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
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,"
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!)
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,"
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
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
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths 4: Runaway Global Warming
The alarms about runaway global warming have been ringing for several decades now. According to eco-Liberals (modern-day Luddites to whom modern industry is a curse, though they gladly enjoy its benefits) and scientists who want to keep their grant money flowing, we humans are about to destroy the delicate balance of Nature. Our sin of emission consists of greenhouse gases -- mostly water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur dioxide. Americans are usually cast as the worst offenders against Nature... or perhaps America's a safe target because we're one of the few countries that doesn't simply laugh off or imprison both scientists and Liberals. Curiously enough, America isn't even the top per capita emitter of some greenhouse gases -- Australia and Canada are ahead of us in line for that distinction in the carbon dioxide category.
But is it serious science, or agenda-driven fear-mongering? The theory that global warming is running amuck is based on half a century of observation (taken out of context and exaggerated) which shows that the global mean temperature has risen by half a degree Fahrenheit during that time, and perhaps a whole degree over the last 150 years. At the moment, the Earth just happens to be in an interglacial period between ice ages. We're technically still emerging from the last one, which "ended" only about 10,000 years ago. In fact, during the last thousand years, the global mean temperature rose to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (during the late 12th century) and fell to 47 degrees (in the late 17th century) before rising to its 1998 peak of 58 degrees. Is that consistent with a slight fluctuation in the global mean temperature over the course of 150 years? You bet it is. Does it mean the temperature will necessarily continue to rise? Of course not. In fact, though succeeding years have still been warmer than average, they were less warm than 1998. Satellite data also indicates a slight cooling (especially in the southern hemisphere), if anything. Furthermore, an objective look at the global temperature data in context shows that the Earth is not, in fact, the warmest it has been in the last 2000 years. The global mean temperature has been even higher than it is today three times -- once just before and once after 700AD, and once just before 1000AD. Modern temperature averages only look unusual when scientists compare current instrument readings against reconstructed historical temperature data. If you "reconstruct" current data the same way as historical data, and look at today's temperatures in context, the entire case for global warming hysteria dries up.
The problem is that there is no "balance of nature," which implies a status quo that must be adhered to. The Earth has always been in a constant, if slow, state of flux. Weather cycles run in terms of centuries, if not millennia. Geological cycles run in terms of millions of years. The mean temperature of the Earth has risen and fallen in cycles for billions of years, almost all of it without being affected in the slightest by human beings. Nature occasionally dumps far more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than all of human industry could hope to equal in years. Volcanoes emit water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Kilauea, the volcano on the main island of Hawaii, emits 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide and an average of 500,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every year. That's about the same amount of carbon dioxide as 132,000 SUVs in the same time period... and that's just one active volcano. The number of active volcanoes in the world is estimated to be between 1,500 and 3,000. You do the math. The amount of gases discharged increases dramatically when a volcano erupts. Mount Saint Helens erupted in May of 1980, ejecting over a million and a half tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere above Washington. More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causes local warming, which causes more and heavier storms, which bring more cloud cover, which in turn causes an increased albedo effect (the amount of sunlight reflected back into space), which lowers the local temperature. The Earth is a self-correcting, self-regulating system. It's funny how the same people that tell us the Earth is "alive" don't understand that fact.
This summer, we will all be treated to a movie called The Day After Tomorrow, created specifically to scare its audience with a Hollywood look at runaway global warming destroying Civilisation As We Know It. This is the movie Al Gore wants you to see, even though "[s]cientists and Gore agree that the movie is loose with the scientific facts." I won't say you shouldn't see the movie. Just keep in mind that the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies have as much hard science behind them.
