May 31, 2007
"Eloquence has been defined to be the art of persuasion. If it included persuasion by convincing, Mr. Madison was the most eloquent man I ever heard."
-- Patrick Henry, 1790 - on James Madison
Fat Guy and the Three Home Dudes
JD Johannes, reporting from Baghdad, provides an interesting story about the 1-28 Black Lions' successful efforts to capture a Sadr army commander. In the process, they saved another man's life.
Here's how he starts:
"Hey Sir, there's fat little dude with a broken arm!" Specialist Parker yelled down from the gunner's turret in the Humvee.
With those words the hunt for the Jaysha Mahdi militia boss in Baghdad's Mahala 885 moved from tips from informants to intelligence databases, to humvees to a foot race.
Go read the whole article. There is video, as well. It's definitely worth it !
May 30, 2007
"His Example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read."
-- John Adams, 1799 - to the U.S. Senate concerning George Washington
Chief Warrant Officer Jim Funk, of the Iowa National Guard, is in Iraq and has written to friends and family this accurate assessment of the media's role in the Iraq conflict.
"Hello media, do you know you indirectly kill American soldiers every day? You inspire and report the enemy's objective every day. You are the enemy's greatest weapon. The enemy cannot beat us on the battlefield so all he does is try to wreak enough havoc and have you report it every day. With you and the enemy using each other, you continually break the will of the American public and American government.
Read the whole thing.
May 29, 2007
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"
Thomas Sowell points out some things about the immigration bill being rushed through the Senate which our senators seemingly do not want us to have a say in.
Here's how he starts:
Nothing is more common than political “solutions” to immediate problems which create much bigger problems down the road. The current immigration bill in the Senate is a classic example.
The big talking point of those who want to legalize the illegal immigrants currently in the United States is to say that it is “unrealistic” to round up and deport 12 million people.
Back in 1986 it was “unrealistic” to round up and deport the three million illegal immigrants in the United States then. So they were given amnesty — honestly labeled, back then — which is precisely why there are now 12 million illegal immigrants.
As a result of the current amnesty bill — not honestly labeled this time — will it be “unrealistic” to round up and deport 40 million or 50 million illegal immigrants in the future?
If the current immigration bill is as “realistic” as its advocates claim, why is it being rushed through the Senate faster than a local zoning ordinance could be passed?
We are, after all, talking about a major and irreversible change in the American population, the American culture, and the American political balance. Why is there no time to talk about it?
Are its advocates afraid that the voting public might discover what a fraud it is? The biggest fraud is denying that this is an amnesty bill.
Go read the rest.
May 28, 2007
To paraphrase Patton, we should not mourn those who have fallen in the defense of our lives and liberty. Rather we should thank God for them.
My father-in-law forwarded this to me, and I thought it appropriate to include it here.
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." --Nathan Hale
"[G]ather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime.... [L]et us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan." --General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868
Memorial Day is reserved by American Patriots as a day to honor the service and sacrifice of fallen men and women who donned our Armed Forces uniforms with honor. We at The Patriot pay our humble respects to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. We will remember you always.
Accordingly, this tribute is in honor of our fallen American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen.
One appropriate way to recognize fallen veterans and their families is to join with others and help place flags on the graves of fallen Patriots at your nearest National Cemetery (generally done the Saturday before Memorial Day).
Please join Patriots honoring Memorial Day across our great nation on Monday by observing a minute of silence at 1500 local time for remembrance and prayer. Flags should be flown at half-staff until noon, local time. Please give a personal word of gratitude and comfort to surviving family members who grieve for a beloved warrior fallen in battlefields defending our cherished liberties.
General George Patton insisted, "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
Founding Patriot John Adams said: "I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means...." Indeed it is!
Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world, and for their families -- especially families of those, who have given their life in defense of American liberty, while prosecuting the war with Jihadistan.
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!
Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot's editors and staff.
(For The Patriot's tribute to our Armed Forces, see "To Support and Defend ... So Help Me God.")
Also, Michael Yon, an embed in Iraq, has a more personal tribute to those of ours who have fallen in the defense of our country. I recommend it.
Cox and Forkum has a fitting tribute:
I thank God for the men and women who have died defending America. And I pray that their spirit of courage and sacrifice lives on in the citizens of America today and in the future.
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
Congress: take note
Ed Morrissey provides an analysis of the latest Congressional Budget Office study of the poor in this country. The study showed that welfare reform and an expanding economy have provided the poorest 20% of Americans a 78% increase in income over the last 15 years. The best increase of all income brackets.
"A new study by the Congressional Budget Office says the poor have been getting less poor. On average, CBO found that low-wage households with children had incomes after inflation that were more than one-third higher in 2005 than in 1991.
"The CBO results don't fit the prevailing media stereotype of the U.S. economy as a richer take all affair -- which may explain why you haven't read about them. Among all families with children, the poorest fifth had the fastest overall earnings growth over the 15 years measured. (See the nearby chart.) The poorest even had higher earnings growth than the richest 20%. The earnings of these poor households are about 80% higher today than in the early 1990s."
So much for John Edwards' "two Americas" theme . . .
May 27, 2007
"As to Taxes, they are evidently inseparable from Government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Address to the Electors of the State of New York, March 1801)
More evidence of the uselessness of the U.N.:
The UN once again shows itself to be useless when it comes to fighting international terrorism. They have sovereignty in few places around the world and outside of those places have no ability to act independently. UNRWA camps, however, fall completely under their jurisdiction. If foreign terrorists establish themselves with heavy weapons inside the camps, why didn’t the UN inform member nations of the danger?
Go read the whole thing, including the citations.
[Via Chris Muir's Day By Day.]
May 26, 2007
"One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one."
-- James Madison (Federalist No. 48, 1 February 1788)
As the school year draws to a close, report cards are being prepared for all of this nation's school children. It seems an appropriate time to look at Congress' performance this semester. And The Examiner does just that:
Barely six months after their November triumph, Democrats have backed away from their top two policy priorities, leaving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., foundering on the key issues of Iraq and congressional corruption.
Go read the rest.
