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Shameless Self-Promotion

Buy this book (not just because it contains two of my op-eds):
Americans on Politics, Policy, and Pop Culture:
The 101 Best Opinion Editorials From OpEds.com


An Interview With the G-Man:
My first (hopefully not last) experience in live radio, being interviewed by G. Gordon Liddy!



Perspective
Joe Mariani

Number of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships by precision use of American military force under George W. Bush:
50 million in just two years

Number of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships by anti-American Bush-bashing terrorist-appeasing whining elitists:
Zero. Ever.
...

The problem seems to me to be the definition of "free speech". Liberals define it as anything they want to say or do that opposes America. I say "speech" ends where "action" begins. Once you pick up a gun for the enemy, throw a rock at a cop during a "peace" march, send money to a terrorist organisation, or travel to Baghdad to block an American JDAM with your ass, you have crossed the line from free speech to costly action.
...

Saying the War on Terror is all about al-Qaeda is like saying we should have fought the Japanese Naval Air Force after Pearl Harbor. Not the Japanese Navy, not the Japanese Army, not the Empire of Japan -- just the Naval Air Force.
...

Complaining about the "waste" when human embryos are destroyed instead of being used in medical experiments is a lot like going to a funeral and complaining about the waste of perfectly good meat.
...

Blaming CO2 for climate change is like blaming smoke for the fire. CO2 is largely a following, not a leading, indicator of a rise in temperature.
...

Cavalier's First Theorem:
Every time, Liberals will fight to protect the guilty and kill the innocent, while Conservatives will fight to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

Cavalier's Second Theorem:
Liberals are just Socialists who want to be loved... then again, Socialists are just Communists who lack the courage of their convictions.

Cavalier's Third Theorem:
Any strongly moral, hawkish or pro-American statement by a Liberal will inevitably be followed by a "but."


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The Ultimate War Simulation: Why does this scenario seem so familiar?

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Fellowship 9/11: Sauron never attacked Rohan, Saruman did! Yet a small group of elitists convinced Middle-earth to divert resources from the real war to attack Mordor for personal gain.


Analysis

When Democrats Attack
Did prominent Democrats switch positions on Iraq just to attack President Bush for political gain? (See the updated list.)

Was Iraqi Freedom Justified?
An honest, step-by-step analysis of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq that Congress voted into law shows that it was.

Saddam's Philanthropy of Terror
Details of solid ties to organised international terrorism

How The Left Betrayed Iraq
by Naseer Flayih Hasan

Did We Botch The Occupation?
No, not of Iraq: of Germany. Read the media's take on how we "lost the peace" in 1946 and compare.

Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About the Conflict in Iraq

Pictures from Hate Bush/Hate America/Hate Capitalism/Hate Israel/general wacko rallies
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The Fatal Conceit:
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Articles Previously Published at
Useless-Knowledge.com

- When Good Liberals Go Bad - 05/29/03
- How Stupid Do Democrats Think You Are? - 05/31/03
- Who Are These 'Rich' Getting Tax Cuts, Anyway? - 06/02/03
- How Can We Miss The Clintons If They Won't Go Away? - 06/04/03
- Whining of Mass Distraction: How To Discredit A President - 06/05/03
- Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 06/10/03
- Liberalism: Curable or Terminal? - 06/14/03
- Filibustering Judges: Hijacking Presidential Powers? - 06/17/03
- Is Hamas Exempt from the War on Terror? - 06/22/03
- How Malleable Is The Constitution? - 06/26/03
- Rejecting Our Biological and Cultural Heritage - 06/30/03
- I Need Liberal Assistance, Now! - 07/02/03
- Bring Them On - 07/03/03
- We Need You Arrogant Warmongering Americans...Again - 07/09/03
- Much Ado About Nothing, Again - 07/13/03
- Double Standard: Blindly Blame Bush - 07/18/03
- Was WWII Also Unjustified? - 07/20/03
- Clinton Backing Bush? Don't Bet On It! - 07/24/03
- How To Be A Hypocritical Liberal - 07/28/03
- The Clinton Legacy: In Answer to Mr. Stensrud - 07/30/03
-What Is 'Good News' To Liberals? - 08/02/03
- Bush's Big Blunder - 08/06/03
- The Meaning of Right - Why I Supported the Iraq War - 08/10/03
- More Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 08/14/03
- You Can Have Cary Grant; I'll Take John Wayne! - 08/19/03
- Where Is The ACLU When It's Actually Needed? - 08/25/03
- Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Ten Commandments? - 08/28/03
- From The Weasels: Thanks For Nothing - 08/30/03
- The Liberal Superfriends - 09/02/03
- Liberal Superfriends 2: The Sequel - 09/05/03
- Saddam and 9/11: Connect the Dots - 09/08/03
- Throwing Away the Southern Vote - 11/02/03
- Libya: The First Domino Falls - 12/20/03
- Is the UN Playing Games with American Politics? - 03/04/04


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Saturday, June 26, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths 5: The Moral United Nations

The Left's dogmatic insistence that the answer to all of America's foreign policy questions lie within the hallowed halls of the United Nations continues to bewilder the clear-thinking. The persistent belief that the UN is somehow the world's "moral compass" is due more to hopes and dreams than fact and reason. The UN's record of incompetence and corruption is truly mind-boggling, and it seems to grow every day.

The most well-known moral failure of the UN in recent memory took place in Rwanda, in 1994. UN peacekeeping troops did nothing to prevent Rwandans from being slaughtered in a spasm of "racial cleansing." The UN did worse than nothing -- Canadian General Romeo Dallaire was ordered to withdraw UN troops as the killing began. Soldiers and civilians of the Hutu majority killed more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in 100 days; an estimated 800,000 were murdered altogether. According to UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, "Ten years later, the children of Rwanda are still suffering the consequences of a conflict caused entirely by adults… For them, the genocide is not just a historical event, but an inescapable part of daily life today and tomorrow." Now the UN is repeating its Rwanda apathy in the Sudan, where Arab militia are murdering the inhabitants of Darfur (the western province) by the thousands. The Sudanese government -- dominated by the country's Arab minority -- denies that any ethnic-related violence is taking place against members of the Zaghawa, Fur and Masalit tribes. Vice President Ali Osman Taha accused the West of fabricating the situation. A statement from Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, estimated that "[i]f we get relief in, we could lose a third of a million. If we do not, it could be a million." The government of Sudan is obstructing the flow of aid to the people of Darfur. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he "cannot call the killing a genocide even though there have been massive violations of international humanitarian law." Apparently the phrase that became the UN's motto after Rwanda, "Never Again," meant "Until Next Time."

