"The Iraqi military and police forces have held together and they are doing their jobs. In 2004, the Iraqi military and police all but collapsed. The fact that Shia soldiers who make up the vast majority of the troops have stayed at their posts, held back the Shia militiamen, and prevented an increase in violence is remarkable. This should be one of the feature stories on the nightly news, but it barely received mention." -- Major Ben Connable, US Marine Corps
We are at a standoff of sorts, as we cannot yet stop the fear of the IED, and they cannot halt the progress of democracy. The Americans are unsure whether their own continued massive use of force - GPS bombings or artillery strikes - will be wise in such a sensitive war of hearts and minds, and must be careful to avoid increased casualties that will erode entirely an already attenuated base of public support for remaining in Iraq at all. The terrorists are more frustrated that, so far, they cannot inflict the sort of damage on the Americans that will send them home or stop the political process entirely.
During this sort of waiting game in Iraq, the American military silently is training tens of thousands of Iraqis to do the daily patrols, protect construction projects, and assure the public that security is on the way, while an elected government reminds the people that they are at last in charge.
The IED and suicide bomber answer back that it is a death sentence to join the government, to join the American-sponsored police and army, and to join the rebuilding efforts of Iraq.
Who will win? The Americans I talked to this week in Iraq - in Baghdad, Balad, Kirkuk, and Taji - believe that a government will emerge that is seen as legitimate and will appear as authentic to the people. Soon, ten divisions of Iraqi soldiers, and over 100,000 police, should be able to crush the insurgency, with the help of a public tired of violence and assured that the future of Iraq is their own - not the Husseins’, the Americans’, or the terrorists’. The military has learned enough about the tactics of the enemy that it can lessen casualties, and nevertheless, through the use of Iraqi forces, secure more of the country with far less troops. Like it or not, the American presence in Iraq will not grow, and will probably lessen considerably in 2006, before reaching Korea-like levels and responsibilities in 2007.
...It is an odd war, because the side that I think is losing garners all the press, whether by blowing up the great golden dome of the Askariya shrine in Samarra, or blowing up an American each day. Yet we hear nothing of the other side that is ever so slowly, shrewdly undermining the enemy.
The Iraqi military goes out now on about half the American patrols, as well as on thousands of their own. It is not the Fallujah brigade of early 2004 - rather, it is developing into the best trained and disciplined armed force in the Middle East. While progress in reestablishing the infrastructure necessary for increased electricity and oil production seems dismal, in fact, much has been finished that awaits only the completion of pipelines and transmission lines - the components most vulnerable to sabotage. It is the American plan, in a certain sense, to gradually expand the security inside the so-called international or green zone, block by block, to the other 6 million Iraqis outside, where sewers run in the streets and power from the grid is available less than 12 hours per day.
The nature of the debate has also changed at home. Gone is "my perfect war, your screwed-up peace" or "no-blood for oil" or even "Bush lied, thousands died." And there is little finger-pointing any more that so-and-so disbanded the Iraqi army, or didn’t have enough troops, or didn’t supply enough body armor. Now it is simply a yes or no proposition: yes, we can pull it off with patience, or no, it is no longer worth the cost and the lives.
I'm always rubbed the wrong way when someone matter-of-factly declares that America, by invading Iraq, could have "started" a civil war. News flash: Iraq has always been in a civil war; it's just that for 30 years only one side was empowered to do the killing - Saddam Hussein's Sunnis.
The number of Shiites alone that died by Saddam's Sunni hands were in the hundreds of thousands (let alone the number of Kurds or oppositionist Sunnis). What you're seeing now is that the Shiites, for the first time in generations, are empowered to fight back, and so they are. The Shiites are saying that if the Iraqi government doesn't do more to protect their mosques they will. While problematic one should not automatically assume it means that Shiites will react with tit-for-tat indiscriminate violence.
The insurgency was estimated by our military to be numbering around 20,000. Iraq's population is 27 million. Thus, the insurgency is 7 one-hundreds of one percent. If, say, double that, then the insurgency is .14 of one percent. Regardless, it's a small percentage of the population. Given, 19 hijackers killed 3,000 Americans. But the daily violence does not constitute a civil war.
If a small minority of Timothy McVeighs started massive bombing attacks in this country, we wouldn't label it civil war, we'd label it terrorism, and rightly so. Naturally, the Saddam loyalists and outside forces (agents of Iran, Syria, al Qaeda, et. al.) are hoping to transform that small minority into a massive movement (a true North-South civil war) through violence. But they've tried this many times over the last three years and to date have not succeeded. It doesn't mean it's impossible. It does mean we're nowhere near the time to press the panic button.
Most of all, whatever one thinks of the decision to go to war, one should not reminisce on pre-war Iraq as some kind of healthy, stable environment. No dictatorship ever is.
The Media Research Center has some shocking insight
Left unmentioned: How the poll-takers questioned many more Democrats than Republicans. A PDF posting of poll results lists 409 Democratic respondents versus 272 Republican respondents. CBS "weighted" the results to effectively count 289 Republicans versus 381 Democrats. And while in a couple of minutes of network air time you can hardly be expected to recite every poll finding, CBS managed to skip over several numbers which demonstrated the disconnect between the public and the national press corps. On "media coverage of Cheney hunting accident," for instance, the public overwhelmingly repudiated -- by three-to-one -- the media's obsession: 66 percent said the media devoted "too much time" compared to a piddling 22 percent who thought the press allocated the "right amount of time." Another nine percent, most likely a lot of journalists and the "angry left," believed it got "too little time." Also, by 51 to 47 percent, most "approve of Bush authorizing wiretaps to fight terrorism."
Of course, this is the same network whose now dishonored and retired anchor, Dan Rather, used fabricated documents to attack Bush before the 2004 election.
