didn't they? Were they two ships who passed in a crowded theatre, or did they embrace the way the Democrats' alpha metrosexuals do? And if it wasn't Daschle, whom did Moore hug?

"I love you man!": the political scandal of 2004.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THIS GUY WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT?

Whaaaaa...?

Just hours before attending an all-star celebrity fundraising concert in New York, Dem presidential candidate John Kerry revealed how has been too busy for a real-time national security briefing.

"I just haven't had time," Kerry explained in an interview.

Kerry made the startling comments on CNN's LARRY KING LIVE Thursday night.

KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn't increase the -- you see any politics in this? What's your reaction?

KERRY: Well, I haven't been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven't had time.

So what was Kerry doing instead of receiving a real-time briefing on national security threats? Listening to Whoopi Goldberg launch into an obscene tirade comparing President Bush to female anatomy:

"Waving a bottle of wine, [Goldberg] fired off a stream of vulgar sexual wordplays on Bush's name in a riff about female genitalia, and boasted that she'd refused to let Team Kerry clear her material," reported Friday's New York Post.

Apparently the Johns were not only amused, but giddy:

Far from being offended, Kerry thanked all the performers at the Radio City Music Hall event for "an extraordinary evening," adding that "every performer tonight ... conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."

For his part Edwards actually boasted that it was "a great honor" to sit through the X-rated show, adding without a hint of irony, "This campaign will be a celebration of real American values."

I'm at a loss for words here.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:43 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

AN ANTIDOTE TO MICHAEL MOORE

Victor Davis Hanson:

The oil pipeline in Afghanistan that we allegedly went to war over doesn't exist. Brave Americans died to rout al Qaeda, end the fascist Taliban, and free Afghanistan for a good and legitimate man like a Hamid Karzai to oversee elections. It was politically unwise and idealistic not smart and cynical for Mr. Bush to gamble his presidency on getting rid of fascists in Iraq. There really was a tie between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein just as Mr. Gore and Mr. Clinton once believed and Mr. Putin and Mr. Allawi now remind us. The United States really did plan to put Iraqi oil under Iraqi democratic supervision for the first time in the country's history. And it did.

In destroying Saddam's regime, America did a great and good thing. It's a pity nearly half the country can't figure that out.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

THOSE TERRIBLE BUSHREICH FASCISTS

Had nothing to do with this:

Germany said Thursday it would create a central database on suspected radical Islamists, provoking concern from the country's large Muslim community.

Interior Minister Otto Schily also announced plans to boost the fight against terrorism by pooling intelligence from the three national security agencies in a new joint analysis center.

The moves, announced after two days of talks between Schily and interior ministers from the 16 states or 'Laender', are designed to strengthen Germany's defenses against terrorism by making its complex security structure work more efficiently.

The descent into a new German police can't be far off, can it?

Meanwhile the real fascists, those occupying the White House, are not even raising a finger to keep enemy propaganda off of US military bases (subscription required):

In the press, Fahrenheit 9/11 has made news with its assertions of White House duplicity. But in theaters, the movie can hit home, especially for those who have loved ones in Iraq. Greg Rohwer-Selken, 33, of Ames, Iowa, and his wife Karol are former Army reservists who both volunteered for Afghanistan (but weren't sent). Now Karol is serving in the National Guard in Iraq. After seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 in Des Moines, Rohwer-Selken wipes away tears as he says, "It really made me question why she has to be over there." (The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which books films to be shown on military bases around the world, has contacted Fahrenheit's distributor to book the film.)

Though it's depressing to hear how easily swayed US servicemembers can be by the film, it's that tossed-aside statement about something called the "Army and Air Force Exchange Service" that should draw your attention. AAFES runs the base exchanges (department stores, essentially), food courts, licenses on-base vendors and operates movie theatres on bases here in the States and overseas. AAFES has a great deal of control over what military members and their families may do for fun on Army and Air Force bases in the services it provides or elects not to provide. Moore's film has put AAFES in a bit of a bind. I'm sure the agency has no desire to run his film, but it's a much-touted flick so AAFES can't just click its heels and hope it goes away. It can either seek the film and distribute it to military theatres, or run the risk of having Moore and his band of misfits scream "Censorship!" and pester the Pentagon into "giving military members back their civil rights to see this important film" or similar hogwash. Moore's film has turned the tables on the whole Gore bit in 2000, when his operatives tried to discount the votes of military members serving overseas. Moore wants them to vote alright; he just wants to re-educate them first.