May 25, 2007
"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1746 - Poor Richard's Almanack
Time has a short article describing some of the real progress going on in Anbar Province, but the article also points out some concerns.
So let's try to put the good and bad news together. It's not impossible that the Iraqis will eventually remove the al-Qaeda cancer from the Sunni insurgency—which would put a serious crimp in President George W. Bush's current rationale for the war, that we're there to fight al-Qaeda. But it's also probable that without a political deal, the sectarian conflict between the Sunnis and Shi'ites will intensify—and eventually explode when the U.S. military pulls back from Iraq. The stakes in Iraq then become questions of moral responsibility and regional stability. "How many Srebrenicas do you have the stomach for?" a senior U.S. official asked me, referring to the Bosnian massacre by the Serbs in 1995. Given the antipathy of the American people for the war, I'd guess the public reaction would be, "Those Arabs are just a bunch of barbarians, and we could never tell the difference between Shi'ites and Sunnis anyway." A more pointed question is, How many massacres of Sunnis will the Saudis and Jordanians have the stomach for? How hard will Iran press its obvious advantage with a Shi'ite-dominated government in Iraq? The answers to those questions are completely out of American hands. They rest with the Iraqi Shi'ites. Eventually even battered children have to grow up.
May 24, 2007
"This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run; and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1825 - letter to Thomas Jefferson Smith
Kerrey gets it
Retired Democrat senator and former member of the 9-11 commission, Bob Kerrey, has some interesting things to say about Iraq and the political Left. He also has some pointed things to say to you and I.
It's all in the extended entry.
The Left's Iraq Muddle
Yes, it is central to the fight against Islamic radicalism.
BY BOB KERREY
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
At this year's graduation celebration at The New School in New York, Iranian lawyer, human-rights activist and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi delivered our commencement address. This brave woman, who has been imprisoned for her criticism of the Iranian government, had many good and wise things to say to our graduates, which earned their applause.
But one applause line troubled me. Ms. Ebadi said: "Democracy cannot be imposed with military force."
What troubled me about this statement--a commonly heard criticism of U.S. involvement in Iraq--is that those who say such things seem to forget the good U.S. arms have done in imposing democracy on countries like Japan and Germany, or Bosnia more recently.
Let me restate the case for this Iraq war from the U.S. point of view. The U.S. led an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein because Iraq was rightly seen as a threat following Sept. 11, 2001. For two decades we had suffered attacks by radical Islamic groups but were lulled into a false sense of complacency because all previous attacks were "over there." It was our nation and our people who had been identified by Osama bin Laden as the "head of the snake." But suddenly Middle Eastern radicals had demonstrated extraordinary capacity to reach our shores.
As for Saddam, he had refused to comply with numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions outlining specific requirements related to disclosure of his weapons programs. He could have complied with the Security Council resolutions with the greatest of ease. He chose not to because he was stealing and extorting billions of dollars from the U.N. Oil for Food program.
No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before. And no matter how much we might want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.
Some who have been critical of this effort from the beginning have consistently based their opposition on their preference for a dictator we can control or contain at a much lower cost. From the start they said the price tag for creating an environment where democracy could take root in Iraq would be high. Those critics can go to sleep at night knowing they were right.
The critics who bother me the most are those who ordinarily would not be on the side of supporting dictatorships, who are arguing today that only military intervention can prevent the genocide of Darfur, or who argued yesterday for military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda to ease the sectarian violence that was tearing those places apart.
Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn't you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.
American liberals need to face these truths: The demand for self-government was and remains strong in Iraq despite all our mistakes and the violent efforts of al Qaeda, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias to disrupt it. Al Qaeda in particular has targeted for abduction and murder those who are essential to a functioning democracy: school teachers, aid workers, private contractors working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, police officers and anyone who cooperates with the Iraqi government. Much of Iraq's middle class has fled the country in fear.
With these facts on the scales, what does your conscience tell you to do? If the answer is nothing, that it is not our responsibility or that this is all about oil, then no wonder today we Democrats are not trusted with the reins of power. American lawmakers who are watching public opinion tell them to move away from Iraq as quickly as possible should remember this: Concessions will not work with either al Qaeda or other foreign fighters who will not rest until they have killed or driven into exile the last remaining Iraqi who favors democracy.
The key question for Congress is whether or not Iraq has become the primary battleground against the same radical Islamists who declared war on the U.S. in the 1990s and who have carried out a series of terrorist operations including 9/11. The answer is emphatically "yes."
This does not mean that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11; he was not. Nor does it mean that the war to overthrow him was justified--though I believe it was. It only means that a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would hand Osama bin Laden a substantial psychological victory.
Those who argue that radical Islamic terrorism has arrived in Iraq because of the U.S.-led invasion are right. But they are right because radical Islam opposes democracy in Iraq. If our purpose had been to substitute a dictator who was more cooperative and supportive of the West, these groups wouldn't have lasted a week.
Finally, Jim Webb said something during his campaign for the Senate that should be emblazoned on the desks of all 535 members of Congress: You do not have to occupy a country in order to fight the terrorists who are inside it. Upon that truth I believe it is possible to build what doesn't exist today in Washington: a bipartisan strategy to deal with the long-term threat of terrorism.
The American people will need that consensus regardless of when, and under what circumstances, we withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. We must not allow terrorist sanctuaries to develop any place on earth. Whether these fighters are finding refuge in Syria, Iran, Pakistan or elsewhere, we cannot afford diplomatic or political excuses to prevent us from using military force to eliminate them.
Mr. Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska and member of the 9/11 Commission, is president of The New School.
[Used with permission from OpinionJournal.com, a web site from Dow Jones & Company, Inc.]
May 23, 2007
"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
-- George Washington, 1748 - The Rules of Civility
What Bush undoubtedly wants to say
Ethne, over at Pole Dancing in the Dark, posted this hypothetical farewell speech by President Bush. It was originally posted as a comment to a post at The Road Kill Diaries.
It is quite good, and many of the thoughts expressed are very close to my own.
I've posted it in the extended entry. Enjoy!