[Washington Post] The American Red Cross paid consultants more than $500,000 in the past three years to pitch its name in Hollywood, recruit stars for its "Celebrity Cabinet" and brand its chief executive as the face of the Red Cross -- just a year before ousting her, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
In a $127,000 contract, a Houston corporate image company agreed to create a plan to make Red Cross chief executive Marsha J. Evans the face of the organization as part of a "senior leadership branding project" that ran from October 2003 to November 2004.
...Also in 2003 and 2004, the Red Cross paid a Beverly Hills, Calif., firm $113,900 to promote its name to writers and producers for television and film to get the charity included in story lines.
...Red Cross spokeswoman Carrie Martin said the contract has resulted in such successes as Red Cross first-aid kits included in the MTV reality show "The Real World" and Red Cross emergency vehicles used in an episode of the TV drama "The West Wing."
Martin said the contracts were a defensive move as well, "to make sure that the Red Cross name and symbol is used appropriately."
But Peter Dobkin Hall, a specialist on nonprofit groups and a Harvard University lecturer, questioned the strategy's usefulness to the organization, which annually receives more than $500 million in donations.
It's "not as though the Red Cross needed to do it," Hall said. "When disaster happens, people turn to the Red Cross and throw money at them."
Frankly, it's disgusting. People expect their money to go to persons harmed by disaster, not the Gilmore Girls. Besides, I thought Hollywood-do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do liberals didn't have to be bought for humanitarian efforts.
By the way, 100 percent of monies donated to the Salvation Army (among others) goes to its intended recipients.
Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday's New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far.
-- John Fund.
Read the whole thing.
What's the alternative to promoting freedom in the Middle East?
Monday, February 27, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST
In the matter of Middle East elections, the results of which we don't always like: Anyone out there have a better idea?
We ask amid some recent wringing of hands following elections for the Palestinian legislature, in which the terrorist group Hamas won an outright majority; elections in Iraq, where voters cast their ballots along sectarian lines, and a strong showing by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's parliamentary elections late last year.
"For some, the promotion of democracy promises an easy resolution to the many difficult problems we face," says Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde. "But I believe that great caution is warranted here." And from the man who once gave us the "end of history," we now have the demise of neoconservatism: "Promoting democracy and modernization in the Middle East," writes Francis Fukuyama in a new book, "is not a solution to the problem of jihadist terrorism; in all likelihood it will make the short-term problem worse."
The brilliant insight here is that democratic processes don't always lead to liberal outcomes. Actually, that's not an insight: The world has had fair warning on this score at least since Adolf Hitler came to power democratically in 1933. We can be thankful, however, that the experience of Nazism did not deter successive generations of Germans from persevering with the democratic experiment.
Still, the underlying argument deserves thoughtful consideration, and it goes something like this: Contrary to the rhetoric of the Bush Administration, the taste for freedom--and the ability to exercise it responsibly--is far from universal. Culture is decisive. Liberal democracies are the product of long-term trends such as the collapse of communal loyalties, urbanization, the separation of church and state and the political empowerment of the bourgeoisie. Absent these things, say the critics, democratic and liberal institutions are built on foundations of sand and are destined to collapse.
This account more or less describes the rise of liberal democracies in the West. Yet simply because it took centuries to establish a liberal-democratic order in Europe, it does not follow that it must take centuries more to establish one in the Middle East. Japan took about 100 years to transform itself (and be transformed) from a feudal society into a modern industrial democracy. South Korea made a similar leap in about 40 years; Thailand went from quasi-military dictatorships to a genuine constitutional monarchy in about 20. As the practice of liberal democracy has spread, the time it takes nondemocratic societies to acquire that practice has diminished.
But, say the critics, Islamic and particularly Arab countries are uniquely resistant to change. Between 1981 and 2001 the number of non-Islamic countries rated "free"--that is to say, both democratic and liberal--increased by 34, according to Freedom House. By contrast the number of free Islamic countries remained constant at one, in the form of landlocked Mali. During the same period, the number of Islamic countries ranked "not free" increased by 10.
No doubt deep-seated cultural factors go some way toward explaining these statistics. But why seek abstruse explanations? In the same period when the U.S. was encouraging democratic openings in Eastern Europe, East Asia and Latin America--areas previously thought impervious to liberty, often for "cultural" reasons--it was supporting or tolerating undemocratic and illiberal regimes in the Middle East.
That period also coincided with the rise of al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, the first World Trade Center bombing, the bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole, the outbreak of the terrorist intifada in Israel, and September 11. Mr. Fukuyama may or may not be right that promoting democracy does not resolve the problem of terrorism in the short-term. What we know for sure is that tolerating dictatorship not only doesn't resolve the terrorist problem but actively nurtures it.
Which brings us back to the question of what American policy should be. One answer is to retreat completely in the hopes of being left alone. This is the formula recently suggested by Osama bin Laden; those who would credit it must also entrust themselves to him.
Another answer is to encourage friendly autocrats to "modernize" their countries without necessarily creating the kinds of democratic openings through which Islamic fundamentalists could come to power. This is what the U.S. has been attempting in Egypt for the past three decades, without success. A related idea is to promote liberal democratic ideals by means of "soft power"--McDonald's, Oprah, USAID, Voice of America, Britney Spears. Soft power has much to recommend it, though generally only as a complement to hard power. Absent the latter, it is powerless to defend the very people it inspires, especially when the tanks are rolling.
Then there is the supposedly failed policy of the Bush Administration. In five years, it has brought four democratic governments to power in the Middle East: by force of arms in Afghanistan and Iraq, and through highly assertive diplomacy in Lebanon and Palestine. Mr. Fukuyama tells us that "by definition, outsiders can't 'impose' democracy on a country that doesn't want it."
Leaving aside the niggling examples of Japan and Germany, exactly how are we to know that country X does not want democracy, except democratically? Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians and Lebanese have all made their democratic preferences plain in successive recent elections. And with the arguable exception of the Palestinians (arguable because Fatah was as undemocratic as Hamas), they have voted to establish considerably more liberal regimes than what existed previously.