Once AAFES gets the film and shows it to military members, a couple of things may happen. First, the Navy Exchange, which operates similar theatres and stores and such on Navy and Marine bases and ships, will feel compelled to run the film. So Moore's epic will find its way onto ships at sea, where there is a more or less captive audience. And when I say captive, I mean it: The larger ships in the US Navy (aircraft carriers, destroyers, etc) have from one to five television channels on-board, of which one is usually an all-movie channel. You can't get anything else, including the internet, most of the time you're at sea. Even if you could get the internet, where would you surf? Most sailors don't own a computer because they don't have room to keep them; most shipboard computers are tied up doing official tasks.

Moore's film probably will run on those channels at some point, where the crew in its off hours (the two or three they get per day on a good day) may find themselves tiredly plopped down to watch their wartime President bashed senseless by a man who has declared his support for the terrorists in Iraq. But they don't know that he has declared such support, unless they have stumbled onto his blog or the few others who have quoted his rant about how "they are the REVOLUTION." "They" being the Iraqi terrorists planting bombs to kill Americand troops and Iraqi policis and civilians. It'll be a year or so before Moore's film reaches the ships--first it will have to get released for broadcast, and then the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service will have to pick it up and distribute it to the ships--but having run in AAFES and NEX theatres, AFRTS won't have much of an argument against running it.

The second thing that will happen is that Moore's film will have an impact on military morale. How much is impossible to guess, and it probably won't show up in any headlines. It'll work like this: Say 200 people watch the film Saturday night at Yokota Air Base in Japan. Of that group, say just five people believe it. Do you think they'll just sit on their hands? They will feel like missionaries with a Cause. They'll start up the whispers, the kind of stuff that divides units along believe-it-or-not lines. A kind of cynicism among military members is likely to develop, maybe even between military members and their spouses who are looking for some way to make sense of the war and Moore has provided them the only coherent framework to do that. They don't know that he's full of crap, because by and large they won't take the time to do their homework. It'll all just give them a vague notion that there's something wrong with this war, it's just not right somehow. Never mind what that film may do to the shipboard audiences, separated from their loved ones and cruising into dangerous waters.

And in the face of the very real possibility of Moore's film doing a decent amount of damage to our military's morale in the middle of a shooting war, those White House Rovian fasicsts are lowering the boom on....no one. Ashcroft's America, indeed.

Now, having said all this, there is still another way to look at it all. Don't get me wrong, I think showing that film on military bases is likely to cause problems, though I also think there's probably no way to avoid showing it. But during World War II, the infamous Tokyo Rose was one popular lady among our sailors in the Pacific. Tokyo Rose spoke perfect English and did her best to demoralize our troops, with nasty anti-American rhetoric, jabs at Roosevelt and the military leadership and so forth. She was Tojo's propagandist and our sailors knew it, but she was popular because in between the rants she played music the boys liked to hear. She also offered a sexy, soothing voice that men who hadn't seen a woman in a year or more just wanted to hear, no matter what kind of garbage she spewed.

Moore offers none of the sex appeal, but he also offers none of the interstitial entertainment either. Tokyo Rose didn't ultimately undermine morale, but that's true at least in part because it was obvious that she was a tool of the enemy. It's of course possible that Moore's film won't hurt anything either. But. It's less obvious to most Americans that Moore is a tool of the enemy, or if not a tool then at least an ally of the enemy. That being the case, I think his message actually has a better chance of sinking in and doing some harm.

