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of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships
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under George W. Bush:
million in just two years
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...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....
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
For What Shall It Profit A Democrat?
I began to write a satire in which John Kerry accused President Bush of wanting to draft senior citizens to work in Halliburton's clandestine oil rigs, but it didn't seem funny. I scrapped it and began again, writing a spoof news report in which Kerry blamed Bush for the Black Death. That didn't seem very funny, either... then I realised why. If he thought it would gain him a single vote, Kerry would actually make these denunciations and more.
If you listen to the wild accusations and unfounded charges Kerry and his mouthpieces are leveling at President Bush, it seems that the Democrats are growing increasingly desperate. Almost 18 solid months of nonstop Bush-bashing, and they still can't quite manage to push Kerry ahead of the President in the polls to any degree. As Kerry winds down towards the end of his unusually negative campaign, it's clear that the only thing that keeps him from going under is the rhetoric of hate and fear. Whenever the news of the day can be spun to make Bush look bad, Kerry gains a temporary point or two. As long as he and his surrogates keep churning out the muck, Kerry's campaign can tread water. According to the Democrats, President Bush will steal your Grandma's social security check, draft everyone between the ages of 18 and 35 to die in wars of conquest, turn anyone left alive in the country into a corporate slave, insist on a throne instead of a seat at the UN, destroy the environment (presumably just because he hates it so), and personally infect any surviving Americans with the flu out of sheer malice. That's not America they're having drug-induced nightmares about -- it's Mordor! It's almost incomprehensible how they manage to make these allegations with straight faces. No wonder they seem so chummy with most Hollywood actor types and vice-versa... there's a hint of professional respect there. When asked why there's not the slightest hint of evidence of any such evil and violent purposes, not to mention the fact that no President could act on those intentions without the backing of Congress, glib Democrats tell gullible potential voters that these are all Bush's Secret Evil Plans, for Doing Evil Things in Secret. Of course you can't prove their existence -- They hide the evidence too well! Democrats aren't merely out of touch with mainstream America, they're getting out of touch with reality altogether. Are you really dumb enough to swallow this kind of two-dimensional cartoonish fantasy hype? John Kerry is counting on it.
Kerry's campaign digs itself a deeper hole every day with this sort of baseless drivel. Not even the miracle cures promised by John Edwards (if he and Kerry are elected) can save the Democrats from the mud they've chosen to cover themselves with. Even if they somehow manage to convince enough people to vote for Kerry out of hate and fear, the low moral standards of Democrat campaigning has still doomed them. Not being a religious person, I'm not given to quoting the Bible. (In fact, I'll admit that I'm really quoting the Bruce Willis/Tom Hanks movie "Bonfire of the Vanities," based on the Tom Wolfe novel.) But one question from that book applies to the Left: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? *
John Edwards promised that "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." Hallelujah! John Kerry scares young people and parents with hints about "the great potential of a draft," though every responsible person in the chain of command, up to and including President Bush, has unequivocally stated that there will definitely not be a draft. (In reality, the only people who proposed a draft were Democrats, and that as a political tool. Therefore, it must be a Secret Evil Plan!) Both Kerry and Edwards feel it's "fair game" to drag Dick Cheney's daughter Mary into the conversation when the subject of gay marriage comes up. Don't they know any other gay people? Kerry even accuses the President of responsibility for the shortage of flu shots... despite the fact that the only reason flu vaccines are in short supply, and manufactured overseas, is that manufacturers are too liable to litigation. By definition, after all, vaccines make some people sick. According to Jim Copeland of the Manhattan Institute, "From the early to mid-1980s, as tort litigation exploded, the number of U.S. vaccine manufacturers fell from 15 to three... So Congress took vaccines out of the courts and instead created a 'no-fault' system, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program... In recent years, however, the congressional safeguards have been eroded as enterprising trial lawyers have circumvented the law." Logic and reason, however, will not stop Kerry and Edwards from fear- and hate-mongering in hopes of scraping up enough votes to win the White House. No lie too big, no issue too small, no slander too vile to be used by Democrats to attack Bush.
The Democrats have already lost their souls in this drive for power. Whether it shall profit them is up to you.
* Note to the overly sensitive rabidly anti-religious reader: substitute "that which is moral, noble and ideal in the human heart" if the phrase "his own soul" gives you galloping hysteria. Sheesh.
Posted at Wednesday, October 20, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, October 17, 2004
An Open Letter to the Undecided Voter
The polls keep telling us there are still undecided voters out there. It's hard to believe, but I imagine they're the people who don't really pay attention to all the political stuff until they have to -- the way I used to be, in fact. The downside is that with less than a month to go, it's hard for them to get all the information they need, with all the Democrats spinning and spouting talking points like mad, aided by the "mainstream" media. Several times I've been asked why an undecided voter would choose to vote for President Bush. This is my answer. Feel free to pass it on.
First of all, and most importantly, President Bush has precisely the right idea on how to fight terrorism. Not only do we have to fight individual terrorists, but every nation or group that harbors, supplies, trains, or uses terrorists to attack their enemies must stop doing so. Their leaders must renounce the support of terror -- as Libya and Pakistan have done -- or face sanctions and diplomatic pressure -- as Syria does now -- culminating in the use of force if necessary. Al-Qaeda is Arabic for "the base." They're not an isolated group; their aim is to coordinate the activities of all terrorist groups, even non-Islamic ones like the Basque terror group ETA. This war is not about one group -- or one man, though Democrats like to characterise the entire war on terror as a single-minded manhunt for Osama bin Laden. It's far bigger than that. Kerry's idea is to fight al-Qaeda (and what if they change their name?) by negotiation and law enforcement means. You can't stop dictators from employing terror as a weapon by going to the UN, which gives them legitimacy and power. You can't stop them by arresting the foot soldiers of terror after they commit their "crimes." It's the same approach Clinton used, and it never stopped a single terrorist attack. That method doesn't work.
It's ridiculous to say that Iraq was a bad idea, or a diversion from the war on terror. Because Saddam has been removed, we don't have to wonder what he had hidden, or whether he would use it against us. We don't have to worry about his using the threat of WMDs to rule Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran. He refused to come clean despite 12 years and 17 UN resolutions, and was too great a threat based on his past behavior to leave alone. He was on the list of terror-sponsoring nations since the list was first created, with ties to several terror groups as well as international terror leaders like Abu Nidal. As a result of the war in Iraq, 25 million Iraqis no longer have to live under his regime of terror, torture and totalitarian brutality. Because we removed Saddam, we've uncovered and stopped the Pakistan nuclear proliferation ring, and Moammar Ghaddafi of Libya has renounced his WMD programs -- which were closer to fruition than we'd ever dreamed -- and his links to global terror. If Saddam had done so, it would have stopped the war. More importantly, perhaps, we've uncovered the extent of the corruption within the UN itself, as Saddam had turned the Oil-for-Food program into his personal cash cow. The Duelfer report revealed that Saddam was only awaiting the end of the sanctions to start brewing WMDs again, which he could have done within weeks. He never gave up his intention to do so, nor to use them to make himself a world power. We would have had to face him down sooner or later, and sooner was better, while he was still relatively weak.