This is not to say democracy is a cure-all. It is also not to say that the peril these democracies face, from terrorist insurrection or ethnic or religious feuding, isn't grave. Nor, finally, is it to say that the "Hitler scenario" can be excluded in a democratizing Middle East; that possibility is always present, especially among nascent democracies.
But democracy also offers the possibility of greater liberalism and greater moderation, possibilities that have been opened with the courageously pro-American governments of Hamid Karzai, Jalal Talabani and Saad Hariri. And as we stand with them, it seems to us that America's bets are better placed promoting democracies--even if some of them succumb to illiberal temptations--than acceding to dictatorships, which already have.
Or does someone have a better idea?
But I want to beat it nonetheless, just to clear the air and retort some false but common public assertions.
Here's Rich Lowry:
It is loosely said that Dubai Ports World would "take over" six ports. That’s false. The ports are owned by local governmental entities, and the company will manage only a few terminals. For instance, it will manage two terminals out of 14 in Baltimore. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns five terminals devoted chiefly to cargo. Dubai Ports World would be involved in only one, which it would manage together with a Danish firm.
A management company has very little to do with port security. It unloads cargo containers and then holds them until they are hauled out by trucks. As homeland-security expert Stewart Verdery says, this is but a small part of the process. The U.S. begins screening select cargo containers at their port of departure. Then, when they are on their way here, computer-based risk analysis is done to decide which containers need further scrutiny.
Dubai Ports World would have no role in determining how containers or ships are reviewed and deciding which containers are inspected. Critics complain that the company will obtain inside information about U.S. ports. But because the UAE has signed on to the Container Security Initiative, in which foreign countries cooperate with the U.S. on safeguards, it already is privy to our security practices in general. The company will probably learn more about specific procedures at individual ports, but this knowledge is not that tightly held.
...We should worry about port security. But the real vulnerability is foreign ports, where something noxious could be loaded on ships headed here. The nightmare, of course, is a nuclear or radiological device. More resources should be poured into detection technology deployed overseas and in the U.S., where only 37 percent of containers go through radiation detectors. That is a real issue; the furor over Dubai Ports World is a distraction.
Joseph Farah, editor of World Net Daily, underscores the above point by emphasizing that - as I've mentioned in earlier posts - one needn't even unload a WMD at a port in order for it to do damage:
A 12-kiloton nuclear device (small by today's standards, and similar in size to that used on Japan) detonated at the Brooklyn Redhook Terminal would likely kill 2 million people or more as the radioactive fallout rains downwind on the completely unprotected citizens of Long Island, his company estimates.
Security matters from the point of origin. Yet, according to Veronique De Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute, the Department of Homeland Security's Container Security Initiative (CSI) - which "targets high-risk containers for inspection at overseas ports prior to their departure for the U.S." - fails to inspect 35% of U.S.-bound shipments from CSI ports. De Rugy adds that "only 24 out of the 42 busiest foreign ports are involved in the CSI, which means that there is little security oversight in a majority of megaports from which U.S.-bound cargo originates. Terrorists are smart enough to know not to try any funny business at closely watched ports, since so many more alternatives exist."
Indeed they are.
The biggest thing that bothers me in the port fiasco is the number of sources getting their facts wrong, and generally just using illogical arguments to defend their position. It's been mentioned over and again that the US Coast Guard and Customs will control security and process, not Dubai Ports. The workers will be from the Longshore Union, just as before.
Well, here are some additional points that underscore the derth of logic regarding the port outrage.
#1: THIS PUZZELING SUDDEN OUTRAGE
We've got self-righteous Congressmen and political junkies suddenly outraged that foreign nations could mark down our ports in their ledgers. According to US News and World Report it's nothing new:
Although it built up quite a rumble in Congress, many security hawks and industry analysts were puzzled by the intensity of the uproar. Currently foreign-owned companies operate 30 percent of the shipping terminals in the United States. Another company controlled by a foreign government - Singapore's APL Limited - operates terminals in Seattle; Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; and Dutch Harbor, Alaska. And although port operators load and unload vehicles off ships, the primary security responsibility falls to the U.S. Coast Guard, customs officials, and the police hired by port authorities.
Note: Were our leaders TRULY concerned about a supposed security risk, at any time after 9-11, when our brave Congressional leaders were sprinting out of buildings holding a few baggies of anthrax to jointly sing God Bless America, they could have passed a bill denying any foreign ownership of American ports (and why just stop at ports, eh? Once we say ports, we open a can of worms that pretty much shred our principles of free markets).
#2: THREATS REGARDLESS OF OWNERSHIP
The opponents of the deal cite the fact that about 95 percent of our shipping cargo containers "are not inspected for weapons of mass destruction or other types of security threats." [Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine]
But that's the case whether the holding company for an American port is Arab, British or American owned. In other words, the fact that our shipping cargo container security is awful has nothing to do with ownership. Our government has a duty to secure 100 percent of the cargo containers, not just the ones at 30 percent of ports owned by foreign holding companies, or just the ones at six ports that may be owned by the UAE.
And while we're on the subject of WMD, why would a terrorist using shipping lanes to deliver a nuclear, biological or nerve-agent weapons even have to bother to dock at one of these foreign-controlled ports? They could just detonate their weapon in the ship in a bay, or near the shore, and still do catastrophic damage! They don't need to unload the cargo.
Finally, has anyone ever bothered to realize that the security of the origin port is far, far more important than the security of the destination port? I think I just pointed out that once the deadly cargo is loaded it's likely too late to stop it unless you happen to discover that the weapon exists during transoceanic transit.
#3: INTRODUCING... THE US FIFTH FLEET
Guess where US Navy warships head when they get some time off from Iraq responsibilities? That'd be the port of Jebel Ali, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This port is the United States Navy's Central Area of Responsibility (NAVCENT AOR) designated logistics site. In fact, Dubai is a frequent and favorite recreational hub for US Navy sailors in the US Fifth Fleet, and includes the Wild Wadi Water Park.