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 5: The Moral United Nations
Exploding Liberal Myths 3: Outsourcing Woes
Exploding Liberal Myths 2: The Eeevil PATRIOT Act
Exploding Liberal Myths 1: Nigerian Uranium
Posted at Tuesday, May 18, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Treason or Not? The Case Against Ted Kennedy
At some point, we will have to muster the courage to face the facts about Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-Ma). Since the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power was made, his criticisms of the President have become more shrill and accusatory. For the most part, that's fine -- the First Amendment protects the right to freedom of speech that we all have, within certain limits. (For instance, one cannot yell "Fire!" in a crowded building if there isn't one.) However, Ted Kennedy may have crossed those limits in his excessively vitriolic attacks on the President and his decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein.
President Bush, having been granted the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq by Congress, decided to use that authorised force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Whether the liberation of Iraq was justified as part of the War on Terror became merely an argument for historians at that point, in a certain respect. The fact is that the United States was and remains at war, like it or not.
Though our Taliban enemies and Saddam Hussein were swiftly defeated, the larger war against terrorism and the States that support it has not ended. At the moment, it is concentrated in that same Iraq that was once a prime supporter of terrorists under Saddam, including the open payment of $25,000 to the family of at least one Hamas suicide bomber, and $10,000 to other Palestinian militants. Our enemies now are the terrorists that have poured into Iraq to prevent that country from becoming an open and democratic nation. Such an event would begin the destruction of terrorism as the only way for -- from their point of view -- disaffected and disenfranchised Muslims to make their voices heard.
Many Middle Eastern countries are repressive Islamo-fascist dictatorships, if not outright theocracies. Whether the rulers are minority Sunni subjugating a majority Shi'ite population, a self-perpetuating religious oligarchy controlling a restless population through fear, or a single extended family ruling just about everyone else, the pressure is only relieved by channeling it into anti-Western rage. The most restive and angry -- and brainwashed -- people are the most likely to become recruits for terrorism. Repressive dictatorships must have an escape valve, or the pressure of their own restive populations would cause them to explode.
We do have enemies, and our enemies have chosen this war. The terrorists have declared that we are their enemy. Whether we like it or not, whether we agree on how we got there or not, we are at war with them in Iraq now. The recent horrific beheading of Nick Berg shows us exactly what kind of people those enemies are, and what they want. We must rid the Middle East of these terrorists -- that's what the War on Terror is all about. And Ted Kennedy has repeatedly given aid and comfort to the enemy in various ways in the course of this war.
He has sought to undermine the credibility of the commander-in-chief by accusing him of manufacturing the case for war in Iraq for his own personal and political ends. "This was made up in Texas, announced in January  to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud," Kennedy said in September 2003. The resolution authorising the war became law by Congressional vote in October 2002, three months earlier. In October 2003 Kennedy said, "The trumped up reasons for going to war have collapsed," and "the President's war has been revealed as mindless, needless, senseless, and reckless." These accusations can only have a detrimental effect on the morale of our armed forces fighting "the President's war," and on American credibility in the world.
He has sought to decrease the effectiveness of America's ability to prosecute war by demanding that Bush fire Donald Rumsfeld in the middle of a war. "I think we need a new beginning," Kennedy said after Rumsfeld's testimony before the Senate regarding the mistreatment of some prisoners in Iraq. By all accounts the abuse seems to have been performed by guards exceeding their orders, on their own initiative. When the abuse was reported, it was immediately investigated. The report from Major General Taguba found, as he told the Senate, that there were no actual orders given to the guards or policy set to mistreat the prisoners, though it was "suggested" by General Geoffrey Miller that they set the "conditions for the successful exploitation of internees." There is no evidence whatsoever that Rumsfeld had anything to do with it, yet this situation is being used to demand his replacement. Removing the Secretary of Defense on such a flimsy pretext in the middle of an ongoing conflict would cause a serious disruption of our military's coherence and efficacy.