On the subject of foreign relations, you must know that every policy proposal Kerry has put forward has already failed, yet he keeps plugging away. France, Germany and Russia have rejected Kerry's plan for them to send troops to Iraq. Iran has rejected Kerry's plan to give them nuclear fuel to stop them from making nuclear fuel (must be a nuance thing). China and Japan have rejected Kerry's plan to open bilateral talks with North Korea, after they have spent years working with us to get Kim Jong Il to allow six-way multilateral negotiations. Even Kerry's plan to import cheaper Canadian drugs has been rejected by over 30 Canadian drug companies. What does that mean for us, if Kerry gets elected? We will have no actual plans to deal with any of the current problems in the world that anyone -- except Kerry -- agrees with. And with the way he and his advocates have been insulting every country in the world that helped us in Iraq, he won't be able to find any allies among them. His own sister went to Australia, one of our biggest allies in Iraq, to campaign against Prime Minister Howard. She told the Aussies that they were in danger of a terrorist attack because they sent troops to Iraq, which Howard's opponent pledged to withdraw. Good on the Aussies, who re-elected Howard anyway.
On the economy, Bush also has the right idea. Cutting taxes gives small businesses the chance to expand and grow, as they have been doing for 11 straight quarters. The job numbers you hear about from the "mainstream" media are only half the story -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes both the Payroll Survey, which covers only large, established corporations, and the Household Survey, which covers small businesses, entrepreneurs, startups and consultants. As National Review Online noted after checking with the BLS: "Real-estate agents, general contractors, and self-employed professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and financial planners just aren’t part of [the Payroll] number." The Payroll survey is the only one that ever gets any media attention, but it's not the group which benefits most from the tax cuts. For instance, remember the disappointing August job creation numbers? The media and Democrats were crowing over the low payroll figure of 32,000 (later upgraded to 73,000), while totally ignoring the household figure of 629,000 new jobs created by small businesses! More businesses, more people working means more tax revenue, even at the lower rate. It's like an elementary school math problem: which makes you more money, 5 pies sold at $5 each, or 8 pies sold at $4 each, if it costs you $1 to make each pie? More tax revenue combined with spending controls means the deficit will shrink -- the projections show it'll be cut in half in five years. It also means more people NOT dependent on the government for their income, which means more individual freedom.
The Democrats are running a fear campaign about outsourcing, which has been happening since the Industrial Revolution as technology progresses in some places faster than others. They don't want you to know that insourcing has more than offset outsourcing -- just look up how many factories Hyundai, Samsung, Nissan, Honda and Mercedes have opened in the US. Companies like Turck (Germany), ING (Holland), Nestle (Switzerland) and Gamesa (Spain) among many others employ tens of thousands of Americans right here in America. The Democrats are only telling you one side of the free trade story.
One more thing about the economy: how can the Democrats complain that President Bush hasn't given enough money to certain programs while simultaneously complaining about the deficit? Their biggest complaint about No Child Left Behind and Medicare is not that too much money was spent on them, but that not ENOUGH money was spent! First, please remember that Congress holds the purse-strings, not the President. Second, it's just the Democrats' way of complaining, as they have always done, about spending money on the military... which, quite frankly, is the only Constitutionally-mandated legitimate government expense. It was due to Clinton's slashing of the military that we had to send the National Guard to fight a war, when their job is supposed to be guarding the homeland. Now John Kerry is complaining that they didn't have enough ammunition and body armor... which is strange, because he voted not to fund ammunition and body armor for them after they were already in combat. There is no excuse for that.
As for the fear of President Bush's religion influencing the decisions he makes... as an agnostic myself, it doesn't scare me. Almost all our Presidents have been very religious men. The majority of Americans are religious people. The fact that he's religious means he has moral values and principles, which our leaders should always have. The fact that he's open about it lets us know what those values are. Don't forget that the President does not act alone; Congress passes and repeals Federal laws (except, of course, when laws are created or struck down by judicial fiat, which needs to be stopped). This country was founded on laws derived from Judeo-Christian principles. English common law was (rather loosely) based on the Ten Commandments, as per William Blackstone's "Commentaries." Our own documents and monuments are full of references that prove the existence of this rather benign relationship. What his religion DOES influence is his compassion for others. I prefer a President who wants to do the right thing, who wants to help others, who has moral values that don't change and principles that don't bend with the wind. I don't think I could respect a President who says that he views abortion as murder (for instance), but doesn't mind if it happens every day.
Oh, one more thing while we're on the subject of principles: the French. They didn't just vote against us in the Security Council, they actively lobbied other countries on the council to vote against us, all on Saddam's behalf. They sold him their vote on the Security Council in return for oil. They sold the brutal dictator weapons and spare parts with which to fight us, right up until the eve of war. They vetoed the proposed 18th resolution on Iraq before Iraq even got a chance to read it! They chose to side with our enemy, as did the Russians and Chinese, who also had oil deals with him. Jacques Chirac chose oil contracts over France's 200 years of cooperation and friendship with America, and over doing what was right to help the Iraqi people. Chirac is no friend of ours, and it's time we stop pretending that he is. For that matter, the United Nations itself is the most corrupt, morally bankrupt collection of international criminals, totalitarian dictators and terrorist supporters ever assembled outside of a Bond film. President Bush will work with them as much as possible, but when work needs to be done and they balk and dither, they're the ones in the wrong. Take the current situation in Sudan as a prime example. Nothing will be done to help the poor people of Darfur until the US decides to do it. When we do, the cries of "imperialist!" and "warmonger!" will echo in the UN building once again, even as we "unilaterally" prevent a second Rwanda. I really don't believe Kerry would act in Darfur if the UN refuses to, do you?
Last, but not least, you might also want to consider the character and nature of America. The Democrats' main attacks on President Bush rather closely resemble the top ten attacks on him published by the Communist Party: outsourcing jobs, no "free" health care, no tighter corporate restrictions in the name of the environment, tax cuts "for the rich," false claims of his attacking civil rights, and so on. That should demonstrate to you that the Democrats are a little TOO far to the Left to lead a nation which supposedly values individual achievement, personal freedom coupled with personal responsibility, and all of whose citizens are guaranteed the most energetically defended and expansive rights of any nation on Earth.
Posted at Sunday, October 17, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Playing Dirty Politics with Dick's Daughter
Election year 2004 will doubtless go down in history as the year the Democrats outed themselves in public. Their long pretense at being the party of tolerance, caring and diversity has rung hollow for years, and their behavior this year has already ended the masquerade. There are no depths to which the Democrats will not sink in their feverish quest to regain power.
