The debate has now been settled: John Kerry definitely served in Vietnam. That was a major point of the Democratic Convention and of Kerry's acceptance speech. This must be one of the great acts of chutzpah of all time: The party that made national politics safe for Vietnam draft avoiders in 1992 now considers Vietnam service arguably the foremost qualification for the presidency. But, hey, the Democrats are now the party of militaristic display and cultural conservatism.
That’s Rich Lowry’s take. In a word: Amen. It kills me how the Democratic Party can waffle and in almost the same breath speak of Vietnam as the pinnacle of wicked American hubris and then as a wonderful, if misguided, act of liberation.
Speaking of liberation, Lowry noticed how little the Democratic convention spoke of it:
Along with "liberal," "liberation" was the other forbidden L-word at this convention. Out of dozens of speakers, only poor Joe Lieberman thanked U.S. troops for liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, and he received tepid applause. Democrats want to honor the troops only for their suffering, not for the things they accomplish. Kerry didn't even thank the troops for Afghanistan, a war he still supports (presumably, for now).
I LOVED Bill Clinton's speech. I was inspired by John Edwards. Bar ack Obama thrilled me. Max Cleland made me grow as a person as I heard him . . . And then there was John Kerry.
And did he just tell 140,000 men and women fighting in Iraq that they are there because of a mistake?
By insisting that we are in Iraq because we "want to be," rather than because we "have to be," he is telling them that they are risking their lives for an optional, elective adventure. The fact is, that the reason we have not been attacked in the United States is that the terrorists are fleeing from cave to cave in Afghanistan and from building to building in Iraq — pursued by our heroic young men and women.
I honor his service in Vietnam. I think a man who knows what it is like to fight in a war is a good person to have as commander-in-chief. John Kerry is a good man. But what else is there? Last time I checked, Sen. John Kerry was 60 years old. But to listen to his speech last night at the Democratic National Convention, you would think he was still in his 20s.
-- Dick Morris. Partisan, yes. But he always calls it like he sees it. On top of that I’ve come to find that when Dick Morris says you’re in trouble, you usually are.
The receptive Arab Street lives in a perpetual world of asymmetrical thinking — nursing fantasies, inventing false grievances, and above all demanding from the West what it would never offer to others. But, after all, the Middle East once was furious at Baghdad Bob not because he lied daily but because his lies were proven ludicrous and then humiliating on the world stage by the U.S. military.
So for the record: More Arabs go to the West than Westerners go eastward. Most U.S. troops are leaving Saudi Arabia; billions of American dollars flow to Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. We have even given billions to that wretched Arafat kleptocracy and saved Muslims from Kuwait to Bosnia. U.S. jets, not deranged riff-raff from Afghanistan, stopped Milosevic. There is no legitimate complaint of the Arab world against the United States — any more than Hitler had a right to Czechoslovakia or the Japanese to Manchuria. Just because the Japanese whined that the cutting-off of U.S. petroleum forced them to bomb Pearl Harbor didn't make it true.
Another Victor Davis Hanson masterpiece.
My latest column is up at TCS.
I won’t examine John Kerry’s 55-minute speech line by line like I did John Edwards. By the end of this convention it’s pretty pointless. The Democrat’s message has been to call the Bush administration a bunch of lying failures without ever citing evidence and without ever giving a specific on how things would have either been different with them in charge or what they’ll do about it once in power. Out of all the speakers at the convention Kerry was by far the most to promise utopia by government. As usual the Democrats think there is nothing that government can’t solve – just as for decades they “solved” Social Security, Medicare, our tax code, our intelligence services, immigration, education, healthcare, campaign finance (twice and counting now), etc., you get the point.
I do want to point out a couple of truly egregious points in the Kerry speech.
First, just like Bill Clinton did on Monday night Kerry reminisces upon the 1990s as a utopia.
And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s: We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty. And we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves and we can do it again.
No mention of what else occurred during the 1990s: the maturation of Islamic terrorism. No time during their self-congratulatory backslapping to mention that the US homeland was hit three times by Islamic terrorism – WTC 1993, shootings outside Langley 1993 and the Empire State Building sniper 1997 – and countless more overseas including deadly attacks at Khobar Towers, the US embassies in Africa and the USS Cole. As I mentioned above, as long as Democrats portray the 1990s as utopia they cannot be trusted to secure us now.
Most of all, however, I am offended by John Kerry’s deep hypocrisy and absolute lack of personal responsibility on foreign policy and intelligence affairs.
I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war… Now, I know there that are those who criticize me for seeing complexities -- and I do -- because some issues just aren't all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming "Mission accomplished" certainly doesn't make it so… As president, I will ask the hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system, so policy is guided by facts and facts are never distorted by politics. And as president, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: The United States of America never goes to war because we want to; we only go to war because we have to. That is the standard of our nation.
As president, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say, "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way, but we had no choice... we had to protect the American people, fundamental American values against a threat that was real and imminent." So, lesson number one, this is the only justification for going to war.
And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.
Kerry goes on and on – for too long – because he’s trying to overcome the perception that he’d be weak on foreign policy. His recommendations to double the size of Special Forces, and such, are not novel and are things that leaders like John McCain and Don Rumsfeld are already pursuing. But when one reviews his 20-year senatorial career, attempted cutting of intelligence budgets and opposing every major weapon system that we’ve so successfully used in Afghanistan and Iraq, one can only conclude that Kerry is high on talk and low on action.
I can cut Kerry some slack for the reference to the “Mission accomplished” banner, not because it’s misleading for Kerry to do so, because it is, but because it was stupid whether or not the banner is a Navy tradition for ships returning from a tour and a message exclusively to the sailors serving on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
However, it burns me to the core that Kerry can accuse Bush of fighting a “war on the cheap” when John Kerry voted against appropriating $87 billion for soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. His defenders excuse him as just trying to make a political point; well, those who play politics with the lives of our soldiers do not deserve to be president.
Kerry’s attempt to politicize the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission by demanding all be enacted, without further thought or debate, is hasty at best and possibly dangerous. Many of the recommendations will likely be promoted by both Republicans and Democrats, but let’s not promote the word of the commission to Gospel. Looking for quick fixes is exactly not what we ought to be doing. And that Kerry is trying to use this as a weapon against Bush is disgusting and proves he cares more about the election than what will or will not effectively fight terrorism.
But more than that. Kerry’s speech is filled with arrogant hypocrisy. Kerry wasn’t just a senator. He was an 8-year member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, meaning he received highly classified briefs from the CIA, just as Presidents Clinton and Bush did. Briefs on Iraq, Afghanistan and al Qaeda. Search the archives: Where was Kerry in the late 1990s demanding we act more on al Qaeda or even invade Afghanistan? Where was Kerry warning that the CIA was giving incorrect information on Iraq? On the contrary, in March 2003 Kerry told NPR, “I think Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction are a threat, and that’s why I voted to hold him accountable and to make certain that we disarm him.”
Yeah, remember Kerry voted to go to war even as he says he will never “mislead” Americans to go to war. Well, if Bush lied, then so did Kerry and a plethora of other Democrats who were getting the same intel on Saddam Hussein.
October 2002: “The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation."
Likewise, Kerry was a Kool-Aide drinking defender of Bill Clinton’s decision to bomb Iraq for WMD violations: “Saddam Hussein has already used these weapons and has made it clear that he has the intent to continue to try, by virtue of his duplicity and secrecy, to continue to do so.” [Feb. 1998]
If launching 300+ cruise missiles into Iraq isn’t a preemptive attack I don’t know what is. It is irrational hypocrisy for Democrats to support preemptive attacks by one president but not another.
Which brings me to the next point: Kerry’s argument that we “chose” to go to war. Notice how Kerry gives Saddam Hussein a full pass. Bush didn’t choose to go to war. After 9-11 everyone said never again would we sit back and wait for an “imminent” attack to hit the US because another term for “imminent” is “too late.” At any time Saddam Hussein could have ended his 10-year obfuscation, and his violation of 17 UN resolutions, and allowed a transparent inspection process to occur. The only reason inspectors ever reentered Iraq was because 130,000 coalition troops were massed upon the border. Kerry, and the Democrats supporting him, try to have their cake and eat it too: criticize Bush for not preemptively striking Afghanistan (which they too never did) but criticizing Bush for striking Iraq preemptively.
Lesson number one is NOT to wait for a threat to become “imminent.” Imminent is your last line of defense. Imminent is our FAA failing to see the danger in 4” blades. Imminent is television camera capturing our congressional leaders fleeing from the Capital Building. Imminent is a slew of firefighters entering a tower that is about to fall to rubble.