The UN's failures are not limited to inaction in the face of genocide. The UN's mismanagement -- to the point of complete bungling -- of the Balkans is appalling. After more than five years, the region is still in chaos. "The vagueness of the national status of Kosovo is a strain on people. Various nationalistic movements see this kind of a situation as insulting," said Harri Holkeri, the chief U.N. envoy in Kosovo. Racial violence is still a constant threat. Refugees still live in camps, afraid to return home. The people are so unhappy with the conditions there that they voted their former dictator Slobodan Milosevic a seat in Parliament, even as he sits in jail in The Hague.

As far as morals are concerned, the UN certainly has no right to claim the high ground. Sexual predators thinly disguised as UNHCR aid workers took advantage of their positions of power in West African nations to demand sex from children as the price of aid for their families. The BBC reported in 2002 that workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea had been exploiting those people who came to them for help. Now the sexual abuse in return for protection and food has moved to the Congo, where the 4,000 UN peacekeepers stationed in Bunia have fathered an unknown number of illegitimate children on unmarried girls. The head of the UN in Bunia, Dominique McAdams, said that she "requested evidence and proof on this matter, but I have not received anything from anyone." In the late 1990's, UN police in Bosnia were running a sex slave/forced prostitution ring. When it was discovered and reported by American policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac, she was fired from DynCorp, the company the UN had worked through to hire her.

The UN is also the seat of world-class fraud and corruption. The massive oil-for-food/oil voucher scandal (often nicknamed "UNSCAM" or  "oil-for-fraud") is only just beginning to make a dent in the "mainstream" news. Powerful and influential figures in UN member states, especially France and Russia, received millions of dollars in discounted oil vouchers, which could be sold on the open market. The list of 270 recipients (which covers just the year 1999) includes politicians, religious figures, and heads of corporations, many of whom figured prominently in the opposition to the liberation of Iraq. One name that stands out on the list is that of UN Undersecretary General Benon Sevan, head of the oil-for-food program that was set up in 1996 to guarantee that humanitarian aid reached the Iraqi people through the UN's sanctions. The UN itself oversaw each transaction, and took a 2.2% administrative fee, amounting to $1.2 billion over the years. Under UN mismanagement, deliberate or not, Saddam Hussein managed to siphon off over $10 billion with which to buy palaces, illegal weapons, and the United Nations.

Workers at the UN are well aware of the corruption surrounding them, but accept it as the only way to advance their careers. Deloitte Consulting LLC recently released the findings of the United Nations Organizational Integrity Survey 2004, which compiled responses of UN staff to a variety of questions concerning morals, integrity and organisational corruption. Of some 18,000 UN workers worldwide, about a third responded to the questions. The incredible results included such insights as, "Staff members feel unprotected when reporting violations of codes of conduct," by 46% unfavorable to 12% favorable responses. 65% of UN staff reported that they have observed breaches of ethical conduct. Only 15% agree that breaches are reported and 17% agree that they are investigated. 44% believe reporting violations is "career limiting." I have a feeling that Ms. Bolkovac would have agreed.

So this is the repository of moral superiority in the Western world, the organisation that Liberals feel uses its power more responsibly than the US. Even without debating the insanity of putting Libya in charge of the Human Rights Commission or Iraq in charge of the 2003 Conference on Disarmament (as was scheduled before Iraq was liberated a few months before), the UN is no more than the ultimate old-boy network of bribery and dishonesty. Sexual abuse, underhanded scandals, fraud, mass corruption and ethical breaches of all kinds permeate the United Nations while it pretends to hold a position of moral ascendancy. Putting the United States under its control, as many on the Left would do, would be just like having Bill Clinton back in the White House. Permanently.

Exploding Liberal Myths 11: Home Spying Hogwash 
Exploding Liberal Myths 10: The Plame Name Game
Exploding Liberal Myths 9: The Separation of Church and State 
Exploding Liberal Myths 8: The Nazi Meme 
Exploding Liberal Myths 7: Fidel Castro, Demigod?
Exploding Liberal Myths 6: A Less Safe Post-Iraq
Exploding Liberal Myths 4: Runaway Global Warming
Exploding Liberal Myths 3: Outsourcing Woes
Exploding Liberal Myths 2: The Eeevil PATRIOT Act
Exploding Liberal Myths 1: Nigerian Uranium  

UPDATE (28 June 04): The Washington Post is finally reporting on the Sudan situation. Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) recently visited a refugee camp. Perhaps they can get some help to those people before it's too late.


Posted at Saturday, June 26, 2004 by CavalierX
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Saturday, June 19, 2004
Paul Johnson and the Nature of the Enemy

How we Americans react to the horrible murder of Paul Johnson by al-Qaeda extremists will tell us a great deal about ourselves. We need to discover whether we are truly determined to stop terrorists or merely appease them, pushing the real fight down the road for another generation. The most common reaction was disbelief, but anyone who was surprised simply doesn't understand the enemy. Why is it such a shock that murderous extremists would kill one man, when they glory in committing mass murder nearly every day? Did anyone really think that prayer vigils and news footage of neighbors lighting candles would stop the terrorists from killing an "infidel"? It's about time we wake up and face the nature of this enemy. We cannot negotiate with them. We cannot bribe them. We cannot appeal to their better nature -- if they have such a thing, they already believe they're acting in accordance with it.

