"John Kerry's tan is temporary - just like people say his opinions are. I don't know what they tanned him with, but it's an artificial tan. They went a little overboard." -- Cynthia House, CEO of Enhance Me, a brand of spray-on tanning products.
As you watch the debate on Thursday night, remember: No matter what happens, on Friday morning, you're going to hear that the race is tightening.
-- Mike Murphy
Remember John Kerry’s statement that he voted for the $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan before he voted against it? For months Kerry has spun and re-spun what he meant, but I guess the message hasn’t gotten through to the public because he’s revised his explanation about four or five times, and had to explain again, this time to Diane Sawyer of ABC News, what he meant:
It just was a very inarticulate way of saying something, and I had one of those inarticulate moments late in the evening when I was dead tired in the primaries and I didn't say something very clearly. But it reflects the truth of the position, which is I thought to have the wealthiest people in America share the burden of paying for that war is a protest, sometimes you have to stand up and be counted, and that's what I did.
Late in the evening? Really?
Here’s the Washington Post from March 17 this year:
"I actually did vote for his $87 billion, before I voted against it," he told a group of veterans at a noontime appearance at Marshall University. He went on to explain that he preliminarily backed the request, so long as it was financed not by deficit spending but with a tax surcharge on the wealthy that Bush opposed.
So, “noontime” is now “late in the evening”? Sounds like another Christmas in Cambodia to me.
But let’s examine the sheer gutless irresponsibility on Kerry’s explanation. Remember, this guy wants to be the commander in chief. But in order to prove a point about his tax and economic ideology he stuck it to our troops. Kerry blocked money for our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan so he could make a petty political point. That’s pathetic and that’s certainly not deserving of the title commander in chief.
Kerry’s remaining points to Diane Sawyer are equally lacking.
Kerry says, "But I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no imminent threat, there were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no connection. The president misled the American people, plain and simple — bottom line."
First off, whoever said Iraq was an imminent threat. Not Bush. Bush said it was foolish to wait for Iraq to ever become that imminent threat. Actually it was John Edwards, Kerry’s running mate, who called Iraq an “imminent threat.” On February 24, 2002, Edwards said, “I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country.” He added, “And I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat.”
Second, everyone thought there were stockpiles of WMD, including John Kerry. Kerry said, “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region.” In addition, for Kerry so say “knowing what we know now” is pointless. How would have known what we know now without going into Iraq?!
Third, there most certainly was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Kerry, like most naysayers, confuses the terms “al Qaeda” with “9-11.” The Department of Defense, CIA, Senate Select Intelligence Community and 9-11 Commission have all agreed that there were ties between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, there is only debate on how extensive were the ties. But to flatly state there was “no connection of Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein” is patently false. Kerry’s accusation that Bush is a liar – let’s not mince words here – is lacking. Bush lied? Prove it. If Bush made up things about Iraqi WMD, than so did the CIA, the State Department, European intelligence, UK intelligence, Tony Blair and, oh yeah, John Kerry, who in his 8-year term in the Senate intelligence committee receive the same CIA briefing as the president.
'It's getting worse' in Iraq, Powell says - International Herald Tribune
Powell admits situation in Iraq getting worse - Japan Today
Iraq Uprising Growing, Powell Says - Washington Post
Iraq situation is worsening, Powell says - Detroit Free Press
Insurgency escalating, Powell concedes - San Jose Mercury News
Powell downbeat on Iraq as bomb kills 3 - The Australian
Powell: Iraq Getting Worse - Novinite, Bulgaria Powell contradicts Bush, says Iraq 'getting worse' - Associated Press
Powell: Iraq's situation is "getting worse" - Al Jazeera
Those are just a few of the headlines following Colin Powell's interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC's This Week program. Like the headlines, the body of most of these stories attempted to paint a picture in which Colin Powell was contradicting optimistic statements made by other leaders like President Bush or Prime Minister Allawi.
Powell admits? Powell concedes? Powell contradicts? Powell says the "situation" or "Iraq" were getting worse?
Powell said nothing of the sort.
Powell told Stephanopolous simply that the insurgency was increasing its attacks in order to try and halt the January elections. Here's the transcript:
SECRETARY POWELL: We have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. I will not deny this. But I think that that will be overcome in due course because what the Muslim world will see, as well as the rest of the world, is that in Afghanistan, 10 million people who have registered to vote will vote on the 9th of October and bring in place a freely elected president. And I think we're going to do the same thing in Iraq if we stay the course, if we defeat this insurgency.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: Is it getting worse?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, it's getting worse. And the reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election. They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic election. And because it's getting worse, we will have to increase our efforts to defeat it, not walk away and pray and hope for something else to happen. These are individuals who are trying to take Iraq back to the past. And they must not be allowed to. We have to stand alongside courageous leaders such as Prime Minister Allawi, who came here this week. He acknowledged that there is an insurgency going on, but he also said if we had elections today, we could probably have them easily in 14 or 15 of the 18 provinces. That means we have three to four that we really have to work on over the next several months, and they're in the Sunni Triangle. Elections were taking place in the south just two weeks ago: Municipal elections, schools are opening, hospitals are being rebuilt. The reconstruction effort is underway. We have now committed some $7 billion of which a little over a billion has actually been spent, but $7 billion worth of contracts are out there. So there is a lot that is going on as we deal with this insurgency.
Powell used the words "getting worse," but that's about as little in common his remarks to George Stephanopolous share with the skewed press reports of his statements. Far from the portrayal of headlines and lead paragraphs Powell was quite optimistic.
By the way, Powell's comment that we, meaning Americans, "have to stand alongside courageous leaders such as Prime Minister Allawi," was a clear if mild mannered shot at the John Kerry campaign, which called Allawi a "puppet" of the Bush administration. One must wonder which side the Kerry campaign wants to win.
By far, the most egregious attempt to parse words was by the NY Times, which even went so far as to suggest that General John Abizaid, commander of forces in Iraq, was also pessimistic, based on Abizaid's comments to Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press:
[NY Times] In contrast to statements last week by President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell has conceded that the Iraq insurgency is growing more violent. This view, less optimistic than statements by Bush and by Ayad Allawi, the interim prime minister of Iraq, was echoed by the senior American military commander in the Middle East, General John Abizaid, who predicted Sunday that United States and Iraqi forces would be fighting guerrillas all the way through Iraqi elections scheduled for January.
I don't know what interview this NY Times reporter watched but neither Powell nor Abizaid were pessimistic - on the contrary, both were optimistic.
Indeed, the only thing pessimistic was when Abizaid called the CIA National Intelligence Estimate of Iraq "overly pessimistic." The press, including the NY Times, seized on that just-released June estimate as proof that we're losing in Iraq. But Abizaid even took a few moments to ridicule the press for its negativity.
Funny that the NY Times chose to ignore these remarks by Abizaid to Tim Russert:
[Answering Tim Russert's question about the CIA estimate:]
ABIZAID: No. I don't think it's an accurate estimate. I have read the estimate. I think it's overly pessimistic. What people lack in the United States that we soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have in Iraq and the Middle East is face-to-face opportunity to work with the people in the region. There have been over 700 Iraqis that have given their lives in defense of their own country. Prime Minister Allawi risks his life every day in leading his country forward. There are countless other Iraqis and other people throughout the Middle East that are moving forward to try to present a better future, to fight this very important battle against the extremists.
[Replying to Tim Russert's comment that a Turkish journalist said every Iraq "is the resistance."]
You know, Tim, every now and then in Washington, we need to take a deep breath and we need to look at what's happening in the region as opposed to the reports of one or two journalists that happen to think that everybody in Iraq is in the resistance. If everybody in Iraq was in the resistance, Prime Minister Allawi would not be trying to lead his nation forward to a better future. If everybody in Iraq happened to be part of the resistance, they wouldn't be volunteering for the armed forces. We've got over 100,000 people that are trained and equipped now. That number is going up higher. There is more people that are coming forward to fight for the future of Iraq than are fighting against it.
So the constant drumbeat in Washington of a war that is being lost, that can't be won, of a resistance that is out of control, simply do not square with the facts on the ground. Yes, there is a resistance. Yes, it is hard. But the truth of the matter is that Iraqis and Americans and other members of the coalition will face that resistance together, will through a series of economic, political and military means, figure out how to defeat it and will move on to allow the elections to take place and a constitutional government to emerge. So I'm not saying it's easy, but I am saying it's possible.
And remember that the enemy wants to break our will. They are experts at manipulating the media.
General Abizaid's comments align perfectly with a comment made a few days ago by the Iraqi interior minister who expressed that they have so many people showing up for police recruitment they practically have to turn some away.