He has sought to damage the morale of US troops in the field of combat by comparing them to Saddam Hussein's torture squads, speaking of the same prisoner mistreatment. "On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?'" said Kennedy. "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management." Saddam Hussein's torture methodology included eye gouging, the piercing of hands with an electric drill, suspension until ligaments were torn, acid baths and feeding the victim feet-first into a plastic shredder. It is infamous and outrageous when our enemies compare the US military to Saddam's State-sanctioned torturers. How much more so when a sitting US Senator does it?
Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, Section 2381 of the United States Legal Code defines "treason" in the following way: "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason." Senator Kennedy's accusations have given comfort to our enemies, who must surely think that they can force us to back down from them when they hear his vitriolic attacks. His words have aided the enemy by sapping the morale of American troops facing them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the successful prosecution of the fight against terrorism, our enemies must see that while we may argue amongst ourselves, we are united against them. For the good of the country, Senator Kennedy must step down from the Senate.
UPDATE: Please sign the online petition to request Senator Kennedy's resignation.
Posted at Thursday, May 13, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, May 10, 2004
Abu Ghraib in Perspective
The manufactured hysteria over the prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib prison is going to be at the top of the Iraq news as long as the Democrats and the media can milk it, so get used to seeing those terrible pictures and more day after day, all summer long. If there's a single American who isn't disgusted by the way Iraqi prisoners in American care were embarrassed and abused he or she ought to see a doctor. But all this hyperventilation by the media -- and, of course, leading Democrats -- is such a transparent attempt to turn public opinion against the President and the liberation of Iraq that it's already become cartoonish.
It seems that the problem began when some Army reservists -- untrained in interrogation techniques -- were put in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in October 2003, where former Saddam Fedayeen and other insurgents were being held. Major General Geoffrey Miller visited Abu Ghraib, and made a recommendation that the guards set "the conditions for the successful exploitation of internees." By January 2004, "softening up" the prisoners had crossed the line into abuse, which was duly reported to the authorities by Specialist Joseph Darby. Instead of engaging in the cover-up at which the media likes to hint, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez immediately ordered the matter investigated by Major General Antonio Taguba. As a result, Army Reserve Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was suspended from her command within days, and all the soldiers involved were removed from duty. Seven of the guards have been criminally charged so far. Karpinski stated that the CID (Army Intelligence) had taken charge of the cell block, and this still needs to be investigated further. Taguba's investigation uncovered the fact that one man, Master-at-Arms First Class William Kimbro, actually "refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure," but the media (in their determination to highlight the bad news) seems not to have mentioned him. In fact, though a press conference was held and the news media informed of the investigation on 16 January 2004, the problems at Abu Ghraib and other prisons were hardly mentioned at all until recently.
So the military investigated and corrected the problem, exactly as should be done. End of story, right? Don't be so naive... this is an election year! Someone leaked pictures of the abuse to CBS. After a short delay (at the military's request, due to the already-inflamed situation in Fallujah), 60 Minutes led the charge to wave those pictures in the collective face of the world.
No matter how many times President Bush and members of his administration apologise for this mistreatment, and no matter how quickly it was stopped and investigated, and no matter how many soldiers of whatever rank stand for punishment or incarceration, the Democrats won't stop beating this particular horse until long after its death. Calling for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation is only part of their drive to turn public opinion against President Bush. No one has condoned what happened in that prison -- no one. No one tried to cover it up. But trust the Democrats, abetted by the media, to work all summer to convince the public that President Bush did both.
Donald Rumsfeld's testimony and apology before the Senate prompted the inevitable Vietnam comparisons... then again, the thought of Americans in foreign countries with guns always prompts hysterical knee-jerk Vietnam comparisons, especially from Democrats. While even Senator John McCain (R?-AZ) compared the mistreatment of prisoners by a few guards to the massacre of civilians in their homes at My Lai in 1968, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) was able to put things in perspective.