In January 2004, I theorised that the reason Dick Gephardt lost his bid for the Democratic nomination was due to the outspoken gay activism of his daughter Chrissy (See Dick Gephardt's Swan Song). I speculated that the prospect of a gay activist living in the White House might have been the deciding factor that persuaded some of the Democrats in Iowa (not the most Liberal state) to cast their votes for Kerry or Edwards instead. A poll of Iowans conducted in September 2003 showed a 65% opposition to gay "marriage," some of which surely must have been reflected in the votes.
The simple fact is that 60% of Americans overall do not want to allow gay marriages. Only 29% support it, no matter how many Liberals legislate it into being... as the Massachusetts Supreme Court did last year over the objections of the majority. The so-called "swing states" where this election will be decided show strong opposition to the subject. 52% of Michigan voters even support a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. 62% of Missourans and the same percentage of New Mexicans favor the ban. 56% of likely voters in Ohio, one of the most hotly contested states, supported a state ban on gay marriage.
Most of these "undecided" voters don't pay any attention to politics at all until the last few weeks. It would be a fair bet that most of them had no idea that one of Dick Cheney's daughters is gay. John Kerry and John Edwards cold-bloodedly planned to use the fact that Dick Cheney's daughter Mary is gay to drive undecided voters out of the Bush camp into their own. It might also have the effect of moving Cheney and the Republican base apart, causing some of them to withhold their votes. During the vice presidential debate, Edwards was asked about the proposed Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. His answer began: "Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy."
Now, Edwards' shamelessly throwing Ms. Cheney into the spotlight might have simply been interpreted as an attempt to rattle his opponent during a debate. As heartless and underhanded as that would have been, it was only half the story. During the third presidential debate, John Kerry did the same thing while debating President Bush! In response to the question, "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?" Senator Kerry began his response: "We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."
What earthly reason did Kerry have for dragging Cheney's daughter into the debate? Is she the only gay person he knows by name? He couldn't even give an actual quote from Ms. Cheney; he had to invent a response he supposed she might have given if asked the question. How does he know what she would have felt or said?
Using someone's children to attack him or her is a gutter tactic at best. The Cheneys are understandably upset at the repeated use of their daughter as a tool. Lynne Cheney said: "I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick." Kerry's attempt to backtrack, saying that he "was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with the issue," sounds hollow... especially in light of the fact that both John Edwards and Campaign Manager Mary Beth Cahill characterised Mary Cheney's sexual orientation as "fair game." Elizabeth Edwards inexplicably called Lynne Cheney's indignation at the way her daughter's personal life is being used as a political football indicative of "a certain amount of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences."
Kerry's purpose was to drive a wedge between the Bush-Cheney team and any socially conservative voters -- whatever their party -- in the swing states. He and Edwards planned in advance to insert Mary Cheney's sex life into their debates when the question of gay marriage inevitably came up. Whether their supporters in the so-called "mainstream" media are aiding them consciously (by overplaying the story) is immaterial, so long as everyone is reminded just weeks before the election that Dick Cheney has (gasp!) a gay daughter. It's election year dirty pool at its lowest. And it's not going to get any better before the election is over.
Of course, that probably won't be for months after election night, if I read the desperation of the Democrats correctly. If they're willing to highlight someone's sexual orientation for political gain, what won't they do? In Tennessee, Representative Craig Fitzhugh (who shares his office with the Kerry-Edwards campaign) is distributing anti-Bush flyers featuring Bush's head on the body of someone winning a Special Olympics race. The caption reads, "Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You're Still Retarded." The Democrats, unmasked at last, are even willing to insult the disabled and disadvantaged for the sake of votes.
That kind of says it all, doesn't it?
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is staying on top of the Tennessee campaign flyer story.
Posted at Thursday, October 14, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, October 11, 2004
Threat or Nuisance: A Handy Terrorist Guide
In January 2004, John Kerry revealed his September 10th mindset regarding terrorism when he said that he sees terrorism as "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation." That's the same Clintonian approach to the problem that allowed al-Qaeda to grow unchecked before 9/11. Despite his recent strong statements about fighting the war on terror (almost always followed by a "but," however) Kerry still doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of the war we're fighting. In a recent New York Times Magazine interview, Kerry stated, "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance." A nuisance? When were terrorists ever a "nuisance" to the innocent people they murdered? Could Kerry really be saying that it was right to ignore them as long as they only bombed other countries... and that it would be that way again? How can we ever go back to the ignorant, blind "place we were" before 9/11... and would we want to?
What exactly is a "nuisance level" of terrorism, anyway? How were terrorists only a nuisance before 9/11, when they suddenly (in Kerry's world) became a threat? How can you tell when your terrorists are at that mythical, tolerable September 10th level? A handy guide might help.
Nuisance: Terrorists who set a flaming bag of dog crap on the doormat, then ring the bell and run away.
Threat: Terrorists who set up IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and run away.
Nuisance: Terrorists who give their victims a wedgie.
Threat: Terrorists who behead their victims on video.
Nuisance: Terrorists who wear outrageous clothing to make a statement.
Threat: Terrorists who commit mass murder to make a statement.
Nuisance: Terrorists who demand your lunch money.
Threat: Terrorists who demand criminals be freed from prison.
Nuisance: Terrorists who take pennies from the "take a penny" dish at the 7-11 without ever leaving one.
Threat: Terrorists who take hostages.
Nuisance: Terrorists who steal cars for a joyride.
Threat: Terrorists who blow up cars.
Nuisance: Terrorists who skip school.
Threat: Terrorists who take over schools.
Nuisance: Terrorists with spitballs.
Threat: Terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.
Nuisance: Terrorists who paint graffiti on buildings.
Threat: Terrorists who blow up buildings.
Nuisance: Terrorists who send 'spam' email.
Threat: Terrorists who send anthrax in the mail.
Nuisance: Terrorists who blast loud music while you are trying to sleep.
Threat: Terrorists who blast national monuments, mosques, churches...
Nuisance: Terrorists who spend their time hanging out at the mall.
Threat: Terrorists who spend their time plotting to blow up the mall.
Perhaps when terrorists are reduced to the threat level of high school juvenile delinquents, we can treat them as such. As long as they continue to plot mass murder and destruction, I suggest we continue to fight them -- and those who train, harbor and support them -- exactly as we've begun.
Posted at Monday, October 11, 2004 by CavalierX
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Duelfer and the Demise of the UN
Since its inception in 1945, the core of the United Nations has been the UN Security Council (UNSC), the body responsible for carrying out the UN's promise to never again allow tyrants like Adolf Hitler to threaten the peace of the world. At the heart of the Council are its five permanent members, each of which gets an irrevocable veto on any proposal that comes up for a vote -- Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom and the USA. The idea that those five nations would cooperate with the ten elected members of the council to defuse any threats to world peace was the glue that held the Council, and the United Nations, together. Each had to trust that the others would act in the best interests of the world. The Council could decide to confront threats posed by rising tyrannies only by working together, and together would act to stop them. Like most fundamentally unworkable ideas, it's a very nice one; there's no doubt about that. In reality, very few nations will subsume their own interests to those of the entire world, if the two are incompatible. Now the trust the UNSC depended on has been shattered, the Council is broken, and the credibility of the United Nations itself is in ruins.