Face it, most Americans of my generation and younger get their information from TV, from movies, from Jon Stewart and the rest. They have been miseducated in a system that no longer teaches basic critical thought. As popular as blogs are among people our age, they are still read by a tiny minority, and only a tiny minority of blogs have taken any time to expose Moore for the America-hating snake that he is. And it is precisely these people--young people who are patriotic but a bit cynical after enduring military hardship, and not terribly informed about the big picture--that make up the bulk of the boots on the ground and at sea fighting the war. Maybe they will see through Moore anyway, but I have my doubts. Especially if they can see his film in an officially-sanctioned theatre or on an official-run channel of the US military. Won't the very fact that this "documentary" is playing in an AAFES theatre or military channel lend it an air of authenticity that it can't rightfully claim?

Posted by B. Preston at 08:30 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

TALIBAN MONEY MAN NABBED

The Afghans have nabbed Mullah Mujahid, a top Taliban commander and cash distributor.

Intelligence agents captured Mullah Mujahid on Tuesday evening in a raid on a compound in Shah Wali Kot, a district of Kandahar province 150 miles southwest of the capital, Kabul, said Abdullah, the Kandahar intelligence chief.

"We got a tip that he was hiding in that house, so we surrounded it and caught him," said Abdullah, who goes by one name.

A second suspected Taliban militant, Nisar Hamed, was also detained.

It was unclear if they were arrested peacefully.

Abdullah said Mujahid was a Taliban commander in Takhar province before a U.S. bombardment drove the hardline militia from power in late 2001.

Under interrogation, Mujahid confessed to having entered southern Afghanistan four months ago and distributed $1.3 million to Taliban groups on behalf of their fugitive supreme leader Mullah Omar, Abdullah said.

He was arrested in Afghanistan and probably isn't famous enough to qualify for TNR's July Surprise, fwiw.

Posted by B. Preston at 07:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

KERRY PICKS EDWARDS, GIVES BUSH A BOUNCE?

Hmm. A new AP poll has the Bush-Cheney ticket surging:

President Bush has opened up a lead over Sen. John Kerry in the latest voter survey, despite the addition of John Edwards to the Democratic ticket and 48 hours of non-stop media gushing over the selection.

The new Associated Press poll, released late Thursday afternoon, shows Bush-Cheney leading Kerry-Edwards by 49 to 45 percent.

Maybe the American people feel like a third wheel around the two Johns.

Posted by B. Preston at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PRE-EMPTIVE NONSENSE

TNR reports the Bush folks have come up with a "July Surprise"--which amounts to demanding of Pakistan that it catch or kill a major al Qaeda or Taliban figure by the end of this month.

That story is nonsense, but not purposeless nonsense.

First, it's nonsense because Pakistan's ISI is incapable of turning on a dime and capturing or killing any of the big fish. The story even notes that in pursuing the terrorists, Pakistan's military is treading on tribal ground it has never before trod in the nation's history. Can anyone seriously believe that a government that barely maintains its sovereignty over huge regions of its own land can just snap its fingers and produce Osama bin Laden? Second, it's nonsense because it's highly unlikely that the Bush administration hasn't been pressuring Musharraf's government to step up its anti-terror campaign every single day since 9-11. If we finally gave them a deadline, that's a good thing. Maybe it will focus a bit more effort and energy into the hunt.

But the story has a purpose, which is to pre-empt the good news that will follow the capture or elimination of a major terrorist figure. The left has had a habit throughout the war of trying to take any single piece of good news and spinning it into a web of conspiracy. This story appears to me to be a first attempt at pre-emptively stealing our memories of a turn for the better. It's a shame, though, that it's in The New Republic. TNR has been one of the better leftish pubs on the war.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BUSH LIED!!!

Or not.

The unanimous report by the panel will say there is no evidence that intelligence officials were subjected to pressure to reach particular conclusions about Iraq. That issue had been an early focus of Democrats, but none of the more than 200 intelligence officials interviewed by the panel made such a claim, and the Democrats have recently focused criticism on the question of whether the intelligence was misused.

Whatever. Free Mumia!

Posted by B. Preston at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LET THE PROTESTORS DO THEIR THING

A motley crew of assorted leftist agitation groups wants to protest the GOP convention this summer. New York Mike Bloomberg wants to sequester them far, far away from the festivities. Zev Chafets argues that would be a mistake--they should be allowed to protest.