Finally, war is hell and complicated. As the old saying goes once the first bullet is fired the plan is tossed out the window. There are certainly legitimate criticisms one can levy upon Don Rumsfeld or other Bush cabinet members for mistakes during the war. But to date, not one Democrat has said specifically how they would have done things different, other than the generic, feel-good misnomer of “more troops” or “more international support.” Well, if “proclaiming "Mission accomplished" certainly doesn't make it so” than neither does proclaiming “more troops” or “more international support” make it so.
[Washington Post] The Senate hearing today on reorganizing intelligence, the first of more than a dozen hastily arranged congressional sessions through the month of August, comes amid an intense examination by President Bush, the National Security Council and Defense Department aimed at deciding what changes can be made swiftly without hurting current counterterrorism operations.
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld brought seven top former defense and law enforcement officials together for lunch with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to discuss the commission's recommendations and to look for short-term remedies that could be proposed while more complicated restructuring is considered.
"The pressure will be on them to do something in the short term," said William S. Cohen, defense secretary in the Clinton administration, who attended the lunch. "What can you do in the short term that doesn't create other problems?"
The family members of the Sept. 11 victims and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) have endorsed the commission's recommendations, but some intelligence experts caution that the key proposals may not fix the problems that have been identified over the past two years.
Cohen is right. Unfortunately it is his party, which has for years politicized the war on terror, that is creating this environment of haste to which the Bush people must either respond or be labeled as incompetent. The concept of a terrorism czar, or joining the CIA with the military, are both complicated scenarios that might not solve a damn thing. Let the experts and analysts have some time to let these recommendations settle before just acting for the sake of acting.
Washington Post headline: “Kerry wows the media”
Is it a surprise whom the mainstream media wants elected?
You know, it’s not that Kerry’s speech was bad. It wasn’t. It was good for the Democrats. It’s just that it was insincere and hypocritical. But we’re now in the most partisan era in our nation’s history. Not that candidate partisanship is at it’s highest: the campaign between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was very ugly; Andrew Jackson called John Quincy Adams a pimp for Russia, Adams responded that Jackson’s wife was a whore. It’s more that our electorate is more partisan than ever. When the Michael Moores fabricate stories, even ones the 9-11 Commission debunk, the Democrats just smile and nod. To be fair, short of Bush raising my taxes, pulling out of Iraq, and promoting universal healthcare there’s very little at this point that would stop me from voting for him.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 30 -- Pakistan has captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is sought by the United States as a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, officials said Friday. Ghailani, a Tanzanian citizen said to be in his early thirties, was seized early Sunday, along with his wife and five other African or Pakistani al Qaeda suspects, following a joint Pakistani-U.S. intelligence operation, senior Pakistani police and intelligence officials said. The capture followed a 10-hour shootout in the industrial city of Gujrat, 125 miles south of Islamabad. The operation to capture Ghailani, who is on the list of the FBI's 22 most wanted terrorists, was supervised by agents of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency and coordinated with CIA and FBI officials, according to an official in Punjab state who was present. The official said 240 Punjab policemen conducted the raid on a rented house in a middle-class neighborhood of Gujrat.
It just reemphasizes how much trouble we’d be in if Pervez Musharraf were every overthrown or assassinated. He’s the only reason we’re scooping up ranking al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan.
Again, I go back to the recommendation of the 9-11 Commission: “[p. 369] If Musharraf stands for enlightened moderation in a fight for his life and for the life of his country, the United States should be willing to make hard choices too, and make the difficult long-term commitment to the future of Pakistan. Sustaining the current scale of aid to Pakistan, the United States should support Pakistan’s government in its struggle against extremists with a comprehensive effort that extends from military aid to support for better education, so long as Pakistan’s leaders remain willing to make difficult choices of their own.”
Musharraf survived three assassination attempts in December 2003 alone. His prime minister elect, Shaukat Aziz, survived on today. We have to protect these guys.
This is the group to which a President John Kerry would give more power:
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council Friday adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution demanding Sudan disarm and prosecute marauding militia in Darfur and threatened sanctions if Khartoum did not comply.
The 13-0 vote with abstentions from China and Pakistan came after the United States, facing considerable opposition, deleted the word "sanctions" and substituted a reference to a section of the the U.N. Charter permitting punitive measures.
All words. No bite. That’s typical of the UN, is it not? “Dear Sudan, please stop slaughtering Christians and animists. Sincerely, Kofi Annan.” Yeah, that’ll work. Thanks to the UN the only way Sudan will stop is when the minority groups are all dead.
Ready for the punchline of the day? Ready… here it comes…
It’s a good thing Sudan is a member of the UN Human Rights Commission!
Badda-bing! Thank you, please tip your waiters and waitresses. I’ll be here all week.
Yesterday I exposed Richard Clarke’s NY Times op-ed as a weak defense of his contradictory positions regarding Iraq and Iraq’s connections to terrorism. In fact, the 9-11 Commission report makes it clear that Clarke’s judgment can no longer be trusted, and that he has used his position to sell books. He’s can certainly no longer be considered a bi-partisan expert. Nothing highlights this better than the 9-11 Commission’s take on the 1998 bombing of the al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.
[p. 116] Considerable debate went to the question of whether to strike targets outside of Afghanistan, including two facilities in Sudan. One was a tannery believed to belong to Bin Ladin. The other was al Shifa, a Khartoum pharmaceutical plant, which intelligence reports said was manufacturing a precursor ingredient for nerve gas with Bin Ladin’s financial support.
[p. 117] The CIA reported that a soil sample from the vicinity of the al Shifa plant had tested positive for EMPTA, a precursor chemical for VX,a nerve gas whose lone use was for mass killing. Two days before the embassy bombings, Clarke’s staff wrote that Bin Ladin “has invested in and almost certainly has access to VX produced at a plant in Sudan.”
[p. 128] On November 4, 1998, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed its indictment of Bin Ladin, charging him with conspiracy to attack U.S. defense installations. The indictment also charged that al Qaeda had allied itself with Sudan, Iran, and Hezbollah. The original sealed indictment had added that al Qaeda had “reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.” This passage led Clarke, who for years had read intelligence reports on Iraqi-Sudanese cooperation on chemical weapons, to speculate to Berger that a large Iraqi presence at chemical facilities in Khartoum was “probably a direct result of the Iraq–Al Qida agreement.” Clarke added that VX precursor traces found near al Shifa were the “exact formula used by Iraq.”
As a result of Clarke’s allegation that Iraq and Sudan were involved with a bin Laden owned chemical-weapon plant Bill Clinton bombed it. Is it not disingenuous then for Clarke to now accuse the Bush administration of both hyping Iraq’s WMD program and hyping Saddam’s link to al Qaeda?
You may also recall Clarke’s fabled Delinda plan – which when revealed to the media during Clarke’s March testimony to the 9-11 Commission, it was portrayed as this all-encompassing failsafe battle plan of which the Bush administration was informed but chose to ignore. Well, here’s the full story on Delinda:
[p. 120] For this inner cabinet, Clarke drew up what he called “Political-Military Plan Delenda.”The Latin delenda, meaning that something “must be destroyed,” evoked the famous Roman vow to destroy its rival, Carthage.The overall goal of Clarke’s paper was to “immediately eliminate any significant threat to Americans” from the “Bin Ladin network.”57The paper called for diplomacy to deny Bin Ladin sanctuary; covert action to disrupt terrorist activities, but above all to capture Bin Ladin and his deputies and bring them to trial; efforts to dry up Bin Ladin’s money supply; and preparation for follow-on military action. The status of the document was and remained uncertain. It was never formally adopted by the principals [the Clinton administration], and participants in the Small Group [Clinton cabinet] now have little or no recollection of it.
Not exactly a glowing endorsement, is it?
Along with his opinion and planning, Clarke’s competence is also questioned:
[p. 138] Early in 1999, the CIA received reporting that Bin Ladin was spending much of his time at one of several camps in the Afghan desert south of Kandahar. At the beginning of February, Bin Ladin was reportedly located in the vicinity of the Sheikh Ali camp, a desert hunting camp being used by visitors from a Gulf state. Public sources have stated that these visitors were from the United Arab Emirates.
No strike was launched. By February 12 Bin Ladin had apparently moved on, and the immediate strike plans became moot. According to CIA and Defense officials, policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike would kill an Emirati prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Ladin or close by. Clarke told us the strike was called off after consultations with Director Tenet because the intelligence was dubious, and it seemed to Clarke as if the CIA was presenting an option to attack America’s best counterterrorism ally in the Gulf.The lead CIA official in the field, Gary Schroen, felt that the intelligence reporting in this case was very reliable; the Bin Ladin unit chief, “Mike,” agreed. Schroen believes today that this was a lost opportunity to kill Bin Ladin before 9/11.