The NY Times, meanwhile, continues to be a willing dupe for an enemy that expertly manipulates it.
The following headlines came from just one newspaper - the Washington Post:
Growing Pessimism on Iraq
Interceptor System Set, But Doubts Remain
Pentagon's Booster Project Veered Off Course
The Politics of Fear
Voters Chew Over Dissected Debates
Iraq a failure! Missile defense a failure! Politics a failure! Voters angry! Dogs, Cats, living together! Run for your lives!
And then there's the creme' de la creme':
Bush bad! Kerry good! Bush is racism and death. Kerry is snowcones and puppies!
The folks over at Ratherbiased.com have done some excellent investigating into CBS's latest report scaring voters that a draft may be on the way. They imply, naturally, that such an event would be more likely with Bush reelected. To promote this angle CBS uses for its report an already debunked E-mail hoax, heavy editing of comments by an official of the US Selective Service System, and worst of all, fails to disclose a woman "on the street" as the president of an antiwar special interest group (then tries to cover it up).
Read it all, but here's the most obnoxious example:
[CBS Reporter Richard Schlesinger:] "Beverly Cocco has spent most of her life protecting children in Philadelphia," Schlesinger cooed as he introduced his subject. "But as Election Day approaches, it's her own two grown sons who Beverly is most worried about."
[Beverly Cooco:] "I go to bed every night and I pray, and I actually get sick to my stomach. I'm very worried. I'm scared. I'm absolutely scared. I'm petrified."
[CBS Reporter Richard Schlesinger:] "Beverly's not buying it,"
Schlesinger intones. "She's a Republican, but she's also a single issue voter." "Would you vote for a Democrat?"
[Beverly Cooco:] "Absolutely. I would vote for Howdie Doody if I thought it would keep my boys home and safe."
So, who is Beverly Cooco? Is she just an average mom? Hardly.
Ratherbias.com has done their homework:
Beverly Cocco seems nice enough on camera, but she is hardly the "Pennsylvania voter" that CBS News wants you to believe she is. In fact, the apolitical mother of two is a chapter president of an advocacy group called People Against the Draft (PAD) which, in addition to opposing any federal conscription, seeks to establish a "peaceful, rational foreign policy" by bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq. Like Schlesinger's Cocco, the group portrays itself as "nonpartisan"although its leadership seems to be entirely bereft of any Republicans.
The group's domain is registered to a man named Jacob Levich, a left-wing activist who in a 2001 essay compared the Bush Administration to the totalitarian government portrayed in George Orwell's 1984.
PAD also lists Anita Dutt, a Green Party activist who is also a member of an anti-war group called Bronx Action for Justice and Peace. In a March 3, 2003 New York Times profile of the group reprinted on the organization's web site, Heidi Hynes, one of its leaders, said of her fellow members that "none of us are Republicans."
Normally, we are willing to give some benefit of the doubt that the CBS producers were just too overwhelmed or lazy to bother with revealing their sources' political backgrounds. After all, trying to produce a daily news broadcast which attempts to distill the entire day's news into 22 minutes is a very demanding job.
In this case, however, laziness was not to blame. The fact that CBS showed the very same contact page listing Cocco as one of PAD's leaders during its report proves, at the very least, that producer Linda Karas knew of Cocco's connections with the group.
This is not the first time that CBS has knowingly put liberal activists on the air without disclosing their political backgrounds.
Covering the "Million Mom March" in 2000, Dan Rather and his colleagues twice featured march organizer Donna Dees-Thomases, a former aide to two Democratic senators, sister of Hillary Clinton's top political adviser, and former publicist for Dan Rather without ever once mentioning her background.
Dear readers, if you haven't figured it out by now, this is not the exception to the rule. This is not an anomaly, a rarity , or unique method of reporting. This is status quo. This is how the mainstream media does business.
[NY Post] The Justice Department has charged that a veteran New York Times foreign correspondent warned an alleged terror-funding Islamic charity that the FBI was about to raid its office — potentially endangering the lives of federal agents. The stunning accusation was disclosed yesterday in legal papers related to a lawsuit the Times filed in Manhattan federal court.
Is the mainstream media just imploding or what? As if the press didn't have enough dirt on them these NY Times reporters go and roll in some more mud.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago charged in court papers that Shenon blew the cover on the Dec. 14, 2001, raid of the Global Relief Foundation — the first charges of their kind under broad new investigatory powers given to the feds under the Patriot Act. "It has been conclusively established that Global Relief Foundation learned of the search from reporter Philip Shenon of The New York Times,"Fitzgerald said in an Aug. 7, 2002, letter to the Times' legal department.
He said he understood journalists' concerns about protecting the identities of their sources, but national security and preventing leaks that thwart probes into "terrorist fund-raising" trump such confidentiality. "I would posit that the circumstances here — the decision by the reporter to provide a tip to the subject of a terrorist fund-raising inquiry which seriously compromised the integrity of the investigation and potentially endangered the safety of federal law-enforcement personnel — warrant such cooperation in full," Fitzgerald said.
Times lawyer George Freeman told The Post that Fitzgerald "wrongly" suggested that Shenon alerted the Islamic charity to the raid. "We deny he tipped anyone off," Freeman said. He added that Global Relief would have anticipated the raid in any case because the feds had already hit the office of another suspected terror-funding Islamic charity, the Holy Land Foundation, and the government had frozen the assets of several other charities.
That's the mother of all lame excuses. Times: well, the bad guys would have found out anyway!
Courtesy of Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds) and National Review, one must suspect that this election could reach an all time high in voter corruption. A few weeks ago it was reported that people had illegally registered to vote at once in both New York and Florida - recall how just a few hundred votes could tip the balance. We've got reports of convicted felons and dead people voting in the 2000 election too. And past reports of Democrat activists using cigaretts and booze to influance the homeless to vote. Does anyone think that this is going to get better? The question, however, is why hasn't it? That such corruption was inevitable was as clear as day.
[Cleveland] More than 1,000 voter registration forms and absentee ballot requests may be fraudulent in Lake and Summit counties, where investigations of irregularities are broadening. Elections officials have said hundreds of absentee ballot applications and dozens of voter registration cards are in question. Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson, also involved in the probe, said the problems are more significant than originally thought.
"We've seen voter fraud before, but never on this level," Coulson said Thursday. "I grew up in Chicago and this looks like the politics of Mayor Daley in the '50s and '60s."
Lake County Sheriff Daniel Dunlap said Thursday that he will investigate an attempt to register a dead person and other possibly fraudulent documents that were submitted to the Lake County Board of Elections.
It gets much worse:
"Under Iowa law, anyone can request an absentee ballot, no questions asked, and roughly three times as many Democrats as Republicans did so in the counties studied by The [Des Moines] Register."
"[Racine, Wisconsin] A group that says it has registered 30,000 voters in southeastern Wisconsin could face a criminal investigation because of voter registration applications that may have been filed fraudulently. Acting Racine City Clerk Carolyn Moskonas said Tuesday she will ask the district attorney's office to investigate at least six voter registration applications filed by Project Vote."
These "get out the vote" drives are about as non-partisan as a Michael Moore film.
The most notorious states - Ohio, Florida, Iowa - require an ID number driver's license number or a Social Security number, date of birth, sex, name, address and signature. As Jim Geraghty asked, are these states really investigating if these are real people? Geraghty added, "The Dan Rather philosophy - that the ends justify the means as long as it harms Bush - has spread to many of these "voter outreach"
The still classified but leaked CIA National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq was a peculiar gift to the John Kerry campaign considering the timing of the leak and who wrote the brief - none other than Paul Pillar.
Pillar, if you don't know him explains the Wall Street Journal, had the particularly poor timing of publishing a book around September 11, 2001 in which he rejected the argument of those who promoted the view that defeating Islamic extremism required war measures.
Besides Pillar's faulty analysis, writes the WSJ, the CIA has gone beyond the realm of intelligence and entered the world of policy. Similarly, the new CIA estimate on Iraq should be noted for what it is missing as opposed to what it contained.
None of this is surprising in the case of Mr. Pillar, who is also trying to protect his own lousy track record in misjudging the terrorist threat. Around September 11, he had the misfortune to write a book that rejected the "war" metaphor for counterterrorism, comparing it instead to "the effort by public health authorities to control communicable diseases."
In a public lecture last year at Johns Hopkins University, he sought to downplay Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism. And his corner of the CIA has long claimed that the "secular" Baathists in Iraq would never do business with the fundamentalist al Qaeda. Tell that to Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the Baathists now cooperating in Fallujah.