Terrorists firmly believe that God has instructed them to kill us all, en masse or one by one if need be. That's their grand scheme, their master plan, and everything they do works toward that end. Nothing can talk them out of that belief or weaken the resolve that springs from it. Exposing them to Western society only heightens their loathing of it, even as they partake of its freedoms. Their beliefs are rooted in a literal interpretation of the Qur'an, which contains passages such as:

Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah - whether he is slain or gets victory - soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).
- Sura 4.74

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
- Sura 9.5

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in battle), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them).
- Sura 47.4

The Saudi ruling family has turned a blind eye to the rise of the fanatical Wahhabi sect (an 18th century fundamentalist movement of the Sunni form of Islam) for far too long. Worse -- in return for the forbearance of terrorist groups, the Saudis have actively assisted and funded them. That truce cost the Saudis dearly, according to testimony by Dr. Alex Alexiev before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism in June 2003. "Between 1975 and 1987, the Saudis admit to having spent $48 billion or $4 billion per year on "overseas development aid," a figure which by the end of 2002 grew to over $70 billion (281 billion Saudi rials)," Alexiev stated. "The Saudi money is spent according to a carefully designed plan to enhance Wahhabi influence and control at the expense of mainstream Muslims. In Muslim countries, much of the aid goes to fund religious madrassas that teach little more than hatred of the infidels, while producing barely literate Jihadi cadres. There are now tens of thousands of these madrassas run by the Wahhabis' Deobandi allies in South Asia and also throughout Southeastern Asia. In Pakistan alone, foreign funding of these madrassas, most of which comes from Saudi Arabia, is estimated at no less than $350 million per year." After 9/11, President Pervez Musharraf vowed to reform Pakistan's madrassa schools, but his efforts have had little effect so far.

So what form should our response to these terrible murders of American citizens take? Most Liberals and Democrats favor what they call a "nuanced" approach -- trying to come to an agreement with groups like al-Qaeda. Find out what they want and give it to them. Certainly the terrorists will make demands, but -- as always -- return to the attack after gaining the concessions they request. Ask Israel for examples of the futility of negotiating with terrorists. Trying to reason Islamofascist fanatics out of their beliefs is like trying to reason a mad dog out of its rabies -- it only gives the dog another chance to bite. There's no "nuance" to a knife -- it cuts you, or it doesn't. There's no "nuance" to death, either. One minute Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg and now Paul Johnson were alive, and the next they were dead, beheaded by Muslim extremists who believe they were told by God to "smite at their necks."

Killing or arresting the individuals who commit these atrocities won't be enough. We need to go to the source. One thing we can do is shut down the madrassas right here in the US, stop the funding flowing to them from so-called "charities," and pressure our allies to do the same. At one such school, the Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia, students "file into their Islamic studies class, where the textbooks tell them the Day of Judgment can't come until Jesus Christ returns to Earth, breaks the cross and converts everyone to Islam, and until Muslims start attacking Jews." At another, "[m]aps of the Middle East hang on classroom walls, but Israel is missing." Nationally, there are estimated to be 200 to 600 of these schools, with at least 30,000 students. Thousands of others attend Islamic weekend schools, according to Valerie Strauss and Emily Wax of the Washington Post. (Yes, even Washington Post stories can contain facts, buried as they are in prose overly sympathetic to the beleaguered students of jihad schools. Their story, written less than six months after 9/11, made it a point to report that "students in class also talk about the taunts they face outside the school gates -- being called 'terrorist' and 'bomber' -- and ask whether Osama bin Laden is simply the victim of such prejudice." It took less than six months to Blame America First.) We need to pressure the Saudi ruling family to stop the financing of terrorist groups from within their country. The bargain they had made with al-Qaeda is obviously over; the royal family must decide whether they want to be counted among our friends or our enemies. Saudi Arabia has been moving inexorably toward civil war since King Fahd's 1995 stroke left the government too weakened to contain the frustration among the citizens; now is the time to gain these concessions from them.

We have the ability to stop terrorism at its source, but do we have the will? The upcoming Presidential election will be a referendum on the war against terrorism more than anything else. Do we want to have a "nuanced" conversation with the kind of people who behead innocents on camera for their religion, or do we want to stop the "barbaric people" and "extremist thugs" that President Bush understands them to be? We'll find out in just a few short months.


Posted at Saturday, June 19, 2004 by CavalierX
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Sunday, June 13, 2004
Iran's Growing Nuclear Threat

For years, the Iranian government has been playing games with the world about its nuclear program, claiming that they were only interested in peaceful nuclear development. That lie is about to be disproved in the most terrible way possible -- by the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power.

For reference, ordinary natural uranium has an atomic weight of 238. Only .72 percent of naturally-occurring uranium consists of an unstable isotope with a weight of 235. Various complex methods can be used to separate the lighter uranium from the mix; the most common is by gas centrifuge, of the sort that was found buried under a rosebush in Iraq. Highly-enriched uranium (HEU) contains more than 20 percent Uranium-235. Weapons-grade HEU consists of more than 90 percent pure U-235. A power-generating reactor can be fueled with lower grades of uranium; there is no need for HEU unless you want a sustained nuclear fission reaction -- in other words, a nuclear bomb.

After months of playing hide-and-seek with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has taken a hard-line stance against any restrictions on its nuclear program. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said, "Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path." The "nuclear club" consists of those countries that admit to having nuclear weapons -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, China, and most recently Pakistan and India. North Korea claims to have working nuclear weapons, but has not yet openly tested one, and Israel is suspected of having them. Libya was close to achieving nuclear capability, but Moammar Ghaddafi wisely gave up his ambitions in that direction after the US-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq in March 2003. Though Iran claimed to have halted its uranium enrichment program, inspectors from the IAEA have repeatedly found traces of highly-enriched uranium at multiple sites in Iran.

Iran has been caught in lies regarding its nuclear weapons programs before, and has covered up very badly. When IAEA inspectors tried in May 2004 to visit suspicious sites they had seen only months earlier, they found that the sites themselves had vanished. The buildings that the inspectors believed contained working enrichment facilities were gone, and in their place were freshly-planted flowerbeds. The Iranians pretended that no buildings had ever been there, even when shown aerial and satellite photographs of the missing buildings. Now, they refuse to keep up even a weak pretense. What else could it mean but the imminence of their nuclear ambition being fulfilled?