Next, the US 763rd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, keeping our planes over Iraq gassed up with fuel, is run out of... yep, the UAE's Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi.
So, let me see if I've got this straight... UAE cannot be trusted to be a financial holding company of six American ports, where they would not even a security responsibility, but we've got no problems whatsoever with the UAE being equal security partners for our naval ships and personnel? That dog don't hunt.
By the way, Dubai Ports operate ports in Australia (our Iraqi Coalition partner), Romania, Germany and the Dominican Republic, and previously purchased the international assets of the American CSX Corporation in 2004.
#4: THE CHINA DEALS
Opponents cite public and Republican uproar over Chinese commercial control of the Panama Canal (a Clinton deal), and that Congress blocked a Chinese company from purchasing UNOCAL. But, if I recall, China just a few years back knocked down on our reconnaissance craft and makes aggressive military gestures towards Taiwan on a weekly basis. When the UAE treats us that poorly this will be an argument. Until that day, the UAE is still an ally.
#5: TREATMENT OF ALLIES
Speaking of allied obligations, the entire world, including governments on the fence on the war on terror, are watching to see how we treat the UAE, our ally.
As I've noted before, if some 9-11 happenstances relating to UAE are dealbreakers then we must make the same distinction towards, say, Germany - where three of the four hijack pilots were radicalized, and where a German court released Mounir el Motassadeq, a friend of those hijackers and 9-11 logistics officer Ramzi Binalshibh. El Motassadeq even admitted training at an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan and being friends with the hijackers. But wait, there's more. Germany also aquitted Abdelghani Mzoudi. The German judge was quoted as saying, "You were acquitted not because the court is convinced of your innocence, but because the evidence was not enough to convict you." German standards of terrorist involvement are higher than in the US, and unnecessarily so.
So you tell me, who's the better pal, Germany or the UAE (who assisted in the war in Afghanistan, and are assisting the Coalition in Iraq, and are even helping train Iraqi forces)? Yet, would this uproar have occurred had the port company been German, not Arabic?
Dubai also became the first Arab government to join the Container Security Initiative (CSI). According to the US Customs CSI is, "the only multinational program in place in the world today that is protecting global trade lanes from being exploited and disrupted by international terrorists." Meaning, the UAE was vetted for its addition to the CSI a full year before this port deal.
Frankly, we need UAE as much as they need us. If we screw Dubai out of this deal they'd be right to say "find another port" to the US Fifth fleet. They'd be right to ask our air force to find a new fueling base. They'd be right to stop helping us in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And, then, what happens if the US needs Dubai for, say, an excursion into Syria or Iran (you know, to stop those nuke plants)?
#5b: TREATMENT OF ALLIES CON'T
By the way, the United Arab Emirates contributed $100 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
What strange bedfellow have been created by the Bush Administration's decision to allow the United Arab Emirates state-owned Dubai Ports World to acquire six US ports owned by the British company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation. The ports are operated in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.
Bush - who has not once used his veto powers in five years - is threatening to veto any legislation, likely to come from Republicans, which tries to block the deal. In his corner is Jimmy Carter. Yes, that same Jimmy Carter who just two weeks ago used the funeral of Coretta Scott King to attack Bush for
On the other side, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert and other congressional republicans are finding themselves in bed with any Democrat, such as Hillary Clinton, looking to use this opportunity to prove they're tough on national security. The logic there is rather odd, eh: Bush cannot dare tap the communications of al Qaeda suspects, or dare put them in Guantanamo once we capture them holding C4 and an AK-47, but he must stop a private financial transaction between the UK and UAE because it's supposedly a national security issue?
Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen recently voted against extending the Patriot Act, which aimed to correct the tangible and factual shortcomings of national security, but frets over the hypothetical (and strawman) national security issues regarding a UAE holding company. That's out of wack!
National Review published today an article weighing the topic among five national security experts. They are split, it would seem. For instance, conservative Michael Ledeen was totally against the deal, whereas fellow conservative James Robbins cites many examples in which the UAE has been an ally on the war in terror.
Well, let's get to some facts:
1) The port workers will be the same under Dubai Ports World as they were under Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation - Americans.
Indeed, it's like our Toyota plants - Japanese owned, but American operated.
2) The security for the ports will be under control of the US Coast Guard - same as before.
3) Dubai Ports World is simply a holding company. They own it, and will operate it as a business. If terrorists blow it to shreds they make no money. Better still, for a change it will be an Arab government dependent upon American enterprise. Kill 'em with capitalism. Furthermore, we better start learning to adapt to a global economy. Yelling "stop" as the bolder of economic maturity rolls down the hill of capitalism will get us nowhere. The best way to push radicalism out of the UAE is to show their people that they have a vested interest in a profitable relationship with the US.
4) And I feel this a major point not yet made. Opponents of the deal cite the UAE as a central component of the 9-11 plot because money was laundered through that country. However, this criticism is pointlessly geographic based. It is two-dimensional, archaic, 20th century thinking.
With this logic we should oppose both British and German ownership of the ports because three of the four 9-11 hijack pilots, including Mohammed Atta, came from and were radicalized in Hamburg, Germany; while the British, thanks to the still fully operational Finsbury Park mosque operated by Abu Hamza, have given us "Shoebomber" Richard Reid and James Ujaama, who pled guilty in 2003 to providing support to the Taliban, and who was running a militant training camp in Oregon.
You see, the thing is, Europe has just as much a problem with radical Islam as the UAE or any other Muslim nation. The sooner they, and we, understand this, the sooner we'll stop missing the forest for the trees by focusing on something as irrelevant as what holding company has financial ownership of an asset.
My friend Frogbrother once described al Qaeda as a hydra, the multi-headed dragon of lore. He's right. But it's not just al Qaeda. That hydra's biggest head might be al Qaeda, but the others are state-less organizations from Tehran to Dubai to Hamburg to London to Bly, Oregon.