The Liberals who want to insist that President Bush "lied" about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction will no doubt wave a few paragraphs of Charles Duelfer’s thousand-page final report to the CIA as a victory flag. Any who do so are wrong, since all of the world's intelligence services -- not to mention almost every member of the US government -- warned us that he had them for over ten years. To claim that one man lied because he believed the years of accumulated evidence would be ridiculous. Our intelligence was compiled using the UN's own weapons inspection reports as a baseline; the UN was trusted to determine what Saddam had acquired, verify what he had destroyed, and report what he had not yet accounted for. The UN imposed sanctions on Iraq in order to force Saddam to comply with resolution after resolution demanding that he disarm, but he never did so. Duelfer's report shows that Saddam was only waiting for the sanctions to drop before his WMD programs went right back into operation. As the Washington Times summarised, "Saddam Hussein's goal through the 1990s and until the 2003 U.S. invasion was to end U.N. sanctions on Iraq, while working covertly to restore the country's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction."
Instead of enforcing those resolutions, the UN chose to create the Oil-For-Food (OFF) program, so that Saddam's intransigence would not bring undue hardship on his people. Unfortunately, that's about the only power sanctions actually have. In a democracy, the people would remove the leader who brought sanctions. In a dictatorship, that's simply not an option. The Duelfer report states that the OFF program actually allowed Saddam to remain in power, in addition to enriching him. "The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions." The members of the United Nations forced the Iraqi people to suffer for twelve years rather than face up to the responsibilities they assumed in 1945. Why would they do that?
The Duelfer report proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam Hussein had influenced the votes of three permanent members of the Security Council -- France, Russia and China. "One aspect of Saddam’s strategy of unhinging the UN’s sanctions against Iraq, centered on Saddam’s efforts to influence certain UNSC permanent members, such as Russia, France, and China and some nonpermanent (Syria, Ukraine) members to end UN sanctions. Under Saddam’s orders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) formulated and implemented a strategy aimed at these UNSC members and international public opinion with the purpose of ending UN sanctions and undermining its subsequent OFF program by diplomatic and economic means. At a minimum, Saddam wanted to divide the five permanent members and foment international public support of Iraq at the UN and throughout the world by a savvy public relations campaign and an extensive diplomatic effort." The three countries were promised lucrative oil deals giving them rights to rich oil fields in return for causing the sanctions to be removed. MSNBC reported, "In 1997, Russia’s LUKOIL signed contracts to develop Iraq’s West Qurna oil field. The same year, the China National Petroleum Corporation bought a 50 percent stake in the al-Ahdab oil field. (Both have been barred from developing those reserves by U.N. sanctions.) More recently, France’s TotalFinaElf has reportedly negotiated agreements to develop the much larger Majnoon field, but has not yet signed firm contracts to do so. Over the years, those deals complicated U.S. efforts to win support for tough action against Baghdad in the U.N. Security Council, where France, Russia and China are permanent members." Powerful and influential people in those countries and many more were bought with vouchers for profits on the sale of Iraqi oil. In France alone, individuals named were Charles Pascua, a former French Interior Minister, Patrick Maugein, whom the Iraqis considered a conduit to Chirac, and Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club. The oil voucher story is nothing new, having been broken by an independent Iraqi newspaper called al-Mada in January 2004, which I mentioned in February (Oil for Blood: Saddam Bought the Anti-War Movement).
Duelfer concluded that by 2001, "Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999." In 2000, the BBC described Russia, China and France as Saddam's "friends on the Security Council." University of Chicago professor Robert Pape told CNN in 2001, "U.S. policy toward Iraq doesn't have a long-term future due to international concerns over the sanctions from countries like Russia and France and from U.S. political concerns over rising gasoline prices." Now we know why the sanctions were falling apart. Even Benon Sevan, head of the OFF program, and a company associated with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son Kojo are named as voucher recipients. The UN's toothless internal investigation, though headed by Paul Volcker, is based on voluntary cooperation. It will never yield an answer we can trust.
Saddam had taken control of the OFF program through the provision that allowed him to choose which contractors supplied him with "allowed" materials. Duelfer reported that "the manipulation of UN OFF contracts emboldened Saddam to pursue his military reconstitution efforts starting in 1997 and peaking in 2001. These efforts covered conventional arms, dual-use goods acquisition, and some WMD-related programs." Saddam was taking kickbacks from the companies to which he awarded contracts, and pocketed over $11 billion between that and outright oil smuggling. However, one reason France, Russia and China had so much trouble getting the sanctions dropped despite their desperate lobbying was that the UN itself was making a 2.2% commission on every single transaction that took place under OFF. The United Nations made $1.2 billion from the continued misery of the Iraqi people, and saw no reason to kill the goose that was laying those golden eggs. But how could they ensure that the sanctions would remain in place?
The reports of weapons inspectors had a dual effect. On one hand, they assisted Saddam in his determination to convince the world that he retained stockpiles of illegal weapons, while keeping the hated sanctions in place on the other. According to Duelfer, Saddam feared an Iranian invasion, and saw his rumored WMD as the only deterrent. But why would the inspection reports contain such clear details about WMDs that Saddam no longer had? For instance, UNSCOM's 25 January 1999 report listed 19,180 liters of botulinum toxin produced, 10,820 liters used to fill shells, between 499 and 569 liters used in field trials, 118 liters wasted in handling, and between 7,665 and 7,735 liters reported as unilaterally destroyed. This either left 78 liters of this deadly substance missing, suggested the original amount produced was overstated by 62 liters, or something in between. Note that it only takes .09 micrograms -- less than a tenth of a millionth of a gram -- of botulinum to have a 50% chance of killing a 200 pound (90 kg) man. It was precisely this vague accounting that kept Iraq from acquiring the clean bill of health Saddam both desired and feared.
Is it possible that the UNMOVIC and UNSCOM weapons inspections reports were deliberately written in a vague way to keep the sanctions in force, so that the UN could continue to profit from them? That's a question that needs to be answered, but the UN cannot give us an answer we can trust. There was no chance, no matter how long we waited or how many diplomats we sent, that France, Russia or China would ever have allowed an invasion of Iraq. Their votes in the Security Council belonged to Saddam Hussein. The trust between members of the Council is broken. Who knows what other dictatorships have bought or would buy their votes, now that we know they're for sale? How can any vote ever be unquestioned again?
Posted at Saturday, October 09, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
A Pre-Failed Foreign Policy
Has anyone yet noticed that John Kerry's entire foreign policy platform seems to have collapsed before he even gets a chance to put it into operation? So far, every plan Kerry has advanced has been totally rejected by the foreign nations he expects to cooperate with him. Shouldn't this bother anyone who plans to vote for John Kerry? For that matter, shouldn't this news bother John Kerry? Yet he continues to repeat his pre-failed foreign policy dictums as though, once he's sitting in the Oval Office, all the foreign leaders currently telling him to get lost will begin asking what they can do to help. It's hard to understand that kind of hubris, and should be harder still to support it... especially while accusing President Bush of being arrogant towards the other countries he is actually working with.