A radical fundamentalist government which sponsors global terrorism gaining nuclear capability is a horror that cannot be allowed to happen. If terrorists are willing to blow themselves up in cars packed with explosives or strap on "bomb belts" in order to kill innocent civilians in restaurants and buses, why would they balk at using nuclear weapons in the same way? If they believe they will be rewarded in the afterlife for killing a few children on a schoolbus, what reward do they think they'll receive for wiping an entire city off the map? It's no longer a matter of if, but when. If we allow Tehran to create nuclear weapons, how long will it be before we wake up to find that a nuclear bomb has destroyed a major city like Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Paris, New York, London or Washington DC? Every place on Earth that terrorists have struck, they would have attacked with nuclear weapons if it had been possible. Next time, it might be.

What can be done to stop this threat? If we think we have the time -- and that depends entirely on our intelligence services, which have not exactly had a good track record in the Middle East -- we can attempt to impose sanctions. Most of Iran's oil exports are shipped through the Straits of Hormuz, which can be blockaded with just a small percentage of America's naval force. With the bulk of its oil income halted, the Iranian economy would collapse, but not overnight. Will we have the determination to keep up the blockade long enough? Other oil-exporting nations would undoubtedly halt their exports to any participating nations, and gas and oil prices would rise higher than ever before. (One has to wonder whether this is why President Bush refuses to release oil from the nation's emergency reserve.) The only other option is to strike Iran's suspected nuclear facilities before they can enrich enough uranium to build a weapon, although knowing their locations depends on our intelligence services as well.

The only certainty either way is that the "mainstream" media, Democrats and Liberals would vilify President Bush even more than they already do, if that's even possible. One really has to wonder whose side they're on. Of course, they wouldn't be too kind to him if whole cities began to disappear, either.


Posted at Sunday, June 13, 2004 by CavalierX
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Thursday, June 10, 2004
Rewriting Ronald Reagan

The death of former President Ronald Reagan has brought out the worst and most vitriolic of his and America's critics, all trying to minimise the positive aspects and results of his eight years in office. Even CNN and the Associated Press are getting in on the action. When trying to focus public attention on the few negatives of his Presidency doesn't serve their purpose, the jackals resort to distorting and even creating the facts. Even when they speak well of him, they speak only of his winning personality, his inveterate optimism and his ability to communicate, while ignoring his policies and accomplishments. Most of us remember President Reagan as the man responsible for revitalising the American spirit, bringing the economy out of its tailspin and defeating the Soviet Union -- immense and daunting tasks at the time. The completion of any one of them would be cause enough to honor and respect the man; Ronald Reagan accomplished all three and more. The haters, as usual, focus exclusively on the negative, no matter how minor. They want to paint a picture of a President who "ignored" AIDS, started wars for fun, and just happened to be in the White House when the Soviet Union collapsed of its own accord. It's a false portrait.

The cry that "President Reagan ignored AIDS" is simply ridiculous. AIDS was not identified until 1981, and Reagan's government spent $5.7 billion on AIDS research, beginning in 1983. In 1988 - the last year he was in office -- there were only 32,311 cases of AIDS diagnosed in the US, and a drug had already been approved that held the promise of treatment. By way of comparison, there were over 62,000 cases of diabetes diagnosed in the United States that same year, yet no outcry about this was heard from the Left then or now. It amazes me that Liberals don't try to blame Reagan (or current President Bush, for that matter) for not halting the scourge of diabetes, a disease which has killed more people than AIDS. It's not about lives, of course, but lifestyle. Liberals have been trying to turn AIDS into a "romantic disease" (no pun intended, of course), much like consumption (tuberculosis) in the 19th century. Unfortunately, AIDS is often spread by the deliberate actions of the infected. There's no romanticising that, and no drug can stop it.

Liberals often excoriate Reagan for his liberation of Grenada and support of Nicaraguan rebels. His opposition to the spread of Communism in Central America (as well as the rest of the world) seems to infuriate them. Generally, the people actually liberated from those Communist regimes have a very different view of President Reagan. "Nicaragua is free because of Ronald Reagan," said Nicaraguan banker Roberto Arguello. "He was highly focused on getting rid of the Sandinistas. He made it part of his strategy to get rid of the evil empire that had planted seeds in Nicaragua, Cuba and Grenada. Ronald Reagan is revered by Nicaraguans." Reagan warned the nation of the growing Soviet threat in Central America in 1986. "A few years ago, then-Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko noted that Central America was, quote, 'boiling like a cauldron' and ripe for revolution," Reagan said. "In a Moscow meeting in 1983, Soviet Chief of Staff Marshal Ogarkov declared: 'Over two decades ... there was only Cuba in Latin America. Today there are Nicaragua, Grenada, and a serious battle is going on in El Salvador.' But we don't need their quotes; the American forces who liberated Grenada captured thousands of documents that demonstrated Soviet intent to bring Communist revolution home to the Western Hemisphere." It was partly by halting the spread of Russia's influence and power that Reagan was able to defeat them.

While Liberals believed that the United States should be reconciled to the existence of the USSR and the continuation of the failed containment policy known as the Cold War, Ronald Reagan saw a way to bring that government to its knees -- now, in our time. He increased our military budget, forcing the USSR to increase their own military spending to match. In fact, given the 28.3% increase in the Gross Domestic Product during the 1980's, the overall increase in military spending as a percentage of the GDP only increased by .6% during Reagan's term, though it nearly doubled in dollar amount from $158 billion to $304 billion (in 1987 dollars). To the Soviet economy, however, a drastic increase in spending was unsustainable, and Reagan's proposed ant-ballistic missile defense system (Strategic Defense Initiative) a death-blow. The USSR could never hope to match it. The moment that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev insisted that SDI research be stopped at the summit in Reykjavik, and Reagan walked away from the table, the Soviet Union was doomed. The critics may have a point -- if we had just waited another fifty or a hundred years, the Soviet Union may well have suffered an economic collapse. At what cost? During that time billions of people would have lived out their lives in fear and virtual slavery, and no one can tell how many would have died in its death throes. No collapsing government has ever gone quietly onto "the ash heap of history" of its own volition.