I agree. Let the American people see the anti-war movement, which is leading the proposed demonstration, up close on national TV:

Why? The answer is right there on the United for Peace and Justice Web site, which contains a roster of groups that "share our goals" for the impending demonstrations.

These include some well-known pillars of the Democratic progressive establishment - the National Council of Churches, the National Organization for Women, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and MoveOn. The participation of such mainstreamers inevitably links the Democratic Party to United for Peace and Justice and to the hundreds of groups on its list of sponsors.

The lineup includes the Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Connecticut chapter. The Anti-Capitalist Convergence. The Anti-Imperialist News Service. The Communist Party U.S.A. and, separately, the Communist Party branches of New York, Maryland and central Indiana (who knew?).

Want more? The Chicago Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The Chicago Cuba Committee. House of the Goddess Center for Pagan Wombyn. The International Socialist Organization. The International Solidarity Movement. No Blood for Oil. Pakistan FATA Peace Forum. Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice. Queer to the Left. The Raelian Religion. The Ruckus Society. Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Party U.S.A.

Also, Students Against Testing (I'm not making this up), the Young Communist League U.S.A., Youth Crime Watch of the Gambia and the School of Journalism of the University of Texas.

That's the true face of the anti-war movement--it's an anti-America movement that wants to overthrow our government, and this year as in most years it is swinging into step behind the Democrats. Jesse Jackson + Free Mumia + assorted pro-terrorist groups + assorted Communist groups = Bush Victory in '04. Put their images of street chaos right up alongside John Kerry's nifty little speeches calling for "regime change" to begin at home, add one or two photos of his more interesting hand gestures (not the ones of him fondling John Edwards--images like this one), and the ads practically write themselves. If you even need ads.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE LATEST FUROR

So the "Reverend" Barry Lynn is peeved at Bush-Cheney for looking for supporters in evangelical churches.

As if this sort of thing doesn't happen in black churches every single election year, year in and year out, no matter whom the Democrats are putting up for President. Nah. Never. Democrats are above that sort of thing.

Hypocrites.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OPERATION TIGER CLAW

An antidote to Kerryesque leftism.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

IN CASE YOU HADN'T HEARD

Saddam did attempt to buy uranium from Niger. So say the British, after an exhaustive investigation into the pre-war intelligence on Saddam's WMD efforts:

A UK government inquiry into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq is expected to conclude that Britain's spies were correct to say that Saddam Hussein's regime sought to buy uranium from Niger.


The inquiry by Lord Butler, which was delivered to the printers on Wednesday and is expected to be released on July 14, has examined the intelligence that underpinned the UK government's claims about the threat from Iraq.

The report will say the claim that Mr Hussein could deploy chemical weapons within 45 minutes, seized on by UK prime minister Tony Blair to bolster the case for war with Iraq, was inadequately supported by the available intelligence, people familiar with its contents say .

But among Lord Butler's other areas of investigation was the issue of whether Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger. People with knowledge of the report said Lord Butler has concluded that this claim was reasonable and consistent with the intelligence.

Note that in his now infamous 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush cited the uranium link as a British data point, but did not cite the 45 minutes claim. He cited the accurate one. Those who claim he lied should now apologize.

On the other hand, this whole episode does point out one problem I've had with the Bush administration for some time, which is its complete inability to defend itself. The claim as cited in the SOTU was accurate. It was based on the intelligence of a close ally, an ally that has never wavered. But when the hard left cast doubt on the uranium claim, the Bush administration not only didn't defend it, but ended up backing away from all claims that Iraq had ever sought uranium from any source, in Niger or all of Africa. Left in that state, it looked for all the world like Bush lied.

The Bushies handled the issue stupidly, and it has hurt them. And such issue handling has unfortunately been par for the course with this administration. Its lack of basic communication skills and its inability to defend completely defensible claims and policies have become a mortal threat to its existence. If the Bush team loses in November, it will be in part because it made hard though reasonable and defensible calls but then failed to back those calls up with proper communication and strategic political thinking.

People on the left like to credit Karl Rove with some kind of extrahuman political genius. I often wonder whether he's playing out of his depth.