Even after Bin Ladin’s departure from the area, CIA officers hoped he might return, seeing the camp as a magnet that could draw him for as long as it was still set up.The military maintained readiness for another strike opportunity. On March 7, 1999, Clarke called a UAE official to express his concerns about possible associations between Emirati officials and Bin Ladin. Clarke later wrote in a memorandum of this conversation that the call had been approved at an interagency meeting and cleared with the CIA.161When the former Bin Ladin unit chief found out about Clarke’s call, he questioned CIA officials, who denied having given such a clearance. Imagery confirmed that less than a week after Clarke’s phone call the camp was hurriedly dismantled, and the site was deserted. CIA officers, including Deputy Director for Operations Pavitt,were irate. “Mike” thought the dismantling of the camp erased a possible site for targeting Bin Ladin.
Whether the strike would have been effective is clearly in debate. What is not in debate was that Clarke’s foolish and hasty call to the UAE ruined any future opportunity to target bin Laden at the Sheikh Ali camp, or even striking at other al Qaeda assets present there.
Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards had a message for Americans in his acceptance speech: There are “two Americas,” both strongly based on the notion that we’re all just a bunch of poor, poor victims. In the first, wealthy and powerful Republicans are keeping you down for their own gain; the second, wealthy and powerful Democrats will pull down those wicked, wealthy and powerful Republicans so that we may all be one America, of miserable victims. Ah, the liberal utopia.
Edwards continued the convention tactic of attacking the Bush-Cheney ticket without ever mentioning them by name. As I remarked yesterday this is actually a smart strategy as Kerry and Edwards with to separate themselves (somewhat) from the extreme Howard Dean/Michael Moore crowd. Instead of flat out accusing Bush of being a liar– “Bush did this, and Bush did that, where’s my blankie?” – they can just subtly imply it.
Likewise, the Democrats, highlighted in speeches by Barack Obama and Edwards, continued to take a page out of the 1992 campaign, by offering Americans “hope.” Obama is new enough to national politics that I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's a Clinton centrist. Edwards and Kerry? Sorry, they were the fourth and first most liberal senators last year, respectively, as rated by the liberal National Journal. The funny thing is that fellow Democrats decry this, still hiding from their liberal label. If they are really sure of their ideology, shouldn't they be proud of this? It's quite telling then.
Naturally, Edwards quickly pointed out that his running mate, John Kerry, served in Vietnam. Bet you didn’t know that... right? Edwards repeated his assertion from a couple months ago that if one just spends “three minutes with the men who served with him,” they will know what Kerry is made of. Does that go for the Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry Association? (More on that in a few posts below).
Finally, like some kind of perverted super hero, became Trial Lawyer Man! Well, I’ll help you by reading between the lines and giving you (enjoy!) Edward’s subliminal messages:
You know, for the last few months, John's been traveling around the country talking about his positive, optimistic vision for America, talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction. But what have we seen? Relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming, don't we? more negative attacks -- aren't you sick of it?
[Subliminal Edwards:] Right, because, you know, there have been no negative attacks on George W. Bush. No, no, there hasn’t been wave after wave of Democratic supporters going far above and beyond attacking policies (which is fine) and instead attacking Bush personally. Oh, no, no Democrat has called him a liar, a deserter, a murderer, or compared him to Osama bin Laden. Oh, no, not us Democrats.
For two decades, I stood with kids and families against big HMOs and big insurance companies. When I got to the Senate, I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the Patients' Bill of Rights.
[Subliminal Edwards:] And then I made a fortune by suing OB/GYN docs and based the suit on junk science. I convinced jury after jury with my superior beguiling skills that these evil OB/GYN doctors were fouling up newborn deliveries and causing them cerebral palsy. Of course, since then no less than three medical studies have concluded that brain damage and cerebral palsy originates in factors outside the delivery room. But, hey, I made mine. Meanwhile you little people that I’m supposedly trying to help can’t find your doctor because he had to go to another state to afford the insurance. Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia are now considered to be in doctor-shortage crisis because of the cost of insurance, which I raised by making millions in the courtroom. Also, further “helping” the little guy – cesarean sections are at an all time high due to doctors’ fear of being sued from a normal delivery. That’s my vision. Two Americas – one in which lawyers make gobs of money, and another in which the rest of you suckers take the shaft.
We can build one America where we no longer have two health care systems: one for families who get the best health care money can by, and then one for everybody else rationed out by insurance companies, drug companies, HMOs. We have a plan that will offer all Americans the same health care that your senator has. We can give you tax breaks to help you pay for your health care. And when we're in office, we will sign a real patients' bill of rights into law so that you can make your own health care decisions. We shouldn't have two public school systems in this country: one for the most affluent communities [such as the one us congressional leaders send our kids to], and one for everybody else… You know exactly what I'm talking about. Can't save any money, can you?
[Subliminal Edwards:] Can’t save money... Of course not! How’s a victim supposed to save money! Only the rich can save money, when they’re not spending it all to screw over you little guys. So, how can Edwards achieve this dream where everyone has equal access to everything? Lawsuits and socialism, of course. Just like every other failed socialist state we won’t encourage everyone to do their best and attain what they once thought was unattainable. Instead we’ll pull down those who are succeeding, so we’re all equally miserable. We can all have one bad health care, school, taxation and economic system! But, hey, we’ll all be equal.
Well, let me tell you how we're going to pay for it. And I want to be very clear about this. We are going to keep and protect the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans -- 98 percent. We're going to roll back -- we're going to roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And we're going to close corporate loopholes.
[Subliminal Edwards:] Now of that 98 percent I won’t mention that 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax in the first place. I won’t mention that the other 50 percent pay more than 96% of income tax, that the top 10 percent pay almost 65% of the income tax, and that the wicked top 5% pay more than 53% of the total income tax load. I also won’t mention that one only need earn $128K jointly to hit the top 5 percent of wage earners or $93K jointly to hit the top 10 percent. I won’t emphasize that those figures are joint, meaning if you and your wife are both professionals earning about $70K annual you’re one of the wicked “wealthiest Americans” we Democrats like to demonize. And I also will never define “wealthy” or “rich,” nor will I point out that “wealthy” and “rich,” by our definition, are thousandaires and not millionaires like us, John Edwards and John Kerry.
And as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know that we have to do more to fight the war on terrorism and keep the American people safe. We can do that. We are approaching the third anniversary of September 11th, and one thing I can tell you: When we're in office, it won't take three years to get the reforms in our intelligence that are necessary to keep the American people safe.
[Subliminal Edwards:] And as member of the Senate Intelligence Committee I, John Edwards, and John Kerry, who served for eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, were privy to the same information that the CIA gives the president, which means that everytime we call the president a failure or a liar we’re calling ourselves that as well. I won’t mention to the amount of chutzpah it takes to talk about reforming intelligence when John Kerry, while serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee, proposed a cumulative $7.5 billion in intelligence cuts – a move so severe that fellow Democrats ridiculed him for it. I also won’t mention that John Kerry warned in 1997 – and thus after terrorist attacks in 1993, 1995 and 1996 – that our intelligence service “continues to grow at an exponential rate.”
And when John is president, we will listen to the wisdom of the September 11th commission. We will lead strong alliances. We will safeguard and secure our weapons of mass destruction. We will strengthen our homeland security, protect our ports, protect our chemical plants, and support our firefighters, police officers, EMTs. We will always... We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe.
[Subliminal Edwards:] So long as the United Nations and France approves it!
(And again, I must point out that the first thing these Democrats think of in terms of security are “first response” teams. That is, little is said about preemptively trying to stop terrorists before they strike, only about how much better we’ll clean up the rubble and dead bodies after they have struck.)
But today, our great United States military is stretched thin. We've got more than 140,000 troops in Iraq, almost 20,000 in Afghanistan.
[Subliminal Edwards:] And I care so much about them that I, John Edwards, and John Kerry voted against giving them $87 billion to support their fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. And our military is stretched “so thin” that we’ve got more than 70,000 troops twiddling thumbs in Germany, just in case some Russian invents a time machine and transports us back to the Cold War.
With a new president who strengthens and leads our alliances, we can get NATO to help secure Iraq. We can ensure that Iraq's neighbors, like Syria and Iran, don't stand in the way of a democratic Iraq.
[Subliminal Edwards:] Although we’ve never said how we’re going to do these things. We just say we will. And we never mention that while Syria stands in the way of a democratic Iraq, they are concurrently a member of the United Nations Security Council, whose blessing we Democrats require.
We can close the loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that allows rogue nations access to the tools they need to develop these weapons.
[Subliminal Edwards:] Right, because, you know, tyrants and dictators fear meaningless paper treaties, not the might of the US military, which we will never use.