"It deserves the apology that you have given today, and has been given by others in high positions in our government and our military," Lieberman told Rumsfeld. "I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized," he said, and that four Americans in Fallujah who were "murdered and burned and humiliated ... never received an apology from anybody." Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and others called for Rumsfeld's resignation, despite the fact that 70% of Americans want him to stay in his position. The American people, it seems, understand that we are fighting a war, and that the enemy would love to see Donald Rumsfeld fired. In a rare statement, Vice President Dick Cheney struck a blow in Rumsfeld's defense. "Don Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had," Cheney said, "People ought to get off his case and let him do his job." President Bush stated that Rumsfeld "will stay in my Cabinet." Senator John Kerry (D-MA) called for President Bush to be replaced as well... but since he's the man who hopes to replace Bush, his point of view might be just a little biased and overblown. No matter what President Bush says or does, Kerry will call for him to be replaced, of course.
The perspective many on the Left seem to be lacking is this: in war, terrible things sometimes happen. People are not perfect. A nation which holds itself to lesser standards than the United States of America, however, would cover these things up, hamper the investigation, or even perform these acts and far worse as a matter of State policy the way Saddam Hussein did for over three decades. (Most Arab nations, in fact, use torture in prisons as a matter of course.) This is not what's happening, and the world can see that a democracy polices itself. Those responsible for the mistreatment of Abu Ghraib prisoners are being identified, investigated and will be punished for their misdeeds.
Still, some questions remain unasked. How did those pictures, evidence from an ongoing criminal investigation, certain to drive anti-American feeling both at home and abroad to a fever pitch as well as prejudice the investigation, make their way into the eager little hands of the media? Who leaked those photos, and why?
*UPDATE: When Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick was under investigation by the military for the abuse of Abu Ghraib detainees, his family feared he would be made a scapegoat. William Lawson, Frederick's uncle, tried in vain to get the attention of seventeen members of Congress before sending an email to retired Colonel David Hackworth, who put Lawson in touch with CBS. Whether Hackworth or Lawson was the person who actually turned the pictures over to the media is still unclear, but one thing is unmistakable: leaking this material to the media has increased the danger to American lives, both at home and abroad. It has undermined the morale of our troops and the support for their mission. Was this really done in a vain attempt to prevent Frederick's court martial, essentially an attempt to blackmail the United States? If any plan could be said to backfire, this is the one. And it leads us to new questions. Which seventeen members of Congress did Lawson contact? Why did they remain silent? Did they not have the same responsibility to inform Congress that Donald Rumsfeld did?
It's going to be a very long summer.
(Thanks to Watcher of Weasels for the NY Times link and the blackmail question!)
Posted at Monday, May 10, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
New Socialism in New Jersey
Who said socialism is dead? It's alive and well in New Jersey... or at least on life support. In a preview of things to come should John Kerry win the election this November, Governor Jim McGreevey recently proposed a plan to raise the income tax for everyone in the state who makes more than $500,000 a year, which will be given to lower-income residents as a tax rebate. In much the same way, John Kerry wants to raise the federal income tax for everyone in America who makes more than $200,000.
I've often wondered when it became the job of government to punish those who make more money by taking a larger percentage of it away. Is it a crime of some sort to do well? No, even then one would at least be owed a trial first. Democrats like McGreevey and Kerry simply declare that the more a person makes, the higher a percentage he or she must donate, to be given to people who didn't work for it. Is there any other name for this but income redistribution, the hallmark of socialism? A certain amount of taxes are necessary to provide for the essential functions of government, but taking taxes from some in order to give it to others is simply ridiculous. (Sorry, Robin Hood was redressing a wrong, not creating one... and he wasn't the government.) Remember that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels proposed a heavy progressive income tax as one of the measures necessary for the advance of Communism. A progressive income tax increases the number of people dependent on the State for sustenance, reducing or even eliminating their self-reliance and autonomy. Naturally, they tend to vote for the people who promise to continue the "bread and circuses;" an automatic vote for Democrats from the apathetic masses.