(thanks to Chris)

Posted by B. Preston at 11:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

LIARS OF THE LEFT

For anyone paying attention over the past few years, it's pretty obvious that a few prominent Western leftists are actively working for a terrorist victory. Michael Moore, Robert Fisk and Ted Rall are all pro-terrorist, not just because they're anti-Bush or anti-American, but because their actions positively demostrate that their intent all along, since 9-11, has been to try and demoralize us and buck up the terrorists.

Robert Fisk made sure to release the name of the judge presiding over Saddam's trial, which painted a big target on that man's back. He will now have to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life, and Robert Fisk is the reason why. Michael Moore made his propaganda film and is using it and his high profile surrogates and unsuspecting dupes to spread his lies far and wide. We'll get to Ted Rall in a minute.

What they want the terrorists to win, I don't know, but it's obvious in retrospect that that is what they have worked for all along. I'm not sure how they expect life to improve with Osama bin Laden in charge of things, or even whether they expect life to improve. Maybe they're getting payoffs, and are just whoring themselves out. Maybe their Marxism makes them ideological soulmates with anyone fighting the US, and since we're fighting terrorists, these guys side with the terrorists. Maybe they just hate the US and want it destroyed. I honestly don't know what their desired end state is or why they want it.

But I do know one thing, which is that they are demonstrably liars, incapable of telling or recognizing any true thing, and incapable of recognizing their own evil. There is a word for that, and it's depravity. If you'd like to see an example of depravity on display, look no further than here.

And to you more reasonable leftists out there, isn't it about time you waged some kind of campaign against depraved racist terrorist sympathizers like Ted Rall? Isn't it about time you people cleaned the filth off your side of the political aisle? We on the right don't tolerate the David Dukes who try and pollute our politics, but you do tolerate a Ted Rall. Why? Are you that weak, that you can't afford to lose even one voice, no matter how hateful? Or do you agree with him, and therefore see no problem with his depravity as long as it is in service to your cause? Which is....?

UPDATE: Whatever Moore's goal is, it isn't limited to the United States. He dreams of regime change in every single country allied to us in Iraq.

But he dreams of regime change in no country opposed to us. Not one.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:21 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

MOORE-ONS

"Just go see it. Go see the film with an open mind and see if you don't come away from it with something."

So said Fran, caller to WBAL's Ron Smith Talk Show this afternoon. She was talking about F*** 9-11, and she is one of Michael Moore's footsoldiers.

Michael Moore is many things--provacateur, propagandist, prevaricator--but there is one thing he is not and that's a fool. Fran is part of phase three in his scheme to promote his movie.

Phase one was to make the movie, which stands as the most vitriolic and slanted piece of propaganda to be aimed at a sitting US president in a time of war in our history. Phase two was to stir up faux controversies to promote the film and get people talking about it. First, he lied that Disney was trying to censor him. Then, he enlisted prominent Democrats in his campaign to lower the film's rating from R to PG-13 in spite of the fact that it shows, among other things, a beheading. Now he's on to phase three, seminar callers.

Seminar callers are people who call talk shows not of their own volitiion, but because they are part of a campaign that wants to push a point of view. When I was a radio talk show host in rural east Texas, once in a while I had to deal with seminar callers. One even turned out to be the chief of staff to a Democrat candidate for office that I was interviewing on air at the time.

Seminar callers push a few specific ideas, and they exhibit some discipline in their speech and conduct. They are focused on making their point, getting the host to acquiesce to their statements in some minor way, and departing. They don't usually take up enough time to be annoying, just enough to plant a seed.

Fran was a seminar caller. There will be others. They're Michael's Moore-ons, misquided fools helping a demagogue defeat not just a President, but America itself, through lies and innuendo. And, incidentally, Fran indentified herself as a Democrat. For what it's worth.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WHEN BLOGGERS RULE THE WORLD

Jeff Jarvis notes that blogs are growing at an exponential rate--there are more than 3 million of them out there now.

What are the long-term implications of every man and woman becoming his own media outlet? Beats me, but it will be interesting to watch. But if I was to ask any single person where they thought blogdom might go, it would be Orson Scott Card.

He predicted the rise of blogs in his 1985 novel Ender's Game. He also predicted a blogger would eventually take over the world, more or less.