P.S. - Think Cheney is glad to have this steal some attention? While I stand by the analysis that Cheney's shooting hurt the self-absorbed carping media more than he, if the Bush people planned the port fight it was brillant.
A Nixon Center study of 373 mujahideen in western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals -- eligible to travel visa-free to the United States.
... But it is estimated that between 15 and 20 million Muslims now call Europe home and make up four to five percent of its total population. (Muslims in the United States probably do not exceed 3 million, accounting for less than two percent of the total population.) France has the largest proportion of Muslims (seven to ten percent of its total population), followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Given continued immigration and high Muslim fertility rates, the National Intelligence Council projects that Europe's Muslim population will double by 2025.
-- Europe's Angry Muslims, Robert S. Leiken, From Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005
I predicted last week that mainstream media would overplay their hand on their coverage of Dick Cheney and it would appear that is highly accurate. Now, that and $4 will buy me a latte at Starbucks because I was hardly the only one who thought this.
According to the media watchdog Media Research Center the "Big Three networks aired 34 stories in the first 48 hours of evening and morning newscasts." NBC's David Gregory, who excels in being pompous, ended up apologizing hat-in-hand on Meet The Press for losing his cool with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. You'd have thought Gregory was Lt. Kaffee and Cheney on trail for ordering a Code Red. (By the way, the funniest quote about Gregory came from Michelle Malkin, who noted that Gregory's "self-absorption rivals the leading brand of paper towels.")
Those who follow media matters should not be surprised that the media hates Cheney (a little more on that below). Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal - one of those rare conservative bastions in print journalism - called the media coverage of the Cheney shooting "malice aforethought." Bret Stephens cited a Rasmussen poll in which 57% [of those polled] categorized the incident as simply an "embarrassing" event whereas 27% felt the shooting should raise "serious questions."
Bret Stephens: "And you have a mainstream media that is more responsive to those 27% and, I would say, a hard core of conspiracy theorists, then they are to their reading public."
Exactly. The media is truly showing their bias when they're pandering to the 27 percent, and not serving the 57 percent who saw the incident as exactly what it was - an unfortunate accident.
In most polls a 57 to 27 percent swing is a pretty solid indication of the public's mood. Once again, the public shows that it's a hell of a lot smarter than the mainstream press gives them credit for.
First and foremost, the accident occurred at about 5:30 PM. It took the ambulance 30 minutes to arrive. It's now 6 PM. The ambulance went to a Kingsville hospital, and then there's a helicopter flight to another hospital - Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial. In other words it was about 10 PM before Cheney got first word of Whittington's status. They
Next is the shameful and baseless media allegation that Cheney was drunk. The public didn't buy it. It never took hold. Included in Cheney's hunting group were ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Pamela Pitzer Willeford. Meaning, her political career is on the line were she to cover for Cheney had he been drunk at the time of the shooting. In all there were some eight persons - tough to keep eight mouths silenced were the police even the slightest suspicious that Cheney were drunk. If anything, the press allegation shows their stereotype - they truly think that all hunters are a bunch of drunk good-ole boys who blast away indiscriminately.
As William F. Buckley noted, the true sin was that "the party drove not to the nearest newspaper, but to the hospital." Heaven forbid. The media is so self-absorbed they can't fathom that Cheney would be more worried about his friend then his media image. Indeed, had Cheney released a statement to the media with the speed they desire it would only prove that he was more interested in covering himself than the health of his friend. And you can bet dollars to donuts that the media would have lambasted him for this.
As for the aftermath, that WSJ panel also noted that some conservatives - such as the WSJ's own Peggy Noonan - are questioning whether President Bush should use this as an opportunity to dump Cheney. My, how ungrateful some of we conservatives are. As an aside I thought Noonan's biography of Reagan was great, but frankly, she can be a bit of a loon from time to time.
I seem to recall in the debates before the 2000 election Cheney single-handedly scoring a huge victory that kept attention off the fact that Bush wasn't a great debater (albeit ironically the press, in yet another overplayed hand, prepped Americans with such low expectations of Bush's debate ability that he actually was perceived as holding hiw own -- but it was Cheney that shined). It was Cheney who kept the base with Bush in the early rounds, as people questioned Bush's government experience, and now some want to cast him aside?
Perhaps the most obvious reason why it would be stupid to do that is because it would just provide reinforcement and vindication for the press. Who'd be the next media target? With such a victory under their belt perhaps they'd gun for Alberto Gonzales or Karl Rove.
Finally, perhaps the biggest inconvenience for the Left - Harry Whittington not only lived but defended Cheney: "My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this week."
I guess in the end it is Mr. Whittington who gets the last word... just as it should be.
It's all in the pictures they publish...
Have you ever noticed...
That with few exceptions...
In every picture they publish... (ah! my favorite!)
Cheney is sneering...
Or just glum...
CHENEY SMASH!!! CHENEY EAT CHILDREN!!!
But, um, remember that CNN employee who purposely put an "X" over Cheney's face during a press conference?
Asked at a press conference for her reaction about how the White House has handled the incident, US Senator Hillary Clinton called the Bush administration's failure to be more forthcoming "troubling."
"A tendency of this administration -- from the top all the way to the bottom -- is to withhold information ... to refuse to be forthcoming about information that is of significance and relevance to the jobs that all of you do, and the interests of the American people," Clinton said.
Seems to me that the Clintons of all people have zero credibility or moral authority when it comes speaking about withholding information and obfuscation in general.
The Lewinski scandal, frankly, wasn't even the most serious of the Clinton administration scandals. Indeed, the GOP overplayed its hand there instead of focusing on far more serious issues, including the Clinton administrations questionable missile technology trade with China or Cattlegate, or Travelgate, or Xeroxgate.