What we believe -- what I believe -- is that the family you're born into and the color of your skin in our America should never control your destiny.
[Subliminal Edwards:] Because that’s what all racist Republicans believe – unless you happen to be the black national security advisor or black secretary of state, and one of the most powerful blacks on the planet, in which case you’re just a traitorous Uncle Tom!
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.[Subliminal Edwards:] Although I don’t really believe in God. I’m just saying that.
Has John Kerry mentioned lately that he’s a proud Vietnam veteran? I still can’t figure out if Vietnam was good or bad. I mean on the one hand I hear Teresa Heinz Kerry call the Vietnam War memorial an “awful toll exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength” (is that a knock against Democrat LBJ?) And I recall John Kerry years ago admitting “I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones,” further calling himself and others who served in Vietnam “war criminals.” And I recall that his Winter Soldier testimony was all allegation and no fact, meaning he accepted hearsay and repeated it to Congress in 1971.
But now, Vietnam isn’t so bad because it’s convenient for him. Kerry will issue, according to the Washington Post, an “acceptance speech that will culminate a night intended to showcase the candidate's experience in Vietnam.” Kerry will appear on stage with former Senator Max Cleland, the Vietnam amputee of whom the media still continues to spread the lie that he lost his 2002 reelection bid only “after [Republican] attacks ads questioned his patriotism.” (And Ann Coulter isn’t my favorite but her commentary on Cleland was spot on.) And, as usual, Kerry’s “Band of Brothers” will appear with him – but not all of them.
No, despite a doting media – for example, Washington Post page one: “Kerry's Rise Lifts Fellow Vietnam Vets” – that covers only Kerry’s comrades who love him, there exist Kerry comrades who see him as an opportunist snake who for thirty years used their pain for political gain.
At the Democratic convention tonight a protégé of Steven Spielberg, James Moll, will debut a film that includes actual home footage of Kerry in Vietnam. What Mull didn’t know is that the footage of Kerry was reenacted. Not that Moll is without excuse himself. To that reenacted footage Mull himself added special effects in the film to show bullets hitting the water: “’It’s just illustrative,’ he added [to the NY Observer], saying the bullets in the water were not from the actual event.”
But neither Mull nor the doting meda will tell you that of Kerry’s 23 fellow Swift Boat comrades, only 2 support his bid for president. The book “Unfit for Command,” by John O’Neill and Jerome Corsi, further claims that two of Kerry’s three purple hearts were earned via self-inflicted wounds. It is also claimed that Kerry reenacted moments in Vietnam with home video with the motive of having it for a later political career:
”Kerry would revisit ambush locations for reenacting combat scenes where he would portray the hero, catching it all on film. Kerry would take movies of himself walking around in combat gear, sometimes dressed as an infantryman walking resolutely through the terrain. He even filmed mock interviews of himself narrating his exploits. A joke circulated among Swiftees was that Kerry left Vietnam early not because he received three Purple Hearts, but because he had recorded enough film of himself to take home for his planned political campaigns.”
Now, thus far the Kerry campaign has made no official retort, although that may change by the time you read this. However, if these things are true there can be nobody to blame but John Kerry. It was John Kerry who came home from the war and decided to use the anti-war movement for his personal political gain. It was John Kerry who, with no actual evidence, called Vietnam solders “war criminals” and thus both hurt his fellow soldiers and handed a political prop to the North Vietnamese government. It was John Kerry who changed his story through the years about whether medals he threw over the White House wall were his or another’s, or just ribbons or the actual medals. It was John Kerry who decided to use Vietnam as a strategy for a presidential bid and an attempt to insult George Bush. Kerry and Kerry alone made Vietnam an issue in this campaign. Now he may pay a price for that.
On the latter [philosophically], Mr. Kerry has simply been wrong about the major national security questions of his time. Leaving aside the special case of Vietnam, the Senator voted against nearly every major weapons system during the Cold War. He supported the recklessly naive "nuclear freeze" in 1984. He opposed SDI, which convinced the Soviets they couldn't win an arms race. He even opposed the invasion of Grenada at the time, though he now says that is the kind of operation he would support. In other words, he was a stalwart of the dovish wing of the Democratic Party that voters refused to entrust with the Presidency from Vietnam until the Berlin Wall fell.
-- Wall Street Journal
More recently, Senator Kerry voted against the first Gulf War, arguing that diplomacy was enough to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. This vote strikes us as especially noteworthy now that Kerry supporters are trying to portray him as a foreign policy "realist" in the mold of George H.W. Bush, and in contrast to the current President. Yet when the senior Bush sought to use military force in the U.S. national interest, Mr. Kerry opposed that too.
Post-9/11 this is all a political liability, and Mr. Kerry now points to Kosovo, Bosnia and Haiti as examples of military actions he supported. But in political terms they were easier cases. The Democratic Party was solidly in favor, as were many conservatives, including us. The question today is whether and how Mr. Kerry would respond when the intelligence might not be certain, the costs might be high and the U.N. isn't unanimous.
Mr. Kerry says that unlike Mr. Bush he'll bring the allies along in support of U.S. action, and it's tempting to believe that a new President could somehow rally the French and Germans back to our side. But this ignores our diverging strategic interests. The French want the U.N. to become a brake on the U.S. "hyperpower," and much of Europe would rather appease Islamic terror than fight it. This won't change merely because Americans elect a new President, and it would be nice to hear Mr. Kerry say he understands this.
Then there is his ever-shifting views on Iraq. He voted for the war when that seemed safer politically in October 2002. But then when Howard Dean was on the march in this year's Democratic primaries, the Senator turned into a vociferous war critic and voted against the $87 billion to finish the job in Iraq. Mr. Kerry has an elaborate justification for this vote, but we agree with Senator Joe Biden, a Kerry supporter who described that vote recently to the New Yorker as "tactical" and an attempt "to prove to Dean's guys I'm not a warmonger."
Now that he's won the nomination, Mr. Kerry has once again turned moderately hawkish. He assails the President's management of the war but proposes more or less the same policy. We give him credit for saying he won't withdraw abruptly from Iraq and leave a failed state, but he also leads a center-left coalition that will pressure him to do precisely that as costs rise and compete with domestic priorities. All in all, it is hard to resist the conclusion that if John Kerry had been President the last four years, Saddam would still be running Iraq.
We have little doubt that a Kerry Administration would pursue Osama bin Laden to the ends of the earth. The doubts run to what he would do in the hard cases when Presidential fortitude and leadership are required. Whatever else they think of Mr. Bush, Americans know he is willing to act in our national defense. They'll be trying to judge tonight, and over the next three months, if they can depend on John Kerry to do the same.
DES MOINES - Michael Wagner lied about his name. He told the trooper who stopped him for not wearing a seat belt that he couldn't find his identification.
Then, Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kenneth Haas found a gun, three bulletproof vests, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a flight simulator and a bag of flight manuals dating to 2001.
Haas testified at a federal court hearing Tuesday that he also found a 5-foot telescope hooked to camera equipment, night-vision goggles and a night-vision rifle scope when searching Wagner's sport utility vehicle on July 14 on Interstate 80 near Council Bluffs. The materials, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Rothrock, were "all of the equipment necessary for sniper attacks."
In 1988, Wagner was convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.
His attorney, Angela Campbell, said the items found in Wagner's vehicle weren't illegal for average citizens to own and suggested that Wagner and his wife, Linda Maguire, were targeted because they are Muslim.
Books written in Arabic, including the Koran, along with hundreds of pages printed from the Internet on the Iraq war and terrorism, were found in Wagner's vehicle.
During the traffic stop, Wagner repeatedly gave a false name, couldn't produce an identification card and showed signs of nervousness, Haas said, so the trooper searched the vehicle. Haas first discovered a 9 mm pistol and a loaded magazine in the car's back seat - the same area where the trooper let Wagner search for his identification. At that point, Haas handcuffed Wagner and seated Wagner's wife along with him in the cruiser. Their conversation was caught on tape. "I told you I should have killed him," Wagner said when his wife entered the trooper's cruiser.
He mentioned getting his gun so he could "kill all three" officers looking through his vehicle, Haas testified. Then, Haas said, Wagner told his wife, "Find a handcuff key, get up here and run them over."
Meanwhile, Haas said he continued to find other items, including ashes from burnt marijuana, a canteen, pills, an outdoor stove and a sleeping bag. The night-vision goggles and rifle scope, he said, were found in a hollowed-out computer.
Later, Wagner asked to speak to a federal agent because he said he had information that authorities "would be greatly in need of," White said. He agreed to provide information only if he and his wife were released from custody. His wife eventually was released. In the interview, he talked about a man in San Diego who he said wanted him to shoot at trolleys there, White said. Wagner also told the agent "he knew of activities and people involved in al-Qaida and Taliban."