Yesterday's CIA leak, of the January 2003 memo, also turns out to be what the spooks call "disinformation." We're told that its ballyhooed warning of an insurgency is not among the document's key findings and occurs only in the very last sentence of its 38 pages. We're also told there is not a single mention of Zarqawi, the dominant terrorist now in Iraq, or of "the Party of Return," the name the Baath Party remnants began circulating soon after the fall of Saddam.
The document's after-thought sentence reads: "In addition, rogue ex-regime elements could forge an alliance with existing terrorist organizations or act independently to wage guerrilla warfare against the new government or coalition forces." We highlight that phrase about "existing terrorist" groups because critics of the war like to claim that there were no terrorists in Iraq before the war; now we know that in January 2003 even the CIA said there were.
Notably, too, the leakers of this document somehow overlooked the many predictions it made that did not come true. Those include: sectarian violence, seizure of the oil fields in the north by Kurds and in the South by Shiites, a humanitarian and refugee crisis, and the possible use by Saddam of "chemical or biological weapons against his own people and coalition forces." Worst of all, the document anticipated that the Iraqi police and regular army could be relied upon to provide order in Iraq after the invasion. Deputy Director John McLaughlin personally assured Mr. Bush on this one--which we now know to be a mistake as large as predicting that finding Saddam's WMD would be a "slam dunk."
Our point here isn't to assail everyone at the CIA, which includes thousands of patriots doing their best to protect America. But clearly at senior rungs of the agency there is a culture that has deep policy attachments that have been offended by Mr. Bush, and these officials want him defeated. American voters need to understand this amid this election season. As for Mr. Goss, his task is to tell the Pillars of Langley to shut up--or quit and run for office themselves.
Monday night President Bush told Bill O'Reilly that he does not regret landing on the carrier in the infamously spun "mission accomplished" event, and that he'd do it again.
Good answer. Beleive it or not this is something I think that Bush can make a point and gain an advantage over Kerry, further painting him as a pessimist and bad for troop morale. Furthermore, if you're opponents are going to attack you for it anyway, there's no sense in changing your position for the attack will then be doubled.
"These kids had been on a very long cruise," Bush told FOX News' Bill O'Reilly in a three-part interview, the first of which will air Monday night at 8 p.m. EDT. "They'd been on a cruise to both, in two theaters of war now, Afghanistan and Iraq. I flew out there, and said, 'Thanks. Thanks on behalf of a grateful nation.' You bet I'd do it again."
"I'm saying to the troops, on this carrier and elsewhere, thanks for serving America," Bush said. "And by the way, those sailors and airmen loved seeing the commander in chief."
Bush's overall point is absolutely correct - as commander in chief it is Bush's responsibility to give thanks and keep the morale of our soldiers high. This is a critical difference between Bush and Kerry.
What has Kerry's message been? We can't, we won't, we shouldn't, we're to blame, we're arrogant, can't, won't, don't. Imagine if Bush were saying such things? Imagine if Bush were belittling fellow coalition allies, or implying the Iraqi prime minister was a puppet, as John Kerry has been doing. Imagine FDR, or Truman being so negative. Imagine their political opponents doing so. For all of the Republican party's isolationism of the 1930s they never stooped to the negativity of John Kerry.
In the end this all comes down to one thing - a banner. How rediculous.
Bush's opponent, Democratic Sen. John Kerry (search), slammed the president, saying his visit to the carrier was pure theatrics. He added that the president's insistence that the situation in Iraq is improving is unbelievable.
"My friends, when the president landed on that aircraft carrier, when the president landed, 150 of our sons and daughters had given their lives. Since then, tragically, since he said 'mission accomplished,' tragically, over 900 more have died," Kerry said during a campaign stop in Wisconsin on Sunday.
Beyond Bush's point to O'Reilly on Monday it needs to be noted that the Democrats - always so quick to defend their actions as "nuance" - leave out all context in their argument. Bush never SAID "mission accomplished," and Kerry knows it. Far from Bush "saying" mission accomplished he actually reiterated that there was still fighting to do in both Afghanistan and Iraq:
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.
Does that sound like a guy who was living in "fantasyland"? There's a big difference between being optimistic and delusional.
Moreover, General Tommy Franks asked the White House to fly the banner as a signal to foreign nations with which Franks had been negotiating for reconstruction assistance. "That was not so everyone could have a victory lap. We'd been given to believe that once major hostilities were over, we would have lots and lots more help from the international community." Foreign governments, such as in Egypt, had promised Franks that once the US gave a signal for end of Phase I operations (the toppling of Saddam) they would provide assistance to Iraqi reconstruction. They reniged on the deal, according to Franks. But that doesn't mean it wasn't worth the try.
John Kerry will no doubt bring up the "mission accomplished" issue during the debates with Bush, but I think if Bush emphasizes that a commander in chief's first responsibility is to provide positive leadership and keep morale high he will bury Kerry by painting him as an ankle-biting pessimist.
The war in Iraq's future is at stake, no matter Kerry's waffling positions in the past. Kerry is flirting with unconditional withdraw, emboldening the insurgency. Of course, Kerry is no stranger to giving an enemy moral support. It's what he did 30 years ago. It's in Kerry's nature.
Problems in Iraq? Absolutely. A quagmire? Absolutely not. [Iraqi Prime Minister] Allawi a strong ally? Definitely. "But a puppet of the United States, [where] you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips," as top Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart put it? Nonsense. Pure partisan political pap. And the solutions Kerry is putting forward — training Iraqi security forces, rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, holding elections in January, bringing in more allies — are already being undertaken by the Bush administration.
-- Larry Kudlow, remarking how Kerry's defeatism will be his downfall.
In a more practical vein, Mr. President, I submit that the old adage ‘‘pay now or pay later’’ applies perfectly in this situation. If Saddam Hussein is permitted to go about his effort to build weapons of mass destruction and to avoid the accountability of the United Nations, we will surely reap a confrontation of greater consequence in the future. The Security Council and the United States obviously have to think seriously and soberly about the plausible scenarios that could play out if he were permitted to continue his weapons development work after shutting out U.N. inspectors.
That was John Kerry, arguing in 1997 that if the United Nations failed to back its word in the face of Saddam Hussein’s defiance the world would become more dangerous. “Pay now or pay later”? George W. Bush argued the same in 2002 and 2003. He argues the same today, even as Kerry has reversed course.
It is not possible to overstate the ominous implications for the Middle East if Saddam were to develop and successfully militarize and deploy potent biological weapons. We can all imagine the consequences. Extremely small quantities of several known biological weapons have the capability to exterminate the entire population of cities the size of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. These could be delivered by ballistic missile, but they also could be delivered by much more pedestrian means; aerosol applicators on commercial trucks easily could suffice. If Saddam were to develop and then deploy usable atomic weapons, the same holds true.
Indeed – Senator Kerry of 1997. So what happened? When President Bush made this same argument Kerry accused Bush of war mongering.
While our actions should be thoughtfully and carefully determined and structured, while we should always seek to use peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve serious problems before resorting to force, and while we should always seek to take significant international actions on a multilateral rather than a unilateral basis whenever that is possible, if in the final analysis we face what we truly believe to be a grave threat to the well-being of our Nation or the entire world and it cannot be removed peacefully, we must have the courage to do what we believe is right and wise.
Same guy, different year, different president in power, different party in power. Kerry is saying that while multilateral is the first choice the “final analysis” is that the US act unilaterally if necessary. This is what happened, only in Bush’s case he actually did go in multilaterally just not with a coalition sanctioned by the United Nations (but how does one get the UN to overthrow a dictatorship when the UN is filled with representatives from dictatorships?). Kerry belittles Bush’s coalition, but the self-proclaimed master of diplomacy has yet to stop and think how our allies in the UK, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Poland or the Czech Republic – among many others whose soldiers lost blood and life in Iraq – will welcome a president who called them a coalition of the “bribed and coerced.” This is par for the course for Kerry, whose representative called the new Iraqi prime minister a “puppet.” Kerry doesn’t stop to think that he may have to work with that puppet one day. After all, no matter how he feels about the war, whose side is Kerry on?
These quotes are courtesy of RealClearPolitics.com. Mr. Bevan elaborates the context:
Let's put these remarks in some context. Kerry gave this blistering speech in response to the fact that on October 29, 1997, Saddam Hussein kicked U.S. weapons inspectors out of Iraq. Kerry argued it was "unthinkable" that Saddam be allowed to scuttle the inspection process and defy the will of the international community.