Now I'm not saying that every scandal had teeth (although many did). I'm not even going to point out that 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clintons have been convicted of or plead guilty to crimes, that 14 of them have been imprisoned, that $11 million in fines have been levied against them; or even that Clinton's former national security advisor, Sandy "Socks" Berger, plead guilty to stealing (hiding them in his socks) and destroying copies of classified documents from the National Archives related to the 9-11 investigation (well, I just did).
But I hope I've just emphasized that if Mrs. Clinton believes that simple allegation of misdoing is enough to label someone as secretive then she's the last person on earth who should be accusing another of that!
Here's a tongue-in-cheek WSJ op-ed that sums it up well: No alcohol, no delay in calling the cops, no conspiracy. Cheney's true sin? The media feels sidestepped. That's what this feigned rage is truly about.
February 15, 2006; Page A16
The press corps is outraged that the White House waited 20 hours or so to disclose that Vice President Dick Cheney had shot a hunting companion, and we can see why. Don't these Bush people understand that the coverup is worse than the crime?
In the name of media solidarity, and in the interest of restraining the Imperial Presidency, we have put together the following coverup timeline with crucial questions that deserve to be answered:
• 5:30 p.m., Saturday (all times Central Standard Time). Mr. Cheney sprays Harry Whittington with birdshot, and the Secret Service immediately informs local police. Who is Harry Whittington and whom does he lobby for? Does he know Scooter Libby?
• 6:30 p.m. White House Chief of Staff Andy Card informs President Bush that there's been a hunting accident involving the Vice President's party. Did Mr. Bush ask followup questions? Was he intellectually curious?
• 7 p.m. Karl Rove tells Mr. Bush that it is Mr. Cheney who did the shooting. Why was this detail withheld for a full 30 minutes from the President? Who else did Mr. Rove talk to about this in the interim? Was Valerie Plame ever mentioned?
• 5 a.m., Sunday. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan learns that Mr. Cheney is the shooter. He also fails to alert the media. Did he rush to write talking points or fall back to sleep?
• 11 a.m. Katharine Armstrong, owner of the ranch where the shooting took place, blows the story sky-high by giving the news to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. According to Ms. Armstrong, Mr. Cheney told her to do what she thought made sense. Has Ms. Armstrong ever worked for Halliburton?
• 11:27 a.m., Monday. Mr. McClellan finally holds a press conference and gets grilled. One reporter actually asks (and we're not making this one up), "Would this be much more serious if the man had died?"
• 1:30 p.m. The Texas paper posts the story on its Web site, after calling the Veep's office for confirmation. Everyone involved confirms more or less everything, or so the official line goes. Their agreement is very suspicious.
For the record, Mr. McClellan replied, "Of course it would." We hope the 78-year-old Mr. Whittington recovers promptly after his heart attack yesterday. As for the Beltway press corps, it has once again earned the esteem in which it is held by the American public.
"We [Congressional Democrats] killed the Patriot Act" -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, December 2005.
Fortunately, the House backed a compromise on the Patriot Act, ensuring we won't go back to the head-in-the-sand days before 9-11. Even so, liberals fret over straw man fears rather than the terrorists trying to murder them. The NY Times recently opined that some Democrats "caved" on the Patriot Act renewal. Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold's** attempt to filibuster was all for naught.
Nonetheless remember these things and Reid's quote as you read the following:
According to [U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, (R-Pa.)] Weldon, the [Pentagon] lawyers told Able Danger members, "[Y]ou cannot pursue contact with the FBI against that cell. Mohamed Atta is in the U.S. on a green card and we are fearful of the fallout from the Waco incident," a reference to the FBI's raid on the David Koresh-led Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., in April 1993.
Media reports indicated that lawyers for Able Danger were concerned that sharing data with domestic law enforcement was illegal...
Weldon also said his staff is still identifying additional witnesses. "At least one additional witness has come forward who just retired from one of the intelligence agencies, who will also testify under oath that he was well-aware of and identified Mohammed Atta's both name and photo prior to 9/11 occurring." Weldon said.
"Today and tomorrow, Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer will testify in his uniform under oath in spite of an aggressive effort by [Defense Intelligence Agency] bureaucrats to tarnish his image," Weldon said.
The congressman has detailed a "smear campaign," allegedly conducted by DIA officials against Shaffer.
The information provided by Shaffer contradicts the official conclusion of the 9/11 Commission, that U.S. intelligence had not identified Atta as a terrorist before the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
Weldon also said that despite the fact that Dr. Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission has denied meeting with Shaffer, "irrefutable evidence" of a meeting will be presented at Wednesday's congressional hearing.
If you're not familiar with how things used to work, Patriot Act - that which the Democrats keep trying to "kill" - would have allowed those Pentagon investigators, in the summer of 2001, to pass their findings to the FBI, which could have then tagged Mohammed Atta and busted the 9-11 plot wide open. Instead we had 3,000 dead.
The Weldon story also teaches us something about government - party affiliation or not the system will always try to protect itself. It is for this reason that the 9-11 Commission will never blame its staff (which had the information and may or may not have passed it up to the commissioners before the hearings), and why the Bush administration will not use the information to defend it's post-9-11 moves or blame the Clinton era decisions to pursue terrorism as a law enforcement problem. Because they all share some blame they will all move to protect the system.
** Russ Feingold, you'll recall is a co-author of the Campaign Finance "Reform" Act. So, to whit, Russ wishes to ruin the Patriot Act for its supposed limitations on civil liberties, while his Campaign Finance act - which forbids you or I from running a paid political advertisement against him in the 30 days before his election - actually does limit civil liberty.
History is warped — or, when inconvenient, omitted entirely. There is not a word about three successful elections in Iraq, or American efforts to depose dictators and establish democracies in Grenada, Panama, and the Balkans, much less the American effort to promote reform in Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine. The removal of the Taliban and the new democracy in Afghanistan are never mentioned. American soldiers are shown taping and handcuffing Iraqi civilians, never building schools or power plants (the Iraq War, Karen Kwiatkowski assures us, “had nothing to do with the liberation of the Iraqi people”). We, of course, “armed” Saddam (whose crimes are never mentioned); yet we are never told that less than 5 percent of his arsenal was American-made, or that the billions given to Stalin to fight Hitler is the story of realpolitik par excellence.