Yesterday it was announced that dignitaries from the UK, France and Germany would again travel to Tehran to try and convince the mullahs that their refusal to halt their nuclear activities is at their own demise. We are, of course, way past the time for final chances, but beyond that Iran has made it very clear that they have no intention of discontinuing nuclear development. For that matter we can count on Iran supporting Islamic terrorism globally, and avoiding any honest internal reform. Add to this Iran slapped the face of the Canadians over the case of Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian-Iranian photojournalist who died in Iranian custody after her arrest for photographing a pro-democracy demonstration in Iran.
TEHRAN, July 28 -- Iran's judiciary said Wednesday that an Iranian Canadian photojournalist died in custody from a fall after her blood pressure dropped during a hunger strike, a shift in position on a case that has strained relations between the two countries.
The hard-line judiciary also denounced President Mohammad Khatami's administration, which had offered Monday to help identify the killer of Zahra Kazemi, the photographer. The judiciary accused Khatami's government of providing fuel for a "spiteful" foreign media.
"The death of Mrs. Zahra Kazemi was an accident," a judiciary statement said. A Tehran court on Saturday cleared intelligence agent Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, the sole defendant in the case, of killing Kazemi, who died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage in July 2003.
Well, sure, she couldn’t eat because her Iranian captors caved in her skull. What’s the problem with you Canadians!
Meanwhile, the Iranians have begun a test that produces uranium hexafluoride as a byproduct. Uranium hexaflouride is a gas necessary for enriching uranium and creating nuclear weapons. Iran is also believed to be seeking deuterium gas, which can be used to boost the power of a nuclear detonation.
"We're taking this initiative because a) we want to help the Iraqi people get back on their feet and reclaim their sovereignty as quickly as possible, b) because there is a tremendous desire in the Arab and Muslim world to help Iraq and help the Iraqi people get back on their feet and c) we're doing this because instability in Iraq has a negative impact on Saudi Arabia and stability in Iraq has a very positive impact on Saudi Arabia. We want to stabilize the situation in Iraq," said Adel Jubeir, chief foreign policy adviser to Abdullah.
A senior Saudi official said that no countries had signed on but that Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh and Morocco were among strong possibilities. Countries that border Iraq, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, would not be included, he said.
Among the obvious truths that were documented but unarticulated were the facts that the Bush administration did little on terrorism before 9/11, and that by invading Iraq the administration has left us less safe as a nation.
What the commissioners did clearly state was that Iraq had no collaborative relationship with Al Qaeda and no hand in 9/11. They also disclosed that Iran provided support to Al Qaeda, including to some 9/11 hijackers. These two facts may cause many people to conclude that the Bush administration focused on the wrong country. They would be right to think that. – Richard Clarke, in his NY Times op-ed today.
Do you think Richard Clarke is a little bit bitter that the 9-11 Commission report vindicated Bush but made him look bad? I’m only about 100 pages into the 500-page report but I’ve found some interesting things concerning Mr. Clarke. Plus, I’ve reread Clarke’s March testimony to the 9-11 Commission and drawn some more conclusions.
Clarke is completely misrepresenting the Iraqi connections to al Qaeda. Here’s page 61 of the commission report:
To protect his own ties with Iraq, [Sudanese Islamic leader] Turabi reportedly brokered an agreement that bin Laden would stop supporting [Kurdish Islamic] activities against Saddam... In 2001, with Bin Laden’s help they [the Kurdish Islamicists] re-formed into an organization called Ansar al-Islam. There are indications that by then the Iraqi regime tolerated and may even have helped Ansar al Islam against the common [pro-Democracy] Kurdish enemy.
With the Sudanese regime acting as intermediary, Bin Ladin himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995. Bin Ladin is said to have asked for space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but there is no evidence that Iraq responded to this request.55 As described below, the ensuing years saw additional efforts to establish connections.
[Page 66] There is also evidence that around this time  Bin Ladin sent out a number of feelers to the Iraqi regime, offering some cooperation. None are reported to have received a significant response.According to one report, Saddam Hussein’s efforts at this time to rebuild relations with the Saudis and other Middle Eastern regimes led him to stay clear of Bin Ladin.
In mid-1998, the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative. In March 1998, after Bin Ladin’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying U.S. pressure, which culminated in a series of large air attacks in December.75
Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides’ hatred of the United States.
Now, despite Clarke’s spin we can make some accurate conclusions:
First, while Iraq may have not participated in 9-11, clearly both al Qaeda and Iraq were increasing their communication over the years because they shared a common enemy – the US. This fact is not debatable.
Second, note that last paragraph – Iraq officially offered bin Laden a safe haven, but bin Laden declined because he felt his situation better in Afghanistan. Meaning, if the situation changed bin Laden may have taken Iraq up on the offer. But of course the situation did change. After 9-11 the US invaded Afghanistan and bin Laden lost his refuge. It is reasonable to conclude then that bin Laden, in short time, may have moved to Iraq as a new safe harbor. Thus, as did the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq has denied bin Laden another sanctuary.
It gets better. According to the 9-11 Report [p134] Richard Clarke is quoted fearing that bin Laden might flee to Iraq.
[National Security Advisor Sandy] Berger suggested sending one U-2 flight, but Clarke opposed even this. It would require Pakistani approval, he wrote; and “Pak[istan’s] intel[ligence] is in bed with” bin Laden and would warn him that the United States was getting ready for a bombing campaign: “Armed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad.”
The curtain has been pulled back – Richard Clarke believed there was a relationship between Saddam and bin Laden. He now reverses himself out of partisanship and book sales.
Regarding Iran, their connections to al Qaeda is certainly worrying and even actionable. But to date we have no evidence that Iran ever went so far as to offer bin Laden a place to stay as Iraq did. So if one wants to obstruct taking action against Iraq based on connection one must also obstruct action against Iran. Regardless, Clarke’s historical revision is disingenuous. For record, Richard Clarke never warned Bush about Iranian connections to al Qaeda. Indeed, in his hours of testimony before the 9-11 Commission not once did Clarke mention an Iranian connection to al Qaeda. The only time Richard Clarke even uttered the word “Iran” before the commission was to reference Khobar Towers and then to point out that the Syrians, Iranians and the “Iraqis were providing safe haven to a variety of Palestinian terrorists, as well.” That’s it.
Richard Clarke is a snake.
State Senator and Senatorial candidate Barack Obama’s speech shows him to be the rising star and worthy of all the hype that has been rained upon him. Perhaps it doesn’t matter so much that Jack Ryan’s sex scandal left Obama without any competition because it appears that destiny has cleared him a path to the Senate and beyond. His speech was Clintonesque, that is, liberal without being too liberal. He talked a good game on issues, backing strong defense and security in a manner that seemed genuine, not fake or forced as when so many other Democrats attempt the same. He’s got another thing going for him as well – he’s 42 but looks young, similar to Clinton. That doesn’t matter this year of course, but it could in the future.
Now, having said all this Obama is just as full of crap on many issues as was Clinton. My fear is that Republicans tend to not assertively counter populist ass
ertions that persons like Obama or Clinton (or McCain for that matter) are so good at making.
When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world.
The Democrats have decided at this convention that they will attack Bush while rarely actually mentioning his name. Have you noticed that yourself? It’s actually pretty smart politics because so often they sound whiney and childish when they come out with “Bush did this and Bush did that!” Despite Obama’s nameless and sly inference, however, it’s obvious that he’s accusing Bush of fudging numbers, shading truth, not caring for soldier’s families, and not sending enough troops to win the war.
The last inference is without a doubt the single largest misnomer of the war, and it’s easily countered. And the Bush campaign must counter it because it will be a recurring theme for a John Kerry already perceived as weak on defense. The notion is populist, that is, some Republicans also utter this misnomer – see John McCain – and it generally sounds good. It’s both a quick fix and an easy criticism because it’s impossible to really prove or disprove.
The Bush campaign must stress, however, that the fastest way to lose a war against insurgents is to send more troops. It’s the LBJ mentality – Vietnam going bad? Send more troops! Still going bad? Send more troops. Had more troops been a magical formula Vietnam would have been a 51st state by now. When you send more troops you send more logistics and convoys and other easy targets. The Democrats and some populist Republicans who advocate this formula look at our loss of 900 soldiers in Iraq as proof they are correct. Again, it’s not good proof, just populist – is sounds good, it sounds reasonable. But there is every reason to believe that more troops would have drastically increased the numbers of US soldiers killed or captured.