Yet despite more resolutions by the UN Security Council AND the passage of a law by Congress making regime change in Iraq the official policy of the US government AND a four-day bombing campaign against Saddam Hussein in late 1998, weapons inspectors did not set foot on Iraqi soil again until the Bush administration forced them back in in November 2002.
In the intervening four years America suffered terrorist attacks on her embassies in Africa, on her warship in Yemen, and on her homeland on September 11.
So is it plausible for John Kerry to have believed in 1997 that Saddam was a grave threat requiring the use of significant, preemptive, and unilateral military force but to now - more than five years later and in a post-9/11 world - stand before us and argue the opposite? It is not. John Kerry's own words both then and now damn him as a man who changes his beliefs and positions based on political expediency and nothing more.
Some really bad news from Iraq, or perhaps Afghanistan, and/or a sudden collapse or crisis in the stock market, and [John] Kerry might yet "turn things around." You have heard it, all right, and perhaps even said it. But you may not have appreciated how depraved are its implications. If you calculate that only a disaster of some kind can save your candidate, then you are in danger of harboring a subliminal need for bad news. And it will show. What else explains the amazingly crude and philistine remarks of that campaign genius Joe Lockhart, commenting on the visit of the new Iraqi prime minister and calling him a "puppet"? Here is the only regional leader who is even trying to hold an election, and he is greeted with an ungenerous sneer.
The unfortunately necessary corollary of this—that bad news for the American cause in wartime would be good for Kerry—is that good news would be bad for him. Thus, in Mrs. Kerry's brainless and witless offhand yet pregnant remark [that she wouldn't be surprised if Osama bin Laden were captured just before the election], we hear the sick thud of the other shoe dropping. How can the Democrats possibly have gotten themselves into a position where they even suspect that a victory for the Zarqawi or Bin Laden forces would in some way be welcome to them? Or that the capture or killing of Bin Laden would not be something to celebrate with a whole heart?
There are two views of what is happening in the world today. One view is that there are isolated individuals, extremists, engaged in essentially isolated acts of terrorism. That what is happening is not qualitatively different from the terrorism we have always lived with. If you believe this, we carry on the same path as before 11th September. We try not to provoke them and hope in time they will wither.
The other view is that this is a wholly new phenomenon, worldwide global terrorism based on a perversion of the true, peaceful and honourable faith of Islam; that's its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassehs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life. If you take this view, you believe September 11th changed the world; that Bali, Beslan, Madrid and scores of other atrocities that never make the news are part of the same threat and the only path to take is to confront this terrorism, remove it root and branch and at all costs stop them acquiring the weapons to kill on a massive scale because these terrorists would not hesitate to use them.
Likewise take the first view, then when you see the terror brought to Iraq you say: there, we told you; look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.
But if you take the second view, you don't believe the terrorists are in Iraq to liberate it.
They're not protesting about the rights of women - what, the same people who stopped Afghan girls going to school, made women wear the Burka and beat them in the streets of Kabul, who now assassinate women just for daring to register to vote in Afghanistan's first ever democratic ballot, though four million have done so?
They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence.
They are in Iraq for the very reason we should be.
They have chosen this battleground because they know success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents.
They know that.
That's why they are there.
This is the single biggest theme that Bush should emphasize on Thursday night’s foreign policy debate. It marks a clear division between his and Kerry’s campaign and attitudes on Iraq and the war on terror. Frankly, as good as a speaker as Blair is Bush should pretty much plagiarize it word for word.
In the past few weeks the Bush team has hinted that John Kerry has his feet squarely planted in September 10, 2001. Look for Bush to really hammer this point home. At least I hope so.
For the longest time the Bush administration was hesitant to really take the hammer to the Syrian government, mainly due to Syria’s (reluctant) assistance in the war on terror, specifically the incarceration of Mohammed Zammar, the head recruiter of several 9-11 operatives including three of its pilots. But the tune is what have you done for me lately, and in that regard Syria has taken the opposite track. In addition to being the usual harbor for Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists and a general provoker of violence in the Middle East that all but assures there can never be peace between Israel and a Palestinian state, Syria is suspected of accepting a percentage of Saddam Hussein’s WMD arsenal and either allowing or perhaps assisting foreign terrorists enter Iraq.
If this World Tribune report is accurate – and given past reports of similar forecasting which never came to fruition it may not be – the Bush administration has prepared plans for a possible economic and military solution against Syria.
They said the Assad regime has been harboring senior operatives of Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, regarded as the most lethal insurgent in Iraq, aides to Saddam Hussein as well as Iraqi nuclear scientists as part of a Syrian policy coordinated with Iran.
"If Americans are dying in Iraq because of Syrian policies, then this is something we are not going to tolerate," a senior official said. The official, who refused to be identified, did not report any progress in U.S. efforts to end Syria's support of the insurgency movement in Iraq or other issues in dispute between Damascus and Washington.
Officials warned that unless Syria changes its policy within the next few weeks, the administration would consider economic and military measures against Damascus that would intensify in 2005. They said the Defense Department has drafted a range of military options meant to put Damascus on the defensive and encourage insurrection within Syria.
Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Syria's redeployment of more than 3,000 troops in Lebanon and suggested the onset of a new atmosphere in relations. "I can't go into details on this, but they gave me some information with respect to financial activities [to insurgents in Iraq] and how we can cooperate more fully on that," Powell said in a Sept. 24 meeting with the New York Times editorial board. "We're looking at ways to improve our intelligence exchange."
Two weeks ago, Syria and the United States met in Damascus in what officials termed was a hard-nosed review of bilateral relations that focused on the Assad regime's policy in Iraq. "What we said in Damascus is that this has to stop," the senior official said. "Our message to Syria was a warning that this is very serious. Because this means Syria shares responsibility for the killing of Americans and Iraqis, and it has to stop."
At the meeting, Damascus agreed to participate in talks with Iraq and U.S. Central Command to launch cooperation that would halt the flow of insurgents and weapons from Syria, officials said. Officials said the Assad regime was warned that the failure of the military talks, which began on Tuesday in Damascus, could trigger what they termed a major deterioration in U.S. relations with Syria. "Our job is to convince them that the risk of undermining us is much greater than the opposite," the senior official said.
During the September meeting in Damascus, officials said, the U.S. delegation presented the Assad regime with evidence of Syrian government aid to the insurgency movement in Iraq. The delegation argued that Syria has intensified its support of Al Zarqawi and pro-Saddam forces in an effort to torpedo Iraqi elections scheduled in January 2005. "It's not just a question of border control," the senior official said. "Institutions within Syria are actively colluding with our enemies in Iraq."
I don’t see it happening, at least not yet. The problem is that in order for economic pressure to really work we must rely on Europe and other United Nations members. But if the Europeans and UN refuse to apply real pressure to Sudan while it slaughters people by the thousands, or Iran while it defies them on nuclear proliferation, how will they have the stomach to confront Syria, which oh yeah, just happens to be a member of the UN Security Council. It just won’t happen. They’ll wring their hands, complain how the US is being too confrontational, and use Israel to change the subject.
That leaves military pressure. What is that, exactly? We won’t open up a second front against Syria. Not yet. We can’t do that until Iraq is fully, or at least mostly capable of taking care of itself. We could target terrorist camps inside Syria, as Israel does, but again it’s risky. Were we to take overt military action against Syria we’d likely have to defend against Iran too, for Hezbollah, the terrorist group hiding in the Baaka Valley, takes its marching orders and cash not just from Syria but from Iran. US military action against Syria would chance a provoked retaliation against Israel, in the Syrian hope that Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia could be drawn into the conflict. That leaves covert or clandestine action. The US could use black ops in a manner similar to Israel, or work in concert with Israel by providing it massive intelligence, targeting information, or military resources. But one would think by now Israel has more intelligence in that region than the US. They have to deal with it daily.
According to the Washington Times al Qaeda operative Adnan G. El Shukrijumah was seen last July meeting drug leaders in South and Central American gangs, including El Salvador's Mara Salvatrucha crime syndicate. The Salvatrucha family has smuggled hundreds of illegal aliens into the US, so there could be little doubt over the topics of any alleged meetings. The family also has a history of violent crime within the US, including "at least seven killings in Virginia and a machete attack on a 16-year-old in Alexandria..."
Authorities said al Qaeda terrorists hope to take advantage of a lack of detention space within the Department of Homeland Security that has forced immigration officials to release non-Mexican illegal aliens back into the United States, rather than return them to their home countries.
Less than 15 percent of those released appear for immigration hearings. Nearly 60,000 illegal aliens designated as other-than-Mexican, or OTMs, were detained last year along the U.S.-Mexico border.