The Bomb was not dropped on Hiroshima, as Gore Vidal assures us, “to show off” or “to show Stalin” something about our ability to wage “preemptive World War,” but because just a few weeks earlier we had incurred 50,000 American deaths and injuries on Okinawa, a number that could have been dwarfed by an assault on the Japanese mainland. And Chalmers Johnson needs a history lesson about Rome: Its greatest bloodletting was a product of civil war during the late republic, not during the early empire (in which the Augustan army shrank in size and imperial writers railed about the newfound pernicious effects of a “luxurious peace”).
Nor was the Iraqi war an unauthorized executive decision: Unlike Bill Clinton’s 1999 bombing of Milosevic, the Iraq War was approved by the Senate, which offered 23 reasons to remove Saddam Hussein, almost all of them ignored in the film. The Cold War is always evoked, but never in the context of trying to contain a political system that led to 100 million killed under Stalin and Mao. Instead, it is Cliffs-noted as mostly a colossal waste of American resources, all squandered in pursuit of profits.
Documentary makers like Jarecki fail to realize that the ascendance of Fox News and conservative talk-radio is directly correlated to the arrogance of the big networks, whose anchors seem to believe that their slant will be taken as gospel. The elitism and bias of public television and radio is of the same kind that prompted the prairie revolt that the loggers have mounted against the smugness of the mainstream newspaper guild. Why We Fight shows precisely why the documentary industry now risks falling into the same pit of irrelevance. Such propaganda will either prompt a counter-response, replete with similar biased techniques, mustered by the Right, or it could bring about a new counter-genre altogether — as most Americans start to skip these tired left-wing melodramas. Splicing together gory pictures, liberal elites talking down to clueless Americans, and missiles rolling off an assembly line isn’t even silly any more. It’s just boring.
That's author and columnist Victor Hanson Davis' film review of the documentary Why We Fight, but his comments could just as easily be applied to the Left's way of thinking - rather their historical revision - on all things foreign policy.
One thing must be said: the lie of the Holocaust is being re-marketed in order to blackmail Europe... and in order to use it in the subjugation of the Arabs to the Zionist hegemony. However, history, as well as the future, cannot be shaped with lies, even if these lies are of the caliber of the 'Holocaust' lie, the greatest lie in History.
With regard to the fraud of the Holocaust- Many French studies have proven that this is no more than a fabrication, a lie, and a fraud!!"
"Nobody in the West dares to stand up, when the subject is the fictitious Nazi Holocaust against the Jews of Europe."
History has not witnessed a people who have mastered lying, dodgery, and myth making such as the Israelis. Their most famous myth is that of the so-called Holocaust. Since the invention of this word, they have been living on it and blackmailing the whole world."
Zionism hides the dark chapters of its black history. It invents stories regarding the Nazi Holocaust in which the Jews suffered and inflates them to astronomic proportions...
The Zionist enterprise on the land of Palestine succeeded by means of lies and myths, from the myth of the 'Chosen People' and the 'Promised Land' to the lie about the burning of the Jews in the Nazi gas chambers during World War II.
We were educated from childhood that the Holocaust is a big lie. -- Muhammad Al-Zurqani, former editor-in-chief of Al-Liwaa Al-Islami.
The Holocaust was carried out with the agreement of the Zionist and the German leaderships. There was a very well-known agreement between the leadership of the World Zionist Organization and Hitler. -- Egyptian columnist Abd Al-Qader Yassin
In wartime, these two talents [creation and belief] are expressed through the lies of the media and the credulity of public opinion, gradually giving rise to legends which are accepted as undeniable historical truths. The myth of Hitler's gas chambers and crematoria, called 'Holocaust,' is such an example.
The Holocaust is exploited to justify the Zionist policies and to justify the enemy state's right to exist. There is evidence, and scientific research, that prove the Holocaust is a lie.
They have managed to present themselves to the world as the only victims of the Nazis, excelling at misleading until they turned the greatest of lies into historical truth. I do not mean that they have succeeded in misleading the West and making it believe in the false Holocaust, but that they succeeded in persuading the Western world of the need to market these lies.
Jonah Goldberg had some good points regarding the Jyllands-Posten cartoons:
The riots and demonstrations across the Middle East and Western Europe (though not yet playing here) over some cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed have set off a parallel intellectual riot in the West over the nature of free speech and free expression. Many pundits and editorialists have worked feverishly to keep this a debate about the propriety of running cartoons. Some news outlets are updating their procedures so as not to offend "religious" sensibilities in the future.
The quotation marks around the word "religious" should say it all. We're not talking about "religion." We're talking about a specific religion - Islam. Does anyone truly think that the burning of Danish embassies and calls for the "slaughter" of those responsible by Muslim protestors have really taught the BBC or the New York Times to be more polite to evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews? Does anyone really think that Arabic newspapers - often state-owned - are going to stop recycling Nazi-era images of Jews as baby killers and hook-nosed conspirators because they've become enlightened to the notion that words can hurt?
Considering that an Iranian newspaper just announced a contest for the best Holocaust cartoon, the odds seem slim. Besides, why belittle the Holocaust in response to something a Danish newspaper did? (Partial credit given for the answer: "It's always useful to pick on the Jews.")
...Around the world, Muslims suffer from a mixture of legitimate grievances and an enormous inferiority complex. Muslim, and particularly Arab, governments have a vested interest in stirring up this sort of thing because it distracts from their own corrupt regimes. And the Muslim "street" seems to fall for it every time.
And so does much of the Western press. Sure, this is about freedom of expression, but it's also about so much more. Journalists just love to talk about freedom of the press. But they don't like to talk about that enormous chip on the shoulder of the Muslim world, and they really hate to say anything offensive to "oppressed" peoples.