I won’t even get into fudging numbers or shading truth besides saying that the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee report, followed by the British intelligence report (Lord Butler report) [here, here, here and here], followed by the 9-11 Commission’s final report have all vindicated the Bush administration. Each makes it absolutely clear that the Bush administration (and Tony Blair administration) acted upon intelligence they were given by the intelligence community, which all parties believed to be accurate. These reports all highlight relationships between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda (not I did not say 9-11, as Democrats often misattributed as false) and that Iraq was violating UN resolutions by obfuscating the inspections process, keeping methods of WMD production. These reports also say that the Iraq-uranium claim was accurate. If there be liars here they be among the Michael Moores, Richard Clarkes and Joe Wilsons who accused Bush of lying while both twisting Bush’s words and deceiving the public to sell books. Each of them hit the NY Times best seller list.
Finally, it wasn’t Bush who voted against funding our soldiers with $87 billion needed for their fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was John Kerry and John Edwards.
[Ryan Sager commentary] But you wouldn't know it from the mainstream press, which received the poll with a level of skepticism usually reserved for Yeti sightings and money transfers originating in Nigeria. The most coverage given to the poll so far: a five-sentence news brief in The Washington Post.
With the situation in Iraq seen by many as a mess, Afghanistan has a constitution, is registering voters and is moving toward holding a presidential election in October. And the survey of 804 randomly selected male and female Afghan citizens, commissioned by the Asia Foundation notes that:
* 64 percent say the country is heading in the right direction.
* 81 percent say that they plan to vote in the October election.
* 77 percent say they believe the elections will "make a difference."
* 64 percent say they rarely or never worry about their personal safety, while under the Taliban only 36 percent felt that way.
* 62 percent rate President Hamid Karzai's performance as either good or excellent.
This was no pro-Bush put-up job. The polling firm, Charney Research, is a partisan Democratic polling firm. And superstar Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who's read the study — and who has worked on similar polling in developing countries — calls it "very reliable.”
Back before the liberal community was antiwar in Iraq much of them were antiwar in Afghanistan. Not all of them, but many of them. Don’t allow them to forget that, either. I remember liberals in my office complaining that we were acting to hastily in striking Afghanistan (we gave them four weeks to turn over bin Laden), that we weren’t being diplomatic enough (did I mention we gave them four weeks to hand over bin Laden?), that the Taliban and al Qaeda are not the same, that there were Taliban moderates, that the Taliban had nothing to do with 9-11, that attacking the Taliban would just continue the “cycle of violence,” that in attacking Afghanistan we were just playing into bin Laden’s plans, that Bush was trying to start a religious war, again, just like bin Laden wanted. Dribble. Childish nonsense, all of it.
Were we to leave our defense and security to these people we’d all be speaking Farsi and under Islamic rule within 50 years. Not once did I hear these “humanitarian” “liberal” voices remark that maybe, just maybe, hiding a terrorist is as bad as being one, and that gee, with the Taliban gone the Afghan people would finally at least have a chance to pursue the liberty we take for granted every day.
At very least nobody would execute an Afghan kid for flying a kite.
That’s the Bush legacy.
[Republicans] are “people who hate”; they are “up at six in the morning trying to figure out which minority group they're going to screw today”… “The right wing is not where America is at. Most Americans, in their heart, are liberal and progressive. It's just a small minority of people who hate. They hate. They exist in the politics of hate." ... “They're not patriots. They're hate-triots, and they believe in the politics of hate-triotism. Hate-triotism is where they stand, and patriotism is where real Americans stand... They're not going to go without a fight and believe me, they are better fighters than we are... I mean, they are up at six in the morning trying to figure out which minority group they're going to screw today... The hate, they eat for breakfast. They are going to fight and they are going to smear, and they are going to lie, and they are going to hate." – Michael Moore.
Now, some might argue that Michael Moore doesn’t represent mainstream Democrats any more than Pat Robertson represents Republicans (a very unfair comparison for Robertson, so my apologies). But the warm welcome Democrats, whether those far left or moderate, give Moore is indicative of the hatred and bitterness that courses through the liberal collective. It’s ugly. So ugly I don’t think they even recognize it anymore.
I caught Michael Moore’s unedited debate with FOX’s Bill O’Rielly. While Mr. O isn’t my favorite news conservative he made Moore look pretty dumb, although Bill wasn’t as sharp as he could have been. Mainly, however, O’Rielly shows Moore to be silly and blinded from facts or reality from hate. Moore attempted to trap O’Rielly by asking him if he would allow his son to die to secure Fallujah and that sort of nonsense.
Well, a father of a US Army Ranger also saw the debate and wrote in to National Review with the following comments:
Since my son has actually seen significant combat in Fallujah and ar Ramadi, I have had to contemplate the unthinkable: what if he is killed? It is a horrible thought but one that cannot be avoided. This brings me to Moore's stupid question: 'Would you sacrifice your child for Fallujah?' The answer of course is, 'Hell no!' My first thought is to quote Patton, 'The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his.' This is, of course, the main point, isn't it?
Beyond that, I would point out that it was my son's decision to join the Army, the infantry, the paratroopers and the Rangers. He did it on his own because he wanted to. If he - God forbid - is killed doing what he wants, I will say, 'Well, he died doing what he wanted to do.' Why would anyone be less willing to accept that answer from me than from the grieving parents of a child who was killed in the pursuit of mere recreation?
I guess the relevant point here is that my son is a proud, honorable soldier. He chose that path and am proud of him. He is fighting for what he believes in. Obviously Moore has absolutely no understanding of this type of deep moral commitment. He should not speak for me or my son. He certainly should not exploit the deaths of these heroes for his own gain. And to your point: yes, I loathe him.
Does that answer your question, Michael?
Michelle Malkin’s commentary today is great. She lists the top five reasons to fear the Democrats taking power in November. They are Ted Kennedy, The ACLU – which has yet to support even a single piece of post-9-11 legislation or policy -, the “Professional Grievance-Mongers,” the open borders lobby, and what she terms the “First Responder Fetishists.” It is this last group I will highlight:
In her convention remarks on Monday night, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said the first homeland security priority in response to the 9/11 report was the "need to fully equip and train . . . our first responders in the event of a terrorist attack." Eager to suck up to men and women in uniform, John Kerry has proposed adding 100,000 first responders to the ranks of firefighters and emergency medical personnel nationwide. As I have said before, there is no question that our brave firefighters, cops and emergency personnel need increased training and support -- but dialing 911 is not the solution to stopping another 9/11.
Amen. I remember a debate earlier this year among the Democrat presidential contenders and the discussions of what we need to do to combat terrorism all centered around more police, firemen, airline security, powerplant security, etc. This is all fine, of course, but shows their singularly defensive mindset. Their thoughts to the next 9-11 isn’t to take out the terrorists before they can strike but to react faster after they strike.
Is there any reasonable mind that really thinks diplomacy will persuade the Iranian government from developing nuclear weapons? Really, haven’t by now the Iranians proven that they have no intention of halting? Still, a trio of well intended fools in Britain, France and Germany will visit the mullah country to find some compromise position after Iran betrayed them last month by announcing that they would continue work on developing nuclear power.
Yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran is now rebuilding centrifuges and using parts that had been briefly under IAEA seal as part of Iran's private agreement with the Europeans. The work is being monitored by agency inspectors who have been investigating Iran's nuclear efforts.
The Bush administration, convinced the Iranians are concealing a weapons program, is hoping its European allies will take a tough approach at the upcoming meeting and offer Iran a last chance to suspend its nuclear programs or face international condemnation in the U.N. Security Council, a senior administration official said.
But European diplomats said they are committed to finding a diplomatic way out of the stalemate. "We're just going to sit with them and find out where we can go from here," said one European diplomat who agreed, on the condition of anonymity, to discuss strategy before the meeting.
The Europeans are eager to reach a determination about Iran's intentions before the International Atomic Energy Agency meets in Vienna in September to consider Tehran's cooperation with agency inspectors.
Frustrated by Iran's poor performance during the spring, the IAEA's 35-member board condemned Tehran in a June statement largely written by France, Britain and Germany. It also asked Iran to stop all enrichment production and to reconsider plans for a heavy-water nuclear reactor.
But the three European powers were surprised days later when Tehran responded by announcing that it would resume building equipment essential for a nuclear weapons program.
Iran successfully hid a covert nuclear development program from the world for 18 years. Why do the Europeans think Iran is suddenly going to stop now? Iran isn’t stupid. They’ve learned the lesson from Iraq that they can fail to comply with treaty stipulations and still receive no punishment from Europe. Plus, the Iranians have Russian technology assisting them.
Ironically, the Europeans effort to avoid conflict with Iran at all costs is making it more likely that such a confrontation will occur. Since Iran has seen no unity from the West, and certainly know the Europeans would never back truly tough sanctions or military action, they have no reason to halt. But to their West Israel is watching the European effort. The Israelis have an itchy trigger finger. They won’t allow Iran to go nuclear. And then we may have that chaotic regional war the Europeans are desperate to prevent.