El Shukrijumah, born in Saudi Arabia but thought to be a Yemen national, was spotted in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in July, having crossed the border illegally from Nicaragua after a stay in Panama. U.S. authorities said al Qaeda operatives have been in Tegucigalpa planning attacks against British, Spanish and U.S. embassies.
Like USF professor Sami al-Arian before him, Cat Stephens played the "I'm just a victim of Bush's racist war" card when the FBI apprehended him as he tried to fly from London to Washington. He was then expelled from the country. Stephens and al-Arian get lots of help from a naive activist community and Muslim organizations like CAIR, the apologist front for all Islamic radicals. But like al-Arian, it seems that Stephens' ties to dangerous terrorists are quite real:
TORONTO - Yusuf Islam, the British singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was the guest of honour at a Toronto fundraising dinner hosted by an organization that has since been identified by the Canadian government as a "front" for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
In a videotape of the 1998 event obtained by the National Post, Mr. Islam describes Israel as a "so-called new society" created by a "so-called religion" [Judeism] and urges the audience to donate to the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services to "lessen the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and the Holy Land."
Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, is responsible for most of the suicide bombings against Israelis. Canada has outlawed Hamas under federal anti-terrorism legislation, making it illegal to support the group.
The expulsion was criticized by Muslim groups, and Mr. Islam denies any ties to terrorism. "I never knowingly gave any terrorist group money," he said after being deported from Israel in 2000. "I've given to poor people and hospitals. I've helped to buy ambulances in the Holy Land. Obviously quite clear and supportable aims."
This is the usual line by financeers of terrorism - I'm just giving this charity some money. I never "knowingly" gave money to terrorists.
Well, because money is fungible Stephens' doesn't necessarily need to know how many times it is laundered or where it ends up. A dollar for groceries frees up a dollar Hamas can use to fuse nails and ball bearings with suicide bombs, which can then be detonated at an Israeli bus stop.
Like John Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia fable his tall tales have eclipsed those of Al Gore. Richard Leiby of the Washington Post discovers what appears to be blatant plagiarism of Hillary Clinton by John Kerry:
Appearing Monday night on David Letterman's show, Kerry reminisced about a "quite extraordinary" scene he recently glimpsed from his campaign train: "We came through a little town . . . and these folks were out there at midnight, 12:30, with kids, thousands of them, waiting with signs and everything. . . . And I saw one sign that said, 'John, give us eight minutes, we'll give you eight years.' You never saw a train stop [so] fast."
Now, let's flip to page 114 of Hillary Clinton's bestseller, "Living History," and her recollection of riding a bus through America with her husband and Al and Tipper Gore during the 1992 campaign: "One evening in the rural Ohio River Valley, we stopped at the farm of Gene Branstool for a barbeque and a meeting with local farmers. As we were getting ready to leave, Branstool said some folks had gathered at a crossroads a few miles away and we should stop. It was a lovely summer night, and people were sitting on their tractors waving flags while children stood at the edge of fields holding signs and welcoming us. My favorite said, 'Give us eight minutes and we'll give you eight years!' "
The Kerry team, when questioned, called it “pure coincidence.” Well, if Kerry hadn’t been caught in a bunch of exaggerations we might have been able to give him the benefit of the doubt, but if you think it coincidence I’ve got a bridge in Manhattan to sell you.
I accidentally listed Peter Kirsanow as a Democrat yesterday. He is actually Republican. My apologies.
[Regarding Carter's first point] He cites the fact that Florida's former Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Florida Governor Jeb Bush are strong supporters of the president. However, he provides absolutely no evidence that their support had any effect whatsoever on the outcome of the 2000 election. Furthermore, he neglects to mention that in Florida neither the governor nor the secretary of state has responsibility for the manner in which elections are conducted. That responsibility falls to county supervisors who are independent of the governor and secretary of state (keep in mind that the legendary butterfly ballot was designed by a Democratic-county supervisor, much to the consternation of other Democrats). Indeed, the overwhelming majority of problems that arose in Florida 2000 occurred in Democrat-controlled counties.
Carter's second point — that voting procedures and standards should be uniform to ensure accurate vote tabulation — has some merit, especially given the equal-protection arguments set forth in Bush v. Gore. But Carter's argument in support of this point displays the type of partisanship he maintains pervaded the Florida 2000 electoral process. He casually notes that the ballots of several thousand blacks, more likely to vote Democrat than Republican, were disqualified in 2000, suggesting that blacks were victims of both political bias and unevenly applied standards. This is consistent with a recurrent theme in the present campaign that there's a vigorous effort on the part of Republicans to suppress or steal black votes.
(John Kerry even asserts that a million black votes were stolen in the 2000 election, and there are almost daily assertions that Republicans are attempting to prevent blacks from voting.)
Frankly, this is getting tiresome, but it can't go undisputed. Thousands of ballots were spoiled in the Florida 2000 election. It's impossible to know with certainty whether the ballots were spoiled by white voters or black voters. If we extrapolate from data in heavily "black" and heavily "white" precincts, however, it's likely that black voters were more likely to spoil their ballots than white voters.
Spoiled ballots do not equal stolen votes. Moreover, Carter neglects to note that in 96 percent of the counties with the highest black-spoilage rate, the county supervisor charged with administering the election was a Democrat. It's doubtful that Carter is implying that "biased" Democratic election officials unjustifiably threw out thousands of ballots cast by black voters, but that's precisely the direction in which the facts take his argument.
Carter concludes that it's "unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation" and that it will be necessary to "focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida." Yet, despite his concern for the integrity of the electoral process in Florida, Carter fails to make a single reference to the real possibility of outright vote fraud — a problem that could easily be magnified in the 2004 election given numerous reports of problems related to voter registration and absentee ballots. Florida's investigation into the March 9, 2004, Orlando mayoral election is but one example. In that election, a runoff was avoided by a mere 234 votes, despite the fact that at least 264 absentee ballots were drawn into question because they were all witnessed by the same person. The questionable ballots were cast by elderly blacks and, as a result, some have alleged that the investigation is simply a ham-handed attempt at voter intimidation and suppression. (To be fair, the investigation wasn't a model of historical sensitivity, something the Florida Department of Law Enforcement acknowledges.) The Orlando Sentinel, however, notes that the investigation is fully warranted, concluding that "the state investigation is not unfairly targeting blacks. Part of the probe is focused on the activity of the mostly white fire union that supported (the mayor's) reelection bid. The grand jury that met this week considered allegations that some improper payments may have gone to union members."
This is what happens when out of an exaggerated concern for the civil liberties of terrorists we free those trying to kill us:
KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 26 - A senior Taliban commander who had been released from the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was killed Saturday in Uruzgan Province, Afghan officials reported Sunday. The commander, Maulavi Ghaffar, had spent eight months in the Guantánamo prison, said the Interior Minister, Ali Jalali. He had been captured after fighting for the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, Mr. Jalali said.
Officials in Afghanistan and the United States have indicated in the past that at least five Afghan detainees released from Guantánamo had returned to Afghanistan and again become Taliban commanders or fighters.
Who knows, maybe one day one of these Guantánamo terrorists will end up killing the very ACLU activists who work so hard to free them. Not that I’m wishing that upon them. It would just be grimly poetic. More likely though one of them will organize taking a school hostage and killing all the kids.
Along those lines it's hardly a surprise to read that the civil liberties hand-wringers brigades - always so ready to prioritize an Orwellian fantasy danger over a quite real one - are fighting a new bipartisan Senate bill to give counterterrorism agents access to to law enforcement and commercial databases. It's not that the officials don't have access to most of the information already, just that its so fragmented it doesn't always do them much good. Indeed, a second rate private detective probably has a better ability to hunt down information than a federal agent.
The new network would enable authorized investigators to draw on details about where suspects live, the cars they drive, their associates, their police records and their possible ties to terrorist activities.
Police and intelligence officials already have access to vast quantities of government and commercial records, but the information is often dispersed and not readily available. A supercomputer system dubbed Matrix, built by an information service after the Sept. 11 attacks, enabled authorities in participating states for the first time to instantly and simultaneously query commercial and confidential police records. But some civil liberties experts criticized that system, which was funded by the federal government, because it was developed in secret and, initially, without clear guidelines.
The Senate bill, introduced this month by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), contains a complex set of rules for expanding the sharing of information that would also restrict how the information is shared to limit possibilities for abuse. Under those rules, an agency such as the FBI or CIA might only respond to a query by acknowledging that it has information that might be relevant and then arranging a meeting with the official seeking the records to discuss them. In other instances, one computer would respond to another computer request by instantly transmitting electronic records, officials said.