How does that work? What sense does that make? Say you're twelve years old and charge $5 to cut my lawn. You spend a hot, sweaty hour pushing a lawnmower around my yard. When it comes time to pay you, I only give you $3... and give $1 to each of your two friends who watched cartoons while you worked. Next time, you charge me $10... but I give $2.50 to each of your friends, handing you only $5. "Well, that's only fair," I say. "They had less money than you." Would you ever visit me again, except to egg my house on Mischief Night? I'll bet those two friends of yours wouldn't like that.
What Democrats seem to forget is that the majority of people earning over $500,000 -- or even $200,000 -- are business owners and investors. When they feel the pinch of higher taxes, the last thing they'll do is pay with a smile. Radio ads touting McGreevey's tax proposal claim that it's "a small sacrifice for 28,000 to make." New Jersey will see that tax base drying up, should that enforced "sacrifice" become law. Some people who fall into the "making too much" category may move out of the state altogether, taking their money with them. Others will move their money out of the stock market and into tax shelters, putting it out of McGreevey's reach. Those who own businesses will not expand their business as they might otherwise have done, and will not hire new employees they might otherwise have hired. Most of those 28,000 people making over $500,000 won't be making that involuntary "sacrifice" the Democrats have decided they won't miss, or will make up the loss in other ways which will cost the state jobs and growth. So how will McGreevey pay for the big tax rebate he's promising "middle class" citizens he'll take from the pockets of the too-rich? How will he pay the increased ranks of the unemployed? He'll just have to raise that extra tax a little bit more to make up the shortfall. Repeat cycle.
Hmm... well, $200,000 is still quite a lot of money for New Jersey residents to make, isn't it? Surely the people making all that money can afford a small sacrifice as well? Then, perhaps those selfish people earning $100,000 might look as though they're making too much money... And if you think that this all sounds like a bad deal for New Jersey taxpayers, how do you think people at the same income levels might react to Kerry playing the same games with the federal income tax?
Posted at Wednesday, May 05, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, May 02, 2004
As most people know, Ted Koppel recently devoted an entire edition of his "news" program, Nightline, to an editorial in which he merely read a list of every American soldier who has died in Iraq while showing their pictures. Koppel (and the rest of the Left) piously pretends this was done out of some pure motive to honor those dead, although no mention was made of the (no less honorable, surely) soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Only one conclusion can be reasonably be drawn from this. The main difference between Afghanistan and Iraq is that even the most fanatically anti-war people on the Left didn't -- or perhaps felt they couldn't -- openly oppose the former as they did the latter. (Some did, however, like the Peaceful Tomorrows group, which claims to speak for the families of 9/11 victims.) In fact, the Left still pretends not to know of all the reasons that the war in Iraq was necessary and right. No one should be surprised at their sophistry; those on the Left always pretend their motives are pure and that they're morally superior to the rest of us. If they were forced to admit the war in Iraq was justified, then they would be unable to justify their own opposition to it. How can those who opposed the liberation of 25 million people from virtual slavery ever pretend to be "morally superior" to those who supported it? There is no doubt that reading only the names of the soldiers who died in Iraq was done to turn popular opinion against President Bush and anyone who still supports our presence there.
Is that how we honor the dead now, by trying to make their sacrifice turn out to have been in vain? Is that how the dead of World Wars I and II were honored, or the dead of the Korean War? The Left began "honoring" the dead by throwing away what they died for during the Vietnam war, and have been trying to repeat that performance ever since. Every time American soldiers are sent to achieve an objective, the Left (claiming to be concerned for them) begins undermining public support for their mission. Like the al-Qaeda elements our military is fighting in parts of Iraq, the Left is putting forth their best effort to stop Iraq from becoming a success. Unlike the terrorists, however, they'll still be here after Iraq has become a democratic society, waiting for the next opportunity to fight against those fighting for freedom.