The points are reinforced all over the Internet and throughout the mainstream media.
The NY Times opined by editorial that it was wise not to air the cartoons, however the NY Times had no problem whatsoever with publishing a photograph of a dung-clotted Virgin Mary painting in their art section today. I suppose it is fair to note that the article which showed the painting was making a comparison between Western and Muslim reactions, but to me it's all the more cowardly that the Times would apply this double standard -- fear not upsetting Catholics but heaven shall fall should they publish the Mohammed cartoons? Self-censorship never more, except regarding Islam?
The European Union and United Nations - ironically a large percentage of whose member nations have no free press or rights to expression or assembly - are issuing a joint apology to Islam for the cartoons. Will they demand the same of Arab governments whose media and spokespersons label Jews as "sons of monkeys," propagate racist themes such as Holocaust denial and Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Don't hold your breath on that.
Why the hypocrisy is especially blatant in the Muslim world itself. As a blogger in Cairo notes - alias of Sandmonkey, perhaps because Egypt isn't exactly known for free speech - these same cartoons were published in Egypt throughout Ramadan without a peep from the Islamic-Arab world.
Now while the arab Islamic population was going crazy over the outrage created by their government's media over these cartoons, their governments was benefiting from its people's distraction. The Saudi royal Family used it to distract its people from the outrage over the Hajj stampede. The Jordanian government used it to distract its people from their new minimum wage law demanded by their labor unions. The Syrian Government used it to create sectarian division in Lebanon and change the focus on the Harriri murder. And, finally, the Egyptian government is using it to distract us while it passes through the new Judiciary reforms and Social Security Bill- which will cut over $300 million dollars in benefits to some of Egypt's poorest families. But, see, the people were not paying attention, because they were too busy defending the prophet by sending out millions of e-mails and SMS-messages, boycotting cheese and Lego and burning Butter and the Danish Flag. Let's not even mention the idiots who went the usual route of "It's a Jewish conspiracy", spouted the stupid argument about the Holocaust, or went on a diatribe with the old favorite "There is an organized campaign-headed by the west and the Jews- to attack and discredit Islam, and we have to defend it". They proved, once again, that the arab world is retarded and deserves no better than its leaders.
Yowza, Mr. Sandmonkey seems angry, eh. (But in an aside to sandman, cutting inefficient government entitlements is never a bad idea.)
Anyway, underscoring the timing of all of this is a comment made by Wall Street Journal and National Review writer Claudia Rosett: "and it takes a fair amount of organization to get hold of Danish flags in Gaza, or burn an embassy in the police-state of Syria."
Organization indeed! If you don't know by now you can be sure that Islamic states, for all their inefficiencies, are quite efficient at stirring the masses, through their global jihadist and militant fronts.
Referring to fugitive al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Clinton said, "You cannot explain to me why we have not captured or killed the tallest man in Afghanistan."
I don't know, Mrs. Clinton, why don't you ask your husband. Seems he had the same troubles finding bin Laden too.
Christianity is routinely mocked and vilified in most counties where Islam is the dominant religion. Countless thousands of Christians have, in recent years, paid the ultimate price for practicing their faith among Muslims, including three young Indonesian girls butchered by Muslim psychopaths as they walked to Christian school. Hate-filled anti-Semitic cartoons pepper the pages of Arab and Muslim newspapers. Programs meant to incite hatred of Judaism and violence against Jews are regularly featured on Arab Muslim television networks. And yet, politicized Muslims, who rarely, if ever, categorically condemn the barbarous acts of their co-religionists and often cheer those same acts, behave as if they desire to see "infidel" blood spilled over a series of provocative drawings. Is their religion not strong enough to withstand the cartoon assault on it?
Let the Numbers Do the Talking
Patriot Act successes.
By Deroy Murdock
- With the Patriot Act's expiration looming this Friday, here are several numbers Congress should weigh while considering the reauthorization of this vital antiterrorism law:
- Total number of individuals who Islamic fanatics murdered in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on
- Cash sum that Patriot Act Section 371 let Customs agents seize when terror-tied
- Pounds of heroin that three al-Qaeda- and Taliban-linked
- Total terror-related defendants captured with the help of Patriot Act provisions: 401.
- Number of U.S House members who supported the Patriot Act on October 24, 2001: 357, while 66 demurred.
- Total terror-related defendants who have pleaded guilty or been convicted with the aid of Patriot Act provisions: 212.
- Total feet the
- Tally of
- According to federal prosecutor Ken Wainstein's January 3 comments after meeting with President Bush, number of U.S. attorneys who use "the Patriot Act tools each and every day in his or her efforts:" 93.
- As U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf notes, total years of prison time earned under the Patriot Act by Osama bin Laden's self-proclaimed spiritual adviser, Mohammed al-Moayad, for trying to funnel $20 million to al Qaeda and Hamas: 75.
- Number of scholars, former Cabinet members, and other prominent Americans — including Democratic ex-CIA directors James Schlesinger and R. James Woolsey — who - I joined in signing a January 25 open letter advocating the Patriot Act's reauthorization: 68
- Years that David Wayne Hull, former Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, will spend behind bars after Patriot Act Section 201 helped convict him for plotting to blow up abortion clinics with hand grenades: 12.
- Number of northern Virginia Islamofascists jailed after the Patriot Act's information-sharing provisions let spies and cops jointly determine that they had trained in Afghan and Pakistani terror camps between 1999 and 2001: Eight.
- Total al Qaeda associates in
- According to the Associated Press, number of tickets for American Airlines Flight 77 that Pentagon-bound 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi purchased online, using William Patterson University's library computers, that might have been detected were Patriot Act Section 215 in place: Two.
- Number of Portland Seven extremists who escaped the Patriot Act by being killed by Pakistani troops on October 3, 2003: One.
- Total number of individuals who Muslim terrorists have killed on American soil since adoption of the Patriot Act: Zero.
— Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in
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