In other words, the Senate is already well aware of concerns and are ensuring that abuses are minizmied through legislation - remember, no law can totally stop an abuse, else we wouldn't have any speeding tickets to hand out. There is a point of diminishing returns even in legislation - eventually you do more damage to the law enforcement and those you're trying to protect. Although it isn't specifically referenced here it's quite likely that agents would need a warrant, regular or FISA, to engage in searches that target specific persons. The access to information is paramount to capturing and killing terrorists - indeed, before September 11 the FBI didn't have the ability to do a Google search any ordinary citizen could perform.
Still, it's not enough for the civil lib hand-wringer brigages, who would rather our agents just be in the dark:
The proposal alarms some civil liberties activists and privacy specialists, who worry that the network will give authorities too much power to monitor people. They said they doubt that government officials and their advisers have the ability or the political will to restrain the use of such a sweeping network. "There's no need to enact this so quickly when the effect is going to be to build the largest technological surveillance system we've ever seen," said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, a civil liberties group.
No need? Except for airplanes hitting buildings and terrorists murdering children in schools.
”He [John Kerry] probably could spend 90 minutes debating himself. You got to be able to speak clearly in order to make this world a more peaceful place. You cannot expect to lead this world if you try to take both sides of every position. He voted for the use of force in Iraq and then didn't vote to fund the troops, he complained that we're not spending enough money to help reconstruction in Iraq, now he says we're spending too much. He said it was the right decision to go into Iraq, now he calls it the wrong war."
-- President Bush
[Financial Times] French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.
That view reflects the concerns of many EU and Nato officials, who say the dangers in Iraq and the difficulty of extricating troops already there could make European governments reluctant to send personnel, regardless of the outcome of the US election.
This is actually a double failure of a potential Kerry presidency before its even begun, because in trying to convince the public that he would have crafted a better coalition than George Bush Kerry has insulted the allies we already have in Iraq. Kerry and the Democrats continually belittle the Bush coalition as one of the "bribed and coerced." After spending 18 months insulting them, how does Kerry expect these allies already in Iraq to act towards him should he be elected ? How does Kerry expect the Iraqi prime minister to work with him after Kerry implied he was just a puppet for Bush?
This isn't diplomacy? This is Francophiled arrogance. In order to try and make a point Kerry slashes and burns American troops and allies - just like he did when he came home from Vietnam.
The foreign troop angle is a straw man anyway. Foreign troops won't win the war in Iraq, Iraqi troops will.
If Kerry wanted to demoralize our forces, he would say little that's different from what he is saying now. As he continues to tack with the breeze, it's clear that there is no underlying principle that guides him, no resolve in his mind that the lives lost should not have been in vain. Kerry's message does not promise the men and women who are risking their lives that their sacrifices will buy anything different from what dozens of lives bought in Somalia. Instead, Kerry says that we want to turn Iraq over to others, and bug out. Our troops' morale — as best I can gauge it — is not down. They're not happy about doing what they're committed to do: No one wants to fight or suffer or die. But their morale depends on the resolve and commitment of their commander in chief, and the bond of trust between them and the president. If their morale isn't down yet, it will sink more and more as they think about what Kerry would do as president.
They know he will not finish the job.
-- Jed Babbin
[Wa. Post] Sabah Kadim, a spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said that despite the attacks, young Iraqis continue to apply at a furious rate. "Word spreads through the community; you don't need any publicity at all," Kadim said. "If we want 100 in an area, 3,000 show up. This is the amazing thing: Without any recruitment drive at all, the numbers are not only doubling but tripling."
I've long opined that eventually insurgent attacks on fellow Iraqis will be the insurgency's undoing and this article underscores that point. Read the article: the Iraqi police recruits were actually cheering when the first insurgent mortar shells began probing their position. They are defiant in the face of the insurgency.
Training police and Iraqi security forces is all about time. The insurgency seeks to do damage now, to undermine Iraqi elections, to cause policy change in the US administration (which the useful idiot John Kerry is providing). But the more time that passes, the smaller but steady progressions the Iraqi government and police can make, the more likely it is that the insurgency will fail.
Now, finally, imaging if the Washington Post, NY Times, and network media all ran this angle day in and day out instead of 24-hour pessimism?
Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong (USMC Ret.), who until last September was the No. 2 in command of the Iraq war under Gen. Tommy Franks, revealed Sunday that U.S. military intelligence had determined that weapons of mass destruction were being smuggled out of the country as the U.S. prepared to invade. "I do know for a fact that some of those weapons went into Syria, Lebanon and Iran," Gen. DeLong told WABC Radio's Steve Malzberg, while discussing his new book, "Inside CENTCOM: The Unvarnished Truth About the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."
"Two days before the war, on March 17 , we saw through multiple intelligence channels - both human intelligence and technical intelligence - large caravans of people and things, including some of the top 55 [most wanted] Iraqis, going to Syria," Gen. DeLong explained.
"We also know that before then, they buried some of the weapons of mass destruction," he added. "There are also some in Lebanon and probably a small amount in Iran." The WMD smuggling operation didn't require large vehicles, the ex-general explained.
"In order to transport their biological weapons, they could take their entire experimental weapons system in one or two suitcases - pretty easy to hide," he told Malzberg.
As for Saddam's chemical weapons cache, his deputies could have fit them into "a van - probably one van or two vans and either bury it or drive it across one of the borders," the former No. 2 CENTCOM chief said.
Human intelligence, said DeLong, indicated that Saddam's deputies also "took billions of dollars with them when they went into Syria."
It's no surprise that weapons buried in Iraq have yet to be uncovered. "Seven-eighths of the country is arid desert and it's the size of California. You could probably bury 100 Empire State Buildings in Iraq and not find them," the former Marine said.
The World Tribune provides a similar report:
U.S. officials said that U.S. Army Intelligence does not share the conclusion that Saddam had abandoned his WMD program before the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 2003. They said military intelligence has attributed the U.S. failure to find Iraqi WMD platforms or munitions to Saddam's transfer of these systems to Syria in late 2002 and early 2003.
Over the last year, U.S. Central Command has helped the Iraqi Survey Group in the search for WMD in Iraq. The group has wound down its activities in Iraq without any success.
"The Iraqi Survey Group has yet to submit its final report," Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy chief of U.S. Central Command, said. "Besides, who knows what we will find in two years, who knows what was moved to countries like Syria. What we know for certain is that Saddam Hussein had carried out research into an array of weapons of mass destruction."
The military's assessment that Syria has received Iraqi WMD has been shared by the Defense Department, officials said. They said U.S. reconnaissance satellites had detected the entry of Iraqi convoys of suspected WMD and missile cargo into Syria and Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in early 2003.
Make sure you check out the web site of this new group: The Iraq-American Freedom Alliance. According to its site it “is a coalition of American and Iraqi organizations and individuals committed to fostering goodwill between our nations' citizens and winning the war on terror. We support a free, democratic and pluralistic Iraq that is at peace with the world. IAFA will provide Americans with a fuller picture of Iraq by giving voice to Iraqis who are grateful for their newfound freedom and working to secure democracy in their country.”
Members of the group include the Assyrian National Federation [est. 1933], Women's Alliance for a Democratic Iraq, American Islamic Congress (AIC), The Iraq Foundation, Chaldean Federation of America [est. 1981], Iraqi Democratic Union of America and the Kurdistan Cultural Institute.
It is filled with exactly the kind of success stories which our media, for the most part, either avoids or buries on page 20.
Israel issued a heavy warning to Syria today for “directing terrorism” and threatened preemptive strikes against them should they continue to harbor Palestinian Islamic militants. Although it did not formally admit doing so the threat comes just one day after someone (i.e., Israel) bombed the car of Izz el-Deen al-Sheikh Khalil, a Hamas terror leader who hid in Damascus. Hamas may currently be preoccupied with Israel, but it shares an ideology that is an easy mix for al Qaeda network terror groups.
The NY Sun opines that while the rest of the world, including the thugs that rule the United Nations, condemn Israel’s self-defensive actions Israel is in reality doing its part for the war on terror.
Mr. Stakelbeck [of the Investigative Project] noted that one accused Hamas operative and his wife were recently caught casing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at Maryland. He noted that last month, a Hamas chief signed a statement urging Muslims around the world to join the army of Moqtada Al-Sadr in fighting American forces in Iraq. This same Hamas leader, Khaled Mash'al, said in April that Hamas's "battle is with two sides. One of them is the strongest power in the world, the United States." Another Hamas leader, Mr. Stakelbeck reported, wrote last year that attacking America is "a moral and national duty - but above all, a religious one."