We all have our disagreements with President Bush. Immigration, U.S. Attorney firings, Iraq, Darfur, etc. are all hot topics these days. The following "speech" was written yesterday by an ordinary Maineiac. While satirical in nature, all satire must have a basis in fact to be effective. An excellent piece by a person who does not write for a living. Sent with the author's permission.
The speech George W. Bush SHOULD give:
Normally, I start these things out by saying "My Fellow Americans." Not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don't know who more than half of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and that you're really not fellow Americans any longer.
I'll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: there's been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office.
The reason I'm quitting is simple. I'm fed up with you people.
I'm fed up because you have no understanding of what's really going on in the world. Or of what's going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.
Let's start local. You've been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in the tank. And that's despite record numbers of homeowners including record numbers of MINORITY homeowners. And while we're mentioning minorities, I'll point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time high. Our unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the Clinton Administration. I've mentioned all those things before, but it doesn't seem to have sunk in.
Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock market has rebounded to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of you are too damn stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there's increased demand in other parts of the world, and because a small handful of noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than your economic security.
We face real threats in the world. Don't give me this "blood for oil" thing. If I was trading blood for oil I would've already seized Iraq's oil fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don't give me this 'Bush Lied People Died' crap either. If I was the liar you morons take me for, I could've easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be 'discovered.' Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty. Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me. Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named 'Clinton' established that policy. Bet you didn't know that, did you?
You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to outspend and out-tech them.
That's not the case this time. The soldiers of our new enemy don't care if they survive. In fact, they want to die. That'd be fine, as long as they weren't also committed to taking as many of you with them as they can.. But they are. They want to kill you. And the bastards are all over the globe.
You should be grateful that they haven't gotten any more of us here in the United States since September 11. But you're not. That's because you've got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military, law enforcement and homeland security people have worked to make sure of that. When this whole mess started, I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I'm disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts to a single season of 'Survivor'.
Instead, you've grown impatient. You're incapable of seeing things through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a few months, a few years, tops.
Making matters worse, you actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat's political campaign, well, dammit, you might just as well Fedex a grenade launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.
In this day and age, it's easy enough to find the truth. It's all over the Internet. It just isn't on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC News. But even if it were, I doubt you'd be any smarter. Most of you would rather watch American Idol.
I could say more about your expectations that the government will always be there to bail you out, even if you're too stupid to leave a city that's below sea level and has a hurricane approaching. I could say more about your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes from. But I've come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail right over your heads.
So I quit. I'm going back to Crawford. I've got an energy-efficient house down there (Al Gore could only dream) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as soon as I'm done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America fall.
Oh, and by the way, Cheney's quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new President. You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a glimmer of hope that there're just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.
So that's it. God bless what's left of America. Some of you know what I mean.
Posted by: Ross at May 15, 2007 9:02 AM
'Culture of corruption' continues
Remember when the Democrats swept into the majority in November and promised to end the 'culture of corruption' in Congress? This is what they consider reform.
Earmarks have so distorted the legislative process that repealing even the worst of them is becoming nearly impossible. Members of Congress who dare challenge these sacred cows are on notice from Pelosi and Murtha that they will meet a similar fate as Rogers and Tiahrt. Looks like that swamp won’t be going dry anytime soon.
Good times, eh?
May 22, 2007
"Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1771
It appears that Earth's scientific community is beginning to have second thoughts about anthropogenic global warming.
Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming.
The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report. Please stay tuned to this website, as this new government report is set to redefine the current climate debate.
It's about time . . .
May 21, 2007
"This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest of ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties."
-- John Jay, Federalist No. 2
May 20, 2007
"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1746 - Poor Richard's Almanack
May 19, 2007
"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
-- George Washington, 1777 - letter to Philip Schuyler
May 18, 2007
"In planning, forming, and arranging laws, deliberation is always becoming, and always useful."
-- James Wilson, 1791 - Lectures on Law
Dance Recital time
The Amgeek family has been extremely busy this month with several different activities that revolve around the Amgeekettes. The annual dance recital is claiming precedence for this weekend, so I will not be blogging for two or three days (except for the Heritage Quotes -- which may be posted later in the day than normal).
The whole family is running on empty, we've been very busy on other labor-intensive school activities (didn't the kids used to do this stuff?), and we will be having out of town guests, to boot, so my time will be furiously spent supporting rehearsals, transportation needs, household duties, replenishment expeditions, entertainment, and the like.
Did I mention that our second car is in the shop?
Mohammed Fadhil, a dentist living and working in Baghdad shows us some of the same spirit that made America great -- and asks the U.S. to stay in Iraq.
I wasn't surprised when I saw Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, appear on Al Jazeera to announce America's defeat last week, not long after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did. Zawahiri claims Al Qaeda has won, and Reid claims America has lost.
But from here in Baghdad, I see only a war that's still raging - with no victory in sight for Al Qaeda or any other entity. In fact, I see Al Qaeda on the ropes, losing support among my fellow Iraqis.
In the midst of such a fierce war, sending more wrong messages could only further complicate an already complicated situation. It would only create more of a mess inside Iraq - a mess that would then be exploited by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia for their own purposes: more iron-fisted control of the peoples and treasures of the region, more pushing the Middle East to crises and confrontations, and more spreading of their dark, backward ideologies.
And so, as an Iraqi, I say without hesitation: the American forces should stay here, and further reinforcements should be sent if the situation requires them. Not only that, these forces should be prepared to expand their operations whenever and wherever necessary to strike hard at the nests of evil that not only threaten Iraq and the Middle East, but seek to blackmail the whole world in the ugliest way through pursuing nuclear weapons.
Americans who openly advocate abandoning Iraq to the terrorists should be ashamed of themselves.
Read the whole thing.
OBL: U.S. is weak
Was Osama Right?
Islamists always believed the U.S. was weak. Recent political trends won't change their view.