And Communist Russia needed to be defeated -- totalitarian governments which rob their citizens of life, liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness are the antithesis of what America is all about. We are by nature -- or ought to be -- opposed to such regimes. Though there were and still are other oppressive governments in the world, Ronald Reagan defeated the chief of them all, the one that funded and fueled so many others. In a way, his economic and foreign policies were cut from the same Conservative cloth. He believed in giving people a chance, not a handout.


Posted at Thursday, June 10, 2004 by CavalierX
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Sunday, June 06, 2004
Goodbye, Mr. President


more images of Ronald Reagan

The death of former President Ronald Reagan marks the passing of one of America's finest. As President, he took on the Soviet Union and won, he slashed taxes and brought back economic prosperity, and he rebuilt America's military as well as the Republican party, both suffering so badly from the after-effects of both Vietnam and Watergate. More than that, he gave us back our pride in being Americans. Ronald Reagan gave us back our optomism, our sense that as great as America is, it will be greater still.

The late 1970's were marred by a feeling of malaise and loss of control; that America had passed her peak and was spiraling downward to her end. Vietnam had damaged our national pride and our sense of purpose, and the Watergate scandal and resignation of the President introduced a profund distrust in both our country and our leaders. We were full of doubt about ourselves and our future. Nuclear war seemed inevitable. The recession with its high inflation and the energy crisis with its long lines at the gas stations caused the economy to stutter and stumble from bad to worse. The future loomed over the country like a dark cloud. Reagan reversed all of that. His upbeat, confident vision inspired all Americans. His detractors at the time faulted him for his sunny outlook and talk of a bright future. The American people ignored the nay-sayers and elected him over sitting President Jimmy Carter, 489 electoral votes to Carter's 49. When Reagan ran for re-election in 1984, he won 49 states and 525 electoral votes in the biggest landslide in American history. We believed in him, and he delivered.

His policies, however, were not what endeared him to the American people. It was his personal warmth and sense of humor, which he kept even in the worst circumstances. When he was shot by would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. in 1981 and was rushed to the hospital, he looked around at the surgeons and joked, "I hope you're all Republicans." When he awoke to find his wife Nancy at his side, he told her, "Sorry, honey, I forgot to duck." When testing a microphone for a sound check in 1984, he quipped, "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes." Of course, it turned out that the microphone was live after all.

There's no way to pick out a particular favorite quote of his; there were so many. He was, after all, known as the Great Communicator. One of the most touching Reagan quotes, however, was from his speech after the Challenger shuttle disaster in 1986. "We will never forget them nor the last time that we saw them -- this morning, as they prepared for the journey, and waved good-bye, and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God."

Ronald Reagan has himself slipped the surly bonds of Earth, and he will be sorely missed.

Ronald Reagan Quotes from RightWingNews
Ronald Reagan Quotes part 2 from RightWingNews
Ronald Reagan's Farewell Speech to the Nation
The Reagan Legacy


Posted at Sunday, June 06, 2004 by CavalierX
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Saturday, June 05, 2004
Tenet's Resignation: Opportunity for Change?

The resignation of CIA director George Tenet is bound to become yet another political football for President Bush's vitriolic opponents in this most-vicious-ever election year. However, it could present an opportunity for the current Administration as well. The appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense led to the beginning of a sweeping transformation  -- America's military is becoming a more mobile, flexible, precise fighting force. A new CIA director with vision could and should reconfigure our intelligence service to meet modern challenges in the same way. In a post-Cold War, post-9/11 world, we need a less bureaucratic, more responsive, flexible, human-based intelligence agency.

The intelligence problems did not start with George Tenet's appointment as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) in 1997. They began long before that, perhaps with the 1975 Church Commission report on covert action by the CIA in Chile, which stated that "covert action has been perceived as middle ground between diplomatic representation and the overt use of military force," and concluded that use of covert operations "may have been far too broad." The report recommended that "[g]iven the costs of covert action, it should be resorted to only to counter severe threats to the national security of the United States." This set the model for the CIA's opponents ever since, and has prevented any effective use of the Agency. Between Senator Frank Church and Stansfield Turner (President Carter's DCI from 1977-81), the Central Intelligence Agency lost most of its intelligence-gathering and covert operation capabilities, which were never fully regained. Turner revamped the CIA so that it ran, as he wrote to President Carter in 1977, "ethically and soundly." The only "ethical" way to gather information is by using technological means, instead of human. High-tech methods still worked against high-tech enemies like the Soviet Union, but (as we now realise) are almost completely useless for overhearing terrorists meeting in a cave in Afghanistan. The CIA designed for and focused on Eastern Europe was blind and deaf in the Middle East. We've been fighting a very hot war with a Cold War spy agency.

The "new and improved" ethical CIA's first major failure was the Ayatollah Khomeini's coup against the Shah of Iran in 1979, which no one was able to predict. After 241 Marines were killed in 1983 by a suicide bomber, a member of Iran-backed Hezbollah, the CIA's limited resources should have been increased and expanded to confront emerging enemies in the Middle East, but the CIA's ponderous bureaucracy resisted reform. Even after terrorists backed by Iraq bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, after the Cold War had already ended, the CIA was not reconfigured to meet the new threat. As a result, al-Qaeda and their affiliates were not prevented from bombing the Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassies at Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam in 1998, or the USS Cole at a Yemeni dock in 2000. We also had no warning about 9/11, but that was due as much to the wall created between law enforcement and intelligence agencies by the now-infamous 1995 Gorelick memo as to lack of human intelligence.