Every dictator's best friend, Jimmy Carter, opines in Sunday's Washington Post that Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush exhibited "strong bias" for President Bush in the 2000 Florida election, that "Several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities in 2000..," and that a fumbling attempt was made to "disqualify 22,000 African Americans." Oh, yeah, those 22,000 happened to be convicted felons, but that matters not to a guy like Jimmy, who supports convicted felon dictators from Haiti to Venezuela to North Korea to Palestine.
What "fraudulent or biased electoral practices" did Carter neglect to mention in his selective piece? That the Gore team chose to only recount votes in three highly Democratic counties; that the Gore team sued unsuccessfully to disqualify military ballots; that a biased Florida Supreme Court, filled with 8 Democrats and one independent, was overruled by the US Supreme Court 7-2 for their egregious and partisan attempt to rewrite Florida election law; and that Peter Kirsanow, a Democratic member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, officially reported that both his commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice "found no credible evidence that any Floridians were intentionally denied the right to vote in the 2000 election," African-American included. But Carter doesn't need facts when race-baiting works so well.
Thanks to the WSJ (via National Review) for noting just a few weeks ago that economists Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Roberto Rigobon of MIT found that the Venezuelan government "refused to use the random number generator recommended by the Carter Center." Thus, Carter capitulated and allowed the Venezuelan government used its own flawed software model to validate the election:
Mr. Hausmann told us that he and Mr. Rigoban also "found very clear trails of fraud in the statistical record" and a probability of less than 1% that the anomalies observed could be pure chance. To put it another way, they think the chance is 99% that there was electoral fraud.
The authors also suggest that the fraud was centralized. Voting machines were supposed to print tallies before communicating by Internet with the CNE center. But the CNE changed that rule, arranging to have totals sent to the center first and only later printing tally sheets. This increases the potential for fraud because the Smartmatic voting machines suddenly had two-way communication capacity that they weren't supposed to have. The economists say this means the CNE center could have sent messages back to polling stations to alter the totals.
The fact that Carter is a perpetual apologist for criminals like those in the Leftist Venezuelan government or Palestinian Authority is a sign of his ideology. The fact that Carter would dare try to group the Florida 2000 election - no matter how many problems it had - with such show elections is a sign of Carter's character, or rather, lack thereof.
Get a load of CNN downplays its own poll:
[Headline:] Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll
(CNN) -- Headed into their first face-to-face debate, President Bush appears to be leading Democratic Sen. John Kerry among likely voters, with a clearer edge among registered voters.
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44 percent and independent Ralph Nader garnered 3 percent. That result was within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
[Emphasis mine] “Apparently…” “appears…” Too funny. All that’s missing is CNN accusing itself of being a right-wing polling organization.
Two factoids from recent days should enhance our understanding. The first is a story about a man recently released from Guantanamo who showed up back in Afghanistan, working to kill Coalition soldiers. A fine triumph of legal nicety! The second has not yet been published, so far as I know, but it helps us understand a bit more about the terror network. It turns out that many of the hostages in Iraq are taken by "common criminals," who then sell the hostages to the terrorists so that they can behead them. I suspect, for example, that the Italian women held by terrorists in Iraq fell victim to such a gang.
It is folly to think of the terrorists and their masters in the various capitals of the region as people merely trying to avenge injustice or settle old grievances. The only way sensible people can come to believe that is to censor the evidence — by taking the scenes of 9/11 and the beheading videos off the air, by filtering the utter barbarity of these people through the use of uncharged words that lose their emotional impact.
Don't worry about our sensitivities. Show us — we need to see — so that we bring our full political and military might to bear and end this thing as quickly as possible.
-- Michael Ledeen, remarking how by censoring beheading or other graphic videos our media hamstrings the war on terror.
[Wa. Post] Powell, in his speech to the United Nations, said Zarqawi arrived in Baghdad in March 2002 for medical treatment and stayed for two months "while he recuperated to fight another day." During his convalescence, Zarqawi was joined by a dozen followers who moved money, supplies and al Qaeda-affiliated fighters throughout Iraq, Powell added.
About the same time, Jordanian authorities indicted Zarqawi in absentia for his role in the millennium plot in Amman and issued a warrant for his arrest. Jordanian investigators had followed his trail to Iraq and tried to persuade Saddam Hussein's government to extradite him.
"There is proof that he was in Iraq during that time," the Jordanian security official said. "We sent many memos to Iraq during this time, asking them to identify his position, where he was, how he got weapons, how he smuggled them across the border."
Hussein's government never responded, according to the official, who added that documents recovered after its overthrow in 2003 show that Iraqi agents did detain some Zarqawi operatives but released them after questioning. Furthermore, the Iraqis warned the Zarqawi operatives that the Jordanians knew where they were, he said.
Iraqi intelligence knew who Zarqawi was, allowed him to receive medical treatment in a Baghdad hospital for injuries sustained while fighting alongside al Qaeda in Afghanistan, allowed him to organize terror cells and recruit while in Iraq, refused to help the Jordanian government capture him, and even alerted Zarqawi that the Jordanians were looking for him and knew he was in Iraq, but yet, the Kerry liberals tell us, “Saddam had nothing to do with terrorism.”
[From the same Wa. Post article] In the summer of 2002, according to Jordanian court documents, Zarqawi organized a new plot to attack Western and Jewish targets in Jordan and began training a small band of fighters at a base in Syria. On Oct. 28, 2002, the group staged its first strike, fatally shooting a U.S. diplomat, Laurence M. "Larry" Foley, a senior administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, as he left his house in Amman.
The Jordanian indictment in that case alleges that Foley's assassins met with Zarqawi in Syria and received money for the operation from his network in Iraq. Despite evidence of his presence in their country, the Syrians, like the Iraqis, ignored requests from the United States and Jordan to extradite Zarqawi, according to Arab intelligence sources.
Obviously there will be people who have never been convinced about the original decision. But the fundamentals of the situation in Iraq are absolutely clear. You have a government supported by the United Nations. You have got massive reconstruction. You've got an attempt to bring democracy to the country and you've got these people trying to stop it. I can understand why people still have a powerful disagreement about the original decision to go to war, but what ever that disagreement, surely now it is absolutely clear we have to stay and see it through. Because the consequences of not doing so is that global terrorism will get a tremendous boost. By contrast, if we succeed and defeat these people and help the Iraqis to get what the Iraqis want, then global terrorism will suffer a defeat. If the violence and terror stopped, Iraq would very swiftly - because it's rich in resources, it's people are intelligent - would make progress. So my point to people is: which side should we be on now? You might have disagreed about the conflict, but there is only one side to be on now, and that's the side of people who are trying to bring democracy and hope to the country, not trying to plunge it into terror and chaos.'
-- UK PM Tony Blair
[Gen. John P. Abizaid, U.S. commander for the Middle East] "I am not predicting victory by January at the end of the elections," Abizaid cautioned. "I am predicting that we'll have elections. We will fight our way through the elections. It will be tough. It will be hard. But it will move us a step closer to ultimate victory, which is when Iraqis control their own destiny." Abizaid said he found the CIA's recent assessment of Iraq's future over 18 months to be "overly pessimistic." The classified National Intelligence Estimate, which Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee have asked the CIA to declassify, predicted a tenuous stability at best and, in the worst-case scenario, civil war. Abizaid criticized news reports that the insurgency was spreading among the general population. "The constant drumbeat in Washington of a war that is being lost, that can't be won, of a resistance that is out of control, simply do not square with the facts on the ground," he said.
The Presidential election is approaching quickly and this week will start the first of three debates between President Bush and John Kerry. After 18 months of taking positions and then reversing them it would seem that Kerry has now decided to solidify his position as the anti-war candidate – after claiming the reverse Kerry now says he would not have gone into Iraq knowing what he knows now and has upped his criticism of Bush for the president’s affirmation that he would still have invaded Iraq. This, I think, is a good thing.
[Wa. Post] "I will never be a president who just says mission accomplished. I will get the mission accomplished," Kerry said to a small group of supporters waiting on the airport tarmac. Bush said, in an interview to be broadcast Monday, that he would not back down from his May 1, 2003, statement on an aircraft carrier declaring major combat operations over under a banner that read "Mission Accomplished."
This is where Bush can use some Kerryesque “nuance” in his favor – the banner was raised at the explicit request of the outgoing commander of Iraqi forces, General Tommy Franks, as a kind of thank you to the troops. It was also, more importantly, based on Frank’s understanding from foreign leaders that they would give money and troop support to the United States once Bush made this announcement.