BY BERNARD LEWIS
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"
A few examples may suffice. During the troubles in Lebanon in the 1970s and '80s, there were many attacks on American installations and individuals--notably the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, followed by a prompt withdrawal, and a whole series of kidnappings of Americans, both official and private, as well as of Europeans. There was only one attack on Soviet citizens, when one diplomat was killed and several others kidnapped. The Soviet response through their local agents was swift, and directed against the family of the leader of the kidnappers. The kidnapped Russians were promptly released, and after that there were no attacks on Soviet citizens or installations throughout the period of the Lebanese troubles.
These different responses evoked different treatment. While American policies, institutions and individuals were subject to unremitting criticism and sometimes deadly attack, the Soviets were immune. Their retention of the vast, largely Muslim colonial empire accumulated by the czars in Asia passed unnoticed, as did their propaganda and sometimes action against Muslim beliefs and institutions.
Most remarkable of all was the response of the Arab and other Muslim countries to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Washington's handling of the Tehran hostage crisis assured the Soviets that they had nothing to fear from the U.S. They already knew that they need not worry about the Arab and other Muslim governments. The Soviets already ruled--or misruled--half a dozen Muslim countries in Asia, without arousing any opposition or criticism. Initially, their decision and action to invade and conquer Afghanistan and install a puppet regime in Kabul went almost unresisted. After weeks of debate, the U.N. General Assembly finally was persuaded to pass a resolution "strongly deploring the recent armed intervention in Afghanistan." The words "condemn" and "aggression" were not used, and the source of the "intervention" was not named. Even this anodyne resolution was too much for some of the Arab states. South Yemen voted no; Algeria and Syria abstained; Libya was absent; the nonvoting PLO observer to the Assembly even made a speech defending the Soviets.
One might have expected that the recently established Organization of the Islamic Conference would take a tougher line. It did not. After a month of negotiation and manipulation, the organization finally held a meeting in Pakistan to discuss the Afghan question. Two of the Arab states, South Yemen and Syria, boycotted the meeting. The representative of the PLO, a full member of this organization, was present, but abstained from voting on a resolution critical of the Soviet action; the Libyan delegate went further, and used this occasion to denounce the U.S.
The Muslim willingness to submit to Soviet authority, though widespread, was not unanimous. The Afghan people, who had successfully defied the British Empire in its prime, found a way to resist the Soviet invaders. An organization known as the Taliban (literally, "the students") began to organize resistance and even guerilla warfare against the Soviet occupiers and their puppets. For this, they were able to attract some support from the Muslim world--some grants of money, and growing numbers of volunteers to fight in the Holy War against the infidel conqueror. Notable among these was a group led by a Saudi of Yemeni origin called Osama bin Laden.
To accomplish their purpose, they did not disdain to turn to the U.S. for help, which they got. In the Muslim perception there has been, since the time of the Prophet, an ongoing struggle between the two world religions, Christendom and Islam, for the privilege and opportunity to bring salvation to the rest of humankind, removing whatever obstacles there might be in their path. For a long time, the main enemy was seen, with some plausibility, as being the West, and some Muslims were, naturally enough, willing to accept what help they could get against that enemy. This explains the widespread support in the Arab countries and in some other places first for the Third Reich and, after its collapse, for the Soviet Union. These were the main enemies of the West, and therefore natural allies.
Now the situation had changed. The more immediate, more dangerous enemy was the Soviet Union, already ruling a number of Muslim countries, and daily increasing its influence and presence in others. It was therefore natural to seek and accept American help. As Osama bin Laden explained, in this final phase of the millennial struggle, the world of the unbelievers was divided between two superpowers. The first task was to deal with the more deadly and more dangerous of the two, the Soviet Union. After that, dealing with the pampered and degenerate Americans would be easy.
We in the Western world see the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union as a Western, more specifically an American, victory in the Cold War. For Osama bin Laden and his followers, it was a Muslim victory in a jihad, and, given the circumstances, this perception does not lack plausibility.
From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.
Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then. The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.
More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.
Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2004).
[Used with permission from OpinionJournal.com, a web site from Dow Jones & Company, Inc.]
May 17, 2007
"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify."
-- Alexander Hamilton, 1788 - Federalist No. 33
Support your local soldier
I have just become aware of a personal blog, named The Wide Awake Cafe, dedicated to supporting the families of service members who have deployed in the defense of our nation. Reading it illuminates a dimension of military life of which I only have limited insight.
I highly recommend it!
Speaking of polls . . .
It seems that President Bush is enjoying a higher approval rating than the Democrat controlled Congress. And has been for most of the year so far.
This despite the news media's concerted efforts to paint President Bush as negatively as they can, and paint Congressional Democrats as positively as possible.
It looks like some of the American people are recognizing that Bush has moral integrity, the strength of his convictions, and the courage to do what is right.
Whereas Congress remains a bunch of invertebrates.
Press on in Iraq
Bill Kristol, at The Weekly Standard , has some good non-partisan points to make about our politicians' lemming-like march to defeat. He quotes from an email from a friend who is currently in Iraq:
"It will be a tragedy and an unforgivable crime if we abandon the Iraqis who are fighting with us. It will really be a black spot on our history far worse than Vietnam. . . . It will set back any effort to achieve positive effects in the Muslim world, and especially the Arab world. . . . A senior Iraqi officer I spoke to today told me that any Iraqi who says that America should withdraw soon is not a real Iraqi. Only the militia and the insurgents, he said, want us to leave. He is right. If we withdraw now, we will be acting at the behest of our worst enemies, snatching defeat against al Qaeda from the jaws of victory, and strengthening all of the worst actors in this region. The Iraqi people do not want us to leave. . . .
There's quite a bit more.
May 16, 2007
"It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government."
-- Mercy Warren, 1805 - History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution
Thompson's reply to Moore
Fred Thompson criticized Michael Moore's "documentary" about Cuban healthcare. Moore, in turn, challenged Mr. Thompson to debate the issue and also managed to insinuate that Thompson's fondness of fine Cuban cigars may have resulted in violations of the trade embargo.
Thompson has now responded to Moore's challenge:
[Via Phoenix at Villians Vanquished, who is currently trying desperately to vanquish the one villian that seems to prevail against the best of us: bureaucracy.]