Counter-terrorism isn't the only area where we have been nearly blind all these years, however. We had no idea, for instance, that North Korea reneged on their 1994 agreement to freeze their nuclear program before the ink was dry. We were unaware that Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, was selling nuclear know-how to the highest bidders in North Korea, Iran and Libya. We didn't know that Libya was much closer to a nuclear weapon than previously suspected when Moammar Ghaddafi phoned Italy's Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi to say, "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid." We only suspected that Saddam was cheating on the oil-for-food program with the complicity of France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United Nations itself. Worst of all, perhaps, was the fact that we could not tell how badly Saddam was cheating the UN's weapons inspectors, with what, where, and by how much. The threat of what Iraq might be doing right under our noses, with our enemies, was so severe that we needed to promise the use of force to make Saddam finally comply with his obligations under the 1991 cease-fire... and carry out that promise when he refused to do so.

President Bush's detractors seem to believe that we had no enemies during the 1990's. The truth is that we just didn't know who they were, where they were, or what they were doing. However, George Tenet can hardly be blamed for a systematic failure of our intelligence stretching back three decades. Instead of all the hand-wringing and finger-pointing that comprises the bulk of the workday in Washington DC, our elected officials should be looking for the person who can rebuild the CIA.

If the choice were mine, I might consider Dr. Paul Wolfowitz, currently the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Not only does he understand intelligence work from the perspective of its impact on policy decisions, but his selection would ensure smooth cooperation between the CIA and the Pentagon. If the White House is considering the option of combining various intelligence services into one, Wolfowitz would be a good choice to oversee that reorganisation. As a bonus, putting Paul Wolfowitz in charge of the CIA would drive the Liberals into a whirling dervish dance of hate and frustration.

Florida Congressman Porter Goss is a more likely choice, given that he was once a Central Intelligence Agency Clandestine Services Officer and is currently Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. He also served on the Subcommittee on Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counter Intelligence. He would bring insight and experience to the job that few others could, but may lack the drive to push through the exhaustive reforms necessary.

A bold choice would be Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, a non-partisan group whose analyses of defense policy are generally respected. Gaffney briefly served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy under President Reagan. His views on the need for CIA reform with respect to human intelligence gathering and human analysis as well are widely known. Perhaps he'll have a chance to put his ideas into practice.

President Bush will most likely wait until after the election to name a new DCI, and that's wise. Few people would have the tough hide necessary to withstand the coming onslaught of criticism -- deserved or not -- from the Left. An appointee will have to face Senate confirmation hearings, if the Democrats in the Senate don't simply block the vote from taking place (as they blocked President Bush's judicial appointees from coming to a vote). The "findings" of the 9/11 inquisition will be made known in July... just in time for the Democratic National Convention.

After all, it's an election year, and the Democrats will stop at nothing to regain the White House.


Posted at Saturday, June 05, 2004 by CavalierX
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Monday, May 31, 2004
On the Dearth of Heroes and the Media

ABC. CBS. NBC. CNN. Time. Newsweek. The New York Times. The Los Angeles Times. The Washington Post. The leaders of the "mainstream" media have committed themselves to a relentless drumbeat of negativity concerning the war in Iraq, due to the ideological difference the vast majority of their journalists have with a Republican President as well as most Americans. The 2004 State of the News Media report found that 34% of national journalists consider themselves Liberals, while only 7% described themselves as Conservatives. That's nearly five times as many self-described Liberals in the media as Conservatives. Among the general American populace, 33% describe themselves as Conservatives, while only 20% think of themselves as Liberal.

Though almost no one actually likes wars, they occasionally become necessary, and our finest men and women are called to fight them. Liberals as a group consistently seek to avoid war at any cost whatsoever. They have been extremely vocal in their opposition to what they call President Bush's "adventure" in Iraq, since before the first soldier stepped over the border. They consistently seek to portray the conflict as something President Bush started for personal reasons, against the wishes of most Americans. In fact, Congress voted to give the President the authority to use military force in Iraq and the vast majority of the American people -- 72% according to an ABC News poll -- were behind the President when the fighting began in Iraq. Liberals -- especially those dominating the media -- did not approve the war, however, and have spared no opportunity to remind us of their position... and convince us that it was the position of most Americans as well. They also want us to believe that there was no Coalition of the Willing; that America fought Saddam alone, against the wishes of the entire world. In reality, it was only Saddam's trading partners France, Germany, Russia and China that were against us... but to Liberals, France and Germany ARE the world.

The media has the power to decide what stories from Iraq are reported, and how. If it weren't for smaller news outlets and the Internet, few of us would even realise that we are being deliberately and systematically robbed of Iraq war heroes. Few of us would realise how many people of how many nations are with us in this war, and how well they are doing in our common fight against terrorism.

The New York Times will probably never report the story of Corporal Samuel Toloza, one of 380 soldiers from El Salvador, which was carried in the Washington Times. Corporal Toloza, out of ammunition, bravely defended fallen members of his unit from Iraqi insurgents. He charged the enemy, armed only with a knife. "One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen." The Iraqis broke, and more Coalition troops arrived before they could regroup. Phil Kosnett, who heads the CPA in Najaf, has nominated six El Salvadorans for the Bronze Star. "These guys are punching way above their weight," Kosnett said. "They're probably the bravest and most professional troops I've every worked with." Yet their story is almost completely buried by the mainstream media's endless liturgy of doom, gloom and quagmire.

You will probably never see the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders mentioned on ABC, CBS or NBC. When attacked by over 100 of Moqtada al-Sadr's so-called militia (in reality a gang of thugs with a religious motif), the 20 or so soldiers fixed bayonets and mounted a 19th-century style charge. Taking only three casualties, the Scots captured or killed 35 of the enemy. No American media outlet saw fit to even mention this action, except those who carry Mark Steyn's opinion column. Not one seems to have thought of the Highlanders' action as newsworthy.

Last but certainly not least, no major media outlet seems to have reported the brave self-sacrifice of Marine Corporal Jason Dunham except The Wall Street Journal. When a would-be terrorist captured during a traffic stop dropped a live grenade, Cpl. Dunham apparently pulled off his helmet and slammed it down on the grenade, covering it with his own body. He saved not only two nearby fellow Marines, but any civilians in the other cars in line as well. Lt. Col. Lopez has recommended Cpl. Dunham for the Congressional Medal of Honor. "His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines," he wrote. The last Medals of Honor were awarded to the two Army Delta Force soldiers who gave their lives to protect a downed helicopter pilot in Somalia in 1993.