Now, Kerry and the Democrats like to attack Bush on this, but in the end I believe it harms them. Kerry’s position that he would have left Saddam Hussein in control of Iraq raises more complications about what an American could expect from his foreign policy. Is he, for example, content to just play defense and concentrate on cleaning up the rubble better after the next attack, as opposed to taking the fight to the radical world? September 11 or not, one has a difficult time arguing that Iraq wasn’t already a “mess,” or that we were containing Saddam Hussein, or that any future damage from allowing the Hussein regime to stay in power was avoidable:
On a daily basis Iraq was firing upon US fighters protecting the UN-ordered no-fly zone; American forces were perpetually in danger; Under Kerry’s solution American money would perpetually be spent to contain Iraq; containment – especially knowing now about the UN Oil-for-Food corruption – was failing badly; UNICEF estimates that the UN sanctions – due to Saddam’s refusal to comply – were killing 60,000 Iraqi babies every year, and would condemn “at least another 360,000 Iraqis to death” and up to 600,000 babies and one million Iraqis for another 10 nears (had Bush chosen to continue the failed policy of containment); Containment means that US forces would have stayed in Saudi Arabia – giving Osama bin Laden an easy propaganda target as it was often cited for terrorism against the West. Finally, the only reason Saddam allowed any inspectors back into the country was because Bush put 130,000 troops on Iraq’s border.
This above list is just for starters.
Kerry’s Leftward tilt on foreign policy also leaves him vulnerable on his long-term strategy for the war on terror – precisely, what is John Kerry’s long-term strategy against terrorism?
The Bush White House believes that the only way to defeat Islamic terrorism and fundamentalist belief systems that promote it is to reshape the Islamic-Arab world in the tradition of Western-style liberal, constitutional democracies. You may agree or even think it possible, but at least Bush has a vision of where he wants to lead the country.
Kerry seems to back the policy of the “first response” hand-wringers: people who think that we should only “protect the homeland” by upping our firefighters or protecting our ports better. While those things are important pieces without an aggressive plan for offense – diplomatic, military, social – the liberal argument really does boil down to cleaning up the rubble better next time around.
Because of Bush’s foreign policy two states that used to be dictatorial regimes filled with oppression and Islamic fundamentalism now have a fighting shot at Western democracy. The more states that we can influence to adopt such values – sometimes through diplomacy or market forces, other times via military action – the less influential Islamic fundamentalism becomes.
DETROIT -- Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards on Sunday accused Republicans of an immoral attempt to divide the nation by taking partisan advantage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Speaking to several hundred people at New St. Paul Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, the North Carolina senator criticized a Republican group's ad that portrays Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as soft on terrorism. "The truth is they're trying to exploit one of our nation's greatest tragedies for personal gain. It is immoral, and it is wrong," Edwards said. "This isn't a Republican issue or a Democratic issue."
On the contrary, Senator Edwards, the war on terror may have started as a bipartisan response to September 11 but there are clear and remarkably different demarcation lines between how a Kerry administration would handle fighting terrorism and how the Bush administration fights it.
One party supports the Patriot Act and (rightfully) insists that act does not harm civil liberties, while the other works to undermine the Patriot Act and seeks to misrepresent it. One party views law enforcement as just one facet of fighting terrorism, while the other desires it to take the lead (as was ineffectively done before 9-11). One party believes that Iraq provided the first, best entrance to introduce Western value and thought – its emphasis on individualism and liberty – to the Islamic-Arab world, the other party claims it makes us less safe. One party believes that democracy can work in the Arab-Central Asian world, the other seems to belittle the idea, or imply it too difficult to achieve. One party believes that given time the Islamic world will accept Western liberal democracy, the other prefers the soft bigotry of low expectations to argue it cannot work. One party looks to Afghanistan’s 11 million registered voters as a success story, while the other seeks to minimize its importance. One party believes that the US must lead and act even when it offends other nations, while the other allows the opposition of a few Security Council members to trump all US foreign policy.
Back to the Post article:
The ad, which is airing at least in Iowa and Wisconsin, shows Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, and shows pictures of terrorist attacks in Russia, Spain and the United States, including wreckage from the World Trade Center towers. It asks, "Would you trust Kerry against these fanatic killers?" and says "President Bush didn't start this war, but he will finish it."
The ad is paid for by Progress for America Voter Fund, an affiliate of a group created by Tony Feather, a longtime Republican consultant and former Bush aide. The group, like similar organizations on the Democratic side working to elect Kerry, operates independently from the Bush campaign and is barred from having contact with his advisers. That that hasn't stopped Kerry's campaign from claiming the Bush campaign is behind the group's criticism.
Once again, the Kerry camp tries to have it both ways – attack Bush for conservative 527 PACs while supporting the liberal 527s. Bush gave Kerry an opportunity to denounce all 527s weeks ago, but Kerry chose the double standard. One can hardly pity Kerry now that conservative 527s are finally catching up to their liberal counterparts.
But, regardless of this, the question the Progress for America Voter Fund is asking is legitimate: Is Kerry someone Americans would trust to keep us safe against people who hijack planes and slam them into buildings or murder schoolchildren by the hundreds?
In his 20 year senatorial career, including since September 11, what actions has Kerry taken to prove that he could protect the country?
When Kerry belittles the American-led coalition in Iraq simply because they weren’t sanctioned by the United Nations does he make us safer? When Kerry accuses the new Iraqi prime minister – a man he may one day have to work with – as a stooge of the Bush administration does he make us safer? When Kerry refuses to explain how he would have persuaded France or Russia to assist in the war in Iraq when both nations were accepting bribes from Saddam Hussein does he make us safer? When Kerry works to weaken the Patriot Act does he make us safer? When Kerry says he would return us to the pre-September 11 mindset of fighting terrorism as a law enforcement issue as opposed to a military policy does he make us safer?
There are clear differences in the Bush and Kerry foreign policies and how they would conduct a war on terror – Bush isn’t using terrorism to “divide America,” for the Democrats’ proposed positions did that long ago.
Last year I wrote all things being equal its better to be on the offensive than not. That is, if terrorists are going to target you regardless, if they’re going to detonate bombs in the midst of crowded markets regardless, if they’re going to kidnap people and behead them regardless, if they’re going to try and propagate the US as occupying killers, the US has less to lose by aggressively targeting terrorists than it has by not acting out of a fear of alienating the population.
The Iraqi insurgency is likely to pull out all the stops to try and either halt or postpone January elections. Even if it can do neither it will seek to cause as much damage to the process as possible. So, if more violence and bad press is going to happen regardless the US military may as well go on the offense in the lead up to these elections.
It is with great approval, then, that I read that the US military will begin a 2-pronged offensive in preparation of the January elections.
To address deteriorating security, the plan calls for U.S. forces to lead a campaign to clean out insurgents in three key provincial capitals and Fallujah, opening up the cities for Iraqi forces to move in and retain control to prepare for balloting, officials said.
The goal is to use U.S. military muscle decisively but briefly, and then leave to avoid becoming targets or fueling further anti-U.S. sentiment, say U.S. and Iraqi officials. While the United States is confident it can win a military battle, the bigger challenge is creating an Iraqi government presence to prevent key areas from reverting into chaos -- a problem after a U.S. offensive in Fallujah last spring.
The timing of stepped-up military operations will depend largely on how quickly Iraqi troops are trained and available, said officials, who insist a lag in preparing Iraqi forces -- and not the Nov. 2 U.S. election -- is the determining factor.
U.S. and Iraqi officials said the planning is aimed at getting them past several major hurdles over the next four months, beginning with the possible escalation of violence as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts in mid-October, including a drive that month to start registering voters, and ending with the January elections.
In their effort to stick to the electoral schedule, officials say they will strive to put an Iraqi face on the election preparations, with the United Nations and U.S. groups playing background support roles. That, they hope, will lessen the potential for attacks that could disrupt voter registration, the campaign or the election itself.
The complications of the plan are also two-fold: First, as the second page of the article points out, will the new Iraqi forces be capable of handling their new duties and are the forces loyal enough to engage? Second, will the US-led offensive be offensive enough?
Well, we don’t know these things unless we try. So unless somebody’s got a better idea it’s better to try than to do nothing.
This is www.gregnews.com
Greg Reports... Greg Decides
"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile--hoping it will eat him last.." -- Winston Churchill
Wish I Could Write Like...
News & Views I Use
Mil-Blogs of Note
Greg's Published CommentaryThe Halliburton Candidate The Peace That Never Was The Neglected Point of Abu Ghraib Date With Destiny Dictators and Double Standards Redux