If there's one trait that marks the Left more than any other, it's their voluntary virtual enslavement to that which is negative. The flip side of that coin is their inability to even acknowledge that which is positive. Is it good that soldiers died in Iraq? No! But then -- if you're intellectually honest -- you also have to ask, is it BAD that Iraqi schoolgirls are no longer sent to Uday's rape rooms by their principals? Is it BAD that Iraq has freedom of the press and free elections for the first time ever? Is it BAD that the mass graves are no longer being filled? Is it BAD that hospitals are no longer being ordered to let children die to make a better case against the UN sanctions? Is it BAD that Saddam is no longer hiding his violations of 17 UN resolutions and his cease-fire agreement with the US? Is it BAD that Saddam and his thug government are no longer systematically violating human rights as a matter of course? Is it BAD that Saddam is no longer giving money and support to terrorists and destabilising the Middle East? Focusing on the cost of the war while deliberately ignoring what it has accomplished is a half-truth at best, and an attempt to turn the deaths of our soldiers into a political tool. One cannot speak of those who died in Europe in World War II without remembering that they did so to free France and Germany, and remove Hitler from power.
If you want to honor the dead, then you work towards a freer, better Iraq. You praise that which has already been accomplished while you mourn the losses. You work to increase public support for the good work they did, and their fellows are still doing, so that it can be accomplished better and faster. No one is ignoring those who gave their lives in Iraq, as Ted Koppel and the Left seem to think. Using their deaths to make political points against their commander-in-chief, however, does not honor them at all.
Posted at Sunday, May 02, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, April 30, 2004
Nightline: Politicising the War Dead
It wasn't enough for the Left when the "mainstream" media made it a point to include the daily US soldier body count from Iraq in every news report in every medium. It wasn't enough when they unapologetically added the number of those killed in accidents in Iraq -- which, frankly, could have happened almost anywhere -- to those killed in combat, just to inflate the American body count further. It wasn't enough for the Left that, for the last half of 2003, the media talking heads almost gleefully announced a second daily Iraq soldier body count, with the tagline, "since President Bush declared major combat over on May first." Support for the liberation of Iraq from dictator Saddam Hussein remained strong, despite the best efforts of the Left to instill an anti-war attitude into every viewer.
Dissatisfied at the refusal of the unwashed masses to go along with their determination to undermine support for the President and the war in Iraq, the Left began attacking him for not attending the funerals of dead soldiers, despite the fact that such events have been rare occurences in our history. President Johnson, who presided over the Vietnam War around which the Left has based their opposition to all things military since, only attended two military funerals despite the fact that 58,169 service members died. Bill Clinton, beloved of the Left, did not attend any funerals for the military except for the sailors killed in the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Stark. Not even the 18 Army Rangers who died in Mogadishu in 1993 merited a Presidential funeral attendance.
When that didn't drum up the anti-war sentiment the Left wanted, they began attempting to politicise the military itself. Falling back on standard Democrat class warfare tactics, the anti-war Left, led by Charlie Rangel (D-NY), began -- isn't irony incredible? -- actually calling for a draft, claiming that an all-volunteer military was "unfair" to minorities and the poor. As tragic as it was, the recent death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan quickly squashed the Left's claim that people only enter the military due to economic hardship or other disadvantage. Tillman, a rising football star, turned down a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals out of sheer patriotism after 9/11, becoming an Army Ranger instead.
Back to the dead, then. The Left has been attacking President Bush for not allowing photos of soldiers' coffins to be taken, implying that he was attempting to hide something. What he might be hiding, no one can say, since the death toll (as I pointed out earlier) has been announced several dozen times daily since the first day of combat in Iraq. The problem with that particular line of attack is that the Pentagon's rule against photographing the coffins of war dead has been in place since 1991, and was not invented by President Bush to keep anything "secret." The Left runs on sheer emotionalism, however, and many believed viewers would "feel" more objectionable towards the war if they could only see some coffins, since merely announcing numbers wasn't causing anti-war sentiment to rise. Finally, the Left got what it wanted -- a photographer broke the long-standing rule and shot several pictures of flag-draped caskets. Unfortunately for the Left, the remains were being treated with all the honor and respect they deserve, instead of being stacked like cordwood or cargo. "I let the parents know their children weren't thrown around like a piece of cargo, that they instead were treated with the utmost respect and dignity," said the woman who was fired for taking the pictures. Guess the Left just can't catch a break. The "coffin photo controversy" was quickly (pardon the pun) buried.