Why are the majority of news outlets ignoring these stories of bravery, honor, and self-sacrifice? Soldiers are only newsworthy, it seems, when their deaths can be used to turn popular opinion against President Bush and/or the liberation of Iraq. What right do "journalists" have to rob us of our heroes just to serve their anti-war, anti-Bush agenda... and still call themselves neutral? It's long past time to see through the lies and look at the mainstream media for what it really is.

UPDATE: Another hero ignored by the media, Marine Captain Brian R. Chontosh, recieved a well-deserved Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism" for his actions in Iraq. He saved his platoon from being trapped in a kill zone by what has been characterised as a "ferocious" and "audacious" attack. When he ran out of ammunition for his rifle and pistol, he picked up two of the enemy's rifles and used them, and finally cleared the enemy using one of their own dropped RPGs. All in all, he killed twenty of the enemy and saved the lives of his fellow Marines. The media's stark refusal to report this incredible tale is an insult to every American. 

Thanks to Claudia at Freedom of Thought for finding this story.


Posted at Monday, May 31, 2004 by CavalierX
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Thursday, May 27, 2004
The Sound of Silence: Iraq's WMDs Found

After spending more than a year attacking the Bush administration daily for their supposed failure to produce the WMDs that everyone -- including the United Nations, as well as most leading Democrats -- believed Saddam had hidden, the Left has suddenly gone strangely silent on the subject. The "mainstream" media has been tiptoeing around the discovery of a 155-mm mortar shell containing Sarin gas in Iraq, the contents of which have been confirmed. The shell was used as part of an improvised explosive device (IED) on a road near the Baghdad International Airport, and exploded as it was being disarmed.

The shell contained three liters of Sarin -- nearly a gallon. It was a type of shell designed to mix chemical components during flight, which was why the explosion didn't kill anyone (though two soldiers were treated for exposure). Three liters of Sarin is enough, if the components are mixed properly, to realistically kill hundreds, and potentially thousands. A concentration of 100 milligrams of Sarin per cubic meter of air is enough to constitute a lethal dose for half the people breathing it within one minute.

This type of chemical warfare shell had never been declared by Iraq -- it was not even known that Iraq had ever made them. The 1999 UNSCOM report on Iraq reported that thirty binary/Sarin shells were known to exist, and stated that all had been accounted for. According to UNSCOM, "Iraq developed a crude type of binary munition, whereby the final mixing of the two precursors to the agent was done inside the munition just before delivery." Someone actually had to physically pour the components of the Sarin (or other type of G-series nerve agent) into the shells before they could be fired. At least, that's how the ones we knew about worked.

So, a previously-unknown type of artillery shell is found in Iraq, containing an actual, verifiable chemical weapon. This is front page news, right? Should we expect apologies from formerly doubting Liberals? Newspapers filled with retractions from prominent Democrats? Conciliatory visits to President Bush from Jaques Chirac and Gerhardt Schroeder? Not so fast. Remember: it's an election year. Liberals, Democrats, terrorists and appeasers all want President Bush to lose the election so everyone can get back to business as usual. Terrorists want to get back to their implacable war against Western civilisation, and the others want to get back to trying to placate them. The media, as long as we let them get away with it, will only run stories that attack President Bush and undermine support for him. In fact, Liberals already have their spin on this Sarin find ready to go. The vast majority of them -- when you can get them to admit that the Sarin and the shell are real -- argue that it doesn't matter for one of four "reasons."

A. The shell is old, from before the 1991 Gulf War, so it's not what we were looking for.

Since the cease-fire that suspended the Gulf War depended on Saddam's handing over to the UN "[a]ll chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities", this shell is precisely what we were looking for, especially if it predates 1991. This shell and others like it is why the UN passed 17 resolutions demanding that Saddam disarm. No matter how old it was, it was still lethal. There is no statute of limitations on weapons of mass destruction.

B. There is only one shell, not a stockpile, so it doesn't mean anything.

This one shell contained enough WMD material to potentially kill as many people as died on 9/11, all by itself. Is it logical to assume that this is the only one in existence -- or just wishful thinking? The fact is that we still don't know how much Sarin Iraq actually produced. "At first, Iraq told UNSCOM that it had produced an estimated 250 tons of tabun and 812 tons of sarin. In 1995, Iraq changed its estimates and reported it had produced only 210 tons of tabun and 790 tons of sarin." (Yes, that's tons.) At the very least, it tells us that we haven't nearly finished looking for the WMDs that Saddam was supposed to surrender, and didn't. Besides... a shell containing mustard gas was also found. Well, maybe there were only two WMD shells in all of Iraq.

C. Just because Saddam had WMDs after all, it doesn't mean Bush didn't lie about them.

As ridiculous as it sounds, this appears to be the instinctive, defensive reaction of many Liberals to this news. They so badly need to believe that President Bush lied in order to legitimise their hatred of him that they're capable of this sort of twisted reasoning. The rationale seems to be that WMDs don't count if they aren't exactly where the CIA told us they were, as if they couldn't be moved.

D. The terrorists didn't even know it was a chemical shell.

Well, they do now. And they know where they found it, too.

We need to redouble our efforts to stop the terrorists and find Saddam's WMDs, before they're used to derail the new Iraqi government's formation. The media's refusal to give this news the coverage it deserves can only be due to a calculated attempt to reduce American support for our efforts in Iraq, including that of tracking down Saddam's banned weapons. The Left's deliberate silence on this subject for the purpose of influencing our election only helps our enemies.


Posted at Thursday, May 27, 2004 by CavalierX
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Sunday, May 23, 2004
Kerry's Theme: Anger, Bitterness, Cynicism and Communism?