From General Petraeus
Michael Yon reports on the progress in Iraq and provides the text of General Petraeus' message of 10 May 2007.
I've reprinted it in the extended entry. You may also download the PDF file here.
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen serving in Multi-National Force-Iraq:
Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we—not our enemies—occupy the moral high ground. This strategy has shown results in recent months. Al Qaeda’s indiscriminate attacks, for example, have finally started to turn a substantial proportion ofthe Iraqi population against it.
In view of this, I was concerned by the results of a recently released survey conducted last fall in Iraq that revealed an apparent unwillingness on the part of some US personnel to report illegal actions taken by fellow members of their units. The study also indicated that a small percentage of those surveyed may have mistreated noncombatants. This survey should spur reflection on our conduct in combat.
I fully appreciate the emotions that one experiences in Iraq. I also know first hand the bonds between members of the ” brotherhood of the close fight. ” Seeing a fellow trooper killed by a barbaric enemy can spark frustration, anger, and a desire for immediate revenge. As hard as it might be, however, we must not let these emotions lead us—or our comrades in arrns—to commit hasty, illegal actions. In the event that we witness or hear of such actions, we must not let our bonds prevent us from speaking up.
Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly, extreme physical action can make someone “talk;” however, what the individual says may be of questionable value. In fact, our experience in applying the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manual (2-22.3) on Human Intelligence Collector Operations that was published last year shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees.
We are, indeed, warriors. We train to kill our enemies. We are engaged in combat, we must pursue the enemy relentlessly, and we must be violent at times. What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight, however, is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings. Stress caused by lengthy deployments and combat is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign that we are human. If you feel such stress, do not hesitate to talk to your chain of command, your chaplain, or a medical expert.
We should use the survey results to renew our commitment to the values and standards that make us who we are and to spur re-examinat ion of these issues. Leaders, in part icular, need to discuss these issues with their troopers—and, as always, they need to set the right example and strive to ensure proper conduct. We should never underestimate the importance of good leadership and the difference it can make.
Thanks for what you continue to do. It is an honor to serve with each of you.
David H. Petraeus,
General, United States Army
art science of napping
It seems as if the nappers of the world are on to something.
[Via Professor Newmark.]
In search of: the civil war
J.D. Johannes is in Baghdad, living out among the Iraqi Police. He reports that he cannot find a civil war in Baghdad, and wonders openly about its existence.
After spending 2 weeks looking for the civil war raging in Baghdad I've decided that Arabs must do civil wars the way they do everything else--lackadaisically.
In most neighborhoods I saw Sunni living next to Shia living next to Catholic. Yes, Sunnis, living next door to Shias who live next door to Catholics.
And they weren't shooting at each other all day and only the Catholic had any religious/sectarian symbols visible--statue of the Virgin in the dining room.
He goes on to report that the new plan is working and that the biggest barriers to success are the media and the Iraqi government:
The Baghdad Security Plan is working and can achieve an endstate. It took the Brits 12 years in Maylaya. We are following their plan.
The biggest enemy we have is an over active media and spineless Host Nation government which is intimidated by the JAM [.Ed. note: JAM = Jaysh al Mahdi] and has the JAM as key constituent group.
Shortly after I arrived in Baghdad the big news was of some residents protesting the Army putting in check points and walling off entry and exit routs in certain Mahalas.
But, after spending two weeks rolling around the Mahalas I've noticed that both Sunni and Shia areas are surrounded by homemade barriers blocking roads and serpentine blockades to slow traffic in and out of the neighborhoods.
I get a funny feeling those protests may have been astroturfed by JAM to get the government to be less agressive with the safe neighborhood program.
Go read the whole thing.
May 15, 2007
"Nevertheless, to the persecution and tyranny of his cruel ministry we will not tamely submit - appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free...."
-- Joseph Warren, 1775 - American account of the Battle of Lexington
More shenanigans from the keystone kongresspersons
Once again, our elected representatives are pulling a boner -- this time by trying to limit your and my access to our elected representatives -- a First Amendment right.
John Fund is on the trail.
I've reprinted it all in the extended entry.
For a change, I am finding myself on the same side of an issue as the ACLU. Maybe there is hope for them yet . . .
JOHN FUND ON THE TRAIL
Cutting the Grass
Congressional Democrats prepare another assault on the First Amendment.
Monday, May 14, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows 6 in 10 Americans think the Democratic Congress "hasn't brought much change." Eager to change this impression, the Democrats are frantically trying to pass legislation before Memorial Day. First on the agenda is a bill restricting lobbying, which is heading for the House floor with lightning speed. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to pass it tomorrow, sending it to the full House for a final vote next Tuesday or Wednesday.
When a bill moves that quickly, you can bet an someone will try to make some last-minute mischief. Hardly anyone objects to the legislation's requirement that former lawmakers wait two years instead of one before lobbying Congress. Ditto with bans on lobbying by congressional spouses and restrictions on sitting members of Congress negotiating contracts with private entities for future employment.
But the legislation may be amended on the floor to restrict grassroots groups that encourage citizens to contact members of Congress. The amendment, pushed by Rep. Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, would require groups that organize such grassroots campaigns to register as "lobbyists" and file detailed quarterly reports on their donors and activities. The law would apply to any group that took in at least $100,000 in any given quarter for "paid communications campaigns" aimed at mobilizing the public.
< br /> The same groups that backed the McCain-Feingold law, limiting political speech in advance of an election, are behind this latest effort to curb political speech. Common Cause and Democracy 21 say special-interest entities hide behind current law to conceal the identities of their donors, whom they would have to reveal if they were lobbying Congress directly. "These Astroturf campaigns are just direct lobbying by another name," says Rep. Meehan, who is resigning from the House this summer and views his bill as his last hurrah in Congress.
But the First Amendment specifically prohibits Congress from abridging "the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for redress of grievances." The Supreme Court twice ruled in the 1950s that grassroots communication isn't "lobbying activity," and is fully protected by the First Amendment. Among the groups that believe the Meehan proposal would trample on the First Amendment are the National Right to Life Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union. The idea goes too far even for Sen. John McCain, who voted to strip a similar provision from a Senate lobbying reform bill last January.