Kerry's entire Iraq policy is centered on getting more of our "traditional allies" -- meaning France and Germany -- to send troops there. Although he and other Democrats daily label Iraq a mess, a quagmire, the "wrong war" and a mistake, Kerry has always blithely assumed that other countries were eager to send troops to take the place of American soldiers, so they could go home. The only reason they haven't, apparently, is that President Bush didn't say the secret word to make the duck drop down. The problem is that the nations Kerry is counting on to send troops have absolutely no intention of sending them under any circumstances. Kerry has said that his goal is to "replace most U.S. troops in Iraq with foreign forces within his first term." Yet according to the LA Times in August 2004, the "French and German governments have made [it] clear that sending troops is out of the question." Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, also ruled out a military deployment in Iraq. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say." Yet Kerry blindly continues to insist that he'll be able to gain their cooperation. During the first presidential debate with President Bush, he stated that he will "bring the allies back to the table." News flash: there is no table, Senator Kerry. The allies you want aren't coming. You've been stood up.
It's a sure bet that he won't be able to get any cooperation from the real allies we actually have in Iraq, after he stated that the US needed to join with other countries "not in some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted, but in a genuine coalition." As a result of this disrespect as well as Kerry's slight of Poland during the first presidential debate, Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski said, "It is unfortunate that a senator with 20-year experience doesn’t notice the Polish investment. It’s immoral." Kwasniewski added that he was "disappointed that our stance and the sacrifice of those soldiers are so marginalised," and opined that Kerry "thinks higher of a coalition that would include France and Germany together with the USA." Poland's premier Marek Belka said that Kerry "forgets that next to the American troops in Iraq are the British, the Australians, Poles, and also around 30 other countries that sent troops for stabilizing purposes, so it is surely a very broad coalition." Why do our true allies have to defend themselves against John Kerry?
In the same neighborhood, Iran is aggressively pursuing its nuclear program. Iran's leaders have openly declared their intention to join the "nuclear club," the name for the nations that have built nuclear weapons. "We want Iran to be recognized as a member of the nuclear club, that means Iran be recognized as a country having the nuclear fuel cycle, and enriching uranium. This is very difficult for the world to accept," said secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security Hassan Rohani in March 2004. Despite this, John Kerry seems to harbor a forlorn hope that they're just bluffing. Kerry's plan is to "offer Iran the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes," then wait and see whether they use it to build bombs. Unfortunately for John Kerry (but fortunately for nearly everyone else), Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected his plan. "We have the technology (to make nuclear fuel) and there is no need for us to beg from others." Does Kerry understand that his Master Plan for stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons by giving them the means to do so has already failed? This should be no surprise -- it's the exact same plan President Clinton used to stop North Korea from building nukes in 1994... a plan that failed almost immediately, as the North Koreans simply began enriching uranium instead of using plutonium for their weapons. Where there's a will, there's a way... which is why those with the clear intent to build illegal weapons must be stopped, not appeased.
Speaking of North Korea, Kerry's plan to augment the six-way multilateral talks with unilateral talks has also already drawn fire. The "direct bilateral talks" Kerry proposes would exclude the countries that have worked so hard to bring North Korea to the table, and with the most stake in North Korea's cooperation. China, in particular, did not respond well to Kerry's plan to appease Kim Jong Il by excluding them. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said the "entire international community" agreed that the six-nation approach was the best way to deal with North Korea's nuclear proliferation. So is John Kerry planning to go against the "entire international community" and deal with foreign nations in a unilateral fashion, after the Democrats have spent nearly two years (so far) complaining that President Bush went against the entire international community to deal with foreign nations in a unilateral fashion (a word that apparently means "with only 45 allies instead of 46")?
France, Germany, Russia and Iran have already rejected Kerry’s proposed Middle East foreign policies. His proposed North Korea policy has already been rejected by China. No one seems to be asking Kerry what "plan B" is, or whether he even has one. Maybe there's no need to do so... it seems clear from most of his campaign rhetoric that his fallback position is to go to the UN and call for summits. "I have a plan to have a summit with all of the allies," Kerry said in the first presidential debate with President Bush. While Kerry is meeting with diplomats, what does he think our enemies will be doing?
Perhaps they'll be busy holding summits of their own, like the "terror summit" held at Kuala Lumpur in 2000 to finalise the 9/11 attack plans. This time, however, probable members of the Saddam Fedayeen like Ahmed Hikmat Shakir won't be able to attend. Their boss is out of business.
UPDATE: Even Kerry's plan to import cheap drugs from Canada has failed. According to the Financial Times, 17 Oct 2004:
More than 30 Canadian internet pharmacies have decided not to accept bulk orders of prescription drugs from US states and municipalities.
The move delivers a potentially serious setback to US politicians, most notably Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, campaigning to give Americans easier access to cheap drugs from Canada.
Posted at Wednesday, October 06, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, October 04, 2004
Who Grades John Kerry's Global Test?
"No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."
- John Kerry, 30 September 2004
According to John Kerry, the United States has the "right" to launch a preemptive strike on an enemy, yet we "have to" do it in a way that meets international approval afterwards. That's not a right -- that's tentative permission pending a review board, with hell to pay if they conclude you made a wrong decision. Under those conditions, we would hardly be able to act at all, hamstrung by the need to please other countries, none of which would place our interests above their own. If we don't act to protect and even advance our own interests, no one else will, unless the action happens to be in their interest as well. No proposal or threat by the United States would ever be taken seriously again; fear of disapproval by "the world" would keep us on a tight leash. This is the stuff of which Liberal dreams are made, of course.
John Kerry specifically spoke of a "global test" that America needs to pass whenever we defend ourselves proactively. According to him, we have to prove that we acted "for legitimate reasons" in the estimation of "the world." Does he mean that every other country must always agree with our actions, or only certain countries -- and if so, which countries? Who, precisely, gets to grade this test? What if even one of those countries disagrees with us -- should we not act at all, even if America's leaders deem action necessary? Since when is "the world" anything like a single body of stern, yet wise and fair elders (as opposed to a squabbling group of selfish children)? Who are these wise elders we need to report to, and what gives them any right to judge us? America's actions are to be judged by the American people alone; our leaders are accountable to us before anyone else.