It's taken him quite a long time, but John Kerry has finally settled on a campaign theme. On 17 May 2004, Kerry told the Wall Street Journal that "Talking about 'Let America be America again' is tapping into that value system that people think makes this country strong." The problem is that "Let America Be America Again" was actually a rather bitter poem written by a poet named Langston Hughes in 1938. A poem that repeats the claim that, "America never was America to me," and derides America's "false patriotic wreath" in much the same manner that today's Liberals attack displays of patriotism.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

This is the same Langston Hughes who wrote in 1932, in "Good-Morning, Revolution,"

Together,
We can take anything:
Factories, arsenals, buses, ships,
Railroads, forests, fields, orchards,
Bus lines, telegraphs, radios,
(Jesus! Raise hell with radios!)
Steel mills, coal mines, oil wells, gas,
All the tools of production.
(Great day in the morning!)
Everything—
And turn ‘em over to the people who work.
Rule and run ‘em for us people who work.

Boy! Them Radios—
Broadcasting that very first morning to USSR:
Another member the International Soviets done come
Greetings to the Socialist Soviet Republics
Hey you rioting workers everywhere greetings.
And we’ll sign it: Germany
Sign it: China
Sign it: Africa
Sign it: Poland
Sign it: Italy
Sign it: America
Sign it with my own name: Worker
On that day when no one will be hungry, cold, oppressed,
Anywhere in the world again
.

Hughes also wrote in his 1938 poem, "Goodbye Christ,"

Goodbye,
Christ Jesus Lord God Jehova,
Beat it on away from here now.
Make way for a new guy with no religion at all –
A real guy name
Marx communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME –
I said, ME!

Yes, Langston Hughes was a Communist, and his poetry strongly reflected that belief system. He is described by James Smethurst in his 1999 book The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946 as the author of "revolutionary or militant poems aimed at an audience defined largely by the cultural institutions of the CPUSA and the Comintern." Hughes was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953 to account for his membership in the Communist Party USA, but managed to convince the members that "the pro-Communist works he had published no longer represented his thinking." Unfortunately for his social life, "Communists bitterly resented the way he abandoned professed members of the party, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, whom Hughes had lauded in earlier decades." Hughes had coldly abandoned his principles to save his writing career. This is the theme for the Kerry campaign? These are the values that "people think makes this country strong" -- anger, bitterness, cynicism and Communism? If we ask, "what people think that?" would we be told that it's none of our business?

Well, at least it does express the attitude of the anti-war activists Kerry once represented as a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and those who still oppose freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people, while advocating Communism for all.

(Hat tip to CrushKerry.com for this one.)


Posted at Sunday, May 23, 2004 by CavalierX
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Friday, May 21, 2004
Congratulate the Enemy Over Abu Ghraib Fallout

It's a poor sort of person who can't admit when things go well for his or her enemy. It can be chivalrous to admire a brilliant tactical move or a stroke of luck. It's said that as he lay dying, King Richard I (the Lionheart) of England pardoned the bowman who killed him, congratulating him on the good shot. With that in mind, I think congratulations to the enemy are in order. America's own media has forced information-gathering from enemy prisoners to all but cease. This is a serious blow to America's ability to plan strategic operations. It's as if al-Jazeera made Abu Musab Zarqawi feel so ashamed of Nick Berg's brutal murder that he vowed to never kill again.

As a direct result of the overblown media feeding frenzy over the Abu Ghraib abuse photos, General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of all US forces in Iraq, has severely limited the techniques that can be used to question enemy prisoners. Forget about sleep deprivation, stressful positions, bland food, verbal threats and other rather gentle means of gaining information about terrorist and insurgent hideouts, personnel, weaponry and attack plans. Interrogators will now be limited to two basic techniques:

1. Asking for information
2. Saying "pretty please?"

At the same time, Lieutenant General David Barno, head of the Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan, is writing a new policy to insure that all captured terrorists  are treated with "dignity and respect." Surely when hardened al-Qaeda operatives see how politely US soldiers treat them, they'll feel compelled -- out of the goodness of their hearts, no doubt -- to tell their genial "hosts" exactly where al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders can be found and what their plans are. Would questioners be allowed to add, "with sugar on top?" to the dreaded technique #2 in extreme cases? Would they need written permission?

In a cave somewhere on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar are probably sharing a good laugh, knowing that Allah has given them an important morale-boosting victory against the Great Satan. They've just watched America disable its own information-gathering ability in a fit of agitated self-flagellation, something they could never have hoped to do. "Pretty please with sugar on top" doesn't make much of an impression on people who are eager to explode themselves while killing innocents in the in the belief it's a ticket to Paradise. It does nothing to alter their impression that America is too weak-willed to win a war against them. Could they be right, after all?

I'm not advocating that we torture or abuse prisoners for information, even if that would save American lives. There are other ways to gain knowledge without having to get medieval. Drugs like sodium pentothal and sodium amytal are completely painless (in fact, they're used as anesthetics), and a lot faster than weeks of "softening up" interrogation prospects. While they don't actually "force" a person to tell the truth, they do make one extremely talkative and open to suggestion. Skilled interrogators and psychologists should be able to gather useful information this way without giving Liberals at home the vapors. No terrorists would be embarrassed, while American and other lives might be saved. It's a win-win situation for everyone except our enemies.

The proscription against the use of drugs can and should be relaxed in these cases. The prisoners taken in both Iraq and Afghanistan do not come under the Geneva Convention's protection.  According to the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, article 4, part 2, prisoners of war must be former members of the regular armed forces, non-combatants, or:

Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

It doesn't matter whether you call them insurgents, terrorists or "freedom fighters" (though it's baffling that anyone fighting to destroy a fledgling democracy can be dignified that way). Those who fight in civilian clothing with hidden weapons, using them to target innocent non-combatants, simply should not be treated as though they're honorable opponents. Yet due to the incessant caterwauling in the media over the mistreatment of prisoners by a few soldiers, the military is forced to do that and more. Congratulations.

Treating prisoners humanely is one thing... sending our troops into battle blind and deaf is quite another. We need to find a middle ground, and now.


Posted at Friday, May 21, 2004 by CavalierX
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