Card didn't call them blogs; he called them "nets." But they're basically the same thing, at least the way I understand them.

In the novel, two characters, Valentine and Peter, brilliant brother and sister aged 14 and 12 respectively, use their computers to piece together scattered media reports of troop movements, train schedules and such to figure out that the Warsaw Pact (which still exists in Card's futuristic story) is waiting for Earth's war with an alien race to conclude before it embarks on a campaign to dominate the world. The two concoct online personalities--hers is named Demosthenes, his is Locke--and begin a debate in the "nets" to gradually sway the US public to their point of view. The debate is entirely fabricated--Peter, the older, is at the start feeding "Demosthenes" her lines of argument, then playing off of them to establish himself. The two eventually build followings and land gigs as columnists at newsnets, then become anonyous yet world famous political leaders. One eventually becomes the Hegemon, ruler of the mostly free world. The other becomes a historian.

All of this is an interesting side story to the main, which is about the training of a boy to command Earth's interstellar fleet as it takes on the aliens. But Card got a lot of things in that side story right. The ubiquity of information yet lack of serious coverage, to the point that individuals cannot rely on mass media but must instead glean many multiple sources to extract useful knowledge, that we live in today with respect to the Iraq war was what drove Peter to discover the Warsaw Pact's intentions. The anonymous use of information networks to gain influence seems like a pre-echo of blogs and comment sections. Some of the most famous bloggers started out as anonymous posters--Salam Pax, Tacitus, Wretchard--but have built massive followings, and in Salam's case landed the pro column. Other bloggers, mostly on the left, have landed regular writing gigs as well. There are just more writing jobs to be had on the left.

So where will blogging go? Will a blogger become President or the next terrorist mastermind? I don't know. I'd ask Orson Scott Card.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

NAMES TED KOPPEL WILL NEVER READ ON NIGHTLINE

I'm sure the Daily Kos crowd will say "I feel nothing for them," but did you know that Halliburton has actually lost 41 employees in Iraq? Forty-one people who left whatever lived they led here to work in war-torn Iraq helping rebuild that country, killed by the same terrorists Michael Moore cheers on to victory.

Here's the story.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TAMING IRAN

Axis of Evil charter member Iran is edging closer to the nuclear club. Here's a fascinating, detailed article outlining some of the strategies the US could employ to make sure it doesn't happen. The Proliferation Security Initiative and a new sister organization called Caspian Guard play prominent roles.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

JOHN EDWARDS, TRIAL LAWYER

Can the GOP use Edwards' career as a trial lawyer against him in the race for the White House? InstaPundit doesn't think so, but I suspect he hasn't perused the polls:

Which profession is viewed most "trustworthy?" Clergy toppled from the top spot of trustworthy professions in 2002 to 64 percent, 26 percentage points less than 2001. Teachers are viewed most likely to tell the truth (80 percent) although this profession dropped eight percentage points from year 2001. President George W Bush shares a 65 percent rating along with court judges and the "ordinary" man or woman. TV newscasters are seen as untrustworthy by 54 percent of respondents, journalists untrustworthy by 61 percent, Congressmen/women untrustworthy by 65 percent, and lawyers are viewed untrustworthy by 76 percent of those asked. But 77 of 100 adults say stockbrokers are least likely to tell the truth. (my emphasis)

Three-fourths of the American public see lawyers--not just ambulance-chasing trial lawyers--but lawyers in general as untrustworthy (more recent polling just confirms the attitude). Sixty-five percent of those same people in the survey see President Bush as trustworthy. There must surely be a way to tap into those beliefs and use them against Kerry-Edwards, and I'm sure Karl Rove has a dozen ideas on it before getting out of the shower every morning.

I must say my own opinion of trial lawyers is pretty low. First, I don't think of them as being one and the same with lawyers who work within the criminal justice system, where I generally see prosecutors favorably and defense attorneys less so, but both working within the adversarial system according to the rules. Trial lawyers of the Edwards variety are a different species, best described as leeches who exploit the little guy's dispute with the big guy to make themselves rich. They don't ultimately care about the little guy, and don't ultimately care what they do to the big guy or the effect their legal actions have on innovation, individual freedom or the future direction of the law. They just care about getting rich by exploiting bad situations, accidents, even negligence and societal tensions. They deserve their place near the bottom of society's trust meter.