The possible outcomes are disturbing. For example, Oprah Winfrey operates a website dedicated to urging people to contact Congress to demand intervention in Darfur. If her Web master took in over $100,000 in revenue from Ms. Winfrey and similar clients in a single quarter, he might be forced to make disclosures under the law.
"It's huge," Jay Sekulow of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, told The Hill newspaper. "It's the most significant restriction on grassroots activity in recent history. I'd put it up there with the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act"--the formal name for McCain-Feingold.
McCain-Feingold itself is riddled with loopholes, producing a slew of unintended consequences. Its provisions allowing candidates who compete against wealthy opponents who spend their own money to accept larger-than-normal legal contributions in order to compete inexplicably don't apply to the race for president. That means Mitt Romney and John Edwards, both of whom are independently wealthy, have a clear advantage should they run low on cash and need to inject funds into their campaigns quickly.
< br /> "Judged by the most visible results on promises like getting big money out of politics or cleaning up politics, campaign finance reform has been, to put it mildly, a disappointment," admits Mark Schmitt, a supporter of such reforms who has written a thoughtful essay in the journal Democracy. He urges reformers to now focus on expanding the "range of choices and voices in the system" and to take seriously the worries of those who fear that McCain-Feingold's restrictions on "election communication" have the potential to squelch important political speech. The Supreme Court is set to rule next month on a case addressing precisely that issue, and Justice Samuel Alito may be more inclined to view McCain-Feingold skeptically than was Sandra Day O'Connor, who was part of a 5-4 majority upholding the law.
Given the checkered history of campaign finance reform, its frequent use by one side of a political debate to hobble opponents, and the prospect that courts may yet find portions of McCain-Feingold unconstitutional, it would be a travesty for a Congress desperate for a quick-fix legislative accomplishment to circumscribe the First Amendment with little debate and even less understanding of what the consequences will be.
[Used with permission from OpinionJournal.com, a web site from Dow Jones & Company, Inc.]
The importance of military history
Jules Crittenden makes some good points about the need for Americans to study military history -- war, and its causes and effects. He also cites Betsy Newmark, a history teacher and conservative blogger, who makes some good points of her own.
We don't get much of that in school unless we go through one of the military academies. And we desperately need it in order to understand what war is like, so that we can make informed decisions about going to war and what to expect during and after war.
Studying military history would also help us to come to the realization that war is sometimes a necessary and moral endeavor.
May 14, 2007
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
-- Thomas Paine, 1776 - American Crisis, No. 1
Air Force coolness
I thought this was pretty darn cool, so I thought I'd share it with you . . .
Click Here for more great videos and pictures!
May 13, 2007
"I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast...would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1814 - letter to Edward Coles
I used to be cautiously in favor of stop light cameras, and such, but after reading this article, I am reconsidering my position.
Others worry about safety. Red-light cameras are supposed to make us safer by discouraging people from running red lights. The trouble is that they work too well. Numerous studies have found that when these cameras are put in place, rear-end collisions increase dramatically. Drivers who once might have stretched the light a bit now slam on their brakes for fear of getting a ticket, with predictable results. A study of red-light cameras in Washington, D.C., by The Washington Post found that despite producing more than 500,000 tickets (and generating over $32 million in revenues), red-light cameras didn't reduce injuries or collisions. In fact, the number of accidents increased at the camera-equipped intersections.
Likewise, red-light cameras in Portland, Ore., produced a 140 percent increase in rear-end collisions at monitored intersections, and a study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council found that although red-light cameras decreased collisions resulting from people running traffic lights, they significantly increased accidents overall.
This problem can be aggravated by jurisdictions that shorten the duration of yellow lights, apparently to generate more ticket revenue. Last year, CBS News reported on an especially egregious case in Maryland: A traffic-camera intersection had a 2.7-second yellow light, while nearby intersections had 4-second times. Shorter yellow lights are more dangerous--but shorter yellow lights plus traffic cameras generate revenue.
I think this article has reawakened the libertarian leanings I've been accused of having . . .
[Via Glenn Reynolds.]
May 12, 2007
"Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."
-- Alexander Hamilton, 1787 - Federalist No. 1
Democrats dooming themselves?
Larry Kudlow maintains that the Democrats' appraoch to taxes and national security will doom their 2008 political aspirations.
To a person, each Democratic presidential candidate wants to undermine the global war against jihadist terrorism — wherever it may be and especially in Iraq. The Democrats see a civil war in Iraq, where the Republicans view a growing al Qaeda threat. And while Republicans talk about significantly increasing the defense budget and expanding American force levels for all the armed services, the Democrats are hoping for some sort of Iraqi peace dividend upon immediate withdrawal — one that can be re-channeled into higher domestic social spending.
To a person, each Democratic presidential candidate also wants to raise taxes on the rich and roll back President Bush’s tax cuts. The Republicans, however, understand that those tax cuts have propelled economic growth and contributed to a stock market boom. And they recognize that Bush’s Goldilocks bull-market economy — which I call the greatest story never told — relies on extending the investor tax cuts and perhaps even moving forward with a flat tax or national sales tax.
Finally, to a person, each Democratic presidential candidate also has it in for corporate America. The Democrats discuss various punishments for business — especially oil companies, but also drug, utility, and insurance firms. Not so for the Republicans, who talk about helping businesses and promoting entrepreneurship in our successful free-enterprise economy.
The differences between the two parties couldn’t be clearer, and next year the voting public will have a very stark choice. But with this election season only two debates old, that choice already favors the Republican position.
And he doesn't even mention how idiotic the Dems have been so far . . .
I am very concerned about America's future, right now. And a lot of it has to do with the self-serving politicking going on. We're eating our own young in Washington and there appears to be no end in sight.
Lord help us . . . please!
May 11, 2007
"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1800 - letter to Benjamin Rush
Real progress in Iraq
Bill Roggio reports that, like the tribal leaders in Anbar province, tribal leaders in Diyala province are banding together to destroy Al Qaeda in the region.