It seems that Kerry has held the same position his entire political career on one issue, after all. His statement about a global test is in lockstep with his 1970 declaration to the Harvard Crimson that he'd "like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations." Kerry's insistence that he only voted to give President Bush the authority to go to the United Nations to discuss Iraq, not to use military force against Iraq, is also in line with this idea that America must never deploy troops outside our borders without international approval. "The vote for authorization is interpreted by a lot of people as a vote to go to war," Kerry told the Washington Times in September 2004. "It wasn't a vote to go that day. It was a vote to go through the process of going to the U.N., building the allies and then making a judgment of whether we had to go." President Bush did, in fact, do all of this... even giving Saddam three months longer than the UN specified before imposing "serious consequences" for Iraq's non-compliance. The bill on which Kerry voted Yes in October 2002, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (Public Law 107-243), contains no provision that UN approval must be sought before using that force. It should be noted that the Authorization contained in a single document every one of the reasons the Bush administration has ever given for using military force against Iraq, which proves Kerry's claim that President Bush changed the rationale for war in Iraq after the fact to be a lie.
Kerry's position on international approval for US foreign policy decisions also explains why Kerry constantly pressed President Bush to give the UN more authority in Iraq, even after the UN abandoned the country when Sergio De Mello, the UN envoy to Iraq, was killed in a terrorist attack. Hans Von Sponeck, a former administrator for the UN oil-for-food program that had been hopelessly corrupted by Saddam, used the pullout as a demand for more UN power over Iraq. "Having lost the ability to improve the security situation for the time being, the US must now concede in the Security Council immediate responsibility on authority to the United Nations," Von Sponeck told Radio Netherlands in September 2003. In April 2004, Senator Kerry complained on 'Meet the Press' that President Bush "won’t transfer to the U.N. the real authority for determining how the government emerges, how we will do the reconstruction of Iraq."
"I'm an internationalist," John Kerry told the Harvard Crimson over thirty years ago, and certainly seems to have been faithful to that doctrine, if few others. That may be a qualification for Secretary-General of the United Nations, but not for President of the United States, to whom the welfare of the United States must always -- always -- come first.
Posted at Monday, October 04, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, October 01, 2004
Bush vs. Kerry: The Foreign Policy Debate
To put it simply, John Kerry won the 30 September debate with President Bush on style, but lost on substance. Kerry supporters are gushing about how "he looked so Presidential," as though posing for a White House photo op will strike fear into the hearts of terrorists around the globe. Maybe Kerry could audition for a spot ON The West Wing, but not IN it. Real life isn't a tv show; talking points don't keep the country safe. Despite the questions that were hopelessly biased against him, President Bush showed the same determination he has for nearly four years, although he was apparently annoyed when listening to Kerry's relentless negativity, vague assurances, fact-twisting, attacks on Bush's character and misrepresentations. If Bush seemed disgusted when Kerry lauded his own Vietnam war protest activities -- calling the war a hopeless quagmire being fought for illegal reasons and lies, the same as he is doing to Iraq today -- well, so was I. Just goes to show that Bush is human, too.
The first question moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS asked Kerry was, "Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?" Lehrer's first question to Bush, on the other hand, was, "Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?" The way the questions were worded allowed Kerry to begin on a positive note, while forcing Bush to begin on a negative note. Remember that Lehrer's idea of commentary on the Ronald Reagan tribute at the GOP convention was reciting the Liberal talking points against "Reaganomics" by way of rebuttal. His questions during the 2000 presidential debates were also left-leaning. Lehrer continued to toss challenging questions at John Kerry like "What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in these areas?" and "Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?" -- effectively setting Kerry up to pound his talking points. Stores like the Sports Authority had better take note -- they need to restock on softballs. Bush, on the other hand, continued to get questions like, "What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?" and "You have said there was a, quote, 'miscalculation,' of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation, and how did it happen?" Is it any wonder President Bush spent the entire debate on the defensive? He was debating two opponents -- Senator Kerry and Jim Lehrer!
What points Kerry did make reeked of September 10th Clintonian appeasement. His answer to North Korea's breaking of the 1994 agreement not to pursue nuclear weapons? He blamed it on Bush, although (to the best of my recollection) Bush was not the President in the mid-1990's, when the agreement was broken. After Bush's tough diplomatic work to bring more nations into multilateral talks with Kim Jong Il, Kerry now wants to hold bilateral talks with North Korea. Perhaps we can sign a new agreement, just like 1994. By the time we discover they've broken that too, Kerry will be safely out of office. President Bush had to waste his time correcting Kerry's facts on North Korea. "And by the way, the breach on the agreement was not through plutonium. The breach on the agreement is highly enriched uranium. That's what we caught him doing." Clinton's grand idea was to give North Korea nuclear fuel to test them, to see whether they used it for peaceful purposes, and it failed miserably -- they secretly built nukes. Now Kerry wants to make the same deal with Iran! Kerry wants to "provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes." News flash: by the time you know they've built the Bomb, it's already too late. It's not likely they'll enrich the uranium out in the open with a neon sign saying "Welcome To The Illegal Uranium Enrichment Project."
Again and again, Kerry rephrased his new position that Iraq is "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," and "a diversion," even though he has agreed many times that Saddam was a danger, and that the world is better off without him in power. Taking casualties is "wrong." Using Afghanis to hunt terrorists in Afghanistan is "wrong." Bush disarming Saddam was "wrong." Not subjecting Americans to an international court is "wrong." Everything is "going wrong." Yet Kerry still insists that he can get more foreign countries to send troops there to take the place of American soldiers. Bush did make a good point there, asking, "So what's the message going to be: 'Please join us in Iraq. We're a grand diversion. Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?'" Kerry had better be a lot more persuasive in French and German than he is in English, especially since France and Germany have said unequivocally that there is no chance of them doing so. "The French and German governments have made [it] clear that sending troops is out of the question," stated the LA Times in August 2004. This was more than a month ago, back when Kerry was certain that "he could substantially reduce the number of U.S. troops within the first six months of a Kerry administration." Kerry continues to insult and deride our true allies, the 46 countries that DID join us in Iraq, as "a trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted." Kerry claims that Bush could have gotten a "grand coalition" together if he'd been willing to "sit down with those leaders, say, 'What do you need, what do you need now, how much more will it take to get you to join us?'" Well, who's talking about putting together a "coalition of the bribed" now? When Kerry's not insulting them, he's trying to scare away our key allies, which would please the terrorists we're fighting no end. Kerry's own sister visited Australia to warn them that they're a target for terrorist attacks. She said the United States is "endangering the Australians now" by the liberation of Iraq.
Kerry's answer to all foreign policy problems is to get a pat on the head from other countries, but obviously not from the countries that helped us in Iraq. They're not a real enough coalition, not a grand enough alliance. Can you guess which countries (that sent no troops to Iraq) get to grade the "global test" Kerry said we must pass before defending ourselves? Kerry would ask for approval before preventing another country -- say, Iran -- from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, weapons that they could give terrorists to use against us. Which countries would he ask before launching a preemptive strike (which Kerry agreed that the President "always had the right" to use) to defend ourselves?
And what would he do if they say "non" again?
UPDATE: A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken the day after the debate seems to show that people agree with my assessment. Kerry won the debate, but Bush won the argument.