And John Edwards is one of 'em. God help corporate innovation and individual freedom if the trial lawyers lobby gets their pet as close as a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Oh, and do you really want a trial lawyer deeply involved in running a war? Wasn't the legal rather than military approach of the Clinton years at least part of the problem? What a great wartime ticket the Democrats have put together--Vietnam-era war protestor John Kerry and trial lawyer John Edwards. Those two aren't exactly Eisenhower or even the real JFK, are they?

UPDATE: Apparently, trial lawyer Edwards wasn't too quick on his feet the night of 9/11/01.

"Anybody doing opposition research on Edwards should get a video of his appearance on the 'Charlie Rose Show' on the night of 9/11/2001. I've never seen a top professional politician make himself look more inane and lightweight at a crucial moment. The debate between author Tom Clancy and Edwards over whether the U.S. needed to do something in response to 9/11 was jawdropping. Clancy: Yes vs. Edwards: Oh, well, maybe, perhaps we should study the situation ...

"I wasn't the only one who noticed Edwards' fiasco. Sam Smith of the 'Progressive Review' wrote: 'The only bright spot was when Tom Clancy mercilessly quizzed Clinton-in-waiting John Edwards as to what specifically he would do and Edwards could produce nothing but photogenic platitudes.'

It has never been more obvious than on 9-11 itself that we had to do something to combat the nutbags who had just killed 3,000 on our own soil. But it wasn't obvious, even then, to trial lawyer John Edwards. He may well be the man the press unfairly made Dan Quayle out to be--untested, inexperienced and unready.

(major hat tip, NRO)

Posted by B. Preston at 10:45 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A SLAIN POLICE OFFICER AND BLACK MISLEADERS

Gregory Kane is in rare form today.

WHAT ARE the chances that the good Rev. Jesse Jackson will come to Baltimore and proclaim that Officer Brian Winder was the 78th American cop killed in the line of duty this year?

Slightly less than you would have of getting a dead dog to roll over? About even with the odds of President Bush ascending the stage and giving a high-five to propaganda master Michael Moore at the 2005 Academy Awards?

Don't hold your breath, in any case. Few of black America's so-called leaders, either national or local, have shown the passion and anger over the death of Winder that they showed for Nathaniel Jones in late 2003.

Winder was the officer shot and killed in West - not Southwest - Baltimore over the weekend. Winder, an African-American, died doing his job: protecting the citizens of Baltimore.

Winder's killer, incidentally, killed himself as Baltimore police surrounded him at a motel early this morning. There is probably a greater chance of seeing Jackson et al at the killer's funeral than at Winder's.

Kane says the culture of victimization that Jackson etc cultivate contributes to the creation of criminal folk heroes and cop killers. He's right.

When they complain about police brutality, no matter how justly, without stating clearly that cops do their jobs right over 99 percent of the time, then they contribute to a climate that, inevitably, will lead to officers getting shot. And when they take up the cases of guys like Jones - caught on videotape fighting with police - skeptics will be right to wonder if they're just anti-cop and pro-criminal.

Every time they stand up for restoring the voting rights of felons - the ones who are slinging drugs to our youngsters and terrorizing our elderly - while not providing words of comfort to the families of men like Winder, they contribute to an Afro-American subculture that celebrates crime.

---

Every word liberal black leaders utter questioning the "racial loyalty" of a Clarence Thomas, a Condoleezza Rice or a Colin Powell while dismissing young black criminals as being simply misguided feeds into this nonsense. Because if it's OK to question the "racial loyalty" of Thomas and Rice and Powell, shouldn't black cops - who work for "the system" - be added to the list? Apparently, some blacks - the ones comedian Bill Cosby recently criticized for being dysfunctional - do.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IRAQ-AMERICA FREEDOM ALLIANCE

Very nice site. Its existence is a sign of hope.

(thanks to MR)

Posted by B. Preston at 09:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ENRICHED URANIUM REMOVED FROM IRAQ

Why isn't this a fairly huge story?