[Washington Post] In a videotaped deposition from Iraq played yesterday, Saddam "Sam" Saleh Aboud said he endured beatings at the prison. During one session, he said, his hood was removed and he saw Army Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski.
Whether Saddam Aboud was tortured or not is not the point of my post. The report doesn’t give many details or define “beating,” nor do we know the circumstances of the prisoner’s capture, so we can make no judgment of any allegation of torture based on this article. However, Aboud would be the first witness to place General Karpinski at the scene of a crime, as it were, and the first to counter her longstanding argument that she had nothing to do with the events in her prison. Karpinski’s conduct has been filled with fingerpointing and blame shifting since the Abu Ghraib scandal began. She has been quick to blame military intelligence and even General Ricardo Sanchez, the head commander of forces in Iraq, while trying to skirt any responsibility. It certainly doesn’t seem conduct becoming a general. Karpinski was at Abu Ghraib every day. Sanchez was not.
Were I running the Bush campaign I would seize on comments by former Democratic leaders, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter. Monday night at their convention the Democrats, according to this Washington Post “news analysis,” – and I won’t get into my rant about running an editorial on the front page and how it’s just a sleazy charade of bias by the media… too late – are running on “I told you so.” That is, they are attempting to convince Americans that the country would have been better off had Al Gore won. The notion requires a revision of history that is at least highly speculative and, frankly, absurd.
Its greatest weakness is on foreign policy, but even economics are an issue.
For instance, here’s Bill Clinton:
Bouncing ebulliently on to the stage, Clinton boasted of the "peace and prosperity that we left America in 2000." President Bush has said Clinton left him the opposite -- an economy starting to flag and a terrorist threat that had grown unchecked for years before Sept. 11, 2001.
[Clinton added] "The only test that matters is whether people were better off when we finished than when we started. Our way works better."
“Peace and prosperity” has long been a mainstay of Democratic historical revision. By the facts counter them. In Clinton’s last year the third quarter showed a half point negative, that is, the economy was shrinking. It grew the next quarter then began shrinking for three straight quarters into Bush’s term. Bush’s third quarter also includes 9-11, which obviously had a lot to do with economic problems in Bush’s presidency. The point is Clinton cannot claim to have left Bush with prosperity.
More importantly, Clinton cannot claim to have left Bush with “peace,” nor can he defend that we were ever at “peace.” The fact that Democrats believe that the 1990s were a decade of peace goes to the core of them not understanding the war on terror, the enemy we face, or what we must do to win. It is this that the Bush campaign must seize upon. They need to capitalize on these Democratic delusions and communicate repetitively that the 1990s failures were far from peace. Al Qaeda and similar Islamic terrorist groups targeted Americans in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2000. After each attempt, most of them successful attacks resulting in much death and carnage, the Democratic Party, led by Bill Clinton, promised to serve justice, lip biting and all, and then continued to spin “peace and prosperity.”
Osama bin Laden literally declared war on the United States in 1992 and again in 1998. On the latter occasion bin Laden vowed that “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim…” He then told an ABC News crew, “We do not have to differentiate between civilian and military. As far as we are concerned they are all targets.”
This is “peace and prosperity”? If America was at “peace” it is only because the Clinton administration chose four times not to strike at Osama bin Laden. But our enemy was most certainly at war.
But the Clinton Democrats viewed this al Qaeda declaration of war as a simple law enforcement problem. To much an extent the Democrats still do. Quoting the 9-11 Commission final report: “Neither President Clinton, his principal advisors, the Congress, nor the news media felt prompted, until later, to press the question of whether the procedures that [for their part in the 1993 WTC bombing] put the Blind Shiek and Ramzi Yousef behind bars would really protect Americans against the new virus of which these individuals were just the first symptoms.”
In other words, we can forgive our national leadership for failing in the mid-1990s, but we cannot forgive any of them for trying to now paint the 1990s as a utopian portrait when they were anything but that. From a national security standpoint people were not “better off” in 2000 then they were in 1992.
[Washington Post] A majority of voters say they know little about John F. Kerry's positions on key issues and want the Democratic presidential candidate to detail specific plans for handling the economy, Iraq and the war on terrorism when he addresses the Democratic National Convention and a nationally televised audience on Thursday, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey suggests that the stakes for Kerry and the Democrats as they began their convention in Boston could not be higher. In barely a month, Kerry has lost ground to President Bush on every top voting issue in this year's election.
Kerry for too long has run on a campaign of “I’m not Bush” without explaining how he’d do things differently. He voted to go to war in Iraq, voted against giving funds for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now says he supports both decisions but that he’d have ensured more international (French and German) support. Really? How? What, if anything, would Kerry have done to undermine the fact that Saddam Hussein was bribing France with oil contracts to prevent a war?
He’s never said. Because he doesn’t have an answer.
Kerry says, after a career dedicated to slashing intelligence budgets and after the Cold War calling the need for a powerful intelligence community exaggerated, that he would improve the intelligence service. How? He’s never said specifically. And in general terms his answers have been no different than Bush’s.
John Edwards has the same problem, as he showed in last week’s Today show interview. Like Kerry, Edwards voted for the war but now criticizes Bush’s handling of it without saying specifically how he would have won UN support from a UN that was a joint partner with Saddam Hussein in corrupting the Oil-for-Food program for profit. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s son may have even participated in the corruption.
And not matter what is past, the question remains for both Edwards and Kerry, what is their plan to secure the peace in Iraq? They’ve never given any specifics on this, just lip service.
Rich Lowry has a few questions for the former president:
You say the rich too want to "do their part." Do you know there might be ways to "do your part," to help others and the country, that don't involve handing money over to the federal government?
You say we shouldn't have attacked Iraq "before the weapons inspectors finished their job." When exactly would they have finished their job? In 2003? 2004? Ever?
How did your Iraq policy allow inspectors to finish their job? Were they going to finish their job from outside the country?
You say Republicans believe in concentrating wealth. Since the fabulously wealthy got even more fabulously wealthy during your time in office — do you believe in the same thing?
You never took serious efforts to implement the Kyoto treaty or have the U.S. come under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. So are you too a dangerous unilateralist?
You say that "for the first time ever" there were tax cuts while the U.S. was on a war footing. Is it your contention then that there were no tax cuts during the Cold War?
That’s a few. There’s more inside.
Isn’t it funny how quickly the mainstream media has stopped reporting on Sandy Berger’s theft of classified terrorism reports from the national archives? It’s quite telling. When a Democrat is involved in a scandal, four months before an election, when that thief was advising the Democratic nominee on foreign policy, it’s no big deal. Had Berger been a Republican it would have been in the Washington Post, LA Times and NY Times front page for a month or more. The Berger theft is a big deal, and as the Wall Street Journal opines, “the precision with which the former National Security Adviser zeroed in on one specific document in the National Archives suggests focus…”
Still, the main public interest here has nothing to do with fixing blame on either Mr. Berger, Mr. Clarke or the Clinton Administration for what they did or did not do pre-9/11. To the contrary, it has to do with the single largest question of this election: How America ought to respond to the terror threat.
On Sunday, Commission Chairman Tom Kean said that Mr. Berger's padded hosiery did not affect the Commission's final report. Mr. Kean says he believes Commissioners had all the documents. The problem is this: He has no way of knowing for certain what he might not have seen. Remember, it was Mr. Berger who was assigned the task of selecting which documents--and which drafts of which documents with which marginal notations--to send up on behalf of the Clinton Administration.
While this might mean nothing to Mr. Kean, surely it has some implications for voters in this election. The Bush Administration has been taking knocks for not having made al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden the priority Mr. Berger said it was during the Clinton years. Yet neither Attorney General Ashcroft nor National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice even saw this Clarke report until after the 9/11 terrorists had struck.
Perhaps if they had, America would have been on a more aggressive footing earlier on. At the least, releasing the Clarke after-action report now would provide better context for weighing such ongoing political accusations as the charge that the Bush Administration's concern about Iraq was simply a fantasy of a "neoconservative" cabal.
Toward that end we can't help but note page 134 of the Commission report, which documents a proposal early in 1999 to send a U-2 mission over Afghanistan to gather intelligence on where bin Laden was hiding out. Mr. Clarke objected on the grounds that Pakistani intelligence would tip bin Laden off that the U.S. was planning a bombing mission. "Armed with this knowledge," the Commission quotes Mr. Clarke as saying, "old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad." Is that the same secular Baghdad that we are told would never cooperate with Islamist al Qaeda?