Expressed himself more clearly
Had a good understanding of the issues
Agreed with you more on the issues you care about
Was more believable
Was more likable
Demonstrated he is tough enough for the job
Posted at Friday, October 01, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Scare the Vote: The Democrat Campaign of Hate and Fear
The usual Democrat campaign to "Scare the Vote" is in full swing, and they're pushing it harder than ever. Unable to convince voters to elect John Kerry any other way, the entire Left has erupted in a frantic flurry of rhetoric designed to convince every single voter in America that George W. Bush wants to personally attack him or her in some way. Hate and fear are all the Democrats have to offer voters, it seems.
Scare the Elderly: "Republicans will steal your Social Security and your Medicare!" This is an old standby. Democrats want you to forget that it was they who voted to raise taxes on Social Security in 1993, with Al Gore casting the deciding vote. (Senator Kerry voted Yes on that bill, HR 2264.) President Bush's idea of protecting Social Security while allowing those still working to save money in accounts of their own choosing would rob Democrats of their main "scare the vote" issue as the "baby boomer" generation retires in the coming years. Why not allow people to choose how their money is saved?
Scare the Sick: "Republicans won't give you free health care!" There's no such thing as "free" anything -- someone has to pay for it, and someone has to run it. How customer-driven and efficient is any government-run agency? Democrats have been trying to push socialised medicine for ages, and never seem to notice that the national health care system is failing miserably in Canada and Great Britain. Recently, a woman in Wales who had been a long-time critic of declining medical standards died of an iron overdose because the doctor "found the instructions difficult to decipher and... had only read half of them." President Bush's idea is to allow small businesses -- the real job creators in this country -- to offer their employees health plans at the same rates large corporations get. As the number of unemployed continues to drop and small businesses continue to grow, competition for workers to fill available jobs will increase. Better health care plans will be yet another job incentive in a competitive environment, like higher wages. Speaking of jobs...
Scare the Unemployed: "Republicans won't give you good jobs!" Aren't those supposed to be earned by those who are qualified and capable? As companies -- small and large -- continue to expand, there will be fewer talented people available to fill the more complex jobs, leading to competition for the most qualified employees and an initiative among workers to train for better jobs. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, "70 percent of new startups already employ at least one person, 80 percent plan to hire at least one more employee in the next year, and 20 percent plan to add at least 19 new employees in the next few years." Overtaxing small business owners, as Kerry would do by raising taxes on those making over $200,000 a year, would hamper expansion and kill job creation. But it would keep a nice Democrat voter base handy, dependent on entitlements, ready to be scared during future elections.
Scare the Employed: "Republicans will send all the jobs overseas!" As for jobs being "sent overseas," foreign companies send just as many jobs here as we export. (I wonder whether foreign governments use that to scare their voters?) Bush's plan is to help displaced workers retrain for open jobs, instead of forcing companies to lose money -- and forcing taxpayers to subsidise failing companies -- by keeping jobs here that can be performed better or cheaper elsewhere. The old example of buggy whips is particularly apt -- what happened to buggy whip manufacturers when cars became popular? Did the government pay them to keep people employed making whips that no one bought, until they simply went bankrupt? No... buggy whips manufacturers moved or opened in places that had no cars, and other industries sprang up in their place here, employing the unemployed buggy-whip workers. We call that "capitalism" with side orders of "competition" and "progress."
Scare the Minorities: "Republicans won't count your votes!" That's a personal message from John Kerry, who claims that Republicans have a Secret Plan to throw away black votes. Perhaps they'll drop votes marked "Negro" behind the couch where they'll never be found. Oh, wait... we don't have a place for "race" on the ballots, do we? When Democrats claim that minority votes weren't counted in Florida in the 2000 election (without having yet produced a single shred of evidence), I just have to ask why the allegations were almost exclusively made in counties where Democrats ran the election boards (24 of the 25 counties with the highest ballot spoilage rates). Those rascally Republicans!
Scare the Immigrants: "Republicans will put you all in internment camps!" Scare the Women: "Republicans will force you to have babies!" Scare the Parents: "Republicans will send your children to die in wars!" While they're at it, Democrats also Scare the Kids: "Republicans will draft you!" John Kerry himself claims that Bush has, yes, a Secret Plan to reinstate the draft, despite the facts that few reputable commanders would actually want a military comprised of people who didn't want to serve, and only Democrats are sponsoring bills to start a draft, like Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC). An email hoax circulating around the internet since February 2004 has been fueling rumors that President Bush will reinstate the draft, but conveniently declines to mention the actual sponsors of the bills.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is even getting into the act with his attempt to Scare Everybody: "The Republicans will cause a nuclear war!" At the same time, Kennedy and other Democrats accuse Vice President Dick Cheney of scare tactics for claiming that if John Kerry is elected, America will suffer another terrorist attack. The so-called mainstream media reported Cheney's statement as, "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from Wednesday, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," with headlines like "Cheney says 'wrong choice' on Election Day would risk terrorist attack." This bit of misreporting sent Democrats into a paroxysm of vitriolic anger. House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example, immediately rushed out a press release to say, "It is completely inappropriate, and dangerous, for the Vice President to in effect threaten the American people, to be part of instilling fear into our country." The Democrats and their supporters in the "mainstream" media deliberately omitted the rest of Cheney's statement, which was a warning that the danger is "...we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us." (emphasis added) Since John Kerry has stated that he sees the war on terrorism as "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation," Cheney's remark was a simple and accurate statement of fact.
Does the Democrat fearmongering never end? Is no interest group safe? John Kerry can't even resist the temptation to Scare Dairy Farmers: "The Republicans will hurt milk production!" Kerry recently told Wisconsin voters that Bush has -- you guessed it! -- a Secret Plan to hurt milk producers after the election.
On the other hand, maybe he was actually trying to Scare the Cows.
UPDATE: It turns out that the only person running for President that ever planned to bring back the draft is... John Kerry! On their website, on a page no longer accessible but which can be found in the archives, the Kerry-Edwards team called for "a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service." Now that's scary.
Posted at Wednesday, September 29, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths 6: A Less Safe Post-Iraq
Among Liberal myths, one of the most oft-repeated is that attacking an enemy not only serves no useful purpose, but actually makes the enemy more dangerous. This sort of auto-defeatism is only believed by the most short-sighted or gullible in the post-9/11 world. An animal can hide and hope that danger will pass it by, but humans don't have that luxury. Doing so just puts the danger off for another day by allowing it to feed somewhere else... this time. Hiding allows the enemy to grow even stronger -- but most animals aren't known to make complex analyses of present cost vs. future benefits. Sometime in the distant past, our remote ancestors figured out that running from enemies only gives them power -- the power of fear, and the very real power of an enemy allowed to grow stronger, unchecked. They learned to work together to defeat their enemies. It's unfortunate that as we've progressed in so many ways, some of the most important lessons we ever learned as a species have largely been forgotten.