In March, we noted the successful model of the Anbar Salvation Council will very likely be replicated elsewhere in regions where al Qaeda has established bases of operation. We singled out Diyala in particular, as al Qaeda's campaign of murder and intimidation was beginning to anger the tribes much as it did in Anbar province. Al Qaeda's establishment of its Islamic State of Iraq, with its capital in Baqubah made the province ripe for a major Coalition operation in the region. In early March, Al Sabaah reported the local sheikhs in Diyala were organizing against al-Qaeda and its Islamic State of Iraq, "which [is] spreading corruption in the province districts." Today, the speculation has become a reality, as "Arab tribesmen in Baqubah have said they will form a tribal alliance to cleanse the Diyala province of foreign fighters and those of the al-Qaeda terrorist network in Iraq."
"Tribesman Sheikh Wameed al-Jabouri told al-Hayat that a number of tribes had signed a cooperation agreement to undertake this mission and to bring the city back to how 'it used to be,'" notes DPA. "The agreement could be considered "a national charter" that proves their rejection of the actions of the terrorist groups, al-Jabouri said."
This is a good thing. Iraqis are standing up to fight for their own freedom. Our efforts there are beginning to pay off.
May 10, 2007
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."
-- George Washington, 1788 - letter to Benjamin Lincoln
Let's stick with our Iraqi allies
Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister for Iraq, pleads with Americans to not abandon Iraq in this crucial time of its democratic infancy.
Last weekend a traffic jam several miles long snaked out of the Mansour district in western Baghdad. The delay stemmed not from a car bomb closing the road but from a queue to enter the city's central amusement park. The line became so long some families left their cars and walked to enjoy picnics, fairground rides and soccer, the Iraqi national obsession.
Across the city, restaurants are slowly filling and shops are reopening. The streets are busy. Iraqis are not cowering indoors. The appalling death tolls from suicide attacks are often high because of crowding at markets. These days you are as likely to hear complaints about traffic congestion as about the security situation. Across Baghdad there is a cacophony of sirens from ambulances, firefighters and police providing public services. You cannot even escape the curse of traffic wardens ticketing illegally parked cars.
Read the whole thing. Then come back and leave some words of support.
May 09, 2007
"We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all maters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it."
-- George Washington, 1785 - letter to James Madison
Happy birthday, Dad!
Once again, I find myself posting a birthday message that I cannot deliver in person.
Please join me today in eating a peanut butter cup in honor of my late Dad -- who would be 79 today, were he alive. He loved peanut butter cups, and this has become a family tradition.
We still miss you, Dad. Happy birthday.
May 08, 2007
"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."
-- Thomas Paine, 1776 - Common Sense
More Congressional follies
The Washington Post has an interesting article that shows how out of touch with reality our political leaders are in Washington, D.C..
In a region where populist demagogues are on the offensive, Mr. Uribe stands out as a defender of liberal democracy, not to mention a staunch ally of the United States. So it was remarkable to see the treatment that the Colombian president received in Washington. After a meeting with the Democratic congressional leadership, Mr. Uribe was publicly scolded by House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose statement made no mention of the "friendship" she recently offered Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Human Rights Watch, which has joined the Democratic campaign against Mr. Uribe, claimed that "today Colombia presents the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Western hemisphere" -- never mind Venezuela or Cuba or Haiti. Former vice president Al Gore, who has advocated direct U.S. negotiations with the regimes of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently canceled a meeting with Mr. Uribe because, Mr. Gore said, he found the Colombian's record "deeply troubling."
Read the whole thing . . .
May 07, 2007
"Is it not the glory of the people of America, that whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit, posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theatre, in favor of private rights and public happiness."
-- James Madison, 1787 - Federalist No. 14
Charles Krauthammer provides us with the actual recent history of America going to war in Iraq. You'll find that it differs significantly with what the mainstream media and some irresponsible politicians would want us to believe.
The decision to go to war was made by a war cabinet consisting of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld. No one in that room could even remotely be considered a neoconservative. Nor could the most important non-American supporter of the war to this day -- Tony Blair, father of new Labor.
The most powerful case for the war was made at the 2004 Republican convention by John McCain in a speech that was resolutely "realist." On the Democratic side, every presidential candidate running today who was in the Senate when the motion to authorize the use of force came up -- Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd-- voted yes.
Outside of government, the case for war was made not just by the neoconservative Weekly Standard but -- to select almost randomly -- the traditionally conservative National Review, the liberal New Republic and the center-right Economist. Of course, most neoconservatives supported the war, the case for which was also being made by journalists and scholars from every point on the political spectrum -- from the leftist Christopher Hitchens to the liberal Tom Friedman to the centrist Fareed Zakaria to the center-right Michael Kelly to the Tory Andrew Sullivan. And the most influential tome on behalf of war was written not by any conservative, let alone neoconservative, but by Kenneth Pollack, Clinton's top Near East official on the National Security Council. The title: "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq."
Everyone has the right to renounce past views. But not to make up that past. It is beyond brazen to think that one can get away with inventing not ancient history but what everyone saw and read with their own eyes just a few years ago. And yet sometimes brazenness works.
The essay has many reference links. I recommend you read it all.
[Via Betsy's Page.]
May 06, 2007
"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence."
-- Joseph Story, 1833 - Commentaries on the Constitution
May 05, 2007
"Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it."
-- James Madison, Federalist No. 41.
J.D. Johannes reports from Al Anbar Province in Iraq, that the surge tactics are working.
In fact, the situation has flipped so much in 7 months that the heavy lifting in Al Anbar may be coming to a close--the heavy lifting being the political work of flipping the tribes to support the coalition and take charge of their own security.
When I was in Anbar in 2005 the momentum changed back and forth with the insurgents often dictating the OODA loop.
Now, in some areas like Khalidiyah, Habbaniyah and Husabayah Jawal, the coalition, police and army are clearly dictating the OODA loop.
All down the west bank of the Euphrates the tribes are taking charge of their own security, tribal levies are being sent to the police academies and army boot camp and the real sheiks--not the deputy under sheiks for mutton affairs--are working with the coalition.