I recall the public, media and political outrage accusing Bush of hiding something for his initial refusal to release a plethora of national security memos. He did eventually and they were nothing. If the logic of full disclosure is good for Republicans, why not Democrats too? The double standard is alive and well.
Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Howard Dean. The Democrats certainly have a monopoly on bitterness. Jimmy Carter’s speech last night was typical nasty Carter, perhaps slightly more subtle than usual. Jay Nordlinger sums Jimmy up nicely:
Carter skewered George W. Bush for ignoring human rights — never mind that this president liberated Afghanistan and Iraq, which countries had two of the most hideous regimes in memory.
I've said it a million times in the last year: Even if I opposed the Iraq war, for whatever reason — out of pacifism, out of a conception of realpolitik — I would at least think, "Oh, well: At least there will be no more 'rape rooms,' no more children's prisons, no more chemical gassings, no more mass graves, no more cutting out of tongues for dissent, no more putting men into industrial shredders head-first, no more . . ."
But Jimmy Carter evidently does not see the destruction of the Taliban and the destruction of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship as advances for human rights — probably because those were anti-American regimes. That is part of the tragedy of Jimmy Carter.
Plus, as Nordlinger adds, Jimmy Carter attacked Bush for North Korea’s “nuclear menace” when it was Jimmy Carter who appeased them all along.
Since when is Carter alarmed by North Korea! He has been a perfumer of North Korea for years.
Of "the Great Leader," he said, "I find him to be vigorous, intelligent, surprisingly well informed about the technical issues, and in charge of the decisions about this country." (Carter was in Pyongyang at the time.) He said, "I don't see that they are an outlaw nation." And so on.
Read the whole thing.
Michelle Malkin has awarded the Most offensive quote from an anti-war activist:
[UK Guardian] Anti-war campaigners claimed yesterday that tight security at this week's Democratic national convention was being used as an excuse to quash dissent. "We don't deserve to be put in a detention centre, a concentration camp," said Medea Benjamin, a peace campaigner from San Francisco. "It's tragic that here in Boston, the birthplace of democracy, our first-amendment rights are being trampled on."
Malkin replies: “This is a concentration camp, ninny. Now, go stand in a corner and grow some shame.”
The much hyped insult directed at a reporter by Teresa Heinz Kerry is much ado about nothing. I mean, who doesn’t want to tell a reporter to “shove it”? Actually, the reporter’s question wasn’t off base. He asked her to clarify what she termed “un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics.” Mrs. Kerry denied saying it and after repeated attempts by the reporter to get her to explain she told him to “shove it.” No big deal, other than showing her frustration.
Now, on the other hand, the Boston Herald has disclosed some old Teresa quotes from back when she was married to the late John Heinz, a Republican. Back in 1975 Mrs. Kerry lambasted the Democratic Party and especially Ted Kennedy, which is very amusing considering that Ted Kennedy is the wizard behind the curtain of the Kerry presidential bid.
In comments published in a little-known 1975 book about political wives called ``The Power Lovers: An Intimate Look at Politicians and Their Marriages,'' Heinz Kerry lashed out at the senator she'll share the primetime convention stage with tonight. ``I know some couples who stay together only for politics,'' Heinz Kerry said at the time. ``If Ted Kennedy holds on to that marriage (to ex-wife Joan) just for the Catholic vote, as some people say he does, then I think he's a perfect bastard.''
Heinz Kerry, then married to Republican Sen. H. John Heinz III of Pennsylvania, said she ``didn't trust'' President Richard M. Nixon but added, ``Ted Kennedy I don't trust either.''
The combustible and ever-quotable Heinz Kerry said of Democrats, ``The Democratic machine in this country is putrid.'' Excerpts of the comments appeared in The Boston Herald American in January 1976.
The funny thing is all those perceptions are accurate. You shouldn’t trust Nixon or Kennedy, and the Democratic machine is still putrid. Frankly, it also shows that Mrs. Kerry, much like her husband, is a creature of convenience. Convictions or politics don’t matter as much as what position can help them most. Teresa Kerry’s flip flop on party affiliation is not much different than her husband’s flip flop on political issues.
For about a full year of campaigning the Democrats have run on a platform of nothing more than “I’m not Bush.” The anti-Bush campaign planks have included little, if any, message about positive change or improvements that the Kerry campaign would make, especially in arenas where of real politics. For instance, John Kerry continues to say that he supported the war in Iraq, but would have done things differently in the prelude to war. But once pressed on what specifically he would have done to guarantee UN support or overcoming French veto he is tellingly silent. This is, naturally, a typical fence sitting position of a John Kerry who “voted for the $87 billion [for Iraq and Afghanistan] before he voted against it,” as it were, but nonetheless something to which he will eventually have to answer.
So, here is the Democratic National Convention promising, despite this year of flip flopping on positions and a general obsessive hatred of Bush, to be more upbeat. We’ll see if they deliver upon that but judging from the list of speakers it seems not likely.
With the exception of Senators Joe Lieberman and, perhaps Joe Biden, the list of convention speakers is a whos-who of ultraliberals and Bush-bashers. Monday night alone features Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton (introduced by Fatal Attraction’s Glenn Close, no kidding), Al Gore (speaking in prime time), Rep. Kendrick Meek (FL) – who recently compared Jeb Bush to Osama bin Laden – and Terry McAuliffe. All that’s missing from Monday night is Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand.
Tuesday brings Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, mother of all conspiracy theories Carol Moseley-Braun and and Ted Kennedy. All that’s missing from Tuesday night… is Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand.
Wednesday? Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton. Need I say more?
Thursday gets a little better and more moderate with the inclusion of Lieberman and Biden, who while he is a Bush hater isn’t as far left as the above list, but still has its share of Bush-hating. Nancy Pelosi, Max Cleland and AFL-CIO Chairman John Sweeney – proving the Democrats are as always beholden to organized crime, ah, excuse me, labor – round out the evening. Kerry being Kerry he’s also including a former Green Beret whom he rescued. Nothing wrong with that of course, but has Kerry mentioned lately that he served in Vietnam... for four months… and then came home and both strengthened the North Vietnamese and trashed the reputation of fellow soldiers by calling them murderers and fabricating stories of their “atrocities”? But anyway, I digress.
Kerry isn’t so stupid to put the likes of Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, Carol Moseley-Braun, Ted Kennedy or Al Gore on the prime time television slot Thursday night, when most Americans will be watching. But how likely is it that the message of the DNC will be positive and upbeat at the end of the week given this motley crew?
Even the bigwigs will get in the act. According to the Washington Post, Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards will, in his Wednesday night acceptance speech, seek to play the race and class cards. This is positive and upbeat?
The address Edwards delivers Wednesday night will speak to the nation's middle class, and is to make reference to the "two Americas" stump speech -- about the haves and have-nots -- that dominated his campaign during the primaries. The official said that Edwards has written the speech longhand on legal pads.
On legal pads! But of course! What’s a trail lawyer who made his fortune on junk science to do without his legal pads filled with notes about how those evil conservative Republicans are using corporations to keep the poor poor and the minorities minorities. I mean, you can’t have a Democratic National Convention without victimhood, can you?
Kerry strategists see the convention as an opportunity to reach out to voters who have paid only sporadic attention to the campaign and who, they believe, are more interested in hearing what Kerry would do as president than a harsh Democratic critique of Bush's presidency.
"This is more a convention for introducing John Kerry to people who don't know him," Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm told Washington Post editors and reporters Sunday afternoon. "That's why you're not going to hear the partisan rhetoric you've heard [at past conventions]. . . . This is about persuasion. It's not about rallying the troops."
Isn’t it humorous how after a 20-year senatorial career a Massachusetts liberal really believes that voters don’t know who he is? Kerry’s biggest problem is that he’s the anti-Clinton: Everybody knows who John Kerry is – a Massachusetts liberal.
On top of that Kerry is detests taking a stand on any issue that is either lasting or convicted. Nobody summed this up better than one of his biggest supporters and defenders, Ted Kennedy.
Kennedy, one of the most vocal opponents of the war in Iraq, defended Kerry's vote in support of the war but asserted that Kerry would have pursued a different course than Bush. "We never would have gone to war," he said.
So Kerry supported the war but “never would have gone to war”? See what I mean.
Latest polls show a Bush lean in North Carolina, Colorado, Louisiana, Arizona, Virginia, Arkansas and Missouri (a combined 73 electoral votes); a Kerry lean in Maine, Minnesota and Washington (a combined 25 electoral votes) and may soon get Pennsylvania and Oregon; and tossups for 128 electoral votes in Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan and West Virginia. In any event the electorate is still quite split, and the Democrats are traditionally much better at getting out the vote. Workers at my brother’s medical clinic are, I kid you not, planning on passing out beer and cigarettes to homeless people and offer to drive them to voting stations.
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