If we had not toppled Saddam Hussein, what would be happening right now? What would the future have been? It's not easy to create alternate futures with any degree of accuracy, but we can extrapolate from what we know. Leaving aside whether allowing the ongoing brutal repression of 25 million people practiced on a daily basis by Saddam's regime was right, there were many reasons why he was too dangerous to leave in power. Some facts were already known, and others have come into clearer focus since the Butcher of Baghdad fled his palaces to cower in a spider hole. The clearest fact of all is that if we had not acted, Iraq would have posed a terrible danger to us, much sooner than later.
When Afghanistan fell to the Coalition in December of 2001, al Qaeda and the Taliban did not stop to sign a formal surrender. They fled into the mountain country, into Pakistan, into Iran, even into Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fled to Baghdad for medical treatment. We knew that Saddam harbored Abu Abbas, who murdered American Leon Klinghoffer when his terrorists seized the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. Klinghoffer was shot, then dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Saddam also gave safe haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, the only person indicted for bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 who got away. Abu Nidal, head of the terrorist group that bears his name, was another "guest" of Saddam. He was likely murdered after refusing to train the al-Qaeda refugees from Afghanistan. The Czech government still insists that Mohammed Atta, who led the 9/11 hijackers, met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague. The only evidence to the contrary is that Atta's credit card and cellphone were used in the US during that time (and no one ever uses another's cellphone or credit card). Russian president Vladmir Putin warned President Bush that Saddam was planning to launch terrorist attacks against the US. If we had not removed Saddam Hussein from power, those attacks would very likely have been carried out -- there was certainly no terrorist shortage in Baghdad. Saddam had supported and would have continued to support global terror. Support doesn't necessarily mean planning or collaborating with the terrorists in attacks. Support means giving them safe haven, allowing them to train for missions (even supplying that training at places like Salman Pak, Saddam's terrorist school), and furnishing them with false identities and target information. It also means giving them money and material with which to carry out their missions -- in this case, possibly biological and chemical weapons.
France, Germany, Russia and China -- the four countries which had lucrative oil deals with Saddam's regime -- had been lobbying for years to get the sanctions dropped so they could get at Iraq's oil. Saddam's propaganda -- including deliberately allowing children to die from lack of medicine in poorly-furnished hospitals so he could claim the sanctions were to blame -- was eroding support for them. As Newsweek reported in April 2003, "The situation at Saddam General, recently renamed An Nasiriya General Hospital, is similar to hospitals throughout Iraq. They're short of everything after years of sanctions, in which the regime insisted it was unable to buy enough medicine and medical supplies -- even while stockpiling huge hoards of cash and building enormous palaces." Palaces were not all that Saddam built. David Kay and Charles Duelfer have both reported that Saddam's WMD programs were far from destroyed -- they were merely driven underground. Saddam was waiting until the UN sanctions were dropped before resuming his manufacture of biological and chemical weapons. It's doubtful he expected it to take twelve years. Instead of using the oil-for-food money to take care of his people, Saddam created a "clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses" where scientists could do advanced work on Brucella, Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, aflatoxin and botulinum. He could have been producing anthrax within a week, mustard gas in two months and sarin within two years. David Kay also discovered that Saddam had a renewed interest in reconstituting Iraq's centrifuge enrichment program in 2002. Parts that might have been hard to come by were buried or hidden -- like the centrifuge buried under a rosebush in a Baghdad backyard. According to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's book, Saddam sent Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, dubbed "Baghdad Bob" by the press during the Iraq war, to approach a Nigerian official in 1999 to discuss trade -- "an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium." Oddly enough, Wilson -- sent by the CIA to investigate the possibility that Saddam attempted to acquire uranium -- never mentioned this until he wrote his book. Had we not removed Saddam from power, he would have replenished his supplies of chemical and biological weapons within a year or two -- and even had nuclear weapons before long.
Elsewhere in the world, events would not have taken place as they did. Libya's Moammar Ghaddafi would not have given up his support of terrorism and his WMD programs -- which were much further advanced than our intelligence had predicted. Within a year or two, Libya would have been drawing near to completion of its nuclear research, while world attention was focused on Iran's nuclear capabilities. The Pakistani nuclear proliferation ring would not have been stopped, because it was only discovered when Ghaddafi gave up information about it. The total corruption of the UN's Oil-for-Food program would not have been uncovered, either. Although most of the so-called "mainstream" media has treated the story as though it were written on a McDonald's napkin in crayon, the fact is that Saddam was making huge profits from kickbacks on the oil-for-food program. He used the money he stole from his people to buy palaces and weapons, create and sustain hidden weapons programs, and suborn men and women of influence around the world. Benon Sevan -- head of the oil-for-food program, the man who was supposed to ensure the integrity of the program -- is named as one recipient of Saddam's oil vouchers. Kofi Annan's own son is implicated in the scheme. We never would have known the extent of the scandal and corruption in the United Nations if Iraq had not been freed of Saddam... because the story was broken by an independent newspaper operating as part of a free press in the new Iraq. So far, only FOX news has devoted any real time to reporting this story in the Western media.
Within a few years at most, the sanctions would have collapsed, and a vindicated Saddam, his hatred of the US as strong as ever, would have been free to act. The corruption in the UN would have gone unnoticed. France, Germany, Russia and China would have claimed their promised oil fields, and their sales of weaponry to Saddam would have increased, openly and legally. Add in arms sales from North Korea and other countries, including the nuclear material Saddam was so long denied. The Pakistan nuclear ring would have continued to supply rogue nations with the knowledge to build nuclear weapons. With Saddam's stockpiles of WMDs replenished and his ties to terrorists intact, the US and our allies would have been in grave danger. Libya, Iraq and Iran would all have created nuclear weapons by then, and a mid-east nuclear exchange would have been all but inevitable, with Iran and Iraq resuming hostilities (perhaps after destroying Israel). A nuke-armed Libya would be in control of North Africa, by threat if not force. Already shamed by giving Saddam an ultimatum and then backing down, we would have been unable to stop the escalating violence except by war against most of the Middle East... our threats of force would have been seen as laughable. Much of our resources would be tied up in fending off repeated terrorist attacks on our own soil -- terrorists trained and armed by both Iraq and Iran. More than likely, we would have become more isolationist, allowing dictators to control entire regions unchecked, so long as they left us alone. Which they would... for a while.
Of course, it's possible that this grim future would not have come to pass. It's possible that Saddam would have had a spontaneous change of heart and freely given up his weapons, his support of terrorism, and even his brutality towards his own people. He might have turned over details of the Pakistan nuclear ring and evidence of the UN's corruption. It's equally likely that he might have picked up a guitar and taken Jerry Garcia's place in the Grateful Dead, however. Bookmakers in Las Vegas wouldn't have given you odds for either, had you been foolish enough to bet.
Lucky for us, President Bush wasn't. If Saddam had come clean and given everything up, the war would not have taken place. The Pakistan nuclear knowledge market and Ghaddafi's WMD programs would still be in operation, however. Anyone who thinks that removing Saddam from power didn't make the entire world safer in the long run is refusing to look at the facts.
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 5: The Moral United Nations
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
Posted at Sunday, September 26, 2004 by CavalierX