Is it still violent? You bet. Will AQIZ still be able to pull off some big bombs? Yes. Will they still be able to mount coordinated attacks in some AOs? Yes.
But those are not the indicators. Nieghborhood watch centers, women in the markets, growth in IP and pro-coalition tribes duking it out with the remaining AQIZ affiliated tribes are the indicators.
Why we fight
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- American soldiers discovered a girls school being built north of Baghdad had become an explosives-rigged "death trap," the U.S. military said Thursday.
The plot at the Huda Girls' school in Tarmiya was a "sophisticated and premeditated attempt to inflict massive casualties on our most innocent victims," military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said.
The military suspects the plot was the work of al Qaeda, because of its nature and sophistication, Caldwell said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
May 04, 2007
"We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations as with individuals our interests soundly calculated will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties, and history bears witness to the fact that a just nation is trusted on its word when recourse is had to armaments and wars to bridle others."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1805 - Second Inaugural Address
We win, they lose
It's as simple as that.
Here's the petition:
Help stop the insanity in Washington by signing this petition . . .
Quantum dots and solar panels
Researchers at Texas' own Rice University have come up with a formulation to produce quantum dots more efficiently -- and less expensively.
The research, by scientists at Rice's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN), appears this week in the journal Small. It describes a new chemical method for making four-legged cadmium selenide quantum dots, which previous research has shown to be particularly effective at converting sunlight into electrical energy.
"Our work knocks down a big barrier in developing quantum-dot-based photovoltaics as an alternative to the conventional, more expensive silicon-based solar cells," said paper co-author and principal investigator Michael Wong, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Quantum dots are "megamolecules" of semiconducting materials that are smaller than living cells. They interact with light in unique ways, to give off different-colored light or to create electrons and holes, due partly to their tiny size, partly to their shape and partly to the material they're made of. Scientists have studied quantum dots for more than a decade, with an eye toward using them in medical tests, chemical sensors and other devices.
A promising development in harvesting solar energy more efficiently.
What Bush really said
"Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
Then he went on to indicate that we had a long road ahead in Iraq [Emphasis added.]:
We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.
The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq.
Just in case you ever wondered what President Bush really said that day on board the USS Abraham Lincoln.
May 03, 2007
"The steady character of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely moor; and notwithstanding the efforts of the papers to disseminate early discontents, I expect that a just, dispassionate and steady conduct, will at length rally to a proper system the great body of our country. Unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner, we shall be able I hope to do a great deal of good to the cause of freedom & harmony."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1801 - letter to Elbridge Gerry
HamNation and the Dishonorable Harry Reid
Mary Katherine Ham has a tongue-in-cheek recital of a slightly-altered Seuss story.
May 02, 2007
"I am not a Virginian, but an American."
-- Patrick Henry, 1774 - speech in the First Continental Congress
Pelosi's inconvenient truth
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was grossly out of line when she went to Syria on an independent mission to have discussions with dictator al-Assad. Now, the fruits of her misinformed 'talks' with that murderous dictator are beginning to show.
Three weeks have passed, so it's fair to ask: Has there been any positive change in Syrian behavior -- any return gesture of goodwill, however slight?
Mr. al-Bunni might offer the best answer -- if he could. On Tuesday, one of Mr. Assad's judges sentenced him to five years in prison. His "crimes" were to speak out about the torture and persecution of regime opponents, to found the Syrian Human Rights Association and to sign the "Damascus Declaration," a pro-democracy manifesto.
By condemning Mr. al-Bunni to prison, Mr. Assad was delivering a distinct message to Syria's would-be liberal reformers and those who support them: There will be no change on his watch. The same message came in the parliamentary "elections" that the regime staged on Sunday and Monday. No independent candidates were permitted; a predetermined number of winners from the official party ensured that the parliament will remain a rubber stamp.
What of the other items on the U.S. congressional agenda? Well, there has been a major surge in suicide bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq this month, in what U.S. commanders describe as an attempt by al-Qaeda to defeat the new security operation in the capital. According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, almost all suicide bombers in Iraq are foreigners, and some 80 percent of them pass through Syria. The border remains as porous as ever.
Meanwhile the military wing of Hamas, whose headquarters is in Damascus, launched a barrage of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel from Gaza on Tuesday. Israeli officials said the attack appeared aimed at creating a diversion that would allow Hamas to capture more Israeli soldiers. If so, the operation failed -- but none of the hostages Ms. Pelosi said she spoke to Mr. Assad about have been released.
Months ago, I told my brother that I thought she was an idiot. I was wrong.
Speaker Pelosi is quite cunning politically, but she hasn't shown anything in the way of statesmanship, honor, or patriotism. She's just another hack politician using her post for political gain.
She is not an idiot, though. . .
Martian global warming
The Times is conceding that the warming Earth is experiencing recently may be part of a naturally varying climate.
Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.
Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.
Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.
Hmmm. . .
May 01, 2007
"History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy... These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened."
-- Benjamin Franklin, Emblematical Representations
Surge and counter
Wretchard has posted an excellent analysis of the stroke/counterstroke nature of the war in Iraq. (Actually, a characteristic of all wars.)
The car-bomb attack on a US patrol base in Diyala which killed 9 soldiers is the first of two adapatations the Sunni insurgency to the Surge. As Max Boot wrote in the Weekly Standard before the attack, the insurgents have responded to the crackdown in Baghdad by moving elsewhere, not only to preserve their forces but to exploit places where the American presence has thinned out in order to provide forces for Baghdad.
[ . . .]
The attack on the American patrol base is the second adaptation. One of the principal innovations of General Petraeus has been to move US forces out of heavily defended mega-bases into smaller outposts they share with Iraqi Army and Police units. This redeployment into the field has three advantages. First, it overcomes the problems inherent in a dual chain of command caused by an American force operating in a legally sovereign country. Second, it shortens the decision cycle. Third, it reduces the dangers inherent in route marches from the mega-bases to the area of operations. Unfortunately, outposting American troops to smaller patrol bases probably means that each outpost is individually weaker than the mega base.
There is much more. I recommend it..