Ted Koppel must be growing impatient with the persistent "failure" of mainstream America to feel the anti-war sentiment the Leftist elites want them to. How can they undermine support for President Bush in the fall election if most Americans stubbornly refuse to personally blame him for each and every American death in Iraq? Well, Ted's got what he thinks is the answer. Tonight's "Nightline" will be almost exclusively devoted to reading the names of every American man and woman killed in Iraq, while pictures of the dead are shown and wistful music, no doubt, tugs at the heartstrings. "Just look at these people. Look at their names. And look at their ages. Consider what they've done for you. Honor them," says Koppel by way of defense, claiming that this is not a political statement. If you believe that, then give me your name. I've got some Florida swamplan... uh, prime real estate to sell you.
If it's simply an honor roll of America's war dead, as Koppel and other Leftists claim, then where are the names of those who have died in Afghanistan?
Posted at Friday, April 30, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, April 26, 2004
PA Primary: Republican vs. RINO
Tomorrow's primary will decide whether Pennsylvania Republicans are represented in the US Senate by a Conservative Republican or a RINO -- Republican In Name Only. According to CBS news Arlen Specter "votes with Democrats almost exactly 50 percent of the time." Naturally, this appears to be a good thing to the Liberal media. If there's any point in calling Specter a Republican, I fail to see it. Pat Toomey, on the other hand, is described as a "former Wall Streeter, Harvard grad and conservative ideologue" and is "known as a tax-cutting, spending-cutting budget hawk. He is also conservative on social issues such as abortion and cloning." Except for the cloning issue (being all in favor of the advancement of science), I cannot see a downside to electing Toomey to represent the State's Republicans. The media's position on the contest -- again, no surprise -- is that it's better for Pennsylvanian Conservatives to elect a false Republican who represents them only half the time than a true Conservative who -- the media hastens to warn -- stands a chance of losing the election in November.
While Specter voted to reduce the Bush tax cuts in 2001, Toomey voted for them in full. Specter has voted for five major tax increases, in fact, while Toomey has opposed raising taxes. We've seen the result of those cuts in a booming economy. Toomey supports tort reform, which would cut down on the number of frivolous lawsuits that are keeping health care costs so high. Specter opposes those reforms. Specter favors allowing US soldiers to be tried in the International Criminal Court, while Toomey opposes such an affront to the rights of Americans under the Constitution. Specter voted to let public schools ban the Boy Scouts of America. Toomey supports school choice, while Specter opposes it. In 1987, Specter voted against Reagan's appointment of Conservative Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Bork's appointment would have prevented many of the judicial abuses of power we've been subject to ever since.
In 2002, Arlen Specter was the only Republican to vote against a resolution to aid international efforts to bring "Saddam Hussein and other foreign nationals accused of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity" to justice. He still voted against the measure when it was weakened to read that "nothing in this title shall prohibit the United States from rendering assistance to international efforts to bring to justice Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosovic, Osama bin Laden, other members of Al Queda, leaders of Islamic Jihad, and other foreign nationals accused of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity." Again, he was the only Republican to do so. Toomey has voted for pay raises for the military every year he has been in office. Not only did Specter vote against military pay raises two separate times, but he also voted to cut the budgets for both intelligence and defense along with John Kerry.
Tomorrow's primary is not Republican vs. Republican. It's Republican vs. RINO.
Posted at Monday, April 26, 2004 by CavalierX