Nearly two tons of low-enriched uranium has been removed from an Iraqi nuclear facility in a secret operation conducted by the U.S. Energy Department.

The quantity of nuclear material, stored at the al-Tuwaitha research complex southeast of Baghdad, was probably enough to give Saddam Hussein the capacity to produce at least one atomic bomb, according to a physicist with the Federation of American Scientists quoted by the Associated Press.

Once the UN sanctions heat was off, which Saddam was trying to accomplish via the oil-for-food payoffs, he would have had enough material to make a nuclear weapon.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2004

SO IT'S EDWARDS

It's odd. Yesterday I was sitting right where I am now, thinking to myself that I should write a post explaining why I think Kerry would pick John Edwards as his running mate, but decided not to. I just didn't find the subject interesting enough.

I still don't. For those of us who see the war as the uber issue, the one issue that for now trumps all other issues, picking Edwards does nothing. John Edwards may have a winning smile and decent hair, and he may have made a pile of money suing corporations, but what in the way of military thinking does he bring to the race? What anywhere in his background suggests that he has what it will take to lead us, or help lead us, to victory?

I don't see anything, and that's troubling. It's true that Edwards may help Kerry pick off North Carolina, but that's by no means a given because it's equally true that Edwards was probably not going to keep his Senate if he ran again. It's true that superficially Edwards helps balance the ticket ideologically, but it's equally true that for all his sunny and moderate image, Edwards ran a fairly downcast campaign in the primaries and has the Senate's most predictably anti-Bush record. He voted with the President on the Iraq war, but not much else. In his gut he appears to be as far to the left as Kerry. So much for balance. And as for achievement, name one law that bears the name of Kerry or Edwards. What have these two men done with their time in the US Senate? Not much. Neither has much of a record of accomplishment to run on.

What the Edwards pick tells me is that the Democrats still don't put the war in its proper place in their thinking. They see it as just another issue to be finessed, not the great issue of our time upon which we should come together and develop a strategy. Their behavior for at least the past year has shown their thinking on the war to be composed of equal parts finesse and demagoguery with the more than occassional foray into outright dishonesty. On the one hand a majority of them will pay lip service to supporting the troops, while on the other hand they will embrace and encourage Michael Moore, whose intent is to help defeat America, which translates into getting more troops killed. Kerry and the Democrats want both the pro-war and anti-war vote, thinking that somehow there's no fundamental contradiction or conflict between the two when there clearly is: The anti-war vote has carried on so long and so stridently now in the face of good news with bad that it's obvious that they care more about ousting Bush than capturing or killing terrorists and winning the war. The pro-war vote leans toward Bush but ultimately wants the best leader in the job to win the war as cleanly and as well as possible. Anti-war and pro-war are in many ways like matter and anti-matter. No campaign can fundamentally depend on both to peacefully co-exist. One will eventually overwhelm the other, or both will end up destroyed.

I think that's where the Kerry-Edwards camp sits now. It's pretty clear that the Bush-Cheney camp isn't interested in the anti-war vote except in maybe bringing a few antis around to either ambivalance or even acceptance, but they are not willing to play games with the war in order convince anyone. Bush-Cheney is what it is, the ticket that was in office when the US joined the war, that developed the strategies the nation has followed and depended on, and that wants to see the war through to a successful conclusion. With Bush-Cheney there is no uncertainty about the war, or really about much of anything else.

Kerry-Edwards, on the other hand, clearly needs support from those who are dead set against the war as well as those for it, and Kerry has played games on the war to curry favor with whichever group he happened to be addressing at the time. Edwards was more straighforward during the primaries with his support for the Iraq war, but he isn't the nominee for President. In fact, Edwards' very forthrightness on the war may end up hurting Kerry, in that of the four men on the major tickets, only one seems to flail around for a position on a minute to minute basis. Three are for the war, though there are differences among the Bush camp and Edwards as to how it should be prosecuted in terms of strategies, troop deployments and so forth. Only Kerry is the odd man out, the one figure who can't seem to make up his mind about it or anything else. That's a serious weakness that Edwards can't cover but may expose.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack